By Jane Griffen
Disclaimers: Paramount owns ‚em, I just borrow ‚em, except for Heather Whitney and the junior officers I made up (and Klaria, Tora, and the Torans :)
Author‘s Note: All right. This was originally in 10 different chapters, but I put it all together to make one story to post. My fictional character Heather Whitney is in this story, and if you‘re wondering who she is, read the story "Newcomer"This was the very first fanfic piece I ever wrote (way back when in the spring/summer of 1997) so please be kind on the critism! Comments are always welcome at JaneG100@rocketmail.com!
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 1: Klaria
Lieutenant B‘Elanna Torres was having breakfast with her best friends, Tom Paris, Harry Kim, and Heather Whitney when the Captain‘s voice came over the COMM system. "All hands report to your regular stations " The four officers looked at each other. They had no clue as to why the Captain was calling them at 0600 hours. The region of space they were passing through was relatively safe.
"What could be wrong?" Tom asked.
"It must be something because the captain doesn‘t do drills at 0600 in the morning regularly!" replied B‘Elanna.
"Well, whatever it is, we‘d better go." said Harry, and the four officers walked out of the mess hall and headed towards the nearsest turbolift. "Bridge." Heather told the computer, and the turbolift moved up the shaft towards the bridge. "When the doors opened, Tom went to the CONN, B‘Elanna went to Engineering‘s station, Harry went to his station, and Heather went to the Science station.
Captain Janeway was standing in the middle of the bridge staring at the view screen. The view screen showed a new system, one that none of the officers had ever seen before. There were suns, thousands of suns, scattered throughout the system.
"Where are we?" asked B‘Elanna.
"We seem to be in a region of space called Klaria. We were told that shields don‘t protect you from the heat by some Beridiians." replied Commander Chakotay.
"The system has approximatly 50,137 suns scattered throughout 20,000 lightyears. There‘s no going around it." Harry said from his station.
"How long would it take to go around the system?" Captain Janeway asked.
"Uh, 25 years." replied Harry.
"How long would it take to go through the system?" asked Commander Chakotay.
"31 days, sir." replied the ensign.
Captain Janeway sat down in her chair, deep in thought. She had to rule out the possibility of going around the system. But if they went through it, there would be radiation and heat to worry about.
"Lieutenant Torres," she began.
"Yes, Captain?" came the reply.
"Would you be able to modify the shields to block out radiation from the suns?"
"I could, but the enviromental controls wouldn‘t be able to compinsate the heat from the suns. We‘d have to shut down some of the ship to have a temperature we could tolerate."
"And what might that temperature be?" asked the Captain, not really wanting to know what it was.
"86 to 110 degrees."
The Captain directed her next question to Heather.
"How long would the crew be able to stand that temperature?" Captain Janeway asked.
Heather tapped away at the control panel. Her face became pale when she saw the results.
The crew became silent when Heather read them.
"If we drank a lot and didn‘t do much excersise, about 40 days before our bodies wouldn‘t be able to tolerate the heat anymore."
"There‘ll be a senior staff meeting in an hour. It‘s the end of the Alpha shift so you may be dismissed." Captain Janeway said, and the other officers left, except for Commander Chakotay.
"There‘s no way around it and only one way through it," Captain Janeway said, "What are we to do? If we go through it, we‘ll be risking the lives of the crew and if we go around it, there‘ll be no chance of returning to the Alpha quadrent."
"Well, whatever you decide, I‘m with you." Chakotay said, and the two officers went into Captain Janeway‘s office to discuss the materials they‘d need and to make some plans.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Tom, B‘Elanna, Harry, and Heather were in the library, trying to find ways to help the crew in the heat, for they were almost sure of what the captain would decide. Go through the system. The four officers had gone and told Neelix and Kes the situation, and they had been eager to help. B‘Elanna was trying to find ways to enhance the enviromental controls, Tom and Harry were going through Voyager‘s blueprint plans, trying to find any section that they could shut off, Neelix was looking through the food section, trying to find cold foods and Kes and Heather were looking through the medical database, searching through the crew‘s medical files.
"I can‘t find any cold foods that are nutritious!" Neelix said in dismay, sighing.
"Well, then, what about unnutritios foods?" asked Heather, a wicked gleam coming to her eyes.
"But, the crew..." Neelix started to say something but was inturrupted by Tom.
"What about ice cream, popsicles, pudding, jello, and yogurt? They aren‘t exactly nutritious but they are cold and they are delicious." he suggested.
"Oh? I‘ve never even heard of that stuff before." B‘Elanna said, looking up from a console.
"Neither have I." Neelix said.
"I‘ll second that." Kes said.
Tom, Harry, and Heather looked at each other and laughed.
"Well, then, welcome to the world of sweets!" said Heather, and she went over to the replicator.
"Three ice cream sundaes, with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and nuts."
A sundae appeared in the replicator.
"Oh, and three spoons."
Three spoons appeared next to the sundae. Heather picked them up and
passed the spoons out. "Try it."
B‘Elanna, Neelix, and Kes took a bite.
"This is good!" B‘Elanna said.
"I knew you‘d like it." replied Heather.
Neelix and Kes agreed with B‘Elanna. After they had finished the sundaes, they went back to work. Neelix did too, finding a whole new database to search. Ten minutes later, Tom and Harry encountered a problem.
"We can‘t shut down anything!" complained Tom.
"The quarters take up 2/6ths of the ship. If we could shut them down, the temperature would be around 89 degrees all over the ship, but then there‘d be no place to sleep!" Harry said.
"Well, what are the other 2/3rds?" asked B‘Elanna.
"3/6ths are the main stations, such as the Bridge, Sick Bay, Engineering, Stellar Cartography, and the Transporter rooms, and 1/6th is for recreational purposes, such as the Mess Hall and the holodecks, and if we shut down the holodecks, there‘ll be no place anywhere near the temperature we‘re used to!" said Tom.
"What if we shut down the quarters and moved all the personnel into the cargo bays? Sometimes on the Enterprise D, they‘d install beds, sonic showers, ecetera, and move people who were being evacuated in there. The cargo bays are big enough." Heather said thoughtfully.
"That could work." said Tom, and he and Harry continued to work. Soon the hour was up and the six senior officers went to the conference lounge. They sat down and waited.
"Commander Chakotay and I have decided to take Voyager through the system." Captain Janeway said.
‚Told you so.‘ Heather sent B‘Elanna, Tom, Harry, Kes, and Neelix a telepathic message. The five officers looked amused. The other crew members noticed but Captain Janeway didn‘t. Commander Chakotay looked questionly at the five officers but B‘Elanna just shrugged.
"Before we enter this system, I‘m going to give each of you a task. Tuvok, I want you to modify the shields so that no radiation leaks into Voyager."
The vulcan nodded, Captain Janeway continued, "Tom, I want you to find the systems that we don‘t need and shut them down so we can keep a toleratable temperature all around the ship."
Tom got an amused look on his face. Heather tried not to giggle, but she did and turned it into a cough.
"Actually, I already have. If we move all the personnel into the cargo bays and shut down the quarters, we‘d be able to get at least 91 degrees all over the ship. " he said. The other five officers that had been in the library laughed.
"What is so funny?" Commander Chakotay asked.
"Yes, do tell." Captain Janeway added.
"Well, Tom, Harry, Heather and I knew what decision you‘d make so we decided to be helpful during our spare time. Neelix and Kes also helped." B‘Elanna said, filling in the four other officers.
"I see. Very good." Captain Janeway said, "B‘Elanna, do you think you could enhance the..."
"The enviromental controls? I could, by using some of auxillary power. The lowest temperature we could get would by 78 degrees. We could get the temperature in Sick Bay down to 63 degrees, the holodecks would function as usual and for the cargo bays, 65 degrees at night." B‘Elanna finished and answered Captain Janeway‘s question. Captain Janeway looked amused.
"Harry, I want you to keep a close watch on any suns that are unstable. We don‘t want any super-novas happening while we‘re in the system."
"Neelix, I want you to find cold foods and become used to making them."
"Uh,...Captain? I already have and I found one that‘s very good. I believe its called..."
Please let it not have anything to do with leoa roots! * Captain Janeway thought.
"An ice cream sundae."
"Ice cream? I haven‘t had that since I was a kid." exclaimed the Captain.
"What is it?" Tuvok asked.
"A sweet dessert made of milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and cream." Neelix replied, listing the ingredients.
"And its delicious." Heather added.
"Well, I look forward to having some." Tuvok replied.
Captain Janeway continued, "Heather and Kes, I want you two to go through the personnel files and single out the crew members that will be most seductive to the heat."
"It‘s humans." Kes replied.
Captain Janeway nodded. She was not happy at the reply, "Doctor, find any medicine that will help relieve heat stress."
The Doctor nodded.
"There‘ll have to be a change in the dress code as well. We‘d all die of heat stroke before the first week was over. I haven‘t made it up yet so I‘m open to suggestions. We‘ll enter the system a week from today. Dismissed." and Captain Janeway got up from her chair and walked out of the room. The remaining senior officers looked at each other. A week. A week! A week until they entered the system. One by one they left the room. B‘Elanna and Heather headed for the turbolift. B‘Elanna‘s shift in engineering would start soon, and Heather had volunteered to help.
"Engineering," B‘Elanna told the computer, "Well, I guess it won‘t be cool for long." she said to Heather, as the turbolift made its way down the shaft to engineering.
"Yeah. I just hope we won‘t encounter any problems with the heat. Like with the warp core." replied Heather.
"Right, but I think I might be able to create a warp field around it so it will stay stable."
"I keep on thinking of the 20th century. There were things called fans that moved the air around and made the room cooler. We could install those all over Voayger and give enviromental controls a break."
"That‘s a good idea. I bet you that in less than a week, we‘ll be living in the cargo bays." B‘Elanna said.
"No bet. I‘m sure too."
The turbolift doors opened and the two lieutenants got out and headed for Engineering.
* * * * *
During the next week, life on Voyager was chaos. There were last minute reports on the syustens, bunks, showers, replicators, ect. were installed in the cargo bays. One cargo bay would be for the men and one would be for the women. Fans of all shapes and sizes were installed everywhere. Crewmembers packed and moved their belongins into the cargo bays, and last
but not least, everyone had to get a new uniform. The code was red (command), yellow (security/engineering), or blue (science/medical) top and black shorts.
B‘Elanna and Tom had gotten into a fight about something but Harry and Heather were too busy to do anything about it, for they were running around checking things on the ship. Heather had once compared her day to a hamster running on a wheel. "You just keep going and going and you don‘t get anywhere!" Harry had agreed. It seemed that as soon as they were finished with one thing, they were given another task.
B‘Elanna had turned the temperature up to 88 degrees gradually so the crew would get used to it. Water was plentiful, medical supplies were ready, and there was an unlimited supply of replicator rations since Voyager was collecting plasma particles from the sun. Finally, all the senior staff was on the bridge, in their new uniforms.
"Mr. Paris, set a course for the Alpha quadrent, Warp 6." the Captain ordered.
"Yes, ma‘am.", and Voyager made its way past the invisible border and into the system. Almost instantly, the temperature started rising.
"Temperature has risen to 113 degrees." Heather said from her station.
"B‘Elanna, I thought you said the temperature would be below 105 degrees when we entered the system." Commander Chakotay called.
"The temperature‘s rising so quickly that the enviromental controls can‘t compinsate. I‘ll have to use auxillary power." B‘Elanna called out.
"Do it." Captain Janeway ordered. B‘Elanna went back to punching keys on the control panel. Soon the heat grew less intense, although it was still very hot.
"Temperature is dropping. 110, 105, 100, 97, 96, 94, 92, 90, 88 degrees. Temperature has dropped down to 88 degrees and is staying." Heather said happily from her station, glad that the heat had dropped. But she knew this would just add to B‘Elanna‘s bad mood.
"Sorry about that," B‘Elanna said, reading the results, "We passed too close to a sun." B‘Elanna glared at Tom.
Heather restrained from laughing. She was getting used to Tom and B‘Elanna‘s little tirades about things that didn‘t really matter. Fortuantly, none of the other officers noticed her amusement or the tension between Tom and B‘Elanna. But, then again, she told herself, no one else was half batazoid. Normally, Tom and B‘Elanna would forget about their little fights, but, this time, they wouldn‘t. Tom and B‘Elanna were already mad at each other.
Tom returned the glare. That just made B‘Elanna even more mad but she managed to restrain herlself from losing her temper. Heather noticed and so did Harry. They exchanged a glance each of them knew well. It meant, ‚Not again!‘ Harry shook his head, ‚Why do they
always have to fight about nothing?‘ he asked Heather telepathically, using the little empathic ability that Whitney had taught him. ‚I have no idea, but that‘s a good question. You should try asking them that.‘ she replied. ‚Very funny,‘ he replied, ‚But seriously, what can we do?‘ ‚Don‘t ask me.‘ Heather replied. Harry looked down at his station‘s console, where a light was flashing.
