“Perils of a Matchmaker” [PG-13] – 2/2

“PERILS OF A MATCHMAKER”

SUMMARY: Tom Paris helps Pablo Baytart win the affections of Sue Nicoletti and endangers his own pursuit of the Chief Engineer in the process. Set during late Season 3.

Part 2

“Where in the hell were you?” Sue Nicoletti demanded, as she glared at Tom inside Voyager’s Engineering Section. “We were supposed to work on your holoprogram, together! Instead, I nearly got electrocuted by that klutz, Baytart!”

In his most persuasive voice, Tom begged forgiveness. “Since it was a training program for pilots, I thought Baytart could take my place. Besides, I didn’t think you would be this upset.”

“Upset? I nearly died!” Sue’s voice nearly rose to a shrill, attracting stares. Looking embarrassed, her face turned pink. Tom’s eyes fell to the floor, avoiding the stares of others.

“For God’s sake, Sue!” Tom hissed through clenched teeth. “You merely suffered a few burns! There’s no need to exaggerate!”

Cold blue eyes stared pointedly at Tom. “If that’s the way you feel Paris, I’m sure you can finish your program all on your own!” Sue turned her back on the pilot and stalked away.

“Sue . . . Sue! Dammit!” Tom rushed after the engineer, ignoring more stares. He followed her to a console on the upper level. “I’m sorry, Sue,” he said, after catching up with her. “Look . . .”

“I have work to do, Lieutenant Paris,” she replied icily. “Do you mind?”

One glance at that haughty expression and Tom knew he was facing defeat. Dammit! Cold Hands, Cold Heart Nicoletti!. He had forgotten how cold and stubborn Nicoletti could be. As far as Tom was concerned, Pablo was on his own.

* * * *

Later that evening in the Mess Hall, Tom broke the news to Baytart. The latter responded with uncharacteristic panic. “You can’t stop! Not now! What am I going to do?”

“Why don’t you take a chance, Pablo?” Tom wearily suggested. Hours of flying Voyager and fielding off curious stares and questions about Sue had left him exhausted. “Ask her out. You don’t need my help.”

Panic filled the ensign’s dark eyes. “I can’t!” he cried. “I can’t face her like that! Please Lieutenant! I can’t do this on my own! Not after what happened in the Hololab.” The young pilot stared at Tom with beseeching eyes.

A long sigh escaped Tom’s mouth. If only Pablo could face Sue at this moment. He would have broken the engineer’s defenses within seconds. “All right,” Tom conceded with great reluctance. “I’ll help you. I still say you should be up front with Sue. But, if you’re that reluctant . . .”

“Thanks a lot, Lieutenant!” Pablo was all smiles. “I won’t forget this.”

A familiar voice asked, “Won’t forget what?”

Both Tom and Baytart glanced up to find two newcomers standing before them. Both Harry and B’Elanna held lunch trays. “What are you two talking about?” Harry continued.

Tom opened to mouth to answer, but Pablo spoke first. “It’s nothing, Ensign Kim. We were talking about a personal matter. Uh, see ya!” The pilot stood up, flashed a quick smile and beat a hasty retreat out of the Mess Hall.

B’Elanna and Harry stared at Tom. Who indicated the two empty chairs, opposite him. “Have a seat,” he said. The pair quickly filled the seats.

“Did Baytart say something about a favor?” Harry asked. He took a sip of his juice. “Has this anything to do with Sue and the Hololab?”

Tom shrugged. “Somewhat. He did a favor for me by working with Sue. So, I’m doing a favor for him in return.”

“Which is?” Harry insisted.

Aware of Pablo’s desire for secrecy, Tom merely replied, “A favor.” Relief appeared in the form of Sue Nicoletti. Who had just entered the Mess Hall. Tom rose to his feet. “Excuse me, guys. I have a personal matter to deal with.” And he headed straight for Sue.

* * * *

Two pairs of dark eyes followed Tom, as he strode toward Nicoletti. B’Elanna struggled to fight back a wave of jealousy. “I guess Tom wants to apologize for what happened in the Hololab,” Harry commented.

B’Elanna gave her friend a pointed look and grumbled, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a lot more to apologize for than Sue getting electrocuted by Baytart.”

“What else could it be? You don’t think Tom would ask Baytart to take his place during a date, would you?”

B’Elanna sighed. “Of course not, Harry. Maybe Tom had hoped it would become a date. I don’t know!” Her last sentence came out in an angry outburst.

Harry’s next question threw B’Elanna into a fix. “Why are you so upset?”

“Wha . . .?” Shock immediately became annoyance. “What are you talking about? I’m not upset! Do I look upset?”

“Well, to be hon . . .”

B’Elanna continued to growl, “Kahless, Harry! If you must know, I don’t give a rat’s ass about anybody’s social life! Including Tom Paris!”

A knowing smile curled Harry’s lips. “Whatever you say, Maquis.”

B’Elanna glared at her friend.

* * * *

“No!” Sue continued eating her pleeka rind casserole.

Tom let out a sigh. “C’mon Sue. How many times do I have to apologize?”

“As far as I’m concerned, you’re wasting your breath,” Sue snapped.

Ignoring the curious eyes around him, Tom fell to his knees. “Look at me, Sue. I’m no my knees. Begging for your forgiveness. Please?” He blasted her with every ounce of emotion his blue eyes could muster.

Not even “Cold Hands, Cold Heart” Nicoletti could resist the pilot’s pleading eyes. She sighed. “All right! I forgive you.” She gave him a slight smile. “When do you want to resume working on the program?”

Tom smiled with relief. “Tonight would be just fine. At 20:00?”

Sue nodded. “Okay, 20:00, the Hololab. But if you’re running late or unable to meet me, just let me know. I don’t need anymore surprises,” she added. “And that includes sending Ensign Baytart in your place.”

Tom’s smile disappeared. He had no intention of repeating his earlier mistake. Yet, Sue’s words hinted that she wanted nothing to do with his second-in-command. Silently, he realized he would have to take the gloves off. Try something a little less subtle. Like the old “stuck-in-the-turbolift” trick.

* * * *

Baytart stared at Tom with confused eyes. “I don’t understand,” he said. The two pilots stood inside the Shuttle Bay, where Tom had just completed a staff meeting for the Conn Division. “You want me to get into Turbolift One on Deck Ten and head for Deck Two?”

“That’s right,” Tom calmly replied. “At 13:03 hours, to be precise. Tomorrow.”

“Why?”

In preparation for his latest scheme, Tom had spent a least a week observing Sue Nicoletti’s daily habits. He explained one particular habit to Pablo. Unless a special project, a battle or any other special situation made it impossible, Sue always left Engineering at 13:00 hours and boarded Turbolift One for the Mess Hall. “Only tomorrow,” he added, “you will join her when the lift reaches Deck Ten. Somewhere between Decks Six and Seven, the turbolift will stop.”

“Stop?” Pablo frowned momentarily, until realization lit up his eyes. “Wait a minute! Is this the old “stuck-in-the-turbolift” routine? Is the best you can do?”

Tom gave him a cool stare. “Well, I had better ideas, but they didn’t exactly work. Gee, I wonder why?”

Baytart had the good grace to blush. “I’ll be in Turbolift One at exactly 13:00 hours, tomorrow.”

“Good,” Tom said, nodding. “Now, if something happens to prevent Sue from leaving Engineering on time, I’ll let you know.” He gave the young pilot a friendly pat on the back. “Don’t worry, Pablo. If everything goes according to plan, you’ll soon have Sue Nicoletti in your arms.”

* * * *

Everything went according to plan. At precisely 13:00 hours, the following afternoon, Lieutenant Nicoletti interrupted work on the magnetic constrictors and left Engineering to have lunch. The minute she headed for the doors, Carl Ashmore contacted Tom.

The Chief Helmsman then alerted Pablo Baytart to head for Turbolift One. The junior pilot followed his chief’s orders. When he stepped inside, he was relieved to find the object of his desire, alone. The dark-haired engineer took one look at Pablo and immediately stiffened. His heart sank at the realization that Lieutenant Paris’ participation in this scheme was easy – getting him and Sue together. He had the more difficult task of wooing the haughty engineer.

