No Honor in Death

 //Ah! My head, // she thought as she started to come too, blinking her eyes as she tried to remember where she was. //Ah! Shit! // She thought, as a low growl came from her throat. 

 “I’m glad you’re awake…Ensign,” Janeway sated coolly.

 //Ensign? Oh, B’Elanna, you must have done it now. Shit! // She slowly sat up and looked around to see that she was in the brig. Then it all started to come back to her…Tom…ending the wedding…Julian…hell! She looked up to see Captain Janeway standing by the force field, her arms locked behind her back. //Boy is ‘she’ pissed. I don’t think I hurt the little shit, // she thought, but seeing Janeway’s disapproval made her feel guilty and she looked down.

 “Well, you ‘should’ feel guilty and ashamed. You’re one of my senior officers; there is NO excuse for your behavior, no matter how bad the situation felt. I’m sorry, B’Elanna, you ‘do’ deserve better than what has happened between you and Tom, but I ‘can not’ excuse your actions.”

 The pain, the emotion, the anger started to weld up in her again. “That son-of-a-Targe, dumped me for…. for….” she couldn’t even say it. “The ‘whole’ ships going to know!” she screamed. 

 “All anyone knows is that Tom called off the wedding and you are on report and sitting in the brig till ‘I’ feel you can control yourself. They ‘don’t’ have to know anything else. Under the circumstances, I’m more than willing to order Tom and…” //Best be discreet, Kathryn, //  “um…to keep a very low profile.”

 “I prefer you let me space him!” she shouted with a deep growl. “Or better, let me just have five minutes alone with him…I’ll make sure he keeps a low profile…permanently!” she snarled. 


 Torres blinked up at the Captain, “I presume I’ve been demoted?”

 “I told you that your behavior as a senior officer was unacceptable, so yes. The only way you’ll get your rank back, and in charge of Engineering again is if you start demonstrating that you not only deserve it, but also can handle it. Do I make myself clear?”

 “But Captain,” she tried to protest but stopped seeing Janeway hold up a hand to silence her.

 “Save it, B’Elanna, I don’t want to hear it. Till further notice Seven of Nine and Henley are taking over your duties as Chief of engineering. Oh, and like I said before, you will remain here till I feel you can act like a Starfleet officer. Again, the ship only knows what I told them and won’t learn ‘anymore’ unless ‘you’ tell them.” She said, then did an about face and left. 

 Torres stared as she watched Mason and Homer enter the brig, a mix of sympathy and disbelief on their faces. She knew that they were chosen for they were capable of taking her down in a hand to hand battle by themselves, the two assured she’d be out numbered. //Great! I lost my commission, my respect, and my honor! That bastard will pay…and this…this Doctor! // She growled the thought to herself as she again began to fill with anger and fury. //I’ll make him wish he died in that shuttle accident! // She vowed to herself. //I’ll ripe him from limb to limb…both of them! // Then she started howling and swearing in Klingon…her temper in full blast as she charged the force field, some how convinced that she could break through, drop the two humans and seek her revenge…. She was wrong.

 “Dr Bashir, right?” Mason, a large human brick, asked of the young man who entered the brig per his summons. 

 “Yes, that’s right,” he smiled, to be friendly. He didn’t know what anyone knew or didn’t know, and being called here to treat B’Elanna was not what he wanted, but he couldn’t say no, especially since the Captain had ordered him and Tom to keep their relationship on the QT. He moved in further and looked at the half crazed half-Klingon woman who had been stunned by the field, recovered, than started bombarding the wall with her body, as if determined to break through. “How long has she…?” he slowly asked, seeing that she was starting to become aware of him. 

 “Only the last five – six minutes, I called immediately when she started,” Mason replied.

 Julian saw her ram the force field again, her eyes filled with murder, looking at him as she screamed in Klingon. //I’m glad what she is yelling isn’t translatable, // he thought.  “I think ‘we’ need to talk,” he said professionally. Then turned to the security guards. “I’ve got it from here. I’d like to speak with her in private, if you don’t mine.” 

 “Doc, don’t get me wrong. B’Elanna is a great person to serve with, but she’s impossible to deal with when she’s like this, and dangerous,” Homer tried to enlighten the new doctor.

 “Thank you, Ensign, I’ll keep that in mind, but if you please,” he said, wishing he didn’t need to pull rank to get the two to leave. But he and B’Elanna needed privacy to talk. He watched as the guards left, letting him know they were just outside if he needed them.  Then he looked back at her and shouted in Klingon {“Is it ‘really’ a good day to die?”}

 She stopped and stared at the young man. No one on board could speak her language, though a few words here and there, but that sounded very authentic. “So, you speak Klingon, I’m not impressed,” she hissed.  She sent another slur his way. 

 “Yes, I do like being with men,” he replied dryly. “But that’s not quiet the issue here is it. Look…” he said as his look softened. “I didn’t know about you and Tom. I mean, I’ve been here less then twenty-four hours, how could I?”

 She wanted to rip him apart, take her pain out on him, he was the cause…no, part of it. “As if I care,” she growled. “How long before you and that…pig….” She just howled and smashed her fist against the wall. //Yes! I’ll hurt myself, he’ll come in…then I hurt him…then that will hurt Tom, // her dark mind shouted to her.  “Ah!” she screamed in pain. 

 Julian saw the pain in her face, but also the anger, the determination for retribution. He slipped the medical bag over his head and shoulder as he moved to lower the shield, bracing his body for the charge he knew was coming his way. He didn’t have to wait for once the force field was down she roared and charged him. Being ready, and glad he had tangled with Worf a few times, used her momentum against her and with a quick sidestep, grabbed her good arm and whirled her back into the cell letting her crash into the bunk. He moved in quickly and when she turned to leap at him he sidestepped again as she plopped to the floor he kneeled hard on her back. //I hate hurting her more, but she’s giving me little choice, here. // He balanced his body for she was squirming, and grabbed the bad arm and pulled it back behind her as hard as he could without breaking it. 

 “You never answered my question. Is today ‘really’ a good day to die?” he asked as he used his free hand to pull out the medical scanner so he could treat the broken hand attached to the arm he was pulling back. 

 “What would ‘you’ know about such things, human!” she spitted out at him.

 “Oh, nothing. Just that my best friend was married to a Klingon. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Mr. Worf, but I had the honor of serving with him, being one of his best men, as it were for his wedding…too my best friend. Then when she died,” his tight voice broke just a bit at thinking about Jadzia’s passing. “She being a Trill, I was honored in accompanying Worf to assure that she, a fine and proud warrior would be allowed into Storvikor. Then of course, there was simply the three months I served on a Klingon on vessel not to long ago. But beyond that…nothing…not a damn thing,” he said as he now used the regenerator on her hand as she stopped squirming as much.

 She snorted. “Big deal. Don’t think it’s going to change my opinion of you,” she snarled. 

