By Jane Griffen
AUTHOR‘S NOTE: Okay. This is a li‘l bit different from the way I usually write. It could fall under the ‚Halloween‘ stories if it was Halloween (it‘s not, so there!). As for Heather Whitney, she‘s a character I created and I‘m in the process of writing a story about how she came to Voyager so you can stop guessing soon enough. This story is dedicated to Julia, who puts up with my countless questions and posts my stories (oh, and Julia, I finally found out how to make text files! You don‘t have to put up with my pestering anymore :-) Anyway, on with the story!!!
DISCLAIMERS: I own Heather Whitney, and Ensigns Susan Macantire and Eric Barnett, plus the story. Paramount owns everything else.
B‘Elanna Torres walked down the corridor tiredly. It had been 3 weeks since she and Tom had fought, and they weren‘t on speaking terms. She was mad at him. Very mad. The only thing wrong was that she didn‘t remember what they‘d fought about.
Whatever it was, I‘m sure I was right and he was wrong. B‘Elanna thought, her eyes narrowing with anger. Sighing in frustration, she walked into her quarters. It had been a long day, what with upgrading the warp core and everything. She‘d been up since 0500 hours and it was 2300 hours now. She took a shower and got dressed into her pajamas. She then replicated a glass of warm milk, drank it, and sank into the bed, exhausted.
The last thing she did before falling asleep was setting her alarm for 0600 hours in the morning...
The next day
B‘Elanna stepped into the turbolift. It was another long, boring day, and she was not in a good mood. Engineering hadn‘t gotten anything done, and it was all because Ensign Jane Marlett had forgotten to re-align the matter/anti matter containment field. As a result, the warp nacelles were empty, and Voyager was drifting through space.
B‘Elanna tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for the turbolift. When the doors opened, she walked in, not even bothering to glance up. When she did a second later, the occupants of the turbolift turned out to be Tom - to her dismay, Harry, and Ensigns Eric Barnett and Susan Macantire. She merely nodded and continued to read the padd she‘d grabbed from her desk which she‘d presumed was Ensign Morgan Chesly‘s report on the warp core diagnostics. Unfortunately, the padd she‘d thought she‘d grabbed was still laying on her desk. The one she had in her hand was one of Neelix‘s recipes. She sighed, shook her head, and stopped reading it, fearing that it would give her indigestion.
Harry, who‘d seen the title, tried not to laugh. He knew it had merely been a mistake on the chief engineer, but the opportunity was too good to pass. "So, B‘Elanna, learning how to be a cook?"
Susan Macantire looked up from studying her fingernails since she couldn‘t stand the tension. "Oh, I didn‘t know you liked to cook." she said brightly. The murdering glance that was sent her way shut her up since she immediately caught her mistake.
"Very funny, Harry. One more word and you‘re dead." B‘Elanna said through gritted teeth, oblivious that Tom was scrutenizing her.
Sarah was about to apologize when the turbolift lurched to a stop. All of the lights went out.
"What was that?" Eric Barnett asked, getting up off the floor.
On impulse, Tom immediately held out his hand to B‘Elanna, who had fallen to the floor also. She took it, but didn‘t look up.
Meanwhile, Harry had gone over to the small turbolift console. "B‘Elanna, you‘d better take a look at this. I can‘t access anything, not even the communications system."
B‘Elanna walked over to him, slightly limping and rubbing her hip, which she had fallen on. "You‘re right." she muttered, trying to access system after system, failing each time.
"What do we do now?" Susan Macantire asked.
"Well, we‘re practically even with Deck 2, so we might as well open the doors and get off at this deck." B‘Elanna replied.
"All right." Tom said, and he proceeded to manually open the doors.
A minute later, B‘Elanna walked through the doors, following Tom and Harry. Susan Macantire and Eric Barnett brought up the rear. B‘Elanna nearly stopped in surprise. All the lights were on on Deck 2, but the consoles were blank with no lights. She furrowed her brow.
Eric Barnett stepped out of the turbolift, extremely puzzled. As soon as his entire body was out of the turbolift, the doors slammed shut.
Susan Macantire screamed and Eric Barnett jumped. Everyone turned around quickly, and in doing so, they didn‘t see a black hooded figure running down the corridor and turning a corner.
