Lieutenant Nicoletti pointed her tricorder to the west. She frowned over the odd readings and reported she would investigate. The energy patterns were unusual but did not indicate anything harmful. She followed a path that led through a group of trees and rounded a corner that took her out of sight of the other members of the landing party. Ahead there was a small clearing where she thought she spotted an old man leaning against a fence. He was watching something. The whole scene had a quality of unrealness, almost out of focus, and she still could not get any clear readings. As she got closer, the scene became more solid-looking.
When she was only a few yards away, the man turned to face her. Sue couldn’t help the start of surprise. Everyone who had trained at Starfleet Academy in the last forty or so years knew the irascible old gardener.
“Close enough. So, what can I do for you, Lieutenant?”
She joined Boothby at the fence and stared with interest at what had been holding his attention. Behind the fence was a large garden, divided into smaller areas by other fences. Each smaller area was contained varying numbers of animals that looked like rabbits.
Susan stared at the rabbits in the enclosure. The closest rabbits kept jostling one another, vying for places closest to the fences. Some of them were quite large. Ones toward the back were smaller, and some of them looked quite deformed.
“They’re rabbits.” She couldn’t help stating the obvious.
“Not exactly. They’re bunnies.”
“Bunnies, rabbits – same thing, aren’t they?.”
“Not these ones. These are bunnies. Your bunnies, to be precise.”
“My bunnies?” Susan turned to Boothby. “I don’t own any bunnies,” she said skeptically.
“These are your plot bunnies. Don’t you recognize them?”
“My plot bunnies?” she repeated helplessly. She examined the nearest ones more closely. A goodly proportion looked back at her through bright blue eyes. An almost equal number sported a dark patch over their left eyes. Some seemed to have a ridiculous bun of hair piled on their heads, others had neat black hair, and still others had pointed ears, or lumpy foreheads.
She turned back to Boothby. “You mean they are literally plot bunnies.”
“Yup. Every time you get a new idea for a story, you give existence to a plot bunny. The bigger ones in this front area are your current works in progress. Those to the right are your finished stories.” Boothby indicated a pen of fully mature rabbits, mostly hanging around in pairs. Some were trying to climb back into the main area.
“Why do some of them look like they trying to get back with the others?”
“Ah. Those are the ones who are begging for a sequel. They want to spawn some little plot bunnies of their own. Feedback where your readers request sequels will have that effect on them. There are a couple where you changed your mind about the direction of the story and the original pair wants to get together.”
“I see.” Sue spotted one long legged, blue-eyed bunny in a tutu being almost heaved over the fence by one of the bunnies with the dark patch over one eye and another blue eyed bunny trying to pull a black haired bunny back over the fence, away from the arms of a large, dark, leather-clad bunny. “Well…Oh, the poor things!” Sympathy oozed from Sue’s voice as she caught sight of several groups of injured bunnies.
One tiny pair, covered in dust, sat back to back. As she watched, they gradually turned to each other; the blue-eyed bunny cowered in a ball, whilst the one with a black splodge above his left eye comforted his companion. Sue turned to Boothby and raised her eyebrow in an unspoken query.
“Cave in,” he replied laconically. “With claustrophobia,” he added as an after thought, but it’s a cliché, and you don’t think about it often. Those ones were in a shuttle crash,” he continued, indicating another tiny pair, with the same features as the first, not so dusty but with more serious injuries. “Ditto, clichéd.”
“But they’re injured. They need help.”
“No. They’ll stay like that until you write them well again. All those tiny bunnies are the cliché bunnies. You know - the several alternate universe transport variations, the truth or dare drinking game revelations, the…ahem…FOD bunnies.”
“Fuck or Die,” explained Boothby with a cough.
“Oh. What about those ones then?”
A larger group of bigger bunnies wove around each other in a confused manner. Again there were the familiar pair, one with the blue eyes and another with the dark patch over the left eye, but they were in a group with a bun-headed bunny, a lumpy headed bunny, a blonde bunny with a metallic ridge over one eye, a large, dark bunny clad in leather, and a smaller one with the fine mop of black hair. They seemed to snuggle up to one bunny and then lurch on to snuggle up with a different one.
“Aphrodisiac in the alcohol. You should have seen what those two got up to last month when you worked on this one for a while, and then you spent a bit more time on it about two weeks ago, didn’t you?”
“Err, yes, I think so.”
“Writing about those two and just thinking about the other three,” said Boothby, grinning as he pointed to the various bunnies.
“Yes, but…” and Sue blushed wildly when Boothby looked knowingly at her. She remembered just what she’d been dreaming. “Oh my God!” she exclaimed, taking in one of the large pairs right near the front fence. The dark eyed one, ‘go on, call him Chakotay, you know perfectlywho these bunnies are’, she thought to herself, was wet and covered in a pale blue gel. The blue-eyed one looked at Sue and winked and promptly smeared another pawful of gel over his partner. She tried to get that picture out of her head. That story wasn’t ready for publication just yet.
Trying to get her mind out of the bathroom, she checked out another group of bunnies, all males – Chakotay, Tom, Harry, Ayala, Tabor, Gerron, and a seventh who was obviously Tuvok, but who fuzzed in and out of existence – dancing on a stage in front of a recognizable group of female Voyager bunnies, including a representation of herself, and they weren’t just dancing. If she concentrated on them she could hear a gravelly male voice singing ‘You can leave your hat on’ and dammit, those bunnies were taking off their clothes. She remembered now; she hadn’t found a reason to use that particular scene. She blushed again and focused on a couple of other singing groups instead.