 “Frankly, I don’t give a damn what you think of me. I didn’t tell you that to impress you, for frankly you’re not worth impressing. Your behavior is appalling, even for a Klingon.” He stabbed back at her, his words sharp. “I know how outraged your people can get, and I also know how important it can be to either lose or control yourselves. You seem to have very little self control and then blame it either on genetics or others.” He continued to regenerate her hand as he pressed his body down harder to keep her pinned. 

 “You stole Tom!” she howled, using all her energy to roll Julian off her and get to her feet. She noticed that he was also on his feet as she looked at him, sizing up her next attack. 

 “Well, either I’m ‘damn’ good, or you and Tom’s relationship was on the skids, for like I said. I didn’t know about you and him and I’ve been here less than a day. Face it, the two of you were not meant to be together or my presence here wouldn’t have made a difference.”

 She wanted to punch him, hurt him, so he feel how she felt inside, but his words…though sharp penetrated her hazy brain. “I…I love him,” she said hoarsely. Then she took a few deep breaths, then looked coldly at him, though her wild charge look changed to one of revenge. “Tom was promised to me,” she said dryly. “Since you proclaim knowledge of my people, I find that acceptable that you know enough when I say I ‘demand’ satisfaction!”

 Julian’s eyes narrowed. He thought a moment before speaking slow. “The Captain…wouldn’t let it…she wouldn’t risk either losing her top engineer or her only doctor.  Plus, Tom’s ‘not’ Klingon…your winning would not get him back.” 

 “I will have satisfaction!” she snapped. “My honor ‘will’ be restored,” she glared.

 “Honor…or revenge?” he asked matching her glare. //Compassion is a sign of weakness that ‘is not’ respected in Klingon culture. Oh, B’Elanna, I am so sorry. I can’t imagine how hurt you are right now, but I’m not going to die so you can feel better. //

 “Perhaps a bit of both,” she smugly quipped, still coldly glaring at Julian. 

 //If I thought telling her that Tom was going to call it off anyway wouldn’t hurt her more, // his dark mind started to twinge, his emotions starting to stir at her attacks at him. His eyes narrowed further. “There is no honor in death when the death is a foolish one,” he quipped. “Wanting to hold your head high among your people is understandable, but do you think ‘my’ death will ‘really’ give you that among a mostly ‘human’ crew?”

 Their eyes locked a battle of wills enraged between the two silent figures. Then Julian took a slow step forward. “Let me finish healing your…”

 “Leave it,” she snapped. 

 “Very well,” he replied just as cool. He moved backwards, then reinstated the force field. He packed the medical bag and started to leave then stopped and looked at her still staring at him. “You can not take that which does not wish to be taken,” he said dryly. “But if you want satisfaction…than I shall give it to you,” he added coolly. “But will you find your satisfaction if death is not present?”

 “What do you mean?” she asked of him now suspiciously. 

 “Worf once told me that the great Kahless said, there is no honor in death if it is a foolish one. That honor and death are not mated in bliss, though constant companions, they do not always have to accompany each other. I will give you honor, but will ‘you’ be able to take it?” he said then turned away, and before she could answer he left her to her thoughts.

 08:00 and Tom Paris found himself uncomfortably sitting in the briefing room being scrutinized by almost everyone.  The mix of dirty looks to sympathy was almost enough to drive him over the edge and scream at them the truth; regardless of what the Captain had ordered. He let out a soft sigh; this was going to be a long day. He shifted in his seat while he and everyone waited for Julian to show. He had commed ahead and informed the Captain he was running late due to a patient. 

 Tom’s eye shifted to the door when it opened revealing the new CMO of Voyager, and he did his best not to smile as warmly as he wanted, but when his eyes met Julian’s it was squashed. He saw anger, pain, confusion, and then it all vanished and he suddenly looked as Vulcan as Tuvok. Tom watched as Julian smoothly walked in and took a seat near Commander Chakotay. 

 “Well, again, let me welcome you aboard Dr. Bashir. Again, I’m sorry about the circumstances, but you couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Perhaps you could fill us in on how you got out here?” Janeway asked.

 Tom saw his love’s face remain unemotional as he started to inform the staff that he and Lt. Baxter were on a supply run to the USS Hudson when their shuttle was hit with an unknown energy pulse. The shuttle took a lot of damage, and the next thing they knew they were being dragged by several ships, but they didn’t have a chance to do any sensor readings for things inside the tiny vessel was catching fire. Then they were surrounded by a dozen of unknown ship, and they fired on one to break the hold, but got another volley and their shields buckled. The last thing he remembered was seeing the main console exploded and him trying to crawl over to help Baxter.

 “I was being temporarily transferred to the Hudson, and brining medical supplies along with other needed supplies,” he said flatly.

 “Can you up date us on how things are going, about the DMZ, the Maqui?” Chakotay asked.

 Julian doing a fantastic job of making himself Vulcan like turned to meet the Commander’s eyes. “The De-Military Zone is no more. Those planets are safe back in Federation hands, though they too are in the front lines of the war with the Founders. The Maqui no longer exists, and there are no, to my knowledge, any outstanding warrants for anyone. The current situation is that those planets are being use for a base of the new resistance.”

 “Resistance?” Chakotay asked, not following. 

 “The Cardassian Government was taken over by the Jem Hadar, and many of the Cardassian’s have come to understand what it is like to have their home taken from them by a stronger power. They sought out to form a resistance, and with the help of Elim Garak, a former Obsidian agent, and current member of Starfleet, we had formed a resistance. The people in the former DMZ understood all to well of the situation, and at first an uneasy alliance was formed. When I was last on Dorvan V…”

 “You were on Dorvan V?” Chakotay asked with excitement.

 “Yes,” he said coolly. “The alliance was more solid and it included all races of the Alpha quadrant.”

 “How bad is it?” Harry asked.

 “The war with the Dominion was not going well, but three months before my…departure, we had managed to turn the tied. Between having the knowledge given to us of the Cardassian’s maneuvers, thanks to Mr. Garak and the resistance, and the break the Founders gave while they recuperated from a deadly virus, it gave us time to reinforce the wormhole. Last I heard there was talk in closing it permanent, but the Bajoran Government was having a server problem with this due to it being their Celestial Temple.”  He then looked at Janeway, “If you like, Captain, it may be better if I submit a full report. It would take quite some time to go over everything that has happened since you were lost out here.”

 Janeway took in Bashir’s behavior, and decided to let things settle before becoming anymore concerned about how he was acting more Vulcan than her Vulcan security officer. She gave a small smile, “That would be a better idea, Doctor. I take it you’ve been getting yourself familiar with you new surroundings, and the sickbay. Especially all the new illnesses we have out here?”

 “Yes, Captain, I have been. I’m made it a priority to get myself up to speed on all the medical conditions of the crew, and all the current medical information in your computer logs.” He returned properly. 

 “Good,” Janeway smiled sitting back in her chair. 

 “I should report,” Seven said in her Vulcan like tone, “That besides large amount of medical supplies there are several hundred power cells and a many variety of parts. I have here a list of them, all of which will come into great use. With the added power cells, we can have the replicators up in about two days, though rationing is still recommend.”

