“The first thing is... you don’t say anything to Tom,” Sue told him.
“He’ll get all embarrassed and self-conscious around the Commander if
you do. That could ruin everything.”
“The second thing is... don’t stare at the Commander like that,” Jean
“Like you are now.”
“I’m *not* staring.”
“Yes, you are. Just don’t look at him at all.”
“What? Not even when he’s talking directly to me?”
Jean punched him on the arm again, although not as hard as the last
time. “You know what I mean.”
“Ouch! Well, how are you planning on getting them together?”
“That’s what we were trying to figure out,” Sue said. “Locking them in
the holodeck together is high on the ‘100 guaranteed ways to get them
“There’s also the old stuck in a lift, or Jeffries tube scenario,” Jean
said thoughtfully. “We’ve had to rule out the whole trapped in a cave
thing because it’s too hard to manage here on Voyager.”
“Yeah, that goes for being captured by aliens and tortured too,” Sue
“I kind of like the whole idea of setting up a romantic dinner for two
on the holodeck and then sending anonymous letters to each of them,
inviting the other one to dinner.” Jean smiled as she pictured it.
Harry cleared his throat. “There’s one problem with that. Look at
them. They won’t want to go anywhere with the other. They’ll take one
look at each other and run a mile.”
“We’ll have to wait a few days until this all blows over,” Sue decided.
“I don’t even know what *this* is,” Harry said worriedly. “Chakotay
was ticked off with Tom about something today, before that conn report.
I just wish I knew what it was.”
“It’s your job to find out,” Jean told him briskly.
“I already asked him and he wouldn’t tell me,” Harry said indignantly.
“I can’t ask him again.”
“Of course you can.” Sue’s tone was just as brisk as Jean’s. “He’s
your best friend. Tell him how worried you are about him and how
concerned you are about the continual fights between the two of them.
Tell him how deeply you care for him...”
“I can’t say *that*,” Harry spluttered.
“Why not?” Jean asked curiously.
“Because we don’t say stuff like that to each other.”
“You don’t? Why not?” Jean and Sue asked at the same time.
“Because... because we just don’t, that’s all. We know how we feel,
but we don’t *say* it.”
“Well, you should. Do you mean to tell us that you’ve never once told
Tom how much you care about him?” Sue asked.
“No. But he knows I do.”
“That sucks,” Jean declared rather loudly.
“Hey! Tom’s never said anything to me either. But I know how he
The two women shook their heads. “Well, say whatever you have to, but
find out what happened,” Sue instructed him. “We may need to know.”
Harry sighed. “I’ll try.”
“Heads up, he’s coming back,” Jean warned.
Tom slumped back in his seat, anger and resentment clearly showing on
Harry leaned forward. “Tom, are you all right?”
Tom ran his hands through his hair. “Yeah.” He smiled, trying to
slide his carefree mask in place. It didn’t work. He hadn’t really
been able to carry off any of his masks successfully since the first
year he’d been on Voyager.
He sighed. “No, but I’ll be okay in a minute.”
He looked like he wanted to vent, so Jean and Sue stood up to leave the
two men alone.
“We’d better get going,” Sue said. “Thanks for sharing your pizza with
“Yeah, and thanks for that funny story too, Tom,” Jean added.
Tom smiled up at them. “I’m glad you liked it. I hope I haven’t
spoilt the mood or anything.”
“No, it’s just that we really have to go,” Jean told him.
The two women left and Harry studied his friend closely. “Do you want
to tell me what happened?”
“Can’t you guess? Chakotay reamed me out, quoted practically
word-for-word the manual on how to submit a report, and then went over
it one more time in case I wasn’t listening properly the first time.”
“And were you? Because from over here it looked like you were
deliberately not listening and letting Chakotay know that little fact
Tom shrugged. “Who cares? He’d already made up his mind about
“Oh? What do you mean?”
“I’d rather not talk about it. He’s a mule-headed, stubborn-ass, that
wouldn’t know the truth if it reached out and bit him. Let him think
what he likes.”
“Why? What does he think?”
“He thinks he knows me. He thinks he knows... oh hell, Harry. I don’t
want to talk about it.”
“Okay then, we won’t.”
They sat together silently for a few seconds while Tom stared down at
the table moodily.
“He thinks he knows what makes me tick... what motivates me. He knows
nothing, Harry. Nothing!”
“No, you don’t. But it doesn’t matter, because I’m not talking about
Harry shrugged. “It’s up to you, Tom.”
“Yeah, it is. And I’m telling you, Harry, if he thinks I give a damn
about re-doing that report then he doesn’t know me at all. Which he
doesn’t, of course.”
“Of course,” Harry agreed.
“Look, I’m sorry, Harry, but I *really* don’t want to discuss him.”
“I understand, Tom.”
Silence reigned for a few seconds.
“It’s just that he always expects the worst of me. If something
happens, then he just automatically assumes the worst. Do you know
what I mean?”
“Yeah, I do, but I don’t understand. What’s this got to do with your
unreadable conn report? Are you saying you had a genuine reason for
handing it up like that? Or what?”
