A Glimpse of the Future
By Jane Griffen- JaneG100@rocketmail.com
Copyright October 1997
Disclaimers: Paramount owns the characters and Voyager; I own the story and Heather Whitney.
"At our present speed, we should intercept Voyager in an hour." Lt. B'Elanna Torres informed Lt. Tom Paris, the pilot of the shuttle, from a console. The two friends had taken the shuttle Keiko to a planet two days off Voyager's course to get some milnicide, a mineral needed for the warp core. They had been gone for four days and were looking forward to getting back to Voyager.
"Good, then we can have some time to relax." the pilot replied. B'Elanna agreed and sat down. They had both been under a lot of stress since the natives of the planet hadn't been entirely welcome. All of a sudden, the red klaxons started to flash. "What's wrong?" she asked. "There's a plasma particle cloud right in front of us. It's pulling us in." Tom replied incredulously. "Can you get us out of it?" B'Elanna asked anxiously. Tom tried tactic after tactic but nothing worked. "Send out a warning beacon for Voyager when it comes to look for us..." Tom told her. She did as she was told. A second later, the particle could disappeared.
B'Elanna checked their course. "Tom, check this out, our present position is mark 3304 mark 8395." she said.
Tom leaned over in amazement. "What? That takes us 1,000 lightyears ahead of the position we were in before."
B'Elanna nodded. "I know. The plasma particle cloud..." she stopped, "Tom, there's no plasma particle cloud anywhere. There's no indication of there ever being one, ever." B'Elanna said. Just then a ship appeared of their starbord bow. It was Voyager.
"Maybe we'll get some answers." Tom said. B'Elanna agreed. Soon they were being hailed.
"Opening hailing frequencies." B'Elanna said, tapping the commands into the console and Tuvok appeared on the screen. "Welcome back, lieutenants. You may dock in Shuttle Bay 1. I hope you enjoyed your shore leave. Tuvok out." he said, and the view screen switched back to Voyager.
Tom and B'Elanna looked at each other in puzzlement. "Shore leave?" B'Elanna asked.
Tom shook his head. "I wouldn't call it that. Something's wrong here. This isn't right. Why would Voyager and Keiko be 1,000 lightyears ahead from their last current whereabouts?" he asked.
B'Elanna shook her head, "Well, I'm sure we'll get some answers. Right now though, I suggest we do as Tuvok said and dock in Shuttle Bay 1." Tom agreed and soon Keiko landed smoothly on Shuttle Bay 1's floor. They got out and were greeted by Lt. Whitney and Ensign Kim. "Hi! Welcome back!" Heather said. "You guys are lucky you were able to grab shore leave when you did. There's nothing ahead of us for a long time!" Harry added. Tom and B'Elanna looked at each other and shrugged. They might as well play along and maybe find out some answers. But Whitney and Kim were going to go on duty in a few minutes so they said goodbye. Tom and B'Elanna left the shuttle bay and headed for the turbolift. They got out on the decks their quarters were on, Deck 6 and Deck 8.
B'Elanna walked down Deck 8 to her quarters. She and Tom had agreed to have breakfast together at 0800 hours tomorrow and discuss the situation. So far, B'Elanna had come up with this. They were a year into the future and they had just gotten back from shore leave--*together?* B'Elanna asked herself, then shook her head-- instead of the away mission to pick up the milnicide. She stopped at her quarters, punched the commands into the small console next to the door, and walked in, bumping into the door, which hadn't moved. "Oww!" B'Elanna called out. Her hand went to her head. It hurt, a lot. She could add another thing to her list for what she could figure out. Her normal quarters weren't hers anymore. "Computer, where are my quarters?" she asked. "Deck 7, section 13." the computer replied in what seemed a taunting voice. There was something different about those quarters than her regular ones, but she couldn't remember. * I'll find out soon enough. * she thought, and went to find a turbolift.
Tom went to his quarters, punched in his command codes, and waited for the doors to open. They never did.
"Computer, whose quarters are these?" he asked, puzzled. Apperantly he had moved.
"These quarters are vacant." the computer replied.
"Then where the hell are my quarters?" he demanded.
"Deck 7, section 13." the computer replied. Tom shook his head and went to the turbolift.
B'Elanna swore in frustration. Her quarters refused to open. She had tried her command codes twice and then her override codes without luck. She had resisted the urge to smash the console into million pieces, reminding herself that that wouldn't get her anywhere. Finally, she contacted Engineering and a baffled Carey had opened them, after insisting that there were no malfunctions. She stepped inside the door. Now she knew why these quarters were so different. They were family quarters. That was when she spotted a picture on one of the end tables near the couch. It was of her and Tom. She was in a white dress and he was in his dress uniform. She gasped aloud in surprise and slowly sat down, taking the picture in her hands. It had to be their wedding picture. She wondered when Tom would come, for he'd find out sooner or later that this was where he lived.
