Yeah, I know. I own nothing (with the exception of the actual story and all the characters I made up - it‘d take too long to name them!!!) and Paramount owns everything!!! Please e-mail me feedback - I luv feedback - at!!! Thanks!

By Jane Griffen

It was a regular day on Voyager, and almost everyone was mildy bored, for nothing new had happened for a while.

"Captain, sensors show a habited class-M planet ten lightyears away," Ensign Harry Kim informed Kathryn Janeway.

Captain Janeway turned from talking with Commander Chakotay. "Technology?" she asked, immediately interested.

Harry looked down, then nodded. "Similar to ours. Sensors show five spacefaring ships with warp drives, but they‘re all landed."
"How long would it take to get there, Harry?"
Chakotay asked.
"At warp 6, seven hours."

"Mister Paris," Captain Janeway told Lt. Tom
Paris, who was at the conn. "Set a course for the planet, warp 6." she ordered, leaning back in her chair. She hoped the planet would prove mildy interesting, for she, like the rest of her crew, was mildy bored.

Fifteen minutes later, the Beta shift ended and Ensigns Beth Carmen and Melissa Paso relieved Tom and Harry of their posts.

"So, where you headed?" Harry asked as the turbolift descended the shaft.

"I thought I‘d go ahead and turn in my conn report to Engineering." Tom replied evasively.

Harry smiled. "Uh-huh," he replied knowingly, knowing that Tom was only using that as an excuse to see Lt. B‘Elanna Torres, cheif engineer.

The turbolift doors opened and Harry got out, after he made Tom promise to meet him at Sandrine‘s at 2000 hours.

"Pass it on to B‘Elanna and Heather." he called over his shoulder, referring to Lt. Heather Whitney - Voyager‘s senior science officer and a good friend of theirs - as he walked off.

Tom made a mental note to do it as he got off at Deck 3to go to his quarters and retrieve the conn report. Getting it, he headed for the turbolift again and got off at Deck 11; Engineering.

B‘Elanna Torres worked busily in a side part of Engineering, as was everyone else there. She sighed as she uploaded some files. It seemed to take forever. The truth was, she was bored. Sure, the systems could always use a little upgrading and it wouldn‘t hurt to just run scans on them, but she just didn‘t feel like it.
Just then, a pair of hands covered her eyes.
Laughing, she she removed them and turned around.

"What are you doing here?" she asked Tom Paris, drawing away from a kiss.

"Conn report," he replied, waving a padd in front of her face, his blue eyes sparkling.
B‘Elanna took it. "Thanks." she replied.

"Need any help?"

B‘Elanna smiled and shook her head. "No, but
if I did, I‘d be doing it." she replied, kissing him back.
"Why, things boring?" he murmered into her ear.

"Not that you‘re here."

They would have continued talking if it
hadn‘t been for a fellow engineer and good friend.

Heather Whitney poked her head around the corner and laughed.

"I hate to stop the little romance scene between you gwo - maybe I should tell the Captain - but..." Heather laughed again as the two embarrased lieutenants pulled away from their embrace. "Boy, the looks on your faces are priceless!" she added, almost doubling over with laughing. "I‘m only kidding." she said, realizing that the two thought she was going to tell the captain.

"What do you want?" B‘Elanna asked, regaining her composure.

"A request from Stellar Cartography. They‘re wondering if we can take the warp core offline so they can use the extra power to conduct a series of tests revolving around creating a sonar burst." Heather explained.

B‘Elanna took the padd, interested, and skimmed the contents while Heather continued. "Captain Janeway has already said yes. They just need your approval."

B‘Elanna nodded. "All right. It can‘t hurt. They‘ll just have to wait until we reach that planet." she said.

"Will do. I‘ll see you guys around." Heather said.
"Hey, Heather." Tom called.

She turned, curious. "What?"

"Sandrine‘s. 2000 hours."

"Okay, I‘ll see you guys there." she said,
and she left.
"What about me?" B‘Elanna asked playfully.

"You, too. You coming?"

"Wouldn‘t miss it for the world."
Heather walked into Sandrine‘s. As usual, it was jam packed with officers off duty. She spotted Tom, B‘Elanna, and Harry at a table near the pool table and went over to them. Pulling up a chair, she sat down.

