Author's note: They're baaaaaaaaaaack! Thanks to Rocky for the beta. We'll call this one the cliché edition. It probably helps to have read And Baby Makes Five and The Symbols of Our Love first.
Disclaimer: I dry-cleaned and de-bugged these guys before returning them to their owner, Paramount.
Harry Kim's wedding day dawned, like so many other days on Voyager, with a red alert. Groggy-eyed, his dreadlocks flopping over his forehead and his throat husky from practicing his vows over and over again the night before, Harry rolled out of bed and stumbled into the corridor. The klaxons were flashing bright and red and Harry put his hand to his eyes. Seven years in the DQ, he thought miserably, and I have yet to sleep through a night. He leaned against the wall, taking deep breaths. Hadn't he just gone to sleep just minutes ago after bidding his blushing bride good night? Time on Voyager had that uncanny ability to stand still. If only waistlines and thighs had that same consistency!
Harry turned at the sound of his best friend's voice. "Tom?"
Tom, dressed in blue boxer shorts with pink hearts all over them, had left his t-shirt (probably blue) behind. Despite not getting dressed properly, Tom had apparently taken a precious minute to carefully comb his mullet and slick it back with a substance Harry was sure was used to oil the warp coils.
"It's the Borg," Tom said casually. "I'll bet you a week's worth of replicator rations that it's the Borg."
"Of course it's the Borg!" Harry snapped testily. "It's Wednesday! Everyone knows that! I defy you to find me one person on board this ship who's actually surprised when they show up!"
"Whoa, Har!" Tom held up his hands in a gesture of mock apology and surrender. "Calm down. I know how precious rations are around here these days." And then Tom's expression brightened. "Hey! That's it, isn't it? It's the big day." A hint of a sneer crept into Tom's voice. "You have jitters, don't you? Don't worry, Har. *Everyone* gets them. It's perfectly natural."
"I do *not* have jitters," Harry said. He was really starting to hate Tom's smugness now. He crossed his arms against his chest defiantly. "I feel perfectly fine."
Tom didn't look convinced. "Here's something that will put your mind at ease." Tom held out a PADD to Harry. "Here's the final program for your wedding. Hopefully, we can get rid of the Borg in the next forty-three minutes or so. Eighty-six minutes, max." Tom clapped Harry heartily on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Har. You and Seven will most definitely walk down the aisle today and on time." And then under his breath, Tom added, "With Borg precision, I assume."
"I *heard* that," Harry said. He scanned the PADD. "I'm not sure a beach wedding—" the ship rocked back and forth and Harry grabbed Tom and the two men clung to each other. Harry fleetingly thought Tom smelled really good. Harry cleared his throat as the ship stopped rocking. "As I was saying, a beach wedding might not be so good for Seven's implants. And the water… she was saying the other day there's a possibility she could *rust*."
"Well, with the Borg attacking every six minutes or so, we'll have no shortage of spare parts, in case her implants do rust," Tom said. "A beach wedding will be *perfect*, Har. Trust me on this."
Harry glanced at his friend warily. "I don't know, Tom. Seven didn't seem to think the idea was that swell and she was telling me that there is nothing perfect about 'an expanse of sand and a large body of water'." Harry shook his head. "She just wouldn't shut up about it, but when I asked her for ideas, she said she didn't have any." He looked glumly at Tom. "What should I do? I'm stuck between a wall and a tough Borg."
"Look, didn't I help organize the Captain and Chakotay's wedding? Wasn't that a resounding success? And what about my own wedding?" At the last, Tom sounded just a little pleading. Harry had to admit Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay's wedding had been a spectacular event, complete with lace trimmings, plenty of satin ribbons and gowns, scattered rose petals, and chocolate and champagne. While the wedding *had* been indulgent, it was also the event of the decade – oh hell, call a space a spade, Harry thought grumpily, the *only* event of the decade. However, the runner-up to the event of the decade -- Tom and B'Elanna's wedding -- was another story entirely.