Meanwhile, Tom had decided to go to the Mess Hall and try to find out what exactly was going on. Judging from the stardate and Voyager's coordinates, they were either a year into the future, or they were in a different reality. * Why, oh why, did I not listen to Heather? * he asked himself, remembering ruefully the time that Heather had gone on and on about different realities during some timeline mishap two months after she had come onboard Voyager. He hadn't payed much attention to her, his thoughts straying to a half-klingon brunette who sat next to him. The three of them, plus Harry, had decided to have lunch together a few days after the luau.
He went over to the Neelix, who was busy preparing dinner, the time being 1900 hours.
The talaxian looked up and smiled widely. "Tom! How are you? Did you and B'Elanna have fun on your shore leave?" he asked. Tom was mildly surprised at the 'you and B'Elanna' in the question but decided to play along. "I'm fine. We had lots of fun. Anything exciting happen while we were gone?" Neelix just shook his head. "Afraid not. Some space critters got stuck on Voyager's hull but Mr. Tuvok got them off before they could do any real damage." Neelix replied, and for the next fifteen minutes, they talked, Tom finding out a lot of interesting things about the Voyager he was on.
B'Elanna looked up from the desk. She had decided to go through her personel logs from the beginning. It was boring, just a refresher of her early life on Voyager. She had gotten to stardate 5504.8 and stopped. It was pointless. The doors chimed. "Come in." she said offhandedly, continueing to read.
Tom walked in and was startled to see B'Elanna there. "What are you doing here?" he asked. At this, B'Elanna got uncomfortable. She had gone over and over how to tell him, but now her mind was blank. She stood up. "I live here." she said. "What?" Tom asked, still puzzled. Her dark brown eyes meetings his clear blue ones, she said, "We're married." Tom's eyes widened. "But..." he started to say. B'Elanna cut him off, "I know, it came as a shock to me, too." she replied, going over to him. Tom took her hands and pulled her close, half expecting her to deck him, but she let him and leaned against him, tears rolling down her cheeks, "What's going to happen to us?" she whispered. Tom led her over to the couch and sat her down, sitting down next to her. He rocked her gently and said, stroking her hair, "I don't know, 'Lanna, but everything'll be okay, you'll see." he said softly. She looked up and kissed him.
Then she stood up. "Thanks." she said, softly, trying to smile, but failing miserably. Tom stood up, too.
"It's okay. I'm feeling pretty lost, too. The important thing is we have each other and together we'll find a way to get back to our Voyager." he replied.
Their eyes darted around the room, not meeting each others. Then Tom got an idea to cheer her up. "But don't you want to know everyone else's so-called future in this reality?" he asked.
B'Elanna sat back down. "All right, this should be interesting." she said, smiling. Tom sat down next to her and began, "I ran into the Doc in the turbolift and he now has hair where he was bald before." B'Elanna laughed, "And Harry and Heather have been married for two months now." he said. B'Elanna's eyes grew large, "Really?" she asked. Tom nodded, "And the latest rumor from the gossip mill is that Chakotay is going to propose to Captain Janeway while they're on shore leave together. They're there right now." he said. B'Elanna smiled even wider, "Well, that'll be interesting." Tom nodded.
"Well, why don't we get something to eat and then see when our shifts start." he suggested. B'Elanna agreed.
After dinner together, they went over Voyager's logs. They matched up perfectly up to the point where Keiko had run into the plasma particle cloud.
B'Elanna stifled a yawn, "I don't know about you but I'm tired." she said sleepliy, leaning back in the chair and closed her eyes briefly. When she opened them, Tom had a strange look on his face. "Good idea, but there's one problem, one bed, and I'm not..." his voice trailed off and B'Elanna had to laugh. "What's so funny?" he asked.
"Nothing, just that you had a funny look on your face, that's all. As for the bed problem, I'll sleep on the couch tonight and tomorrow we'll trade places, if we're here that long." she said, resolving the problem. Tom agreed. They got changed into pajamas and went to bed, B'Elanna grabbing a pillow and blanket and heading for the couch in the living room while Tom went into the bedroom. "Goodnight, Tom." B'Elanna said softly. "Goodnight, B'Elanna." Tom replied, and the two lieutenants fell asleep.
The next morning, Tom and B'Elanna worked their shifts and tried to find out more about what had happened, B'Elanna ordering Ensign Bristow to run a level six diagnostic on the shuttlecraft Keiko and Tom making up an excuse to scan for plasma particle clouds and spacial anomilies. Nothing worked. Nothing was different about the shuttle and there weren't any plasma particle clouds or spacial anomilies. They skimmed by the daily briefing, dogging questions that they didn't know the answers to. Supposivly, they had set a lunch date with Harry and Heather, so at 1200 hours, they met them at the Mess Hall. After dogging questions for five minutes, Harry and Heather immediatly noticed something was up.
"What's wrong? Why are you two so uncomfortable?" Heather commented.
