Disclaimers: Paramount and Viacom are not only god, but also own Voyager, her characters and everything else that is Trek. I am merely borrowing them to fulfill my imagination (however strange, pathetic and twisted it is). This latest ‚masterpiece‘ of mine (Da Vinci and Caravaggio would have heart attacks, not to mention my father!), takes place after "Living Witness." After the Doctor gives his testimony, the Kyrians re-double their efforts, and eventually finds more data taken from Voyager‘s computer, which includes some personal logs—including some from our favourite helmboy. Please forgive the Stardate (I‘m still trying to get the hang of this!), however, if anyone knows how to figure out this damnfangledthing, I would be entirely grateful for them to email me, in order to explain it to me. Also, many thanks go towards Janet for writing about a possible friendship between Tom and Ro (I bought the RanDom Flight‘s fanzine and can‘t wait to read "Happy Holidays, Cadet Ro." Also, thanks go to Nick who once again beta-read this for me (stop that! I know what you‘re thinking!). This is a Personal Log!"Doctor," called out a middle-aged man, leaning over a consol with a tool in his hand.
The Doctor went over to him. "Quarren," he returned, and looked around to find his new friend in a recreation of Engineering. It had been almost three months since the Doctor had given his ‚testimony‘ of what really happened. That, combined with the information held in the medical tricorder, had helped to further prove the EMH‘s version of events, that had taken place seven centuries previously. Things were still a bit dicey, but not to the point that it had been when a group of Vaskans had nearly trashed the museum. The Kyrian curator/tour guide, had fully realised the mistaken beliefs his people had held about the Federation ship for the past seven hundred years, and was the first to make friends with the Doctor. As he had told the Doctor beforehand, he was always interested in Voyager, and asked questions about her and her crew all the time. He had also noted that the hologram had a dry sense of humour— something not usually known for artificial lifeforms as he thought of the Doctor as. However, he was beginning to realise that the crew of Voyager—even though they knew him as such—never really though of the EMH as that. He was just another member of the crew. The Doctor looked at what Quarren was doing .
The latter looked up and answered the EMH‘s unasked question. "We found another data storage device, and it appears to be intact."
The Doctor noticed the excitement in the man‘s voice. "Oh?
Where was it found?"
"Not too far from where your program was found; several meters deeper, though." Quarren turned to the Doctor. "This is a great find! Perhaps we can further prove your story Doctor—I mean, after all, there are still some Kyrians that are still a bit hard-pressed about this, that refuse to accept the truth. Maybe this contains more evidence that it was the Vaskans and the Kyrians that started the war, and that Voyager had nothing to do with it; that you only fired in self-defense." The hologram had told Quarren that the torpedo that had been displayed in the museum, had been fired when the Kyrians shot at the ship.
The Doctor perked at what the Kyrian said. "What kind of data?" he asked.
"I don‘t know," Quarren replied, as he worked on retrieving the information. The Doctor began to pace and leaned against the wall, arms folded. "It appears that all of it is not intact, after all," he later commented.
The Doctor rushed over. "What do you mean?"
Quarren looked up. "See for yourself," he returned, as he turned the monitor towards the EMH.
The hologram peered into it. "Let‘s see... Oh, I see what you mean." And he did. It was actually a series of personal logs by a crew member. He did not know which on though, until he got to: "...died, came back to life, and then turned into an alien-salamander," and "All in all, it was a pretty interesting past couple of days." "Ah," he said with satisfaction. "This is Mr. Paris‘ personal logs."
"How can you tell?"
"He was the only one on the ship who died, came back to life, and transformed into an ‚alien-salamander,‘ after going Warp 10," the Doctor answered.
"It‘s a long story," was returned.
"Can you forward it to the day when Voyager first encountered the Kyrians and Vaskans?" queried Quarren.
"Of course I can!" the Doc answered, but hesitated.
This did not go unnoticed. "What‘s wrong?"
"His personal log of that day, may not be intact."
The Kyrian forwarded the logs to the stardate that they were speaking of. "Actually, it is completely intact. Apparently, one of the few logs that is." He turned to the EMH. "But that‘s not is, is it?"
"Very perceptive of you," replied the Doctor. "This is a personal log, of someone who was not only my colleague, but also a friend. It just doesn‘t seems right for me to snoop in his private affairs."
"But he‘s dead!" exclaimed Quarren, "What harm is there in seeing what he wrote?"
"But it‘s private!"
"Doctor, I think that it is essential for us to at least see what Mr. Paris has written for this date! At least to help corroborate your side of what happened," the Kyrian pressed.
