And They Never Lived Happily Ever After...
By Jane Griffen
Author's Note: Paramount owns 'em, I just borrow 'em (except for the story). This is a 'what if' story, where the Delta Flyer's occupants weren't rescued in time in the episode Once Upon A Time. All feedback welcome at JaneG100@rocketmail.com
Seven of Nine frowned as she calculated the Delta Flyer's amount of air and how much time it had been buried underneath the rocks. The result was not good. Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Torres, and Ensign Hienway were still using the phaser fires, and the rubble was almost out of the way.
Scanning the pile of debris with her tricorder, B'Elanna called out, "One more hit!"
A burst of orange phaser fire hit the rubble. Seven of Nine immediately ran forward, climbing up and removing a large boulder. The hull-markings of the Delta Flyer could be seen plainly.
"Chakotay to Voyager. We've found the Flyer." the commander said, holding his breath as Seven scanned the shuttle.
"Lifesigns?" Torres asked, not daring to breathe.
"It is impossible to tell with the amount of theta gas in the tunnel." the former drone reported.
B'Elanna pushed past her, finding footholes in the rubble. Soon she had managed to get on the roof of the Delta Flyer. "Seven, hand me a phaser!" she called frantically.
A phaser appeared, and then Seven climbed up next to the chief engineer. Torres tried to pry the roof open, and when that didn't work she got out her phaser and proceeded to shoot along the edges. When she was finished, Seven removed the door. The two women looked down into total darkness, then B'Elanna spoke. "Move, Seven. I'm going down."
Seven moved and Torres eased her slim figure through the small door. Hearing a thud, Seven presumed that the lieutenant had made it. "Lieutenant?"
There was no answer.
Chakotay went by Seven. "B'Elanna, what do you see?"
Still no answer. A flash of light from inside informed them that Torres had taken out her hand flashlight.
Seven sighed inwardly, then pulled herself down the hatch. With a Borgified eye, she could see much better in the dark than Torres. She spotted Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, and dashed over to him. She checked his pulse. "Tuvok's dead." she said quietly.
B'Elanna's beam rested on Ensign Wildman. She gasped, and scanned the ensign. Samantha was dead. She had a gash on her forehead, and her long blonde hair had come loose. Her eyes were closed, and a peaceful smile was on her face.
"They died from oxygen deprivation." Chakotay commented, glancing around the Flyer. Spotting the turned pilot's seat, he took B'Elanna's hand. "Come on, let's go."
"No." B'Elanna jerked her hand away from her friend's and walked slowly towards the pilot's chair, dreading the sight that she would see. Taking a deep breath, she turned the chair around and shined the beam in the man's face. Tom was dead.
"No!" she cried. Her voice sounded strange, even to her. She took a step back, and tripped.
Seven of Nine gripped her arm. "Lieutenant Torres-"
B'Elanna shook her head, trying to say something. No words came out, and she looked helplessly up at the blonde woman. A flash of concern washed over Seven's features. She had heard through various people what had happened to Torres after the chief engineer had found out that the Maquis were no more. An emotion she had never felt before swept through her, and she realized that it was sadness; the feeling she had gotten when the Doctor had told her that One was dead.
Chakotay took B'Elanna's other hand. "There's nothing more to see here, B'Elanna." he insisted, similar thoughts flashing through his mind. Seeing the heartbroken look in Torres's eyes, he instinctively hugged her. She collapsed in his arms, sobbing. He looked over at Seven, and was surprised to see a look of pure sadness on the woman's face. She quickly got out her tricorder and scanned the pilot. "They're all dead." she commented softly. "There's nothing we can do."
"Not even nanoprobes?" Chakotay asked.
Seven shook her head sadly. "There is no brain activity to stimulate."
B'Elanna pulled away, biting her lip as she regained control. She was *not* going to cry in public.
Ensign Heinway walked over to them. "The shuttle's still intact." she reported, her green eyes filled with worry for the chief engineer. Practically everyone had heard through gossip and rumors what had happened to the lieutenant recently. Heinway's strawberry blonde hair had fallen out of the makeshift ponytail she had made while exploring the caverns, and she pushed the strands back behind her ear.
The commander nodded, his dark brown eyes troubled. "We'll try beaming the shuttle back into the shuttle bay." he said, then tapped his commbadge. "Voyager to Transporter Room 2. Beam all occupants from the Flyer to Sick Bay."
They all disapperaed in a shimmer of blue light.
Captain Janeway walked into Sick Bay. Seeing the distraught look on B'Elanna's face, she met Chakotay's gaze. He shook his head slowly. Ensign Heinway quickly excused herself, then exited Sick Bay.
"What happened?" she asked the Doctor, noticing the three lifeless figures on the bio bed.
The EMH looked up from scanning Tuvok. "They all died of oxygen deprivation. Ensign Wildman suffered internal injuries during the crash." There was a note of sadness in his voice as he said it.
Neelix rushed into Sick Bay, his face filled with worry. He let out a short gasp. "Are they-"
Kathryn nodded slowly. "Where's Naomi now?"
