Title: The Gentlemen of the Club
Author: Annette Welsh-Shinya 12/98
Codes: P/T, K/7, Vorick
Summary: Spoilers for 30 Days. It's Tom Paris' turn to host 'boys night out' First in the 'Our Ship Voyager' series.
Disclaimer: So much Trek, so little time, I wanted to make this rhyme. I don't get a profit, I'm not from Ferenginar, Paramount don't sue me, I'm just a humble bard. Gentle readers please pursue, this my offer humble , placed on the altar of fanfic, for your funny bone to tumble.
Warning: This is humour folks...or at least me trying to be funny.
Feedback: Encouragement/criticism gladly responded to. Flames will be consigned to the nearest airlock where proper venting procedures per Starfleet Engineering regulations will be followed.
Posting: OK to ASC, ASCEM, BLTS, & PT Fever. Please notify me if posting anywhere else...I love to see my name in lights!
Tom Paris finished the last of the picking up as his doorchime rang. He called, "Come." It was Vorick, balancing a tray of vegetables with a small bowl of dip in the center.
"Hey, Vorick," said Tom, stacking the last of his conn report padds on the top shelf of his bookcase. "I just got in, late shift in Sickbay. Disaster on the Hoverball Court." He took the tray from Vorick and set it down on his coffeetable.
"I trust no serious injuries," said Vorick.
"Nah, just a few fractured ribs and one mild concussion," said Tom, walking over toward his bedroom. "Make yourself comfortable, I'm just gonna get out of this uniform." Vorick nodded and sat on the couch.
"Do me a favor," Tom popped his head out the door. Vorick looked up. "Let anyone else in who get here. I'll be just a sec," and then disappeared once again.
One of Vorick's eyebrows raised at the inaccuracy of the time limits of the statement, but he called to Tom, "Very well."
Less that thirty seconds later, the doorchime rang again, and Vorick got up and answered the door. It was Harry Kim, holding a folding chair in one hand and a small box in another. He walked in, "Hi, Vorick. You're early." He put the box on the coffetable and proceeded to set up the folding chair next to the end of the table.
"I am persuaded that arriving on-time to such events as this precludes the ability to secure a good position for the activities," replied Vorick impassively.
"If you mean, you snooze you lose on the good stuff, you're right," said Tom entering the room again. He reached over and grabbed a red vegetable that somewhat resembled a sliced carrot, "Hey Har, I see you remembered your extra chair. Thanks," and bit into his 'carrot'. He had put on his jeans and a white t-shirt and a pair of sandals that he had explained to Vorick one time as 'hurraches'. Harry was in civvies, too, a dark blue shirt and matching pants. Vorick of course, was in his uniform.
"You know, Vorick," teased Tom. "You can wear something beside your uniform during your off hours. It's in the manual...somewhere," and grinned at the Vulcan.
"Yeah," said Harry with a laugh in his voice. "You'd be able to relax a lot more. Really cut loose."
"But, I am relaxed," replied Vorick, his voice slightly puzzled. "The state of my clothing has no bearing on my ability to relax."
"Uh-huh," said Tom shaking his head. "It has everything to do with it, Vorick my man." He crossed over to where Vorick was sitting and looked appraisingly at him. "I have just the thing for you."
Vorick looked at Harry, as if for guidance, and Harry lifted his hands up as if to say, ‘Hey, I'm not getting into this', then grinned at Vorick's discomfort.
Tom was on a role and said, "Come on, it's in my closet. You can change in the bedroom." He took the Vulcan by the arm and led him back to the bedroom. Crossing over to his closet, he reached up to the top shelf and pulled out a box. He put the box on his bed, and then he opened it and started perusing the contents. He said, "No, not that...mmmm, maybe...that's it!" and he pulled out a bright blue shirt with yellow surfboards on it. Vorick just stared at it. Tom crossed to his bureau, pulled open the bottom drawer, and pulled out another pair of jeans. "These might be a little long for you, but you can cuff the bottoms," he said handing them to Vorick, who took them with on a human might be construed as an expression of trepidation. Tom just grinned and slapped Vorick on the shoulder, "You'll look great, Vorick. A real surfin' dude!" Tom went back out to his living room, leaving Vorick looking at the clothing in his hands.