 Janeway grinned ear to ear, “That’s wonderful. Power cells, medical supplies and a Doctor,” she quipped. “Almost make dealing with Q worth it…all most.”

 “Q?” Julian asked. “He’s out here?”

 “You know about Q?” Tom asked.

 “Some of us on DS9 had the …misfortune of dealing with him for a brief time, then he stopped showing up. We didn’t know why or cared, but it seems I have the answer, he came here.”

 Tom still didn’t like the unemotional look he was receiving from Julian. As soon as his shift was over, he was getting to the bottom of this. He expected Julian to play it cool, because of the Captain’s order to keep a lid on their relationship, but this was ridiculous. He let his eyes start roaming again over those in the room. He still could see the glare of death that Harry was giving him.

 Seven, Tuvok, and Julian could have been triplets, with their, I don’t feel a thing look. Janeway was happy about the news, and Chakotay…Chakotay was looking at Julian. //No way! Chakotay has never showed interest in anyone, except the Captain a few years ago, but never a man. // Tom looked again to be sure if he was seeing it clearly or if he was misreading what he saw in the big man’s eyes as he was looking…no, staring at Julian.

 //Damn, I know Julian is beautiful, but let’s get real. I’m almost as good looking, why has he never looked at me that way?  Ah, hell, like I would have noticed, being caught up in that women only rule you made up so you could get over Julian. Plus, if he did, he and I was too busy bumping heads, that I never bothered to look in his eyes. // He thought critically.  // Well, you’ll just have to back off, Commander, for Julian ‘is’ mine, // he thought possessively. 

 Janeway finished the briefing updating every one of the current ship statuses, their current course, and how things were looking up. She only touched on the fact that Seven and Henley were sharing the Chief of engineering duties, and wouldn’t let anyone get into it. Then she ordered Tuvok to assist Dr. Bashir to enter all his required security codes. Then dismissed the staff. She sat back and watched the small drama unfold. Harry wanted to kill Tom, the look was there, and she knew why. But seeing Tom glare at Chakotay was completely out of left field. She then noticed Chakotay staring at Dr. Bashir, who like Seven and Tuvok was in a total void of his emotions at the moment. //Almost worth it, // she repeated to herself, thinking that all this came about because of Q. //I know you have another motive behind all this, I only wish I knew what it was. // 

***************** (End part 1)

 As soon as Tom was off duty he headed to the infirmary knowing Julian would still be there. He entered to see that he had totally reorganized most of the equipment. //The holo doc is going to be pissed, // he mused. Then remembered that the Holo doc may never be back, he felt a pang of loss for a friend, then moved on in. He found Julian sitting behind the desk as he walked in the office. “What was this morning all about?” he asked, a touch of hurt in his voice.

 Julian looked up, he tried to place that mask on, but his emotions were too raw to be hidden any more. His eyes misted over; they were filled with hurt and sorrow. “I’m sorry, Tom, but I…I can’t do this,” he said as his voice broke. “I can’t handle being forced to be less than I am, along with not able to express myself with you due to orders, and I can’t stand the thought of sneaking around.” Tears fell from his dark eyes as he looked at Tom.

 “What are you saying?”  Tom asked, his own eyes misting, feeling like his stomach was about to explode. “Can’t do what? You said you still loved me, and you know I love you, why?”

 “I saw B’Elanna this morning,” Julian said softly. “I know how much she love’s you, and for her to feel that way, I know some part of you must have loved her. She’s hurt, the crew doesn’t care for you right now, they don’t trust me, and I don’t blame them for, as it is I have to hide things from them. I can’t do it. I can’t sneak around here like a thief in the night. Both of us deserve better. Plus…” He breathed, trying to stop the shaking he was feeling.

 “Plus what!” Tom snapped, feeling the burn of anger that accompanies the hurt. 

 “Plus, we’ve both changed, it has been years since we’ve seen each other. We’re acting on ‘old’ feelings and really don’t know each other anymore,” Julian said standing on shaky legs. // I have to do this, Tom. I can’t explain it any better. I’m sorry. //  

 “So, that’s it? You just suddenly change your mind?” Tom replied his tone becoming hard.

 “It wasn’t sudden, what we did last night was sudden. We acted on impulse, but we can’t afford to do that anymore. We’re not kids anymore. There are more to consider than ourselves in this matter, don’t you understand?” Julian fired back, his frustration evident in his tone.

 “No! I don’t understand,” Tom stated loudly. 

 Julian knew he was doing the right thing, he just couldn’t find the words anymore. He moved around the desk and up slowly to Tom, the pain in the blue eyes tearing at his heart. “It’s simple,” he whispered. “I relinquish my claim on you.”  He then moved passed Tom and out of Sickbay, for there was no place on the ship Julian couldn’t be contacted if he was needed, and right now he needed to get away from those blue pained filled eyes. 

 Tom wasn’t a complete fool, no matter what people thought of him from time to time. He had been with B’Elanna enough to understand what Julian had said, even if he didn’t say it in Klingon. He squeezed his fist together, feeling his head swim with pain and anger, forcing himself to breathe. Once he had some control he too headed out of the infirmary, but not after Julian. He knew who put him up to this, and he wasn’t going to stand for it.

 Tom saw the surprise expressions on Homer and Mason’s faces when he entered the brig. “Do you have orders to keep me out?” he asked flatly.

 “No,” Mason said, //Though that was probably an oversight by the Captain, // he thought.

“Then wait outside,” Tom said in his most authoritative tone. “I wish to speak with her.”

 Homer and Mason exchanged looks, they knew this was probably a bad idea, but if they didn’t talk they could never work things out. So with a shrug they left, though Homer added a second code to make sure Pairs didn’t lower the field, be fore he exited. “Just in case,” he murmured as the door closed.

 Tom walked up to the force field, he didn’t even flinch when he saw the bruises on her, //She’s doing it again, but this time ‘it’ won’t work. // He saw here dark eyes look up at him, the steel coldness only matched his own at the moment.  “I won’t let you get a way with this,” he snarled at her. 

 “Get a way with what?” she snarled back. 

 “Don’t play game with me, B’Elanna. I know Julian and you talked this morning, and I don’t know how you did it, but I won’t let you interfere, do you hear me?” he snapped angrily 

 She snorted. “If lover boy and you are having problems, it has nothing to do with me. He only tried to fix my hand, and give me some song and dance that he understood me.”

 “Oh, I suppose you didn’t try anything stupid like…challenge him?” Tom shot back, fire fueling his words. 

 “I demanded satisfaction, but he was too much of a coward to accept,” she smirked back. “He kept on spouting that he would give me honor with out death being needed.  He’s a dishonorable man, just like you,” she growled

 Tom felt his body shake with anger, he was right, she was the one who prompted this. “Well, that is were you are wrong,” Tom replied his voice so soft and cold, the words could have hung frozen in the air. “He just relinquished his claim on me. And I ‘know’ you know what that means.” He finished between cliched teeth. “Well, you have you damn honor, but you will NEVER have me,” he fired then turned and walked out heading to the holo deck to destroy as many Klingon’s as he could, before he decided to do it to the real thing.

