O they aren't mine. Get over it. I'm not making any money off them, I'm
things are too important not to say. Six months of desperation might be
enough to make a difference.
Taken forever to be done! (As my beta-readers can attest too However I
really hope you like it And Feedback is loved!!
He woke up.
There was nothing exceptional or abnormal in this action. It was an action
performed by innumerable beings in the far
galaxies. Yet to him it was a challenge. A heavy-hearted act, one that
drained him of whatever energy he had upon waking
from the dreams
he endured night after night. That reminded him, taunted him. They stole
his sleep, his soul it seemed occasionally.
Yet, in some
perverse way, they were a measure of comfort. They were a constant, always
there, never disappointing him. Beyond this
never let him forget. He would always know what he had done. These dreams
were his last memories of her.
In his sleep
he could see her, something he would never do again upon waking. He could
hear her melodic voice, though it was ridden
and fear. And the pain the dreams made him endure, to relive night after
night, reminded him of his living. Even though he
that he had gone with her, he had not. In the waking world the same bell
greeted his ears that had always done so, the
awaited him at the bridge, the same room waited for his return, and the
same bed brought him back to her nightly. The
reminder, however, was the rhythmic feel of the warp core gently humming
underneath the belly of the ship. The constant
energy from the core, the very heart of the ship. The engines were always
the same rhythm; Carey made sure he kept them
Tom drug himself
out of the warm embrace of his sheets, shivering at the near frigid temperature
of the room. The sheets were warm
lonely. Never a substitute for a lover's arms. His uniform, neatly folded
sat on the blue chair in the corner of the room. She had
it like that. He removed the pants and shirt from the chair and sat. It
was the one she had always sat on, her favorite.
Tom now found
it was his too. He had relived the whole scene in his dreams that night
before. His hands could still feel the sting of
Conn. of the Delta Flyer; still his throat was sore from his screams, and
his ears still ringing from hers. Her screams filled his
a regular basis. Her anguish --her pain-- so open and raw, begging him
to save her.
* he sighed, *You failed to do. *
" Its dark,
Tom." This simple statement betrayed so much in her voice.
" I know B'Elanna,
I'm coming." He kept his voice steady, strong, optimistic. Feelings he
was truly void of.
" Itís cold
too." She was trying to hold on, he realized, to keep talking. Her last
He glared at
the panel in front of him, as if that action would make it go any faster
than it was. His panic was becoming real. It gripped
him like a
cold hand, wringing hope from his every pore. He could see her. In the
dark, alone, bloodied. This image, he knew, would
throughout life, no matter the outcome of his mission. He urged his ship
forward, pleading with whatever gods watched out on
he would get to her. He could hear her labored breathing over the open
comm link. It was a constant, like a rhythmic beat
him of her life.
The breathing slowed, it became softer and lower.
what's wrong...what's happening?" His heart beat raced. There was no spoken
answer but only the sound of her heartbreaking
universe stopped, his heart stopped, and he could only wish time would
stop. Her scream filled his ears, made them ring
with the pure
agony in the chords. He could hear his own frantic shouts issuing from
his mouth, not able to understand. He was in slow
deck spun, he throat ached from the frantic shouts of desperation for her
to answer him. His ears only registered her sobs
In those moments he knew what true pain was, true agony. Then the screams
There was absolute
the rhythmic beat of the engines
And of pounding
of his heart
But there was
a beat missing.
When he had
gotten to her last known coordinates he was greeted only by debris. How
could this simple mission go so wrong? He
the calm, quiet people of the Narti. He remembered how grateful they were
when B'Elanna and her team had beamed down
them in repairs with their faltering power systems. It was simple, they
had offered supplies, and Voyager had offered
It was a common ordeal. Why did they turn on Voyager? Tom couldn't understand.
The team had come back, B'Elanna
shuttle had been delayed to finish the final adjustments. As usual the
chief had to come back last. She always came back
mission, every time. However, as Tom knew now, this time B'Elanna never
Her eyes opened.
However, she could not say she had woken up. Waking up implied that she
had indeed slept. Yet she could not say
she had truly
slept in months. She could remember sleep. That much she could say. She
could still feel the embrace of the warm sheets
and of her
loverís arms. She could feel the tingle of his warm breath on her shoulder.
And most of all the image of his peaceful form
to her. Yet here in this barren room there was no comfort, no warmth, no
The taste of
dirt was a common one to B'Elanna Torres; its distinguished taste coated
her mouth, her body. And it seemed as if it had
dug so deep
under her skin it had penetrated her soul, coating it with a sense of dread
and doom. Yet as she lay there she could hear a
It had begun to rain, thought she could not see it, the soft pitter patter
on the roof alerted her of the planet's tears, falling
on the ground,
washing away the bad and old, and with its touch giving way to the new
and cleansed. She lay there, listening to the soft
felt the loosening of the dirt in her soul; she could see the sun through
the clouds. It could of all been in her imagination, but
all she had left?
He had once
been her sun. That ray that promised life and breath, even in the total
darkness. Her entire life had been a lonesome
had never stopped to look back over her shoulder, never stopped to rest,
never bothered to feel sorry for herself, it didn't
anyway. Yet he had taught her differently, she had a stop, a shelter to
run to when she was sad, lost, lonely. He was her
that guided her, let her stop, gave her hope. Yet she had never told him.
She had cursed
herself for this. Knowing now she had died to him, without him knowing
how much she cared. It was a trend with her, love
and stay silent.
If anything was to let her survive this prison was the far distant hope
of being in his arms again, and to be the brave
and let him know she loved him. Life was too short to not tell those you
love so. He was her life, yet she was too proud,
too scared to let him in. What a coward. And now he thinks her dead, himself
alone, on the lonesome road. And he
It was these
mornings that she thought of this the most. The mornings when she woke
early and lay silent on the cold earth. When she
the little she had that night she had dreamed of her friends, who had long
forgotten her. She could see her Harry, growing up
It was almost a pity he had to lose so much innocence so abruptly. She
could see Chakotay, his calming presence and cool
missed him, he was like her father, and she longed to be back where they
were. She could see little Neelix, blundering in the
something B'Elanna would die for at that moment. But mostly she saw him,
his blue depths, filled with love. Yet at the
she saw his pain, and echo of the feelings he must of felt, a long time
past. Her heart was with Tom.
She had no
idea how long she had been in the mines. Days passed as months, months
as years. Time had no meaning, no ways of
there was no future, no past, no present, just the pain and hopelessness
that the guards instilled in each prisoner. She
had been made
a number, an insignificant. Things moved as in a slow motion picture. She
was alone. Yet she knew, in her heart, who
she was, and
who she should be, and who loved her. And that alone gave her the strength
the night she was taken. However many months ago that was. She was in a
damaged shuttle, after leaving the range
of the Narti
homeworld. She was, as always, the last to come back. The repairs of their
power conversion systems had been successfully
Her mind on the warm shower and bed back home, she hardly noticed the large,
unfamiliar ship approaching her from
warning klaxon sounded, alerting her of the approaching vessel. Before
she had a chance to process the warning the ship had
had sent a distress signal that Voyager had responded to quickly. But not
quite fast enough. She couldn't remember much
She had blacked out.
When she had
awoken she found herself still on the shuttle. It was dark, except for
the small red lights blinking overhead. She
to her knees, a sharp numbing pain shooting up her side. The stars of space
no longer shone through the windows put a wall
of rock was
all she could see. And a person. A tall man, his back was to her. His white
hair stuck out in the shady cavern. It was long,
a ponytail down his bare back. His skin was a blue-gray, which also was
noticeable in the low lighting. She couldn't remember
anything like him before. She tried to raise herself off the ground. Her
arms seemed limp and inactive. Yet in the end she
get herself nearly off the ground when a burst of red hot energy had flooded
through her back, sending her into a state of
But not before one image shot through her mind. And as she descended into
the helpless blackness his face looked
at her, and it seemed to be whispering.." I love you."
She had ended
up here, in a slave mine. Deep beneath the rocky surface of this unknown
planet. And now she just laid there, the
beginning to come on as the nightly shift ended. As she quickly rose to
adjust her dirty dress, a bag in essence. This was
a new sector
for her; she had relocated here after the completion of the tunnel she
had lived in since she had arrived there. She had
begun to make
connections in that old tunnel; it was a contingent of all women. They
were bonded in some perverse way, they worked
sweated together, and even sometimes, after the days long work, they would
actually talk together. They told stories around a
the guards would leave. Every night a different person would weave a tale
that reminded each of them of home, of the
knew they were. One woman had been a mother of six. All of her children
had died at the hands of their captors, in a raid of
family craft. Her husband was sent to a men's contingent, she had no idea
where he was, if he was alive or not. Another was
to her people; she had been abducted on a trip to a homeworld nearby her
planet. One was but a child herself, just
age of 15 before her capture. She had watched her mother die. Her brother
and father had been drug away to a men's
didn't know where they were. As B'Elanna had sat there she realized why
she was captured. There wasn't a reason, a logical
she had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. She had always
known the universe was out to get her. Those
girls had protected each other, watched out for the others. They had all
heard the horror stories of the different contingents;
the mixed gender ones. They heard stories of brutal assaults, rapes, killings.
It scared the hell out of each of them.