"It looks like a sun‘s going to collapse soon," he reported, "But its so far away it won‘t come in contact with Voyager."
Captain Janeway nodded and sat back in her chair, watching the viewscreen and all the suns. The adventure was just beginning.
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 2: Troubled Times
"Ughh! This stupid machine!" muttered B‘Elanna two hous later. She had been given orders to fix the enviromental controls to make sure they were okay. They were, altough she had to fix one minor problem. The air filters. Carbon dioxide was filtering through it with the air and it wasn‘t blocking it.
"The heat getting to you as well?" a voice asked sympathetically. It was Heather.
"What are you doing here?" B‘Elanna asked, avoiding the question. The little feud between her and Tom had grown into a big fight in the corridor after entering the system.
"Well, I finished checking the warp core like Captain Janeway asked and I came down here to see if you needed any help." came the explanation.
"Oh. Well, sure. Hand me the CD Particle Scanner." B‘Elanna asked, and Heather put the tool in B‘Elanna‘s open hand.
"I heard that you and Tom got into a big fight." Heather said, bringing up the subject bluntly.
B‘Elanna sighed. She had known Heather would find out, "I don‘t want to talk about it." she said. She had lost her temper in the corridor and was hurting because of what Tom had said. He had said a lot of things, but to sum it all up, he had said he didn‘t want to have anything to do with her at all. That had been fine with B‘Elanna. She had agreed, and Tom had walked off. It took only a few seconds to realize what he had said. It had hit her, just like a storm, slapping her in the face with reality. Just the thought of it brought tears to her eyes.
"All right. Suit yourself. It‘s your decision to make, not mine. But I‘m not half batazoid for nothing. He‘s hurting, and so are you." Heather replied, "I‘ll see you later." and she walked off, leaving B‘Elanna to think about what she had said. She went to the nearest turbolift and got
off at deck 2. She had promised to meet Harry at the mess hall in a few minutes and she didn‘t want to be late. She entered the mess hall, got some rasberry frozen yogurt and looked around. She soon spotted Harry and went over to talk to him.
"So did you try to talk to Tom?" she asked. The look on his face made her spirits drop. She and Harry had decided to take matters into their own hands and try to patch things up between their best friends.
"Like you said, I tried." Harry replied.
"Didn‘t go to well, did it?" she asked.
"The problem is that they‘re both so stubborn! They really care about each other underneath. They‘re both hurting." Heather consented.
"I know. You should have seen some of the fights they got into before you came on board!" Harry said.
"Remember when she got all steamed up because he called her ‚hostile‘?" Heather asked, grinning.
Harry groaned, "Don‘t remind me. She asked me, of all people, if I thought she was hostile. She looked like she was going to kill me."
"Well, we‘re out of options. Have any suggestions?" Heather asked.
"For once, no. Maybe we should just let nature take its course?" Harry replied.
"Yeah, that would really work!" Heather replied, and the two friends got to work, thinking furiously of what to do.
An hour later, 3215 hours, Heather walked over to her bunk in cargo bay 2. Most of the officers were asleep, but some were still awake. Captain Janeway was working quietly on her bed, tapping away on a PADD. She was dressed in a loose nightshirt and boxers. She looked up when Heather passed and smiled. Heather fit in well already, and she had only been on board Voayger for four months. At first, Captain Janeway had been skeptical of Heather, but after getting to know her better, she had admitted to herself that Heather made a fine addition to Voyager‘s crew. Heather had been friendly to everyone and hadn‘t been bothered at the fact that some of her crewmates were Marquis. She was always eager to lend a hand.
Heather smiled back and made her way to a small case where her belongings were kept. She grabbed what she needed and headed to the changing room. After taking a shower and changing into her pajamas, she got a glass of water and went over to her bunk, which was a top one, and climbed the ladder. B‘Elanna‘s bunk was below hers and she was already asleep. Heather tried to be quiet, but one of the rungs squeaked and B‘Elanna‘s eyes flew
open. When she saw it was Heather, she grinned.
"Hi." she said. Heather thought she heard sadness in her voice. Just to be sure, she doublechecked, using her telepathic powers. Aha! I thought so, Heather thought. B‘Elanna was sad, mad, and confused with what had happened between her and Tom.
‚Sorry I woke you.‘ Heather told B‘Elanna telepathically, so she wouldn‘t wake anyone else.
"It‘s okay." B‘Elanna whispered.
‚Don‘t worry. Everything will work out between you and Tom, you‘ll see.‘ Heather said, telepathically, with a knowing smile, and climbed into bed.
B‘Elanna gave her a dubious look.
Heather smiled sympathetically. ‚Well, maybe next time you‘ll think before you speak,‘ she said, telepathically, ‚Goodnight.‘
"Goodnight." B‘Elanna said, closing her eyes.
Everything was peaceful and everyone was content, except for two crew members who had broken hearts.
I hope things work out between Tom and B‘Elanna, Heather thought, and she fell asleep, with the humming of fans in the background.
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 3: Fire
During the next few days, everything on Voyager ran smoothly. Tom made sure that Voyager didn‘t go close to any suns and B‘Elanna made sure enviromental controls were working. But the heat was getting to the crew. Captain Janeway was working extra hard. One day, when Captain Janeway didn‘t come to the bridge in the morning, Commander Chakotay sent a medical team down to Cargo Bay 2. There, Kes and Heather found her unconcious.
After scanning her with a tricorder, Kes announced that the Captain had heat stroke. Heather gave Captain Janeway a hypospray and they beamed her to sick bay. There, the Doctor told her what had happened when she gained conciousness, which was six hours later.
"I sugggest you spend the day in Sick Bay and take the next few days off from duty." the Doctor informed her.
"But..."Captain Janeway started to say something but was interrupted by the Doctor.
"Doctor‘s orders." he said, and walked off. Kes handed her a PADD.
"Commander Chakotay wanted me to give this to you." she said. Captain Janeway took the PADD and thanked Kes. Kes smiled and left. Captain Janeway started reading the PADD, and found much to her surprise that there was a class M planet capable of supporting life two days away. Chakotay had said he would check to make sure it wouldn‘t endanger the crew by taking a side trip to it, and if it didn‘t, he would plot a course for the planet.
When she was done reading the PADD, she lay back down on the bio bed and sighed. It was going to be a long day.
(Before) On the bridge, Harry was double checking the sensors.
"The sensors are right, There is a class M planet capable of supporting life two days away from our current position at warp six." Harry said.
"What is the temperature on the planet?" Commander Chakotay asked.
"107 degrees." Harry said.
"Would we still be able to make it past this system if we made a detour?" Commander Chakotay asked, this time directing the question towards Tuvok.
"With all systems operating, yes." Tuvok replied.
"Lieutenant Paris, set a course for the planet, warp seven." Commander Chakotay ordered. Tom punched some buttons on his station‘s console and the ship made its way towards the planet.
Down in Engineering, B‘Elanna was shouting orders quickly and everyone there was scurrying around. It was like a beehive. Smoke was pouring out of the warp core.
"Torres to Chakotay." B‘Elanna said, tapping her commbadge. Her voice didn‘t sound right.
"Chakotay here. What is it?" he asked.
"We‘ve got a fire down in engineering. It was started by the warp core. Pull the ship out of warp. I‘ll try to compinsate the plasma particles, but they‘re spreading too quickly. We‘ll probaly have to evacuate Engineering. Torres [coughing] out." Smoke was filling Engineering quickly. Lieutenant Whitney and Lieutenant Carey started to evacuate the deck, but no one
noticed that B‘Elanna wasn‘t there.
"Tom, Harry, get down there and help." Chakotay ordered and Tom and Harry dashed for the turbolift on the bridge.
Down in Engineering, the engineers could barely see where they were. There saw no way they could stop the fires by themselves. They‘d have to close down engineering and fill it with carbon dioxide, which would put out the fires.
Tom and Harry broke into a run when the turbolift doors opened. They could barely see, for there was smoke everywhere. They found Heather and Lieutenant Carey hurrying people along towards the turbolifts.
"Where‘s B‘Elanna?" Tom asked, for he hadn‘t seen her on the way from the turbolift.
Heather looked puzzled. "You mean to say that she‘s not down there?" she asked, waving her hand towards the corridor.
"No." replied Harry.
"Paris to Torres." Tom said, tapping his commbadge. There was no reply. "Computer, locate Lieutenant Torres." Heather told the computer.
"Lieutenant Torres is in Engineering, deck fourteen." came the computer‘s reply.
"Carey, you go assist the evacuation. We‘ll find Torres." Heather told the other engineer.
Lieutenant Carey hesitated.
"Go. And that‘s an order." Heather said. Carey ran off down the corridor and the three remaining officers looked at each other. The Tom remembered B‘Elanna‘s words. "I‘ll try to compinsate the plasma particles,"
"Heather, where would you ‚try to compinsate the plasma particles‘?" Tom asked.
"Oh, my gosh! You don‘t suppose..." Heather muttered to no one in particular.
"That would be next to the warp core. Tom, you can‘t..." Harry started to say something, then stopped, for Tom had disappeared into the smoke.
"Tom? Tom! Where are you!" Harry and Heather called, searching about the corridor. They recieved no answer. After a few agonizing seconds, two figures appeared from the warp core area of Engineering. It was Tom, and he was carrying a lifeless figure. It was B‘Elanna.
"Is she alive?" Heather asked, hurrying over to Tom.
Tom checked B‘Elanna‘s pulse and grimaced. "Just barely." he replied, looking ashen. Either he was worried to death or the smoke was getting to him. Probaly both, Heather thought.
"Let‘s get her to Sick Bay." Heather said, and she started running down the corridor to the turbolift. Harry and Tom followed. Soon they reached Sick Bay. No one was in sight, except for Captain Janeway, who was in the Doctor‘s office, looking bored to death. She looked up in surprise when they came dashing in to Sick Bay.
"What happened?" she asked, getting up from the Doctor‘s chair and hurrying over to them. Tom lay B‘Elanna on one of the bio beds and checked her pulse. It was there, but just barely. Tom, Harry, and Heather were all breathing heavily. Soot was all over their uniforms and they had burns on their arms and legs. Slowly they told the Captain what happened, while
Heather gave B‘Elanna a hypospray.
"Fire [gasp] in engineering." Heather explained.
"Activate Emergency Medical Holodoc program" Captain Janeway told the computer. The Doctor appeared and started to say the usual, "Please state the nature of the medical emergency", but when he saw B‘Elanna on the bio bed, be put together a hypospray immediatly and gave it to her.
"What happened?" he asked, directing the question towards the Captain.
"There was a fire in Engineering. Will she be all right?" Captain Janeway asked.
"That remains to be seen. I‘ll have to ask all of you to leave Sick Bay. Doctor to Kes." the Doctor said, tapping his commbadge at the end.
"Kes here. Is something wrong, Doctor?" came Kes‘s reply over the CONN system.
"There‘s a medical emergency. Please report to Sick Bay immediatly." the Doctor replied.
"Yes, Doctor. Kes out," and the Doctor started getting different hyposprays set up, oblivious to the other four concerned officers.
"Didn‘t you hear me? I asked you to leave Sick Bay!" the Doctor said, annoyed. The four other officers left Sick Bay reluctantly and headed for the bridge. Captain Janeway tried to cheer them up, but it was no use. They reached the bridge, Heather gave Commander Chakotay a report, and Commander Chakotay then gave Captain Janeway a report.
"What are you doing here? I thought the Doctor ordered you to remain off duty." he reminded the Captain. Captain Janeway just smiled.
"Well, I was ordered to leave Sick Bay. Where else was I supposed to go?" she replied, smiling. Chakotay smiled, then remembered the situation.
"How is she?" he asked, looking sullen.
"It‘s too soon to tell but she looked dead. Of course, she‘s not." replied Captain Janeway, saying the last part quickly. Why, oh why did I have to say that she looked dead?, she asked herself.
Meanwhile, Heather let loose the carbon dioxide in Engineering from B‘Elanna‘s station. The fires were put out, and a few minutes later she filled the room with oxygen. She got up from the station and headed for the turbolift. She rounded up the engineers who were supposed to be on duty and headed for engineering.
The Doctor contacted Captain Janeway, "Doctor to Janeway."
"You said to inform you of Lieutenant Torres‘s condition," the Doctor said. Everyone on the bridge remained quiet, "She will be all right, although she‘ll need to rest for a while. But, knowing her, Lieutenant Torres will be ‚up and about‘ in a few days." the Doctor informed her.
Relief showed visibly on the Captain‘s face.