Tom and B'Elanna looked at eachother. For the second time, B'Elanna found herself thinking that Tom's eyes were crystal clear blue. They were so... *No, B'Elanna, they are NOT beautiful. They're just plain, ordinary, dull blue eyes, like Heather's.* she told herself, but almost automatically she found herself thinking how Tom's eyes were similar to Heather's laughing, sparkling blue eyes. She sighed and averted her gaze to the table. Her lunch lay untouched on its plate. She looked up at Heather, then Harry, and finally, Tom, forcing herslef not to think about his gorgeous blue eyes... *Ughh!* she thought irritably. She knew she was attracted to Tom, but the bottom line was, she was scared of him in a way she didn't understand. *He's my friend, nothing more, nothing less.* she reminded her concious. *Sure! That's what you said last time, and look what happened!* it replied in a taunting voice. She concentrated and tried to block the thoughts out. It was no use, so she ignored it. Her dark chocolate brown eyes met his questioning eyes and she shrugged, "We might as well tell them." she said.
Harry and Heather didn't say anything. They just waited expectantly. Finally, Heather lost her patience, "Well?" she asked.
Tom took a deep breath and started, "Okay, Heather, you know all about different realities, don't you?" he said, more of a statement, then a question. Her blue eyes widened, but surprisingly, she kept quiet. *Lucky you, Heather.* he thought, thinking how neat it would be to be a telepath and be able to sense people's emotions. "I know this will sound strange, but B'Elanna and I don't belong here." he paused as Harry sent his wife a warning glance, for they all knew that Heather was entitled to jump in with questions when somebody was talking. She saw it and quickly shut her mouth. Tom couldn't help but smile at Heather's innocent girlish expression. She could always make a dark moment bright.
B'Elanna cut Tom off when he was about to start again, "What Tom is trying to say is, we come from a different reality, or the past. We're not sure which one it is." she said. Tom picked up a touch of uncertainty in her voice and wondered why.
"When did this happen?" Harry asked worriedly. "When the Tom and B'Elanna you know were coming back from shoreleave - together..." he hesitated and B'Elanna continued, "When Tom and I, on a shuttle, encountered a plasma particle cloud. The next thin we knew, we were a year agead in time." B'E'lanna said. Harry and Heather raised their eyebrows in Tuvokian fashion.
"So here's the big question, how do we get back to OUR time?" B'Elanna wailed softly, but loud enough for people to turn and stare. She quieted but Tom could tell she was panicking. He took her hand in his and said soothingly, "It'll be all right, B'Ellana."
She turned to look at him, her dark chocolate brown eyes full of worry and fear. She felt truely scared. Harry and Heather weren't Harry and Heather, Voyager wasn't Voyager, it was too overwhelming for her to concentrate. But when she looked into Tom's calm blue eyes, she immediatly calmed down, too. *If Tom can stay cool, so can I.* she thought to herself. "Sorry." she said, withdrawing her hand and apologizing to her three companions. Heather gave her a look that she knew well. It contained sympathy, concern, and confusion. "I know." B'Elanna said, smiling in spite of herself, catching Heather's telepathic message, 'Hmm... Maybe you aren't so sure about your thoughts for him after all!', meaning her feelings for Tom, from her reality, of course.
"It's hard, I know. It took you a long time..." her voice trailed off as she caught B'Elanna's puzzled gaze. "What?" she asked. Heather sighed inwardly, 'It took a long time for you to get used to the idea of a relationship with Tom.' she said telepathically. "But things turned out..." she continued, almost ending with 'like a fairy tale, '...and they lived happily ever after.' but she know realized that Tom was puzzled, and so for that matter, was Harry, so she just finished her sentence with, "for the best."
At first B'Elanna was puzzled, then comprehension dawned on her and she blushed deep red, the blush starting at the root of her neck and spreading across her face, and averted her gaze to her hands, which lay on her lap, away from Heather's laughing eyes and soft smile at her reaction.
Harry leaned over to Heather, "Heather, what did you say to her?" he asked. Heather just smiled sweetly, "Nothing." she said, then added telepathically, 'I'll tell you later.' when Harry was about to pursue the matter. Harry took the hint and nodded ever so slightly, and thankfully, neither Tom nor B'Elanna noticed, for B'Elanna was still studying her hands intently and Tom was looking at B'Elanna intently, his gaze full of curiosity at why she was blushing, confusion, and...
*No, Lt. Thomas Eguene Paris, you are not falling in love with her!* Tom told himself, but he couldn't help it. He was. And it was all happening too fast. *I am not!* he argued with his concious. *Of course you're not! Then why are you staring at her so intently!?!?* his concious screamed back at him, then started to laugh hysterically.
B'Elanna looked up and caught his gaze and he quickly looked away, but not soon enough. B'Elanna's eyes widened. She couldn't believe it. Was he actually falling for her? she asked herself. *Of course not,* she thought sadly, *You're a half klingon freak, so don't even start to think...* B'Elanna stopped herself in the middle of her thoughts and was reminded of all the dinner and holodeck invitations, all the times they had spent together - mostly with Harry, and then with Harry and Heather, after she had come on board and B'Elanna had gotten to know her better, when she had had Ponn Farr. She involuntarliy shivered, *Stop it!* she chided herself, *It'll just make matters worse. You are definetly NOT falling in love with him.* she told herself. Her concious just laughed back at her mockingly, *Oh, sure! Now I get it! Very funny, B'Elanna! You sure aren't fooling anyone!* it called, still laughing.