Don’t freeze, Pablo, he said to himself. For once in your life, get your thumb out of your ass and talk with the woman. You’ve already done it, twice. Before dumping a plate of dim sum on her lap and electrocuting her. Pablo took a deep breath. Think positive thoughts. Remember, you’re a Starfleet officer, not an idiot.

Pablo turned to the engineer to speak. Before he could open his mouth, he realized that the turbolift had failed to stop between Decks Six and Seven. Instead, it continued on, until it stopped at Deck Two. The doors slid open and Sue Nicoletti stepped out, leaving behind a flabbergasted pilot.

* * * *

Tom watched the entire debacle from his monitor on the Conn Station. Once again, fate, this time in the form of an unstoppable turbolift, came between Pablo Baytart and Sue Nicoletti.

“What the hell happened?” a stunned Tom muttered under his breath.

Another voice broke him out of his reverie. “Did you say something, Mister Paris?” Captain Janeway asked.

Tom’s heart nearly leaped out of his chest. He took a few deep breaths and managed to subdue his rapidly beating heart. “Everything’s fine, Captain,” he calmly replied. “Just a little problem with the navigational relays.”

“Oh. Perhaps I should summon someone from Engineering.”

“Don’t bother, Captain. If you don’t mind, I’ll just head down to Engineering, myself. I’m soon due for my lunch break. That way, I can kill two birds with one stone.” He flashed the red-haired captain his most reassuring smile.

Fortunately, Janeway nodded her assent and Tom immediately headed for the turbolift. His first stop – the Mess Hall on Deck Two. Tom popped his head inside the doorway and spotted both Pablo and Sue – sitting yards apart. The young pilot immediately saw the older man and sprang toward the doorway.

“What the hell happened?” Pablo demanded, once the pair retired to the corridor, outside. “The turbolift was supposed to stop between Decks Six and Seven! It didn’t!”

Tom retorted, “I know what the damn thing was suppose to do! Something must have gone wrong the programming.”

“Now what do I do?”

There were times Tom wondered how Baytart ever managed to become a Starfleet officer. Hell! Even Harry Kim has shown more boldness in pursuit of other females. And he was two years younger than Pablo. And less experienced. An impatient sigh left Tom’s mouth. “Why don’t you just ask her out, Pablo? At least try to strike up a conversation. You were doing great at the party and in the Hololab.”

Pablo cried out, “Until I dumped food on her and nearly electrocuted her! I just can’t do it on my own, Lieutenant! I can’t!”

“Then why in the hell did I even bother to plan that little turbolift scheme in the first lace? Surely, you didn’t expect me to hold your hand all the way to Deck Two?”

A little shrug from Pablo’s shoulder reminded Tom of himself at the age of twelve. “I almost said something in the turbolift,” the younger man mumbled. “But it continued on to Deck Two before I could.”

“Look,” Tom said, “I’m heading down to Engineering. Maybe Ashmore can help me find out what went wrong.” He paused. “And hopefully, we can try again.”

Hope brimmed in Pablo’s eyes. “We will?”

Tom reassured the pilot that they would make another attempt to trap Nicoletti in the turbolift. Smiling, Pablo returned to the Mess Hall. And Tom continued on to Deck Eleven. Upon reaching Engineering, he found Ensign Carl Ashmore working at a console on the upper level.

“What happened?” were the pilot’s first words to the engineer, repeating both himself and Baytart.

Ashmore’s light brown face puckered into a frown. “It didn’t work?”

“The damn thing didn’t even stop. What went wrong?” Tom watched as the other man punched in a few codes into the console.

“According to the computer,” Ashmore continued, “there’s nothing wrong with the program. So, it must be . . .” He punched in a few more entries. “Oh, here it is. We’ve been having problems with the computer’s relay circuits.”

A crewman appeared out of the blue, startling the two officers. “Excuse me, Ensign Ashmore?”

Ashmore glanced at the crewman. “Yes, Soltay, what is it?”

Crewman Soltay expressed difficulty with several ESP circuits connected to one of the ship’s gel packs. Ashmore excused himself to help the crewman. He told Tom, “I’ll get to you about this. How about later this evening?”

Tom sighed. All this scheming on Baytart’s behalf has proven to be very exhausting. And distracting him from his own pursuit of B’Elanna. “At the resort,” he said wearily. “Holodeck One, at 20:00 hours.”

Ashmore and Soltay left. Tom glanced at the chronometer. It read 13:53 hours. Realizing that he had an extra seven minutes, along with an hour for his lunch break, he left Engineering and headed for the nearest turbolift. Might as well enjoy every free moment until his return to duty. The moment he stepped into the turbolift, a voice cried out, “Hold the lift!” Was that . . .? Seconds later, B’Elanna Torres dashed into the turbolift. Tom could not believe his luck.

* * * *

The moment the turbolift doors slid shut, B’Elanna barked an order to the computer. “Deck Two.” Slightly winded, she took a deep breath. A familiar scent filled her nostrils. Kahless! Was that . . .?

“On your way to the Mess Hall?” Tom Paris asked in his usual soft voice. B’Elanna closed her eyes momentarily. Of all the people to find herself alone with! Dammit!“Hello? B’Elanna?” Tom continued. “Paris to Torres! Cat caught your tongue? Or is this some new ploy of yours? The silent treatment?”

Her dark eyes flashed with irritation. B’Elanna whirled on the pilot. “Keep it up, Flyboy! And I’ll give you my version of the silent treatment! Only you’ll be the one unable to speak. Especially with a broken jaw.”

“Ah! Nice to see that your tongue hasn’t been paralyzed after all.”

An impatient growl rose from B’Elanna’s throat. “What the hell you want, Paris?”

Tom protested. “Hey! All I did was ask you a question! Like, are you heading for the Mess Hall?”

“I asked for Deck Two!” B’Elanna snapped. “What do you think?”

“Well,” Tom leaned forward and waggled his brows lavisciously, “maybe we can share lunch. Like a bowl of Ktarian pudding?”

Only Tom Paris could make a simple lunch between friends seem suggestive. B’Elanna sighed. What did he have in mind, anyway? Ktarian pudding spread all over her body for him to lick? The idea of Paris’ tongue on her body brought forth erotic visions and feelings that immediately aroused B’Elanna. Even worse, were thoughts of her licking the pudding from his body. She took a deep breath to vanquish the images and Tom’s familiar scent hit her again. Good grief! Couldn’t she stop thinking about the man?

“Hello? Hey, B’Elanna!” Tom’s voice interrupted her forbidden musings. “Why am I having trouble in holding your attention for a few minutes?”

B’Elanna shot him a dark look. “Perhaps you haven’t said anything worth my attention. And as for lunch . . .” The turbolift lurched to a stop, taking the two occupants by surprise. “What the hell? Computer, resume turbolift!”

“Unable to comply,” the computer’s voice droned. “Turbolift One is malfunctioning.”

Irritated, B’Elanna shot back, “Malfunctioning? Where is the turbolift located now?”

“Turbolift One is located between Deck Six and Deck Seven.”

Something like a gasp escaped Tom’s mouth. B’Elanna stared at him. Then she tapped her combadge. “Torres to Engineering, what the hell is going on? I’m stuck in one of the turbolifts.”

A voice responded. It belonged to Carl Ashmore. “Uh, sorry Lieutenant. There seemed to be some problem with the computer’s circuitry. It must have affected the turbolift.”

“Well, do something about it!” B’Elanna barked.

Nervousness tinged Ashmore’s voice. “Uh, yes ma’am. I mean, uh, sir.” A pause followed. Then, “I’ll get to right away. Ashmore out.”

An amused Tom commented, “Poor Carl. After the way you had applied the whip, he’s probably pissing in his pants, by now.”

B’Elanna glared at the pilot. “Never mind about Ashmore,” she retorted. “What do you know about this?”

Blue eyes widened innocently. “What do you mean?”

“I saw the way you reacted when the computer mentioned we were stuck between Decks Six and Seven.” B’Elanna stepped closer, invading Tom’s personal space. “You know something about all this, Tom Paris. And I want the truth.”

A self-deprecating smile touched the pilot’s lips. “Okay. If you must know, I had Carl program the turbolift to stop right here.”