"Thank you. Janeway ou..." she paused, "Doctor, one last thing. Inform Lieutenant Whitney of Torres‘s condition."
"As you wish. Doctor out." Captain Janeway sat back in her chair and sighed with relief.
As soon as his shift was over, Tom went to see B‘Elanna. No one was in sick bay for he had spotted Kes on the turbolift.
B‘Elanna heard someone approaching. She thought it was the Doctor or Kes, but when she gradually opened her eyes, she saw it was Tom. She looked at him, not daring to say a word. When she did say something, it was two very simple words that she regretted not saying earlier. They were "I‘m sorry." Tom looked surprised, then he grinned.
"Whatever are you talking about, Lieutenant B‘Elanna Torres? I‘m the one who should be sorry!" he replied.
B‘Elanna laughed. "How about a truce." she said. This time, Tom laughed. They started talking.
Half an hour later, when Tom was kissing B‘Elanna goodbye, Heather and Kes walked in. When niether of the other two lieutenants saw them, they quickly retraced their steps and went back out into the corridor.
"Will wonders never cease!" Heather said.
Kes laughed, "And I thought you said that they were at each other‘s throats!" she said, her eyes dancing. Heather was about to reply, but was interrupted by Tom walking out of Sick Bay, looking happy. As soon as he turned the corner, Heather muttered, "Well, hello to you, to!"
sarcastically. Kes laughed and the two of them walked into Sick Bay.
Heather caught B‘Elanna up with the news and gossip and then went to help Kes with her work. But before she went into the office, she sent B‘Elanna a telepathic message. It was, ‚I told you so.‘ B‘Elanna just smiled. She didn‘t have to ask what Heather meant. For once, things were looking good.
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 4: Tora
Four days later, with Captian Janeway in command and B‘Elanna out of Sickbay (although she wasn‘t allowed to go on duty for another day at least), Voyager reached the planet.
The only thing the sensors could tell about the planet was that it could support life, the planet had large amounts of silner (a mineral they used for the warp engines), and the temperature of the atmosphere was 98 degrees so Captain Janeway decided to send down an away team consisting of Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Tuvok, and Whitney. When the trio beamed down to the planet, they were in a field with trees surrounding it. At one end, there was a river, with a waterfall falling from a fifty foot high cliff.
"It‘s gorgeous!" Heather remarked, gazing around.
"The silner readings are coming from behind the waterfall. I wouldn‘t be surprised if there was a cave behind it." Commander Chakotay remarked, "Let‘s go." he said, leading the way to the waterfall. Tuvok and Whitney followed. An hour later, they arrived. All of a sudden, shots rang out and Tuvok and Whitney were shot. Two figures jumped out of the forest and dragged the lifeless bodies back into the woods. Another three grabbed Commander Chakotay and pulled him into the forest as well. Soon he was given a potion and lapsed into unconciousness.
An hour later, Captain Janeway was puzzled. She hadn‘t been contacted by the away team and now the sensors couldn‘t pick up their lifesigns. She had tried to contact them, but she had just heard static. Apperantly, the COMM system wasn‘t working, either. A suspicous thought crossed her mind. If the sensors couldn‘t pick up the away team, then they wouldn‘t be able to pick up any other lifesigns. What if there were other lifeforms on the planet. She decided to send another away team down to the planet, led by herself. They‘d take a shuttle instead of using the transporter. Now, I‘ll take Tom as the pilot, Harry, and... drat, I can‘t take B‘Elanna, but maybe...
"Janeway to Doctor."
"Doctor here." came the reply.
"Could I take B‘Elanna on the away team?" she asked.
"That wouldn‘t be advisable, but I doubt she‘ll listen. As long as she takes it easy, she‘ll..."
"Good. Janeway out."
Tom and Harry looked at each other in surprise. Normally the Captain wouldn‘t order somebody to go on any away team unless they were 100% healthy.
"Janeway to Torres."
"Torres here." came B‘Elanna‘s voice. She sounded hopeful, "Is there something I can help you with?"
"As a matter of fact, there is. Do you feel up to going on an away mission?" Captain Janeway asked.
"Sure!" B‘Elanna‘s voice was filled with enthusiasm.
Boy, she must be bored if she actually wants to go on an away mission, Tom thought, but he kept it to himself.
"Good. Meet me in Shuttle Bay 1. Janeway out," the Captian told Torres. She turned to Paris and Kim, "Tom, Harry, you‘re with me. Lieutenant Hawkins," she said, referring to the man manning Tuvok‘s station," You‘ll be in charge of Voyager while we‘re gone. We‘ll contact you when we reach the surface." and Captain Janeway headed for the turbolift. Tom and Harry followed her.
B‘Elanna was already at the shuttle bay when the threesome arrived. A phaser and tricorder were in her belt.
Captian Janeway smiled when she saw B‘Elanna and nodded, "We‘ll take," the Captain‘s eyes swept over the shuttles, "Constellations." she said, choosing the third largest shuttle in the shuttle bay, and the four officers got into the shuttle.
After undocking and getting pulled into orbut, they started scanning for the away team. There was no sign of them. Captian Janeway ordered Tom to land the shuttle where the away team had beamed down to.
Soon, they felt a volt, followed by another one. Soon all four officers were fighting to keep their balance. Then the shuttle began to spin.
"What‘s going on?" Captain Janeway yelled over the chaos as they tried to fix whatever was wrong.
"There seem to be electrical storms that the sensors didn‘t pick up. I‘ll try to land." Tom called out, and then there was a loud crash. The shuttle stopped spinning and all four officers became unconcious.
Commander Chakotay was the first one to become concious. When his eyes finally adjusted to the dim light, he found that he was tied up against a large rock about the size of a shuttle. Whitney and Tuvok were next to him, still unconcious. Their commbadges, phasers, and tricorders were gone. Whitney groaned softly and slowly opened her eyes.
"Where are we?" she asked quietly.
"We‘re being held captive on the planet." Commander Chakotay replied.
Tuvok soon regained conciousness and the three officers racked their brains, but they couldn‘t think of a way to escape. The rope tying their hands and feet were too tight to undo and all three of them were tyed at the waist by a rope going all around the rock so they couldn‘t get up. Their only consolation was that Captain Janeway would send down another away team to look for them.
A young man who was dressed in furs and had wrinkles on his nose, like a bajoran, offered them a drink. He offered the canister to Whitney first. She sniffed it suspiciously, then took a sip. She looked surprised, then grimaced.
"It tastes like lemon juice." she sputtered, but drank some anyway. The man looked slightly puzzled at her reactoin, then offered the flask to Commander Chakotay. he took a sip, then drank. Tuvok had a drink as well and then the man left
Commander Chakotay sighed. It was going to be a long night for it was very hot, with no shade to protect them from the heat, for although it was night, there were still a few suns in the sky. Then clouds came and darkened the sky, bringing rain, thunder, and lightning. The people dashed into their huts, completely oblivious to the three hostages. Whitney was overjoyed at first because she thought the rain would cool the planet down, but she was sadly mistaken. The rain was quite warm and sticky.
Captain Janeway opened her eyes. She was sprawled across the shuttle‘s floor. Slowly she got into a sitting position. The shuttle was badly damaged. She went over to the computer console and sat down on the chair which she had been sitting on before the crash. The console was blank, with no lights. Just blackness.
"Darn!" she said, slamming her fist against the console. She then went over to the shuttle‘s hatch, tapped in a command on the panel next to it, and the door slowly and haltingly opened. It was raining, with thunder and lightning in the distance. Captain Janeway put her hand out to feel the rain, hoping it would be cool. Unfortuantly, it was warm and sticky.
"Ugh." she said, pulling her hand back into the shuttle. She closed the shuttle‘s door seven-eighths of the way, leaving just a crack for fresh air to come in. Captain Janeway then tried contacting Voyager but all she got was static. Her left arm felt slightly strange and when she scanned herself with her tricorder, she found that she had dislocated her shoulder so she went over to the med kit and scanned it with a dermal regenerator. Her shoulder felt a little better, but it was still sore. She gave herself a hypospray. Much better, she thought. After scanning the away team, she found that asside from B‘Elanna‘s broken arm, everyone was fine, except for
a few scratches and bruises here and there. She gave B‘Elanna a hypospray and fixed her arm with the dermal regenerator as well.
It was going to be awhile before the other away team members woke up so she ate a little bit of the emergency rations she had found. She drifted off to sleep, listening to the drumming of the rain on the shuttle‘s roof.
"Captain?" B‘Elanna called, wondering it she was alive. She had woken up to find herself sprawled across the shuttle‘s floor, along with everyone else, minus Captain Janeway. She had a gash on her side.
Captain Janeway aoke with a start. When she saw it was only B‘Elanna, she smiled.
"Have the storms gone?" she asked.
"Yes, they have. The footings treacherous, though. I fell twice just walking around the shuttle and back to see how badly damaged the engines were." B‘Elanna replied, grimacing.
"We‘d better get the shuttle running. I‘ll get the main computer system working and you work on the engines." Captain Janeway said, getting up.
B‘Elanna smiled. In a crisis, you could always count on Captain Janeway to keep things in order. The two officers got to work.
About ten minutes later, Tom woke up. He walked over to B‘Elanna.
"What happened?" he whispered. Unfortuantly, B‘Elanna hadn‘t realised he was there for her back was towards him. She spun around, startled. When she saw it was Tom, she relaxed visibly.
"Don‘t every sneak up on me again! You scared me so much!" she said, anger filling her voice.
"Sorry." Tom replied. He hadn‘t meant to scare her, "What happened, though?"
B‘Elanna laughed softly and went back to her repairs, "Thanks to your expert piloting skills we crashed." she said.
"It wasn‘t my fault!" Tom said, anger rushing to his voice. He was about to start ranting when B‘Elanna laughed again.
"I was kidding! Don‘t worry, it could have happened to anybody." she said, reasuringly, "But we did crash and we can‘t contact Voyager or the other away team.
"Where‘s the Captain?" Tom asked, but didn‘t need an answer for Captain Janeway walked in from outside. She smiled at Tom, then informed the two lieutenants, "I managed to get the computer back online." she said, going over to a computer console.
"I‘m almost done with the engines, although they‘re broken pretty badly." B‘Elanna informed the Captain.
"Good. When Harry regains conciousness we‘ll search for the other away team." Captain Janeway said, "In the meantime, Tom, get the navigational controls back online. B‘Elanna, finish repairing the engines, and I‘ll try to find out exactly where we are by using the external sensors."
Kim soon regained conciousness and together they got the shuttle more or less repaired, stopping briefly for a break.
"All right. We‘ll head for the water over there. We should reach it by nightfall. No rushing." Captain Janeway paused, looking straight at Torres, for she inclined to rush. Torres nodded, "Let‘s go." she finished, and the foursome headed for the water, Captain Janeway in the lead. Ten suns were setting when the got there. It was a beauticul sight. They found a cave
behind the waterfall and set up camp, using the supplies they had brought.
When everyone was asleep, B‘Elanna got up and climbed the rocks so that she was standing on the cliff that the waterfall fell from. The view was spectacular. She had never seen anything like it. She scanned the horizen for the away team but all that she could see was trees, for miles and miles, in the distance. B‘Elanna stood up from the rock she had been sitting on and yawned. I‘d better go back to the cave, B‘Elanna thought, but stayed where she was, scanning the sky for Voyager. she sat back down on the rock, hugging her legs to her chest. B‘Elanna was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn‘t realise that she wasn‘t the only one on the cliff. Tom hadn‘t been able to sleep, either so he had climbed the rocks to get a better view of the planet. To his surprise, he found B‘Elanna already there. She was sitting on a large rock next to the point right before the cliff broke off, looking a million lightyears away.
"B‘Elanna?" he asked quietly, approaching her carefully, remembering that last time he had scared her.
B‘Elanna looked up, not the least bit surprised, and smiled when she saw it was Tom, "Hi."
"Couldn‘t get any sleep either?" Tom questioned.
"No," B‘Elanna replied softly, her eyes shining in the evening moonlight, or more precisely, the evening sunlight. " Look!" she pointed to a place in the sky. Tom looked and saw to his surprise a shooting star.
"It‘s gorgeous!" he replied. They watched the star until it faded into the distance. Tom saw B‘Elanna shiver so he put his arm around her and kissed her. She smiled softly and turned to say something, but her smile was replaced with pure anguish. Her hand went to her side where she had skillfully hidden the deep gash there and graoned softly. Concern filled Tom‘s face.
"What‘s wrong?" he asked.
B‘Elanna sighed and reluctantly showed him the deep gash, grimacing. Tom gasped.
"B‘Elanna? What are you trying to do? Kill yourself? You‘ll never make it!" Tom exclaimed.