While Tom had been outfitting Vorick, Joe Carey and Chakotay had arrived. Joe was finishing a joke he'd heard on his last shift from Freddie Bartholomew and Chakotay was grinning. Harry was at the replicator, laying out some crackers from the box he had brought. Tom nodded to Carey and Chakotay sitting on the couch and walked over to Harry.
"You brought some of that replicated salami, didn't you," said Tom, a trifle accusingly.
"Yup," said Harry crunching on a cracker. "You don't have to eat it, you know."
"But I have to smell it for days afterward, Starfleet," as he activated the replicator for the drinks. "And B'Elanna hates that smell."
"Whine, whine, whine," Harry shook his head with little sympathy and brought the tray with the crackers and salami to the table.
"You brought the salami again," said Joe with enthusiasm and reached for some. Chakotay reacted similarly and added, "You have any of those sesame crackers left, Harry?"
"Sorry, Commander," said Harry with regret. "We ate them all up the last time, and I didn't have enough rations left to replicate them. So we just get plain saltines."
"That's OK," said Joe, his mouth full of cracker, and swallowed. "These taste great anyway."
Harry turned to look at Tom, "See, somebody appreciates the finer things." Tom just rolled his eyes and then passed Chakotay a glass of water and Joe a bottle of synthale.
"What'll it be tonight, Har?" said Tom walking back to the replicator.
"I think I'll have a synthale, too," replied Harry. Tom ordered one and walked it over to where Harry was sitting. Just then the doorchime rang again.
"That'll be Tuvok," said Tom with a grin. "Strictly on time." The others were grinning, too, as Tom let Tuvok in. "Have a seat, Tuvok. We're just about ready to begin."
Tuvok handed a bowl of fruit to Tom, who thanked him and put it on the table. "What are you drinking, Tuvok?" said Tom.
"A glass of fruit juice, Mr. Paris," replied Tuvok sitting down next to Chakotay on the couch.
"Coming right up," said Tom making the order.
"Where's Vorick?" asked Chakotay, looking around the room.
Harry chuckled a bit, and said, "Oh, he's just getting changed. He should be out any minute."
Tom walked Tuvok's drink over to him and said, "He just wanted to get a little more comfortable for tonight's session."
Vorick, having considered that, logically, Tom Paris would know as much or more about 'relaxing' as any person on Voyager would, had put on the unfamiliar clothing. It had taken him a few moments to deduce the fastening device on the trousers, but had managed to figure the proper procedure to close the garment. The shirt was spectrally very bright, the objects portrayed on it unfamiliar to him personally, but from their shape appeared to be a device that Tom was always talking about when anyone ever mentioned going to the beach. It was puzzling how such items were to be considered conducive to relaxation, but he decided that he would have to trust Tom's judgment in this. He walked out of the bedroom into the living room with the other occupants.
"Looking good, Vorick," called Harry. Chakotay swiveled around to see Vorick and almost choked on the drink of water he had taken. Joe Carey burst out laughing. Only Tuvok remained impassive, but one eyebrow twitched a bit.
"Don't listen to them, Vorick," said Tom coming up to his friend. "They know nothing about kicking back and relaxing. It's an art." Tom led Vorick to the easychair that was left and sat him down, then pulled a straightback chair he had borrowed from Sam Wildman's sitting room and sat on it back facing forward.
"Am I 'kicking back' correctly, Tom?" inquired Vorick.
Tom looked at him a moment, then said, "Well, sit back a bit, and, uh...slouch a little." He motioned Vorick back a bit. Vorick slumped slightly, and Tom nodded encouragingly, "That's it!"
The others were all grinning like fools, except Tuvok of course, and Tom said, "Shall we get started?"
Harry said, "Well, who's turn is it to start?"
"It's Paris' house," called Chakotay. "I think we should start with his feature of the week."
"You're just sore because I got a 'dealer's choice' draw last time, Chakotay," said Tom shaking his head.
Chakotay looked back at Tom with a 'What me?' look and accompanying gesture, which drew sounds of derision from the non-Vulcan participants.
