Disclaimer : You know the drill...I own nothing, only my sinister view of the world :) and some caracters, and the story, and the idea behind it...The rest, I borrowed it :) and hope they don‘t sue me...
Background : Well, this really is the continuation of another novel, so it would be advisable to read that one first. For those of you stubborn enough not to do so, here‘s a lil‘ summary :
DS9 is still under occupation. The minefield is down, but the Prophets ridded the Federation of the Dominion reinforcements. Oh, yeah, perhaps the most important thing is that Voyager has returned to the Alpha Quadrant. Paris, Tuvok, Data and Crusher are on some sort of special mission for the Federation.
Voyager and Enterprise-E have fought in the battle with the Defiant. When things were running badly indeed for the Feds, some ‚old friends‘ appeared.
And now the Continuation...
Author‘s Note : Again, I have to apologize to all the P/Tlers out there. This one, I‘m afraid, is not really a P/T story either. Perhaps towards the End, but I dunno. But I think there will be plenty of feelings in this one, in other words, perhaps it will get a bit sappy. Or perhaps not. Well, last time we left Picard, hanging out with Sela (I hope you remember her), and Paris being hung out by some Cardassian lunatic. Well, lets see what I got for you this time. :)
Feedback will be appreciated, enshrined, and carefully read! Feel free to write. You liked it? You hated it? You survived it? Tell me about it :) Everything, from praise to scorn, goes to: email@example.com
Dedicated to Gene Roddenberry, for having invented Star Trek and making us believe in a better future, as always, and to William H. Keith jr. and Micheal A. Stackpole, some of my favourite authors. Oh, yeah, and to Terry Pratchett, my actual (!) favourite author. Also I would like to thank William Shakespeare, who helped me greatly in my last effort, even if he doesn‘t know it...and to the many poets who will appear in this one...As well I would like to apologize to all those who can‘t stand poems and whom I will bother with lots of them...this time and forever and ever :)
The Price of Admiralty
« Fear no more the heat o‘ the sun,Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Nor the furious winter‘s rages;Golden boys and girls all must, Home art gone, and ta‘en thy wages;Fear no more the frown o‘ the great, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.Thou art past the tyrant‘s stroke:Care no more to clothe and eat;To thee the reed is as the oak:The sceptre, learning, physic, mustAll follow this, and come to dust. »
Part 4 - Rememberance
- William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
‚They can‘t be!‘
‚I‘m afraid they are.‘
Katherine Janeway tried to keep her voice calm, but she couldn‘t quite prevent her utter sadness from breaking through. And the fierce resistance of her officers didn‘t really make things any easier for her. Inside her mind, sadness and anger waged a war of their own. Sadness because of the loss of two of her crew-members, two very special crewmen. And anger because of the obstinate refusal to accept the fact that they were dead, shown by her staff, especially by Harry Kim. She knew, that he and Lieutenant Paris were close friends, and she very well understood his reaction. A part of her, too, resisted to believe that Tom and Tuvok were dead. But logic - she smiled sadly at that - told they were dead, or at the very least emprisoned and being tortured. Somehow, she wished they were dead, rather than at the mercy of the Cardassians.
‚They aren‘t dead. They still had time to save themselves with their
parachutes!‘ the Ensign yelled. ‚We can‘t just sit here! We have to-‚
‚Do something?‘ Janeway asked, all of her frustration finally breaking through. ‚Do what? Rush in at Corvus II with blazing phasers and take out an entire fleet by ourselves? Face it Harry, we can‘t do anything!‘ She breathed out harshly, and when the silence that had settled over the room was too much even for her to stand,she spoke again.
‚Listen, you are not the only one who lost a friend, Harry. We all did. I have known Tuvok for years, even before Voyager. It‘s not any easier for any of us than it is for you. But the fact remains that we can‘t do a thing!‘ She slammed her fist on the table, and everyone flinched. Not ready to let this discussion frustrate her even more, she turned her back to her officers and looked out of the window.
‚There will be a small ceremony in the mess-hall, Saturday at 19:00 hours.
After a while she heard the door close behind the last of her senior officers and sat in her chair. She leaned back and turned her gaze back to the stars, unshed tears glistening in her eyes, and silently mourned for lost friends.
« Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust, the dust is earth, Of earth we make loam ; and why of that loam, Whereto he was converted, might they not stop A beer-barrel ?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn‘d to clay Might stop a hole, to keep the wind away :
O, that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall to expel the winter‘s flaw. »
B‘Elanna Torres headed directly for the turbolift. She moved into the tube, turned, and was just about to tell the computer her destination, when she heard Harry Kim‘s voice through the corridor.
- William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Seconds later, Harry too stepped into the turbolift. ‚Deck 12,‘ he said. As soon as the doors closed on them, Harry turned to B‘Elanna.
‚What‘s the matter with you? You haven‘t said a single word during that entire briefing!‘
‚I don‘t really want to talk about it Harry...‘
‚What? Why not?‘
‚I...I...please, Harry, just leave me alone for a moment, allright?!‘
It was not really a question.