Part 2 SOH
of the Operation Mega 31 watched the laborers move the large chunks of
ore from one section to another. He knew this
was a monotonous
job, not much brainwork going on down there, no doubt. His experiment was
going well, with the labor as efficient as
it was now;
he would be finished before the year slipped by. This particular sector
was doing nicely, they had just begun on this tunnel
and it was
already cleared greatly. He sighed deeply. He felt like a monster, these
people worked like animals, slaving away to their
hated that. But they weren't Kartin, they were just migrates, people from
whatever planets in whatever quadrants... not
He knew his government wouldn't even allow the use of the lowliest peasants
on this work. That's why they supplied him
with a wealth
of migrates. Only impure migrates. Impure. They definitely looked that
way, large streaks of ore covering their faces, dirt
their hair, their clothes loose and hanging off thin bodies, and their
eyes-- their haunted eyes-- were frightening, like dead
in barely breathing bodies. They would haunt his dreams occasionally, screaming
at him, taunting him. His heart almost
ached at the
thought...yet he knew his research would save millions of his people. Millions,
at the cost of hundreds. Hundreds of poor,
He violently shook the idea out of his head. Millions of his people would
live. The workers should be proud, he thought,
their captors* His blue-gray hand trembled as he ran it through his white
hair. He looked down again at the haunted bodies,
young and old, of so many races. Then he saw her, the woman he had captured
from her shuttle, the fiery one that
was so full
of life. The scientist within him had recognized her talent, an unspoken
energy that told of great intelligence and creativity.
And the man
within him saw her beauty and life, an unbelievable grace and raw edge
that made her irresistible. Yet he had to leave her
to the mines,
everyone that was brought here came to the mines. Yet as he watched her
he realized her strength, she hadn't become
was strong still, moving with that grace. He caught a look at her eyes
as she glared at the unmovable rock, still filled with
fire and intelligence,
she was magnificent! He watched as she analyzed the rock, trying to figure
out a way to move it. He was captured
by her intensity
and concentration. She eventually decided not to try, to save her strength
and energy on more efficient manners. Smart.
He found himself admiring her silent movements.
message from Regale YeaSer." the commander turned around, sadly, not wanting
to go away from admiring the woman in
" Yes, guard,
patch it through." He walked off the platform into his makeshift office,
mind troubled over the woman below.
Days had passed
since that first day he had watched the woman whom he was so fascinated
with. Every day she seemed to grow
not weaker, he had to wonder what kept her going. Something big, something
special, something worth living for. Not many
here had that.
Most had seen all they loved and cherish destroyed, their lives ruined
and torn apart before their very eyes. It killed him
to know that,
he wasn't a monster after all. It wasn't his policies that the prisoners
were captured under. The government took care of
that. He just
ran the experiments and figured the problems. He was a scientist, a simple
man. His people needed his work though. The
had swept through the lower continents had to have a cure. And he was the
only one who could help, and this ore was
it was all necessary. He had to stay convinced to that. Yet as he watched
his subject, he cursed himself. Who knew how many
respected admired, people from so many diverse cultures died and wasted
away in these mines. Hell, if this was reversed he
could be in
their places, the brightest mind of his planet, wasting everything in the
mines. It was a scary thought. And who knew that
woman he watched
she could be the brightest mind in her world too. Life could be quite ironic
and unfair. Too bad he couldn't change
that. He sighed
and left the platform for the day.
done. The day was finally over. At least that was what the dimming lights
told her. The guards would stay around a while
the dinner bell rang that called them back to their warm quarters, multiple
wives, and beds. Animals. She was alarmed at
how weak she
was beginning to feel, the ever-drowsy feel of wanting to lie down kept
trying to overcome her. It scared her. She sat on a
trying to wipe the smudges of dirt from her face, succeeding only in making
the lines bigger and more ingrained in her
couldn't be weak; she had to make it home, back to Voyager, back to Tom.
She couldn't give up. She knew, though, in the
back of her
head that Voyager was gone, in a starry trail. Who knows, maybe they were
home, safe on earth. Tom could be married,
They could have all forgotten her. Forgotten her. She knew why she was
getting weak, hope was fading. It had been
least, maybe longer. They were gone and she was doomed to die, alone and
forgotten in a cave on some godforsaken
to the day she fell over dead. It was an unspeakably horrible fate. She
looked up from the dirt directly into the eyes of a
made her uncomfortable as his eyes blatantly appraised her small frame.
She felt her muscles tense, she had heard of the
had disappeared when a guard had taken her, she was never heard from again.
The tales of what happened to her made
blood run cold. Now as she carefully avoided the guardís lust-fueled stare
she made sure to watch his movements. She
to be taken from here; it was safer than anywhere he would have her. She
had tried for days to think of an escape route,
after she had come to this sector. The platform that overshadowed the compound
must lead to an exit, of some sort. She had
come and go from it, bringing devices that resembled PADDs and science
equipment. If only she could get up there. Yet
a series of authorization codes guarded it, even at night. She couldn't
get through. Yet as she continued to watch the guard
a small, unedited
plan etched into her mind. If she went with him, she could escape. No,
as she thought it through it wouldn't work. She
had no idea
where she would go. And there was no Voyager to beam to. She thought some
more as the guard seemed to concentrate
on some readings
on his device. Nothing came to her. There were no options. Gods! A not
so unusual burst of rage swept through her.
do nothing to help herself; it frustrated the hell out of her. She looked
back over at the guard, as he seemed to be moving
She shook her head gently, trying to erase the image she saw in his eyes.
There was no mistaking that gleam. He grabbed
her arm roughly
and pulled her to her feet.
voice was rough and muffled, his breath stank of something rotten, " You
will come with me, slave." Revulsion radiated
and an overwhelming want to vomit shook her. She fought the instinct to
pull away and fight. She knew she couldn't
was armed and well fed, she was bare and malnourished. She tried to stand
her ground bravely, keep her chin up and her
Maybe this would be ok if she just stayed still. Even as she thought them
she doubted her own reassurances. And though
of her screamed to fight, her senses made her stay solid. She had to live,
not for her, for Tom and for Voyager. Wherever
under whatever circumstances, she would live for their memories. And hers.
The guardís hands began to slowly move off her
arm and she
leered at her and moved his hands to cup her buttocks, sending the waves
of nausea back through her system. "Nothing
to be scared
of my dear." He lazily kneaded the firm muscle. She abruptly pulled away,
no longer able to endure his touch.
"Time to go."
He seemed a little unsettled by her lack of response to his advances, not
that that seemed to deter him. He was used to
he wanted. Sadly for her, as she was helplessly drug through the unconcerned
crowd of dying people, it looked as if he'd
get it again.
She could only hope she lived through it.
heard a small disturbance in the work area underneath him. No doubt another
guard had selected a female to take. He
head, it was awful, but he couldn't stop them. By law they had the right.
Yet there was an awful feeling in his stomach this
time. He stopped
the scan he was running.
* It was her. She had been taken. He ran from his office, just to see a
large, burly guard dragging the woman he had
the fiery one, through the crowds. Her beautiful face still filled with
pride, whatever fear she harbored masked. Her strong
and bold. Her eyes unseeing, concentrating no doubt on that reason she
stayed so strong.
didn't know why he shouted, breaking the quiet murmurs and the gasps and
looks of concern. The man, however, stopped
up and the woman he drug halted abruptly and crumpled against his back
before erecting herself. "Guard bring that woman
to me. And
return to your post." He summoned some men behind him to go down and make
sure that happened.
"Sir, I have
chosen this one to warm my bed tonight. You can not take her." His voice
was full of a hearty lust and haughtiness. His
"I need her
for the experiment. She is the one I have been watching. You will have
to reselect tomorrow, *Guard*. " he stressed the last
the difference in importance. He wasn't usually so bold, but he had to
save this woman. She couldn't be taken in such a
way. He wouldn't
let it happen. The guard's face twisted into an angry snarl.
The last word was a growl. But he left the woman alone. And walked, sulking
to a corner. The commander would have to
have him relocated,
not a difficult task. He watched as his aides helped the woman to the doors.
She shook off their hands and walked
herself. Yes, he decided, this woman was special.
into the lift that would take her to the platform. Her mind was racing.
She had been lucky, yes, that burly guard's hands
were far away
from her now. Yet now she was on the way up to some platform she had watched
for days. She had vaguely recognized the
man who had
saved her from the guard. She had seen him when she had ended up here.
The white hair, the bluish skin, it all added
up. She didn't
know what he wanted her for, yet she was grateful for the assistance.
*What if he
wants the same thing* The voice in the back of her head nagged. She couldn't
be sure he didn't. The doors parted before
her. The man's
back was to her bent over a console of sorts. The guard indicated she should
go over to him and then left to resume his
keeping a wary eye in her way. She slowly walked over and made her way
around the table to look at him. She absorbed the
its various buttons, the first real piece of technology she had seen in
months. She looked at one of the charts. A star chart.
voice laced through her thoughts, making her focus.
The thought came unbidden. His eyes were gentle and clear of lust and somewhere
in them she saw an admiration.
spoke softly, not used to the action.
" I am Commander
GerDal, a scientist for my people." His face had a glint of regret and
sadness etched in. "I am sorry for the sins of
my race. Especially
Guard FreDer. He has irresistible urges sometimes, as so many of these
guards have succumbed to. My people are
not a savage
race, I assure you." B'Elanna felt the usual anger in her rise to the top
as the man tried to explain why she had been
forced to work and spend her days away from her family, her love. Yet as
he spoke the anger, at least towards him, began to
she didn't understand, but she could tell he didn't really want the suffering.
"We need this ore and this labor to help cure an
make ways to clear our pollution that is killing millions of innocent people,
especially the children."
"At the cost
of hundreds of innocent people" She hadn't meant to speak but she found
she couldn't silence herself." Hundreds!
innocent men, women, CHILDREN!" She began to shout, "Who don't really give
a damn about your world! Who had their
away and thrown into a state of total despair. Who die *alone*, wondering
where their families are, if they had forgotten
WANT TO BE TREATED WITH DIGINITY. WHO WERE PROMINATE HAPPY PEOPLE WHO WANT
THEIR LIVES BACK!." The
erupted into a full out roar. " WHO WANT TO BE PEOPLE AGAIN. SCREW YOUR
WORLD TO HELL!!!!!" She slammed her fists
into the wall.
"DAMN YOU!!!!" She threw herself against the wall. "Damn you to hell."
