Neelix glared. "I know you're bluffing."
The Kazon's nostrils flared, a sure sign of weakness. "I am willing to deploy the device," he snarled. "Are you willing to bet your ship's safety on it?"
"Yes," Neelix replied confidently. Beside him, Commander Janeway gasped in horror.
"You can't be serious!" She stared at him wide-eyed. "You'd risk the ship? You aren't serious!"
"I always am!" Neelix took a step forward. "Mr. Vulcan, load the torpedoes."
"Torpedoes loaded," Mr. Vulcan replied. "Phasers at full. I'm just awaiting your order, Sir."
"Well, Maje," Neelix said defiantly towards the viewscreen, over Chakotay's head, at Navigation. "I think you can see that I'm just as willing as you are to use force. But we both know my weapons are real." He shrugged suavely. "It's your move."
The Kazon growled. He gestured off-screen to one of his lackeys, and Ensign Kim at Ops reported:
"The Kazon are powering down."
The bridge crew cheered.
"I submit to your power," the Kazon captain said, his head bowed in shame.
Neelix beamed. "Mr. Chakotay, Commander Janeway, oversee the salvage of the Kazon ship. And personally escort the Captain to the Brig--he can keep Mr. Paris company."
"Oh Neelix," Kes sighed, falling limply into his arms for an embrace. "Those supplies will last weeks! You're so resourceful! And magnificent!"
"Oh, it's nothing," Neelix said, after kissing her soundly. "Just all in a days work...
...for the captain of Voyager," he mumbled, smiling. Kes nudged him gently. When he failed to respond, she nudged him harder, and he woke up.
"You're chuckling in your sleep again," she said, very sleepy. "It's keeping me up. I've got a test with the Doctor tomorrow."
"Sorry, darling," Neelix mumbled, turning over, and settling in. Kes needed to study. She was going to be a great doctor, not unlike Doctor Neelix...
Story #2: Liola Lost
Neelix sighed heavily, and checked his apron pocket. No luck. "Darn it," he muttered out loud. "I've lost my recipe for Liola Root Surprise."
"What's the surprise?" asked Harry Kim. "Is that there's no liola root in it?"
"That would be too much to ask," Tom Paris snickered, filling his plate with the hair pasta the cook had made.
Neelix scowled. Didn't Paris have anything else to do besides make nasty comments? And flirt with Kes? Couldn't forget flirting with Kes.
"It might interest you to know that the secret ingredient in Liola Root Surprise is..."
"You can't tell us!" Harry blurted, mouthful of vegetables as he and the pilot sat by the main counter. "It should be a surprise!"
Paris leaned into towards his friend and whispered: "Not to mention, if he doesn't tell us--our lunches stay down."
Neelix bristled. Paris obviously didn't mean for the remark to be overheard, but the pilot didn't account for Talaxian hearing. Neelix picked up his biggest ladle, and strode around the door, to stand over the table.
"If there is a problem with the food, gentlemen, I would like to hear it," he said sternly.
Kim immediately looked contrite. Paris looked smug. "What are you going to do? Hit me?" he said with the satisfaction only he could muster in such a situation. Neelix looked down at him, and decided that he could always plead temporary insanity.
He smacked Paris with the ladle.
The human yelped loudly, and jumped to his feet, clutching his head. A piece of Talaxian liola-paper fluttered to the table. Paris, and Kim both lunged for it, but Neelix was faster. He swooped in, and grabbed the note.
"Aha!" he proclaimed loudly. "My recipe! Have you no shame?!"
"Not really," Paris admitted, rubbing his head.
Neelix humphed, and sauntered off into the kitchen. "Just for that, I'm making sure that no matter what time you two come in for meals, it's liola root."
"Way to go," muttered Kim, punching Paris in the arm. Paris winced, and rubbed the sore arm, alternating between it and his head.
"Liola root pasta sauce. Crumble. Diced in salads," Neelix was saying, musing while he chopped the infamous root for the Surprise. "Cake. Lasagna. Pie. In omelets."
"Way to go, Paris," Ensign Bateheart said, passing by Paris and giving the pilot a punch in the same spot that Kim had hit.
"It's not my fault," Paris protested.
"--With cream sauce," sang Neelix, chopping furiously. "In pastry. Oh! Jam! That opens up so many options..."
Story #3: An Extremely Short Story About Neelix.
Neelix tasted the soup carefully. He smacked his lips. "Needs more pepper," he said at last. He shook the pepper mill over the pot, and stirred.
He tasted it again. "Ah," he said with a sigh. "Just perfect."