The Doctor was hesitant , but nodded as he found another chair to sit down. He knew that Tom was dead (it was doubtful that the flight controller would still be alive after seven hundred years), but there was still something not quite right rifling through his logs. Besides, with Mr. Paris, one did not know what to expect as anything was possible.
Quarren, seeing the Doctor nod, touched the controls to play the log. He was looking forward in seeing what Paris had written.
Lieutenant Paris‘ Personal Log, Stardate 51775.9
We had some unexpected—and uninvited guests, yesterday. Captain Janeway had just finished negotiations with a race called the Vaskans, to trade dilithium for medical supplies with their ambassador, when another race called the Kyrians attacked Voyager. They accused us of working with the Vaskans, of creating an alliance against them. The Vaskan ambassador killed the Kyrian called Tedran, who was holding Seven and Corin hostage. However, this was not before they attacked engineering, killed three crewmen and injured the rest. When Tuvok reported to the Bridge that three crewmen were dead, my heart stopped. B‘Elanna had not answered the Captain beforehand. I had hoped to God that it was not her who was among the dead crewmen. I prayed that it was not her. I felt like racing down to engineering to find out for myself, but I couldn‘t do anything; not with the ship under attack and intruders on board. I could not leave my post. I could not let Captain Janeway down. There I was on the bridge, surrounded by people, and I had never felt so alone, so lost. What I felt was total panic. I remember going through something similar to that when the Mari had arrested B‘Elanna, for violent thoughts and was going to put her through an engramatic purge.
But this was different.At least on the Mari Homeworld, I knew that she was still alive. Here, she could have been dead. It was the not knowing that was plaguing me the most. For a moment, I didn‘t care who was dead—Nicoletti, Carey, Stevens or even Seven! I DIDN‘T CARE! I just didn‘t want to hear her name on the casualty list. Another name added onto the—Lord-Knows-How-Many-People-We‘ve-Lost-So-Far—list. I know that it was selfish of me for thinking that, but it‘s true. I feel guilty for saying it, for even thinking it, but it‘s true. B‘Elanna has become so important to me, that I can‘t imagine a life without her. I don‘t give my heart very easily to someone, as too many bad experiences in the past has taught me not to do this, not to let someone in. I have let few people in. Suzy, I let in for the most part. Laren, don‘t even need to say. Kes, and Bella. They are the only ones that I‘ve let in. For the most part.
What I felt was sharper, more intense.
Suzy was my first love. I did a lot of ‚firsts‘ with her, including losing my virginity with her. And she was the first to break my heart. Actually, I did let her in a lot, but not completely. We broke up before I had the ‚honours‘ to do that. It still hurts sometimes, when I think of it. So I try not to.
Ro, was my best friend, and I like to think that she still is. I hope to god that she‘s still alive. When Chakotay received that letter stating that most of the Maquis were dead, I felt numb when it sank in. No, Ro has just as many lives as I do. She has to be alive, I want her to still be alive. But the more that I think about it, the more I don‘t hold much on that. Ro had a tough exterior, but was vulnerable on the inside. Everyone could only guess what the Carddies did to her, but I know the truth. I know all of it. I‘m the only one that she ever told—well, at least until I came here. She may have told someone else later on. Harry is my best friend on the ship, but he doesn‘t know me like Laren does. I could say things around her that would shock Harry, but make her laugh. ‚The Attitude Twins,‘ they called us at the Academy. And we were quite a pair—in a platonic sense of course. I would never have done anything to harm that friendship. She was the first person who accepted me for me. And I will always be thankful for that. I could always be myself around her and never fear any judgment from her either. I never had to have a mask on my face. And that felt good. I will always love her for that.
Kes. God, I miss her! Besides Harry, she was the only one who didn‘t make a judgment call on me—and lord knows my past could certainly call that upon me! For a while, I did have a crush on her, but it subsided when I saw how much in love she was with Neelix. I later loved her as an older brother for a younger sister. She was a good friend and was always there whenever I needed to talk to someone. I don‘t know, maybe being telepathic had something to do with it, why it was so easy talking to her. But I know that‘s not it. It was who she was, that made it so easy; her personality, her calm serenity. She may have been only three when she—I have no idea of what to call it! Left for another plane? Something similar to the Vulcan Katra—her soul leaving us? I still can‘t get myself to say ‚died.‘ It‘s been months now, but I still can‘t say it. Anyway, she may have been three when she...left, but she lived a lifetimes compared to most Ocampans. I hope that wherever she is, she‘s happy. And, maybe looking over us like a guardian angel of some kind.