The last words were spoken softly as she sagged
panel. GerDal's eyes were wet as he walked slowly over to her. His voice
" I know. And
I'm sorry. I can't make that up to you. I am but a scientist, a respected
one. But not enough to make this go away. I work
for the government,
they make these decisions. They are not mine. I work as fast as I can.
When I am over, they are free. That is the
way it works."
He lifted her from the wall. " I've been watching you. You are special
Ms...." He didn't know her name,
Torres. Of the Star Ship Voyager, chief engineer." She shook her head ruefully,
"Well, I used to be, before this godforsaken
looked confused, but only momentarily.
"You need to
be cleaned up. Come with me."
When she returned
to the room where GerDal worked it was with satisfaction. A long equivalent
to a sonic shower did an immense
her after months of using a rag and a small amount of dirtied water. She
had found a simple jumpsuit to where when she
it was tan and quite comfortable. She had been fed, fruit and cheese. It
was only a small amount, to readjust her
food. Yet even as she received the small, simple comforts of a real meal
her thoughts were on the mines below, the women
she had become friends with. Alone, afraid, to suffer the same fate she
had almost been doomed to.
Free, she remembered
what GerDal had said, they would free them once he had discovered a cure.
It was almost unbelievable but she
had no reason
not to trust him. She had to help. When she entered the room GerDal was
banging his fists against a console.
"Work I tell
you. WORK!" He slammed his palm against it with a resounding smack. He
looked up, startled, as she entered. "I am sorry
I didn't hear you coming." He gave her a once over. " Much better. How
do you feel?"
" Better, cleaner.
What's wrong with the panel." She walked over and began to tap a series
of buttons. They weren't unlike a Bolian
had seen in the Maquis. She tapped in a few more commands and the panel
illuminated and started to buzz. GerDal was
few feet away, amazement written in his features.
"How did you
" I began by
doing a bisectural resequencing...." He held up a hand.
"I'll let it
be your secret." He gave her an approving look. "You, B'Elanna Torres,
can be of great help to me, if you would." He waited for
She carefully judged her options in her head. There were none.
"Yes, I suppose
I will." She paused, " The prisoners will be freed if you succeed....correct?"
His face took on a hopeful look,
"Yes, yes they
will. I only hope I can finish soon...." He smiled a gentle smile. " I
think I can, with your help. But first I have a surprise
He walked her
to the door of his office, the back one, away from the mine. She found
herself in an alien corridor, a star ship corridor.
were covered in various panels, holding schematics, stats, and charts.
"It's a ship."
She thought aloud. "I've been on a ship." She looked at GerDal confused.
" How? I've been living in a cave, where I can
the multiple tunnels, the ore...." She couldn't begin to comprehend the
meaning of her newest discovery.
opened a file on a nearby panel. " Where the laborers are is here." He
pointed to what seemed to be a long, two deck series
"They are imaging rooms. Capable of creating environments. You only saw
a small portion. The caves. There are processing
rooms, sorting rooms, research, numerous places. We receive the ore in
large sums where the labors, like you were,
move it where
it is taken to processing and so on."
holodeck." She muttered.
I see you have similar capabilities where you came from." He smiled at
the new hope etching into her features.
"May I see
your star charts, where we're headed." She knew Voyager route...maybe,
just maybe they were similar.
Here." He tapped in a command. The star charts appeared and she began to
sort through them. Section 200.56...it was in
direction. Right trajectory, right speed. It was as close to a miracle
as B'Elanna had ever dared hope for.
*What if they
really left you B'Elanna? They could be home. They could be dead. They
could be ahead of you, behind you. You don't
can't. Youíre alone B'Elanna. All alone, just like always, your families
gone again. And youíre ALL alone. * The intensity of the
wave of emotion
that swept through her caused her to gasp. That little, taunting voice
was right. She couldn't know! She was a missing
dead to them for months. She couldn't even hope to find them again. It
was all lost. Maybe she wouldn't die now, but she was
to spend her life lost and alone. Forever wondering where they were, if
they cared she wasn't there. She was alone, with no
hope. It was
an awful feeling. For all the months spent in that mine, real or not, she
had dreamed that somehow, someday she would
be with them
again, in Tom's arms, safe and loved and respected. She realized now how
futile that hope was, how truly hopeless it had
she couldn't help but be thankful she had it, it kept her alive. Kept her
strong, kept her proud. Now she felt naked, exposed,
for all to
see. Unprotected, unknown, unrecognized. Just another lost face in a sea
of unfamiliar people, never again to see the warm,
she had lived with, loved.
He must have
noticed her forlorn look for his face seemed to begin to echo her pain.
"What is upsetting
you." He tapped the star chart and it disappeared. "Is something wrong?"
He waited quietly as she focused her
off the small voice in her head and back on him.
"No, no. Your
ship seems to be going the same way mine was." He jumped in,
"That is good
B'Elanna! Once we create a cure, you can reunite with your ship" He smiled,
this was wonderful. He would get this woman
back to her
people. He would correct at least one sin against this one person. He sighed
internally, yet he could not correct the hundreds
of sins he
had below his feet.
"No. No. Who
knows where they are." He could hear the pain filled tone in her voice,
bellied by an unspeakable regret and longing."
be light-years away from us. Behind, ahead, home. There's no way of knowing."
She closed her eyes and rested her forearm
panel. He just stood silently, waiting for her to regain her composure.
He heart went to her, knowing fully that his people--he
many ways-- had taken her from this ship. Her people. Ignorantly and without
reason. She was just an innocent person,
and unaware. So many were taken in that way, families brutalized, ships
and colonies destroyed. He wanted to die of
that thought brought. The shame this woman had brought to the surface and
hung in a pendant heavily around his neck. He
pendant as a reminder now, a ever growing passion and desire to finish
his work, to save the dying in the decks below him,
and the ones
that would soon be brought. He wouldn't argue with this woman, knowing
it was futile and would only serve to cause her
and anger. Now he needed her mind, the magnificent intelligence it was,
to help him finish, to put an end to this madness.
he had always been disturbed by the death and destruction caused by his
people for his research. He had always made sure
to watch the
prisoners, humble himself, encourage himself to speed up. Yet seeing this
pain this close, having a living, breathing person
next to him,
plagued by pain served to make him that more desperate. That more ashamed.
"So, how about
we go cure that epidemic..." She straightened herself out, seemly a little
embarrassed about her show of weakness. She
gave a grim
"Yes, I suppose
Part 3 SOH--
The days seemed
to drag on just as long as the ones that had passed in the mines. Yet her
mind didn't register it. It was too involved
in her work.
She wasn't trained to perform the delicate procedures and complex medical
equations. B'Elanna doubted even most trained
in StarFleet could perform what GerDal could. He was a brilliant man, and
every day-- despite whatever anger her soul
she grew to respect him more and more. Despite her inability to help in
the medical realm she did have plenty to do in the
he have *any* trained engineers around here? He must... but she didn't
see any. Or any evidence they had done any
systems were running, that much she could give them. But only at fifty
percent, no wonder he hadn't gotten the readings he
were making great progress. She was glad for that. The office was empty;
GerDal often left her alone for hours on end
while he took
scans and samples different places. And his daily trips to the mines. She
always opted out of that, not because she was
too busy or
too scared. She was just...just too tired of it. She could remember every
sight, every smell, rock, person, and sound.
down to the tiniest detail. She didn't need to see it again. So B'Elanna
would stay in here, head buried once again in
challenging equipment. It gave her infinite relief. Machinery had always
taken her mind off her troubles. Made her forget
blocked her way. Given her the calm to jump those hurdles. Now she sat,
on the metal floor, in the middle of the
room. The star chart had been called up by some guard, seeing where the
next deposit of ore would be retrieved.
*And to remind
you not to give up hope* Her thoughts had been coming unbidden often lately.
Yet this one was right. She couldn't. It
was too much
a blessing to have this ship going in the same direction.
* A little
uncanny and unreal too.* The little voice chimed in. But even uncanny and
more unreal events had occurred dozens of times in
Quadrant. She slowly rose from the cold metal floor and made her way to
the illuminated panel. She tapped a series of the
5....A class 3 star....a gas cloud...." Eri 5 sounded vaguely familiar.
They were still going in the right direction. She placed
her hand against
the cold, smooth surface. Her fingers gently traced the path the ship would
take. Scanning the panel before her she
the communications device. If she could only send a message across subspace.
There was always the chance VOYAGER was
And a chance was all she needed. Finding the right series of buttons she
began to type out an encoded message to VOYAGER.
She made sure
to add her signature code to it, so it would attract interest from them.
VOYAGER. Are you...." She jumped as the door swished open behind her. As
she turned she hit her palm against the panel to
send the message,
hoping that no one would detect it. Or at least think anything of it. "GerDal.
How did the results test?" She tried her
best to act
as if he had startled her from only simple star charts. Thankfully he was
so absorbed in the blue PADD device he held that he
her controlled panic.
placed the PADD among the others. "But not well enough. It's just not killing
the virus!" He picked a PADD from the pile
on his right
side, "Maybe if I...." B'Elanna tuned him out. She never understood what
he said, just as he never understood her. They
talked to the air, venting frustration and working out problems aloud.
She nodded every so many words, pretending that she
then gave up and let him talk to his air. She set herself to work; praying
by some act of whatever gods ruled that VOYAGER
Captain.." Harry Kim paused. " It--it has a StarFleet code on it!" His
voice held that audible mixture of confusion,
and longing that they all felt as those words were spoken.
Mr. Kim? Are you sure?" Kathryn Janeway jumped up and made her way to the
upper level of the bridge and peered over his
the Ops station.
It's StarFleet all right. But this code, here," He pointed to a series
of numbers embedded into the message, "It looks
code.* Janeway immediately recognized it. Could it be? After this many
months? So far away? Logically it wasn't possible.
was often beaten by a chance. She couldn't be sure.
