Series: Star Trek: Voyager
With beta-readers appreciation day rapidly approaching, I had to find a unique way to show my gratitude. I was sitting at my computer, staring at the screen. Last year I thought of a rather mushy tribute, but this year I don't feel mushy. But there in lies the rub, what to do for this year?
"Hey Mom, what are you doing?" That was my daughter who just got home from work.
"I'm trying to come up with something for BRAD."
"Not Brad, BRAD - Beta-Readers Appreciation Day."
"Oh cool, can I help?" [I've stopped correcting her grammar a long time ago.]
"What do you have in mind?" I asked innocently.
"I have a great story idea. Maybe your betas would like it. It would help you out too." She winked and continued, "And you could enjoy it too."
Since I had no idea myself, I figure why not?
"Okay, type something up but hurry, I don't have a lot of time."
3 hours later Karen emailed mailed me from her computer. There was an attachment, which I am copying right here.
It was a quiet day on the starship Voyager. Most of the crew was still recovering from a surprise birthday party Neelix had thrown for Ensign Kim. The birthday boy had only gone to sleep three hours ago and was still feeling the ill effects. He was concentrating on the pad in front of him that he did not notice Tuvok was behind him.
"Ensign!" Tuvok said in a loud voice.
Harry jumped in the air and the pad went flying, he caught it mid-air as Tuvok raised an eyebrow.
"Just because today is your birthday does not mean that you may neglect to do your duty, if you are unable to perform, I suggest that you be replaced."
"No, sir. Sorry, sir. I can do my duty, sir." Harry sputtered out a hasty apology.
Tuvok left the ensign's station and moved behind his tactical station.
Tom Parris smiled at young Harry's expense. He had plenty of sleep last night, as B'Elanna and himself had left to relieve the babysitter, in this case, the Doctor, who had also wanted to enjoy the party as well.
Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay walked onto the bridge from the turbolift and sat on the command seats.
"Ensign Kim!" Chakotay yelled.
Harry looked up surprised, he frantically tried to think of something he had been doing wrong.
Chakotay sprang up from his seat, "Happy Birthday!" He slapped Harry on the back and walked back to his seat. Before he reached he paused for a moment and looked around the bridge. "Do you hear that?" he asked to no one in particular.
Tuvok looked up and raised both eyebrows "It sounds something like music"
"Nothing on sensors, all comm channels are clear." Harry searched for an explanation for the music that was getting louder and louder.
The lights flickered and went out, then one light shone on a group of people; the music was overwhelming now. Strobe lights began to appear and created the illusion of a large concert hall on the Voyager's bridge. The group began to sing, "I'm doing this tonight, you're probably gonna start a fight, I know this can't be right, hey baby come on."
The lights returned to normal and five young men dressed in early 21st century clothing stood in a bright spotlight.
A figure immerged from behind Harry clapping. "I cannot believe that even you people do not appreciate a performance of that caliber, you clap when your bar rodent sings. I think you have been away from quality entertainment far too long"
"Q! What are you doing here?" The captain sprang into action. "Intruder alert on the bridge."
"Oh, Kathy!" Q appeared right next to her, his arm draped over her shoulders. "Have you not learned? That does not work on me."
Chakotay marched up to Q. "Well, what do you want this time, Q? And what are these people doing on the bridge?"
"Are you still here, Chuckles? What no traveling circus would take you? I will make this as easy to understand as possible. If you knew anything about music, you would recognize *N Sync, a very popular and talented group from the 21st century. I am a big fan and they were invited to give me a private concert. In exchange, they have my powers for day. Sending them back in time with my powers could drastically change history, so I am giving you a gift, Kathy. You get to spend the day with them!"
"Aren't you excited?" He grinned. "You are, I can see it in your eyes, even Two Ducks over there is beside himself."
Q flashed over to Tuvok's side. "See, this is the Vulcan's equivalent of jumping for joy."
Tuvok looked more than slightly peeved at the inference that he was excited.
"Let me get this straight, Q" Captain walked over to *N Sync who seemed to be frozen in their poses. "You are allowing a group of omnipotent... "
"Actually only semi-omnipotent," Q interrupted.
"Fine, you are putting a group of semi-omnipotent, 21st- Century, rock stars on my ship for a day."
"Kathy, if you knew anything you would know that they should be classified as pop stars, not rock stars, but yes the rest of it is true, so without further ado, here is *N Sync."
Q snapped his fingers and the group came alive, shaking their heads and looking around. The front member of the group leaped forward and practically tackled Chakotay in a bear hug.
"I can't believe I am hugging someone from the future. This is so awesome!"
Chakotay tried to loosen the grip the man had around him but was unable to do so. "Excuse me, but do you mind, we have not been formally introduced."
"I'm sorry, dude, I'm Joey and I am very happy to meet y-..." Why, hello there, pussycat." Joey interrupted his bear hug with Chakotay when he saw Captain Janeway.
He leaned in suggestively toward the Captain.
"Q!" Janeway pushed Joey to the side, "You cannot keep these men here."
"Oh yes, Kathy, I can."
"So, that is your name, Kathy," Joey interjected, "it suits you." He took her hand and kissed it.
