~* =/\= *~


~* =/\= *~

"Tom!" B'Elanna punched her husband lightly on the arm. "Don't even joke like that."

The rest of the group laughed lightly with them.

"There! I told you they'd be here soon." B'Elanna edged out of Tom's arms as Janeway and Chakotay came through the doors, arms linked. "They certainly look happy together."

"Yes, they do." Harry did his best to hide his smile, but failed miserably.

"Out with it, Warden. What do you know?" Tom demanded.

"Nothing." Harry shook his head, eyes wide in innocence.

"If I could have your attention, please." All eyes turned to where Janeway stood near the entrance still. The din of the room quieted down enough that she could speak over it, though most of the crew members were buzzing about her hands-- the right firmly held a glass of punch, and the left was wrapped in Chakotay's.

"I want to thank everyone for coming." Janeway started. "And, I promise to make this short." Soft laughter filled the room for a moment. "Seriously, there were times on our journey when I didn't think we'd make it back-- and that was all right with me." She took a moment to look around the room and meet the eyes of several crew members. "You had become my family." A small smile slipped over her and Chakotay's faces. "Despite that, I'm glad for you that we reached home." A pause. She glanced uncertainly at her former XO.

"I'll do it." Chakotay squeezed her hand lightly and then looked out at the sea of faces. So many crew members. He knew each one by name, and though it was different to see some of the former Maquis in Starfleet uniforms, he was thankful for it. It meant they had learned to be a part of the society they had been thrust back into. "As all of you know, Admiral Janeway lost her husband, Commander Tighe while vacationing." She glared at him with a smile.

"Admiral my foot." She whispered to him. "In a few hours, we'll be outlaws."

Chakotay only smiled at her and then looked back to the crew who were smiling knowingly at them. "Everyone looks like they already know." He said to them. "Do you?"

"You asked her to marry you?" The shout came from somewhere in the back and sounded a lot like Tom Paris.

"Wrong Tom." Harry bit back a grin.

"Sorry, Paris. We've already gotten married."

There was a stunned silence in the room.

Tom finally found his tongue, "And you didn't invite us!?"

Chakotay and Janeway shared a loving glance and laughed. "No, Tom. We didn't invite anyone. We eloped." She replied.

Instantly, the messhall was buzzing with congratulations and excitement about their news.

"Hey!" Tom jumped up on a chair and tapped a glass loudly. "I've got an announcement too." B'Elanna flushed as Tom smiled down at her. "B'Elanna and I were married a year ago and we're going to have a baby in a few months!"

There was no silence this time. Everyone jumped in instantly with excited congratulations.

"Anyone else have an announcement?" Janeway asked with a laugh not bothering to hide her left hand now.

Harry and Seven exchanged a glance. "Now would be as good of time as any to mention that Seven and I are getting married."

More congratulations. Janeway shook her head at Chakotay. "Goodness, we get out of their lives for three years, and look what happens!"

He smiled at her and leaned closer to her ear. "We haven't put the idea of children away, have we?"

She blushed to the roots of her hair. "Chakotay, not here. We'll discuss that later."

"Of course." He murmured slipping his hand back into hers. "I love you, Kay."

She ducked her head and then looked back up at him. "I love you, too." She mouthed.

"If we could have your attention again, please." Janeway accepted Chakotay's help as she stepped onto a chair. "We've been through a lot as a crew." She looked around the group who was nodding at her. "Chakotay and I have decided that we don't want to spend the rest of our lives in the Alpha Quadrant." Tom's eyes shot up to meet hers, hoping, wishing. "We invite any of you who feel the same-- that we're different from the rest of Starfleet, that we don't really belong here after so much time away-- to come with us and go back to the Delta Quadrant."

"You mean, like hijack Voyager and get out of here?" Tom asked bewildered at what his former captain was suggesting.

Janeway's eyes narrowed. "Exactly."

"I'm with you." He answered instantly.

"Me too."

"Count me in."

"I wouldn't miss this for anything."

"Sure beat the AQ."

Chakotay squeezed Kathryn's hand.

"Then, if it's ok with everyone, I'd like to postpone this party. We have the ship to ourselves for the next four hours. Seven, can you remember how to bring the slip stream technology on-line?" At her brisk nod Janeway continued. "B'Elanna, Harry, work with Seven and get it back on-line along with all other major functions of the ship. Security teams, please, disassemble this Hirogen circus they've put together. Everyone else, lend a hand where needed, or, if you don't want to go back-- if you're content with your life here-- you are free to stay in the mess hall or leave. Thank you all."