Harry cleared his throat and the two flustered lieutenants looked up, "I think that you two should finish the day without telling anyone and cting as natural as possibel, and at the senior staff meeting tonight, tell everyone else there., Then we'll see what happens after that." Harry suggested.
Heather nodded, "I agree with Harry," she said, "although Tuvok will probably want to wait until the Captain and Commander get back from shoreleave before anyone does anything." she smiled, "Besides, don't you want to know if the most celebrated couple on this Voyager are going to get married or not?" she asked. Tom and B'Elanna nodded eagerly.
"So...no one is dating or married where you come from?" Harry asked curiously.
If they said no, then it would be very interesting. From the way they were acting, he would say it was after the Nyrians had kidnapped the ship. He smiled to himself and Heather caught his eyes, a small smile creeping up on her lips as well.
Tom and B'Elanna shook their heads together and, in perfect synch, said, "No."
Just when the two other officers were about to comment, Tuvok's voice came over the comm. system, "Senior officers to the bridge. All crew, stand by." he said. The four friends looked at each other and headed for the bridge.
The four senior officers walked onto the bridge and immediatly saw what was wrong. A large purplish-green nebula stood directly in their path. It was the plasma particle cloud that Tom and B'Elanna had encountered in the shuttle the day before. Tom and B'Elanna looked at each other, their eyes wide with surprise, as they headed for their stations.
"Mr. Kim, what do the sensors indicate?" Tuvok asked from the Captain's chair. Harry checked the sensors, "It's a plasma particle cloud, 10,000 kilometers wide and 1,000 kilometers long." he said in disbelief.
"This is what you two were talking about at lunch, isn't it?" Heather asked. Tom nodded and tapped some controls into Voyager's helm. Slowly, Voyager backed away until it was a good distance from the cloud, although it was still quite large on the view screen.
"Yes, it is, although it's larger than it was in the past." B'Elanna replied for Tom, staring intently at the view screen.
"Lieutenants, please explain what you are talking about." Tuvok ordered. Tom and B'Elanna looked at each other.
"You'd better call a senior staff meeting, Tuvok, for it's a long story." Tom said. Tuvok raised his eyebrows. He considered what Tom had said and nodded. Tapping his commbadge, he said, "There will be a senior officers' meeting in five minutes."
"...And that's what we know." Tom said, finishing explaining what had happened to him and B'Elanna. B'Elanna clutched his hand fearfully under the table. She still wasn't sure that they were actaully on a Voyager, although the theory about the different realities was quite believable. Tom squeezed her hand back.
"So the question is, Tuvok, how do we get back to our reality?" B'Elanna questioned.
Tuvok thought about it and replied, "I suggest we wait until the Captain and Commander get back from shore leave before we make any rational descisions." he said, "Although, I'd like for you, Lt. Whitney, and you, Kes, to research on different realities. Ensign Kim, continue to moniter the anomily. Lt. Paris and Lt. Torres, you may continue on as you normally would have. I'd suggest that I asign you different quarters but I doubt you will still be here when they fall through."
Tom and B'Elanna nodded, "It's all right. We'll rotate sleeping on the couch and bed." B'Elanna said, a small smile on her face. Trust Tuvok to go through everything in one sentence.
The Doctor spoke up, "With your permission, I'd like to run a series of scans on both of you."
Tom and B'Elanna nodded, "Sure." Tom replied for the both of them. Tuvok got up, "Dismissed." he said, and walked out the conference lounge. Everyone looked at each other, then at Tom and B'Elanna.
"How different is your reality from ours?" Kes asked curiously. The emotions she sensed from them were almost the same from the Tom and B'Elanna she knew, although some emotions were very vague where they had been very strong from the Tom and B'Elanna from her reality. She would have to check with Heather before she made any theories about their feelings towards each other.
B'Elanna shrugged, "From the stardate, we're a year into the future. No one's dating or married." she said.
"Yet." Tom added. B'Elanna kicked him. "Oww, what was that for?" Tom asked. B'Elanna just glared at him. Everyone smiled, but the two lieutenants didn't notice, for they were too busy glaring at each other.
"You two certainly act like the Tom and B'Elanna we know." Neelix commented. This time, both B'Elanna and Tom glared at him until he was squirming in his seat, realizing his mistake.
"I suggest we all do as Lt. Tuvok ordered us." the Doctor said. Everyone reluctantly agreed and got up.
In Sick Bay, the Doctor and Kes ran test after test on them. When the Doctor was finally satisfied, Tom and B'Elanna went back to their quarters.
"I can't believe you said that!" B'Elanna nearly shouted as they entered their quarters. Tom sighed and followed her in, "I said what?" he asked.