"Sorry I‘m late, but those scans I wanted to run on those plants I was telling you about took longer than I expected," she told them.

"No problem," Tom replied. "We waited for you before we started a game of pool. Anybody want to play?"

Harry agreed but it took a little prompting on everybody‘s part to get Heather to play, but finally, the former won over.

"Fine, fine! If I make a fool out of myself, I‘m blaming you." she kidded as she got up after taking a sip of her drink.

"Then you‘ll fit in with everyone else I‘m gonna beat tonight." Tom replied.
"We‘ll see about that." Harry said.

"A weeks worth of replicator rations?"

"You‘re on."

"What about you, Heather? Whose side you on?"
Tom said, turning back to Heather, who was sharpening her cue. She narrowed her eyes. "If you want my opinion, you are getting way too over confident." she said. "As for the bet, who says I‘m not going to win?"

Tom, Harry, B‘Elanna and a few bystanders laughed. Tom turned to B‘Elanna. "You in?"

B‘Elanna shook her head and smiled. "No, thanks. I‘ll just sit out tonight." she replied.

Tom, Harry, and Heather all turned to stare at her.
"You sure?" Tom asked.

B‘Elanna nodded. "Yeah, I‘ll just watch."

Harry raised his eyebrow but didn‘t say
anything. Tom and Heather were more open.

Then Heather shrugged. "Okay. But I still think it would be more fun if it was you and me against them. Then we could beat them by tons!" she joked.
B‘Elanna smiled. "You don‘t need my help."

"Yeah, sure. Just watch them humiliate me!"

"Again." Harry commented. Heather just turned
to glare at him. Tom and B‘Elanna laughed, and the game began.

A few hours later, the four walked out of the Holodeck.

"Life‘s so unfair!" Heather commented, for Tom had won. Harry had given him a challange, but he had still won. And Heather just couldn‘t stand the thought of him - Tom - beating her.
Everyone laughed.

Harry covered up a yawn. "Well, I don‘t know
about you, but I‘m tired." he said.

"What? But its only 2310 hours!" Heather kidded.

Harry rolled his eyes. "Unlike you, I got up at 0200 hours in the morning for the early shift, so I don‘t think you should be talking."
Heather laughed. "I was only kidding."

"I know."

"At least you don‘t have to work the night
shift tonight as well." Heather replied brightly.

Harry gave her a withering look and B‘Elanna refrained from laughing.

"You are the limit." Tom commented, shaking his head.

"I‘ll take that as a compliment." Heather shot back.

"Still, I can‘t figure out how you can still be so awake and ready to go when it‘s almost midnight." B‘Elanna commented, trying to smother a yawn. She was tired.
"You tired?" Tom asked softly.

"No, I‘m not." B‘Elanna kidded.

Tom laughed. "Well, if you get too tired,
I‘ll carry you back to your quarters."
"Hmmm.....How ‚bout a compromise?"

"You like compromises, don‘t you?"

"Only when I come up with them."

"You would have liked Chili!"

"Didn‘t you like Tahitit?"

"Loved it."

"Then you have nothing to worry about."

The two laughed and walked out of the
turbolift they - along with Harry and Heather - had been in.

Harry and Heather watched them walk down the corridor, hand in hand. Then they turned and looked at each other.

"Well, I think its safe to say that now I know how it feels to be invisible." Heather commented.
Harry laughed. "You have to admit, though.
They do make a cute couple."
"No argument there."

"So, you on for breakfast?"

"What time?"

"Is 0700 hours to late for you?"

"Very funny. Sure."

Just then, the turbolift stopped and Seven of
Nine walked in. Harry immediately felt uneasy but Heather ignored it. She smiled. "Hi, Seven. Where you headed?"
"To my quarters."

"Oh." Heather yawned again. The turbolift doors opened. "Bye!"

She got out and headed for her quarters. It had been a long day.

Captain Janeway talked pleasantly with Tar Julianna King, the woman who was the leader of the Tarans, whose planet they were orbiting, on the bridge. Tar Julianna had blonde hair and catlike green eyes, and she wore her hair back in a flip-through.