"How can that happen?" Harry asked in disbelief.
"I don‘t know." Tom replied grimly.
"Am I just being paranoid, or is there nobody else on the deck?" Eric Barnett asked, a little scared.
Everyone glanced around. What he had said made sense. Nobody was there.
"Then I guess we‘re all paranoid." B‘Elanna replied, uneasy.
"Why don‘t we go to the Mess Hall? That‘s the most likely place anybody would be." Tom suggested.
B‘Elanna nodded. "There‘s a computer panel where I can try to access the main computer there."
The five continued down the corridor. They came to the Mess Hall doors, which wouldn‘t open so this time Harry opened them.
Everyone stepped inside.
B‘Elanna gasped when she saw the interior of the Mess Hall. Stacey let out a blood curling scream, stepping back into Eric Barnett, whose eyes were wide in disbelief.
"Oh, my God." Tom muttered, involuntarily stepping back. He bumped into B‘Elanna.
"Sorry." he murmured.
B‘Elanna nodded, but he could tell she was too preoccupied to think.
Written in what looked like blood on the far side wall of the Mess Hall was: Be careful of the killer.
"I don‘t believe this." Harry said, taking a step forward. As far as he could tell, there was no one in the Mess Hall besides the five of them.
B‘Elanna regaining her composure, stepped over to the wall. She got out her tricorder and glanced down at it, puzzled.
"What is it?" Tom asked, going over to her.
B‘Elanna shook her head, her brow furrowed. "My tricorder‘s not working."
Tom got his out, too. Frowning, he added. "Mine‘s not, either."
"What should we do?" Susan asked.
"Well, we should find out who wrote the note." Eric suggested.
"Or find out who the killer is." Harry replied, joking.
B‘Elanna frowned. "This is not funny, you guys. What if this note is true?"
Everyone turned to stare at her.
"You mean to say you believe this?" Tom asked.
Before B‘Elanna could retort there was a scratching noise and everyone froze.
"What was that?" Harry asked.
"That." Tom replied, pointing to the Mess Hall door.
The doors opened and Susan screamed.
Instead of an luminous figure standing there, Lt. Heather Whitney, Voyager‘s senior science officer, and Seven of Nine stood in the doorway.
Heather raised her eyebrow. "I didn‘t realize we were that scary." she commented.
"What the hell are you guys doing here?"
"How‘d you get here?"
"Have you found a way out?"
Seven and Heather looked at each other.
"Ex-cuse me?" Heather asked.
"How‘d you get here?" B‘Elanna asked.
"We were doing some research when the computers suddenly went blank so we decided to see if anybody else knew what was going on-" Heather paused. "What the hell is that?" she asked, her gaze flickering to the message.
"That‘s what we‘d like to know." Tom replied.
"Beware of the killer." Seven stated clearly.
"Oh good, so you can read after all." B‘Elanna said.
"Hey." Heather said.
"What?" Harry asked.
"Where‘s everybody else?"
Eric Barnett shrugged.
Before anybody could act, the lights went out.
Everyone paused and B‘Elanna fell into Tom‘s arms because the ship suddenly rocked.
The lights went back on again.
Susan screamed again.
"Idiot, you‘re supposed to scream when the lights go off, not on." Heather said.
B‘Elanna untangled herself from Tom, literally embarrassed.
Susan backed up, pointing.
Eric was gone.
"We‘ll always know how tall he was." Heather said thoughtfully.
Heather went over to where Eric had been and pointed. There was an arrow stuck just above where his head would have been.
"Heather!" Tom replied angrily.
"Great. So there‘s a psychopath running loose bent on killing everybody." Harry muttered.
"Just like in that horror movie." Heather muttered.
"Don‘t you remember? It was called ‚The Killer‘." Heather replied. "First the lights went out, somebody was killed, and the lights came back on."
"Come on, guys. Look, no one is running around trying to kill everyone. That just doesn‘t make sense." B‘Elanna stated firmly.
"Lt. Torres‘s statement is most logical." Seven added.
"Then how do you explain Eric‘s disappearance and the arrow?" Tom asked, frightened inspite of everything.
"Somebody‘s practicing their archery lessons?" Susan commented warily.