 //Perhaps I was wrong about Bashir, he did give me back my honor without death. But I’ll be damned if I let him or anyone know it makes a difference… Shit! He was right, getting my honor back didn’t give me the satisfaction I wanted, but…I can have it…if Tom suffers as I do. That will do just fine, // she grinned and sat down trying some of the breathing techniques Tuvok was in here earlier showing her. Later Chakotay would be here to help her remember some of the meditations he had taught her. 


 Tom had tried to talk with Julian for the next three days about giving them another chance, but Julian had become so distant with his emotions, it was scary to see it. He really could pass for a Vulcan; even Tuvok had made a comment on it. Only once when they were alone did Julian break his mask, though briefly, telling Tom that it was best this way. If he had to be in the closet, he would be, and there was no room for anyone inside it. That was it, the mask went back up and Julian was ice. 

 The crew took Julian in stride, for they quickly found him to be an excellent doctor, and having dealt with Seven of Nine, Tuvok and other Vulcan’s they just didn’t think twice about it. He did smile, but it was a functional one, not real. He gave warm comments, but it too was functional. At meals Julian would sit with Seven and Tuvok discussing the logic of any current situation, though from time to time Tom saw Chakotay ask the young doctor to join him. This was too much, for Chakotay could almost get a real reaction out of the young Doctor, and this he couldn’t stand. Julian would give Tom the time of day, but not his heart, for it seemed that Julian locked it in a box and threw away the key, and Tom was becoming desperate to find it. 

 Today Tom was sitting with the Delaney sisters as he watched from the corner of his eye Julian having lunch with the Commander, and almost bent his fork when the young man give Chakotay not only a huge smile, but he was laughing too. Then to Tom’s horror he saw B’Elanna enter the mess hall. It got silent for awhile, for this was the first time she and Tom were in the same room at the same time without a force field between them. But Torres just got her meal and walked over to Chakotay and Julian. Tom had sat close as he could so he could overhear the two men, but now he had to hear the three’s conversation. He saw Julian’s eyes grow unemotional again.

 “May I join you,” she said politely, then looked at Julian. “I’m sorry for how I acted toward you when you were fixing my hand,” she said letting him know she didn’t say anything more to anyone. “I’d like another chance,” she asked. 

Julian had been talking with the Commander a lot over the last few days and understood B’Elanna Torres a lot better and knew that her asking for another chance was a big step for her. He shifted over gesturing that she could sit by him. “I’d like that,” he said softly.

 Chakotay smiled, “I’m glad to see you feeling better,” he said warmly. 

 B’Elanna caught a glimpse of Tom looking in their direction. She gave a weak smile to the Commander and started eating, when she looked up to her old friend she saw it. //Really? // She thought to herself. She let her eyes check it out, but then she was sure, Chakotay had finally shifted his unspoken desires for Tom to the new Doctor. //This could prove better than I hoped, // she smiled slightly. //I help get them together, Tom suffers, and I have my honor, Tom suffers, Chakotay is happy, Tom suffers, // she smiled again.

 She then started apologizing to Julian about her temper, and even agreed to let him run some test to see if he could help. //I’m a damn Klingon, you idiot, // she thought, but she wanted time to chat Chakotay up to the young doctor, defrost him so the Commander would have a chance, and as a bonus, if he wasn’t that annoying, and they became friendly, it would kill Tom. She was grinning from ear to ear by the end of her meal, flashing it in Tom’s direction so he knew she was up to something and let him sweat in trying to find out what it was.  She excused her self and noticed that Harry had caught up with her in the hall.

 “I’m really sorry, Tom turned out to be a jerk,” Harry offered softly. 

 “Don’t worry about it,” she grinned wickedly. 

 Harry saw it, he knew she was up to no good and Tom would be the target. But considering how the man who was suppose to be his best friend acted, he deserved it. “Hey, if you need any help…” he trailed off, smiling when he saw that B’El understood he knew and he meant it. 

 “I’ll let you know, but right now I’m going to be late. Talk with you later, Harry.”

 When the woman was around the corner Harry sighed, //Well at least were not back to ‘Starfleet’ like last time she got upset at Tom.// Then he moved to the nearest turbo to report back to his station. 


 The next day Julian was finishing up B’Elanna’s examine. He was glad that the woman at least wasn’t trying to hurt him or herself, though he still held some resentment toward her for being a key factor in making him decide to stay a way from Tom. The young pilot was relentless, but Julian knew he had to stand his ground, till things settled down, and he didn’t have a clue as to when that would be, if ever. He was going over the results when he heard B’Elanna speak up, this time not about the tests.

 ‘You know, Commander Chakotay and I were good friends in the Marqui,” she stated as flatly as she could, trying to make it sound like casual conversation. 

 ‘Were? What happened,” Julian asked his attention grabbed.

 “OH, we’re still friends, just not as close, him being the First officer, me being so busy with keeping Voyager’s engines running,” she quipped, amazed that a natural smile came to her face. “But he’s a great guy. I couldn’t have thought of anyone else I’d want to serve under, loyal, trust worthy as hell,” she added  

 Julian walked over, his eyes warmed by seeing most of the hostility between them gone, “If I didn’t know any better, and I don’t, I’d say you  have a bit of a crush on him,” he mused.

 She felt a slight blush in her cheeks, “Um…use to,” she replied uneasily. 

 Julian moved over to the computer and entered in some data, “Hmm,” he said. Then he added some more date from memory. The he turned to face B’Elanna. “It would seem that I owe you an apology,” he said softly, with a touch of guilt, for the Vulcan mask had slipped again. 

 “For what?” she asked. “I was the one that behaved horribly,” she finished

 “For what I said about your behavior. For, Ensign, I just discovered it really ‘isn’t your fault.”

 “What? What do you mean?” she asked now taken by surprise by this news. 

 “I ran the standard test and of course they didn’t show anything, then I decided to probe into different layers and run some test I had developed when I was trying to understand the behavior of the Jem Hadar. Had I not had that experience I would have missed it.” He said in a tone more like his old self instead of the Vulcan he was pretending to be. 

 “What are you getting at? Missed what?”

 “You have a mild chemical reaction that is triggered when your brain overproduces negative electrons from outside negative stimuli. In other words, when you get mad, you go mad. But, this is easy to correct.”

 “You’re…kidding…right?” B’Elanna asked. She lived her whole life feeling out of control, regardless of who tried to help, and now this young pup said he not only knew why but also could fix it. “You better not be pulling my leg,” she growled.

 “Easy, Ensign,” Julian said in a soothing tone. “Give me a minute.” He walked over to the computer and programmed in the compound he would need. “I’m only glad we got the medical replicators up and running,” he said over his shoulder, not taking notice at Torres staring at him enter such a complex compound without even verifying the figures with the computer. It was one thing to see the holo Doc do it, he ‘was’ the computer, but to see him do it was another. 