“I knew it!” B’Elanna crowed triumphantly. “I just knew you had something to do with this! What’s your game, Tom? Another half-assed attempt to get me alone? First, I’m going to tear Carl’s limbs apart and feed them to the warp core. But that’s . . .”

Tom interrupted, “Okay, B’Elanna. Before you go off half-cock, let . . .”

“What I’m going to do with Carl is nothing in compare to what I have planned for you! Of all the immature, idiotic . . .”

“WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT THE HELL UP?”

Immobile with shock, B’Elanna stared at the pilot. “What did you just say?” she asked in a deadly whisper. “Did you just tell me to . . .”

“Yes! I told you to shut up and let me explain!” Tom grabbed hold of the engineer’s shoulder, surprising her even further. “Now, are you going to let me talk?”

B’Elanna’s eyes narrowed dangerously. Tom did not realize it, but he was seconds away from a broken jaw. “Okay, explain.”

He took a deep breath. “Like I said, Carl and I had programmed the turbolift to stop her for a good reason.” Tom hoped that Baytart would forgive him for this next bit of indiscretion. But if it meant saving him from pain at the hands of an angry, half-Klingon, too bad. “The reason we programmed the lift to stop was to trap Baytart and Sue Nicoletti inside, for a half-hour or so.”

A small frown creased B’Elanna’s brow. “Wait a minute! Are you saying . . .?”

“Look, this goes no further than you.” Tom paused. “Pablo had asked me to help him win over Sue Nicoletti. He’s in love with her and it seems he is too shy to approach her, himself.” He went on to explain his failed attempts at matchmaking – the dinner party, the Hololab and this latest attempt in the turbolift.

Comprehension hit B’Elanna like a wet rag. “That explains everything,” she murmured. “The little talks with Nicoletti and why you were always . . .” B’Elanna glanced up and became aware of the blue eyes staring at her. “Never mind.”

“Never mind, what?” Tom demanded. “What were you talking about? What talks with Sue?” He eyed B’Elanna questioningly.

Her mouth hung open. “I . . .” A wave of embarrassment washed over her. Kahless! When will she ever learn to think before she opened her mouth?

Tom’s eyes lit up mischievously. He slowly maneuvered B’Elanna against the turbolift’s walls. “You were about to say, Lieutenant?” he whispered in suggestive tones. His mouth hovered inches away from hers.

Keep hold of your emotions, Torres. Don’t let it overwhelm you. B’Elanna’s eyes refused to meet Tom’s. Instead, they focused on his square jaw. That delicious piece of flesh that she felt tempted to sink her teeth into. She took a deep breath. Big mistake! Tom’s scent, again invaded her senses. With great effort, B’Elanna ignored the scent and replied, “Actually, I meant to offer my help.”

“Excuse me?” Tom’s brows quirked upward.

B’Elanna continued, “I want to help. I’ll have a talk with Sue. Let her know that Baytart is interested in her. And suggest that she go on a date with him.”

Tom frowned. “What if she says no? I don’t think Sue is in any mood to give Pablo a chance. Especially after what happened at my party and in the Hololab.”

“Then he’s screwed,” B’Elanna replied bluntly. “And I would suggest he search in greener pastures.”

A sigh left Tom’s mouth. “That’s what I’ve been telling Pablo. Only he can be such a stubborn bastard, sometimes.”

“Sounds like someone I know,” B’Elanna murmured. She ignored the pilot’s pointed stare and tapped her combadge. “Torres to Engineering. How are those repairs coming along?”

Ashmore’s voice replied, “We’re almost finished, Chief. The turbolift should be back on line . . .” Before he could finish, B’Elanna felt a jolt. The turbolift began to move.

“Never mind, Carl. It’s moving. Good work.”

“No problem, Chief. Ashmore out.”

The turbolift resumed its journey. The two occupants rode in silence. Once it reached Deck Two, the doors slid open and the pair strode out and into the corridor. “Like I said,” B’Elanna continued, “I’ll have a talk with Sue. And you can convince Baytart to ask her out. Who knows?” They finally reached their destination. “Maybe something will happen between them.” She flashed Tom a smile and the two entered the Mess Hall. Dammit! Why did she have to smile at him, like that?

* * * *

“Nicoletti! I need to see you in my office, right away!”

The dark-haired woman warily headed for her superior’s office. B’Elanna could see by the set of her shoulders that she would rather keep her distance away from the Chief Engineer.

“Yes, Lieutenant?” Nicoletti answered, once she stepped inside the glass-encased room. “You want something?”

B’Elanna hesitated. She hated getting involved in the affairs of others. On the other hand, she had opened her big mouth and promised Tom to help him with his little matchmaking scheme. “Uh . . . Sue,” she began, “have you been noticing something odd, lately?”

“Odd?” Blue eyes stared at B’Elanna with one of those ‘what-did-I-do-now?’ looks. “What do you mean? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. I . . .” Again, a hesitation. This felt so embarrassing! Why in the hell did she allow Paris to talk her into this? B’Elanna conveniently forgot that she had volunteered. Dammit! She might as well get this over with now! “Look Sue, have you been encountering Ensign Baytart a lot? Lately?”

Slowly, Nicoletti replied, “Ye-ess-ss.” She paused and blinked. Realization lit up her eyes. “Yeah,” she added in a soft voice. “I wonder why.” B’Elanna told her about Tom’s matchmaking efforts. Nicoletti’s eyes grew wide with disbelief. “What?”

“All those little encounters with Baytart – the dinner party, the Hololab and the turbolift – had all been engineered by Paris. He’s been helping Baytart to get a date with . . .”

Sue angrily cut in. “Get a date with me! So, that’s why Paris has been hounding me all week long! And those damn accidents with Baytart! They were all his fault?”

An uneasy feeling grew inside B’Elanna. She wondered if Nicoletti felt disappointed that Baytart was the interested party and not Tom. “Sue, calm down. Neither Tom or Baytart meant any harm.”

“Any harm?” The other woman’s blue eyes blazed with anger. “How would you like to be the target of some cheap, matchmaking scheme?”

Impatience and her volatile temper finally caught up with B’Elanna. “Kahless, Sue! You act as if Baytart and Tom had played some dirty trick on you! Don’t you get it? Baytart is interested in you! He’s so infatuated that he risked his pride and asked Tom to help him. You asked if I would like to be the target of someone’s matchmaking? A part of me would say no. But another part of me would say . . .” Realizing that she was about to reveal one of her inner feelings, B’Elanna immediately clamped her mouth shut.

Nicoletti stared at the Chief Engineer. “You would say, yes?”

B’Elanna took a deep breath. She had not expected matters to get out of hand, like this. But, Sue deserved an answer. “Yeah,” she murmured. “Maybe.”

The two women fell silent. Then Sue asked, “Do you really think I should go on a date with Pablo?” For the first time, B’Elanna wondered if she and Sue shared a lot of traits – a tendency to become too involved in work, insecurity and a reserved nature.

“Sure. Why not?” B’Elanna replied, with a shrug. “Unless you’re interested in someone else.”

A knowing smile curved Nicoletti’s lips. “You mean, someone like Tom Paris. Hmm.” She paused, as if contemplating a decision. “Well, I have to admit that I wouldn’t be the only female on this ship to consider a date with Paris. Of course, what’s the point in longing for a man who has eyes for someone else?”

“Who are you talk . . .?” B’Elanna paused, suddenly aware of the mischief in Nicoletti’s eyes. She growled, “Never mind!”

“Chief?”

B’Elanna grabbed a PADD from her desk and pretended to be interested in the contents. “If Baytart ever finds the courage to ask you out,” she continued, “will you say yes?”

Nicoletti shrugged. “Maybe. We’ll see.” Which meant, B’Elanna realized, yes.

* * * *

Sheer panic filled Pablo Baytart’s eyes. “You told Lieutenant Torres everything?” he cried out. The two pilots stood inside Tom’s quarters. The latter had just finished his shift on the Bridge. “Why? I thought this was between the two of us!”

“I had to tell her,” Tom insisted. “It was either that or let her beat me to death for causing the turbolift to stop.”