Tom and B'Elanna had originally wanted a Klingon ceremony, but thanks to the extravagance of the Captain and Commander's wedding, there were little to no resources available for a traditional Klingon affair (for which Harry was grateful; he had had no desire to hang from a ceiling over a fire or run the pain stick gauntlet at Tom's bachelor party). Instead, Tom and B'Elanna took another crack at a luminous white and gold affair. B'Elanna had worn a pink and purple and red dress, layered with pearls and chiffon -– borrowed from Jenny Delaney who had worn the dress to her high school prom -– and the outfit had been completed with a tiara, borrowed from some princess on some planet somewhere (Harry had started to lose track of the aliens and planets and ships Voyager had encountered over the years; in fact, these days, he was decidedly bored with the whole "the Borg? *Again*?" drama that invariably took over the ship, usually on Wednesdays, and mostly during the months of November, February and May). Tom had worn a tuxedo for his wedding, in various shades of blue; unfortunately, there hadn't been enough material in one shade of blue to go around. In fact, a few science crew members had had to surrender one of their spare uniforms to provide some of the material for Tom's tux. And naturally, all of these different blue fabrics matched Tom's eyes. Perfectly.
With Tom and B'Elanna's wedding a far cry from the romantic and extravagant perfection of the Janeway-Chakotay nuptials, Harry wasn't quite sure what he'd end up with when he asked Tom to help him plan his own marriage.
"As long as you're man and wife at the end of the day, what does it matter?" Tom had asked when Harry had objected to a NASCAR-themed wedding; Tom had insisted that the ancient Terran sport of racing cars very, very, very fast around a track would indeed be romantic. "Just think, Harry, you and Seven all snuggled up tight in a race car heading off into—-" here Tom's expression had taken on a dreamy quality "—-the sunset. Or maybe you'd prefer a monster truck rally. Now wouldn't that be special?"
Harry had nightmares of crashing the car and going up in a ball of flames. Tom had laughed. "Don't worry, Har. If that happens, we'll just get another one of you." Harry had looked confused but Tom had just clapped his friend on the shoulder and said, "Leave it all to me, Harry. I will give you a wedding you will never, ever forget."
Under his breath, Harry had said, "That's what I'm afraid of."
Now, the non-stop ringing of the red alert klaxons in Harry's ears dragged the young ensign back into the present. He realized Tom was looking expectantly at him.
"Are you okay, Harry? Are you *sure* you're not getting cold feet?" Tom asked, pointing and that's when Harry realized that not only was he still in his pajamas, he had also forgotten to put on shoes. And unfortunately for Harry, these were not his blue footsie PJs with the silver shuttlecraft pattern -- those were in the recycler. Instead he was wearing his one-piece red flannel union suit (the one with the button missing in the back) and in his haste he'd forgotten to put on his fuzzy pink bunny slippers. A year or so ago, Harry would have worried about getting a UIC –- Uniform Infraction Citation –- from Chakotay, but that was before the arrival of the Janeway-Chakotay Triplets. These days, nothing short of complete nudity could jolt the Commander into noticing the general unkemptness of Voyager's crew and even that was a long shot.
"I was just thinking about the wedding," Harry said, raising his voice over the howling klaxons. "I guess it's too late to program something other than the beach?"
"Well, there are the Fire Caves of Bajor. Those could be steamy." Tom leered suggestively at Harry.
"How about something really simple? We could have the ceremony in the mess hall?"
"Come on, Harry, you only get married once," Tom said. "You don't get a chance to do it again. So why not just go all out and have a really big shindig?" Tom brightened. "Or how about Sandrine's? We could have a contest, see who can eat the most olives out of people's belly buttons."
Harry blanched. "Uh, no thanks."
Tom was about to speak again when they heard some screaming at the far end of the corridor.
"Someone just got assimilated," he said.
"Again? Bummer," Tom said.
By mutual agreement, the two men started walking very, very, very fast in the opposite direction of the screaming. Harry anxiously punched the turbolift's 'up' button.
"You know, Borg leather might not be a bad look for your wedding," Tom said. "You and Seven could come in matching outfits." He glanced over his shoulder. "All we'd need to do is phaser a Borg or two, strip 'em for spare parts, and there you go."