"Play the message
Mr. Kim. Maybe that'll give you your answer." She didn't dare say her idea
aloud. It would only serve to torture those
on the bridge
if it wasn't her. Especially Tom...
VOYAGER. A-- You..." The message ended abruptly as they heard a door open
in the background. It was her. The message
and short at best but the familiar, long missed voice of the chief engineer
was not mistaken. The reactions on the bridge
Harry sat with an astounding look of shock on his face. Chakotay looked
as if he had heard a ghost. And Tom....Tom
if the dam inside his had broke, she wasn't sure he would be alright as
she watched the varying emotions play across his face.
few months had been harder on him than anyone. Yet now, after hearing the
voice they thought they would never again, it was
as if a dam
broke within each of them. Releasing demons and emotions they had thought
were buried. Tom had the most.
"Mr. Kim give
me a stardate on that message." Her voice sounded feeble to her.
ma'am. Yesterday at 21:00 hours." He gained strength in his words even
while stumbling over them. No one could
She began to move back towards her command seat.
" 3 light-years
to the port side." He had turned a pasty white. The bridge was silent.
She was alive. Close. The door in the background
If she had been caught? She mentally hit herself, there wasn't any time.
They had to find her.
set a course." She broke the silence. "Engage."
She was alive.
*Alive*. His fingers trembled violently as he punched in the course. The
course to her. Was this a dream? He couldn't
help but wonder.
*Ow. Not asleep*
He reached down to massage the shin he had hit against the bulkhead. Yet
he still couldn't bring himself to believe
what he had
heard. Six months was a long time. Long enough for him to bury hundreds
of emotions he never knew he had. She had
to him than he had ever known, ever thought possible. The day she died....he
couldn't even begin to explain, not even to
first actual emotion he remembered was the overwhelming desperation. Frantic
panic and total chaos assaulting all his
his mind and filling his soul. His heart felt as if it would explode if
he didn't do *something--*anything.
Then, as if
in the eye of a hurricane, the total shock set in. He couldn't register
anything. Nothing was felt, thought of, experienced. It
wasn't a calm,
just total helpless feeling. It was enough to drive him crazy.
replaced that shock, filling his mind with the thoughts that she would
be awaiting him somewhere-- *anywhere*. He would
his quarters, check messages scan PADDs for any information. He refused
to believe she was dead, he couldn't. It was too
slowly came. And it was a painful coming. She was gone. Really gone. Forever.
There was nothing he could do. Not with
universe could offer him. He was forced to let it go, let *her* go.
to say, quickly ensued. Anger with the universe, anger with his friends,
her, whoever had taken her from him, and
He had let her down. Left her to die. He wasn't fast enough. Wasn't good
enough. It burned at his soul, igniting a flame
burn eternally. That flame would eat at him, burn in him. Taking away the
cool calm he had lived by, the confidence, the
Everything was replaced by the flame. His lively blue orbs had been filled
with a red, angry glaze. His words, no matter how
underlined by a small, angry undertone.
Time had worn
that flame down. Not that he felt any comfort, or felt any less responsible
for her death. He felt it everyday. The awful
down on him, crushing him making him unable to breathe. He felt it everytime
he passed engineering, everytime he
empty seat in the briefing room, all the trips to the holodeck, the messhall.
And every night. The cold space next to him that
once was filled
with his lover. He was just tired now. So very tired.
And now the
whole universe had changed. He didn't know what to feel. Relief, happiness,
excitement? He couldn't find those emotions
He only felt an uncertainty. And the tiredness.
the data the newest formula was giving out. It looked promising, that was
a start. He adjusted the refinement beam
and bent down
over the scanner.
"Still a difference."
He shook his head, not quite right. But he was on the right track, and
that was what mattered. B'Elanna was
a console on the far side of the room. She was worrying him. Lately she
had become despondent, absorbed in her work. She
for something. Something big. Yet he couldn't figure out what.
I am going to the bridge. Will you be alright?" He turned off the scanner,
planning on going to the bridge to gather a few
discs he had left.
didn't even look up from her work. He doubted she even registered what
he said. He sighed.
" Good then.
See you at dinner B'Elanna." They had begun a ritual of eating together.
It was a simple affair. Eating was the main thing
occasionally interrupted by a few simple comments.
" See you."
He heard her hit her hand against a panel, followed by a muttered curse
in some language he was not used to. The doors
a near imperceptible noise as he approached. With one last, curious glance
at B'Elanna he left.
On the bridge
it was relatively silent. The lone monitoring officer was walking from
station to station checking systems. GerDal
the young man, from the base on Kartin prime. ReReal is he remembered correctly,
"Can I help
you sir?" The young officer's obsidian eyes glanced up from the controls.
"No. I'm just
gathering some infor..." The panel began to sound under the younger man's
a ship sir. " ReReal paused, reading the information,
" Unknown species,
heavy weapons system, and heavy shielding. "
his way to the panel. The communications indicated an incoming message.
"Open the channel."
ReReal pressed the button and a strong, female voice permeated the bridge.
"I'm am Captain
Kathryn Janeway of the USS VOYAGER. Please identify yourselves."
I am Dr. GerDal of the Kartin vessel TREAL. How many I be of assistance?"
The woman that belonged to the voice that
bridge appeared on the screen. It was strikingly familiar.
me of B'Elanna*
" Hello Dr.
GerDal. I am wondering if your vessel can be of assistance to us." She
paused. " We are looking for a missing crew member.
We have thought
her dead for months. However we received a call from her hours ago, from
near this position." The woman's eyes
be scanning him for any chance he would lie to her.
" This crew
member's name?" If it was B'Elanna ship....
" It was my
Chief Engineer... B'Elanna Torres." Janeway's face twisted into a look
of pain at the mention of her lost crewmember. "Would
you have any
information for us?" The woman paused, anxiety written across her features.
the rules. The prisoners were prisoners....they couldn't be freed. The
cure hadn't been discovered yet. And without B'Elanna
think it would be for a long time. GerDal also faced imprisonment, death,
or torture. A number of awful things if he let this
what the Kardin were doing to these people. The Voyagers would think him
a monster. Yet, as he thought of her he realized
was more than a prisoner, she had become his friend. His colleague. And
her happiness would mean more to him than
life could offer him. GerDal could right this wrong he had done. At least
this one. The chance was knocking at his door,
He wouldn't let this go...
I'm afraid we have no informa..." It was ReReal.
tongue guard." GerDal interrupted, noticing the shocked expression on the
bridge monitor's face. GerDal's intentions must
sitting on his sleeve because the young man's face suddenly flooded with
ReReal motioned for the Captain to wait and shut off the sound.
be serious." ReReal looked at him as if he had grown another head. " You'll
be killed. This'll all go down the drain. MILLIONS
DYING!!" GerDal shouted back. "Millions of innocent people." ReReal glared
at him, slowly backing away.
"I can't stop
you. But I will not take part in this. You will be reported." With that
he left the bridge. No doubt to go make an official report
not only end GerDal's career but his life. He reopened the comm link,
wrong GerDal. Now. * The voice in the back of his head was suddenly filled
with more life and determination than he had
heard in years.
I have more than information on your officer."
Part 4 SOH--
stood on the transporter PADD, flanked by Tuvok and Chakotay. She was almost
shaking with anxiousness. There was
wrong with this ship. The bridge was sorely undermanned, there was obvious
dissent among the ranks, also they had too
something VOYAGER couldn't scan.
And they had
couldn't focus on all of that. She had to get her crewmember back, the
rest could wait. With a nod to the ensign at the
room faded into a shimmer of blue light and the familiar tingle overcame
her body. She was off.
The first visible
thing that formed into her line of sight was a smooth, gray bulkhead. The
panel was lit by small, bright buttons. The
faded into focus, the sharper lines and fine prints now visible. She sensed
the presence of the men behind her. Tuvok,
anything, yet completely composed. Chakotay was also ready, busily scanning
for hidden dangers.
tall, thin blue skinned man stepped forwards. "You must be Captain Janeway."
His eyes seemed haunted. The skin beneath
and dark in color. He gave her a wearied smile. " I am pleased you found
" So am I."
Janeway paused, indicating to her officers. "This is Commander Chakotay--
my exec. And this, " She jerked her head in
" Is my security officer, Lt. Commander Tuvok."
briefly then glanced nervously at the panel next to him.
"We must hurry
Captain. I am afraid my crew is not pleased about this transition." He
motioned to the door.
"Are you the
captain of this ship?" Janeway towards the door.
"In a way.
I'm in charge of what goes on here. The guards follow my directions. But
there are ways of getting around that with little
He peeked his head out of the doorway. "Clear."
" Do they know
we're here?" Chakotay moved to walk just behind his captain's shoulder.
"No. My bridge
monitor officer was on the bridge while I was talking with you.... but
he does not know I have brought you here." He
" He would have to be publicly killed if he did." He stopped at a door
and pressed in a series of numbers. "This is my
No one is allowed in here without my permission. We are safe here."
The doors parted
to reveal a roomy, largely white room. The walls were littered with panels
of brightly lit diagrams of odd figures. A table
the center of the room; it was covered in an assortment of tools and what
appeared to be PADDs. Five white chairs sat in the
the room, circling an octangular table. GerDal motioned for them to sit.
our short time I'll give you the briefest of overviews of the operation
this ship is meant for." He took a deep breath. This
over well. GerDal knew his time was almost up anyway though. Once his crew
found out....his government would find out. He
the most sacred rule...no contact with outsiders, unless it was to conquer
them. And to bring them about a classified
*return* a prisoner...it was an unimaginable crime. One that would entail
an unimaginable punishment.
thought of this! It's too late to take it back! For the gods sakes!! Do
something *right* for once you damned coward!*
of those starving, dying people filled his mind. They were beneath his
feet, slaving away, dying one by one. And it was all his
He wouldn't let them get away with it. Not this time.