B‘Elanna just laughed quietly in response, "I‘ve had worse," she replied, "I‘m fine! Really!", exasperating the last word to the extreme.
Tom got the message and changed the subject, "I hope the away team is okay." he said.
B‘Elanna nodded, "I wonder what could have happened to them? I mean, Chakotay isn‘t the type that gets lost, Tuvok is so logical, and Heather is too smart to do something stupid, although she sometimes gets carried away," she said. They laughed, remembering some of the times Heather had gone out of control, "Something must be wrong or else they‘d have been back
on Voyager by now."
"I‘m sure they‘re all right. They probaly got caught in the rain and spent the night somewhere. They‘re probaly heading back here right now." Tom said reasuriungly, although he too was worried, "Why don‘t we try to get some sleep?" he suggested, smothering a yawn.
"That‘s a good idea. Let‘s go." B‘Elanna replied, and she cautiously climbed back down the rocks. Tom followed. They lay down on their ‚beds‘.
"Good night, Tom." B‘Elanna said softly, closing her eyes.
"Night, B‘Elanna." Tom replied, and they both drifted off to sleep.
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 5: Escape
When Captain Janeway woke up eight hours later, she immediatly looked around, disoriented. As soon as she realised where she was, she got up, did her hair into a double ponytail, and woke everyone up. Torres groaned silently as she say up. Her hand went to her side, where she had bandaged it in the shuttle before she had woken the Captain. She got up, got ready, and was relieved that nobody noticed her discomfort.
Twenty-five minutes later, everybody was ready to go. They had discovered that if they narrowed the band width on their tricorders, they could get readings on where the away team was. They found out that they were 12 kilometers away. They also found out that there were one hundred-thiry-four unidentified humanoids. The away team nicknamed them the Torans, and
decided to call the planet Tora.
Paris had informed Captain Janeway of Torres‘s condition but they had both reluctantly agreed that there was nothing they could do about it so no plans had been changed. They would probaly reach the Toran village a few hours before nightfalland set up camp a little ways before the village so when they split up to rescue the away team they would have a place to meet. They stopped briefly to eat once and twice for a breather, but they made good time and found a wide cave near a stream so they dropped the gear they had brought with them for camp of there and had continued on. An hour later, they crouched down low on an outcrop above the village. The ‚Torans‘ were definetly humanoid, for the peaple had huts, wore clothing of some sory, and talked to each other in a language the away team couldn‘t understand. They spotted the away team tied up on the far side of the village.
"We‘re going to need a distraction. Any suggestions?" Captain Janeway asked in a hushed tone.
"We could set off some kind of device so it will explode?" B‘Elanna suggested.
Captian Janeway just shook her head, "No, we need something that will make everyone leave."
"What about a moving target?" Tom suggested.
"Where would we find a moving target, Tom?" Harry asked.
"We‘ve got four right here." he replied.
"Wait a second. So you‘re saying that one of us risks our lives and runs right into the open and practically screams, ‚Catch me if you can‘?" B‘Elanna said, then added sarcastically, "I always thought it would be fun to commit suicide." At that, Tom got angry but Captain Janeway managed to stop the raging fight.
"No one‘s life would be in danger. Especially if someone else were to position themselves somewhere and shoot at any of the Torans who might harm the runner." she said, "The question is, who and who? B‘Elanna, you‘re the fastest runner here. Are you up to it?"
"I‘m fine!" B‘Elanna insisted. The truth was that her side hurt terribly and she had a major headache.
"All right." Captain Janeway said, "Find a place near the place where they‘re being held captive and when I give the signal, run as fast as you can to the other end of the village. Tom, you,"
‚Are you going to get us out of here?‘ Captain Janeway stopped talking and looked puzzled. Then she realized what she had heard. She looked to where the other away team was. Whitney was looking straight at her. She nudged Chakotay, who then nudged Tuvok, who spotted the away team. Captain Janeway nodded at Whitney‘s question. Whitney smiled and nodded. Her hands started working frantically, for she had managed to loosen the ropes a little.
Captain Janeway continued, " Tom, you go to that side of the village and shoot at any Torans who get too close to B‘Elanna. Do anything to stall time. That goes for everyone. Harry, you‘re with me. We‘ll untie the other officers. We‘ll have to split up now until tonight. Everybody‘s top priority is to reach that campsite. Tom, B‘Elanna, you two stay together. Meet everybody else at the campsite. Got it?" The other three officers nodded, "Everybody contact me when you‘re in position. Let‘s go." Captain Janeway said, and the four officers split up, for Kim and Janeway would hide seperatly.
B‘Elanna ran swiftly along the tree line, her upper body bent low. Tom ran behind her. He found a bush and stopped.
"Good luck." he called out softly to B‘Elanna.
"Thanks. I‘ll need it." B‘Elanna replied. Soon she too crouched behind some buches.
"Torres to Janeway." she said, tapping her commbadge, "I‘m ready."
"Good Everyone else is in position. Janeway out." Captain Janeway looked over to Harry, who nodded.
"Janeway to all hands, lets do it!"
On the other side, B‘Elanna took a deep breath and sprinted out of her hiding spot. She ran towards the village and ran in place. One of the Torans saw her and yelled. He and twelve other Torans took off after her, followed closely by several more, including the away team‘s gaurds. B‘Elanna looked back one last time and ran as fast as she could.
Meanwhile, Harry was on gaurd while Captain Janeway was untying Commander Chakotay as fast as she could. Soon he was free and they started untying Tuvok and Whitney.
* * * * *
Tom aimed his phaser at one of the Torans who had almost caught up with B‘Elanna and fired. The Toran dropped to the gound. One down, a hundred to go, Tom thought grimly. B‘Elanna had a look on her face that he had never seen before. It was a look of pure anguish and pain.
Oh, God! I don‘t know how much longer I can keep this up! B‘Elanna thought, as she ran as quickly as possible, trying to dodge the holes in the ground. Her right foot got stuck in one and she pulled it out. She heard it snap, but oh well! Tom fired and another Toran dropped to the ground. She smiled gratefully at him, and continued to run, trying to put as little weight as possible on her right foot, for it hurt badly. She was almost there.
B‘Elanna reached the woods and looked around for the large rock she was supposed to meet Tom at. She limped slowly over to it and sat down, soaking her foot in the creek that ran next to it. I must have broken my ankle, she thought. She scanned it with her tricorder and found that she had indeed broken her ankle. Oh well,B‘Elanna thought, It was worth it. The other away
Tom shot at the Torans and they quickly scattered. He then turned his attention to the village. He needed to buy more time. His gaze flickered to the huts and he got an idea. He started shooting the huts, setting them on fire. The Torans quickly forgot about B‘Elanna and ran over to the burning huts and tried to put out the fires. Now that he and B‘Elanna were safe, he
ran for the woods to the spot where B‘Elanna and he and agreed to meet.
* * * * *
The other away team was free. "This way." Captain Janeway said, "We‘ll meet Tom and B‘Elanna at a cave a few miles from here." she started walking swiftly to the woods. Behind her, Chakotay, Tuvok, Whitney, and Kim followed. A shout came from behind them and they started to run. Thankfully, the Torans were too busy trying to put out the fire in one of the huts that Paris had shot at to try and capture them.
An hour later, Captain Janeway had made marks on the trees on the way to the Toran village using her phaser and the fivesome easily followed them to the cave. Paris and Torres weren‘t there yet so they got camp ready. The second away team had brought supplies for one night, and since it was growing dark and there were rain clouds in the distance, they decided to
spend the night at the cave. There was a small brook nearby so Tuvok went to collect some water in some containers and Kim and Whitney went off in search for some firewood and kindling to make a fire. The Captain and Commander set up camp. Soon there was water to drink and a fire burning just inside the cave. It was dark and there was a storm brewing a few miles away, getting closer by the minute. The five officers chatted happily but Paris and Torres had not shown up when the storm started.
* * * * *
The bushes rustled and Torres looked up and saw Paris. She quickly withdrew her foot from the creek.
"Are you all right?" he asked, walking over to her. B‘Elanna just shrugged. Tom looked annoyed so she relented, "I don‘t think so. My ankle‘s broken pretty badly."
"Can you walk?" Paris asked, the annoyance placed with concern.
"I think so." B‘Elanna replied, getting up and putting weight on it. She grimaced. The truth was it hurt, a lot.
Paris sighed silently. Torres was in pain, but she wasn‘t going to admit it.
"Let‘s go." B‘Elanna said, and she started walking slowly, following the marks on the trees they gad made. It was growing dark when they reached the outcrop and B‘Elanna was slowing with every step. There was no way they were going to make it to the designated campsite.
"B‘Elanna," Tom said, walking over to her, "You‘re hurt. You shouldn‘t walk on that ankle."
B‘Elanna looked him in the eye, ready to argue, but changed her mind when she realized he wouldn‘t take an ‚I‘m fine!‘ for an answer, "I don‘t think I can make it." she said haltingly.
"Is it just your ankle?" Paris asked.
"No. My side hurts a lot as well, even though I scanned it with a dermal regenerator." Torres replied reluctantly.
Paris sighed, this time with relief that Torres wasn‘t going to keep pretending she was fine, "Here," he said, "Put your arm around my shoulder and lean on me. That should help." B‘Elanna did as she was told and was relieved to find that she wasn‘t putting any wieght on her right ankle.
"That any better?" Paris asked.
"Thanks," and the two lieutenants slowly made their way to the cave. Soon it was dark and it looked like it was going to rain any minute.
"We‘ll have to find a plave to wait out the rain." Tom said. Famous last words, B‘Elanna thought. It started raining the minute he finished saying it. She just laughed. "I agree." A few minutes later, they spotted an old Toran hut, suspended on poles high above the ground. No one was in sight.
"This must have been a lookout post." B‘Elanna said, looking at the ladder, then at the hut, and finally at her ankle.
"Probably. You think you can climb up the ladder?" Tom asked.
"I‘ll try," and B‘Elanna slowly climbed the ladder. She cautiously stepped on the wooden floor. It creaked a little under her weight but stayed put. There was no rain leaking through the roof. B‘Elanna looked around. The walls were about half her height, plus a few inches. There was a long bench two feet above the ground on one side, two beds on another side, a fire pit in the middle, one side had something that looked like a table and chairs, and the last half wall had shelves. On the shelves were pitchers of water, blankets, and fruit and vegetables. B‘Elanna made her way carefully over to the half wall that had the bench. She could see for miles. She spotted the waterfall in the distance.
Tom climbed up and went over to her. "What is it?" he asked, but didn‘t need an answer, for he saw the view.
"It‘s incredible!" she said.
Tom nodded, "I‘ll try to start a fire with the wood here. We‘d better get some sleep." he said.
B‘Elanna walked over to the shelves and got some food and water. She found what looked like glasses and got those too. She put the contents on the table. "Well?" she asked.
Tom looked up from the wood pile and shrugged. "If we can handle Neelix‘s leola root casserole, we can handle some unknown fruit and vegetables." he said.
B‘Elanna laughed, "I agree."
They ate a little bit and after that they went to bed, letting the fire burn. B‘Elanna pulled the blanket up so that it covered her body and lay back.
"Goodnight, Tom." she said, at the same time Tom said, "Goodnight, B‘Elanna." They laughed and fell asleep.
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 6: Tora II
Heather woke up and stretched. The rain had stopped and it was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining brightly and there was dew on the ground. She got up and woke up Captain Janeway.
"Captain," Whitney said, tapping Captain Janeway on her shoulder, yawning. Soon all five officers were awake. There was still no sign of Paris and Torres.
"Maybe they saw the storm coming and waited it out somewhere." Heather suggested, stifling a yawn.
"Should we wait for them?" asked Harry, sipping some water from his glass.
"I say we wait until 2400 hours. If they‘re not here then we‘ll head for the shuttle." Captain Janeway supplied.
"But what if they‘re not there, either?" Heather asked timidly.
"They‘ll be there." Captain Janeway assured her, but there was a touch of doubt that she couldn‘t hide from a half-batazoid. Heather sensed that she was worried about the two lieutenants.
The five officers finished breakfast and cleaned up. Now they had to wait. Heather groaned inwardly. Patience was not one of her strong points. She was relieved when Commander Chakotay suggested they go scouting to see if Paris or Torres were hurt and needed help. Captain Janeway agreed. They left a note on a PADD and set off.
* * * * *
B‘Elanna opened her eyes sleepily and say up and looked around. At first, she was disoriented as to where she was. Then she remembered. She and Tom were in a Toran hut. B‘Elanna hopped out of bed and immediatly regretted it. She yelped in pain, sitting back on the bed quickly. Tom woke up instantly. He stood up and looked at her, puzzled.
"What happened?" he asked.
At this, B‘Elanna blushed, "I, uh, forgot that my ankle was broken and kind of, uh, stood on it hard." she replied, embarrased that she had forgotten.