Harry considered. Seven had chosen to wear a spaghetti-strapped slinky silver gown that ended at mid-thigh and had a neckline that plunged nearly to her belly-button. Harry really liked Seven in the dress because it showed off all her assets beautifully and he really loved it when she wore those thin-heeled silver stilettos too. He remembered again, with a happy sigh, that once they were married his chances of sneaking it out of her closet and trying it on were that much better. And the fact that Tom had, for a moment envious of something Harry had, had just been the lining on the dress. Harry recalled the first time Seven had modeled the dress for him and Tom, Tom had let out a low whistle –- forgetting for a moment that he was married to B'Elanna -– and turned to Harry and said, "Your fiancée has some nice gams. And the implants aren't so bad either."
Now, Harry leaned against the wall of the turbolift. He was still sleepy and groggy, but he knew that going after coffee was a lost cause; the Captain had commandeered the entire supply about four months ago when the triplets had started walking, and ever since then, the other 141 people on Voyager had been drinking some kind of sawdust-leola root substitute, helpfully colored a walnut-brown.
"No thanks, Tom," Harry said. "I have a long list of things to do before I get married, but assimilation is not on the list."
"At least not in this particular version of you."
Tom waved off the comment. "Never mind." The turbolift lurched to a stop and Tom and Harry walked out onto the Bridge; Harry had to neatly jump to the side as one of the Janeway triplets -- Katie, he thought -- came barreling past him into the turbolift, screaming at the top of her lungs that something was biting her. Without thinking, Harry pushed the 'down' button on the turbolift and within seconds, Katie's screaming was a thing of the past.
In preparation for Harry and Seven's wedding, the Bridge had been decorated with silver and blue streamers and balloons were hanging out by the air flow ducts in the ceiling. Confetti was scattered all over the floor, along with rose petals –- both rotting and fresh –- and rice and the occasional brightly-colored toy. The other two Janeway triplets, Chaka and Taya, were running up and down the ramp, singing a song about ducks. Tom and Harry made their way to their stations as the ship lurched to one side and Tuvok said, very calmly, "The shields are no longer functioning."
Janeway walked to the middle of the Bridge and struck a pose; the black leather of her uniform rippled nicely over her taut, svelte, and muscular frame. "Tuvok," she said very tersely, keeping her gaze firmly directed towards the Borg cube which had now filled the entire view screen. "What is your assessment?"
"Captain, I am afraid my assessment would only be that –- an assessment," Tuvok said. Harry glanced out of the corner of his eyes at the dark-skinned pointy-eared Vulcan security chief and realized that Tuvok had also come to work in just his underwear, albeit the briefest of briefs. Not bad, Commander, Harry thought admiringly.
"Well, I need an assessment, damn it!" Janeway whirled around, nearly tripping over a baby bottle that had come loose with the last Borg volley. "Just give it to me!"
"Yes, baby, yes!" Chakotay screamed. Harry blinked. Until this moment, he had absolutely no idea Chakotay was even on the Bridge. Harry leaned over his station and saw that the Commander was indeed sitting in his usual chair to the Captain's right. Obviously, the Commander had also been roused from a sound sleep by the Borg attack, because he was still clad in his peach nightgown.
Janeway gave Chakotay a withering look. "Not *you* --" she pointed at Tuvok "-- *him*. If I want your opinion, which I *never* do, and even if I do ask for it, it doesn't mean I'm not going to do things my own way *anyway*. Remember, *dearest*, it's the Janeway or the highway." Meanwhile, in the background, Taya and Chaka had started crying, evidently frightened by their father's outburst. Harry kicked a brightly colored ball in the triplets' direction and with the new shiny toy in front of them, they both stopped crying and instead, started throwing the ball at each other; one mis-aimed throw walloped Tom in the head; Voyager lurched wildly to the left, causing Harry to fall to the floor.
Meanwhile Janeway, oblivious to the commotion her children were causing, fastened her killer glare back on Tuvok. "Well?" she asked, her hands on her hips. "What. Is. Your. Assessment?"
"Captain, I think we are all going to die," Tuvok said. "It is the only logical conclusion."
"Of course we are," Janeway snapped. "Everybody dies eventually!"
"I meant *now*. I estimate there is a better than one chance in 47 that our demise will occur in the next 6.83 seconds."