 “Here we go,” he said as he took the new-formed hypo and moved next to her. “This medicine will reduce the swelling in the area affected and will prevent reoccurrence. Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t get angry, it just means you should have a lot more control.”

 She felt the medicine go in and a slight tingle in her head then it was gone. She didn’t feel any different. “It feels the same,” she said.

 “Well, I don’t intend to anger you to test it,” Julian replied nicely. “I’m sure there are plenty on board that can help you out in that department.”

 “Um…thanks,” she said. She shifted down from the biobed, taken back by the sudden turn of events. She then remembered why she was here. “You know, I shouldn’t have said those things about you liking men. I was angry, and I know plenty of good friends that go both ways as it were, like the Commander,” she said as she moved to exit, but turning to see how Julian reacted. To her disappointment he didn’t. “What are you doing later tonight? I though I’d introduce you to the pool table, to…make peace as it were.” //Uh, this is harder than I thought. With anyone else, they would have jumped at the news, this guy is either iced over of off line. //

 “Pool?” Julian said as he turned to face her. “Well…okay. What time?’

 “Say, 20:00 hrs?”

 “Sounds good, thank you.”

 “No, thank you.” She replied as she exited. //No, no, Doctor, thank you. Tonight Tom will be there and in a few short minutes after I let Chakotay know, he will be too.//  Then she thought about it. //What if Tom doesn’t show…// she smiled. “Harry.”

****************** (End part 2)

 20:00 hrs at Sandrine's all was going according to plan. She and Julian had arrived and were having a drink, and chatting with other members of the crew. She had arranged for Harry to keep Tom busy till 20:30 then drag him kicking and screaming if he had too to the bar for pool She’d cover any rations he might lose in one game…one game only. 

 “Ah, the tables free,” she smiled. “Ever play?”

 “Oh, yeah,” he smiled, then a tad of guilt filled him. It was Tom who taught him and here he was playing with the woman that kept him from Tom. //You are either mad or desperate to be liked. Thought you got over that…guess not. // “Um, I noticed the Captain allows gambling?”

“It’s a way to keep moral up, break tension and for some friendly competition, besides, you ate in the mess hall, can you blame us?” she chuckled.  “But, since this ‘is’ your first game, lets keep the bet low, deal?”

 “All right,” he smiled. 

 Julian watched B’Elanna play, chatted with others he was still getting to know when he saw Chakotay walk in. “Commander,” he smiled, forgetting his indifference mask all together. He was relaxed and having a good time. 

 The big man moved over to the pool table watching the former chief of Engineering win the game. “I hope she didn’t take you for too much,” he smiled. “And I’m off duty, it’s Chakotay,” he added. 

 “Okay…Julian. And no, she didn’t take me for much.” 

 “Care for a game,” she asked the Commander. “Julian here needs a few lessons, perhaps you could help him out. For I don’t want to be cold, but he could use it or he’ll be eating in the mess hall for ever,” she smiled as she handed her cue to the First Officer. 

 ‘You any good?” Julian smiled with a slight tease in his tone.

 “Good enough not to eat every day in the mess hall,” Chakotay smiled back as he racked the pool balls as Julian moved to the bar to get some drinks for himself, B’Elanna, and Chakotay.

 //20:30, right on time Harry,// she thought as she saw Tom and Harry come through the door to Sandrine's. She saw Tom take one look at Chakotay and Julian laughing and being very friendly over the pool table, and flushed and paled at the same time. //Perfect!//

 “Hey Tom, Harry,  you want to join us?” Chakotay asked seeing the young pilot and the young ensign. 

 “Ah, sure,” Tom said moving to the table looking at Julian who now looked a bit apprehensive, and guilty. //Why do you look guilty? Did I walk into something?// he thought, but only grabbed a cue stick. 

 “Hey, I’d watch out if I were you, Tom here is one mean pool shark,” Harry teased, glancing over to Torres, knowing by the gleam in her eye what ever she was up to was working well. 

 Julian gave a small smile. “I know, Harry. Tom’s the one who introduced me to pool a while back.”

 “Oh, sorry, I forgot that you and Tom are old friends,” Harry said, stressing the word ‘old’ as B’Elanna had asked him to do. 

 “Yeah, real old,” Tom snorted with his typical sarcasm. 

 Julian knew that tone, Tom was upset with him, but that wasn’t new, and his friend had every right. Perhaps he was overdoing it a bit. //We should talk.// “Harry you want to play the winner?” he smiled, indicating that Chakotay had won the last game. 

 “Sure,” he piped.

 “Well, take it easy on him, Chakotay, he looks like fresh meat too,” Julian smiled as he grabbed his drink and stood by Tom. “Can we talk?” he whispered.

 Tom was actually angry enough to say no, but this was what he had wanted for almost two weeks now. “Sure,” he said and laid the cue stick down near by and moved to a booth with Julian, in the far back away from prying eyes and ears. Tom ordered a drink, then looked at Julian, concerned about what the young Doctor might want to tell him. He braced himself the only way he knew how, he made a sarcastic comment. “So, I see you and the big Chief are hitting it off.”

 Julian sighed. He was expecting Tom to act this way, //Some things never change,// he thought. Though the fact that Tom had still tried to talk, and not run off into another’s arms or bang Julian’s door down was a fact that Tom had changed. Tom was much more mature than he last remembered, though still wore his heart on his sleeve, even though he tried covering it with his mouth. “I’m sorry,” he said softly.  “I really thought we needed time, and I know I was right. But…”


 Julian smiled, letting Tom know what he was going to say wasn’t bad. “But, perhaps ‘I’ don’t have to freeze you out as I have been. I’m your friend, and always will be. I…I just want to take it slow, okay?”

 “How slow?” he asked, knowing how badly he wanted to touch that face before him, kiss those lips. 

 “Look, let’s just be friends for now, and give it a couple of months…please. I tried to explain…but there are a lot that could be held against us…me, if we rush into anything.”

 Tom didn’t like it, but he’d do it. He did understand what Julian was saying, though it took him some time to think about it. Some people still held prejudice against same sex relations, and it wouldn’t matter what rank they held, and others still held him in contempt over B’Elanna and would take poorly to anyone stepping into her shoes right now. Julian didn’t need this, he just got here, and with his genetic mutation that he has to keep tabs on so not to slip, he was under a lot of pressure. After Tom thought about it, he smiled. “Yes. I rather be your good friend again, then nothing. We’ll take it slow…no strings.”

 “Thank you, Tom” Julian smiled. 

 “Damn!” Harry gripped. “Who’s been teaching you pool, Commander?”

 The two friends walked over from their booth to see Harry buying Chakotay a drink. Only Tom noticed that B'Elanna no longer looked happy at seeing him and Julian getting along. 