" We are the
Kardin, Captain. A space faring race from a sector quite far from here.
This vessel is a 'ranging' ship. We are in search of a
that fuels my experiments." He paused, taking in a deep breath before continuing.
"You see Captain, my people are dying.
A plague has
begun to eat away at our population. Millions were sick and dying off."
*Stick by your
guns boy, you can do this* Yea...easy for the voice to say. GerDal drew
in another deep breath
" I am the
top scientist and doctor on our planet. I worked for months to find a cure.
While hundreds died weekly. I discovered an ore
on a few neighboring
planets in small amounts that was a necessary block to my cure, I had to
have it. But they supply we had quickly
I was getting so close. My government decided we needed to go in search
of it. We attempted to trade for it...but no one
So my government, in its rashness, decided to begin to take things by force.
Like people." The Captain's eyes seemed to be
look of comprehension.
the ore mined from uninhabited planets. But none of our people, according
to our government, were lowly enough to do
outsiders. You see captain my people are bigots. Plain and simple." GerDal
hung his head,
" We used force
to collect people in situations where they could not fight back. Smaller
crafts, usually family or near home devices. Or
had conquered. The guards are brutal Captain. Anyone, no matter of race
or reason, is captured. Those who are unfit to work
Those who can are put into our 'mines' here on the ship. They process the
eyes took on a sad, far away look.
" I am not
a monster captain. And I wish everyday this were not the way it was. But
I am but the scientist. I can not change this." He
hand to rub the bridge of his nose, obviously pained by what he had told.
"The cure is
still not ready, but I am so very close. And once I finish then the prisoners
are set free." He shook his head bitterly, "But
they are so
far from home. They'll probably never get back. Gods, we are monsters."
He buried his head in his hands.
"How will *you*
get home?" Janeway had remained quiet through out his "confessional".
" We have a
technology that allows us to travel large distance at a time. I know little
more than how to activate it." He sat back in his
She looked over at Chakotay, who seemed to be on the same page.
"But as far
as B'Elanna goes...." GerDal interrupted Janeway's calculations. "She happened
to as unlucky as the rest of the people who
work in our mines."
had remained relatively silent since their arrival.
"Yes, two decks
of imaging rooms. They are able to recreate environments." The darker skinned
man nodded, seemingly familiar with
as the B'Elanna had been.
"If she's in
the mines. How do you know her? And how did you know about us?" The other
man, the one with the odd pattern on his
her from the mines. I had been watching her. She seemed incredibly intelligent.
She had remained strong and viable
her long stay in the mines." GerDal gave a small smile, " One of the guards
decided one day to take her, not an uncommon
I wouldn't let him. She was too special. I had her brought to me." His
smile had faded. " B'Elanna has assisted
She informed me of where she was from and that we were going in the same
direction. I planned on finding you, after the
cure was found.
However, it seems B'Elanna took matters into her own hands." The captain
smiled a tight smile,
sounds like my B'Elanna." She looked on the verge of anger...though it
seemed she was confused where to direct it.
"I can not
say I condone your people's actions. In fact I can honestly say I'm disgusted."
GerDal understood, it made it no easier to
she was right. "And if I had the option I'd remove your prisoners and blow
this death trap to hell." She gave no reaction to
" But I don't. And you seem like a decent person. You are putting your
life on the line for B'Elanna." She offered her
hand to him.
GerDal just stared.
" You shake
it. It's, for this case, a signal of a deal. We'll help you in anyway we
can. With the cure, and mostly in getting the prisoners
home. " GerDal
" I just hope
outside GerDal's office slightly confused. He had awoken her a few minutes
before with "important news". Had he found a
tapped in the code he had given her.
called....?" She stood at the door, unsure if she was dreaming. GerDal
stood from the table in the corner of the room,
by three individuals, clad in outfits B'Elanna never thought she'd see
Chakotay?? Tuvok?" Her world was spinning. Her message must have gotten
through! B'Elanna just stood there, her hair
over her shoulders her hands limp at her sides.
slowly around the table. The older woman stopped directly in front of the
half-klingon. A gentle and familiar hand
B'Elanna's face. Kathryn didn't say a word and neither did she. It wasn't
necessary. The captain enveloped her in a
hug. Like a mother would her child. B'Elanna's arms went up to her back;
she was overwhelmed with the joy that was
senses on fire. She closed her eyes and squeezed Janeway even tighter.
Relief flooded through her system, millions of
through her every nerve. Janeway reluctantly let go as Chakotay came to
stand next to them. B'Elanna drew away and
at her old mentor. Memories began to flood back as she wrapped her arms
around Chakotay's neck. It was all so familiar. As
if none of
the past months had happened. She noticed GerDal against the bulkhead.
He seemed worn, but there was a determination in
She drew away from Chakotay and walked over to the tall blue man. She smiled
her thanks and then reached to wrap her arms
neck too. He shook in her embrace, his pent up emotions beginning to take
It was time
to work. GerDal bent over his console once again. He had managed to safety
get the Voyager officers off his ship. B'Elanna
to stay, though he could tell she would've liked to go right back and not
wait. But she had to stay and help, the cure was so
if she suddenly disappeared...all hell would break loose. GerDal respected
her for that. He had seen the happiness, the
joy that had spread across her face as she viewed her shipmates. The absolute
joy. GerDal could not remember a time
when he had
witnessed such a reunion. The demons in his heart had settled for a moment
as he had watched Janeway tenderly touch
face. He would forever remember those moments.
hundreds of more moments waiting to happen below you. * His semi-smile
faded at that sobering thought. His demons did
not stop with
B'Elanna. Though he so wished they could.
young bridge monitor, had avoided him for a while now. The ship was out
of communications range, the message would be
sent as soon
as their jump was completed. GerDal grimaced; the heavens knew what that
would cause. Thankfully ReReal hadn't told
he had left the bridge ReReal had no idea the Voyagers had been there.
The console beeped under his fingers, startling
him from his
musings. He bent over the panel,
Part 5 SOH--
the second time that day, stood outside the door to GerDal's office. And
she was no less confused. The doors opened upon
revealing the back of the scientist in front of the large table in the
middle of the grand room.
carefully approached his side, as not to startle him.
He jerked his
head up at her, his eyes blazing with revelation, disgust....and a certain
have made a terrible mistake." He shuddered slightly. His voice haunted,
have you done?" Her hand went unconsciously to his shoulder, very much
afraid of his answer.
the cure..." His voice faltered, leaving B'Elanna more confused than before.
great GerDal!" What could possibly be wrong?
"No. No itís
not." His voice dropped the fear still loud in it though " It was all a
hoax. This entire disease." B'Elanna's brow furrowed.
"How is that
possible?" The frail man shook his head, shoulders slumping.
" I don't know.
I can't begin to comprehend the implications in this. Look. " He selected
a PADD from the top of a stack.
created a "sickness". One that is impossible to cure."
found one.... a cure..." She handed back the PADD.
"No. I discovered
a biological weapon." She didn't understand.
"You see, this
sickness is actually a complied genetic code. Mixed from dozens of races.
The ones we abduct. When I attempted to get
rid of the
'virus' I was, in essence, trying to rip apart the genetic strands. When
I succeeded.....I created a powerful biological weapon....
tearing apart genetic codes." He shuddered again at the image that filled
his head. "I created a monster."
She reread the PADD, suddenly seeing it in a new light.
" I don't know
why I didn't see it before." He rubbed the bridge of his nose.
" Why did your
government do this? Didn't they know you'd find out?" She sat the PADD
down, an instinctive fear written on her features.
" Another question
with no answer. I probably wouldn't have seen it. The only reason I did
was because pressed the wrong scan button."
His hand shook
with fear at what might have happened.." I might've been the reason for
the death of hundreds of races...." Would the
rested her hand on his shoulder.
" But you won't
be. You know now...you can stop this!" GerDal looked up from his hands.
A sudden determination filling his eyes.
*Even if its
the last thing I do. *
" A biological
weapon? Able of tearing apart genetic codes....." Kathryn Janeway fought
the urge to close her eyes at the horror that
" Yes. I have
to prevent this from being used." His voice, filled with desperation faded
into the background as Tom Paris stared past the
man, concentrating on the woman behind him. Her hair was longer, lighter.
He watched her hands twitch, a gesture so
yet so alien to him. He sat in awe of her presence, completely awash in
shock and sudden longing. He knew she couldn't
see him, hidden
behind the limited range of the viewcreen transmitter. She chewed at her
lip thoughtfully. Her back was rigged her
strong and brave.
will never change....And I thank god for it.* Yet even as he thought that
he knew things wouldn't be as they were when she
For, inevitably, things do change. He had changed, she had too. He couldn't
say he wasn't afraid of that. His life, before she
been right where he wanted it. Happy, calm, with the woman he loved. Now,
after months of pain--and the demons, he wasn't
Wasn't so calm. He was tired, he was older.... he had a different spin
on things. A tainted spin.
Now, he hadn't
become cynical. Or even pessimistic. But his eyes had been opened. Opened
to the unending empty regions of his heart
that had been
ripped open with gusto.
He knew she
had been hurt too. In a different way. She had been abused. That thought
brought back some of the anger that had
quelled in him. The thoughts of someone hurting her, breaking her will
and forcing the passionate half-klingon into a
state of submission
brought back some of the familiar Tom Paris. The one he could remember.
The one that really felt. He was still in
was beginning to ebb. And a longing began to take over his soul. Lighting
a spark in his blue eyes, as they stared into her
He knew he would never meet another that could do that.
spark. He felt the beginnings of the uncertainty to melt away with that
spark. He would always love her. He couldn't help it.
to the frazzled scientist over the coded transmission. They only had a
few minutes more before it was possible for the
register the outgoing link.
" I suppose
all we can do is destroy the research." GerDal shook his head at the statement.
