|Banana Pancakes Part
~ Amy ~
Disclaimer: STAR TREK BELONGS TO PARAMOUNT....duh:)
Author's notes: First dedicated to
Sarah, who made me start writing and made me finish this story even though
its a year overdue:_) Also great thanks to all who emailed me to ask for
part two:) IT'S FINALLY HERE!!!!! Yeah!
Ensign Harry Kim sat comfortably in the Captain's chair in the Bridge of the USS VOYAGER. His mind should have been on his duties, he knew that, but he couldn't help but wonder who the Federation visitor was or how he had gotten there. The ship had picked up a distress call a good fifteen minutes past, but when they moved in to investigate they had discovered it was a Federation frequency.
*Maybe he was looking for us* Kim's imagination began to work in overtime. * What would it be like to be home again? With my family and friends.* His attention began to wonder as the ensign at the helm swiveled in her chair.
" Sir, I'm getting some strange readings from my console." Harry rose to move to her side, " Explain." He reached towards the console and pressed in a command, nothing happened.
" I see.." he tapped his commbadge, " Kim to Engineering" *Carey here.* Harry frowned, wasn't B'Elanna supposed to be there?
" Where Lt. Torres?" Harry tried the command again on the console and received the same stubborn response, or lack thereof.
" She never came in. I figured she was on the bridge." Carey sounded confused. " No, she isn't." Harry shook his head and left the subject. "Mr. Carey, the helm controls aren't responding. Please get a crew up here immediately." Harry smiled at the pilot and patted her shoulder. * Yes sir, someone will be there momentarily. Carey out* Harry tapped his badge again, switching to the matter of the missing Chief engineer.
" Kim to Torres."
Harry was greeted with silence. " Torres respond"
Harry frowned at the dead air.
He tried a different approach, " Kim to Paris"
" Paris here" came the groggy reply, " What do ya need?"
" Have you seen B'Elanna?" Harry was beginning to worry.
" No, She stood me up for lunch yesterday, haven't seen her since." Concern was creeping into his voice now, " May I ask why Harry?"
Harry ignored his sleepy friend and looked at the ceiling, " Computer locate Lt. Torres."
" Lt. Torres is in her quarters. Deck nine section twelve." Harry gave an audible sigh and looked back at his commbadge, "I don't know Tom..." was all he could say. Benjamin Torres made an effort to straighten himself up and brought a smile to his lips. He stood in the USS Voyager's transporter room, having a stare-out with its Captain.
" Pleasure to meet you Captain!" He tumbled off the pad and shook her hand warmly, " What a lovely ship!" He turned himself fully around, gazing at the bright panels and clean decks.
Behind the Captain stood a Vulcan, tall and proud, his phaser gripped in his hand. His Security detail stood at attention, flanking him. He noticed a man with a strange marking on his forehead, " My, what a lovely tattoo, Mr.." he let his sentence trail off, " Chakotay. First officer of VOYAGER." Chakotay eyed him warily but then shook his hand warmly.
" Ah! Well, it does suit you nicely. The tattoo, I mean." Ben Torres smiled, " Look at me, rambling, I'm sure you have some questions that you need to ask Cpt. Janeway."
Kathryn was startled from her staring, " Yes, of course. How about we adjourn to the briefing room first?" She motioned towards the door with a sweep of her hand, "I'm sure we have a lot to discuss."
Captain Janeway marched up the stairs to the upper level of the bridge. " Mr. Kim, get B'Elanna and Tom up here." She motioned towards the door," And you better get the Doctor too. Then meet me in the briefing room." She ushered her guest towards the gray doors. " Captain!" Kim followed her across the bridge. " We have a problem."
Kim steered her away from the guest, not wanting to upset the new arrival. " Lt.Torres is not responding to hails. No one, not even Tom, has seen her since yesterday at lunch." Harry paused and let the Captain absorb the details. " Captain to Torres, respond Lt." an empty comm link was all she got.