‚I thought you were his friend,‘ Kim stated accusingly.
B‘Elanna spun around. She said nothing, but apparently, Harry got the message. The rest of the turbolift ride passed in utter silence. When he stepped out, Harry began to turn one last time, but then he just shook his head, and stormed away.
When the doors closed, B‘Elanna formed a fist and hit the walls of the turbolift as hard as she could, leaving no trace, but hurting her hand. Tears assembled in her eyes, but in a desperate effort to show herself that it didn‘t matter, to ultimately betray herself, she fought them back.
« My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine;
And new-born pleasure brings to happier men;
And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.
Yet Morning smiles the busy race to cheer,
To warm their little loves the birds complain;
The fields to all their wonted tribute bear;
And weep the more because I weep in vain. »
I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear,
- Thomas Gray, On the death of Richard West
The thought hadn‘t let go of her, ever since she had learned the terrible news, and even now it refused to let her alone. B‘Elanna steadied herself against the console she had just been working on, and closed her eyes briefly. An image came to her mind almost instantly. The night few minutes they had spent together when she had been released from SickBay, after they had returned to the Alpha-Quadrant were her last, enjoyable memory of Tom and her being together, and in the last days, they came to her mind and to her dreams, a bit too often to be anything but disturbing. They reminded her of what had happened, and that was, right now, the last thing she needed. In the middle of the night, when she awoke from those dreams, she would sometimes turn, half-expecting him standing there, looking at her. Of course, he wasn‘t. And what was worst was that each time, for just the fraction of a second, she did not know why not. And then it hit her again, with a vengeance, and she hated it each time. She... ...was interrupted in her reverie. By Ensign Vorik, who obviously wanted to hand her a PADD of some sort. She, rather unkindly, snatched it out of the hands of the young Vulcan officers.
‚What is it?‘ she snarled. The venom in her voice could have killed an adult Klingon.
The Vulcan looked at her in what was probably the expression nearest to surprise you could get from a Vulcan.
‚It is the report on the dilithium crystal you asked twenty minutes ago, sir,‘ he answered.
At that time, Harry Kim entered the room, and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw what was going on four metres in front of him. B‘Elanna was apparently arguing with Vorik, and she was getting pretty annoyed; he could tell by the decibel level her voice had reached now. He quickly weighed his alternatives out against each other, and then prompted for the Frontal Assault variant.
With his best pokerface on, he moved towards the arguing couple, and positioned himself on both of their sides.
‚Is there a problem?‘ he asked innocently.
‚Yes,‘ Vorik stated.
‚No,‘ B‘Elanna barked simultaneously.
‚I see,‘ Kim remarked.
Looking once again at Chief Torres, Vorik started explaining the situation. ‚Lieutenant Torres asked for a report on the dilithium crystals twenty-five minutes ago.‘
‚I don‘t remember doing that!‘
‚Then perhaps you should consider a visit to sickbay,‘ Vorik told her.
B‘Elanna‘s eyes turned into fluid lava, and Harry considered the time right for a tactical withdrawal. He grabbed B‘Elanna lightly by her shoulder, and pushed her out of engineering, excusing himself to Ensign Vorik.
Half dragging B‘Elanna, half being dragged, Harry eventually made it to her quarters.
‚What‘s the matter with you?‘ he asked, as soon as they entered her cabin.
‚Nothing!‘ she snarled back, jerking around violently.
‚In that case, it‘s a pretty big nothing.‘
Enraged, angry, frustrated, B‘Elanna threw herself at her couch.
She hugged her knees and looked up angrily at her friend.
‚It‘s because of Tom, isn‘t it?‘ he asked.
‚Isn‘t it?‘ he repeated.
‚I don‘t know!‘ she snarled back, her voice trembling. Harry sat down beside her and forced her to look at him. At first she refused to turn around, and she shook off his arm, but when she swung her right fist around to sent him to the floor, Harry luckily stopped it in middle-air, before it could hit his face. He gripped both her wrists tightly and leaned over to hug her.
She resisted, and struggled for a while, but finally she ended up, gripping her friend tightly and sobbing heavily against his shoulder. All the while speaking soothingly to her, and holding her, Harry could not help but wonder why suddenly this outbreak of emotions had come over her. A crying B‘Elanna Torres was not exactly what he was used to. Of course, he too grieved over the death of perhaps his best friend, but three days after he had heard the news, his initial...outrage and refusal to believe had abatted considerably.
Somehow he had managed to accept the fact that Thomas Eugene Paris was dead, and somehow he felt guilty for doing so. He supposed that his enthusiasm to help B‘Elanna, who obviously seemed be more upset than him, was founded on that fact. Helping other people always distracts from the problems you have. The sound of a crying B‘Elanna Torres however, pulled him back into his actual situation.
‚He‘s gone,‘ she sobbed.
‚Shhh. I know,‘ Harry soothed, running his hand up and down her spine in what he hoped was a comforting way. ‚I know. It‘s allright. I‘m with you.‘
To be continued...