B‘Elanna. What I felt towards Suzy and Ricki was nothing, compared to what I feel for B‘Elanna—and I was engaged to Ricki too! At the beginning of this journey, we weren‘t friends nor enemies. I think. We knew each other and were on the senior staff. Harry was my friend and he worked with her in engineering a lot. Then one day, he invited her to Sandrines and hang around us. I can honestly say that we had become friends when I went Warp 10. She was the only one who had any guts to ask me of what was going on, when the Captain, Tuvok and myself, were laying a trap to catch Jonas—not even Harry could do that! Everyone else had thought that it was only a matter of time before I reverted to my ‚former‘ self, once again. Well, I guess that I‘m that good of an actor. But I don‘t think so.
I don‘t know when I started to feel something more than friendship towards her. It was sort of a surprise to me too. Then Vorik and his Pon Farr happened on Sikari IV and everything got a bit screwed up. For a while, we were overly polite to each other. Then it got to the point that when I flirted with her, she did likewise. As we hung around each other more, I fell more in love with her. I knew that I was falling in love with her beforehand, but I don‘t know when I fully realised it. I know that when Tuvok and I were in Seska‘s version of "Insurrection Alpha," I thought about getting back to her. I remember that when we were in that habitat on the Nurian station, she was realigning the Doc‘s optical sensors to detect any portals leading to the rest of the station. She had said to me, "If you find it so difficult to be my friend, then why keep trying?" It hurt me when she said that. It hurt a lot. I didn‘t know what else to do, so I said a comeback and quickly left. The Doctor was right that day, when he kept adding to the conversation—or should I even call it that? Anyway, when we got the ship back, we straightened everything out. Without really apologising either. Maybe it was then when I realised that I loved her, I have no idea. No, it was then when I did realise that I loved her. What I felt when she said her remark in the habitat, was really hurtful. And she was actually figuring me out. And that scared me. What scared me even more was the possibility that she didn‘t want me to be around her. I was glad that wasn‘t true. I don‘t think that I could have taken it.
Then came the Day of Honour. She definitely wasn‘t having a good day, and here I was trying to push her into doing the program we had worked on. Then the Catatti came over, the test for transwarp, and ejecting the warp core. And if that wasn‘t enough, the Cochrane exploded—and that was my favourite shuttle too... Here we were, floating in space and running low on oxygen, when she says that she loves me. She loves me! And what was my response? "You picked a hell of a time to tell me." Everyone had always told me that I had good social skills. Well, what a time for them to have run out on me. After we were rescued, we spent the next three days avoiding each other. When we did see each other— aside of the morning briefings and the meeting when Chakotay crashed onto that planet—I gave her the opportunity to recant, but she didn‘t. The next thing I know, she says that I don‘t have to do the reciprocal and says for us to forget everything. Well, that was the last thing that I wanted to do, so I told her to shut up and kissed her. Then the Doc interrupted us with that wonderful timing of his. The next time I saw her, both the Doc and her were beamed to Sickbay. Apparently the isomorph that they went to help, had tried to kill her. When I saw her on the biobed, my heart stopped. I couldn‘t lose her, not when we were just getting started. But she survived.
And we‘ve been together ever since.
I almost lost her to that crazed isomorph, to those idiots who used Voyager as a petrie dish, when she was injured by Species 8472 in engineering, and I don‘t know how she would have been if the Mari had been allowed to continue with the purge.
And I could have lost her again yesterday.
And I don‘t even want to contemplate that.
But I can‘t help it.
What if she had been killed, or what if she had been mortally wounded? I don‘t think that I could have taken it.
I prayed that she was all right when Tuvok checked in with the bridge, and stated that as soon as we were out of harm‘s way, that I ought to go to Sickbay to help treat the injured engineering crew. Or what was left of them. When the ship was out of Kyrian range and safe, the Captain sent me to Sickbay. I actually ran to Sickbay! Me, the guy who spends so much time there, that he‘s sick of it! But I had to make sure that B‘Elanna was all right. I had to know if she was dead or alive. (we hear a choke and a deep breath)
You can‘t imagine my relief when I found the Doc working on her, knowing that she was alive! And then having my relief turned to panic, wondering what was wrong and how badly she was hurt. Luckily, it wasn‘t too serious, only a concussion and a phaser wound. I felt like crying when I saw that she would be all right. I felt that my life was still intact, my being still intact. The Doc had to order me to treat the other injured when it was apparent that I didn‘t want to leave her. B‘Elanna concurred by saying, "Tom, I‘m all right; I‘m fine." But I only left when Doc said, "Mr. Paris!" in that irritated voice of his that I‘ve come to know so well.