"Your crew is welcome to beam down, although there are a few, er..." Julianna seemed hesitant to go on, which aroused Kathryn Janeway‘s curiosity immediately.

"What?" Commander Chakotay asked, curious as well. Tuvok and Harry were at their positions and Heather had just come in with a cup of coffee. She quickly apologized to the Captain.

Kathryn Janeway nodded absentmindedly in Heather‘s direction as she sat down at her station, awaiting Julianna‘s answer.

"There are two groups that aren‘t part of our government that are at war with each other - they have their own settlements farther south of here, so I‘ll have to warn you. They aren‘t active within the city grounds - they aren‘t interested in the government and we don‘t pose a threat to them, but your crew might. Of course, if your crew stayed in the city, I don‘t think anything would happen, but..."

Captain Janeway nodded understandingly. "I‘ll warn my crew."

Julianna nodded. "I‘m sure they wouldn‘t harm anybody, but there‘s still that slight possibility." she said, then she laughed. "I‘ll see what I can do. You see, my twin brother, Dan, is the leader of the eastern group. I‘ll try to contact him. I‘m sure he‘ll let you and your crew explore their grounds, as long as you don‘t make contact with them."
"Your brother?" Tuvok asked.

"Yes. When my parents died when we were young

  • I was ten and he was nine - because of the Gerae; the southern group - my brother ran off to join the Jaira; the eastern group." she said.

  • "I see." Captain Janeway replied. "Thanks.
    Janeway out."

    The viewscreen stopped transmitting Julianna‘s signal. She turned to Chakotay.
    "What do you think?"

    Chakotay raised his eyebrow. "I say go for
    it. We might not get another chance to take shore leave for awhile." he said.

    Captain Janeway nodded. "I agree. It‘ll be nice to go someplace other than the holodeck and walk around."

    Tuvok interjected. "Captain, you are not being rational. The Gerae might pose a threat to us."

    "The odds are slim and I myself would love to take a chance to take some shore leave. I‘ll tell the crew that they are allowed to beam down and mingle with the Tarans, and can leave the city grounds if they‘re careful and stay well away from both rebel groups. Is that good enough for you, Mr. Tuvok?" Captain Janeway said expectantly.
    Tuvok raised his eyebrow and nodded.

    Captain Janeway turned back in her chair.

    "As soon as this shift ends, do you want to
    beam down and see the city?" Chakotay asked her.
    Captain Janeway smiled. "It‘s a date."
    "Come on, you guys!" Heather called, walking out of the city gates. They had just come from having lunch with Julianna and her husband, as well as their two children - Tara, who was six, and Michael, who was four, - and the senior staff.

    "I don‘t know how she does it." Harry commented, shaking his head as he, Tom, and B‘Elanna hurried to catch up with Heather as she walked down the path.
    "Wait up!" B‘Elanna called.

    Heather stopped. "You guys are so slow!" she
    "No, you‘re just very fast." Tom replied.

    Heather just grinned and walked with them.
    "Sorry, I‘m just eager to explore the planet." she said.

    B‘Elanna smiled. "We all are, and it‘ll be more fun if we do it together." she pointed out.

    The four continued up the path, which was headed towards the forest. The sun was out and it was a pretty day. As soon as they entered the forest, it was immediately cooler.

    "Remarkable." Harry remarked, gazing up at the trees. They were bigger than any other tree he had seen in his life.

    "You should see the Redwoods in California and Oregon." Tom commented.
    "This‘ll be great for a science expedition."
    Heather remarked.

    "You and your work." B‘Elanna said, shaking her head mockingly.
    Heather just smiled and they continued on.
    About a half a mile later, she paused.
    "Did you hear that?" she asked worriedly.

    "Hear what?" Harry asked. He hadn‘t heard
    "That noise."

    "It‘s your imagination, Heather." Tom told
    her, but she still worried. Soon they came to two trails. The one they had been on stopped.
    "Which way?" B‘Elanna asked.

    Heather shrugged and Tom shook his head.
    "Beats me."

    Harry went down a few meters on the left trail. Heather followed gamely and the two went on, not knowing that Tom and B‘Elanna weren‘t following them. Ten minutes later, they did.
    "Where‘d they go?" Harry asked.