"In the holodeck with Flotter and Treevis." the Talaxian replied, tears coming to his eyes as he thought of the seven-year-old playing in the holodeck-oblivoius to everything else. "Isn't there anything you can do? When I died, you used nanoprobes to bring me back to life. Is there any chance that would work for them?"
Kathryn spun around to face Seven of Nine, who was standing next to Commander Chakotay. The former drone shook her head. "The chances of that are extremely unlikely."
"I thought you said it couldn't be done." Chakotay snapped.
Torres, who had remained silent, had walked over to Tom. She didn't comment.
"If the Doctor can mimick brain activity, there may be a chance that the nanoprobes would work." Seven stated softly.
Everyone turned to look at the holodoctor.
The EMH shook his head. "I'm sorry." he apologized, meeting Janeway's gaze. "There's nothing anyone can do now."
Kathryn's eyes filled with tears. Tuvok, Tom, and Samantha. Three wonderful people. All dead due to an ion storm. She turned to B'Elanna, suddenly concerned about the chief engineer. After what Torres had done because of the Maquis, she didn't want to take the chance of finding out what B'Elanna would do because Tom had died. "B'Elanna-"
The half-Klingon looked up, and Janeway was pained to see a lifeless look in the younger woman's eyes. "B'Elanna, I am so sorry." she said sincerely.
Torres nodded slowly.
Turning to Neelix, the captain spoke up, "Neelix, you should be the one to tell Naomi that her mother is dead."
The cook met the captain's gaze, still looking worriedly at B'Elanna. "Yes, captain. I'll be in the holodeck if anyone needs me." The Talaxian left, a bitter task on his hands.
Seven of Nine's brow furrowed. "Captain, may I report down to the shuttle bay? I may be able to retrieve files from the Delta Flyer concerning the crash."
Janeway nodded. "Do it." she ordered, then turned to Chakotay. "Get the rest of the teams beamed back onboard. I don't want to be around when another ion storm hits."
The commander's gaze lingered on B'Elanna, but he nodded and left.
"Make a note in the log: Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Lieutenant Thomas Paris, and Ensign Samantha Wildman died at 0200 hours, stardate 52198.0." the Doctor commented sadly.
Kathryn swallowed and went to his office.
The Doctor turned to the chief engineer. "B'Elanna-"
"I'm okay. Really, I'm okay." Torres said, but her voice cracked and she gasped for air. Returning, Captain Janeway quickly took B'Elanna by the arm and led her out of Sick Bay to her quarters. She knew that the chief engineer was in no condition to be working.
Neelix walked into the holodeck, noticing the lush green forest. He wandered down the path, trying not to cry as he thought of the three officers that had died - and of the one little girl who would be absolutely heartbroken. *How could they have died?* he wondered. *They were all so young.* He frowned ruefully. Well, he knew that Tuvok had been about forty, but that was considered incredibley young for a Vulcan. Both Samantha and Tom had been in their twenties.
Hearing Naomi's delighted laughter, he walked around the bend. There was Naomi, accompanied by Flotter and Treevis.
"Hi, Neelix! This is Flit!" the young girl introduced, pointing to a giant hummingbird. The look on her godfather's face made her stop smiling. *No! Not Mom!* she thought frantically. "Neelix?"
"Naomi, I have to tell you something." Neelix said softly.
Flotter and Treevis placed their hands on thier hips. "You aren't going to lie to her anymore, are you?" asked Treevis sternly.
Neelix shook his head sadly. "I wish I could lie about this, but I can't."
Flotter and Treevis looked at each other. Flit hovered in the air, unsure.
"We'll be at the spring if you need us!" Flotter called, and the three holocharacters soon vanished.
"Something happened to Mom, didn't it?" Naomi asked in a small voice. She gazed up at Neelix worriedly.
Neelix knelt to her eye level and looked her in the eye. "Yes." he replied truthfully. "Naomi, your mother is-"
"Mom's dead?" Naomi stepped back. "Mom's dead?"
Neelix nodded, a tear rolling down his cheek. "I'm afraid so, sweetie." he said, confirming Naomi's fears.
Naomi burst into tears, and Neelix went over and hugged her tightly. "I'm so sorry." he murmered.
Crying, Naomi looked up at him. "What happened?"
"The shuttle crashed and landed underneath thirty kilotons of rock." Naomi nodded. "Their life support systems and oxygen levels ran out before the rescue teams were able to find the Delta Flyer."
"They're all dead?"
"Yes, honey. Your mother, Commander Tuvok, and Lieutenant Paris were all onboard." replied Neelix.
Naomi cryed, her sobs shaking her small body. Neelix scooped her up into his lap and held her, saying soothing things to try to make the young girl feel better. He knew it was no use; nothing had helped when he had found out that his whole family was gone either.
B'Elanna Torres walked in a daze, dimmly aware that Captain Janeway was walking next to her. She entered her quarters and sat down on the couch, still in shock.
Janeway stood there, uncertain. She didn't know B'Elanna as well as Chakotay or Harry did, but she was immensely worried.