" Not possible.
This ship is a library. The work was recorded in dozens of different files,
many unerasable. It was protocol...." He
head in anger. " How could I not see this?!" His voice held a note of contained
fury and desperation. Janeway couldn't help
" You weren't
suppose to." His eyes remained closed. "What can we do?" *Short of blowing
the ship to high heaven...* She left the
"Blow up the
ship." Janeway smiled a tight, ironic smile. *Of course...*
"I'm not ready
to do that yet." GerDal looked up, the desperation evident in his eyes.
" Then what
Captain! This ship can NOT go home. It would spell the death of millions."
"You have innocents
aboard...that need to go home." Janeway began to wonder how this was possible.
" The mines
detach and have their own thruster and support systems." B'Elanna stepped
forwards. "Their designed to survive on their
they have served their purpose." She paused. "They usually float until
the food runs out and the people on board die away."
Her eyes closed
at the thought of her once fate.
"We must go
Captain. I'll contact you again as soon as itís safe." The image blinked
out, leaving the vast array of space in its wake.
can be too damned confusing. *
jumping system! Don't you see?!" B'Elanna hit the table in her excitement.
"No. I honestly
don't." GerDal's eyes remained close, as they had been for a good half
hour after they terminated their contact with
" Look!" She
commanded. His left eye propped open.
She pointed to the schematic of the two engines. One the main ship, one
folding device can be segregated from the fourth terminal here...without
tripping anything..." His one open eye registered
She decided to begin again,
" Alright in
the simplest terms... The subspace jumper can be removed from the main
systems, without setting off any alarms. And then
and installed in the mines. When the ship tries to activate the jumper...the
mines will be sent home!!"
up suddenly filled with interest.
"You can do
that? With out being caught?!" This woman still never failed to amaze him.
"With a bit
of help." She smiled her familiar half smile. "If I can be let into your
engine room, " She accessed a diagram of the systems
on a panel
behind her, "... here, next to the jumper systems. They're close to the
scanning equipment. So I can always make the
working for you. And your people are used to me by now. All I'd need would
be twenty minutes...and I'd have it." Her half
a full grin. "Then I could go down to the engine room of the mines and
install it. Your staffing is very low on this
the intelligence levels aren't too high. I think I'm a good enough liar."
It was GerDal's turn to smile.
" I think so
too." He grinned even wider, feeling lighter by pounds, " This is crazy
enough to work, B'Elanna. And I think we may just be
to pull it off."
"Amen to that."
send you the details once the operation is complete." Kathryn Janeway watched
as her chief engineer shut off the detailed
her. It was an insane plan. But if anyone could pull it off it was B'Elanna.
a lock on you B'Elanna, just in case. Out." B'Elanna nodded and terminated
the signal before it was registered on the bridge.
It was the
night shift on GerDal's ship, only one or two engineers would be in Engineering
this late. She had spent the night before
herself with the alarms and fail-safes in the jumper system. She'd performed
many infiltration missions but she was still
glad to have
the help of the commander of the vessel. The irony was astounding. GerDal
had given her every access code, every alarm
all she would need. Yet her heart was still pounding. Despite her familiarity
with the kind of job she had performed few
had ever been *this* personal to her. She knew, first hand, every horror
she was fighting against. And she feared the
she was fighting to prevent. GerDal was watching her out of the corner
of his eyes.
"Are you ready?"
He picked up a box filled with tools she would need hidden under simple
PADDs that would look like they would need to
"I've called down, they know your coming and your cleared. There's only
two men down there at the moment and they
give you much trouble." B'Elanna nodded and took the box from him.
as ready as I'll be." She opened the metal box and searched through the
tools. "Good. Looks like everything's here. I'll
check in once
I have the module." With that she nodded once to GerDal, spun on her heel,
Alpha." B'Elanna tapped in the initial sequence GerDal had given her to
access the panel. The door in the bulkhead gave
click and swing open. She had gotten into Engineering with ease. Only one
man had been visible, knee deep in circuitry. The
logged out for the evening. Now B'Elanna sat in front of a dimly lighted
panel, hidden behind a metal door.
out the connector cable....* She keyed in another security clearance. Swish.
It read green. One by one she removed
in security codes. After a good 30 minutes she sat back on her heels and
scanned over her work. She had removed every
piece that needed to be installed in the mine's systems. She bit at her
lip and she rechecked all the connections. She had
system with a mock up VOYAGER had helped her create. it would imitate the
readings and the actions of the real system
bridge tried to use it. The entire thing was simplistic and lacked many
important security back-ups. The mines were meant to
be used as
a back up to get home if the normal ship couldn't. So the mines had the
exact connectors to make the jumper system work.
It was too
easy. B'Elanna knew she had to be that much more careful....because the
easiest things are so often the hardest.
Dirt. The first
thing that assaulted her senses as she stepped off the platform and into
the 'mine' she had lived in so very long. She had
down upon this place since she had left. She didn't need to be reminded
of what it held. She knew. Knew all too well. The
saw now were mostly unfamiliar. Must be the new recruits. To replace the
dead. Her friends. The dead. It was the same cycle.
made her way through the crowds of dirty, ragged people she spotted a girl
in the corner, she was obviously new, her rags
some traces of brown where the black ore would soon fill. The girl cowered
against the corner of the wall, scared, obviously
lost and separated
from someone. It was all too familiar to B'Elanna. The potent smell of
death and suffering filled her nostrils as she
tried to shake
it off. The weeks living on the platform had not rid of the stench. But
it had deafened it.
Focus. You can save them. If you Focus.* The guards were beginning to notice
her as she walked calmly towards the
room of the imaged mines.
"And who are
you." She stopped at the sound of a burly voice behind her.
much to you." She handed the guard a PADD with her authorization codes
on it. She recognized him. She had watched
him haul out
a young girl on one of her first nights in this sector. It took all of
her control to keep from decking him. He seemed
letting her pass. Too bad he couldn't stop it.
" Fine." The
guard turned away and B'Elanna let out a small sigh. Almost there. She
quickened her pace slightly as she reached a small
panel. Right where GerDal said it would be. After quickly consulting her
PADD she tapped in a short sequence into the panel.
rock disappeared and she stepped into a gray, dimly lit room. As she stepped
through the rock reappeared behind her as
*And I made
it. Now for the fun part.* The ship was ridiculously undermanned, underguarded,
and unaware. However they never thought
the top scientist
would turn against them and they never thought a prisoner would have the
intelligence to do this. They just plain never
it helped her immensely.
"I'm done GerDal.
VOYAGER had the parts waiting for me when I arrived." B'Elanna finished
packing her case. She had just finished
parts into their correct places, everything read green, "B'Elanna out."
She closed the comm line and walked towards the door.
The rock disappeared
and she stepped out of the room.
She thought as she rounded the corner.
looked up into the barrel of a disrupter. " I know what youíre doing."
B'Elanna backed away from the man with the gun. It
from the bridge. His voice was low, trying not to gather much attention.
"I know what youíre trying to do. I won't let you." He
He grabbed her arm and pulled her away from the room. "Both of you. Don't
you understand? Understand what you
His sudden shout had drawn curious looks from nearby prisoners. He quickly
lowered his voice, "I don't think you do. My life.
lives. How dare you." B'Elanna tensed under his hand as he drug her towards
the platform, kicking sickly prisoners from
It again took all of her strength to keep from fighting him here. But if
she called too much attention to them..the whole plan
would be ruined.
It was good that this place had at least taught her a great deal of patience.
Yet as he kicked a younger girl from his
path she couldn't
control her tongue,
" How dare
I?" He stopped and turned towards her as her words left her unbidden, his
eyes were feverish.
who has the gun." She backed down, unwilling to die when she was so close.
"Good... you understand," He smiled a twisted
grin. " It'd
all be so much easier if you just understood all of this." He pulled them
into the elevator that would lift them to the entrance
office. "But you don't.... You can't. You aren't one of us. You are impure."
They were near the top level. He lifted the gun.
His hand trembled.
have to die." He pushed her against the back of the lift. "Just die." His
finger reached against the button. B'Elanna prepared
duck, to turn, to do something. Then the red beam struck out....and hit
him square in the back as the lift doors opened to
with a disrupter of his own. ReReal fell forward, unseeing in his dead
eyes, to a heap at B'Elanna's feet. She shakily
his body and towards GerDal. He motioned for a guard to remove his body.
She heard him murmur some explanation to
who seemed to accept it. GerDal then pulled B'Elanna into his office.
" That was
too close." She pulled her boots off.
me about it." She placed her boots against the far wall. She shivered a
little, as if trying to shake off the quick near disaster,
"How'd he find
out?" GerDal shrugged,
Maybe he heard." He gave a grim smile. " I guess we'll never know." He
shook his head. "Poor boy must have gone
this. He could have never known." Then GerDal shivered a bit too.
Part 6 SOH--
scared. No other way to say it. Flat out scared. She had dreamed about
this for months, longed for it, cried for it. It was
was going home. But she could barely suppress the urge to vomit. All this
time. Would they recognize her? How would they
would he react?
aren't done yet. Focus.* The little voice pushed her again. At least her
plan was in order, once she went to Voyager, briefed
and gathered the medical supplies she would transport back to the lab with
the doctor and various medical staff to help
sick before they were sent home. In the mean time VOYAGER would transport
the guards to a planet nearby with supplies. The
the prisoners would have been left in. They would be left a signal to contact
their government so maybe eventually they would
B'Elanna couldn't help but hope they weren't. She took a deep breath and
tapped her communicator.
" Beam me over."
How many times
had she seen that panel? The familiar gray curve and lighted buttons, the
smiling face of the transporter operator. A
times, in dozens of conditions, and in an infinite amount of moods. Yet
now it made her want to cry. The image faded
completely as the shocking familiar beam let her go. She swayed under her
own weight but quickly found her feet as the
up to help her down.