Harry's heart, for a moment, stopped beating. He gripped the edge of his console. Was it true? Was this going to be the Borg encounter to end all Borg encounters? Was this where the story of Harry Kim was going to come to an end? Was he going to die a virgin after all? He felt his eyes filling with unshed tears.
"Well, look at this way," Tom said, turning away from his station. "At least we'll go out with a bang, not a whimper."
"SHUT UP AND DRIVE THE SHIP!"
Harry nearly jumped out of his skin. When the hell had B'Elanna learned to tip-toe around the ship? B'Elanna's stealth entry onto the Bridge was especially impressive given that she'd taken to wearing combat boots these days, because as a fourteen-month pregnant woman, she said the regulation Starfleet boots were way too uncomfortable.
"Yes, dear," Tom said meekly as he turned back to his controls. "Uh, Captain, what should I do?"
"Evasive maneuvers." Janeway settled herself back into her chair.
"Any particular pattern?" Tom asked, obviously not daring to look at the Captain. Harry knew Tom had no idea what the Captain meant when she said 'evasive maneuvers'; he just translated the phrase into "Keep flying and for God's sake, don't get us blown up."
"Oh just make something up." Janeway looked vaguely bored with the question. "Is it time yet?"
"Time?" Harry asked. If he had been wearing shoes, he'd be quaking in them. But since he wasn't wearing shoes, he was instead shivering because his feet were very, very, very cold. If only he'd remembered his bunny slippers! The six inch thick dust bunnies piled up beside his console were just no substitute. And his feet were also itchy. Because along with the three two-legged creatures which had recently taken over the ship, there were also numerous little six-legged things that had shown up in the last few months when Chakotay had decided it was a waste of ship resources to keep the carpets clean.
"The Borg have been here for about twenty minutes now," Janeway said. "At some point, someone has to come up with a plan." She looked expectantly around at the crew, her gaze settling on each on in turn. B'Elanna shifted uncomfortably, whether from the pressure of having to come up with a solution right there and then or from the fact she was fourteen months pregnant, Harry couldn't tell. Tom just kept on driving the ship and Tuvok suddenly lost his balance and slid under his desk. Harry was about to bend over and help him up, but Tuvok motioned him away and put his finger to his lips.
"Well, *Harry*?" Janeway asked.
"Maybe I should get... Seven?" Harry asked, trying as hard as he could to not let emotion cloud his voice. "Seven always has the answers."
At that moment, the ship rocked with another volley of concentrated Borg fire power. Janeway jumped up from her chair and struck another pose in the middle of the Bridge. She glared at the viewscreen. "Don't the Borg know who I am by now? I am listed--" her voice rose to a dangerously high pitch "--in the 'Who's Who' of the DQ."
"Captain, our shields are fading fast," B'Elanna said. "I can't hold it together."
"I'm an engineer, not a miracle worker!"
"I think you work miracles, B'Elanna!" Tom called from his station.
Harry tried again. "I could get Seven..."
"Seven has daycare duty today," Janeway said sharply. "Who will take care of the children if Seven is running around saving the ship? Remember! The children are our future!"
Harry decided not to point out two of the children of the future had taken off all their clothes and were now running around naked on the Bridge.
"Good point," Tom said affably. "Eh, I think I'll take a left turn at that star and maybe the Borg won't see us."
"Janeway stalked back to her seat and glared down at Chakotay; he further wilted. Satisfied, Janeway sat down. "Harry," she said, "open a channel to her Imperial Majesty, Aurelia Victoria Aurora Rowena Lorelei Gracia, the exalted Queen of the Borg."
A second later, the Borg Queen in all of her black leather splendor appeared on the screen. Her skin was bathed in an eerie green glow, and tiny tufts of blond hair were starting to appear on her head.
"Kathryn, my dear!" the Borg Queen extended a hand.
Janeway knelt down, her head bowed. "Your Imperial Majesty, oh exalted great one, oh one who inspires mere mortals to quake in their shoes..."
"Oh come now, Kathryn, enough of this protocol nonsense. We both know who rules this quadrant," the Borg Queen said pleasantly. "Rise, my dear, please rise." The Borg Queen's almond-hued eyes narrowed. "Are those your subunits, my dear?"