" See? I've tried a dozen times." Harry letting some exasperation and worry stain his calm demeanor. "I don't know what's happened." He confided quietly.
"Captain to Paris."
" Paris here Captain, what can I do for you?" Tom still sounded groggy but much more awake than previously. " Have you seen B'Elanna?"
" No, Harry asked that a couple of minutes ago. Is something wrong?" Tom's voice held audible concern, "I haven't seen her since she stood me up yesterday. I figured she had had the night shift and fell asleep." Tom paused.
" Should I come up there?" " No Tom, go by her quarters." Captain Janeway shook her head, despite knowing Tom couldn't see her. " On my way." Tom sounded fully awake now.
" Acknowledged, Janeway out." Janeway turned to Harry and patted him on the shoulder," Stay here and wait for Tom's response." The ensign nodded and sat back down in the command chair. Janeway made her way back to the guest. " Sorry Mr. Torres, our chief engineer isn't responding. But I'll leave that to my science officer. If you'll come this way please." She gently put a hand on the man's back a directed him away from the bridge where Harry Kim sat expectantly, staring into oblivion.
" Now, Mr. Torres, we can go ahead without my other officers." Janeway smiled openly, keeping whatever concern she felt for her engineer well hidden. " Captain, before we go on..." The small man swallowed nervously before continuing, " I heard the name Torres mentioned out there. Who, may I ask, is that?"
He looked up at the composed woman, his face mixture of worry and intrigue. " Oh, it's our chief engineer, B'Elanna Torres. Do you know her?" Kathryn shook her head, slightly embarrassed the name hadn't connected before. The little man didn't answer for a long moment, " No, I can't say I recognize that name."
He carefully adverted his eyes. B'Elanna!
This couldn't be possible. The little mongrel and all the secrets of his
past had followed him all the way into the Delta quadrant! Couldn't he
ever be free of them? Well, he thought silently as he straightened himself
out and refocused on the Captain, one thing was for sure. There was no
way he would allow the little half-breed to ruin his life again. Even if
that meant erasing her existence.
Tom Paris turned the final corner to B'Elanna's quarters. His thoughts a large mixture of confusion, guilt, and worry. If anything had happened to her.....
He paused at her door. Out of habit he reached to ring the chime. He caught his hand and instead directed it towards pressing in the access codes. The doors parted to reveal a seemingly normal quarters. He searched for signs of struggle. All seemed fine. He was about to call the Captain when he spotted a slender hand protruding limply from behind the couch. He rushed over and bent to the ground. There, on her side, lay the missing engineer. She seemed to be breathing as he felt for her pulse. Her heartbeat was faint but there. He lifted her limp hand and firmly clasped it in his. It was cold and lifeless. A thrill of fear washed through him. He looked to the ceiling,
"Paris to Sickbay, medical emergency. Two to beam directly to sickbay." He looked down at her sleeping face, gently tracing the outlines with his eyes as the transporter began to fasten around them.
*Oh gods, let her be ok*
" Would you care for something to
drink?" Kathryn Janeway stood up and pushed back her chair. At the shake
of the man's head she turned to the replicator.
" Black coffee, hot." She waited as the cup materialized before her, steaming. " Well, Captain, you sure do have some very entertaining stories." Ben Torres smiled.
" Perhaps you'd like to hear...." he was cut off by the strong voice of a man over the intercom. " Doctor to Janeway." The woman looked up from her mug.
" Yes, Doctor?" She looked at the ceiling, waiting for the news. " You may want to come down here, Lt. Torres was just beamed in. It's not a pleasant story." He sounded a little annoyed, or was that worried? Hard to tell. Ben Torres, however, wasn't paying much attention. She was hurt? In sickbay? Could things get any more cheerful? " Yes, captain. I believe she's been comatose for quite a number of hours..." Ben tuned the voice out again. Comatose? This must be serious. Maybe he wouldn't have to kill her, not if she did that herself. " On my way. Janeway out." The captain rose and tapped her badge.