    "Maybe they got kidnapped by the Gerae,"
    Heather remarked, for she had heard the sound again.
    "Aren‘t you the pessimist today."

    "I‘m sure they just took the other trail,
    hoping to spend some time alone together." Heather said, ignoring her friend‘s comment.

    "A nice, romantic stroll, just the two of them." Harry added. The two laughed.

    Heather smirked. Little did they know that their two friends were about to stroll right into a nightmare.

    Tom and B‘Elanna walked hand in hand down the trail. It was nice. Just the two of them. They didn‘t speak, enjoying the peace and quiet.
    "It‘s beautiful, isn‘t it?" B‘Elanna asked,
    gazing up at the sun, which was partially concealed

    by the trees.

    "They‘re nothing compared to you." Tom replied. B‘Elanna looked over at him and smiled. They kissed. Just then, they heard a noise and jumped away.
    "That was close." Tom commented.

    "What was that?" B‘Elanna asked, on guard.
    "Probably Heather trying to scare us." Tom replied, but, he, too, was worried.

    "How come I don‘t think Heather would go that low to get our goat?" B‘Elanna asked.
    "Because she wouldn‘t."

    "Maybe we should go back to the city."
    B‘Elanna said, looking around.
    Tom nodded. "That would be a good idea."

    The two turned around and walked quickly
    back, glancing around uneasily.
    "We should have listened to Heather."
    B‘Elanna fretted.

    "I know. It‘s not your fault. I was the one who said it was just her imagination." Tom said, disgusted with himself. He, of all people, should have known that Heather hadn‘t been trying to scare them.

    Just then, they heard it again. It was closer so the two broke out running.

    "Wouldn‘t it be funny if it was Heather." B‘Elanna commented, but she knew as well as Tom that it definetely wasn‘t.
    "Yeah, real funny."

    They came to a dead end.

    "What?" they said at the same time.

    "We took the wrong trail." Tom said.

    "What do we do now?"

    "Paris to Voyager."

    Nothing happened.

    Heather and Harry hurried down the trail. Harry, too, had heard it and they were both a little uneasy, for they had tried contacting Voyager. They couldn‘t.

    To their relief, the trail soon ended near the beginning of the other trail. They glimpsed the city in the bckground. About to enter the city, were a blonde man and a brunette woman, but they could only see the backs of them.

    "Thank God!" Heather said, and the two sprinted as fast as they could.

    "Hey, guys, wait up!" Harry called as they neared them.

    The couple turned. They weren‘t Tom and B‘Elanna.

    "Is there something we can do for you?" The young woman, who had hazal eyes asked.

    "You‘re from that starship orbiting Taran, aren‘t you?" The man asked. He had green eyes.

    "Oh, sorry. We thought you were someone else." Heather apologized, a sinking feeling in her stomach.

    "I‘m Yvonne. Where‘d you last see them?" The woman asked.

    "On the trails. When this one split into two, we took the left one. I guess they decided to take the other one." Harry replied quickly.

    Yvonne narrowed her eyes and the man spoke up. "I‘m Alec. That trail leads to a waterfall, and then comes back. It‘s much shorter than the left one, so unless they got lost or took some other trail, they should be back by now."

    "Thanks so much!" Heather called, and the two Starfleet officers hurried on, looking for Tom and B‘Elanna in the city. That would have been fine, but Tom and B‘Elanna weren‘t in the city.

    B‘Elanna sighed. They had decided to retrace their steps and soon found the trail they should have been on.

    "Listen." Tom said, leading her by the hands down the moss-covered trail. He had thought he had heard the sound of water, but he wasn‘t sure.

    "What?" B‘Elanna asked, worried that it was a Gerae.

    "It‘s okay. Here, come on." Tom replied, and he covered her eyes with his hand and led her by her hands with the other.
    "How am I supposed to see where I‘m going?"
    B‘Elanna asked.
    "Do you trust me?"

    "Of course."

    "Then how ‚bout a compromise. You trip, I
    carry you."

    B‘Elanna laughed. "Sounds like a good compromise."