B'Elanna looked up. "How could he leave me?" she asked in a small voice.
Any doubts fled from the captain's mind. She sat down on the couch next to B'Elanna and hugged her. "Oh, B'Elanna. It was just an accident."
Tears streamed down Torres's face. "I l-loved him s-so much." she cried, placing her head in her hands.
Janeway rubbed the chief engineer on the back. "I know how you feel." she said solemnly.
B'Elanna stood up. "You have *no* idea how it feels." she shot back, walking away.
Kathryn followed. "Yes, I do." she replied. "On one of my first field commisions, my fiance Justin died. I was the only one who survived the crash." she said softly.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to-" came the hasty apology.
Janeway smiled sadly. "I know." she commented. "B'Elanna, take the next twenty-four hours off, all right? If you're willing to help, we could use your expertise getting the Flyer's main computer back online."
Torres nodded mutely. Kathryn hugged her one last time, then left. B'Elanna wandered into her bedroom, and stopped in front of her dresser. A picture of Tom was on it. A fresh stream of tears came to her eyes as she reached out and touched it. Crying, she barely made it over to the bed before she collapsed in tears.
Seven of Nine crawled out from beneath one of the computer consoles on the Delta Flyer. She had just gotten the secondary computer back online. Picking up a padd, she presumed that it had been left by one of the engineers who had been down to the shuttle bay earlier. On closer examination, she realized that Tuvok had written the data contained in it. She raised a Borgified eyebrow as she read some of the text, then stopped. It was personal data to be given to individual crewmembers if he did indeed die. Her gaze softened as she set the padd aside, and resumed her work. A few minutes later, she was able to retrieve two personal files. They were by Lieutenant Paris and Ensign Wildman. She downloaded the first one, and played it. Tom Paris's face appeared on the small screen: "B'Elanna, if you're seeing this-" Seven stopped the transmission and downloaded the two onto datachips. She made mental note to get back to work, then stopped. It was almost time for her to regenerate, and several engineering teams were also working on the shuttle. Standing up, she stretched her muscles and picked up the padd and two datachips. She exited the shuttle and walked over to Joe Carey.
"Lieutenant Carey, I will be in Cargo Bay Two if you require further assistance." she reported.
The engineer nodded, sober. He spotted the items she carried. "What are they?"
"Personal notes from Lieutenant Paris and Ensign Wildman, and a padd Lieutenant Commander Tuvok wrote before he died." she informed the man.
Joe nodded, comprehension dawning. "See you later!" he called.
Seven nodded as she exited the shuttle bay. She headed for Lieutenant Torres's quarters.
The doorbell chimed, but B'Elanna didn't say anything. Curled up in a ball on her bed crying, she wasn't in the mood for visitors. She bit her lip, pleading silently that whoever was at the door would go away. She didn't want to talk to anyone now. Not when she had lost Tom...
Fresh tears came to her eyes, and she sprang off the bed when she heard the door open. In the doorway stood Seven of Nine.
"What do you want?" Torres snarled.
Seven held out a datachip. B'Elanna looked quizically at Seven. "What is it?"
"It is from Lieutenant Paris." Seven said softly, meeting the chief engineer's gaze.
B'Elanna took it. "Thank you." she said.
Seven nodded. She paused before she exited Torres's quarters. "B'Elanna?" she asked, using the engineer's first name.
Torres, lost in thought, looked up. "Hmm?"
"I am sorry."
B'Elanna tried to smile, but failed miserablely. She only nodded, and Seven left. Sitting down at the table, she loaded the datachip into the computer. Waiting a few seconds before playing it, she took a deep breath. Then she downloaded the file.
Tom's face appeared on the screen. Looking closer, B'Elanna spotted Tuvok in the background. The computer console's multi-colored buttons flashed on and off, and she could plainly see the damage that had been inflicted on the Delta Flyer. Tom started to speak, and she refrained from crying at the thought that this message had only been created a few hours ago.
"B'Elanna, I wish you never have to see this message, and I'm probably dead right now if you do. First of all: don't remember the bad times, remember the good times. Although sometimes they were both..." He smiled, and she couldn't help but wonder how he could be so calm knowing that he would probably be dead within the next few hours. "Look in the top drawer of my dresser; there's something in there for you. You are the most wonderful, unique, talanted, and beautiful woman I have ever met, and I love you. Never forget that. And I'm so sorry that I'm dead-" The computer blared and announced that oxygen levels would be depleting within ten minutes and Paris muttered something under his breath. B'Elanna could barely make out 'damn compter' and she smiled; remembering that the man she loved most was now dead, it vanished as quickly as it had come. "B'Elanna," Tom looked up. "Hey! At least you won't have any day-old pizza lying around! And you won't have to sit through another chapter of Captain Proton." The pilot looked down, worry suddenly appearing on his face. When he looked up, his blue eyes shone with love. "So long."
The transmission ended.
B'Elanna stared at the blank screen, biting her lip. In the end, her emotions won out and she burst into tears. *Why did you have to leave me, Tom? Why?*