Chinese Expression
by Andrea Castro

Summary: My version of “ Parturition” P/T 
Star Trek : Voyager belongs to Paramount Pictures. 

~ Chinese Expression 

“ Inertial dampers have failed.” Tom said. “ I can’t get any response from the field coils.” B’Elanna explained. “ Did you verify the control inputs?” Tom asked. “ Stand by. The inputs are blocked. We’ve got to flush the plasma injectors .” B’Elanna said then getting up and typing in the command. 

“ Field coils responding. Inertial dampers back on-line .” Tom grinned. B’Elanna placed her hands on the console and shook her head. “ That wasn’t fair!” She argued then turning to face him. “ As your flight instructor it’s my duty to prepare you for anything. Fair or not.” Tom laughed. “ Clogging someone’s plasma injectors is a dirty trick.” She sighed. 

“ Yes, well I’m full off my dirty tricks , you know?” 
B’Elanna was about to go back into her seat when the shuttle was jolted and she landed in Tom’s arms. “ What was that?” She asked. “ I never said the simulation was finished.” Tom pointed out. B’Elanna scoffed and returned to her seat. She glanced at Tom and rolled her eyes. 

The shuttle jolted again as the alien ships fired again. “ Computer , evasive maneuvers .” She said. All Tom did was stare in amazement. When the simulation finally ended they left the Holodeck laughing. “ I’ll be ready next time.” B’Elanna smiled. “ Oh, sounds like a challenge to me.” Tom joked and B’Elanna punched him lightly in the arm. Little did they know that Chakotay was outside the Holodeck waiting for his slot. 


B’Elanna made her way to Engineering while Tom headed to Harry’s quarters. He stopped outside his quarters and heard a clarinet playing. He pressed the call button and later saw Harry holding a clarinet. “ That was you?” Tom asked. “ That was me.” Harry said. Tom walked into Harry’s quarters and took the clarinet. “ I’m impressed.” “ I keep hearing my mother say , ‘ Practice , Harry. Practice.’ So I ate Neelix’s food for a week and used my replicator rations.” Harry said. 

“ Play something for me.” Tom said then handing him back the clarinet. “ Well , I’ve only had for a few days and I don’t think…” Harry tried to explain but Tom cut him off. “ Oh , come on. Play something. Just pretend I’m not here.” Tom said. Harry continued playing but Tom stopped him. “ Play something different.” Tom said. “ Different?” Harry asked. 

“ Something… not so cheerful.” Tom explained. “ Something bothering you , Paris?” Harry asked then sitting on his couch next to Tom. “ Oh, Harry. I’m in trouble.” “ What’s new?” Harry asked. “ I think I’m in love.” “ What’s new?” “ With B’Elanna.” Tom said. “ B’Elanna?” Harry shouted. 

“ I know ! I know. I never even saw it coming. I thought we were just friends. But there she was in my arms…” Tom explained. “ In your arms? Paris… you didn’t .” Harry said. “ What? Oh! No. I didn’t . I wouldn’t . She stumbled during a flight simulation. I caught her, and held for an instant.” 

Harry noticed that Tom had paused for a moment. ‘ Probably the moment again .’ He thought. “ Are you going to play or not?” Tom asked. Harry played one note and Tom started talking again. “ A whole crew full of women and I have to fall for the one I can’t have. Why do I do this to myself?” Tom asked out loud. “ If you ask me. I say you enjoy it.” 

“ Enjoy it?” “ It the only thing that makes sense. You’ve been doing the same thing your whole life. Setting yourself up for rejection. You must enjoy playing the part.” Harry pointed out. “ Hey, don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. I just have to be more careful . I can’t let myself be alone with her.” Tom sighed. 

“ There’s an old Chinese expression. ‘ Stay out of harms way’.” Harry said. Tom looked at him strangely. “ That’s not a Chinese expression.” “ If it works , use it.” 
Tom shook his head. “ Of course , it would be easier if B’Elanna and I weren’t stuck on the same ship for the rest of our lives.” 

“ That’s a pessimistic view.” Harry sighed. “ I’m in a pessimistic mood. Play something pessimistic. Practice , Harry. Practice.” Tom said. Harry began playing and stuck his clarinet in Tom’s face. 

“ Analysis.” Janeway said. “ High levels of trigemic vapors but it should still support humanoid life.” Tuvok said. “ Sick Bay to the Bridge. Please turn to your Emergency Medical Holographic Channel.” The Doctor said over the com. 

Janeway sat in her chair and brought up her console. “ I hope you don’t mind that I’ve been eavesdropping but I have something to contribute.” 
“ What is it , Doctor?” Janeway asked. “ You should know that trigemic vapors at the recorded levels can cause severe humanoid skin irritations.” The Doctor said. 

“ Could you provide some sort of skin protection that might help?” Janeway asked.
“ I am whipping up a batch of dermal osmotic sealant as we speak. Nevertheless, skin exposure to the vapors should be limited.” 

“ Noted, Doctor . Thank you.” Janeway said then closing the com link. “ There is another problem , Captain. We won’t be able to transport to the surface because of the E.M. disturbances in the atmosphere. They will interfere with our com links too.” Tuvok explained. “ Have Mr. Kim take a look at it.” Janeway said. “ Aye, Captain.” 

“ Listen , why don’t we take in a Holodeck program later? A moliere comedy . That’ll cheer you up.” Harry said as they walked into the Mess Hall. Tom looked up and saw B’Elanna sitting at a table. Harry followed Tom‘s gaze and sighed. “ I think I’ll just eat later.” Tom said but B’Elanna saw them and waved.

They nervously waved back as Chakotay entered through the other door. “ Damn.” Tom muttered with a smile on his face. “ What do you want to do?” Harry asked with the same grin on his face. “ Very simple. We just won’t sit with her.” Tom said. “ But that’s rude.” Harry tried to explain. 

“ No , that’s smart. We’ll make it look like we have Bridge operations to discuss.” Tom said. They walked up to the Galley and grabbed a plate of the pasta there. They were about to sit down when they heard Tuvok’s voice over the com. “ Ensign Kim, report to the Bridge.” 
Harry left his pasta on the table. “ Have a nice lunch.” He said to Tom then left the Mess Hall. 

Chakotay helped himself to the pasta on the counter but stayed up there to keep an eye on Tom. Tom saw him and waved lightly. He didn’t even know that B’Elanna was looking at him. Probably wondering why Tom and Harry didn’t sit with her. She got up and left the Mess Hall. Tom watched her leave and looked down at his food. 

When B’Elanna left Chakotay moved towards Tom. “ You subclass genus.” He spat. “ I beg your pardon.” Tom said while still eating. “ Sitting with your backs together like two strangers waiting for a transport. Is that supposed to fool me?” Chakotay asked. “ Oh. A guy just can’t win. Look , there’s nothing to fool you about. Really , I swear.” Tom reassured him. 

“ Liar.” Chakotay said. He picked up Tom’s pasta and dumped it on him. Tom got up. “ What the hell are you doing?” He shouted. Tom grabbed Harry’s pasta and threw it at Chakotay. Chakotay charged at Tom and they ended up wrestling each other from the table behind them to the floor.

“ Janeway to Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Paris.” “ Go ahead.” Tom said. “ Yes, Captain?” Chakotay asked. “ Report to my ready room right away. I have something important to discuss with you.” Janeway said. “ Captain , did you say right away? If we could…” 

“ That’s what I said , Mr. Paris. Janeway out.” Tom and Chakotay both left the Mess Hall and headed for the Bridge.

The Captain looked over her two officers and shook her head. “ Would anyone care to explain?” She asked them .