Needless to say, I got the not-too-subtle hint, grabbed a tricorder and went to treat Carey. Him and Nicoletti—who was on the other biobed—had smiles on their faces. I started to apologise, but Joe waved it off and said that he understood. Susan meanwhile, commented kiddingly, "You mean I missed out on this?" while I grinned widely and nodded, carrying on with the playfulness. Joe got into the act by saying with a laugh, "Hey, B‘Elanna! Nicoletti is making a play for your boyfriend!" We heard B‘Elanna give a snort and return, "Well, she had her chance but gave it up. He‘s mine now. Besides, he wouldn‘t cheat behind my back, would he?" As she said this, she looked at me an evil grin. I was about to go back to her when the Doctor looked up, and with an outstretched arm stated: "Back!" The craziness went on from there. I think that he was relieved when we finally left. But I remember loving the feeling I had, when she claimed me as her own. It felt as though my love for her grew even more, at that moment. Before we went our separate ways, I made plans with B‘Elanna to see her later that night. She warned me that it may be a long day though, as they had to take inventory of what was stolen and make any repairs, to which I replied that I didn‘t care. Just as long as I got to see her.
In the end, it was I, who was volunteered to march into engineering and get her out of there. The Captain was right in saying that despite B‘Elanna being Chief Engineer, she was not oblivious to hunger, fatigue or stress. And as I had also let it slip that I would be seeing her that night, I was sent. At first, she protested, saying that she had more work that needed to be done. I reminded her that she skipped lunch and had not eaten for a little over fourteen hours. When I added to this, the fact that she had been recently injured and needed to keep her strength up, she began to relent. However, she did a quick retreat when the rest of engineering threatened to gang up on her. I gave Joe a smile for that, and made a mental note to give engineering some of my holodeck time. They deserve it. Besides, I can probably borrow some of Harry‘s. Even though we were both hungry, we didn‘t want that casserole that Neelix cooked up, so we had a nice, light salad. Halfway through dinner, B‘Elanna started to yawn and couldn‘t stop. I subtly told her that she ought to go to bed, as her shift was over. I thought that she would argue with me, but surprised me instead when she agreed.
I walked her to her quarters to make sure that she got there all right and she accuses me of being a mother-hen, by being so protective of her when we got inside. I didn‘t know what was in her mind at the time, but looking back, I can see what she meant. I tried to hover over her at Sickbay, I carried her tray, I helped her up from the table, and tried to hold her arm just in case if she fell down. But most of all, I had to touch her. It was either her hand or face— usually her hand—but it was as if I had to have proof that she was all right. At first I was taken aback, but as soon as I was going to give an automated response, I just choked up and grabbed onto the back of a chair. B‘Elanna came to me to see what was the matter. She lifted my head when I refused to look into her eyes. As soon as she did that, I couldn‘t keep the tears inside anymore, and hugged her for dear life, while she did likewise and tried to comfort me. All of the fear, frustration and potential grief that I had been holding in, was now being vented. She apologised for putting me through the worry that I had felt, when I explained why I was crying. I told her that maybe it should be me who should be thanking her.
That took her aback, and she looked at me for an explanation. So I just told her the truth; that I had not really let anyone in before—not as I have with her, that before I could not let anyone see the real me. That when you let someone in, you give them the power to hurt you. Then I told her about Suzy and how bad I was hurt by her. And I hadn‘t let Suzy in as much as B‘Elanna, either. But still, I had let her in—nonetheless—to a certain extent. I hate the emotional pain I feel, when someone gets close, then leaves. That was why I flirted at the beginning of this journey; no one really wants to be with a flirt, and that way, you don‘t get hurt. It was just a game, and that what I had with her, was the real thing.
I did have a fling with Meg during the first year, but it soon wore off. I couldn‘t give her what she needed, not like Gerron can. In that aspect, I‘m glad. Her and Gerron really clicked and are still together. I loved her as one friend to another, not as a man should love a woman. Not as lovers should. Maybe, given time, I could have fallen in love with her. But it would not have been like what I have with B‘Elanna.
And my Bella is a one of a kind.
I told her that I wouldn‘t know what I would do if I had ever lost her. I think that she was going to rebuke that, but looked closer into my eyes, and found that I was telling the whole, absolute truth.
Because it is true.
I, Thomas Eugene Paris, have once more let someone in, let someone know the real me, mostly in my entirety. I have never loved another person so intensely, that it frightened me, scared me. Here is a person who I would die for, and kill to protect.
And the Kyrians almost did that, could have killed her.