“No. At least... well, not really. I did it to annoy him.”
Harry sighed. “I thought so. Why?”
“It’s complicated, and I don’t feel like talking about it.”
Harry clicked his teeth together, and tried to hold onto his patience.
Maybe if they got out of the mess hall it would be easier to talk.
It was. Back in Tom’s quarters, Harry listened as Tom proceeded to
pace around the room cursing and berating the first officer, and then
went on to try to convince Harry why it was a bad idea to discuss the
Harry shifted into a more comfortable position on the couch and let Tom
vent. He needed to let off some steam and then hopefully he might tell
him what’d happened.
Tom’s voice droned on and on, strangely soothing under the
circumstances. Harry’s eyelids began to feel heavy, and his whole mind
seemed numb. He closed his eyes and let Tom’s words wash over him,
falling into a relaxed stupor. Tom’s words no longer had any meaning;
Harry’s head began to nod.
“So if he wants to believe I was in some wild orgy all night long, then
who am I to argue?”
The words took a while to register. Harry’s eyes opened wide. Tom was
standing over by the replicator sipping a glass of juice.
“Sure you don’t want anything, Har?”
“Um... no.” He sat up abruptly. “What wild orgy?”
“You said something about an orgy. What one was that?”
“The one Chakotay thinks I was in last night. Why? Was there another
Harry shook his head to clear it. “The Commander thinks you were
involved in a wild orgy last night?”
Tom gave him a strange look. “Isn’t that what I just said?”
“Oh! Of course! But... why? Why would he think something like that?”
“Because of the way I looked and smelt.” Tom gave him an exasperated
look. “Jeez, Harry, did you hear anything I said?”
Harry smiled ruefully. “I think I tuned out while you were still
describing Chakotay’s... er... personality flaws.”
“Great. Well don’t expect me to go over all that again.”
“I’m sorry,” Harry said sheepishly. “I’ll listen this time, I
“It doesn’t matter.”
Harry cursed under his breath. Damn it! He had to find out what Tom
was talking about, and not because Jean and Sue expected him to, but
because... well because he *had* to know.
He tried everything he could think of. He pouted, he sulked; he even
tried the puppy dog look. Even though he wasn’t very good at it, Tom
usually took pity on him. Not this time.
So then he tried the old standby, ‘I couldn’t care less’ attitude. The
problem was... he did, and Tom knew it. He tried bribery and then he
tried threats... still nothing. Tom was adamant in his refusal to talk
about it anymore.
Harry decided to try Sue's suggestion as a last resort. "I'm really
worried about this thing between you and Chakotay, Tom. I'm your best
friend and I care about you... a lot. I've never had a friend I care
about as much as I do you."
He could feel himself blushing as he spoke, and Tom's embarrassed smile
and quickly mumbled, "I care about you, too", made him feel worse. It
also didn't work. Tom suddenly found the floor extremely fascinating
and an uncomfortable silence ensued.
Harry winced and stood up. This wasn’t getting him anywhere. Tom had
obviously made up his mind. He cursed himself a little more. He
should have been listening the first time.
Tom looked at him in surprise. “Are you leaving?”
“Yeah. It’s getting late, and I...”
“I thought you were desperate to know what’d happened.”
“I am, but...”
“Oh, all right. You don’t have to twist my arm. I ran into Chakotay
on the way back to my quarters this morning. He took one look at me
and, as per usual, jumped to the wrong conclusion.”
“The wild orgy conclusion.”
Tom nodded. “Just because my uniform was slightly rumpled and my hair
was all messed up.”
Harry shook his head. The Commander had really made a huge leap there.
A rumpled uniform and messy hair could mean anything. Why did he
“Although, to be perfectly fair, I think it was the lipstick and cheap
perfume that made up his mind,” Tom continued.
Lipstick? Cheap perfume? Harry went to sit down on the couch once
more. Tom sank down beside him.
“So what if I seemed rather dazed and disorientated? I’m always like
that first thing in the morning.”
Harry nodded. That was certainly true. Tom was not a morning person.
In fact, he was a bleary-eyed, disheveled mess, when he first woke up.
“Instead of realizing there must be a reasonable explanation for my
appearance, he went straight for the jugular.”
“Wait a minute. What do you mean ‘on the way back to your quarters
this morning’? What time was this?”
“I don’t know. Around five-thirty, I think.”
“What were you doing wandering around the ship at that hour?”
“I told you. Going back to my quarters.”
Harry sighed. “Where had you been?”
“Sleeping in the Wildman’s quarters.”
“Sleeping in the... What were you doing...?”
“Damn it, Harry,” Tom interrupted him in exasperation. “Do I have to
repeat everything I say to you three times over? I must have fallen
asleep on the couch. I didn’t mean to. I was babysitting Naomi, and
Sam ended up working back later than she intended. As I said, I must
have fallen asleep.”