Pablo demanded, “What are you talking about? That damn lift didn’t even stop! Or have you forgotten?”

Tom sighed. “It did stop, Pablo. Only an hour later than it was suppose to. And I ended up trapped with Torres.” He sat down in one of his chairs. Baytart sank onto the sofa. “Once she found out the truth, she offered to help.”

“Help?” Baytart frowned. “How?”

Here comes the tricky part, Tom realized. “Well, B’Elanna had volunteered to have a talk with Sue and convince her to go out on a date with you, if you asked. In fact, I believe they’ve already had their conversation.”

“WHAT?” The young pilot’s voice vibrated around the cabin.

Tom winced from the cry that rang in his ears. “God, Pablo! Not so loud!”

“Are you . . . do you mean to say that Sue knows everything? She’ll never go out with me, now!”

“She won’t if you try to avoid her like some ten year-old who’s frightened of girls!” Tom retorted. He heaved another sigh. “Look, according to B’Elanna, Sue is willing to have a talk with you. Give you a chance. All you have to do is face her and ask for a date.”

Baytart’s face expressed uncertainty. “But, what if . . .?”

“Dammit Pablo! You can’t hide from her, forever! What do you want me to do? Go on the date for you?”

Apparently, the idea did not appeal to Baytart. “N-n-no,” he stammered. He sighed. “I guess not. Maybe I should face her. Do you know where she is at the moment?”

Holding back his glee, Tom shrugged. “Why don’t you check with the computer?”

According to the computer, Lieutenant Nicoletti could be found in Engineering. Just as Tom had expected. “Well?” he said to Pablo.

The younger stood up and flashed an uneasy smile. “Well, wish me luck.” He squared his shoulders and gave Tom a nod. “Thanks for the advice, Lieutenant. And for helping me find my nerve.”

“Good luck, Pablo,” Tom replied, before Baytart left his quarters. Once alone, Tom raised his eyes heavenward and allowed himself a heartfelt sigh. “Thank God!” he shouted to know one in particular. Now, he finally had the time to return his attentions to other matters. Namely, a certain chief engineer.

* * * *

FOUR DAYS LATER . . .

“I don’t believe it!” Harry declared in a disbelieving tone. “I see it, but I don’t believe it! Is that Pablo Baytart with Sue Nicoletti?” He pointed at a couple, sharing a table on the other side of Sandrine’s, inside Holodeck One.

Both B’Elanna and Tom glanced at the couple. The former allowed herself a satisfied smile. As she had suggested, Sue accepted Pablo’s invitation to a date. She learned from Tom that the pair ended up having dinner together at simulation of a Parisian bistro, created by the Chief Helmsman. Fortunately, the date turned out to be a success.

“I had a great time!” Sue had gushed on the morning, following her first date with the pilot. “The dinner was delicious and the atmosphere, fantastic! Later, Pablo and I took a walk along the Left Bank. Very romantic.” Naturally, B’Elanna had not demand any further details.

Tom chuckled over Harry’s comments. “Well, they look like Pablo and Sue to me. Make a cute couple, don’t they?” His blue eyes danced merrily, sending shivers up B’Elanna’s spine.

“Yeah, I guess,” Harry said reluctantly. His eyes returned to Tom’s face. “What are you grinning about? You look like the cat who just swallowed a canary.” Suspicion gleamed in his dark eyes. “Say, did you have anything to do with . . .?”

Laughter poured out of Tom’s mouth. “Boy, Harry! You do catch on ‘fast’, don’t you?” Harry’s face turned red. “As a matter of fact, I had everything to do with them being together.”

B’Elanna arched an eyebrow and stared at Tom. “Excuse me, Flyboy,” she said caustically. “Only YOU were responsible?”

Embarrassment quickly replaced Tom’s triumphant expression. “Sorry. I meant us. I managed to convince Pablo to get over his shyness and ask Sue for a date. And B’Elanna had convinced her to give him a chance.” He went on to explain the entire situation to Harry.

The Ops officer shook his head after Tom finished. “The pilot and the engineer. Who would have believed it?” His remark caused B’Elanna to nearly choke on her drink. Both Harry and Tom stared at her with concerned eyes. “Are you okay, Maquis?”

“I’m fine,” a slightly hoarse B’Elanna replied. “My scotch went down the wrong way.”

Harry again, contemplated the two newly formed lovebirds. “So Tom, you were helping Baytart set up a date with Sue? That explains all those lunches and dates with Sue in the Hololab. And to think, B’Elanna thought . . .”

The moment he spoke her name, B’Elanna knew what Harry was about to say. She panicked and gave him a swift kick in the shin. Followed by a menacing stare that expressly ordered him to shut up. The younger man winced in pain. But B’Elanna also achieved her goal. Harry quickly clamped his mouth shut.

Tom glanced at his friends with barely concealed amusement. “Are you okay, Harry?”

“Fine,” the Ops officer muttered. “Just a muscle twinge in the calf.”

Feign innocence lit up Tom’s eyes. “Oh. I see. By the way, you also mentioned B’Elanna. What exactly were you about to say?” A smile threatened to quirk his lips.

He knew! Embarrassment filled B’Elanna’s guts. The teasing bastard had obviously guessed what Harry nearly revealed. Dammit! She had to get out of here. In order to make her escape, B’Elanna rose from her chair. “I just remembered. I have an Engineering report to finish,” she gushed. “I’ll see you two, later.”

Tom stood up. “Okay. I’ll walk you home.”

“I don’t need an escort, Paris!” B’Elanna retorted. Couldn’t the man take a hint? “I’m a big girl now.”

An appreciative smile curled Tom’s lips. “All the more reason to walk you back to your quarters.”

B’Elanna speared the pilot with her deadliest glare. His smile grew wider. She sighed in defeat. “All right, you can follow me.”

“Have fun you two,” Harry added. His eyes danced with glee. Both B’Elanna and Tom glared at him, but he ignored their stares and continued drinking.

Once they left Holodeck One, Tom did not follow B’Elanna to Deck Nine. Instead, the pair strolled together, side-by-side, without touching each other. B’Elanna made sure of that. They finally reached her quarters. She punched in the codes to her room and turned to face the pilot. “Well, here we are. Thanks for the uh, escort.” The doors slid open.

To her horror, Tom did not walk away. Instead, he brought up an embarrassing subject she long thought dead. “What exactly did you think about Sue and me?”

B’Elanna’s eyes grew wide. “What?”

“Harry mentioned something about why I was having all those lunches with Sue. Then he said that you thought . . . before everything went blank and he suddenly developed a ‘muscle cramp’.” A smirk touched Tom’s lips.

Again, B’Elanna’s breathing became irregular. “Nothing,” she quickly replied. “It was nothing. I . . .” Her mouth hung open.

Tom leaned closer, his mouth less than a millimeter from hers. “You what?” he whispered. The soft timbre of his voice sent waves of heat throughout B’Elanna’s body.

Dark brown eyes met blue ones. B’Elanna found her resistance to the handsome pilot slipping away. ‘Kiss him’ her mind barked. ‘Just lean forward and press your mouth against those soft, firm . . .’ Voices in the corridor broke B’Elanna out of her trance. She snapped back, growled a quick “good night” and immediately slipped inside her quarters.

Once the doors slid shut, the Chief Engineer leaned against them and sighed. Her body still shook from the memory of her close call with Tom. She felt relieved that she had escaped from becoming Tom Paris’s next conquest. Yet, she could not forget the disappointment that flashed in his blue eyes. Or ignore that same disappointment that refused to leave her heart.

THE END

“Perils of a Matchmaker” [PG-13] – 1/2

 

“PERILS OF A MATCHMAKER”

CODE: P/T, B/N, Kim
RATING: [PG-13]
SUMMARY: Tom Paris helps Pablo Baytart win the affections of Sue Nicoletti and endangers his own pursuit of the Chief Engineer in the process. Set during late Season 3.
FEEDBACK: Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: Tom, B’Elanna and all other characters related to Star Trek Voyager belong to Paramount, Viacom and the usual Trek Powers to Be.