" Mr. Torres, if you'll excuse me I must go down to sickbay. I'll send someone in to escort you to your quarters." She looked apologetic but at the same time impatient to get moving. " Actually Captain I was wondering if you would let me accompany you to sickbay. I may not know this girl but she does share my name. I feel quite connected and concerned for her." Even as he said it the reason sounded quite corny and unconvincing. However it seemed the dear captain had too much on her mind as it was.
" Of course, lets go." Sickbay was a little too quiet for Tom Paris. Somehow it seemed to him there should be something happening to help B'Elanna. But the Doctor had retreated to his office to review her vital signs. Which, he knew, was the best thing the Doc could do for her right now. But it still felt wrong somehow. Maybe, though, it was his own helplessness. More than anything Tom felt responsible, he should have gone to check on her, shouldn't have made assumptions. Like his mother always said, assuming makes an ass out of you and me. And was she ever right this time. Now precious time had been lost while he had played pool. No one would blame him, not even her if she could. But that didn't stop him from tearing himself apart.
A sudden, swift sound of the opening door caused Tom to jump. It was generally a soft sound, but compared to the silent sound of sickbay, it was as loud as a trumpet. He squeezed B'Elanna's cold hand one last time and gazed sadly into her lovely face and then went to meet his captain. Behind her stood a short man, probably the starfleeter rescued from the shuttle. Under normal circumstances Tom would have been the first to welcome him aboard. Yet, as B'Elanna lied feet away, his only thoughts were on her.
" Tom," Janeway's voice was soft, as if she was trying not to wake a sleeping baby, gentle as well, " This is Benjamin Torres." She indicated the smaller man," How is she?"
The Captain's eyes fastened on the immobile form on the biobed. In her eyes Tom could see the carefully controlled worry and concern. A mirror image of his, but his was a little less guarded. Tom looked at the short, gray-haired man next to the captain. It was obvious were his eyes were also on the form of B'Elanna, not paying any attention to Tom's gaze. What Tom saw in his eyes as Ben Torres gazed at B'Elanna sent a chill through out his soul. It was a gaze of cold, pure hate. *Her, it's really her. The little vagrant. Still so obviously mutant. Still so disgusting and unclean, still so deserving of death. Within her lies my secrets, my past. And they will die with her.* Ben Torres's mind whirled with cold, hateful thoughts. They filled his mind and froze over his soul, hardened his heart. His eyes became cold and hard.
" So, Tom, how is she?" The captain's voice snapped him out of it. *I need to be more careful, I can't risk their suspicion.* He made a effort to ease his demeanor and expression and turned towards the captain, concern masking his hate. " Well, the Doc is looking over her readings. She's been like this for hours. It's a deep coma. We don't know what caused it, or any way to treat it. Or," The younger man's voice grew far away, " if she'll wake up."
The captain immediately put her hand on his shoulder. " She will Tom, she's cheated death too many times to let this kill her." It was obvious by now, to Ben, the blonde man's emotional attachment to B'Elanna. It frankly made him sick, as now did this Tom. " I hope your right." Ben nearly gagged at the display of emotion over a dirty little half-breed. Instead he quickly coughed.
" Captain," Ben decided to speak up, " May I go see the patient, I was a field doctor of sorts in my time. I may be able to offer some insight. Though most likely not. I'd like to try though." He paused and waited for the answer. " Of course, Mr.Torres, we can use everyone we can." He nodded and walked into the adjacent room.
*Field Doctor? Where'd that come from?* he shrugged to himself and walked around to the back of the bed, resisting the urge to hit the helpless girl on his way by. No doubt her prince charming was watching his every move. He quickly assessed the vital signs. Steady and strong. Darn. * No matter, he thought to himself, I can still easily kill her* It was a gruesome thought, but a thrill of joy still surged through him. A vile of sictlie was loaded into a hypo next to the bed. The PADD next to it indicated it should be administered in the next hour. Ben quickly looked around. His eyes scanned for the collection of vials every room should contain.