B'Elanna turned and glared at him, "You know exactly what you said. That no one's married yet!" she yelled. Tom winced, "Take it easy!" he said, "I thought you were all for the Captain and Commander getting together." he added, grinning. She faltered for a minute, then swore under her breath, "You know what you are?" she asked, pacing around the room. Tom sighed and sat down, "What am I?" he asked, watching her pace around. She came out from the bedroom, "You're pathetic!" she screamed.
Tom winced again. He knew that the switch in the timeline was hard for her, but he hadn't guessed this hard, even after what had happened last night. He had realized as soon as the word left his lips he would be sorry. He hadn't meant to say it but on the other hand, it did make sense. But then... He stopped thinking about. *Better take one day at a time.* he thought.
"Look, B'Elanna, I didn't mean to say it. I'm sorry that I even mentioned it." he said, getting up and walking near her, not sure what to expect. She just glared at him, then her gaze softened. She looked down at the floor, "I'm sorry." she said, barely above a whisper. Tom hugged her, "It's okay." he whispered back. Then Tuvok's voice came over the comm. system, "Senior officers to the conference lounge. Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay have returned." he said, and the comm. channel cut short. Tom and B'Elanna drew away.
"Let's go." B'Elanna said, and the two walked out of 'their' quarters and to the turbolift.
When the two lieutenants walked in, they saw, to their dismay, that they were the last ones there. They quickly sat down, pleading silently that their two commanding officers wouldn't notice, but the Captain and Commander's faces were wreathed with smiles, standing next to each other at the head of the table. They obviously had some VERY good news.
"Want to give me three guesses about what you two are going to say?" Heather asked, trying to keep a straight face; but in the end, she ended grinning from ear to ear.
Captain Janeway laughed, "I don't think so, Heather, altough I don't doubt that you wouldn't guess correctly." she said. Commander Chakotay put his arms around Captain Janeway, "We'd like you eight to be the first ones to hear this - Kathryn and I are getting married." he said. Cheers rang out in the conference lounge. Tuvok got up and shook Chakotay's hand, "Congradulations, Commander." he said. Chakotay smiled, "Thanks, Tuvok. That means a lot, coming from you." he said. B'Elanna ran around the table to hug Captain Janeway. Altough she wasn't HER Captain, she was still happy for the couple. "I'm so happy for you!" she said softly.
The Captain returned her hug, "Would you like to be my Maid of Honor?" Kathryn asked.
B'Elanna smiled, "I'd love to!"
"No hard feelings?" Kathryn asked. B'Elanna was extremely puzzled at first, but then remembered something she had read in her logs. It had been six months ago, a week after Kathryn and Chakotay had first started 'officially' dating. B'Elanna had felt left out because she could never talk to Chakotay alone anymore - the Captain was always with him. She had gotten extremely jealous, but in the end, she talked it out with Chakotay like Tom had advised her to and everything had been patched up.
"No hard feelings." she replied. She stood to the side as Heather and Kes came up, hugging their newly engaged Captain.
Tom, Harry, Neelix, and the Doctor shook hands with Chakotay. Everyone was extremely happy for the Captain and Commander, and Heather said later that people had been placing bets on when they would become engaged for at least three months. Everyone took turns congradulating the two newly engaged commanding officers.
The Captain and Commander tried to continue on the meeting as usual but it was no use. No one could stop smiling. B'Elanna leaned over to Tom, "I don't think we should tell them now." she whispered, as Tuvok droned on and on about the Nesaphi, which was an alien life form that attatched itself to Voyager's hull and started to disitigrate it. *Neelix's 'space critters'.* Tom thought.
"I agree. We'll tell them later." he whispered back.
"It's always later, come to think of it." B'Elanna whispered back, aware that the Captain and Commander were too busy exchaging looks and listening to Tuvok to notice their mini conversation.
Tom smiled and nodded slightly, and B'Elanna leaned back over to her chair, trying to concentrate on Tuvok but failing, for her thoughts kept straying back to...Tom. She hated to admit it, but they were. *I wonder what he really meant, about people not being married yet. Could it be possible? Had he meant...* her thoughts were interrupted by Tuvok.
"Lt. Torres, you said that you had information concerning the plasma particle cloud?" he asked.
Tom was about to answer for her but B'Elanna cut him off. She had decided that it was definetely not the time to tell Kathryn and Chakotay about how she and Tom weren't really the B'Elanna and Tom that they knew.
"What? Oh, it's just that if we could redirect the plasma particles if we did some modifications to the deflector grid and collect some of the plasma particles and use them for extra replicator rations. I can do the remodifications within the hour." B'Elanna replied quickly. Tuvok was about to pursue the topic but Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay stood up. "Do it. Very good, all of you. Dismissed." Captain Janeway said, and she and the Commander walked out hand in hand.
Kes cocked an eyebrow up, "Well, I've got quite a few replicator rations to collect." she said, smirking. Harry groaned good naturedly and Heather smirked, "Pay up, Harry." she told her husband, smirking as well.