“I see.” Harry remembered now that Neelix had been slightly unwell the
evening before and had asked Tom to look after Naomi until Sam had
finished her shift. He was also getting a clearer picture of what may
have happened; the last time he babysat Naomi at night still fresh in
“All I know is I woke up this morning with a stiff neck and sore
shoulder and hip, you know what it’s like when you sleep on a couch,
a blanket thrown over me. I checked on Naomi and Sam, who were both
sound asleep, and then staggered my way back to my quarters. I was
of leaning against the wall of the lift when Chakotay stepped in.”
“And let me guess... Naomi talked you into letting her give you a
makeover last night, didn’t she?”
“It was just eyeshadow and lipstick,” Tom said hastily. “Although she
got a bit carried away with the lipstick. I know it’s hard to believe,
but I forgot about it.”
Harry grimaced. “That’s not hard to believe at all.” He recalled his
own lapse of memory the last time he’d babysat Naomi. He’d arrived at
his post the following morning to look down with horror at the bright
red nail polish still adorning each one of his fingers.
And then Tuvok, damn him, had pointed out in a voice loud enough to be
heard all over the bridge, “Ensign Kim, I would be remiss if I did not
call to your attention the fact that you are out of uniform. Please do
not let it happen again.”
Harry pushed the memory aside. “So, you mentioned something about
cheap perfume before?”
Tom frowned. “I knocked it over when I tried to stop Naomi from
plucking my eyebrows.”
Harry examined Tom’s face. “Well, it looks like you succeeded.” He
remembered his own unfortunate experience and shuddered.
“I think my scream of agony convinced her that they’re fine just the
way they are.”
Harry suddenly started to laugh. He couldn’t help it.
“It’s not funny,” Tom growled.
“I’m sorry. It’s just that I have a picture in my mind of how you must
have looked to Chakotay this morning. Propped up against the wall of
the lift half asleep, reeking of stale perfume, with lipstick smudged
all over your mouth, dazed and disorientated.”
“Oh, yeah, real funny, Harry. I didn’t even know he was there until he
practically spat out, ‘I hope you don’t intend to report for duty like
that, Lieutenant.’ I jumped a foot. And then before I could say
anything, he told me to remember I was a member of the senior staff and
should act appropriately. Then the smart-ass suggested I look up the
meaning of the word ‘discreet’ and learn how to apply it in connection
with my nocturnal wanderings.”
“Did you try and tell him it wasn’t what it looked like?”
“No, why should I? It was none of his damn business. What was he
doing wandering around at five-thirty in the morning anyway?”
“He often gets up early.”
“That’s not early, Harry. It’s still the middle of the night.”
“So, let me guess. You thanked him politely for the advice and then
made some sarcastic remark to tick him off?”
Tom flushed. “All I said was that the next time I spent the night with
two lovely ladies, I’d try to remember his advice. We Lotharios have
to stick together after all.”
Harry groaned and closed his eyes, trying to imagine the Commander’s
reaction. “You really do go too far where he’s concerned. What’d he
say to that?”
“He didn’t say anything actually. Didn’t even look at me. It was only
when I tried to step out that he grabbed my arm and warned me that my
conn report had better be on his desk before I went on duty.”
“And you, of course, hadn’t done it.”
“How could I? I was going to do it after I’d finished babysitting. So
I rushed through it, not giving a damn about spelling, grammar, or
punctuation. I didn’t even bother to go over it to see if it made
sense, but I made damn sure it was on his desk before I went to
Harry quickly found Jean and Sue the following morning in the mess hall
and told them what had happened the night before. He wondered for a
moment if he was betraying Tom’s confidence, but then decided he
Tom hadn’t told him to keep the information to himself.
Tom hadn’t shown up for breakfast for some reason, although Harry
couldn’t help feeling it was probably a good thing. For some reason
everything tasted strange. Even his coffee was bitter. He noticed
Jean and Sue grimacing in distaste too. Neelix’s cooking was
definitely a little off.
“Well, at least that explains the Commander’s bad mood yesterday,” Sue
said with a smile. “He was jealous.”
Jean nodded her agreement. “Tom really is his own worse enemy
sometimes. This should be fairly easy to fix. All we have to do is
let Chakotay know what Tom was really doing the night before last.”
“How are you going to do that?” Harry asked. “You can’t just go over
there and say, ‘Hey, you were wrong about Tom yesterday.”
All three looked furtively over at the Commander sitting all by himself
once again at the far end of the room.
Sue grinned mischievously. “Come on, Jean. It’s time for plan 47 of
the ‘100 guaranteed ways to get them together’ list. It can’t fail.”
Jean smiled as she stood up. “You stay here, Harry. Leave this to
Harry stayed where he was, relieved. He was quite certain that he
didn’t want anything to do with any plans that came from The
Matchmaker’s Guide to Perfect Coupling, guaranteed or not.
He watched as the two women crossed the room and sat down at a table
next to the one Chakotay was sitting at, and began talking earnestly.
Harry sighed. He just hoped that Tom would realize one day just how
much trouble he’d gone to for him and appreciate it.