" Welcome home
B'Elanna." The dark orbs meet the Captainís gaze. Complete, desperate happiness
to be...Nice to be back." She stumbled over the words. It was all too much.
same little voice.
"I bet you
have a lot of catching up." The captain escorted B'Elanna from the room.
B'Elanna didn't meet her Captain's gaze, just
the far end of the hallway,
"Yea, yea I
do. But first we have some people to save."
the plan." She breathed out, meeting the Captain's eyes, the only ones
she had been able to meet the whole briefing. She
acutely aware of the other's eyes upon her. Extremely aware of a particular
"So we have
the Medical team ready. Right Tom?" Chakotay turned towards the blonde
man. B'Elanna couldn't make herself look.
" Yes. All
ready." He sounded haunted. Distant almost. Like he'd seen a ghost.
*He has* That
little voice was still there.
* But stay
focused.* The same damn reminder.
lets get this on the road." Chakotay stood and looked at Janeway.
" Yes. Dismissed.
Med. team meet in the transporter room in ten minutes." They all filed
out, eyes still on B'Elanna. She stared straight
at the panel.
The Captain stood.
" You can breathe
now. It's over." B'Elanna looked up.
"No. Not yet.
Not for a while." Janeway's expression looked saddened.
" I know. But
I still have more faith in you than ever. You'll make it. We all care for
you and we'll try and make it the easiest it can be."
"But I do have one question before you go B'Elanna. The jumping system....."
" We can't
use it." She looked towards the floor now. " It can be used only to send
that ship home now. Unless you want to wait to see if
comes for those guards we don't get to use it. The pieces can be mocked
by us, but we don't have the materials to make
it. They come
from certain ores found only on their planet. I did all the research."
Her eyes closed. " I'm sorry."
" There is
nothing for you to be sorry for." B'Elanna gave a grim smile.
" I guess I
understand now why you destroyed that array. You wanted to save people.
And I didn't understand. I hated you for it. Yet
now I am almost
thankful you did. And now I'm in your shoes." Janeway patted her shoulder,
" Some of the
best lessons in life are the most costly." B'Elanna nodded and was silent
for a moment.
" Yea. But
now I have to go learn mine."
"Tom? Are you
alright?" The doctor came to stand next to his main assistant in the transporter
room as they awaited B'Elanna's arrival.
It was still
odd to think of it that way, her being alive.
" I don't know."
It was the most honest answer he could give. Part of him was hurt by her
obvious avoidance of his eyes. The other part
He had seen her, living, breathing before him. In the same room. If there
were ever angels....he had seen one. He could
hear her screams
echoing in his ears, see the image he had imprinted in his mind of her
last moments. They made him want to scream,
in his arms and feel that she was really there, that she wasn't going to
fade away, hear her say something to him, look into
He wanted to make her better. Wanted to love her. But at the same time
he was afraid of her. He had heard what they had
done to her.
And he would see in a few moments. He didn't know what that would do. He
knew nothing. And it was an awful feeling.
It was her voice. Taking charge...like it was before. Like it should be.
She strode in, still dressed in the tan jumpsuit she had
in. He avoided her eyes, knowing he had to focus to make this work. She
obviously felt the same way. They all stepped
platform, phasers ready. They never knew what was ahead.
The lab came
into focus, empty except for the small scientist hovering over a console.
As he heard the hum of the transporter behind
him he spun
"Oh thank the
gods you're back." He rushed up and took the PADD from B'Elanna. "Are you
ok B'Elanna...is everything set?" He looked
at the rest
of the team. A dark haired man stood at the front, eyes scanning materials,
patiently. Behind stood a blonde woman, eyes
and saddened, locked on B'Elanna. A balding man stood next to her holding
a large medical kit, he must have been in
the far side, opposite where B'Elanna had stepped forward from stood a
blonde man, with deep, tired, pained, and loving
GerDal watched this man watch B'Elanna. This was the one, he decided, this
was B'Elanna's strength. He could tell. Her voice
from his musings,
all set. Just get your guards to the bridge and VOYAGER will take them
from there." Her tone was short and abrupt. The
had this done the sooner she could wash her hands of it. She went to the
console to activate the broadcast beam that would
message to every part of the ship. And then watched as he stepped out the
door onto the open platform.
"I'd like to
make an announcement." He paused from effect, making sure all eyes in the
mine were on him as he held up a vile in one
hand and read
from a PADD in the other, "The mission is complete." He paused again; the
workers simply looked at him, bewildered
the guards stood at attention silently, "Would ALL personnel meet on the
bridge immediately. All. Thank you." The guards still
GerDal made a concerted effort to grin, "We are successful." A roar of
victory arose from the guards below, a deep
B'Elanna closed her eyes and shut off the beam. The pain evident in her
movements. GerDal moved back into the lab. All
his smile gone.
"All set. They
should all be there in a minute. Then you treat the wounded and prepare
them for jump; your ship transports the guards,
and then destroys
the main ship. All perfectly in order." GerDal hung his head. "All perfectly."
B'Elanna moved to him and placed her
hand on his
be over soon GerDal. This nightmare will end." He looked up at her,
"Yes it will
B'Elanna. Yes it will."
before the door to his bridge. A vile of liquid in his hands. And a stack
of PADDs. All of his research. All the information.
purged every bit from the computers. It would all be gone in a little while.
He looked down on his vest, adorned with the
of ribbons and awards he had won. His lifetime of genius and distinguished
achievements. All destroyed with the discovery of
biological weapon he had heard of in his lifetime. And he had created it.
They had used him. He had used people. It was a
He turned around and looked back down the hallway of his vessel. The last
time he would look upon them. He then turned
ceiling, offering a small prayer of forgiveness and peace. He then tapped
the commbadge the Voyagers had integrated into
his vest to
look just like another award.
Voyager. When I say the word." There was no response. There wasn't supposed
vessel.* He turned back towards the large door.
And the walked
" Go down now.
It's clear." B'Elanna stood with her back to the medical teams behind her.
A number of more volunteers had been
"As soon as you all are in place I'll turn off the imager. There will be
a significant amount of shock. Be prepared. Dispense
food to everyone you can, then find leaders for designated sections. Then
all the group leaders check in with me and I'll
start up sequences and start beaming you all back over to Voyager." She
closed her eyes quickly and then turned and opened
gentle. They've had a rough time." Then she nodded and the teams quickly
filed out to take the lifts and stairs down to the
far so smooth. She waited in silence until the reports started to file
teams reported one by one. Finally the last one called in,
Despite her attempts she flinched a little.
He didn't respond but she pressed on.
prepare for shutdown in ... 5-4-3-2-.... 1." She switched the lever down.
She could hear the gasps from the office.
her head in her hands. All she could do now was wait. Wait and hope.
Dirt. It was
all Thomas Paris could see. Everything and everyone was coated in deep
brown soot. He drew more than a few curious
the workers huddled around their small fires, clung together, their piles
of rock and ore forgotten a few feet away.
"I can't believe
Lt. Torres was captured here for so long." The comment came from an ensign
behind him. Tom didn't want to believe it.
were alarmingly thin, bones showing through the smudged skin. A group of
children sat around a pile of soot where some
in the dirt with their little fingers, others had taken to lying down and
resting. Their hair, if they had any at all, was matted
Tom opened his medical kit and nodded to the others to follow suit. There
had to be over eighth dozen prisoners in this
it would take a lot to get these people ready to fend for themselves when
they got home. They would need leaders, at
engineer, a doctor of some sort, a pilot, and someone who could manage
weapons. Considering that these people had all
from space-faring vessels Tom was confident they could find at least a
few people that could get them home.
"Who are you?"
It was a woman, a small one, from a nearby fire. "What do you want with
us." She looked a little better off then some of
huddled near her; she must have been new.
to help. I'm Lt. Thomas Paris of the USS Voyager. We're here to send you
home." The woman looked dubious but his words
the attention of all the prisoners in the room.
you in association with these guards and people of the planet?" She motioned
to the caves around her.
"No, we are
here to free you and punish the people who have captured you." Tom went
with the simplest version he could think of. The
rest was just
too damn confusing. The prisoner still didn't seem to convinced but she
must of thought it couldn't be much worse so she
Tom couldn't blame her. Trusting anyone here would be hard to do. And she
was right; it didn't get all too much worse.
"First of all
we need you to tell of if any of you are infected with any disease or illness."
Tom scanned the room several hands rose
the huddled masses. "Would you please come here?" Tom spoke gently, trying
not to frighten them. Many looked dubious
terrified, but in the end they came up and lined up before him. He nodded
to the team behind him to go to work. Then he
and looked to the wall, drawing on some strength he hit his commbadge,
He flinched a little at the dead, almost harsh sound of his voice.
Her voice floated through the air. He squeezed his eyes shut tight. It
was like hearing a ghost while standing in her
shuddered. He opened his eyes at the shocked screams and gasps. When he
did he was greeted by cold steel walls where rich
dirt was once.
He turned back to the group of dumb-founded prisoners as they stared at
the square room. Tom watched, as the children
from where the pictures had once been. It was a large room; each wall had
a small door that lead away to where another
"Is this a
suddenly began to arise as the shock faded away into chaotic confusion.
Tom turned back around to the group, ready to
give the speech
B'Elanna had instructed the to before they had left,
"You have been....."
" You have
been a part of the victory of our people. We are now heroes in our land.
Names to be remembered." GerDal stood on the top
of his bridge
and looked down on the guards and assistants on the lower level and to
his sides. "There will be no more death, no more
GerDal felt a twinge of guilt at this. There was a plague, one instituted
by his government and he also knew some of this
family at home affected by this plague. Their family wouldn't be getting
this cure. As they all thought they were.
*There is no
cure.* GerDal had to remind himself. *Least not one they gave you information
to solve.* Well he would end this now.
looked on his crew and hit his chest, right where the commbadge was,
"No more death."