"What kind of a host are you, Kathy? Why have you not introduced yourself to these guests? I will just have to do it for you. The slightly bearded one stalking you is Joey." He lowered his voice to tell her, "It would be wise to keep all young and pretty ensigns in their quarters. Well you can keep the birthday boy out. The one who looks like shag carpet is J.C. I would lock up on the pretty liquor bottles for the day. The semi- bald one is Justin. Be careful not to compliment him too much, his ego rivals the Doctor's. The small one who looks like his head was attacked by weevils is Chris. And my favorite, Lance."
Q appeared next to Lance and cupped his face in his hands. "Have you not seen something as cute as this?"
"Now, boys, remember what we talked about, no starting battles, you may only bring people that you trust on board and may not kill or severely wound anyone and leave this ship in the same condition it is right now."
"Kathy, you may wonder why Moi is leaving them such courteous instructions. It is because I know how much you value this dinky little ship and its bumbling crew. Okay, I am in the mood for a little Cher. I'll be back in 24 hours." With that Q snapped his fingers and left in a flash of light.
After I stopped laughing I began to think, "What in the world was that? My betas would laugh me out of J/C fandom if I posted this." I still was not sure what to write. I could write about how my beta keep me from writing crossover or real life fic or both. But I better not let Karen read that.
"Hi, Mom, what is there to eat around here?" That was my son, Vance. "Did you go shopping today?"
"No," I told him. "I have to write this BRAD fic first."
"Who is Brad?"
I rolled my eyes at the repeated question. "Not Brad, BRAD - stands for Beta-Reader Appreciation Day."
"Hey, I have a great idea for a story."
"A fic that would say thank you to my betas?"
"Well, I'm sure they will. Just let me write some of it for you." He quickly sat down at his computer and came up with the following.
Voyager was docked at a busy starbase. After battling yet another alien species over a bit of disputed space, the ship was in need of some repair and the crew in need of R and R. The station offered many different repair facilities. The entertainment choices made Riza look tame.
The authorities of the base required only one thing before the crew and the ship could take advantage of the station's many opportunities. They would have to submit to an safety inspection and make the necessary corrections. Janeway figured that they could reverse any unneeded alterations after they left the station.
At 0900 hours Subahdar Bureaucrat Inspector of Safety and Well-being Fraque Kus arrived with full entourage of seven subsubahdars seeking to find safety problems and correct them. The readyroom was crowded by the time the senior staff and the aliens from the station filed in.
Captain Janeway stood to welcome the group. "Subahdar Bureaucrat Inspector of Safety and Well-being Fraque Kus, I would like to welcome you to Voyager."
Kus nodded smugly and interrupted her, "Who is that?" He pointed at Chakotay.
"I was going to introduce my staff." She was trying to stay calm and in control. "This is Commander Chakotay, my first-."
"Good, now, I need to speak to the Officer in charge of Safety on this vessel." Again he barged in. leading the conversation where he wanted it to go.
It took Janeway a few seconds to push down her natural bent to phaser the pompous pest before she spoke, "Commander Tuvok is in charge of the safety of our ship."
"Commander Tuvok?" The subahdar scanned the group.
"I am Tuvok." The pride was evident in his voice.
"Excellent! Please advise my minions as to the location of the your weapons stations, your food storage, your warp core, and your files on personnel alliances."
"I will show you to the computers." Nodding to the rest, Tuvok led the inspectors out of the readyroom.
Chakotay was the first to speak as the doors to the readyroom closed. "What is going on? We have protocols; we have procedures to follow. Should we be giving them free access to our computers and weapons systems?"
"Chakotay, Chakotay," Janeway sighed and spoke softly, "Tuvok is in charge of this. He will not compromise our vessel. Why don't we visit the holodeck while we are waiting for the inspection to be over."
"The holodeck?!?" The commander started to pace. "I can't believe you can be so calm. We may be giving secrets, even Maquis secrets to these so-and-so's. I say, we phaser them and leave."
Tom stood to his feet and spoke, "You p'taq! You always think about yourself. What about our food supply? I have a reserve of ketchup flavored gak that I wouldn't want lost to those..." he finished, red with anger.
"Tom, sweetie," B'Elanna reached out her hand and touched his arm as he passed her. "Very few people like gak in that flavor and Seven gave us the indecipherable encryption to use to lock the stasis chamber we keep it in, remember, Tommykins?" Pulling him closer she kissed him.
Breathless with desire Lt. Tom Paris set back in his chair and pulled his wife onto his lap and nuzzled her neck.
"Seven of Nine gave you that code?" Harry Kim's chair crashed against the bullhead from the force of his standing. "She promised me that she hadn't shared that with anyone else. That is the key code to my heart. It is supposed to keep me from falling for the A.B.O.W.[alien babe of the week]" He joined Chakotay who was still pacing. His black eyes flashed with pain. When he got back to his side of the table, he grabbed the chair, set down, and began to weep.
Nooooooo, I can't let him finish. Maybe this would serve as a warning to other writers. Find a good beta and make sure you heap on the appreciation. Betas are worth their weight in great feedback (a fic writer's gold).
Thank you Jemima, Brianna, Anne Rose, and the many other betas I have used in the past three + years.
And a special thanks to my two kids, Karen and Vance. They helped me by brainstorming and even writing some of this fic.
*huggles to all and to all good fic*