"OK, OK," said Tom shaking his head as he got up. "But I'm not taking any flack from you guys about my choice this time." He crossed over to the replicator and ordered spinach juice with a touch of pear. He sipped it a little as he picked up a padd from the desk and walked back to his chair. He set down his drink and paged down the padd. He looked up at the expectant group. He began:
'K'Laath is known as a mighty warrior, songs of his accomplishments are sung around the fires of many households of Rharmak Province and beyond. I knew him from the beginning, the days of glorious battle bygone, but never forgotten. Together we drank the blood of our enemies and forged a mighty House, the like that has never been seen since in our Glorious Empire...'
He continued to read for half and hour, sipping from time to time from his drink. The others ate quietly, listening carefully to his words. When he stopped and looked up, their look was as one of concentration.
"What is the name of the work, Tom?" asked Vorick, finally.
"My Heart is a Wild Targ: The story of the House of K'Laath," replied Tom. "It's really interesting, very historical. I'll read another installment next week."
Chakotay nodded and then looked at Tom's chronometer. "We're about at half-time. Let's get going with the critiques."
The others agreed and Joe offered to go first. "Well, as you know, I drew 'The Collected Parables of Surak' as my book for the week," and the others nodded. "It's basically a slow read, but full of some good advice. I'm not sure I understood all of it," here he looked at Tuvok. "But, I think that the one story about using logic to deduce a series of problems by comparing it to the decomposition of matter was really good." Here he passed around a padd, "I put down my notes on it, and if you'd like a copy, it's on my open personal database." The others looked cursorily at the padd, but Vorick said, "I'll access your notes, Mr. Carey. I am very interested in your opinion on this work." Joe grinned at Vorick and thanked him.
Tom looked around and said, "Who's next?"
"I believe that I am," said Tuvok. "My assigned selection is 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer', an archaic novel set in the pre-Industrial Age on Earth. It follows the mis-adventures of the title character, a young boy who lives in a small town in what was known as the United States of America. It is a work of fiction," here Tuvok's tone was very precise, as if being assigned a fictional novel was somehow, well, insulting. The others looked at each other and tried to keep the mirth out of their expressions. This was not very effective for the humans of the group. "It has a moralistic tone in places, and events sometimes conspire to cause the lead character to run afoul of authority. It is a main theme of the book how he manages to get out of trouble and go on to other mostly nefarious activities." Here Tuvok looked at Tom, who was blushing a bit. Everyone knew that it had probably been Tom who had put 'Tom Sawyer' in the drawing bowl of selections. "It was informative in pointing our human foibles of the era, and is even somewhat applicable to my own dealings with my fellow crewmates." He then added that his comments were on his open database and accessible by all with interest. They all made appropriate noises of encouragement.
Tom said, "Time for one more critique, guys. Who's up? Harry, you finished 'Gone with the Wind' yet?"
"Nah, they just burned Tara. I should be done for next week, though," said Harry with confidence.
"I am finding that reading human novels is a lot slower than I had imagined," replied Vorick. "I am still not finished with 'One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish'. I will attempt to complete my efforts by the next meeting," he finished.
"OK, that leaves you, Chakotay," said Tom.
"Well, I'm done," said Chakotay with reluctance. "But I'm not sure I'm the right person to evaluate this book. It had a pretty profound affect on me. I may not be objective."
"Oh, come on, Chakotay," said Tom. "We all know that it's strictly in the eyes of the beholder stuff, right guys?" The 'guys' nodded and spoke encouragingly.
"All right," said the Commander. "Here goes. I got 'Little Women' as my last draw. It's the story of four young women who grow through a series of events that befall their family. The elder two fall in love, the second youngest dies, and the youngest eventually marries the man that the second daughter fell in love with in the first place." The group were all leaning forward in their chairs, fascinated, even the Vulcan contingent was paying strict attention. Chakotay continuny. "In the end, Jo, the second daughter, marries a man who is much older than her, realizing how she felt about him all along. It was really very moving...A very intricate and touching story," finished Chakotay. The others nodded and murmured among themselves. "I'd recommend it, and I finished posting my notes on my open database last night."
"Great," said Tom, after a few moments of silence. "We have just enough time before the end of the meeting to draw new selections. Joe, did you bring the bowl?"