There, on a cart sat a rack of multicolored liquids. Opeir, Rester, Iterin, Focusin, and Yester. Ben thought for a second. If he mixed Opeir and Focusin in the hypo it would be silently lethal. The combined depressants should be enough to shut down her systems quickly and silently, it shouldn't set off any vital alarms... he opened the hypo and injected the vials. He, for safe measure, then increased the dose to maximum. Setting the hypo back down he went back into visual sight of the doorway. A tall man in a green edged uniform had come out and was quietly conversing with the other officers, both with distinct looks of concern on their face. He bent down to the level of B'Elanna's face.
" Aw, look you little mongrel, they're all so concerned over you. Too bad that won't help. In an hour you'll be out of my life for good." Tom Paris looked over as Ben Torres emerged again from B'Elanna's room. He didn't trust the shifty eyed man, deep down in his gut he had a fatal feeling about him. Tom tried to shrug it off, blamed it on his concern over B'Elanna. Yet, he couldn't.
" So, Doc, what can you tell me?" The captain sounded annoyed, and as helpless as Tom felt. The doc couldn't really tell them anything. It was unexplained, a dangerous mystery. That could very possibly turn fatal. " Not much captain, this one is up to Ms. Torres and luck." The Doc seemed deeply upset and disturbed by that statement, hating to admit he couldn't help someone. Almost as much as Tom hated hearing it.
' I couldn't see anything of help Captain, I'm sorry." This was Ben Torres sounding reasonably contrite. " But I believe we passed your mess hall on the way here. I'm sorry if I sound insensitive but I am famished."
Janeway sighed deeply. " No problem Mr. Torres, I'll take you. I'm sure the doctor will keep me updated." She gave both of the other men a small smile and put a hand on the shoulder of Tom Paris. As Ben stepped out of sickbay he over heard the doctor's voice, " Excuse me, Mr. Paris but I'm going to go administer Ms. Torres's sictlie. Will you go open me a file on traumatic.." the doors closed behind them as Ben let a small, smug smile grace his lips.
" Well, Ms. Torres, do you plan on waking for me?" It was silly for him to talk to the engineer, as a doctor he knew that, but it was habit and rather reassuring. As much as a hologram felt reassurance that was. But he did never the less, hoping against hope that she would respond. However, she didn't, his only response the labored sound of her breathing. He picked up the already loaded hypo and pressed against her neck.
" Maybe this will give you a start?" he listened to the soft hiss and then removed the metal device. The small screen on the top caught his eye. The level was up to maximum, that wasn't right! He tipped the hypo over, the sight of two vials greeted his eyes. Two vials? Not possible! It was one last time he checked. He quickly looked around, no other hypos could have been switched with the one he held. He swiftly dumped out the contents and read their labels. Focusin? Opeir? How in hell did those get in there? But he knew there was no time to investigate, within moments her systems would begin to shut down, killing her without tripping any alarms. Thank gods he had caught that screen.
" Mr. Paris! Hurry, get in her! Bring the med-cart!" He shouted out to his nurse. " Not now Ms. Torres, this will not kill you." He mumbled softly to his patient as he went about saving their chief engineer. Ben Torres checked his chronometer. She should be dead, gone forever. The good captain had taken him to lunch then escorted him to his quarters. Now he sat, more at peace than ever, at his computer console. A picture of his wife filled the sleek little screen. B'Elanna took so much from me, he thought, my son, my wife, my life. Her and her barbaric mother. Now I have taken from B'Elanna her life, and from her mother, a daughter. Life for a life, a child for a child. All's fair in love and war. But she'll never hurt me again. I can start new, with new people. My revenge is complete.
" She's waking up!" The relief was evident in the young helmsman voice. As evident as the love shining on his clear blue eyes. The doc simply nodded, allowing himself a small triumphant smile. Dark eyes fluttered open and a sharp intake of breath quickly followed. Tom smiled, his heart bursting with relief and joy. He moved his arms, almost reverently, to help her sit up. " What happened?" Her voice was soft, rather weak.