Damn it! We never tried to ally ourselves with anyone—let alone the Vaskans! All we want is to go home! And we need the dilithium to help achieve that goal. One of the Kyrians had said that we had not seen the last of them. They still think that we‘re allied against them. I hope to god that he‘s wrong, but I don‘t think so.
But I don‘t want to face another chance of losing B‘Elanna again.
Last night, we kept talking on the couch until she couldn‘t keep her eyes anymore, so I carried her to bed, laid her down, and joined her—fully clothed in uniform of course. I knew that I should have gone back to my own quarters, but I wanted to hold her, wanted to make sure that she was all right; waiting for reality to set in. So I held her in my arms and fell asleep like that.
I woke up shortly before her alarm rang, each of us holding the other. As I tried to disentangle myself, she grabbed onto me and used her Klingon strength to keep me in place. I used a bit more strength in another attempt to leave, but she moved her head and opened her eyes. She then asked me not to go.
Now, it was my turn to protest. I tried to reason with her, even jokingly bringing up Janeway‘s talk of discretion and saying that I didn‘t want another one. She retorted that we were in her quarters—her private quarters—and that what happened in there, was none of the captain‘s business. I just looked at her, but eventually she conceded that it would be easier for me to get ready for my shift, in my own quarters. She then kissed me and said that she loved me. I smiled and said that I loved her. We kissed some more, always saying good-bye, always saying that each kiss was going to be the last one. But the intensity grew with each kiss, and we wanted to have more—it was as if we needed to have more. Last night, I bared my soul to this woman, while talking on the couch. And that is something that I have never done before.
And she knew this too.
I let her in completely last night. And it felt good.
It feels good.
Now, I‘m not going to say what happened next, as some things are not supposed to be written or recorded. Just remembered. But is was a magical morning.
Needless to say, we both were a bit late getting to the bridge that morning. The Captain just gave us a glance—the same glance that Henley gave us when we got into the turbolift from Deck 6--but said nothing. I guess that it‘s like what B‘Elanna once said, everyone knows how much in love we are with each other, and of how deeply committed we are to this relationship, that no one really thinks anything of it anymore. It‘s become natural to them, thinking of us like this. Because it is natural.
Another Kyrian vessel attacked us today, but this time there were no intruders. Still, we did have wounded to patch up and repairs to do. I just hope that we can get the ship in order before they attack again. Captain Janeway called a briefing after this latest attack, in order to figure out a way to get out of this war, without violating the trade agreement we have with the Vaskans. I hope that we find it quickly, before someone else dies. Like B‘Elanna...God, please don‘t let her die! If you do exist, you won‘t do this to me.
Because, I have no idea of how I would be, if that should ever happen. I don‘t even want to think about it! But if yesterday is a smidgen of what I would go through, I think that I would die too. God, I love her so much that it hurts to even think of her not being in my life. Maybe I better end here; I feel as though I‘ll start to cry if I carry on. If there is a God, I think that I‘ll pray to him tonight, to help protect her. Just to be on the safe side.
(we hear a laugh) Some still find it amusing; the so-called ‚playboy‘ of the ship, wanting to settle down with the ‚volatile‘ half-Klingon and quote-unquote ‚taming‘ her. I can‘t take credit for that, because I haven‘t ‚tamed‘ her.
She‘s done it herself.
But she can take credit for letting me believe in love again; on how it can be an all-encompassing, beautiful thing.
And I will always love her for that alone.
Quarren looked up from the consol. He gave a wry smile. "Evidently, we‘ve gotten Mr. Paris wrong too. More wrong, than what we portrayed him as."
The Doctor nodded in agreement. "Apparently so." He knew that the Kyrian was feeling embarrassment over what the ‚Voyager Encounter‘ recreation portrayed the flight controller as. However, to a certain extent, so was he. When he first viewed the Kyrian erroneous reproduction of what happened in Captain Janeway‘s ready room, he had glibly said, "Well, aside from Mr. Paris." But he had to change that. "There was some truth of what you portrayed, originally. But that was at the beginning of the journey, and as you heard, there was a reason for that," he continued.
Quarren paused for a moment. "He didn‘t want anyone to get close. He didn‘t want to get hurt," he replied, remembering the log.
The Doctor nodded. "Yes. However, as the years went by, he did open up more, made real friends and earned people‘s respect. It was Mr. Kim and B‘Elanna who taught him the meaning of ‚unconditional friendship,‘" he explained, as he leaned back into his chair. "But more than that, he was willing to help other people—his friends, shipmates and even strangers—even though it could have meant death for him. And he had heart." He paused for a few moments. "I remember one time, when I had a holographic family...," he began to say, as his new friend leaned forward to listen with interest.