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Part 1

Tom Paris heard footsteps behind him as he walked along the corridor of Deck Six. “Lieutenant! Lieutenant Paris!” a voice cried out. “Lieutenant, may I speak to you?” The voice belonged to Ensign Pablo Baytart, one of the pilots under the Chief Helmsman’s command.

“Can I help you, Pablo?” Tom paused to face the younger man.

Breathing heavily, Baytart replied, “Yeah, I . . .” He paused momentarily. “I need to speak with you. About a private matter.”

Private matter meant Baytart wanted to conduct this conversation somewhere other than in the middle of the corridor. Tom nodded. “I’m heading for Holodeck One. For the resort. Why don’t you join me?”

“Well, I . . .” Hesitation loomed in Baytart’s eyes. “Can we go somewhere a little more private?”

Tom sighed and promised to initiate the privacy lock on the holodeck. The two pilots reached Holodeck One and entered. Although Neelix’s resort program was running, no one seemed to be inside. Much to Baytart’s obvious relief. After Tom ordered the computer to initiate the lock, he turned to the junior pilot. “Okay Pablo, we’re alone. Now what’s the problem?”

It all came tumbling out of Baytart’s mouth. In a nutshell, the young pilot was in love with Lieutenant Sue Nicoletti, from Engineering. And he required Tom’s help to play matchmaker. The older man gave Baytart a blank look. “Matchmaker? Why me?”

“I . . . uh . . .” Baytart blushed. “Well, I heard how you helped Culhane with Jenna Carlson in Exobiology, a couple of months ago. And I wondered if you could . . .” The pilot’s face now turned deep red. “You see, it’s Sue. I heard she can be difficult to pursue.”

The understatement of the century, Tom thought wryly. He recalled his own six-month long efforts to pursue Sue Nicoletti, last year. Efforts that eventually ended in failure. Not that Tom felt any bitterness over the matter, despite the “cold hands, cold heart” comment he once made to Harry Kim about the engineer. He had never felt anything more than lust for the dark-haired Sue. Something he wished he could say about his present goal – namely Sue’s commanding officer – a certain half-Klingon, half-Human chief engineer. Images of the recent events on Sakari IV flashed through Tom’s mind. Along with memories of a conversation inside a turbolift. “Careful of what you wish for, Lieutenant.” With a sigh, Tom realized he may have taken on a more impossible goal.

“Lieutenant?” Baytart’s voice interrupted Tom’s thoughts.

The older man shook his head. “Sorry. My mind was elsewhere. Uh, as for the elusive Lieutenant Nicoletti, I’ll see what I can do.”

A bright smile lit up Pablo’s face. “Thanks, Lieutenant.”

“Don’t get too excited, Pablo. This is Sue Nicoletti we’re dealing with.” Cold hands, cold heart. “It might take a while before we achieve success.”

Still smiling, Pablo stood up. “I’m sure you’ll get the job done, Lieutenant. I’ll see you later. And again, thanks.” He left the holodeck.

“Yeah, sure,” Tom murmured under his breath. He realized, to his regret, that he might have to put his pursuit of B’Elanna Torres on hold.

* * * *

Sable eyes watched the doors to Engineering slide open. Watched a sandy blond-haired figure in Command black-and-red, stroll inside. Those same eyes quickly glanced away the moment Voyager’s Chief Pilot walked toward the Chief Engineer’s private office. B’Elanna Torres’s heart began to beat rapidly.

Breathe Torres. Calm down. Tom Paris is no one to get excited over. What happened on Sakari IV had been a mere fluke. An unfortunate incident caused by a chemical imbalance forced upon her by a Vulcan in . . .

“Hey B’Elanna.” Tom Paris’s soft, masculine voice filled her ears. The same voice that told her over two months ago that he would like to see more of her Klingon side. Tom entered her office, his scent pervading her senses. B’Elanna struggled not to breathe deeply. He tossed a PADD on her desk. “The navigation reports. Just as you had requested.”

B’Elanna snatched the PADD from the desk. “Thanks,” she said, giving Tom a curt nod. She did not even bother to look at him. The last thing she wanted was to look deeply into the pilot’s blue eyes. Unfortunately for B’Elanna, once she received the report, Tom refused to move. Another sigh left her mouth. He possessed a stubborn streak that rivaled any Klingon’s. “Is there something else you wanted, Paris?” She glanced up and frowned. It helped that her eyes focused upon his forehead.

“Paris?” One of Tom’s sandy brows quirked upward. “I thought we had put surnames behind us a long time ago.” Over a year, to be exact.

B’Elanna growled. “What do you want, Tom?”

A slow smile curled the pilot’s lips. B’Elanna forced herself to ignore the electric currents shooting up her spine. “Well, I was thinking of holding this party,” Tom replied, “and I thought you would like . . .”

“I’ll be busy,” B’Elanna shot back, interrupting him.

Tom frowned. “Oh? When? I don’t recall mentioning a specific date.”

Idiot! B’Elanna mentally castigated herself. She should have kept her mouth shut, until he finished. Now, how in the hell was she going to get out of this mess?

B’Elanna eventually asked herself why she would want to avoid an evening with Tom. She could no longer deny her interest in the pilot. At least, privately. Publicly admitting her interest seemed another matter. A little voice inside her mind – one that she labeled “FEAR” – told her that it would be a matter of time before Tom Paris grew weary of her Klingon side. And that in the end, he would reject her.

Heaving a sigh, B’Elanna deliberately examined the PADD in her hand. “Look Tom,” she commented in her usual gruff manner, “I’m sure that your party will be a lot of fun, but I don’t know when I’ll have time to enjoy it. Between our encounter with that Borg cube and the Doctor’s foray into homicidal schizophrenia, I don’t know when.”

“Oh.” Tom’s voice permeated with disappointment. At least that was how it sounded to B’Elanna. “Well . . . uh, hopefully you’ll be free, sooner than you think.”

“Hopefully.”

Another moment passed before Tom murmured a quick good day. And then he left. Only his scent lingered inside the office. The half-Klingon kept her eyes fixed on the report. At least, she tried to concentrate. The moment she felt safe enough to do so, she glanced up to watch Tom leave Engineering. Only, he did not leave. Instead, he made his way toward one of her engineers working at a console near the warp core. Sue Nicoletti. B’Elanna’s eyes narrowed.

* * * *

“Say that again?” Sue Nicoletti demanded. “You’re inviting me to where?” Her voice rang throughout Engineering, drawing stares.

There were times Tom wished the engineer would learn to keep her voice at a moderate level. Ignoring the curious stares, Tom repeated his question. “I asked if you would like to join me in my quarters, tomorrow evening.”

Sue shot an uneasy glance at the Chief Engineer’s office. “Uh, just us alone?”

“Huh?” Tom realized that he had misinterpreted his intent. The last thing he wanted was to give Sue the idea that he had renewed his interest in her. “Oh! Uh . . . damn! No, it’s not what you think.” He exhaled a gust of breath. “I’m holding a little sociable, tomorrow night. You know, food, drinks, music and perhaps a little game of poker.”

Disbelief replaced the wariness in Sue’s blue eyes. “This is new. You haven’t asked me to a friendly get-together in months. Ten months, to be exact.”

Tom shrugged. “Considering the number of times you’ve turned me down in the past, can you blame me?”

“Uh-huh.”

A nervous laugh escaped Tom’s mouth. “Look Sue, it’s not what you think. I’m not interested in romance. Just a little get together with people I consider to be my friends.”

“I don’t know whether to be relieved or insulted,” Sue commented wryly. Again, she shot a glance toward B’Elanna’s office. “Will Lieutenant Torres be there?”

Tom quickly squelched the disappointment he felt over B’Elanna’s recent rejection. “It seems she’ll be busy for a while. I’m only surprised that you aren’t.”

“Busy doing what?”

Of course. Tom realized he should have known that B’Elanna’s excuses for turning down his invitation were mere smoke screens. Either she had no desire to spend her off-duty hours with him. Or she was afraid. Tom hoped it was the latter.

Sue repeated her question. “Well? Busy doing what?”

“Nothing,” Tom responded with a sigh. “Forget what I said. All I want to know is will you be able to show up at my quarters, tomorrow night. Say, 20:00 hours?”

“I’ll be there.”

Tom smiled. “Good. Now be sure . . .”