" Well, Miss, you scared us. We found you comatose in your quarters. When we got you here we had no idea what to do. Then someone switched the vials in a hypo and we nearly lost you. It was the Doc's quick eye who noticed. We came so close to losing you." Emotion flooded his voice. B'Elanna noticed and placed her small hand over his. " But who switched the vials?" She seemed confused. Someone on Voyager wanted to kill her?
" I think it was that Ben Torres, he was in here last..." Tom looked down at his hand. B'Elanna's hand had suddenly gripped his tightly. Her eyes had grown wide and panicky. " Ben....Ben Torres? He's here...Oh my gods!!!" Her voice grew in volume and urgency?
" He's found me? I thought he was dead, or at least in jail!" At the men's confused looks she slowed down and explained. Then thought better of it. " You better get the captain down here."
When Janeway had joined the trio in sickbay B'Elanna had grown considerably more and more impatient. Tom had done his best to console her, trying to understand what he couldn't until she let him. But he knew he had been right about Ben Torres. And he knew he wouldn't let him get near B'Elanna. " Now that you're here Captain, I'll explain." B'Elanna looked for a inanimate object to focus on, " When I was little, 5 in fact, my grandmother and I were kidnapped by my grandfather. My grandparents had been divorced. Over, actually, my parents marriage and my birth. He's incredibly racist and rather demented."
B'Elanna took a deep breath and shuddered at the unpleasant memory," My father had disowned my grandfather when he found out about his dark secret. Grandfather always blamed my mother and me for everything. He wouldn't have attempted to kill my mother, knowing better than to get caught up in Klingon justice. Yet, me, a half-breed wasn't that important in the empire. And half-breeds, to him are the evilest things to exist in the universe.
He has a whole group of demeaning things he has told me all my life. That have haunted me. Well, during our captivation grandfather planned on killing me and taking my grandmother to a secluded planet. However in a rage he killed my grandmother. Before he could level off a shot at me an undercover starfleet agent had stunned him. I was taken home. Ben was taken to prison. Grandma to her grave. He's never forgiven me, for living I guess. He's sworn to kill me. I guess he'll never give up."
B'Elanna took a deep, deep breath. Her eyes began to mist despite her attempt to keep them under control. She looked up into her commanding officer's eyes, her own gray eyes misty and shrouded. B'Elanna looked at her squarely and set her shoulders. " I want to see him. Before you object, I'll take as many people as you want. An old man can't kill me with his bare hands."
B'Elanna seemed determined. Something in her needed closure, to see the man who had taken her grandmother. Captain Janeway must have noticed it too, if the nod of her head was any indication. B'Elanna waited behind two security officers as the doors to Ben Torres's quarters opened. She didn't know why she was here, unsure of what it would accomplish. However she felt compelled to see the devil that had taken her Grandma from her, one person who loved her. Then she saw him, small and gray, same dark eyes as she. He looked bewildered at the security and then his eyes fell on her. The change was astounding. Hatred and shock warred in their depths. He seemed to lose control his eyes grew wide and he looked on the verge of collapse.
Ben Torres saw her, the devil herself. She was alive! Impossible! He felt his blood boiling, his breath quicken, his heart skipped beats. He was having a heart attack he realized, or a stroke, whatever it was he had to do one last thing before he died. He pointed a long, gnarled finger at her. Everything was in slow motion as he forced his mouth to form the words.
" A curse on you B'Elanna Torres, a curse on your soul forever. I'll see you in hell!"
With those final words he fell dead at her feet. She looked down, joined by the shocked guards. Feeling complete in somehow. She didn't understand how this made her feel complete but now the man who had haunted her dreams for years was gone forever. Recovering one of the guards called sickbay.
B'Elanna just looked up and to the left. Tom was standing there, searching her eyes for emotion. She knew he would come. Silently she went to him, glad for his support, and wrapped her arms around his neck and then turned to watch Ben's body dissipate away into the transporter beam. Finally, after twenty years, B'Elanna Torres could let her grandmother's soul rest in peace.
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