    A minute later, Tom uncovered her eyes and stepped back. B‘Elanna gasped. It was beautiful. She stood on the edge of a small pond. A waterfall fell from rocks about eight yards above the ground. For the final touch, a rainbow radiated from the water.
    "It‘s wonderful." she whispered.

    Tom just smiled.

    B‘Elanna walked around the edge. Something
    moved. She narrowed her eyes and started towards it.

    The next thing she knew, Tom yelled her name and hurled himself at her. She fell to the ground. Getting up quickly, she spotted a lurking figure hurrying away. Scared, she turned to Tom. He lay motionless on the ground.

    "Tom?" she practically screamed, kneeling next to him.

    "Tom!" she screamed, tears running down her face. Then she gasped and tapped her commbadge, which now worked.

    "Torres to Voyager. Medical emergency. Two to beam directly to Sick Bay." she said, sobs racking her body, and the two disappeared in a haze of misty blue light.

    Captain Janeway sipped her drink as she and Commander Chakotay sat at a table at a small sidewalk cafe. After they had explored the city together after the luncheon Tar Julianna and her family had invited them to, she and Chakotay had decided to stop and get drinks.

    Captain Janeway was about to speak when Tuvok‘s voice came over the comm system. "Tuvok to Janeway."

    Kathryn shook her head. "I swear he does this on purpose." she said. Chakotay smiled. "Janeway here." she said, tapping her commbadge.

    "Captain Janeway, there has been a medical emergency. I suggest that you and the rest of the crew report back to Voyager immediately."

    "What happened?" Kathryn asked, her eyes narrowing worriedly.

    "One of the Gerae has shot Lt. Paris. He is in critical condition. I suggest you contact Lt. Whitney and Ensign Kim."
    Kathryn and Chakotay shared worried looks.

    "I‘m on my way." she said. Leaving some money
    on the table, the two walked quickly to the transport site. On the way, they spotted Heather and Harry walking among the crowds, glancing around.

    "Heather, Harry!" Chakotay called. Heather and Harry spotted the two commanding officers and quickly headed over towards them.

    "What happened to Tom and B‘Elanna?" Kathryn asked hurriedly.

    "We lost them back at the trails when they..." Heather was about to comment further but then she realized how worried the other two were so she left out the other part. "Well, we got seperated and then we ran into a couple named Alec and Yvonne and they said that the trail they took was shorter than the one Tom and B‘Elanna took - we think - so they should be here somewhere in the city. Why?"

    "Because there‘s a medical emergency. You two‘d better come, too." Chakotay said.

    The four hurried to the transport site and soon they beamed aboard Voyager. Tuvok was there to meet them.
    "What‘s wrong?" Harry asked.

    "Lt. Paris is in critical condition. The
    Doctor is trying to save him." Tuvok replied.
    Heather gasped.

    "What about B‘Elanna?" Chakotay asked,

    Tuvok raised his eyebrow. "She is not handling the situation well."

    "Come on, let‘s get down there. I have a feeling the Doctor could be using your medical expertise right now." Captain Janeway said, but the other three were already out the door. She jogged to catch up with them. Within what seemed like seconds they all ran into Sick Bay. The Doctor was there, a deep frown on his face, and Tom lay lifelessly on the bio bed. B‘Elanna stood next to him, tears streaming down her face and holding Tom‘s hand as the Doctor worked quickly and methodically. She didn‘t even seem to notice Captain Janeway, Chakotay, Heather, and Harry enter. The Doctor did.

    "Lt. Whitney." he said curtly, not needing to say anything else.

    Heather went over, her face pale. She hesitated, seeing Tom there, but the Doctor‘s orders snapped her out of it.
    "Lt., 10 ccs or cartorozoid."

    Heather did so quickly, and they started
    throwing orders and reports back and forth.

    B‘Elanna held Tom‘s hand, sobbing. She couldn‘t believe what had just happened. Just the other moment they had been standing at the edge of the waterfall. That had been only a few minutes ago. Now Tom was on the line between life and death.