"Or maybe Tuvok‘s just trying to give us a scare." Harry said.
Heather was interrupted by Susan screaming again.
"Will you please stop screaming?" Heather asked.
Susan merely pointed.
The doors were open an inch.
Just then, there was another sound. This time, it sounded like fingernails scratching against a blackboard. The door started to open more.
Susan screamed again.
"God." Heather muttered, glaring at Susan.
"Let‘s get out of here." Tom said.
"Good idea." Harry replied, and all six ran out blindly the other way.
A good five minutes later, they all stopped to catch their breath.
"Okay, I believe it. There‘s somebody running around here bent on killing us." Tom muttered.
"Aren‘t we the realistic ones today." B‘Elanna said sarcastically.
Tom just shot her a dirty look, which B‘Elanna ignored.
"We should split up and search for whoever it is that is doing all this and Ensign Barnett." Seven stated.
"Are you serious? I‘m not going around the deck alone looking for the killer!" Susan said.
Seven merely raised her borgified eyebrow.
"We‘d be safer if we stayed together." Harry said calmly.
"We were all together when Eric disappeared, weren‘t we?" B‘Elanna said.
Tom sighed. "Harry‘s right. There‘s safety in numbers."
B‘Elanna shook her head, but she had to admit that Tom was right. They‘d be safer if they all stayed together.
"So where do we go from here?" Heather asked.
"We should try to get off the deck or access the main computer." Seven suggested.
"God, I‘d love to just beam into a shuttle and fly right out of Voyager." Heather muttered.
"And have the killer be hovering over you with a gun? No, thank you." Harry replied jokingly, but then sobered, realizing it wasn‘t funny.
"Okay, guys, look. Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay, and Tuvok are probably laughing themselves silly because five senior officers plus an ensign are running around screaming and scared because of a practical joke." Tom put in.
"He‘s right. I‘m sure they find this very funny." B‘Elanna added, crossing her arms.
"The lights are going to start to flicker and then-" Heather was cut short.
The lights began to flicker. Susan screamed again.
"Will you shut up already?" Heather asked. She was beginning to get very annoyed with Susan, even though she couldn‘t help it if she was scared. So, for that matter, was Heather.
Eerie music floated through the air and Captain Janeway‘s voice came over the comm system. "Run....While you still can."
Everyone took off running, not even knowing why.
A few corners later, B‘Elanna stopped abruptly. "Come on, guys. This is too stupid."
"Oh, my God! Captain Janeway‘s the killer!" Susan cried.
Heather snickered. "This is too funny." she said.
B‘Elanna raised an eyebrow and smiled. "All right, Heather. If you‘re so smart at predicting these things, then what‘s going to happen next?"
"Okay. Like I said, the lights are going to flicker-"
The lights flickered.
"The killer is going to run by un-noticed-"
Everyone turned and glanced the other way. In doing so, they missed the black hooded figure running right behind their backs.
"So much for that." Tom commented.
"And Captain Janeway is going to appear." Heather finally stated.
Everyone turned, and there stood Captain Janeway.
"Well, I guess you think this is pretty funny, don‘t you?" Harry said, walking around the Captain. He tapped her on the back and she doubled over.
"All right. Enough is enough. Will somebody please duct tape Susan‘s mouth shut?" Heather yelled.
"If Captain Janeway‘s not the killer, then who is?" Tom asked softly.
"I don‘t know." B‘Elanna stated sarcastically, hands on her hips.
"Then it‘s got to be one of us." Seven said.
Everyone turned to look at her.
"Dum, de dum dum." Heather stated coolly.
"I‘m not a killer." Susan said.
Tom scrutenized everybody, his gaze resting on B‘Elanna, who put her hands on her hips again and raised an eyebrow. "Ooh, goody. I get to be the psychopath." she said.
"Come on, guys, none of us is the killer." Harry said.
Just then, a light blinked on the blank console.
Heather went over and tapped it. She read the results.
"What is it?" Harry asked.
"It‘s a message from the killer." Heather replied.
"What does it say?" Tom asked.
"It says wait here and the killer will come to us." Heather said brightly.
Everyone stared, then everyone took off running.
B‘Elanna followed, shaking her head. This was unbelievable.