GerDal then watched as the faces of the guards contorted into shock and
confusion as the Voyagers locked on to them
them away at GerDal's words.
GerDal." It was the Captainís voice, filling the now empty bridge, "Transport
Captain. I will await B'Elanna's signal to begin the jump." He then closed
the channel and sat in his chair. It was almost
"All of the
guards are on the planet and their supplies are there. GerDal is awaiting
our signal on the bridge. B'Elanna out." Tom switched
off the panel
B'Elanna's message for the teams had come on. It was time for his team
to report back to the lab. They had managed to
any serious diseases and basically clean up the rest, handing out blankets
and food. Tom's team had also been charged with
someone who could handle leading this ship home. He had picked the woman
who had originally spoke up. Her name was
had been captured a few weeks earlier from a medical ship traveling nearby.
She had knowledge of medications and bodily
she'd make a fine doctor till they could get these people back to doctors
of their own species. So with her in tow they signaled
beam out and then watched as the now sterile room faded from their sight.
It didn't bother Tom at all to leave. It still felt like a
grave to him.
Her grave. He couldn't make himself believe that she had been down there,
sick, hunger, so very thin. He would never get
from his head either. These past months would haunt him his whole life,
no matter what happened from here. The lab faded
view, B'Elanna's back towards them still as she tapped a few more instructions
into the consul. She turned around as they
alright?" She directed her comment towards Tom but focused on the wall
above is head.
" Yea, it went
fine." He didn't look directly at her either. He wondered how long they
would go on like this. Not looking at each other, not
wondered when they would be ok. If they would be ok. How they could be
ok. She nodded and then looked at screen.
all the team back. Except for you and your select for the crew." She then
looked at the crew and nodded to them. As they
she signaled for their beam out, leaving just her, Tom, and Gerdi in the
Once all the
teams had come back and been transported out B'Elanna stood on the auxiliary
bridge with the new crew of the ship for the
The captain had been selected by Chakotay, a young man who had captained
a survey vessel near the home planet of his
the med officer selected by Tom was shifting through the supplies left
by Voyager. The weapons officer seemed eager,
and the pilot
had already taken his seat.
"You will have
to take all the prisoners to their homes. We have compiled a list of the
planets and their coordinates. The ones that lived
in this sector
have been taken back." She had already given them the run down on the systems
and the mission. They were, however,
space travelers. She had no doubt they would accomplish this. They all
nodded and the new Captain accepted the PADD
and started scanning through the names.
and safe travel." B'Elanna looked once more at the new crew, nodded and
bridge B'Elanna was greeted by Chakotay. He put his hand on her shoulder.
"They are going
to be alright. They'll make it. They're in good hands now." She smiled
softly at the ground. "And now B'Elanna we need
to get home
ourselves. It's time to put this behind us." She looked up.
" I know."
He smiled gently at her as she looked back at the floor. "I prayed for
this Chakotay. Every night and every morning. With
I moved and every time I tossed and turned because I was too hungry or
sick to sleep I hoped I see everyone again. And
now I'm leaving
and going back." Chakotay looked down at her, his brown eyes understanding,
"But now you're
scared. Unsure. This has become safe. And where you're going you thought
you may never see again." She smiled
here for you B'Elanna. We are your family. And eventually it will all make
sense again." He broke into a smile, "And your
been whining for you." At that she smiled too,
"Then I better
room faded into view again for B'Elanna. The same sight that had always
greeted her. She stepped down with Chakotay
with him in silence to the turbolift and the bridge. As she stepped off
the lift and onto the bridge it was as busy as she ever
it being. Janeway turned around as the doors opened, as did the rest of
the bridge. For the moment all the motion
silence was deafing.
Janeway smiled and the nodded for her to join her at the command center.
B'Elanna made her way past Harry Kim, who
her in undisguised relief and happiness. Then passed the conn station who's
occupant stared more at the floor. She didn't
She felt like staring at the floor too. Chakotay had gone around the other
way, and then stood by his seat. She stepped up
next to Janeway,
ready." Janeway then nodded to Tuvok who opened a channel to GerDal,
" The lower
ship is awaiting the jump. Then once it's gone we'll transport you over
and destroy the ship." GerDal nodded on the other
end. His eyes
held a sorrow B'Elanna noticed but didn't understand. It was over now.
Why was he sad? He locked eyes with her for an
couldn't express what she saw if she was asked,
And then he was gone.
on his lonely bridge, surrounded by his PADDs of research. His awards,
his treasures. He leaned over the console and hit the
communications channel on,
jump in 10-9-8....." He positioned his hand over the launcher. "4-3-2-.....1"
He hit the codes in. He knew inertial dampeners
him from feeling the lower part of his ship disappear but he could swear
he felt it anywise.
He then looked directly ahead at the image of VOYAGER. He couldn't go.
He had done enough in this universe. He was a
his genius a danger to those around him. He couldn't let himself to be
the destruction of anymore. He hovered over the
voice filled the deserted bridge,
beam over GerDal." No, he couldn't. His people would chase this ship. GerDal
held the information that would make them
one else could ever hope to discover. They wouldn't let him go. He had
to take his genius to the grave. He wouldn't hurt
He raised his
I can't. The universe isn't safe with me in it." He locked eyes with B'Elanna
as the young ensign informed his Captain that
could not get a lock on him.
B'Elanna. I'm sorry for this all.* He then hit the self distract sequence.
in 1:15 and counting." His computer began the countdown. He heard the Captain
shouting something, but his eyes stayed
* I really
am sorry. *
move or make any noise.
* I feel a
*I did something
Remember me. *
"Pull out of
range, keep trying to get him."
from his ship tipped VOYAGER on her side as she rode it out. The lights
flickered briefly before the power stabilized.
on the command platform, still not moving or talking. He was gone. He sacrificed
"Did we get
him?" It was Janeway. B'Elanna didn't move, of course they didn't. He was
among the debris that was his ship. Or at least
the part that
wasn't sent back to a distant sector. She knew that. She should have known
He's gone." Harry delivered the news as softly as he could, possibly hoping
that she wouldn't hear and she'd never know.
Janeway hung her head, then stared out on the debris.
Mr. Paris. Towards the Alpha Quadrant." She looked back on B'Elanna, who
had yet to move. "Are you alright?" B'Elanna then
"He was a good
man. He saved me." She looked back into the debris. "He did the right thing."
At Janeway's startled look she added,
"He died with
peace. It made him happy." She felt as unfeeling as she had accused Seven
as being. But at the pit of her stomachs she
happiness spreading through her. He had been let free. He had his peace.
He wanted that. His burden had been let go. And
it was time
she let hers fly.
Joe had been
more than willing to give B'Elanna back her position. Something she would
be ever grateful for. Though her quarters had
untouched she felt uncomfortable in them. They held a great number of memories
in them. Ones she wasn't ready yet to
So her engines had been a great escape for her. Carey had done an all right
job on keeping them going. However Chakotay
had been right,
they were desperate for her. Harry had been an angel to her, leaving her
alone mostly but eating with her when they had
a shift off
together. He would fill her in on what had happened during her absence.
He always gave her as much space as she needed,
and was always
there when she needed to talk. Or to just be reminded she wasn't dreaming.
adopted a different approach to her altogether. He showered her with attention
and visited her often on his off-hours.
her self to be patient. He had missed her as much as she had him. And his
food tasted better to her than it ever had.
Chakotay had played parents and taken her aside to talk dozens of times.
Both had agreed she should take it easy until
she was used
to being home again. All B'Elanna cared about was that Janeway had given
her the engine room back again.
as if nothing had happened. Though B'Elanna couldn't wait for the day she
let her curiosity get the better of her and finally
to what B'Elanna went throughout. It was bound to happen.
Tuvok had asked
if their meditation sessions would be resumed. She actually found herself
eager to have that time again.
She had seen
a great deal of the doctor, the dear doctor. She couldn't say much on that.
At least some things never change.
Then that left
the pilot. She still hadn't even meet his eyes. And she had been back for
a week. She couldn't say anything on him. She
him. He still wasn't there.
She sat on
her couch going through the engine reports, wrapped in a blanket. She looked
up as the door chime buzzed, expecting to
see the little
Talaxian with another message or what not.
her was something different altogether.
with pain, uncertainty, fear, and underneath it all a love. He stood at
the entrance seeming uncertain on if he should come
in. She just
"Tom." He looked
her dead in the eyes again.
"I still ran.
I still thought you would still be here. Every day. I never gave up you
would be back. I could hear you breathing. I would
wake up and
the morning would chase away every ghost of the dreams of you. And I'd
be alone. That was the hardest part. You never
goodbye. I could have choked on the words I never said. I prayed that some
day I'd have the chance to. I clung to every hint
of you. I
swore that I could feel you. Lying next to me when I couldn't see in the
dark. When the Captain called engineering I always
hear you answer her. I got so tired. So hopeless. But I never stopped loving
you. Though I could have killed myself for not
And now your are here. Right before me. And it took me this long to come
say this to you. I don't know what going to
I know that you are the most important in my life. I was hardly able to
breathe when you weren't here. That scares me. But
I can't ignore
it. Or change it. I couldn't live with myself not telling you." He stopped
and just looked. Unable to say anymore that made
moved from the couch and kneeled at his feet. Her hand rested on his cheek.
" Thank you."
It was all she could say. Her lip reached up and gently brushed against
his. When she opened her eyes she smiled gently.
" I don't know
what's going to happen either. But I lived because I wanted to come home
to you. You made me live. And I can't ignore
it. Some things
you can't be comfortable doing. I'm scared. But I need you. I hate it.
But I don't want to live without you." He smiled
now too. And
he kissed her.
And the mines
The six months
At least for
a few moments
But when they
did come back
AND I AM SOOOO
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