    For the next minute - what seemed like an eternity - the Doctor and Heather continued. Then the Doctor paused. B‘Elanna couldn‘t take it any longer. She fled the room and ran blindly through the corridor. Ensigns and lieutenants called after her, but she payed no attention. She entered her quarters and sat down on the floor. She cried, her sobs racking her body. She put her face in her hands. *How could this have happened?* she thought, as the image of Tom lying lifelessly on the bio bed kept going through her head.

    "Doctor?" Harry asked hesitantly, seeing that the Doctor had stopped. Heather stood there, her hand holding a hypospray that was inches away from Tom‘s neck.

    The hologram looked up. "He‘s unconcious in a coma. I can‘t do anything to revive him. Only time will tell." he replied somberly.

    Heather dropped the hypospray on the floor and sat down on a bio bed, her face pale and ashen. How could this have happened? she asked herself, not even realizing that tears were running down her face. Harry went over to her.

    "It‘s gonna be okay, Heath." he told her softly.

    Heather took a deep breath and looked up at him. How can he be so calm? she asked herself. She could have hit herself for thinking that. Of course he wasn‘t calm. She could sense him being worried and scared, just like her. She glanced around Sick Bay. Chakotay and Captain Janeway were talking with the Doctor.
    "Where‘s B‘Elanna?" she asked.

    "I don‘t know." Chakotay replied.

    "Computer, location of B‘Elanna Torres."
    Captain Janeway said, a frown on her face.

    "Lt. B‘Elanna Torres is in her quarters, Deck 3 section 17."

    "I‘ll go see how she is." Kathryn said softly, and she turned and left. The Doctor, Chakotay, Heather, and Harry watched her go.
    "What now?" Harry asked the Doctor.

    "Now, we wait."
    Kathrn Janeway hurried down the corridor. She didn‘t need to ask which way B‘Elanna had went, for the puzzled looks on several ensigns and lieutenants‘ faces in the corridor told her.

    The computer beeped.

    "Location of B‘Elanna Torres."

    "Lt. B‘Elanna Torres is in her quarters."

    Kathryn headed for a turbolift. There stood
    Seven of Nine, a perplexed look on her face.
    "Seven." she acknolaged.

    "Captain Janeway." Seven replied, then turned
    to the Captain. "Captain, Lt. Torres-"

    Kathryn waved her off. "I know. Tom Paris nearly died and she doesn‘t realize he isn‘t dead." she explained.

    Seven raised her borgified eyebrow. Then the turbolift doors opened on Deck 3 and Kathryn got out. She broke into a run and stopped at B‘Elanna‘s quarters.
    Pressing the door chime, she waited.


    She knocked on the door. "B‘Elanna?" she
    Still nothing.

    "Computer, open Lt. Torres‘s quarters‘ doors,
    authorization Janeway Alpha 7083."

    The doors opened and Kathryn stepped in. She looked around but didn‘t see B‘Elanna anywhere.

    "B‘Elanna?" Kathryn called, more anxiously. She paused for a second and listened. There was sobbing coming from the bedroom so she walked softly into it without making a sound. There was B‘Elanna, her back to the Captain, sitting on her bed and crying.
    Kathryn went over to her.

    "B‘Elanna!" she said softly, laying a hand on
    the sobbing woman‘s shoulder.

    B‘Elanna turned around, tears running down her face. "Is he..." she just couldn‘t bring herself to say the word dead. It just didn‘t seem that all this could have happened. It was like a nightmare, and all she wanted was to wake up.

    Kathryn gaped, then laughed lightly. "No, he‘s not dead!"

    "So he‘s going to be all right?" B‘Elanna asked, more hopeful.
    Kathryn opened her mouth, then sighed.
    "Seriously, I don‘t know. He‘s in a coma right now. The Doctor can‘t do anything to help him. It‘s up to Tom to fight it."

    B‘Elanna stood up. "Can I see him?" she whispered.

    Kathryn paused, considering, and then nodded slowly. "I guess that would be all right."

    The two then headed back for Sick Bay in silence.


    Kathryn and B‘Elanna walked into Sick Bay. The Doctor, Heather, Harry, and Chakotay were still there. Chakotay and Harry were talking quietly and trying to comfort Heather - since she still was as pale as a ghost - who was cleaning medical supplies. The Doctor was running scans.