Tom just laughed, "Only you, B‘Elanna, would forget something like that." he said. B‘Elanna laughed too. They ate some more fruit and vegetables and climbed down the ladder. The sun had just reached the mountain peaks in the distance when Paris and Torres set off in the direction of the cave where they were supposed to have met the other away team the night before.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, the other group was lost. They had reached an ocean and couldn‘t find their way back to the campsite.
"Tuvok, I thought you had made the phaser marks." Captain Janeway said, standing with her hands on her hips.
"I had assumed Lt. Whitny was marking the trail since I saw her use her phaser many times." Tuvok replied, glancing at Whitney, who crossed her arms across her chest and looked at Tuvok disdainfully.
"Is this true?" Captain Janeway asked.
Heather sighed irratibly, "No, altough I wish it were." she replied.
"Then what were you using your phaser for?" asked Commander Chakotay.
Heather rolled her eyes, "I was playing tic-tac-toe with Harry when you, the Captain, and Tuvok were arguing about which way to go when we reached the stream about a mile back." she explained. Captain Janeway nearly burst out laughing. Leave it to Heather to find something amusing to do when the senior officers were arguing. "Well, I don‘t think that quite qualifies as
marking the trail, Mr. Tuvok. But the question remains, how are we going to get back to camp?"
"We could use our tricorders to lead us to a federation signature. It would probably lead us to the camp or even better, Tom and B‘Elanna." Harry offered.
Captain Janeway nodded, "That sounds like a good plan. The only problem is, the tricorders will lead us to all kinds of natural barriers. That‘s why I didn‘t think about it before. But it is a good plan. Everyone, pull out your tricorders and start scanning!" she said, pulling out her own tricorder. Soon, they were on the trail.
* * * * *
B‘Elanna and Tom pushed back branches and stepped into the clearing where the cave they were supposed to have met the away team the night before was. There was no one in sight.
The first thought that crossed B‘Elanna‘s mind was that the other away team had headed for the shuttle and/or had left Tora. But she then discovered that starfleet supplies were scattered around the mouth of the cave. B‘Elanna found a PADD and looked at it with interest. "Paris! It says here that the other away team went to look for us." she said.
Tom laughed. "It looks as though we‘re going to have to look for them!" he joked, as he
rummaged through the med kit. Soon he found what he was looking for and went over to B‘Elanna. He gave B‘Elanna a hypospray for the pain she got from her gash and a dermal regenorater her ankle. B‘Elanna thanked him and they started talking. Every once in a while they‘d glance around but the other away team never showed up. When Tom checked the time, it was 1309 hours.
* * * * *
"Great, just great!" Whitney exclaimed. The tricorders had lead them to yet another dead end.
"Lieutenant." Captain Janeway said with a warning.
"Sorry, it‘s just that this is so aggrivating!" Whitney said, apologizing.
"That‘s all right." Captain Janeway said, surveying the river that the tricorders had brought them to. The river was deep and wide, and they would never have a chance of crossing it. "We‘ll have to look for a way around it. Tuvok, Harry, and Heather, you go that way," she said, motioning with her hand to the left. "Chakotay and I will go this way," she continued, motioning with her hand to the right, "We‘ll meet back here in twenty minutes. Let‘s go!" she said, quickly walking to the right. Chakotay followed her.
Tuvok led the way to the left and the two younger officers followed. They stayed close to the river bank but sometimes wandered inland. About a half mile down the river, they came across a bridge made of woven branches. Tuvok cautiously put a foot on it and pressed down. Nothing happened.
He walked onto the bridge.
He turned to Whitney and Kim and shrugged in a Vulcan manner, "It seems that this bridge is capable of supporting weight." he said. Whitney nodded. "We should head back to the meeting point and wait for the Captian and Commander." Kim suggested. "That would be logical, Mr. Kim." Tuvok said, and he turned around and the threesome started off for the spot where they had agreed to meet Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay were having less luck. They had come across a deep ravine and didn‘t know what to do.
"What do we do know?" Captain Janeway asked herself quietly.
Commander Chakotay shrugged, "We might as well turn around." he said.
Captain Janeway thought for a second, "Let‘s follow the ravine inland and see where it leads. There may even be a bridge farther down." she said, but she seriously doubted it. Chakotay nodded and the two started inland. Soon the land became rocky and they had to stop.
"We‘d better head back." Chakotay said, concerned. Captain Janeway was breathing heavily and so was he. They had come a long way. She nodded and got up. She tripped on a rock and stumbled. Chakotay caught her. "You all right?" he asked. She sat down on a nearby rock. "I‘ll be fine. I agree with Whitney. It‘s so aggrivating!" Janeway replied, rubbing her foot. She got up and the two continued on.
* * * * *
Half an hour later, they met up with Tuvok, Kim, and Whitney, who had started in their direction when they hadn‘t come back.
"We found a bridge that‘s pretty sturdy." Harry told the two commanding officers. Captian Janeway and Commander Chakotay looked relieved.
"This way." Tuvok said, and the five officers tiredly made their way to the bridge and crossed it.
* * * * *
"These stupid vines!" Heather muttered, half an hour later. She was seriously thinking that she was going to have to redo all the tricorders so that they would actually lead people to where they wanted to go, for the tricorders had first lead them to a cliff, so they had had to
turn around, then they had lead them into an overgrown part of the forest, where there were many low branches, bushes, and vines.
"I‘ll second that." Harry said, pushing his way past a large branch, which swung back andwould have knocked Heather off her feet if she hadn‘t ducked.
"Watch it!" she told Harry, who immediatly apologized. Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay just laughed, Tuvok remained silent, although Captain Janeway swore later that she had seem him smile for a second, for that had been happening for the past ten minutes. Harry would push past a branch and it would swing back and the first time that had
happened Heather hadn‘t been quick enough and had been swept off her feet. A large purplish-blue bruise was in the middle of her forehead to remember to duck the next time. Commander Chakotay looked down at his tricorder, "We‘re almost there. It‘s about 300 yards until the clearing - I hope." he reported.
"Thank heavens for that." Captain Janeway said, tripping over yet another fallen branch, and, like the last time, Chakotay caught her. He let go as soon as she had regained her balance. "You okay?" Chakotay asked.
Captain Janeway nodded, "Yes, I‘m just a little tired, that‘s all." she said. Soon, they reached the clearing, to see Tom and B‘Elanna chatting while having a snack. They stood up when they saw the away team.
"Where were you guys?" B‘Elanna asked.
"We were out looking for you!" Captain Janeway said, "What happened?"
"We got caught out in the rain last night so we found an abandoned hut and spent the night there." Tom explained.
"At least you guys are all right." Heather said.
"B‘Elanna looked at her with a funny look on her face, then she burst out laughing, and as soon as Tom realized what she found funny, he started laughing, too.
"Which is more than I can say for you." B‘Elanna said, smiling.
"The other away team looked at each other, for the first time taking in their appearances. Everyone had scratches on their legs, arms, and face, Captain Janeway had a bruise on her right hip and limped slightly when she walked, Chakotay‘s left arm showed a large scrape, Tuvok had a long scratch on his left leg, Harry had a sprained wrist, and Heather had a bruise that would make little kids run back to their mothers on her forehead, from the first branch Harry had pushed back. All of them had leaves and twigs sticking to their clothes and Captain Janeway and Heather had twigs and leaves in their hair, which, at the beginning of the trip, had been tied back neatly in stylish hairdos, but now it had come undone.
Heather was the first one to giggle. Soon her giggling turned into laughter and everyone else joined in, except for Tuvok, who went to the med. kit and passed supplies around and soon everyone looked 100% better. Heather even found a hairbrush and soon Captain Janeway, B‘Elanna, and she had neat hair again. ("Much better." Heather said, after doing her
hair back into a french braid.)
Three hours later, the seven officers reached the shuttle. There were four chairs in the main compartment, so Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay, Paris, and Torres sat down. Tuvok, Kim, and Whitney went to the passenger section. Ten minutes later, they cleared the
turbulence and the comm. system cleared up. They contacted Voyager and a very perplexed Lt. Hawkins answered.
"Captain Janeway! You‘re all right! We were getting worried." he said. Captain Janeway just nodded. "We‘ll dock in Shuttle Bay 1." she informed the lieutenant. Hawkins nodded, "Very well. Hawkins out."
Captain Janeway leaned back in her chair and relaxed as the shuttle docked in the shuttle bay. "I wany everyone to report to Sick Bay immediatly." she told everyone, saying it loudly enough for the trio in the back to hear.
"Yes, Captain." Harry called, moving his queen to B7. "Checkmate." He had challenged Heather to a game of chess, and she had accepted. Fortuantly he was better than Heather at chess than he was at tic-tac-toe.
"All right, I give up. But next time we play checkers." Heather replied, putting her pieces back in their box.
"Fair enough." Harry said grinning, following suit. Tuvok remained silent. He had given advice to Heather, and when Harry had asked why, had replied, "It is only logical that I help Lt. Whitney, not you, for she does not understand the whole concept of the game." "In other words,
I‘m helpless." Heather had said. Harry had just smirked. Tuvok, as always, had been right.
Harry dematerialized the game in the replicator and the three officers walked into the main room where everyone else was. Commander Chakotay opened the hatch and they all headed for Sick Bay. As they walked into Sick Bay, Heather said to no one in particular, "I‘ll tell you one thing, we‘re all going to have major sunburns by tomorrow." Everyone laughed. The Doctor and Kes greeted them and soon the seven officers were as good as new, if not for a few bruises here and there. Captain Janeway said that everyone could take the next day off. The Doctor had come up to here that last remark and had added, "And that includes you as well,
Captain." When Captain Janeway started to protest, the Doctor said, "Doctor‘s orders." Captain Janeway looked annoyed but she merely nodded. "I‘ll see you around." she told everyone and walked out of Sick Bay. When she was halfway out the door, she turned her head, "I want a full report from each of you to be on my desk by 1700 hours tomorrow." she said, and walked out the door, heading for Holodeck 2.
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 7: Rest and Relaxation
Captain Janeway walked down the corridor onn Deck 5 and headed for the turbolift. She just wanted to go somewhere quiet where she could think. I‘ll try the holodecks, she thought as she entered the turbolift. The doors closed behind her with a woosh.
Meanwhile, half and hour later, Tom, B‘Elanna, Harry, and Heather were in the Mess Hall, finishing their meals, which was part of Neelix‘s latest creation. Surprisingly, it didn‘t have any leola roots in it.
B‘Elanna sat back, "I‘m never going to eat again." she said.
Tom got a mischievous gleam in his eyes, "But we haven‘t even had dessert yet!" he said, smiling wickedly. B‘Elanna just picked up a clean napkin from the middle of the table, wadded it up, and threw it at Tom.
"Count me out." she replied.
Heather and Harry laughed.
"I hate to say this, but I‘m too full for even a chocolate sundae." Heather commented.
B‘Elanna just snorted, "Sure, Heather, whatever you say," for Heather‘s favorite food in the whole universe was a chocolate sundae, and half the ship knew it from an incedent a while back.
"It‘s true! I couldn‘t eat another bite if I wanted to!" Heather said, but she was smiling.
"Why don‘t we hit the holodecks?" Harry suggested.
"Sure." Tom said, "What program do you want to run?" he asked. The other three shrugged.
"Why don‘t we just choose one randomly from the computer?" Heather asked.
"Well, that‘s better than nothing." B‘Elanna said half-heartedly, closing her eyes briefly. The truth was, she was tired.
"Got any better ideas?" Heather challenged.
"No." B‘Elanna said simply, "Let‘s go." she stood up. The other three did too and they headed for the holodecks.
* * * * *
Captain Janeway sat down on the mossy rock and breathed the cool autumn air of the outside of her home in Indiana. She ran her hand through the creek that ran next to the rock. This had been her favorite place when she was young. Oh, how she missed it! But Voyager was stranded sixty-five lightyears from the Alpha Quadrent in the Delta Quadrent. That was enough
to make any normal Starfleet Captain sick, but Captian Janeway stuck to her wits.
Something Heather had once told her came to mind...
It had been a few days after Heather had first come on board and she and Captain Janeway were talking in the Captain‘s ready room, sipping coffee and Raktejino. The two finished laughing over something Heather had said and Captain Janeway checked the chrometer. Gosh, how the time had passed! She had been talking to Heather for almost an hour, but it only seemed like a minute. Heather was funny, outward, smart, and quick.
Heather saw the time too. Her eyes grew round like saucers. "I‘d better go. My shift started ten minutes ago in the science lab. It was nice talking to you, Captain Janeway." she said, getting up and setting her Raktejino back in the replicator. She dematerialized the cup and turned to leave, but Captain Janeway had one more question that she wanted to ask.