“Nicoletti!” a throaty female’s voice cried out. “Haven’t you finished recalibrating those specs, yet?” Tom and Sue stared at the glass-encased office. B’Elanna stood in the doorway, hands on hips. Glaring.

Sue threw Tom a long-suffering glance. One that pleaded with him to leave before either of them piss off the Chief Engineer any further. Tom quickly got the message and left Engineering before he could further inflame B’Elanna’s wrath.

* * * *

Around 19:45, the following night, Tom glanced around his quarters. His guests were due to arrive any minute. And sure enough, the first one arrived three minutes later. Pablo Baytart. Harry Kim arrived with both Delaney sisters, two minutes after Pablo. Before 20:00, the rest of Tom’s guests arrived, with the exception of Sue Nicoletti. The engineer showed up fifteen minutes late.

Soft jazz music filled the pilot’s cabin. A tempting array of Earth and Bajoran dishes stretched across a table, set up against a bare wall. The food had been replicated, thanks to additional credits provided by Baytart and Harry.

The party seemed to proceed smoothly. Talk focused on topics other than survival in the Delta Quadrant. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food. Tom did not blame them. He had to keep the party a secret from Voyager’s Talaxian cook – who would have undoubtedly volunteered to prepare the food. And to Tom’s delight, Pablo and Sue managed to strike up a conversation on famous jazz musicians. If everything went according to plan, the engineer and the pilot will drift from acquaintance to friendship, and eventually toward romance. Then disaster struck.

Pablo volunteered to fetch a plate of dim sum for Sue. Eager to please the engineer, he set out on his task. As he headed back toward Sue, Pablo failed to notice Mike Ayala’s protruding foot. He tripped over the latter and the plate of dim sum with soy sauce, sailed out of his hands and landed on Sue’s lap.

The engineer cried out with dismay. Pablo laid sprawled on the floor, wearing a horrified expression. Tom closed his eyes and sighed. Getting Pablo and Sue together, he realized, might proved to be more elusive than him winning the hand of one B’Elanna Torres.

* * * *

“Hey, Starfleet!”

Harry glanced up from his breakfast and found the Chief Engineer standing beside his table inside the Mess Hall. “Hey, Maquis. Have a seat.” He gestured toward the empty chair, opposite him.

Once B’Elanna eased into a chair, she began poking at her food. Either she was not hungry or like Harry, found Neelix’s idea of Eggs Benedict, unappetizing. “Doesn’t look that hot, does it?” Harry commented.

B’Elanna smiled wryly. “Not really. I would have replicated something, but I’m low on credits, right now.”

“Yeah, so am I. Tom managed to win most of my credits during a pool game, day before yesterday.” Harry scooped up a forkful of orange-colored eggs. “He must have used them for that party in his quarters, last night.” The moment he mentioned Tom’s party, he saw B’Elanna’s mouth tightened into a grim line. “What’s wrong?”

Her mouth quickly relaxed. Dark eyes widened in innocence. “What do you mean?”

“Is there something wrong?” Harry continued. “You looked upset for a moment. When I mentioned Tom’s party.” He deliberately paused. “Were you upset over that?”

B’Elanna’s nose wrinkled in distaste. “Of course not! Why should I be upset? Tom had invited me. I just didn’t . . . I mean, I was busy, last night.” She began to attack her food.

“Busy?” Harry frowned. “Doing what? Most of the major repairs were finished three days ago.”

An exasperated sigh escaped B’Elanna’s mouth. “There were minor repairs to deal with,” she replied through gritted teeth.

“Which could have been done by your staff. After all, you are the Chief Engineer.”

“What’s your point, Harry?”

The Operations Chief realized that he was about to tread through dangerous waters. But he also remembered that he was a Starfleet officer. Not only was weird part of the job, but also danger. Harry took a deep breath. “It sounds as if you had turned down Tom’s invitation. To avoid Tom.”

B’Elanna rolled her eyes. “Kahless, Harry! The world does not revolve around Thomas Paris!” The moment she spoke his name, the Mess Hall doors slid open and in strode the object of their conversation. Harry glanced at B’Elanna, whose cheeks immediately turned red. A smile tugged at his lips.

“Hey Harry!” Tom greeted in his usual gregarious manner. He joined the two friends at their table. His eyes slid toward the Chief Engineer. “B’Elanna.” The latter responded with a murmur.

Harry smiled at his friend. “Hey, Tom. Where’s your breakfast?”

“I ate some of the leftovers from last night’s party. You should taken some yourself, Harry.” Tom shot a withering glance at the orange eggs. “And maybe spare yourself from Neelix’s latest sample of Delta Quadrant cuisine.”

Harry dismally poked his eggs with his fork. “Oh God, please don’t remind me!”

Tom turned to face B’Elanna. “Say B’Elanna, you miss one hell of a party, last night. We had a great time. Right, Har?”

“I have to admit that I did enjoy myself, last night,” Harry conceded, recalling the festivities. “Tom’s right, B’Elanna. It’s a shame that you missed it.”

Mischief sparkled in Tom’s blue eyes. “Well, B’Elanna was busy last night, Harry,” he drawled. “With repairs. Of course that does seem odd, since all of the major repairs were finished three days ago.”

B’Elanna gave Harry an accusing stare. “You told!”

“What are you talking about?” a bewildered Harry protested. “I didn’t say a word!”

“Then who . . .?” B’Elanna’s gaze pierced the Chief Helmsman. “All right, Flyboy! Who told you?”

Projecting an air of innocence, Tom shrugged. “Told me what?”

“Tom!”

Chuckling, Tom finally gave in. “All right, all right. It was Sue Nicoletti. I asked her about the repairs, last night.”

Sable eyes slitted dangerously. Harry prepared to calm down B’Elanna. Before he could do so, the doors slid open again and Sue Nicoletti entered. As she strode toward the galley’s counter, Tom rose from his chair. “Excuse me for a minute.” His eyes focused on the dark-haired engineer. “I have some business to attend to.” The pilot walked toward Sue, leaving behind two speechless friends.

B’Elanna finally spoke out. “What the hell does he want with her?” she growled.

Harry noticed the grim expression on his friend’s face. And the envy in her dark eyes. Interesting, he thought. B’Elanna was jealous. Harry glanced at his other friend. And what exactly did Tom want with Sue Nicoletti?

* * * *

Tom approached the engineer, flashing his trademark effervescent grin. “Sue!”

Nicoletti eyed the helmsman with a wary eye. “Tom. What can I do for you?” She picked up a breakfast tray and began to examine the dishes on the counter.

“Just wanted to know if you enjoyed last night’s party.” From the corner of his eye, Tom noticed the perked interest on Neelix’s face.

Sue quietly made her breakfast selections. “I enjoyed it,” she coolly replied replied, “aside from getting a plate full of dim sum and soy sauce on one of my best dresses.”

Tom winced at her answer. It seemed Pablo’s clumsy act had failed to fade from Sue’s memory. “Yeah, I’m real sorry about that. Mike should really learn to keep his feet tucked in.”

“And Baytart should learn to watch where he steps,” Sue retorted. Oh, oh! Things did not look promising. Once Neelix filled her plate with food, Sue carried it over to the nearest empty table. Tom followed. She eased into a chair with a sigh. “Okay, Tom. What do you want, now?”

Tom sat down in a chair, opposite her. “I have a favor to ask.” He paused.

“What favor?”

In a breathless rush, Tom informed Sue of his plans (phony ones, at that) to develop a training simulation holoprogram for the pilots in his division. “Holoprogram?” Sue took a bite of her Eggs Benedict and grimaced. Then she chewed her food and swallowed. “What do you need me for? You’re one of the best holoprogrammers on the ship.”

It amazed Tom how a compliment could sound so cold. What on earth did Baytart see in this woman? Better yet, what on earth made him pursue her for six months? The challenge? Tom gathered all of his patience and replied, “It’s not your programming skills I need, Sue. It’s your memory. Of Geminian Prime. I understand that your last assignment before Voyager was the Hiriku. And that it was the first starship to chart the Geminian Prime system.”

“So what? I’m an engineer, not a astrophysicist.”