 //Oh, so ‘that’ was your plan. Get me jealous, and put a wedge between us…ain’t happening babe.// 

 Tom purposely charmed the Commander, and Julian, into having a great time, which by the later evening realized he was enjoying just as much. He noticed Harry had left with B’Elanna. //Well, well,// he mused. //If Harry likes B’El and I can get them together, she’ll back off, and then soon everyone will forget the damn wedding and then all should be find,// he smiled.  Tom sat down on a stool and watch Julian and the Commander play, he knew Julian was holding back, he’d played with him before, and even though he could beat Julian, he knew how good the young man could be. Tom did feel a twinge of jealously at seeing the two get on so well with each other, //If I didn’t know that my getting upset was part of her plan, I know I would be.  I shouldn’t be encouraging this, but by doing so, she’ll see she doesn’t have the upper hand anymore. Besides, they don’t have ‘that’ much in common, and Chakotay is a damn monk. He may lust, or love from a far, but after all this time…I think he’s forgotten how,// he chuckled silently in his beer. 


 Over the next few weeks Tom dedicated his time to setting Harry and B’Elanna up that he didn’t even notice how things were changing between him and Julian. They were still good friends, but they didn’t hang out as much, for Tom was busy in his ‘set up’ as he explained to the young doctor, and since Julian didn’t think it was a bad thing, he let Tom do his thing. No, Tom didn’t notice much of anything, except that B’Elanna didn’t lose her temper the way she use to and seemed easier going than before. This made his plans even easier to execute, and after several weeks, he finally saw pay dirt when he spotted the two kissing near the hydroponics bay. //Bingo!// Now to make sure everyone on the ship knows, and I’m off the hook.

 His first stop was the mess hall and the Delaney sisters. Then Neelix, Dalby, and Henely. He knew that by tomorrow the entire ship would know, and things could get back to normal. He felt so good he wanted to share this evening with Julian. He chimed his door, but there was no answer. “Computer, location of Dr. Bashir,” he asked. When he got the replied that he was in Commander Chakotay’s quarters, his heart froze. 

 He walked for hours, then found himself back at Julian’s door, though he knew it was wrong he override the door code and entered. Julian was still not there, so he took a seat in the dark. //Idiot!// he chided himself. //While you were playing cupid for stupid reasons, you totally took Julian for granted. I never…I didn’t think…  Ah hell, Paris, that’s always been your problem, you don’t think. You assumed that Chakotay wouldn’t make a move on him because he never did it to anyone else.//  Just then the door opened.

 “Lights,” Julian said in a soft happy singsong tone, “Tom!” he said in surprise.

 “I’m sorry,” he said softly. “I…I don’t…I mean I didn’t…” 

 Julian was next to Tom in a heartbeat. “What’s wrong?” he asked seeing the young beautiful pilot upset. 

 “I won’t stand in your way, “ he murmured.

 Julian then knew what Tom was thinking. “Oh,” he said softly. “Look, I won’t lie to you. I like Chakotay very much, but like I told him, as I’m telling you, I’m not ready to make any choices, and I’m not in any rush. If he finds another or you…..” Julian said, knowing he was being too direct again.  

 “Did …did you?” Tom knew he shouldn’t ask but he had to know, then by a closer inspection of Julian’s puffy lips he felt he had his answer. 

 Julian blushed. “We kissed,” //a lot! // “but that’s all. Nothing else. He’s not the type for casual sex, and I’m not ready for more. I still love you, but…” //Damn, me an my mouth!//

 “You love him too?” Tom said, feeling the tears roll down his face. //I should have pushed it! No, He’d only hate me then.//

 “Tom,” Julian said softly. “I’ve never felt so…confused. I know I love you, still. This time apart has shown me that, but at the same time I know I’ve fallen for Chakotay. I…I,” he didn’t know what he could say. 

 There was a dark part of Tom’s mind that wanted his love back no matter what. //All’s fair in love and war,// his dark mind quipped. “You  do know he’s a naturalist?” Tom asked trying to sound concerned, and not shallow as he was feeling at the moment. By the look in Julian’s eyes he knew that his love did not. //Yes!//

 “He is? I mean, I know about his tribes ways, and his strength in his spirituality, that’s one of the many things I like about him, but he…he seems… so open minded,” Julian said moving to the sofa as if he suddenly had a rock in his chest. He gave a weak smile to Tom “Tom, I like to be alone, if you don’t mind.”

 “I’d like to stay,” he said softly. “No strings, I promise.” He moved next to Julian and gently placed his arms around the slender shoulders he enjoyed touching so much. He could feel Julian tremble. //Oh, Thomas what have you done. He really cares for Chakotay. But he loves you too and if you want him, you had too. Just be here and love him, all will be all right.//  Tom stayed with Julian that night, sleeping on the couch, when the red alert claxon went off. 

 Tom entered on the bridge as the ship took another hit from whatever enemy had dared to attack Voyager. He would have flown across the bridge, but Chakotay had just entered a minute before him so was nearby to catch the handsome pilot. When the ship settled both took their positions.

 “What’s our status?” Chakotay asked the Captain.

 “It seems our friends from the shuttle incident are back with some vengeance,” she replied dryly. “Mr. Paris, since your back at the helm, get us some distance between these…these,” she seethed. 

 “Captain, Shields down 22%,” Tuvok stated. 

 “Major damage report,” The Commander asked. 

 “We’ve had to divert power to decks 14-20 to maintain life support,” Harry replied. 

“Are those decks being evacuated?” Chakotay asked

“Not yet,” Harry responded.

“Have them evacuated then when all is clear divert the power back to shields,” the Commander ordered.

 “Mr. Tuvok…” Janeway was saying as she saw they were maneuvering away from the enemy.

 “Captain, we’re being hailed,” Tuvok said.

 “Put it through,” Janeway said, wondering why now they thought they could talk it out.

 The screen lit up to reveal a new race, one that looked humanoid, most out here did, bit their skin was almost silver, taunt over their skeletal frame, and their round dark eyes, and thin body hair made them not look any where as menacing as they have been. The alien on screen started to speak, but it took the universal translator time to catch up, all it was able to translate was… “Then we’ll leave you a lone.”

 Janeway sat up a bit in her chair. “Excuse me. I’m Captain Janeway of the USS Voyager. Our translator had difficulty translating your language so we could understand you. Would you please repeat what it is you want?” 

 The alien blinked a few long seconds; “ I am Kraff, High General of the Unarians Royal Republic. We want what you have taken from us. Return it and we shall leave you in peace.”

 Janeway raised an eyebrow. “What is yours? We have not taken anything that is yours, I don’t understand. Perhaps…” she was cut off.

 “The one in the space craft that you have taken on board. My people have long searched for one of their make-up, it is essential that they be returned to us!”

 “If you are in need of medical assistance,” Janeway started, again to be cut off. //Damn these people are rude. //

 “We do not need medical assistance, we need the genetic structure that lies within. They hold the survival of my people, and we will do any and everything to gain that back!” Kraff spouted with a zealot’s zeal. 