"Lieutenant, before you go, one last question, what do you think of being in the Delta Quadrent, cut off from Starfleet and the Prime Directive?" Captain Janeway asked, standing up as well. Chakotay‘s probably wondering where I am, she thought.
To the Captain‘s surprise, Heather didn‘t answer right away. When she did, the answer was plain and simple, "Well, Captain, it depends on what perspective you look at it from. For me? It‘ll be an adventure and I think I‘m up to the challange." Heather paused, "If you‘ll excuse me, I‘ll be in the science lab." Captain Janeway had nodded absentmindedly so Heather had
walked out of her Ready Room, leaving Captain Janeway deep in thought...*
A sparrow bursting into a song brought Kathryn back to reality. She sighed and pulled her hand out of the creek. When I look at it from one perspective, I should be the happiest woman in the Delta Quadrent, but when I look at it from another perspective, the one Tuvok‘s looking at it from, I‘m being ‚irrational‘ and setting a bad example for all the lieutenants and ensigns, she thought, first happily then grimly. Tuvok was always telling her and lecturing her about how her close relationship with Chakotay was ‚illogical‘.
Kathryn sighed again and looked down at the PADD, willing it to write her report for her, but all that was written on it was:
The away mission to the planet Tora on Stardate 5073.9 happened in this order..." and she had written it, not the PADD.
This is hopeless! I‘ll work on it later, Kathryn thought, getting up from her sitting position on the rock. Now, what to do? she asked herself. What she really wanted to do was to just go to her quarters, play some soft music, get out her paints and canvas, and finish the painting she had been working on. But, unfortuantly, she couldn‘t go to her quarters. Maybe I‘ll just go and get something to read, she thought.
"Computer, end program." she said. The creek bed and forest vanished, revealing the fellow lines on black walls of Holodeck 2. Kathryn walked out of it and decided to just take a stroll through Voyager‘s declks. She kept the PADD and started on Deck 8.
* * * * *
"Okay, B‘Elanna, you pick." Tom said when the four friends reached Holodeck 1.
"No way. Last time I picked we eded up just standing around arguing about who was going to be who in the holodeck novel." B‘Elanna replied, crossing her arms.
"You mean to say that you didn‘t like the holonovel?" Heather asked in mock anger.
B‘Elanna rolled her eyes, "Whatever, Heather. You know as well as I do that we argued so long that in the end we were only in the holodeck for five minutes before we had to let Ensigns Kristo and Breton." she reminded the other Engineer, who just grinned impishly. "But seriously, I‘m not going to be the one who picks."
"Oh, all right. I‘ll go through the sports, okay?" Heather said, bringing up the holodeck menu, "Or we could always make our own holonovel." she suggested.
Harry groaned, "Oh, no, Heather. Dont‘ even think about it!" he said.
Heather just smiled, "Let‘s see, there‘s skiing, figure skating, white water rafting, swimming, golf, tennis, horse-back-riding, martial arts, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, yadda, yadda, yadda." Heather said, reading the list and ending it sarcastically, "for there‘s tons of sports here that I‘ve never even heard of before." she explained.
Everyone just looked at her expectantly.
"Well, just pick one!" Heather said, annoyed.
"Fine," Tom said, "Why don‘t we choose something other then sports?" he suggested. Everyone just shrugged, then Harry said, "Okay. How about a western?"
"Howdy, pardner!" Heather commented. Tom and B‘Elanna just rolled their eyes.
"Or a mystery." B‘Elanna supplied.
"Wait a minute. Remember when Tuvok wrote that training program and you two thought it was a holonovel?" Harry asked.
"You mean Insurrection Alpha?" Tom asked, grinning.
Harry nodded, "Yup, that‘s the one."
"That‘s a great idea!" Heather exclaimed, tapping commands into the control panel, "Here‘s one for more than one persone at a time.The limit is seven people."
"That sounds good." B‘Elanna said.
Heather finished uploading the program and entered the holodeck, walking onto a federation galaxy class starship‘s bridge. Kim, Torres, and Paris followed.
Heather looked at the view screen, where an admiral was beginning to brief
them about their mission, which was to fight the Cardassians and to be one of the five ships that went to the Gamma Quadrent to rescue some very important Starfleet admirals from a prison camp. She turned to her friends, who were also high ranking officers - like herself. They were smiling.
"This is going to be fun!" B‘Elanna said.
And that, Heather thought happily, is what really counts. It‘s fun.
* * * * *
Captain Janeway waited for a turbolift on Deck 7. She had decided to go to the Mess Hall, get something to eat, and finish the report, for she never put anything off to the last minute. The turbolift doors opened and she walked in. To her surprise, Chakotay was also there. He too had a PADD in his hand. Chakotay smiled when he saw the PADD in her hand.
"Deck 2." she told the computer.
"Working on your report?" he asked playfully.
"Which is more than I can say for you, Commander." she countered, seeing that his PADD was blank. He laughed and she joined in.
"So, where you headed?" Chakotay asked.
"The Mess Hall." Kathryn replied.
"Join me for dinner?" Chakotay asked.
Kathryn smiled softly and her eyes sparkled, "I was hoping you‘d ask." she teased gently.
The turbolift doors opened and they walked out together, hand in hand.
* * * * *
An hour later, four friends burst out of Holodeck 2.
"That was so fun!" Heather exclaimed.
"Whatever you say, Captain Whitney." B‘Elanna said solemnly. Everyone laughed.
"If you don‘t agree with me I‘ll throw you in the brig." Heather said and they burst out laughing again, but tried to keep straight faces when Tuvok rounded the corner.
"You are not in position to do that." he said.
"No, no, no, Tuvok. It was part of a holonovel. I was only joking." Heather explained quickly.
"I see. Goodnight." Tuvok said, and he continued down the corridor, PADD in hand.
Tom watched him go, "I don‘t think I‘ll understand him." he said thoughtfully.
"Tuvokk isn‘t supposed to be understood. That‘s why he‘s a Vulcan." Harry joked, not meaning to be mean.
Tom just shrugged, "But still, it must be hard to be seperated from the person you love most." he said pointedly, looking at B‘Elanna and wondering what it would be like to be seperated from her. Pure torture. he thought.
B‘Elanna caught his eye and smiled, "It must be hard." she said agreeingly.
Heather sensed what they were both feeling and Harry had caught onto what Tom had said. He rolled his eyes, "If these two continue to get soft on each other I say we desert them." he said softly.
"That might be best." Heather said solemnly, but then added with a glint in her eye, "But that might not me a good idea, if you know what I mean..." she continued, but couldn‘t, for she burst out laughing. Harry joined in too. Tom and B‘Elanna looked at them.
"What‘s so funny?" B‘Elanna asked.
Heather choked back her tears, "Uh, Harry just told me a really funny joke, that‘s all." she said quickly. B‘Elanna was about to say something else but stopped.
"Computer, what‘s the time?" Tom asked.
"Wow, it‘s getting late." Harry commented. Heather hesitated. She had decided that at night Cargo Bay 2 was boring, for none of the officers went to bed before midnight so she was going to rouse it up a little, but she would need B‘Elanna and maybe Kes‘s help. Yes, she‘d do it.
"Actually, B‘Elanna and I have an errand we still have to do. So we‘ll see you guys tomorrow for breakfast at 0700 hours? Bye!" Heather said quickly, dragging B‘Elanna away. B‘Elanna was confused but she went with Heather, for she sensed the urgency in Heather‘s voice. When they turned the corner, B‘Elanna stopped.
"Out with it, Heather. What errand?" she asked suspiciously.
"O.K. Don‘t you get bored in the cargo bay at night?" Whitney asked, turning to look at B‘Elanna. There was a twinkle in her eye that B‘Elanna had seen before. That twinkle meant that she was up to something fun. B‘Elanna nodded.
"So here‘s what we‘re going to do." Heather said, and whispered her plan into B‘Elanna‘s ear. As she did, Torres‘s face lit up in a smile. This was another thing she liked about Heather. If anything was the slightest bit boring, Heather would make it fun...
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 8: A Fun Night
After Heather told B‘Elanna her plan and B‘Elanna agreed to play the part, B‘Elanna realized that there was one catch, "And her name is Captain Janeway." she finished.
At that, Heather laughed, "Okay, you got me. But let‘s find out if she‘ll be there or not." she said.
B‘Elanna raised her eyebrows in Tuvokian fashion, "And how do you plan to do that, Lt. Whitney?" she asked.
"Easy! Internal sensors! Computer, location of Kathryn Janeway." Heather replied.
"Captain Janeway is in the Mess Hall." so Heather dragged B‘Elanna to the Mess Hall. They walked in and started talking and laughing, not too loudly, just loudly enough for everyone to know they were there. Heather spotted Captain Janeway havin dinner with Commander Chakotay, and both were oblivious to the two young lieutenants. B‘Elanna noticed that Chakotay
would say something and Janeway would blush beet red. Heather went over to Neelix. Unfortuantly, the Talaxian cook greeted Heather quite loudly. Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay looked up and Chakotay caught B‘Elanna‘s eye and gave her a cold hard stare. B‘Elanna looked frantically Heather to see if she had noticed that Captain Janeway was giving her the famous ‚Death Glare‘. Heather nodded slightly but continued to talk to Neelix.
Finally, B‘Elanna said through clenched teeth, "The clock is ticking!" Heather‘s hand flew to her face, "Right! Listen, we‘d better go...Kes!" she exclaimed, her face lighting up as Kes walked out of the hydroponics bay, her arms filled with flowers. B‘Elanna was ready to murder Heather. Kes greeted them and seemed to realize that B‘Elanna was very aggitated so she suggested that they talk in the hydroponics bay. B‘Elanna agreed and went quickly, nearly running into Neelix in the process. The young Ocampan wondered what was wrong. The last time she checked, B‘Elanna hadn‘t been in a fight with anyone. So why was she so uncomfortable?
Kes glanced around and spotted Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay having dinner together. They glared at her. Her normal pale complexion turned pink. Uh-oh! she thought, and quickly followed Heather and B‘Elanna back into the hydroponics bay. There they discussed what had happened in the Mess Hall and Heather‘s plan. Although it was a bit ‚childish‘, everyone agreed that it would be fun and that it would definitely liven things up in the Cargo Bay and Kes agreed to help. The three young women headed for the cargo bay.
* * * * *
"But I don‘t WANT to do a full report!!!" B‘Elanna wailed playfully, sitting on her bunk. Kes stood nearby and every ensign and lieutenant were watching intently. Heather stood next to the bunk.
"If Captain Janeway told you to do a full report, then you‘ll do a full report!" Heather said, using a fake English accent which she had learned how to do when she was a child. She and B‘Elanna had been putting on a small skit for five minutes. She winked at B‘Elanna and B‘Elanna threw a pillow at her, hitting her in the chest. Heather picked it up and threw it wildly, missing B‘Elanna all together and hitting Kes with it.
Kes smiled and picked it up, "Everyone grab and pillow! All out pillow fight!" she called out. Everyone smiled and did as they were told. The laughter increased and Heather put on some fast upbeat music from the 20th Century. Soon, no one was quiet, which attracted some people‘s attention...
"What is going on in there?" Tom asked Harry, who crouched down next to him on the far side of Cargo Bay 1. Everyone else was, too. In answer to his question, there was a crash on the other side of the wall. They heard music and laughter.
"All I know is that Captain Janeway would NEVER allow this." Harry replied. The commotion had started with B‘Elanna wailing, followed by someone reprimanding her. That had been followed by laughter, music, and an occasional thump or crash or shriek.
Tom shrugged and pressed his ear against the wall, straining his hearing in order to try to figure out what was going on in the other cargo bay. His first thought was that he should rush in and see what was the matter but Tuvok had reminded him that everyone had been strictly ordered NOT to mix in the cargo bays. So their curiousity remailed...
* * * * *
Captain Janeway paused outside the door to Cargo Bay 2. Commander Chakotay, seeing that no one was around, quickly kissed her goodnight and headed for the other cargo bay. Captain Janeway walked into the cargo bay, expecting to find everyone in bed or quietly carrying on conversations. Instead, there was loud music playing and people were attacking each other
with pillows. She just stood there, and soon was hit by one. She whirled around and grabbed it. Looking at it‘s thrower, she found herself staring into Heather‘s sparkling blue eyes. When Heather realized it was Captain Janeway, she sent a shrill shriek telepathically to everyone else. They all stopped and B‘Elanna shut the music off.
"Can you explain this chaos, Lt.?" Captain Janeway asked angrily, looking straight into Heather‘s surprised eyes. B‘Elanna and Kes stood nearby. Everyone else stood still, not bothering to move from their positions, wondering what would happen. For they had all broken the rules and would probably get in BIG trouble.