Tom sighed. Patience, Tommy boy, patience. Hell, you’ve been practicing it long enough with B’Elanna. His lips still fixed in a smile, Tom continued, “That may be true, but I heard you were part of the original survey team. To study the geological and metallurgical details of several of the planets. I need to provide me some details of the system.”

Sue warily speared a piece of Ragealan sausage. “You can find all the information you need in the ship’s database.”

“The database cannot provide those little details that make a program exciting. C’mon Sue! Please?” Tom gave the engineer the full blast of his blue eyes.

A sigh left Sue’s mouth. “Okay,” she said, surprising Tom. “I’ll help you. I may not remember much, but I’ll help. When do we start?”

So much for Cold Hands/Cold Hearts Nicoletti, Tom decided. Maybe he should have tried begging, when he had pursued her a year ago. “How about tomorrow evening? Around 1900 hours? I’ll meet you outside the Hololab.”

“It’s a date,” Sue replied. Unfortunately, she had spoken loud enough to draw stares from nearby diners.

Tom decided it was time to leave before a false rumor could start. He bid Sue a quick good-bye and returned to Harry’s table. However, one person seemed to be missing. Tom’s eyes narrowed. “Where’s B’Elanna?” he asked. Harry did not say a word and instead, responded with a sardonic smirk.

* * * *

Somewhere on Deck 8, B’Elanna crawled through Jeffries tube 26, lugging her toolkit with her. Several of the EPS conduits had malfunctioned and for some reason, the two engineers she assigned to make repairs seemed capable of completing the task. A firm believer in the old adage – “If you want something done, do it yourself” – B’Elanna decided to deal with the repairs, personally.

She came upon a console, located a few feet away from one of the tube’s opened doors. After removing the console’s panel, B’Elanna’s dark eyes examined the circuitry. Obviously, Ensigns Mulcahey and Ballard’s repairs had failed to solve the problem. In fact, their work only seemed to have made matters worse. How in Kahless’s name did Starfleet allow such incompetents on their starships?

A sigh left the Chief Engineer’s mouth. She picked up a hydro-spanner and set about making repairs. B’Elanna hoped that a little work would help her forget that scene she had witnessed in the Mess Hall. Unfortunately, no sooner had she begun repairs, her hopes quickly dashed. The circuits before her, soon transformed into the unwelcome vision of Tom Paris and Susan Nicoletti, engaged in an intimate conversation.

What in the hell made Tom rush to Sue’s side, the moment she entered the Mess Hall? Did he have an innocent matter to discuss? Or did he invite her to another one of his private parties? B’Elanna began to wonder if Tom’s romantic interest in the dark-haired woman had revived, after his failure to woo the Chief Engineer. The latter longed to know. And yet, a part of her had no desire to concern herself with the notorious Chief Helmsman. Ah, conflict! Her constant companion in life.

“. . . has to be,” a voice beyond the tube’s door, was saying. “How else can you explain it?”

Another voice sighed. “Explain what?” B’Elanna recognized that soft, sarcastic voice anywhere. It belonged to her second-in-command, Joe Carey. “Pat, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Ensign Patrick Mulcahey snorted. “Of course, I do! I was sitting at the table next to them, inside the Mess Hall . . .”

B’Elanna’s hands paused over the console. She placed the spanner on the floor and quietly crept toward the door. When Mulcahey mentioned the words, “Mess Hall”, she realized that he and Joe were discussing Paris and Nicoletti. At that moment, B’Elanna refused to even think of the Chief Pilot as Tom.

“You mean to say,” Carey sarcastically continued, “that you and Lindsay overheard the entire conversation?”

Mulcahey retorted, “We heard enough.” He paused, causing B’Elanna to mentally scream for the man to continue. “Paris asked Sue to help him with a holodeck program.”

“And?”

B’Elanna’s heart lurched at the news. Since when did Tom Paris need help with a holoprogram?

“Tom Paris, asking for help with a holoprogram?” Mulcahey cried out, repeating B’Elanna’s thoughts. “He’s one of the best programmers on the ship! Probably the best! What the hell does he need Sue’s help for?”

A sigh from Carey. “What are you leading to, Pat?”

“I think Paris is interested in Sue, again. C’mon Joe! What else can it be? He invites her to a party inside his quarters . . .”

Joe shot back, “I was there!” I could have been, B’Elanna added silently. “There were at least ten to fifteen people at that party.”

Mulcahey continued, “And what about this morning? Paris seeking help for his new holoprogram?”

Silence followed. B’Elanna immediately knew the answer to Mulcahey’s suggestion. Tom Paris wanted Sue Nicoletti. Quite simple. He had apparently grown weary of pursuing B’Elanna and now focused his attention upon another woman. Surely, Joe could see that?

Seconds later, B’Elanna had her answer. “I guess Paris finally got tired of chasing the Chief after Sakaris IV,” Joe finally said. “Too bad.”

“Too bad?” Mulcahey’s voice rang with disbelief. “Are you kidding me? Can you imagine the Chief and Playboy Paris as a couple? It would never work! She’s too intense for a guy like that!” Intense could only mean one thing – too Klingon in Mulcahey’s eyes. He did not realize it, but he had just earned another black mark in the Chief Engineer’s book.

Carey responded, “I don’t know. Personally, I thought they had something. Like I said, too bad.” He almost sounded mournful. But not as much as B’Elanna felt.

* * * *

Tom strode along Deck Six’s corridor in his usual, easygoing manner. He was on his way to Pablo Baytart’s quarters, located right next door to Harry. Upon reaching his destination, he rang the announciator. Several times. After six weeks of accumulating extra flying time, Baytart managed to get two days off for his troubles. Today was the first of his off-duty time. A groggy voice from inside cried out, “Wha . . . Who’s there?”

“It’s me, Pablo! Paris! I have something for you.” Seconds passed before the door opened, allowing Tom to enter.

Tom’s eyes glanced around the immaculate cabin. There were a few facts about Pablo Baytart. He was an excellent pilot, a good juggler, a friendly soul, he constantly complained about Harry’s clarinet and he also happened to be a neat freak. Tom barely saw an object out of place or a piece of clothing scattered about. Amazing.

“Lieutenant,” Baytart greeted his superior, while tugging at his robe. “Can I help you?”

Tom replied, “Not really. Actually, I’m here to help you. Here,” he tossed a PADD at the ensign. “Read that. You’re going to be helping Sue with a holoprogram, tomorrow. Nineteen hundred hours. Be there.” He turned on his heels and started toward the door.

“Wait!” Pablo cried out. He ran a hand through his dark hair. “What do I need this PADD for?”

“I told Sue that I needed help with a pilot training program. It’s all there on the PADD. She’ll be expecting me, but you’ll show up, instead. Tell her . . .” Tom’s mind raced for a plausible explanation. “Tell her that I was called unexpectedly by Ensign Kim, regarding an Operations matter.” He slapped the younger man’s back. “After that, it’s up to you.”

Before Tom could leave, Pablo thanked him. “I really appreciate this, Lieutenant.” The Chief Pilot responded with a quick grin and left.

* * * *

At precisely 19:00 hours, the following evening, Tom deliberately failed to meet Lieutenant Nicoletti in the Hololab. Instead, he turned on his computer inside his quarters and watched Ensign Baytart make the appointment in his place, by activating the lab’s video monitor.

The expression on Sue’s face expressed annoyance at Tom’s failure to meet her. However, the engineer seemed willing to work with Pablo. Within twenty minutes, Tom could see that his plan was going smoothly. Both Sue and Pablo worked well, together. And unlike the party from a few days ago, there seemed to be no mishaps.

No sooner had those words entered Tom’s thoughts, Pablo punched in a few entries on his console, his eyes fixed upon Sue with unabashed admiration. Sparks immediately lit up the engineer’s workstation. Sue cried out in pain, before she fell to the floor, unconscious.

Tom lowered his head into his hand and let out a heavy sigh. He realized, with a touch of despair that his efforts to help Baytart win Nicoletti’s affections had just risen from difficult to near impossible.

* * * *

“One last item on the agenda, this morning,” Captain Janeway declared, “is Lieutenant Nicoletti’s injuries.” The auburn-haired captain and her senior officers sat around the large table, inside Voyager’s Conference Room. “Doctor, can you give us the details on this matter?”