    Everyone but the Doctor looked up. Chakotay and Harry stopped talking and Heather dropped the medical tool she‘d been cleaning. Blushing, Heather picked it back up.

    Kathryn walked over to the three senior officers.

    "Let‘s go." she whispered, and the other three agreed and walked softly out of Sick Bay. The Doctor finished and went over to his office. B‘Elanna was left alone with Tom.

    B‘Elanna‘s eyes welled up with tears again as she pulled up a stool and placed it next to the bio bed. She sat down on it and took Tom‘s hand, which was limp.
    "I‘m sorry." she whispered. "I‘m so sorry..."
    That had been five days ago. Now, Tom‘s condition had not gotten better and he was still in a coma. B‘Elanna walked tiredly down Deck 5‘s corridor. She had just gotten off her night shift in Engineering and was going to spend the rest of the day, as she had for the last five days, at Tom‘s bedside. She took a deep breath and walked into Sick Bay. Her hopes fell as soon as she saw that nothing had changed since late that night, when she had left to work the night shift. She went over to the Doctor, who was in his office.

    The Doctor glanced up and shook his head as soon as he saw the chief engineer. "No change." he said, answering the unasked question.

    B‘Elanna nodded and went to her regular spot and sat down.

    The Doctor glanced at her from his window, then turned back to his work, frustrated. Lt. Torres hadn‘t left Sick Bay, except to work her shifts. She hadn‘t eaten or slept for five days and the Doctor was getting worried about her. However, there was nothing he could say or do to change her mind, which was bent on spending every single second at Tom‘s bedside if she wasn‘t on duty. She had even excused herself from the senior staff meetings. When the Doctor had brought her behaviour up, the rest of the staff had voiced their worrys as well. Everyone was worried about Tom, and everyone was starting to worry just as much about B‘Elanna.

    Captain Janeway entered Sick Bay. She frowned when she spotted B‘Elanna there, but went directly to the Doctor.
    "Report." she said, sitting down.

    The Doctor could tell she wasn‘t in a good
    mood. "Lt. Paris‘s condition hasn‘t changed."

    "What‘s she doing here? I ordered her to report to her quarters to get some rest after her nightshift." Captain Janeway said moodily.

    The Doctor sighed. "She arrived here a few minutes ago."

    Captain Janeway stood up, nodded, and left, leaving the Doctor even more puzzled. Soon after, the doors opened and Heather stepped through, carrying a tray. Before going over to Torres and Paris, though, she stopped by to see the Doctor.

    "I swear, that woman is so...." Heather said furiously, then stopped short, unable to think of a word. It wasn‘t that she didn‘t have a good vocabulary, she did, it was just that she was too frustrated to think. "How long has she been here?"
    "About ten minutes ago, why do you ask?"

    "I just got off the night shift, stopped by
    the Mess Hall to get some food for her, and came here, and she beat me."

    Heather shook her head. "I‘m worried about
    her. She hasn‘t slept since the night before it happened, and even then, we all stayed at Sandrine‘s till past midnight."

    The Doctor shook his head and waved the frustrated woman away, but then asked. "Do you know why the Captain is in such a bad mood?"

    Heather grinned, but then her smile faded. "I think its because she‘s in a fight with Chakotay. He‘s been acting sour lately, too."
    "Sour?" the Doctor asked, confused.

    Heather laughed. "As in: he‘s in a bad mood,

    The Doctor nodded and she went over to B‘Elanna. She layed the tray down on the table.
    "Eat." she ordered.

    B‘Elanna looked up. "Thanks, Heather, but no
    thanks. I‘m not hungry."

    Heather frowned and crossed her arms over her chest. "Eat, and that‘s an order."
    "Same rank." B‘Elanna muttered.

    "I‘m a bridge officer. Now eat."

    B‘Elanna just shook her head.

    "Fine, then I‘m going to stand here until you
    do." Heather said. She tapped her foot impatiently.

    How come she always has to be so stubborn?

    B‘Elanna eyed the platter of food. "What is it?" she asked.

    "I used my own replicator rations. Ceaser salad, vegetable soup, and a roll. Now eat!" Heather said.