This is the limit! Kathryn thought bitterly, First they spy on me and then they create choas and havoc.
Heather gaped, her telepathic powers clicking in. "We were NOT spying on you, Captain. We only went to the Mess Hall to see if you were going to be there for a while, ‚cause if you were, we‘d go ahead and have..." she stopped, groping for a word. She couldn‘t find one so she just shrugged.
Captain Janeway looked mildly surprised. Then a sneaking suspicion crossed her mind and it hurt. A lot. Had Heather set Chakotay up with her to keep her preoccupied? She hurt, and it must have shown on her face, for Heather quickly added in a whisper, "No way! We would NEVER, EVER go as low as setting Commander Chakotay and you up. Only B‘Elanna, Kes, and I knew about this. We didn‘t know anything about the dinner thing." she explained.
Captain Janeway nodded. She was beginning to understand...
* * * * *
Commander Chakotay walked into Cargo Bay 2, a soft smile on his face. It quickly vanished and was replaced by puzzlement and curiousity when he saw that every man had his ear pressed against the left wall. He went over to Tuvok and tapped him on the shoulder. When Tuvok looked up, Chakotay asked, "What‘s going on?"
"I don‘t know. There are unusual sounds coming from Cargo Bay 2." Tuvok explained.
"Sounds?" Chakotay asked curiously. Tom looked up, "Yeah, as in B‘Elanna
wailing, someone - I‘m pretty sure it was Heather since she LOVES to talk with an English accent - yelling in an English accent, laughter, shouts, music, shrieks, crashing sounds, and thumps." Tom explained.
Chakotay hesitated, then said, "Tom, Harry, you two come with me and we‘ll see what‘s the matter.", and the two men walked the short distance to Cargo Bay 2.
* * * * *
The door chimed. Everyone in Cargo Bay 2 had resumed the pillow fight after Captain Janeway said it was fine, "But next time tell me so I can join in." she had said. Everyone else had willingly agreed. Eeryone stopped in an instant.
"Computer, stop music." Heather said quickly, and the music (Wannabe from
Spice Girls - one of Heather‘s favorite songs from the 1900‘s) ended abruptly, leaving the song hanging with "If you wanna be..."
"I‘ll get it." Captain Janeway said, "Everyone get into bed and act natural." and she got down from a top bunk she had been perching on and made her way to the door. All the lieutenants and ensigns (plus Kes) got into bed hurriedly and they instinctively pulled the covers over themselves.
Captain Janeway chided herself for getting undressed and into her nightgown so quickly. She pressed a button on the control panel and the doors opened. Outside, Commander Chakotay, Paris, and Kim were there.
"We were just checking to make sure everything was okay." Chakotay asked when Janeway asked the three why they were there. Tom looked over the first officer‘s shoulder. Everyone - minus the Captain - was in bed. He spotted B‘Elanna and Heather. They were both lying on their stomaches facing the door. B‘Elanna‘s face had an impassive look on it, except for her sparkling dark brown eyes, which were watching everything. He could only see Heather‘s eyes, which were as big as saucers. Her head was bent behind her pillow, and, although Tom couldn‘t see, she was trying hard not to laugh and so was B‘Elanna, although B‘Elanna‘s mouth twitched into a smile now and then.
"Why wouldn‘t everything be okay?" Captain Janeway asked, even more puzzled.
"We heard loud noises coming from here." Harry explained.
At that, Captain Janeway gave a short laugh, "Oh, that! Everything‘s under control!" she replied.
Harry noticed that B‘Elanna had her face in her hands and was uncontrollably shaking, Heather had her face buried in her pillow, and everyone else was trying not to laugh.
After talking for a few minutes, they said goodnight and left. Once the doors closed, Captain Janeway burst out laughing. She leaned against the wall for support.
"Did you hear him?" B‘Elanna said, laughing freely.
"God oh God! Loud noises!" Heather said, giggling wildly.
Kathryn sighed, "It is getting late, though." she said, bringing everyone back to reality, "We‘d better get some sleep or else we‘ll all be walking zombies tomorrow."
Good natured groans followed. Then Heather‘s eyes lit up and she said jokingly, "What you mean is that we all need our beauty sleep!"
When the lights were turned off and everyone was in bed, Captain Janeway told everyone, "Oh, and not a word of this to them. Goodnight."
Goodnights echoed the room, and Heather kept on saying goodnight and B‘Elanna and Kes would say goodnight to her and then Heather would say goodnight to them (they kept that up for about 5 minutes) until the Captain said, "Lieutenants!" The three got the message and fell asleep.
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 9: Attack
The next day everything ran smoothly, except that the women were questioned by the men about what had gone on the night beofre. At lunch, Tom and Harry questioned B‘Elanna and Heather.
"What was all that noise last night?" Tom asked.
"Yeah, I mean, why wereyou guys screaming and wailing about?" Harry questioned.
Heather just smiled and in her most dignified manner said, "It‘s classified."
Tom rolled his eyes, "B‘Elanna, will you tell us?" he asked, looking deep into her eyes, searching for the answer.
B‘Elanna just said simpley, "No."
"Aw, come on, B‘Elanna," he said, reaching out to caress her hand, which was on the table. B‘Elanna just glared at him and pulled her hand away, saying, "I don‘t think so, Tom." Tom just grinned playfully, but Heather and Harry had noticed that B‘Elanna hadn‘t withdrawn her hand immediately. They grinned. It was very interesting to watch Tom and B‘Elanna‘s relationship blossom.
* * * * *
Ten days later, Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay were sitting in their chairs on the bridge talking when Tuvok notified them that there was an unidentified ship a light year away. "It will intercept us in five minutes at its present speed."
Captain Janeway stood up, "Shields up. Yellow alert. Stand by on weapons but load torpedo bays." she ordered. So much for the last few days being peace and quiet. she thought grimly.
The vessel soon appeared and stopped right in front of thier path.
"Ensign Camaroon, hail the vessel." she told the young brunette who was manning Ops. The ensign did as she was told, "They‘re not answering our hails, Captain." she said.
"The unidentified ship has weapons armed." Tuvok informed her.
That was the last straw for Captain Janeway. First, they block our path. Then, they don‘t respond to our hails, and then they have weapons armed at my ship! she thought angrily.
"Arm photon torpedoes and phasers." she told Tuvok, while Commander Chakotay tapped his comm. badge and said, "Senior officers to the bridge. All remaining crew members stand by."
Captain Janeway smiled inspite of the situation. She didn‘t know what she‘d do if Chakotay hadn‘t been there. The turbolift doors opened and Paris, Torres, Kim, and Whitney stepped out and dashed to their stations, just as the other ship opened fire.
"Fire photon torpedoes." Captain Janeway yelled. Five torpedoes were launched and they hit their target. Bullseye! Heather thought gleefully.
"Minimal impact on the unidentified ship." Tuvok informed the crew.
Captain Janeway dashed over to Torres‘s station, "B‘Elanna, can you reroute power to the forward shields?" she asked. B‘Elanna darted a glance towards the Captain and nodded. The scene that then took place in slow motion was like a nightmare.
The unidentified ship fired again, but this time was different. This time, their weapons went right through Voyager‘s shields, and blew up the bridge, sending Captain Janeway and B‘Elanna flying over the station. They landed with a thud and didn‘t get up. Chakotay ran over to them, Tom at his heels. Chakotay took thier pulse, "They‘re still alive." he said. Tom nodded but
didn‘t leave. Neither did Chakotay.
"Tuvok, destroy that ship." he ordered, "Tom, get us out of here, Warp 8." he said, standing up. Tom ran back to his station. His face turned pale, "Warp drive is off line." he told them.
Heather contacted Engineering, "Carey, run program titled ‚Whitimes Alpha 3." she said. No sooner were those words spoken than everyone felt a jolt. The other ship exploded and
Voyager‘s crew cheered. Then they realized that Janeway and Torres were still unconcious. Tom and Chakotay dashed back to them. Heather was already there, "They‘re still alive but unless we get them to Sick Bay in the next ten minutes they‘ll probably die." she said.
"Damage reports are coming in from all decks, Commander. 32 people are injured and life support systems are failing on Decks 6, 7, 8, and 10." Tuvok called from his station.
Chakotay nodded, "Evacuate those decks. Can we beam these two to Sick Bay?" he asked Harry, who shook his head.
"Transporters are offline." the ensign informed Chakotay.
When Chakotay heard that he picked Captain Janeway up and headed for the turbolift. Tom followed his example and picked B‘Elanna up as well, and followed Chakotay.
"Tuvok, you have the bridge." Chakotay said.
Heather went with them, for she knew that Engineering would be chaos. The turbolift doors shut and it slowly descended down the shaft.
A fleeting thought ran through Heather‘s mind and she smiled. The Captain and Cheif Engineer would be miffed that Chakotay and Tom had picked them up, Especially B‘Elanna. she thought. Tom and Chakotay noticed that Heather was smiling, "What is so funny, Whitney?" Chakotay asked.
Heather looked up from her gaze at the floor, "Oh, nothing." she said, shrugging. The turbolift doors opened and Chakotay and Tom got out and headed for Sick Bay. The doors closed and the turbolift made its way to Engineering.
As Heather had forseen, it was chaos. People were dashing around so fast that they were running into one another.
"Carey!" she called. A baffled Lt. Joe Carey ran over to her. "Lt., warp drive, transporters, shields, weapons array, and comm. systems are down. Life support systems are failing on almost all the decsk." he informed her.
Heather nodded, "Lt. Torres is in Sick Bay so we‘ll have to work twice as hard. Make life support your top priority. I‘ll work on warp drive." she said.
Carey nodded and went over to a control panel, obviously relieved to have someone else take control.
"Vorek!" Heather called. The young vulcan came over to her, "Yes, Lt.?"
Heather looked up from the console she was working at. She had always found Vorek annoying because he was so logical, but she had no idea why B‘Elanna hated him so much. When she had asked, B‘Elanna‘s face showed utter disgust, "Don‘t ask. You don‘t want to know." was the answer. When Heather had asked Tom if he knew, he had replied, "Don‘t go there." Heather had made one more attempt to find out with harry, and, to her surprise, he didn‘t know either. "All I know is that Vorek made something happen to B‘Elanna that affected her and Tom‘s growing relationship and things were never the same after they came back from the away mission to Sakarii."
"Help Carey with life support." she said, and he went off to help Carey.
"Redington!" she called and a young brunette came over.
"Yes, Lt.?" she asked quietly. Heather smiled, trying to put the young ensign at ease, "Ensign, help me fix the warp drive. We want to be able to get out of here if any more ships start attacking." "Yes, sir" Ensign Redington replied, and the two got to work.
* * * * *
Sick Bay was crowded. "Put them on bio beds 2 and 3." he said, giving the two unconcious women hyposprays.
"Doctor, how bad is it?" Chakotay asked, laying Janeway gently down on Bio Bed 2.
"I‘d say these two are the worst. Mostly it‘s just second degree burns and broken bones." the Doctor replied, running a medical tricorder over B‘Elanna. He frowned, "They both have major concussions and second and third degree burns. I‘ll give them some cartroziod to stabalize them." he said.
"And what‘s that supposed to mean?" Tom asked, holding B‘Elanna‘s limp hand.
"That means, Mr. Paris, that all we can do is wait. The longer they remain in comas, the less likely it is for them to live. If you‘ll excuse me," he explained, going over to treat another patient. Chakotay and Tom looked at each other, then at Captain Janeway and B‘Elanna.
"We‘d better go back to the bridge." Chakotay said, but he didn‘t move. Neither did Tom. Kes came over to them, "There‘s nothing for you two here. Aren‘t you needed on the bridge?" Kes asked, using a dermal regenerator to heal Janeway and Torres‘s burns.
Chakotay and Tom realized that she was right so they reluctantly went to the bridge after they had gotten Kes to promise them that she would contact them if the Captain or Cheif Engineer‘s conditions changed.
* * * * *
B‘Elanna was concious of feeling cold and tired. She felt as though she were floating in a cold tank of water, except that her body felt so heavy, she knew she would jsut sink to the bottom.
She had no idea where she was or what had happened. The last thing she remembered clearly was a ship firing on Voyager, then she couldn‘t remember anything after that. She felt someone give her a hypospray. The last thing she remembered before drifting into a deep sleep was Tom touching her cheek and saying her name softly.
* * * * *
Kathryn heard voices around her and tried to open her eyes, but she couldn‘t. Her eyelids felt like dead weights. She heard Chakotay‘s voice and tried to focus on it. He was asking someone - the Doctor - something. She heard her name mentioned and smiled softly. All of a sudden, she felt cold and light, as if she were floating in space. She felt someone give her a hypospray and she had to concentrate twice as hard to ehar what was being said and done around her. The last thing she remembered before falling asleep was Chakotay whispering her name.