Harry rolled his eyes, "I can't believe I married you." he said jokingly. Heather just smiled playfully and leaned over and kissed him, "Remember? We share replicator rations now." she reminded him.
He just grinned, "Right, but you're always using my share as well as your share." he retorted. Now it was Heather who rolled her eyes, "That's not entirely true. I had to use a weeks worth of replicator rations plus all of mine for part of your birthday present, and that was the only time. Besides, I thought husbands and wifes were supposed to share everything." she replied. Everyone laughed, minus Tuvok. He waited for everyone to calm down, then got down to business, "Lt. Torres, may I ask why you purposely lied to the Captain and Commander about the particle cloud?" he asked.
B'Elanna sighed, "Tuvok, that was definitely not the time to tell them that we were imposters.Besides, what I said was true. We could collect some of the plsma particles using the deflector gid." she said. Tom squeezed her hand for support. She squeezed back. He was always there for her it seemed, and she liked the thought of that.
Tuvok sighed, "Perhaps that was not the best time, although sooner or later we wil have to figure a way to return you and Lt. Paris to your time." he said, standing up. Everyone walked out in silence. Heather, Harry, Tom, and B'Elanna headed for the turbolift, for it wasn't their shift. They could hear quiet laughter coming from the Captain's Ready Room, obvoiusly where she and her fiance were talking.
"Why don't we go to the Mess Hall for dinner?" Harry suggested. Tom and B'Elanna shrugged and Heather smiled, "Why don't we go to the holodeck first and then have a later dinner in the Mess Hall?" she suggested, "And then we can start to figure out a way to get you two back to your reality."
Everyone nodded at that. "Deck 10." Harry said, and the turbolift descended down the shaft.
The four officers had tons of fun on the holodeck. They ran a mystery and it was super. By the time the four had uncovered the mystery, it was 2100 hours.
"Shall we?" B'Elanna asked, referring to going to the Mess Hall. Harry looked up from shutting the program down. Heather stood next to him, working on a PADD. "After you." Tom said, and the four headed to the Mess Hall.
Kathryn sipped her coffee, "Did you notice that Tom and B'Elanna were having a little conversation during the meeting?" she asked Chakotay who sat opposite of her.
Chakotay nodded, "What do you think that was about?"
Kathryn shrugged, "I have no idea." she replied offhandedly.
Chakotay smiled, "I think we should ask them about it." he said.
Kathryn's eyes grew large, "Chakotay, it could be a private matter! I know you're B'Elanna's best friend, but that doesn't give you the right to question her personal life!" she said, then added, "Would you want her to question you about our personal life?"
Chakotay shook his head, "No, but why would Tuvok know about it if it were personal in the first place, and if he did, I don't think he'd question her about it in a senior staff meeting." he explained. Kathryn nodded in comprehension, "Why don't we?" she asked, "Computer, location of Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres."
"Lieutenant Tom Paris and Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres are in the Mess Hall." the computer replied, and the two got up and walked out of her ready room and headed for the turbolift, nodding to Tuvok on the way.
The four friends walked into the Mess Hall, got some of Neelix's latest creation, and sat down talking and laughing. Then Heather brought out the PADD.
"I downloaded the shuttle's flight records earlier, and I think I might have found a suitible explanation." she said, turning the PADD on and laying it in the middle of the table, taking a bite of some yellow glop on her plate. She ignored the taste and went on, "There seems to be a slight quantum flux the nano-second you switched. If we could reproduce the quantum flux and reverse it, we may be able to get you two back to your own reality. However, you might be several days before or after it happened. Say, you could still be bargaining for the milnicide, or you could be at your posts a week after you supposivley returned to Voyager. And we may be able to use the plasma particle cloud as a catch." she explained.
"What you're saying is that we fly the shuttle into the plasma particle cloud again, and -" Tom was cut off by B'Elanna, "and you could get Voyager to reproduce the quantum flux using some of the plasma particles!" she nearly shouted excitedly, at the exact moment Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay walked in, but the only part they heard was "...plasma particles!" They looked at each other, "I didn't know she was that sick of Neelix's food." Chakotay joked. Kathryn just frowned and walked over to their table, a smile replacing the frown on her face. Chakotay followed.
"Mind if we join you?" Kathryn asked. The four looked up, startled. Kathryn noticed that Heather immediatly shoved the PADD into Harry's lap. He quickly hid it.
"Sure!" Tom said, and the two pulled up chairs and sat down.
"What was Tuvok really asking you about?" Kathryn asked, after the pleasantries were over.
Tom and B'Elanna looked at each other, frowns replacing their smiles. B'Elanna looked down and then looked directly at the Captain, "This will sound strange, but Tom and I aren't from this time." she explained. That just brought extremely puzzled looks from the Captain and Commander so she continued, "It happened yesterday. We were in a shuttle returning to Voyager after collecting some milnicide for the warp core when we flew straight into a plasma particle cloud which just appeared on the screen all of a sudden. Then we found ourselves a 1,000 lightyears ahead of hour current position and Voyager was hailing us." she continued.