Janeway glanced over her shoulder at the children, and for a moment, appeared stunned by their nakedness. But then maternal pride took over and she turned back to the Queen.
"Yes, aren't they absolutely adorable?" she said.
"Indeed they are, my dear. And I have to say--" the Borg queen pointed at Chakotay "-- your lapdog is looking very well too."
Again, Janeway smiled broadly. She was glowing, as she had been for the two years of her marriage to Chakotay, as the flame of love overtook her. Harry had remarked to Tom more than once that he'd never quite seen the Captain glow as much as she did when Chakotay was around. Which, Harry observed, was a very good thing for Voyager. Everyone on the ship knew when the Captain wasn't happy, ain't no one was happy.
"Now, Borg Queen, since we both know who the star of this show is--" from beneath her chair, Janeway pulled out her very large automatic phaser weapon and waved it threateningly "--I'm only going to ask you once. Can you please knock it off?"
The Borg Queen frowned. "'Knock it off'? I'm unfamiliar with this term."
"You know, quit firing at us already," Janeway said impatiently. "How many times do we have to go through this? And you know this is when the children nap. Do you know how hard it is to get two year olds to all nap at one time?"
Harry opened his mouth to point out the triplets no longer napped and was the Captain aware Taya and Chaka were now pulling open a control panel? But then Tuvok, still hiding under his station, put a finger to his lip and Harry nodded. The Captain was in the middle of a very important negotiation; this was not the time to bring up what sixty-six percent of the triplets were up to.
The Borg Queen nodded with some sympathy. "My offer of the maturation chamber is still open, Kathryn. Just put the babies in and take them out in eighteen years. You'll find it's an excellent parenting technique and has worked for generations of Borg."
Janeway glanced over her shoulder at the slumbering Chakotay. "As attractive as that solution sounds, I have to think of my ship too. Every time you take a shot at us, you dent our ablative plating. Do you know how hard it is to find a good body shop out here? And besides, our insurance premiums are going through the roof." Janeway took a step towards the viewscreen and put her hand on Tom's shoulder. "I'm pretty sure I haven't kidnapped one of your drones in the last month and we sure as hell haven't boarded any of your cubes lately -- by the way, I was going to ask you how you felt about redecorating your ships? B'Elanna could help you out." Janeway pinched Tom's shoulder and he yelped. Janeway continued smiling at the Borg Queen. "Interior design aside, if you've got a beef with me, then tell me and we'll talk about it. I'm very sure we can come to a resolution of some kind. No need for pyrotechnics."
"I heard today was Seven of Nine's wedding day." The Borg Queen wiped a tear away from her eyes. "My little girl is all grown up!" The Borg Queen sniffed. "I'll never forget the day when we captured her and her family and how tender and soft she was when the tubules pierced her lily white skin. And her curls! Those golden curls!" The Borg Queen reached for a handkerchief. "And how obedient she was. I opened the door to the maturation chambers and in she went and I didn't have a lick of trouble with her. You've done such a beautiful job with her, Kathryn! Thank the Unimatrix you separated us from her!"
Janeway's eyes also filled with unshed tears. Sniffing, Janeway said, "But you gave her such a secure and stable and well-educated childhood." Suddenly, the bridge lights dimmed and the klaxon lights started to shimmer in shades of gold and red. With some passion, Janeway exclaimed, "I would have never been able to do it without you." Then, abruptly, Janeway burst into song. "Is this the little Borg I saved? Is this the little boy at work?"
The Borg Queen, audibly sniffing, started to sing, her voice cracking with emotion. "My nanoprobes don't let me grow old. When did they?"
Harry felt his cheeks warm with color. He made a very concentrated attempt to focus on his console. He had to admit, though, the Borg Queen had a very nice singing voice.
"When did she get to be a human? What version of him are we on?" Janeway's voice grew slightly stronger, though Harry was still sure the Captain might cry at any moment.
"Wasn't it yesterday, her parents were gone?" At this, the Borg Queen burst into tears, large drops of water dripping down her green-tinged cheeks. The emotional mood on the Bridge apparently affected everyone because suddenly -- with the exception of Tuvok, was who still cowering beneath his station, and Harry, who was mortified -- burst into song.
"Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset. Swiftly go the days. One assimilation following another. Laid in with matrices and fear."
The singing went on for what seemed to be an interminable amount of time. Harry shifted from foot to foot, feeling very out of place. He had no idea his wedding to Seven of Nine would bring both the Captain and the Borg Queen to the brink of such emotion. He smiled. It made him happy to know his bride-to-be was so important and so loved by two of the most important people in the Delta Quadrant.
"Thank you!" Chakotay screamed when everyone stopped singing.
Janeway wiped her tear-stained face with the edge of her uniform sleeve. "If you wanted to come to the wedding, you could have just asked."
"I was hoping for a personalized invitation," the Borg Queen said, with a pouty-lipped expression. "When no invitation was forthcoming, I realized Seven of Nine had forgotten me and the only way to get her attention was to attack you. I'm sincerely sorry, Kathryn, my dear."
"You're welcome to attend along with a few of your drones. However, all assimilation wear must be left behind," Janeway said genially.
"Thank you!" The green light illuminating the queen turned pink and then red and then purple before finally dissolving into a disco glitter ball. In the background, Harry could see various Borg drones moving mechanically to a strange rhythmic pounding. He realized, with some trepidation, that they were dancing. He sucked in a deep breath; at least he wouldn't be the worst dancer at his own wedding. "And Kathryn, my dear, do not worry about the repairs to your ship. I know the *best* mechanic in the DQ and I liked him so much--" the Queen chuckled "--I assimilated him. You are welcome to his services after the wedding."
"Thank you for your generous offer. I'm sure we can take advantage of it," Kathryn said. "Now, prepare to beam over."
At that, Tuvok crawled out from beneath his station. "Captain, I must object, it is not wise--"
The Captain eyed her tactical officer with some curiosity. "What is your objection?"
"There are--" Tuvok paused as one of the triplets wrapped her pudgy hands around his ankle "--it does not make --" he started to pry her hands off his leg "--it is not a wise idea --" he started hopping around "--to have the Borg--" Tuvok grabbed the edge of his console for support. "Captain, think of the children!"
The words had an instant cooling effect on the Bridge. Janeway suddenly looked harried and her hair, suddenly tired, wilted and fell out. "The children," she said softly, putting her hand to her mouth. "How could I forget the children?" With that, she grabbed a wig -- Steel Bun Edition (tm) -- from beneath her chair and ran off the Bridge.
"Captain!" Harry called after her. "The children are--" he pointed, but Janeway took no notice.
"I must get to the children!" Janeway was on the verge of tears. The rest of her words were lost in sniffles. A few seconds later, Chakotay followed, though a little stiltedly, as it was very difficult for him to run in the silky nightgown without the fabric running up and getting caught on the hairs on his thighs.
Tom turned around in his chair. "So," he said, "see, Harry? Nothing to worry about. Today was not your day to die. You're still going to get married--"
"YOU ARE GETTING ASSIMILATED!" B'Elanna screamed.
Tom ignored his wife. "The ceremony will be perfect. Just think of it--" Tom got up and made his way to Harry's side "--the sun setting on the horizon, a gentle breeze coming off the ocean, warm sand between your toes, a gentle shade from the palm trees." Tom hit Harry so hard on the back the young California-raised-and-bred Asian ensign nearly fell over. "It will be perfect." With a wary glance towards B'Elanna, Tom added, "You will *love* being married."
"It is an enjoyable experience," Tuvok said solemnly. He glanced down at Chaka and Taya who were still clinging to his left leg. "However, I do enjoy my solitude these days."
"MARRIAGE IS FOR THE BORG!" B'Elanna screamed.
"Here," Tom said. "I've got an early wedding gift for you." He slipped Harry a small package. "Open it when you're alone." Tom's eyes twinkled mischievously.
"TOM, MY FEET AND MY BACK ARE HURTING!"
"Coming, dear!" Tom winked at Harry and hurried to his wife's side.
Turning his back to Tuvok, Harry opened the small package and discovered two pairs of silicon ear plugs. Smiling to himself, Harry turned off his console and went to get ready for his wedding. Things were starting to look up.
~ the end
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