* * * * *
Engineering was chaos. So far they had gotten life support, impulse engines, and the shields back on-line. Warp drive , the comm. system, transporters, and the weapons array were still off-line. Heather had everyone dashing around, while she worked on the comm. system. "Whitney to Kim." she said, tryingn for the fifth time, and, like the other four times, she got nothing but static. She rewired it and tried again, "Whitney to Kim." This time, Harry‘s voice came over the comm. system, "Yes, Heather?" he asked.
Heather almost whooped with triumph. "Harry, we could really use your help down here. If you‘re not too busy, could you comem down here? Because I have a hunch that my ‚medical expertise‘ might be needed in Sick Bay." she told him.
"The Doctor and Kes‘ll faint with relief when you walk through the doors." Harry joked, "I‘m on my way. Kim out." and the comm. system was cut off.
Heather contacted Kes, "Whitney to Kes." she said.
Kes answered with a sigh, "Kes here. What can I do for you, Lt.?"
"I was wondering if you need any help in Sick Bay." Heather replied.
"Oh. That would be great! I‘ve got to go. Kes out."
Heather crawled out of the Jeffories tube she had been working in. When she looked around, she saw Harry coming towards her.
"Harry!" she called, "Can you take over for me?" she asked. Harry nodded, "You‘d better get down to SIck Bay. There were lots of people injured."
Heather nodded and dashed off, stopping a few meters away from the door, "And the latest news on Janeway and B‘Elanna?" she asked.
Harry shrugged, "Chakotay and Tom didn‘t look too happy when they came back to the bridge from Sick Bay." he said. Heather nodded and went to Sick Bay.
* * * * *
Heather ran into Sick Bay. Kes looked up and smiled, relieved.
"Heather! Thank goodness you‘re here. Grab a medical tricorder ." she told Heather, who did as she was told, and for the next two hours they treated injured crew members. It was exhausting work, but finally everyone who had been injured was cured and the last patient (minus Captain Janeway and Lt. Torres) left Sick Bay. Kes and Heather sat on a bio bed next to B‘Elanna and Captain Janeway.
"That was so tiresome!" Heather said, "Now I‘m sure I made the right choice to major in Science and Engineering." he said.
Kes smiled tiredly, "It‘s not that bad." she said.
"I know, I was kidding, Kes." Heather said, her gaze drifting towards her two friends that lay unconcious on the bio beds. Then the Doctor came out of his office with the restults to the tests he had run on Janeway and B‘Elanna.
"The proginosis is not good." he said, "Captain Janeway and Lt. Torres both suffered severe concussions. They are both in comas and there is nothing I can do to help. All we can do is wait." Commander Chakotay and Tom walked up to hear the last comment. Both men wore worried looks on their faces and were both frowning.
Heather sighed, "I‘d better go to Engineering. There‘s still a lot of work to be done." she said, hopping off the bio beds. The looks on everyone‘s faces was sickening, for anyone could tell that everyone was worried sick about the two women.
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
Chapter 10: Attack
The next day passed and neither Janeway nor Torres got any better. Chakotay and Paris spent most of their free time in Sick Bay, although they didn‘t have much of it. Thankfully, though, Voyager didn‘t run into any more unidentified ships.
Lt. Whitney sat back in a chair in Engineering and sighed. The last malfunction had just been fixed.
Lt. Carey came up to her, "Is there anything else, Lt.?" he asked.
Heather just smiled, "No, Carey. If you can think of anything that needs fixing, I‘ll give you a week‘s worth of replicator rations." she said.
Carey just shook his head, "As much as I‘d like to not have to endure another week of Neelix‘s latest leoa root fantasies, I have to admit that we‘ve fixed everything." he replied. Heather laughed, "That‘s right. And we‘d better keep it that way or else Torres‘ll have our heads." she said. Just then, Harry walked into Engineering.
"How are things going?" he asked, a padd in hand which he handed to Heather.
Heather just smiled, "Everythings running excellent! Now all we have to do is get out of this god forsaken system and everything‘ll be normal again! Although I kinda like wearing short sleeves." she added, reffering to the yellow tank top she had on.
Ensign Jane Marlett and Ensign Morgan Chesly came up to them, "Is there anything else we can do?" Jane asked.
Carey nodded, "Nothing else that I can think of."
"Me neither. I say that we all go to the holodeck and relax." Heather suggested.
"But shouldn‘t we stay here?" Morgan asked, bewildered.
Heather shrugged, "There‘s nothing else for us to do here and we‘re practically bored out of our minds! Don‘t tell me you want work." she said.
Everyone smiled. "You mean it?" Jane asked.
Heather got up and stretched, "Last one there is a rotten egg." she called, and quickly walked out of Engineering to the turbolift. Everyone just stood rooted to the spot. Then Harry shrugged, "You heard her. Let‘s go."
* * * * *
Heather sat back, "This is the life." she said.
"I just hope nobody walks into Engineering and gets us all in trouble." Harry said, glancing around. Heather had run Neelix‘s resort program, although she had turned down the temperature to 60 degress. Everyone was either swimming or talking gaily. But most of all, everyone was having fun.
Heather got up from the beach chair, "I don‘t know about you but the water‘s too tempting for me. I‘m going to go swim." and she dived into the water, her body rejoicing at the coolness of the water and she surfed with the waves.
* * * * *
Captain Janeway opened her eyes and sat up. She was in Sick Bay and the lights were dimmed. She glanced around. Kes was busy working at a console and the Doctor was in his office. Then her gaze rested on B‘Elanna. She was still unconcious.
Before Captain Janeway could utter a word, the Doctor glanced up and saw her. He immediately grabbed a tricorder and walked swiftly towards her.
"Lie back down." he said. Captain Janeway did as she was told, for she felt a little dizzy.
"Doctor, what-" she sat up again, but this time the pain was too great. She lay down again.
"I‘ll explain everything to you, Captain, just please lie still." the Doctor ordered. "It‘s been a day since the attack and there has been no sign of the unidentified ship. You and Lt. Torres were knocked unconcious during the attack and have been in comas ever since."
"What‘s the time?"
"1900 hours." the Doctor replied.
Kes walked up. "Captain!" she said, a smile lighting up her face.
Captain Janeway smiled.
"Kes, get me a hypospray filled with katrozoid." the Doctor said. Kes handed him a hypospray and he injected it into the Captain‘s neck.
"You‘re free to go, although you are hereby relieved of duty for a week." the Doctor said sternly.
"But-" Captain Janeway started to protest.
"No ifs or buts, Captain. Your body needs rest. Now, I suggest you go back to your quarters."
"Fine," Captain Janeway said, getting up. "Thanks."
"You‘re welcome." Kes called after the retreating form of her Captain. She then glanced at B‘Elanna.
"One down, one more to go." the Doctor said.
* * * * *
Four Days Later....
ON THE BRIDGE:
Heather sat on the bridge, watching the view screen. On top of her worrying about B‘Elanna, Captain Janeway (since she still wasn‘t feeling as well as she should), if the enviromentaly controls would hold out, if there would be a warp core breech since there was a lot of stress on the warp core since it had almost been a month since they had entered Kalaria, and how the crew was holding up, there was one more thing and it wasn‘t exactly minor. The ship was back.
"Red alert. All hands to battle stations. Raise shields to maximum strength and arm photon torpedos. Those temporal shields ready?" Chakotay said.
"Yes, sir," Heather replied. She, Harry, and Lt. Carey had come up with an idea two days ago, when they were looking over the scans of the other ship‘s weapons. They were chroniton based so they passed through their shields. However, they had re-modified the deflector grid and the shields were ready to be put to use.
But the question is, will they work? Heather asked grimly.
"We‘ll find out." Tom replied.
Heather looked up. "What?" she asked, confused.
"You just asked if the shields would work," Harry said.
Heather laughed dimly. "I didn‘t even realize I was speaking out loud." she said truthfully.
Chakotay smiled, "Let‘s just hope they do."
"Sir, the other ship is arming its weapons." Tuvok informed them.
"All hands, brace for impact."
The torpedo rocked the ship. Nothing happened.
"Ensign Kim?" Commander Chakotay asked.
"No damage. The shields are still holding." Harry replied, a smile on his face.
"It worked!" Heather said, amazed.
By now, the other ship had realized that they couldn‘t defeat Voyager so they were quickly trying to escape.
"Fire photon torpedos." Chakotay ordered.
"Sir?" Tuvok asked.
"Just to give them a warning," came the explanation.
"Cowards," Heather muttered under her breath.
Everyone laughed, for they knew what she meant.
* * * * *
IN SICK BAY:
B‘Elanna sat up. The red klaxons were flaring. She was in Sick Bay. How did I get here? she asked herself. Then she smiled, dimly remembering Tom lifting her up and carrying her.
Kes came over to her, "B‘Elanna!" she said, pleased that the cheif engineer was concious.
"Kes," B‘Elanna said weakly. "How long have I been in a coma?"
"Five days," Kes replied, scanning her with a tricorder. She gave her an injection of katrozoid. "There, that should help the dizziness go away."
"How‘d you know?" B‘Elanna asked, for it was true. She had been feeling dizzy.
"It‘s only natural." Kes said.
"What‘s going on? Why is the ship on red alert?"
"I guess that ship that attacked us five days ago is back," Kes explained, still scanning her with a tricorder.
Then, the red klaxons stopped.
The Doctor came over. "I just recieved a message from Commander Chakotay. The enemy ship has withdrawn its attack."
"Good," Kes said, relieved.
The Doctor took Kes‘s tricorder and went over to compare the information with the computer‘s.
Kes then smiled. She had been weighing the odds of whether to tell B‘Elanna or not. She would. For one, she thought B‘Elanna would want to know, two, it was sweet, and three, she wanted to see B‘Elanna‘s reaction.
"Tom‘s been really worried about you." she commented softly.
B‘Elanna said nothing, but she blushed.
"He‘s been spending all his free time here by your bedside," Kes continued. By now, B‘Elanna‘s face had turned beet red, but before she could say anything, the Doctor came up.
"I suggest you get some rest," the Doctor told her.
B‘Elanna nodded. "Now that I think of it, I‘m not exactly feeling great." she said, trying to act normal. The truth was, her head was full of thoughts...about Tom.
"That‘s only natural. Your body has been in a coma for five days." Kes informed her.
B‘Elanna nodded. "Thanks, Doc, Kes," she said, "So, when can I go back on duty?"
The Doctor gave her a withering glance. "In five days."
Surprisingly, B‘Elanna just nodded and walked out the door, not even aware of Kes‘s knowing smile. The Doctor turned to the young Ocampan.
"What was that all about?" he asked.
Kes just smiled. "You‘ll figure it out eventually...with time." she said. Then she walked off, leaving the Doctor more confused than ever.
* * * * *
Captain Janeway glanced around. It was a week later, and everyone was gathered in Holodeck 2 to celebrate, for Voyager had left Klaria that day. And things were better than ever.
"You what?" B‘Elanna asked incredulously, staring at Heather, who just smiled, for Harry had just finished telling Tom and B‘Elanna about the trip to the Holodeck.
"I took all the engineers to the holodeck and we had a. . . ," Heather
"Party!" Jane Marlett chimed in as she walked by. Heather gave her a withering glance but Jane just laughed and went off to join Michael Smith - her date, Morgan Chesly, Beth Carmen, Melissa Paso, and their dates.
To Heather‘s surprise, B‘Elanna burst out laughing.
Tom shook his head. "You are the limit, Heather," he teased.
Harry laughed and Tom joined in.
"Well, it was a lot more fun than doing nothing!" Heather retorted, but she, too, was laughing.
Then music started to play. Tom turned to B‘Elanna.
"Want to dance?" he asked softly.
"I‘d like that," B‘Elanna said.
Harry turned to Heather. "How ‚bout it?" he asked.
Heather laughed. "If I step on your toes, just pretend I didn‘t, okay?"
she asked, smiling.
Tom and B‘Elanna danced to the music. Tom held her close.
"I‘ve been meaning to tell you something," he said, a little hesitant as to how she‘d take it.
"What do you mean?" B‘Elanna asked, curiously.
"You look gorgeous tonight." he said.
B‘Elanna smiled softly. "Thanks. So do you," she said. "I mean, hansome that is."
"When you were in a coma, I realized..." Tom‘s voice trailed off, feeling nervous again.
"Realized what?" she asked.
"I love you. I never want you to leave." he said quickly in a rush.
B‘Elanna looked up at him, her chocolate brown eyes wide. After what seemed like an eternity to both of them, she replied truthfully. "I love you, too."
Tom leaned in to kiss her, and she realized what she had said was true. She did love him, and always would.
=/\= =/\= =/\= THE END =/\= =/\= =/\=