"That away mission happened a year ago." Chakotay commented.
"Exactly. We come from a year into the past." Tom said.
Heather snatched the PADD from under the table, "But we think we might be able to get them back to their time by using Voyager's deflector grid and the plasma particle cloud." she said. Harry started to explain it. In the end, Kathryn nodded, "Start on the remodifications immediately. But, why didn't you tell us sooner?" she asked.
Tom and B'Elanna looked at each other, " 'Cause we realized that right then and there was not the best time to tell you two that we were imposters." B'Elanna explained, a small smile on her face.
Captain Janeway nodded, "I understand."
The six officers grew silent. Then Tuvok's voice came over the comm. system, "Senior officers to the bridge." Everyone got up and left the Mess Hall, Heather busily tapping away at her PADD. B'Elanna looked over her shoulder, reviewing what she was typing in. They reached the turbolift and got off at the bridge, just as a jolt rocked the ship. Kathryn fell to her knees but Chakotay helped her up. Harry ran to his station, "The cloud is sending out random gravitational flows. Voyager won't be able to stand much more of this." he said.
"Tuvok, what are the shield's status?" Captain Janeway asked. Tuvok quickly told her, "Shield's are at 62% and falling. I doubt Voyager will be able to withstand these flows much longer."
"B'Elanna, can we outrun them?" Chakotay asked.
B'Elanna quickly got up the results on her console, "If we timed it specially, we could surf our way with the waves out until they disapate but I don't know how long a static warp field would hold."
Chakotay frowned, then he remembered what he had learned in the Mess Hall, "Heather, how much time do you need to create a plan for Torres and Paris?" he asked. Heather's eyes widened in comprehension, "I'd say ten hours at the most. If Voyager could withstand it that long, we could use the gravitational flows to our advantage and have Tom and B'Elanna fly a shuttle directly into the cloud. Voyager would then use the deflector grid - it would have to be completely remodified - to send out a burst of tachion particles to disrupt the cloud, sending them back to their time." Heather replied, while tapping at her console. She nodded as if to confirm her hypothesis, "Give me nine and a half hours and everything'll be all right." she said.
B'Elanna called from her console, "Heather, it sounds like a good plan, it really does, but I don't know if we have nine and a half hours. The plasma particle cloud..." another jolt sent her flying off her chair. Tom was halfway out of his chair and about to dash across the bridge but she got up.
All of a sudden, Voyager stopped shaking.
"What happened?" Chakotay asked.
Harry looked at the sensor scans, "To tell you the truth, Commander, I don't know. The plasma particle cloud stopped sending out the gravitational flows. They just disapated." he explained.
Tom turned, "What about the plasma particle cloud?" he asked. Heather shook her head, "From the sensor readings, I'd say we could still get you two back to your time, but I still don't know about those flows." she said.
Captain Janeway sat back in her chair, "My suggestion is that we all get a good night's sleep. Heather and B'Elanna, you two start on the plan first thing in the morning. We'll do the remodifications in the morning." she suggested.
"But..." B'Elanna started to protest and Tom, Harry, and Heather their mouths open. Captain Janeway just glared at them and they quieted, but she could tell that they all wanted desperately to start on the plan right away. She sighed as they all walked to the turbolift.
Tom and B'Elanna entered 'their' quarters and looked at each other. Tom just shrugged. B'Elanna sat down on the couch and lay back, closing her eyes. She was exhausted. Tom was tired, too, but not as tired as her. He went over to the replicator and got a glass of warm milk. He handed it to B'Elanna. B'Elanna took it without opening her eyes and took a sip. When she opened her eyes, Tom was in the other room. She yawned as Tom came out of the room. He was already dressed in his pajamas. "Your turn." he said, giving her his hand. She took it and he helped her up. She walked slowly into the bedroom and got on her pajamas. She looked at the bed. It was at least twice the size of her regular bed on her Voyager. She rubbed her neck abesntmindedly and winced. Sleeping on the couch hurt! She got dressed into her pajamas and went back to the living room. Tom was sitting on the couch, reading a PADD.
"Goin' to bed?" he asked, looking up from the PADD. He had been busy looking over his personal logs again. He had gotten to the most recent ones, the ones downloaded from the shuttle's memory from shore leave.
She sat down on the couch next to him, "Okay, don't take this the wrong way, but I think the bed's big enough for the both of us..." she said, her voice trailing off and she stared at her hands, examining them closely *Why oh why did I have to say that?* she asked herself. She was tired, and she really did think there was room enough for both of them, for it was a really big bed, and if they kept their distance everything would be okay. And sleeping on the couch wasn't exactly comfortable. Tom's blue eyes narrowed as he watched her. "But don't you dare try anything, Paris." she added, her voice harder with a warning tone. Tom didn't say anything. Then he got up, "Okay, 'Lanna." he said. B'Elanna got up as well and they both got into bed, each lieutenant to one side. B'Elanna curled up in a tight ball and shut her eyes. She immediatly fell asleep.