"Okay. Now where do we go?" Harry asked, realizing he sounded like a broken record.
"I think we should split up. Then that‘ll make it harder for the killer or whoever he or she is to...." Heather paused and winced. "Get us?"
"All right. Heather and I‘ll be a team. Seven, you‘re with Susan. Tom, B‘Elanna, you two can be a team." Harry said.
"Let‘s go." Susan said grimly, and they all split up.
Two minutes later, Tom and B‘Elanna came upon an open Jeffories tube. Neither of them had said anything, but B‘Elanna was beginning to find the whole situation a riot. Something wasn‘t right - well, that was obvious, but something else wasn‘t right, and she couldn‘t figure out what it was.
"This is unbelievable." Tom muttered.
B‘Elanna peered into the Jeffories tubes. There was a trail of dark liquid, that looked tremendously like blood.
"This is so stupid." B‘Elanna replied, shaking her head.
Just then, they heard a weird sound coming from above. Without even realizing it, they took each other‘s hands and ran in the opposite
"Hey, guys!" Harry called. "Come look at this!"
Everyone soon regrouped and came up with the same conclusion. There was no way out.
"Wha-" Seven stopped and stared at disbelief at the end of the corridor. The bulkheads were gone, and everyone could see the black sky and the stars shining brightly. Although there was no force field, everyone was still standing and breathing normally.
B‘Elanna shook her head, finally comprehending it. "This can‘t be real. This isn‘t reality. If it were, we‘d be dead. This isn‘t-"
She was stopped by a black robed figure that hurled Heather, Seven, and Susan into space. Then it turned to Harry, Tom, and B‘Elanna.
The three started backing away.
B‘Elanna shook her head. "This isn‘t real, this isn‘t real." she chanted to herself as she stepped back. Soon, she ran into a wall.
The black hooded figure came up to her and B‘Elanna tentatively put her hand out, trying to remain calm and in trying to she kept on repeating in her head that it wasn‘t real. She lifted the hood, and stared right into a duplicate of herself, which held up her hand...
B‘Elanna screamed and sat up in bed. She looked around, her eyes wide with fright. Then she gasped in disbelief. "Lights. Full illumination." she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
The lights went on and she found herself in bed in her quarters. No one else was in the room and she was still dressed in her black satin pajamas. She had broken out into a cold sweat in her sleep.
"It wasn‘t real after all." she told herself, feeling very relieved but yet uneasy still.
As she got up, she said. "Computer, what‘s the time?"
"The time is 0300 hours."
B‘Elanna groaned. Only 3 more hours until she had to get up. She got up and walked haltingly to the door of her bedroom and glanced around. There
was no one there. She walked over to the replicator.
"Water." B‘Elanna said.
"State temperature of water specified." the computer replied.
B‘Elanna sighed. "Just regular."
The computer beeped and a glass of water appeared. B‘Elanna took it and sat down in one of the chairs in her quarters.
It was only a nightmare, it was only a nightmare. B‘Elanna thought to herself. She glanced around impulsively and spotted something that hadn‘t been there before.
A single red rose lay on her table. B‘Elanna walked over to it and picked it up. There was a note under it.
B‘Elanna picked it up and glanced at it.
The note read:
B‘Elanna lay the note down and sat down on the couch, still clutching the rose. Tears streamed down her face as she realized that it was she who should be sorry. She got up and without another thought headed for Tom‘s quarters, oblivious to the stares cast in her direction since she was still in her pajamas.
When she reached them, she pressed the doorchime. Waiting, she leaned against the wall, tired.
The doors opened and Tom stood there in his pajamas, blinking sleepily.
"I‘m sorry." she said.
The look on Tom‘s face was pure relief. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her. "I‘m sorry, too."
B‘Elanna kissed him back, and the two stood there for awhile, just enjoying the moment.
"I have one thing to say." Tom, murmured, drawing away from a deep kiss.
"And what‘s that?" B‘Elanna asked, leaning back.
"I never want us to have another fight."
B‘Elanna smiled and shook her head. She completely agreed. "Neither do I."
Copyright 1998 by Jane Griffen. Original disclaimers apply. Please send all feedback to JaneG100@rocketmail.com . Merci!