    B‘Elanna reluctantly bit into the roll, and was surprised at how good it tasted. Then she realized why. She hadn‘t eaten for five days.
    "Thanks." she said, after she‘d swallowed.

    "Finish it." Heather said.

    B‘Elanna looked disdainfully at her friend,
    then set the roll down.

    Ughh! Heather thought, aggrivated. "Look, I‘m sick and tired of this. So what if Tom‘s in a coma. That doesn‘t mean you have to die of starvation! Now, I‘m fed up of you not eating or sleeping. You are going to eat and until you finish every last bite, I‘m not leaving. And if I do, I‘ll have the Doctor come in."

    B‘Elanna eyed her friend, then, realizing she wasn‘t going to go anywhere, ate the rest of the roll.
    "Thanks. I‘m full now so you can go."

    Heather nearly snorted, then put her hands on
    her hips. "Lt. B‘Elanna Torres, you haven‘t done nothing except work your shifts and sit at Tom‘s bedside. And the last thing he would want you to do is to practically starve yourself to death and not sleep at all!" she cried, nearly yelling.

    B‘Elanna winced. Normally she was the one who lost her temper, not Heather.

    The Doctor looked up from his work at Heather‘s words. He nodded to himself. Heather was speaking perfect sense. *If only B‘Elanna‘d take the time to notice.* he thought.

    Just then, Harry Kim walked in. "What‘s going on? I could hear you screaming from the corridor." he commented to Heather.

    "She won‘t eat." Heather said shortly, glaring at B‘Elanna. B‘Elanna just glared back.
    "*What*?" Harry asked, incredulous.

    "I‘m not hungry!" B‘Elanna protested.

    Harry shook his head. "Maquis, you haven‘t
    eaten in five days. You‘re starving yourself to death!" he said.

    "Fine, fine!" B‘Elanna said. She started moving the lettuce leaves around on her plate. Seeing Heather was about to explode, she started eating.
    "Chakotay to Kim."

    Harry looked puzzled but tapped his
    commbadge. "Yes, Commander?"
    "Please report to the bridge. Chakotay out."

    Heather shook her head. "Boy, he‘s in a good
    mood, isn‘t he?" she commented sarcastically.

    Harry just shook his head and walked out the door. "Bye!" he called.

    "See you!" Heather called after him. Turning back to B‘Elanna, she smiled innocently. "Now, finish it!"

    B‘Elanna did as she was told, feeling like a four year old who refused to eat her lunch.
    "Carey to Whitney."

    "Whitney here." Heather said, sighing tiredly.

    "There‘s a malfuncion with the plasma relays.
    Could you lend a hand?"

    "Fine. Whitney out." she said, and left Sick Bay.

    * * * * *

    B‘Elanna was walking down the corridor. It was just another day. Another plain old boring day. All of a sudden, the ship rocked and the red klaxons started blaring.
    Janeway to all hands. Battle stations.

    B‘Elanna glanced around. Now the corridor was
    swarming with Starfleet personnel.

    I don‘t belong here. she told herself, not hurrying the slightest to do what Kathryn Janeway, her superior, had ordered.

    Scenes changed. Now she was standing at the edge of a waterfall. She was so close she was being hit with the light spray of water as the water hit the bottom.


    B‘Elanna turned around. There was Tom, but he didn‘t see her. He shoved her, but she didn‘t move. She was too confused to...

    * * * * *


    B‘Elanna sat up. She shook her head and glanced around. The lights were dimmed and she was in Sick Bay.

    She laughed softly at herself. *Just a dream, ‚Lanna.* she told herself, but she was still puzzled.

    What kind of dream was that?

    B‘Elanna glanced around. The Doctor was still activated, but he wasn‘t paying her the slightest attention. She rubbed her neck and groaned slightly, for it was pretty stiff. *He must have given me a sedative.* she thought. She sighed and leaned back. Then, she felt her hand being sqeezed. She glanced down, and Tom‘s eyes were open and he was smiling up at her. Then he sat up. She smiled widely, then kissed him. And then, she knew everything would be all right.


    © January 1998 by Jane Griffen

    Original Disclaimers apply. Please send all comments and feedback to Merci!