 //Oh, boy! // Katherine though. //They somehow know about Julian’s genetic alterations, damn how am I going to cover this one up. Well, if nothing else feign ignorance. // This entire ship is filled with human DNA. Perhaps you are being a bit limited on the possibilities of how we can help you,” she said. //Not bad, Kathy. //

 Tom could see what the Captain was trying to do. // Come on Captain. As much as I would like Chakotay to know, I know Julian doesn’t deserve this kind of outing of his condition. // Tom thought with concern. He made inquiries to where the ship could go to get away from the hundreds of tiny ships heading after them. 

 Janeway saw Kraff take her words in, think about it before giving a reply. “Very well, perhaps there are more than one of them among you. If you can provide us with what we want, then there will be no need to pursue this matter any further.”

 “Well, perhaps if you could tell us what it is you need?” She asked. //Perhaps in the open would be a bad idea. “ How about you and I meet face to face, we can surly discuss this matter more in-depth, and I’m sure we can come to some compromise that will assist us both,” she smiled hoping against hope this guy would buy it.  She saw him think about it, then leaned off screen to whisper with others then came back.

 “We have heard many things about you and your crew, Captain. Your reputation Captain Janeway leads me to believe that this would be a good path to travel down. I and three of my officers will board your vessel to discuss this matter. Note, the rest of our vessels will maintain a good distance but ready to fight if need be.”

 “I understand,” she replied.

 “I would recommend a medical advisor if you have one, for our need does lay in that area. We will be ready to board in twenty minutes.” The screen clicked off. 

 “What could they possibly want with human DNA?” Chakotay asked with concern. 

 “What indeed,” murmured Janeway? //It’s not regular human DNA their after, it’s Julian’s enhanced one they want. Now what? //  “Mr. Tuvok, have Dr. Bashir meet me in my ready room as soon as he possibly can. Commander, you have the con. Lt. Paris, with me,” she said then stood up and entered her office with Tom on her heels. //I know they are going to be suspicious as hell, but now is ‘not’ the time for all this to hit the fan. // She moved to sit behind here desk. “You know what they really want, and we know they can’t have it. Since I can’t risk the others finding out right now, you will be assisting me and the good Doctor in negotiations.”

 Tom paled a bit. “Are you sure about that, Captain,” he asked, having never been this involved in negotiations before. 

 “Tom, it’s simple. If I have Chakotay or Tuvok involved they will find out about Dr. Bashir, and though I can count on Tuvok to keep quiet, I rather not have either of them find out right now. Things have just started to balance out around here. I don’t have a clue how people will react, and frankly I don’t trust that Chakotay won’t go off the deep end over this or Tuvok, since the Vulcan’s tend to frown heavily on genetic manipulation as well. So, it’s you or I go it alone…which is it?”

 “I’ll do my best, Captain.”

 The door chimed. “Enter.”

 Dr. Bashir walked in, still wearing his jumpsuit uniform. “You sent for me, Captain?”

 “Have a seat.” She gestured for him to sit next to Tom. “The ones that brought your shuttle here are attacking us for they want…well, to be direct, they want your DNA.”

 Julian’s eyes went wide. “What? My…but…how…why?”

 “I don’t know how they know about you and your DNA make-up, but they do and they want it. They say it’s imperative to the survival of their race. Three of their representatives and their High General will be boarding to discuss this matter. I have them at the moment believing that we as a human species have what ever they are looking for as a whole. They have asked that a medical advisor be present, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea that you be present, since it is you they are after.” She sat back in her chair feeling the tension in the room.

 “Be like placing candy in front of a child and telling them not to touch,” Tom quipped. 

 “How is the EMH coming along?” Janeway inquired with hope.

 “I’m still working with Ensign Torres on getting him back on line. I’ve been working on his diagnosis program, but it was totally wiped out, along with other important files. With luck we’ll have him back up for emergencies in about another week.” Julian replied.

 Janeway sighed, //Damn! // “Well, we’ll keep you on stand by, feeding the conversation down to your office, this way you can monitor everything and send any replies that are needed.”

 “Is that really necessary,” Julian asked. “I mean, would they know it was ‘me’ they were after, since they never saw me?”

 “Julian, I would presume they have a way to track you or they never would have gotten you from the Alpha Quadrant,” Tom stated.

 Julian’s head sprang up as if he had been hit by lighting. “If they could bring me from the Alpha Quadrant…”

 Janeway bolted up in her seat. “They could send us back,” she smiled. 

 Tom still not wishing to go back had no trouble playing the voice of reason here. “Let’s just hope what their asking price isn’t too high,” he said. //There is no way in hell that I’m letting anyone hurt Julian, // he thought with conviction. //Even if it does mean we get stuck out here longer.  That’s selfish, Pairs.  Shut up! This is Julian! Right…shutting up. //

 “You make a good point, Mr. Paris.” she smiled. “See, your doing a great job and we haven’t even started.” She let out a breath to ease the tension in her body. “Okay, Dr. Bashir report to the infirmary and keep your monitor open. Lt. with me,” she said as he stood up to meet with the Unarians.


 Chakotay sat on the bridge overseeing repairs, and having Tuvok and Harry preparing strategies incase things fell thru in the negotiations and Voyager would have to fight or run. //Why the hell is she keeping me out of this? // He thought for the thousandth time during the hour that had passed. //She’s hiding something, I know it, but what? And what does this have to do with Julian? // The though of the young doctor brought a smile to his face. He did his best to suppress it, but his mind jumped back to hours ago when the two of them were having dinner, then talking, laughing, then, //OH Spirits! Can that man kiss, // he though closing his eyes as his body gave a small tremor in remembrance of it. //Pull out of it, Chakotay. This isn’t the time…focus. // He snapped himself out of it and continued doing his job. 

 He stopped when he heard the Captain tell Tuvok that it was okay for the Unarians to be transported back to their ship. Then nothing else and he waited to hear or be called in to discuss the matter, but nothing. //What the hell is going on? // His mind asked again. “Has the Unarians’ ships moved any?”

 “Negative, Commander,” Tuvok responded.

 Chakotay paced the bridge. //I should just wait, but something is going on and I should know, // he continued to think. //Hell! // He turned, “You have the con, Mr. Tuvok and moved with speed to the Captain’s ready room and moved in without being asked. //Yeah, she’ll get on me for this, but she shouldn’t have left me out of this either, // his mind argued in defense of his actions He walked in just in time to hear Julian’s voice over the com.

 “But, Captain. It would mean all of you going home,” 

 “I have no intentions of sacrificing your, Doctor, regardless if they could get us home. And I for one am not convinced of that, either. But I refuse to take part in the death of one of my crew so we can go back home, period!”

 “Home…. Sacrifice?” the Commander, said wanting to understand what he was hearing. He saw Janeway’s face first pale then flare for his rudeness. “I have a right to know,” he stated flatly.  He could see that no matter how angry she was she was able to realize that to some degree he was right. 

 “Basically what it comes down to, Commander, is that they need the DNA mass in the proportion of a full adult, and they can’t be living for the DNA needs to be sliced and diced so it can be incorporated into their people. They say they have the technology to return us back to the Alpha quadrant, but I’m not sure they can send a ship this size through or not, or if they would, but I will not, repeat will not let a member of my crew be murdered!” she snapped. 