Tom woke up at 0730 hours. He sat up and was startled to find B'Elanna curled up next to him. Her breathing was steady and she looked so peaceful and innocent asleep. He longed to kiss her, but his concience was strongly against it, * She might take it the wrong way, Thomas. * it said. He sighed and just sat there for a minute, waking up. He got out of bed, got his uniform, and went into the bathroom to change. When he came out, B'Elanna was still sound asleep. He made a spur-of-the-moment discisoin and quickly leaned down and kissed B'Elanna on her forehead. She slowly opened her eyes and sat up. Tom sat next to her. She smiled, "I'd better go get changed." she whispered, and she kissed him quickly before she went to get changed in the bathroom. When she came out they went to the Mess Hall to meet Heather and Harry.
Ten hours later, everything was ready. Now they just had to set the plan in motion. Tom and B'Elanna walked into the shuttle bay, donned in their uniforms. Captain Janeway, Chakotay, Harry, Heather, Neelix, and Kes were all there. Everyone said goodbye, and as Heather and B'Elanna hugged, Heather slipped a PADD into her hands. B'Elanna looked questionally at her and Heather just smiled, "Keep it." Heather told her. B'Elanna nodded and finished saying her goodbyes. Everyone else headed for the bridge and the two lieutenants boarded the shuttle and flew out of the cargo bay.
"Paris to Voyager. We have successfully cleared the cargo bay." Tom said through the comm. system. On the bridge, Captain Janeway nodded, "All right, then, go ahead. Good luck to both of you." she said. Beside her, Chakotay sat nervously. Neither one of them knew what to expect.
On Keiko, B'Elanna smiled, "Good luck to you two as well." she said, referring to the engaged couple. On the bridge everyone smiled and Chakotay reached over and took Kathryn's hand and squeezed it. "Setting a course for the center of the plasma particle cloud." Tom informed them, and Keiko flew into the middle of the plasma particle cloud. Tom and B'Elanna were both knocked unconcious as the shuttle was hit by a stream of plasma particles outputted by the deflector grid. Blackness...
Tom opened his eyes. He was lying on the floor of the shuttle, his arms wrapped around B'Elanna. B'Elanna awoke as well. She pulled herself into a sitting position. Tom got up and helped her up as well. They went over to their seats and sat down. They were being hailed by Voyager.
"Opening a channel." B'Elanna said, and the Captain's face appeared on the view screen, "Lieutenants! Good job on getting the milnicide. You can both have the next 24 hours off. You can dock in Shuttle Bay 1. Janeway out." Captain Janeway said. Tom and B'Elanna looked at each other. Tom glanced down and saw to his relief that the stardate was 5937.2. "It worked." he said, although that was un-nessacary, for B'Elanna's face had lightened up with a grin. "We're home." she repeated, turning to smile at Tom. He smiled, and they docked the shuttle in the shuttle bay.
As they got out, B'Elanna grabbed the PADD Heather had given her. "What's that?" Tom asked. B'Elanna smiled, "To tell you the truth, I don't know. Heather gave it to me." she explained. They exited the shuttle bay and headed for the turbolift. It stopped at B'Elanna's deck and they both got out. B'Elanna looked at Tom, "This isn't the deck your quarters are located on, Lieutenant." she said. Tom just grinned playfully, "I'm just going to see if your quarters are yours. Then I'll know this is really where we belong." he said. B'Elanna guessed that he had a hidden agenda but didn't say anything. She halted at her door and tapped in the command codes. The doors opened with a whoosh. "Well, that's a start." B'Elanna said, walking cautiously inside. She half expected flying monkies to attack her but none did. Everything was in its place, just the way she had left it. Tom stood next to her as she surveyed her quarters. B'Elanna finished looking around and turned to Tom.
"This is where we belong." she said, and Tom kissed her. The kiss was long and passionate. When they drew away, both were gasping for air. Tom smiled and kissed her lightly on the lips again, "I'll see you later." he said, and he exited her quarters. B'Elanna smiled and sat back on the couch. She picked up the PADD Heather had given her and started to read it:
* Lt. Torres's Personal Log, Stardate 7019.4 . Today I had dinner with Tom in his quarters. Our relationship is... Well there isn't really a word to describe it. Incredible would be a close one. I'm wondering why I ever even tried to prolong, as Captain Janeway would say, the inevitable. Anyway, it's really wonderful. Almost every day for the past month we've gotten together and either gone to the holodeck or had dinner together.I haee to say this, but I think I'm in love!*.....
B'Elanna put down the PADD and leaned back on the couch, wondering where (or more exactly, how) Heather had gotten this from. She was about to put it away when she decided to read it anyway. Besides, who wouldn't want to know their future? *You never know...* she thought to herself. She got some coffee from her replicator and went back to the couch. She picked up the
PADD and continued to read it...
Yeah, yeah, I know, Paramount owns 'em, except for Lt. Heather Whitney, an' I just borrowed them. Comments are welcome at JaneG100@rocketmail.com- Copyright October 1997 by Jane Griffen