Repairs were instantly started in a flurry of excitement. Every crew member helped, though several informed Janeway that they would be staying.

~* =/\= *~

"Q'pal!" B'Elanna knelt by the console and hit the side of it with the palm of her hand.

"Chakotay to Torres."

B'Elanna let out a string of Klingon curses.

"Is that so, Chief?"

"Sorry." She muttered.

"I just wanted to see what status is down there." Another string of Klingon curses followed. This time, she threw in a handful of Bajoran, Human, and Talaxian ones also. "Would you repeat that in standard please? I seem to have lost my ability to translate."

"This computer is about as useful as Neelix's cooking!"

Chakotay bit back a laugh. "Understood. So, you think you'll need an extra five minutes?"

"Five hours wouldn't make much difference!"

"You've got two. Chakotay out."

"Seven! Get me that microphaser variance conductor! Harry, get ready to realign the isolinear chips!"

Engineering scrambled to do the work she shouted faster than they could react.

~* =/\= *~

"Check subdirectory Engineering/Warp Core."

"Engineering/Warp Core?!" Janeway exclaimed. "What were you thinking, Harry?"

"That I didn't want Starfleet to find our Doctor. Vek! Give me that microprocessor. Captain, can I let you go? We're kinda busy down here. No! That was my hand you just set it on!"

"Sounds like we're going to need the Doctor on-line soon. I'll get him running again. Janeway out." Kathryn smiled at Harry's slip. It felt good to be called 'captain' again.

"Please state the nature of the medical emergency."

"Welcome back." Janeway smiled at the hologram as he phased back into existence.

"I'm....I'm..." he spun around in a full circle. "How long was I off?"

"Nearly three years." Kathryn smiled fully at him. "You're back now though."

"How ever did you convince Starfleet?"

She looked away. "We didn't. We're leaving and taking Voyager with us."

"My holoemitter?"

"Seven said she was going to get it and be back with it within the hour."

~* =/\= *~

"Captain, I must speak with you."

Janeway looked up to where Tuvok stood behind her. "Yes?"

"I must inform you that I will not be going with you. I have two daughters who need me here. One is still a child."

Kathryn stared at the Vulcan. Not coming with. The words were said so finally. She couldn't imagine not having Tuvok serve as her Chief of Security, he had been the only one she'd had for over ten years. She smiled wry-- ever since he'd found her guilty of forty three infractions after her first mission. Kathryn clasped her old friend's shoulder. "I'm sorry that you won't be coming, Tuvok." She said, tears gathering in her eyes. "You've been a great friend and I will miss you."

"And I you." Tuvok's own brown eyes held more moisture than usual. He stepped back and held up his hand, "Live long and prosper, Kathryn Janeway."

"Live long.....and prosper." Kathryn choked out. Reaching forward, she wrapped her arms around the surprised Vulcan. Hesitantly, Tuvok returned the hug.

~* =/\= *~

"All systems are back on-line." Chakotay glanced at the woman who was once again back in the captain's chair.

"All personnel not going with us have left the ship." Lieutenant Wilner announced from her place at the security console. Tuvok had recommended this former ensign as Chief of Security, and Janeway had taken his advice. She would make a fine addition to their senior staff.

"Janeway to Engineering. Prepare to break docking clamps." They were going to use a quick phaser fire to break the hold Starbase 001 had on them, initiate thrusters until they were clear of the base, and then engage slip stream technology quickly.

"Engineering ready." B'Elanna's voice came back crisp, without a curse.

Everything must be running smoothly, Chakotay mused.

"Fire phasers."

"Firing." Wilner locked on target and initiated the twin burst of energy.

Tom had helm control before Janeway could say the word. He quickly maneuvered them away from the starbase and Seven engaged the slip stream technology.

Kathryn felt her stomach lurch as they easily jumped past warp. The view screen showed a sparkle of bright lights and plasma clouds as they flew past them and out of Federation space. Finding Chakotay's fingers with her own, she smiled at him.

"New Earth?" It had been unspoken between them. What better place to take the 112 remaining crew members--including all senior officers except Tuvok-- than New Earth?

"Helm, set a course for New Earth. We're going home."


~ * =/\=* ~

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