 “But why Ju…Dr. Bashir?” Chakotay asked for he heard that Julian, being who he was, was offering is own life for others. 

 “It’s not important,” She said firmly. 

 “Captain,” Julian piped in.

 //Damn his mouth! // She thought. //Go on, just blurt it out! // She thought dryly. “Doctor,” was all she said in return.  Then she turned back to her First Officer. “I told them we’d think about the proposal, but I don’t think they’ll take any chances that we’re going to say no, which we are. I have an hour before I have to give them an answer, but I want options, before that time runs out. I don’t think we can out gun them, but we may just have to try.”
 “Since they have transporter technology too, I suggest a block around Julian,” Tom said in a very protective tone. “They may try and get a lock on him and steal him.”

 “Good thinking. Take care of it Tom, and keep me posted. I want to know if they even try.”

 “I’m on it,” he said and was up and out of the office in seconds flat. 

 “Captain, what is ‘really’ going on?” Chakotay asked, wanting the truth. 

 Janeway was about to make a quip, but noticed that Bashir had clicked off his monitor. “Damn that man!” she exasperated. “Computer locate Dr. Bashir.” 

<Dr. Bashir is on deck six. >

 “Janeway to Tuvok. Lock out all transporters I don’t want anything coming or going from this ship without my permission, understood.” She didn’t wait for an answer. “So typical,” she fumed. //Hell if it were I in his shoes I’d be trying the same thing. Good thing he’s not able…what are you saying? // She looked at Chakotay, “Stop him before he overrides the system. If they get their hands on him he’s dead man,” she ordered.  She watched her XO move out the side door. //Hell, I guess I don’t have a choice. After we get passed this I’ll have to inform my senior staff, though I know it won’t take long before I’ll either have to tell the rest of the ship or they’ll find out. Secrets don’t live long out here. //


 Julian had entered the empty transporter room and noticed right away the lock out. He ran his fingers over the console to find it dead. //All those electronic courses and hanging out with O’Brien do have their advantage, // he mused as he moved down to remove the panel to the console. It only took him a few minutes before he had power to the console. He stood up and was dancing his fingers on it ready to override the lock out when the doors opened. He saw Chakotay move toward him, then freeze…//He didn’t expect me to have a phaser, //  “I’m sorry, but if I don’t do this, they’ll destroy the ship and take me anyway. This way, at least you all can get home.” 
 “Julian?” he said with concern. “What is this all about? There is no way anyone would want to go home knowing it was a passage paid for with your death,” he said, taking a careful step toward Julian hoping the young man wouldn’t really shoot him. 

 “Death? Whose death?” B’Elanna said as she stepped in wondering what was going on.  Seeing the phaser in Julian’s hand, the transporter console, and the Commander with his hands up, she knew she stepped into something. 

 “What are you doing here?” Julian asked.

 “I came to investigate who was tampering with the transporter. You may have overridden the main alarm, but because of a history of others tampering with them, I placed in several back ups,” she replied. “Better question is what the hell are ‘you’ doing here?”

 “The Unarians for some reason want Julian’s DNA, all of it, in exchange for it they say they will send us home to the Alpha quadrant,” Chakotay answered. “But in order for them to use the DNA, Julian has to die, and the damn fool was trying to hand himself over,” he growled, his heart taking over his head. 

 “Look, at least this way I can be of real use for a change!” Julian snapped back.

 “What are you talking about?” B’El retorted. “You’ve been here over a month and made drastic changes for the better, hell, I’m one of them. How can you say anything other wise?”

 “Trust me, it doesn’t matter what I do, it’ll never be enough,” Julian said softly. 

 Again the doors opened to reveal Tom. “Julian!” he cried, glad that he wasn’t too late to stop his love from doing something stupid. 

 “Damn it, what is this!” Julian snapped with frustration, seeing the two men he cared about before him and the woman who was proving to be a friend. “Tom, you understand. This is the only way,” he stated, a bit of desperation in his voice.

 “Your wrong, Jewel,” Tom replied, his blue eyes filled with love and concern. “You are more valuable a live than dead, don’t you see that?”

 “He’s right,” Chakotay said, his own dark eyes filled with the same. 

 Julian looked at Chakotay and B’Elanna. “You wouldn’t say that if you knew,” he choked out, trying to keep a grip on his emotions.

 “Knew what?” she asked.

 “What is it that they want from you, that no one else has?” Chakotay asked knowing the two were linked somehow. 

 Julian looked at Tom, then the others. He lowered his phaser. The he looked at the grown as he spoke, shame filling his posture, “They want my DNA because it’s not normal,” he whispered.

 “What?” Chak. and B’El said in unison.

 “Julian?” Tom said to try and stop his friend from hurting himself in this matter.

 Julian looked up. “They have a right to know!” he snapped. “And I don’t care if the Captain ordered me not to tell!” he shouted with anger, his body trembling.

 Tom and Chakotay took a step forward but Julian just raised the phaser again to make them stop. “No!”  Then he looked at the others next to Tom. “I’m a mutant. A freak of nature,” he spoke harshly. “I was genetically altered when I was a child, and the Unarians believe that my DNA grafted into their population will keep their race’s own DNA from further deterioration, and NO, it is not the same as the phage, I checked. Their race also manipulated their DNA codes till they are now breaking down. They need the alterations they somehow detected in mine to form a new cohesion. My death would serve two purposes, sending you home, and giving them a second chance!”

 B’Elanna took a step forward and spoke something in Klingon. Julian just blinked at her, as if taken back but what she said. “You heard me,” she said. “So answer me. Is today ‘really’ a good day to die?” She watched as Julian’s eyes processed the question, taking a careful step closer. “Is it?” she asked again. “You told me that there is no honor in death if the death is a foolish one. I tell you now, there is no honor here.”

 “Jewel, please?” Tom said softly, tears filling his eyes. “She’s right. Dying will not truly serve anyone here. They said it themselves, they were unsure on the use of your DNA and sending us home. You  could most likely die for nothing, please”

 Julian looked up to Tom and B’Elanna, seeing they didn’t hold any contempt for him, but true friendship and warmth. He hesitated, then looked to meet Chakotay’s eyes, a mistake. He saw the light that was once there now dark with anger. He looked away, he couldn’t take it anymore. 

 As soon as Julian looked away, Torres was up on him and grabbed the phaser from him, then embrace his trembling form. “It’s okay,” she whispered, understanding being different all too well. She heard it and acted before she could think pushing her and Julian back against the far wall.

 Chakotay had slowly started moving toward the Doctor and the ensign as Tom come to intercept feeling the need to protect Julian from the anger he saw in Chakotay’s eyes. They both heard the whine of energy and saw a circle of light start to appear on the floor around the four of them, but before they could act, the last thing they saw was B’El shoving herself and Julian away before all went dark. 

<The End? > 

 Continued in “Mindful of the Heart and Soul”