Voyager was in orbit around a lush planet with just enough technology to allow contact and trade. The relatively small population was spread among many small villages and a few larger towns rather than clustering in a few large urban areas. A handful of people selected from various villages acted as representatives for trade purposes. Voyager was able to trade raw metals for fresh fruit and vegetables as well as add several new varieties of plants to hydroponics and airponics.
The crew had been enjoying shore leave and had visited many of the villages near what served as their capital city. They day before Voyager was due to leave, Sam Wildman and Naomi returned to the ship with news from a small village. Several years earlier, a particularly virulent virus had killed a large number of adults in the village and surrounding area leaving many children without parents. The village had converted an old house into an orphanage and had provided them with shelter, food and clothing. A few weeks before Voyager arrived, the building had burned. Although no one had been hurt, the village was now faced with replacing the building and personal items that had been lost in the fire. As part of their fundraising efforts, the villagers had been holding a fair. Sam and Naomi had heard about the fair and attended. Only after they arrived had they learned the purpose behind the fair. From what Sam could learn, they had raised about half the money they needed to rebuild.
Even before Naomi asked permission to do something to help, Kathryn knew she and the crew had to contribute to the project. She put Naomi in charge of replicating some stuffed animals to donate as prizes for the carnival games and told her to have Harry help her. She then went back to the planet to trade additional raw metals for local currency and told Chakotay to revise the duty roster to get as many people on the planet the next day as possible. Kathryn made sure she had more than enough local currency to cover the cost of the building.
The next morning during breakfast, Kathryn explained what she expected of the crew: have fun; spend the local currency; if you win anything Naomi donated, consider donating it to the orphanage; and come back broke. The crew laughed at the last criteria. Neelix appeared from the kitchen carrying a large bunch of helium filled balloons on long strings to take down and give to one of the concession operators to sell.
Kathryn went to the bridge to check on the status of the ship. Once there she became involved in a new proposal from B'Elanna and didn’t notice the passage of time until Chakotay came to find her for lunch. "Come on, Kathryn. It's time for lunch."
"Yes. Then you're due to take some time on the planet and spend all your money having fun."
"Aren't you coming, too?" They crossed the bridge heading for the turbolift.
"Of course. Tuvok is taking his leave this morning and will be back in about 90 minutes. I'll join you as soon as he returns."
Once alone on the lift, Kathryn moved closer to Chakotay. "I thought we'd be able to get off on our own, but now I don't see how we can do that."
Chakotay wrapped his arms around Kathryn and kissed her forehead. "Don't worry. I'll think of some way for us to get back to the ship early."
"You'd better or I might have to rethink my opinion of you as a tactical expert."
They stepped apart as the lift slowed and the exited for the mess hall.
An hour later, Kathryn was wandering the village fair carrying one of the balloons Neelix had donated and sipping something similar to lemonade. The crew seemed to be having the most fun at the games that offered prizes. At one end of the midway was a large tank of water with a seat suspended over it and a target off to the side disguised as a rock at the bottom of a waterfall. The falling water added a gentle melody to the air. Tom was in front of the tank trying to convince Harry to take a turn in the seat and promising faithfully to miss the target. Harry was making it clear that he didn't believe Tom and wouldn't get on that seat even if he did.
Kathryn went over to the woman operating the concession. "I'll sit on that seat for you provided the only people throwing are from my crew."
"Sure. I need someone out there or I won't make much money today."
Kathryn walked around the tank and carefully climbed out onto the seat. Her feet dangled about half a meter above the water, which looked about two meters deep. Then she called to Tom.
"Mr. Paris! The lady will be happy to take your money now. You might want to think twice about hitting that target too hard, though."
Tom knew a threat when he heard one; he also knew an order when he heard one. He dutifully handed over his money and tossed the ball in the general direction of the target being very careful to miss it entirely.
"Mr. Kim! I'm sure you can do better, aren't you?" Kathryn wasn't letting Harry off the hook. Harry paid his money and tossed the ball trying to get closer than Tom and still miss. Kathryn kept them going, paying their money and missing. After a few tries, a few others from the crew joined them.
By the time Chakotay found Kathryn, there were about forty members of the crew standing around the tank paying for a turn to miss the target by the narrowest margin. B'Elanna had actually had the courage to hit the target ever so gently. Her effort earned a 'well done' from Kathryn.
Chakotay watched for about ten minutes before stepping forward and drawing the woman operating the concession aside. They talked for a few minutes and then the woman disappeared behind the tank. She reappeared about five minutes later and nodded at Chakotay who had moved to the back of the crowd again. He waited another ten minutes before moving through the center of the crowd and stepping up to the woman.
Kathryn noticed the change in the crowd when they saw him. Only then did she notice the faint sent of strawberries, or something a lot like strawberries, in the air. She looked around and noticed that bubbles had spread over the water – big, foamy, bubble bath bubbles with a solitary bright yellow rubber duck bobbing among the foam on the ripples from the waterfall. She watched Chakotay in disbelief as he handed over the price of one throw and borrowed a large container from the woman.
"Ok, folks. How much is it worth to see me hit that target? Put in your donations."
"Hey, no!" Kathryn protested loudly.
"What's wrong, Captain?"
"This is not part of the deal."
"You said you'd sit on that seat for members of your crew to throw. I'm a member of your crew."
"I'll tell you what I told Tom and the others. You'd better think twice before you hit that target, Chakotay."
Tom stepped forward and dumped all his remaining money in the container. Harry and B'Elanna followed him. In a few minutes, the container was filled.
"I thought you loved tubs, Captain. This is nothing but a great big tub."
"It has cold water in it, Commander.
"Not any more. The water is just about body temperature – like a hot tub."
"No! I want you to miss that target! That's an order!"
"Sorry, Captain, these people have contributed all this money to see me hit that target. Besides, I'm off duty." He wound up and took aim.
Kathryn spluttered to the surface of the cool water glaring through the bubbles. Every member of the crew was laughing but they recognized that glare and quickly moved away before she could make note of who was laughing the most. Chakotay stood watching her as she swam toward the ladder to climb out. Her foot slipped on her first attempt.
"Get over here and help me, Commander!"
"Yes, ma'am!" He ran around the tank to the ladder and climbed up high enough to reach her hand. Kathryn's hand slipped from his and she nearly went under again. He climbed higher so he could reach her more easily and reached for her hand again. This time they grasped wrists; with the assurance that she wouldn't slip this time, Kathryn pulled with all her weight, catching him unprepared and slightly off-balance. Her reward was a satisfying splash and a very wet dimpled grin showing through bubbles.
"You feel better now, Captain?"
"A little. I'm still wet and starting to get cold."
Quickly they moved to the ladder and climbed out, this time with no mishaps. Kathryn shivered as Chakotay stepped off the ladder and he wrapped his arms around her. She looked around him to see if any of the crew were still in the area. Seeing no one but still wary, she pulled him around behind the tank before she tilted her head up to kiss him. He pulled back slowly. "Hmmmm. You smell of strawberries."
"So do you. I think we'd better get back to the ship and get changed."
"Not before a long hot shower, I hope. I'll even wash your hair for you."
Kathryn nodded her agreement.
"I knew you said you would come up with a reason for us to go back to the
ship early so we could be alone, but this is not quite what I had in mind."