Joe, the last host to the literary group meeting, held up a small earthenware bowl that held datachips in it, "Here you go, Tom." Tom thanked him and said, "Anyone have any more selections to add to the bowl tonight?"
"I have one," said Harry producing a chip and adding it to the bowl.
Tom shook the bowl a bit and waggled his eyebrows and said in his best sideshow barker voice, "All right, gentlemen. Step right up, you pays your money, and you takes your chances." The men each rose to pick a new datachip out of the bowl. "Don't crowd boys, enough for all."
Harry came up next to Tom and said, "You really like this part, don't you?"
"Harry, I just like getting into the spirit of things," said Tom with a grin.
"Uh-huh," said Harry with a wry look on his face as he took a chip out of the bowl. "This looks interesting, 'Peyton Place', wonder what it's about?"
Tom just shrugged and picked his own chip out of the bowl. "'The Dictates of Poetics' by T'Hain," he groaned. Harry laughed and walked over to where the others were standing, getting ready to go.
"Same time, next week, guys?" asked Tom of the group.
"Sounds good to me," replied Joe.
"I have the Bridge beta shift next week," said Chakotay. "Can we have it to the morning? Say 1000?"
"That's OK with me," said Harry, and the others concurred.
"All right then," said Tom nodding. "Next week, 1000, Tuvok's place."
The group filed out, except for Harry and Vorick. Joe and Tuvok were up for duty shiftunt hakotay had a date with his spirit guide. Tom called over to Harry, "Hey, Harry, you busy tonight?"
"I got to finish my report on that last nebula we passed by," replied Harry. "I'm due in Astrometrics in ten minutes. Seven's going to help me correlate my data for presentation."
"Ah," said Tom knowingly. "Correlate your data. That's one way of putting it." Harry just laughed and said goodnight.
"Well, Vorick," said Tom. "It's just you and me..."
"B'Elanna doesn't get off until 2300 tonight," remarked Vorick, snagging the last plum from the fruitbowl.
"You got it," grinned Tom, sitting down on the sofa.
"I have some holodeck time reserved for this evening. Do you think you might show me the proper method of 'kicking back' in a beach setting?" inquired Vorick diffidently as he finished off the plum and wiped his hands on a napkin.
Tom turned and smiled at Vorick who was looking impassively at him, "You got it, Daddy-O." Tom jumped up and went back into his bedroom, calling back, "Lemme just get some cutoffs and I'll be ready to go..."
Vorick stood up and went to wait by the door. He said quietly, "Daddy-O?" and quirked one eyebrow. Tom appeared and they left together.
"Tough night?" said Tom as B'Elanna groaned slightly as she sat down on the couch.
"Mmmnn," she replied rolling her shoulders. "The starboard impulse engine developed a glitch in it's back-up power relays. We were crawling around Jefferies tubes chasing it down all shift. I must have hit my head at least ten times." She looked up at Tom, "What's the matter with you? You look a little stiff yourself. I thought it was 'boys night out'?"
Tom sat down next to B'Elanna, rubbing his neck, "It was, but we when got done, Vorick and I went surfing at the resort program. I had one too many wipeouts, I guess."
B'Elanna chuckled, then moaned again and settled back gingerly on the couch. "What I need is a backrub," she said sighing. "You up for it, Ensign?"
"Yes, Ma'am," replied Tom on But only if I get one in return," he continued with a tired but fairly enthusiastic leer.
"That means we have to move, right?" said B'Elanna tiredly.
"Uh-huh," replied Tom, snuggling up to her on the couch.
"Maybe I'll just sit here for a while," she said, her voice trailing off.
"Sounds good," said Tom, tugging her into his arms.
"What do you guys do every week, anyway," mumbled B'Elanna, just about to drop off.
"Oh, this and that," Tom said in a soft, sleepy voice. "Nothing spectacular, just guys getting together. You know."
"Yeah," her voice trailed off as she snuggled down into Tom's arms, her head on that great spot on his shoulder.
Tom's eyes closed and his mouth turned up in a grin as he fell asleep.
B'Elanna then sniffed once, and said, "What's that smell?" Tom didn't answer and she was too tired to worry about it. She settled down and drifted off to sleep in her mate's arms.
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