On another stage, a production of ‘Voyager: The Musical’ was taking place with the Bridge crew performing ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ to the sound of weapons fire followed by ‘We Are the Champions’. One pair made her groan and cover her face with her hands. Chakotay and Tom were holding hands and singing ‘Til Him’ to each other in the sappiest possible manner. Sue thanked her muses they hadn’t let those bunnies see light of day. Some other bunnies were obviously taking part in Talent Night as she spotted some of crewmembers from the lower decks in various costumes. Several Tom bunnies played the piano - some sang mournful songs of broken hearts and shattered dreams while others crooned love songs. There was even one Chakotay singing in the shower.
To one side, a gorgeous female bunny, with long hair, stunning emerald green eyes, and impossibly long lashes was leaning up against a convenient tree, watching another pair of Tom and Chakotays – obviously - making love, oblivious to their surroundings and their audience. She turned for a minute and gave Sue a brief, knowing look.
“Mary-Sue,” said Boothby dryly. “There’s a few more of those around. I think those are the three that crash landed on a tiny planet somewhere and it will be months before Voyager comes for them. You were, of course, planning a threesome and not just a voyeuristic episode with that lot, weren’t you?” He looked at Sue and continued, “May I ask the meaning of that one? She’s been coming and going for the last year or so.” He pointed to a Janeway bunny who was wrestling with a hula hoop. Next to her a lower deck bunny, one Randolph Biddle, was singing an Elvis Presley number.
“No, but you may see a bit more of her in another month or so. Umm, I don’t suppose there’s any sign of a couple of AU bunnies?” Sue looked around anxiously.
“You mean VirginSorcerer!Tom and Dorvanleader!Chakotay?”
“That would be them,” mumbled Sue.
“They’re down at the lake. We’ve been waiting for that Tom to be relieved of his virginity for months now. Can’t you just focus on them for a while?” asked Boothby.
“I’ll try,” promised Sue, “it’s just I keep getting these other ideas, but at least that last chapter is almost 3,000 words long now. Where is the lake, by the way?” Sue had the sudden idea if she could see what Tom and Chakotay were actually doing at the lake she would be inspired to get them back to Chakotay’s ancestral home and into the big four poster bed for once and for all. Sue drifted off for a moment, picturing Chakotay wearing a white shirt with billowing sleeves, undone to the waist, standing in the bedroom doorway. She came back to the present with a jerk when Boothby spoke again.
“Just what have you been reading for inspiration anyway?” asked Boothby curiously. “We had an influx of really kinky bunnies a few days ago. You should see what they have been leaving around.” A pair of handcuffs lined with cotton wadding poking out of a pile of colored silks, feathers and several other interesting items could be glimpsed in a pile of things left lying near some rocks.
“You don’t want to know. Say, what are those bunnies over there?” She pointed to several separate groups to the other side. The bunnies had quite a different look to them.
“Ah, the crossover bunnies. There is the Star Wars universe. A couple of Han Solos have variously propositioned Tom, Chakotay and Harry. That’s the crew from Red Dwarf. In that section you’ll find Jack and the team from SG-1. For a while I thought Jack was going to have a threesome with Tom and Chakotay. And there are the B5s. While Londo and G’Kar have been paired before, I’m not sure introducing Neelix to the mix would be a good idea. Speaking of Neelix, I’m not sure you should pair him with Chakotay either. Every time those two bunnies get near each other, I get this dreadful attack of nausea. Don’t listen to the dark side.”
Sue turned a little green herself as she reconsidered the idea. She turned even more green as she caught sight of a singularly strange bunny, trying to sidle next to a limp-pawed Tom bunny. Recognition dawned. It was Blane. Tom, while trying to deny his attraction to Voyager’s First Officer - he served on a Voyager in a homophobic universe – got together with Blane while on shore leave, but Blane had a secret too – he was not who or what he seemed. Her foray into gender-bending made her brain hurt and she didn’t work on that one too often. Besides, when Tom found out who Blane really was…Sue was suddenly glad of ellipses.
Boothby patted her hand. “Look!” and he indicated a Tuvok/Torres pair of bunnies, standing next to a delta quadrant species sculpture of a naked bunny, a large naked bunny, a large, naked male bunny…”If I understood the plot line correctly, they are the D/s couple?” Sue nodded slowly. “And don’t forget your little foray into J/C-ness.” A bun headed bunny stood entwined with a dark-eyed bunny, kissing under their own cloud of gentle rain while a Tom bunny stood in the distance nursing a broken heart. “Did you ever decide what you were going to do about them?”
“Not yet. Oh wow. I’d forgotten about them.”
Two gorgeous girl bunnies with silver hair confronted older Tom and Chakotay bunnies, though this pair were a married couple. Giselle Running Deer, aged twenty, was Chakotay’s love child and Mariaah de la Fleur was Tom’s niece. These two had met and become friends while waiting to welcome Voyager back to the alpha quadrant.
“Boothby?” The old man began to fade. Sue didn’t quite know how to phrase what she wanted to know.
“It’s time for you to leave now, Susan. It’s okay. These are your bunnies. None of the others will see them should they venture here. Now, return to Voyager, and feed the bunnies. New ones will always come along.”
The scene gradually dissolved around her and the intranet group that belonged to Voyager’s writing club found a stream of new stories for their reading pleasure appeared over the next few months under a variety of pennames while Susan Nicoletti’s friends were surprised to see her living quarters became decorated with pictures of rabbits.
Note: Guess which are the REAL plot bunnies!
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