Due to his possession of a 29th century holoemitter four-and-a-half months ago, the Chief Medical Officer had been able to appear outside Sick Bay and the holodecks. And finally even make personal appearances at senior staff meetings. Much to Tom’s annoyance. The latter preferred the good old days when they communicated with the EMH via a computer monitor. Which meant anyone could switch off the ponderous hologram whenever he became annoying.

The Doctor gave a slight cough. “Lieutenant Nicoletti had suffered minor burns and electric shock from an outage in her console in the Hololab. She healed quite nicely, following a minor surgery and a few hours of rest.”

“How on earth did that happened?” the Captain demanded. She turned to B’Elanna with concerned eyes. “Lieutenant, was there something wrong with one of the Hololab’s computer terminals?”

The Chief Engineer’s mouth formed a grim line. Tom almost smiled. She looked very Klingon at that moment. And quite gorgeous. “There was nothing wrong, Captain,” B’Elanna grumbled. “It seemed Ensign Baytart had accidentally caused a surge in the console Sue was working from.”

A puzzled frown appeared on Chakotay’s face. “I’m surprised those two were working together. Neither really struck me as being exceptional holoprogrammers.”

Tom spoke out. “It was my idea.” All eyes fell upon him. “I needed Sue’s help on a particular program, but I had to bow out at the last moment. So I asked Ensign Baytart to take my place.”

“Why?” Janeway asked.

Tom shrugged. “It’s nothing. I’m creating a new training program for the Conn Division.”

“Is that what you two were talking about in the Mess Hall?” Harry blurted out.

The question took Tom off guard. He had no idea that his little conversation with Sue had generated so much speculation. “Well . . . yeah,” he replied slowly. “What did you think?” He stared at his best friend, whose face turned red. Even more surprisingly, so did B’Elanna’s.

Before Harry could answer, Neelix had a question of his own. “Why would you need Lieutenant Nicoletti’s help with a holoprogram?” His question reflected in the eyes of the others.

“There’s a certain system in the . . .” Tom paused. Why on earth was everyone interested in him and Sue Nicoletti? “Look, it’s a private matter,” he quickly explained. “Excuse me, but isn’t this suppose to be a staff meeting and not gossip time in the Mess Hall?”

The majority of the staff glanced away, looking embarrassed. Except for the Captain, who let out a small cough. “You’re right, Mister Paris. This is turning into a gossip session. However, you cannot blame us for being a little curious.” She gave Tom a small smile. “If there is nothing more to discuss, everyone is dismissed.”

The rest of the staff filed out, one by one. Tom started toward B’Elanna, but she walked past the door and toward the turbolift, before he could stop her. Damn! And he thought he had problems with Pablo and Sue.

* * * *

Two hours later, B’Elanna paused outside the doors to Engineering and took a deep breath. Disappointment threatened to overwhelm her. Disappointment that Tom Paris had found someone new to pursue. Or to be more accurate, someone he had pursued before. Namely, Sue Nicoletti. After the senior staff meeting, there was no doubt in B’Elanna’s mind.

So many regrets filled her thoughts and heart. Regret that she had resisted Tom’s overtures for a date. Or that he had resisted her pon farr-induced overtures on Sakaris IV. And that Vorik had interrupted when she and Tom were finally about to have sex. After receiving rejection after rejection, Tom had finally lost interest in her.

“Going in, Chief?”

B’Elanna snapped out of her funk and stared at the figure next to her. Carl Ashmore. She gave the engineer a tight smile. “After you, Ensign.” She indicated the door with a wave and followed him inside Engineering.

The moment she stepped inside, B’Elanna froze in her tracks. Just ahead stood both Sue and Tom, their heads together in deep conversation. And judging by the animated expressions on their faces, Tom may have finally succeeded in his pursuit of the dark-haired engineer. A surge of anger flared briefly inside B’Elanna, followed by jealousy and despair. Life was so damn unfair!

END OF PART 1

“With Harry Kim’s Compliments” [R] – 2/2

 

“WITH HARRY KIM’S COMPLIMENTS”

Part 2

B’Elanna could not sleep that night. Despite the hot shower and her exhausted state. Instead of blessed slumber, she found her thoughts besieged with images of Tom Paris in the shower. Naked.

A sigh escaped B’Elanna’s mouth and she shifted to the right side of her body. More images popped into her head. Reddish-blond chest hair, luxuriant and damp. Chest hair that covered a surprisingly muscular chest. Broad shoulders. A pair of legs that looked pale, but long and sturdy. The long and thick piece of flesh between his . . . B’Elanna sighed once more and shifted to her left.

Then she closed her eyes and to her consternation, relived those moments when she had burst into Harry’s shower. Within the deep recess of her mind, B’Elanna once again stripped off her uniform, strode toward the bathroom and opened the shower door. There stood Tom with rivulets of water pouring down his body. B’Elanna let out a gasp. Yet, instead of reacting in shock, Tom grabbed her by the waist and dragged her into the shower. He then forced his mouth upon her and began to explore it with a thoroughness that left B’Elanna trembling. Both examined each other’s bodies with hands and mouth. And before B’Elanna knew what had happened, Tom slammed her against the wall. He spread her legs and without missing a beat, thrust right into her . . .

B’Elanna’s eyes flew open and she sprung into a sitting position. She became aware of the pillow clutched to her chest. And the fact that she now laid flat on her back, with her legs spread wide open. An exasperated sigh left her mouth. Dammit! Will she ever get any sleep? Even more important, will she ever stop thinking of Tom Paris in the shower, naked?

* * * *

On Deck Four, another senior officer dreamed of the same incident from inside Harry Kim’s quarters. Unlike the Chief Engineer, Tom Paris seemed to enjoy it very much.

Tom recalled the eye-popping sight of a very naked B’Elanna Torres, standing outside Harry’s shower. It had seemed like a dream come true. And in Tom’s dream, like B’Elanna’s, events took a different course from what actually happened.

In Tom’s dream, B’Elanna opened the shower door. The two officers stared at each other in deep shock. And an embarrassed B’Elanna fled from the bathroom. But when Tom ran after her, he did not bother to wrap a towel around his waist. Instead, he caught up with B’Elanna in the living area, drew her into his arms and planted a long and passionate kiss upon her mouth.

Tom briefly stirred in his bed, as his dream continued its erotic course. He and B’Elanna soon found themselves exploring each other’s bodies with hands and kisses. Tom drew her down to the floor and continued his exploration of her body. It was not long before B’Elanna hinted that she wanted more than kisses. Tom gently spread her legs and finally entered her. He reveled in every thrust he gave, while B’Elanna inflicted scratches upon his backside. Scratches that mingled pain with pleasure. And when their lovemaking finally ended with an earth-shattering climax, Tom woke up.

It did not take a genius to guess why his sheets were damp. At least Tom knew why and immediately felt embarrassed. And since he had no desire to spend the rest of the night on those sheets, he slipped out of bed, tossed the sheets into the refresher and replicated new ones. Now, if only he could enjoy a good night’s sleep without dreaming of B’Elanna. But Tom also realized that he needed to speak with her, as soon as possible.

* * * *

The following morning, Tom headed straight to the Mess Hall for breakfast, hoping that he would also find B’Elanna. He was in luck. Not only was the Chief Engineer in the Mess Hall, she was alone, sitting at a corner table and staring at the stars beyond the viewport.

“B’Elanna?” She nearly jumped out of her seat when Tom called her name. He slid into the seat opposite her, ignoring the irritation that flashed in her eyes. “How are you doing, this morning?” he asked.

B’Elanna replied tersely, “Fine.”

“I understand that all of the showers are now working.” Dark eyes glanced sharply at Tom. Ooops! Wrong subject to bring up, he thought. Tom immediately tried to correct his faux pas. “Look B’Elanna, about last night . . .”

“As far as I’m concerned, it never happened.” B’Elanna’s gaze returned to the viewport.

Frustrated, Tom sighed. He hated it when the half-Klingon resorted to her usually “memory laspses” whenever she tried to avoid any particular topic. “It did happen, B’Elanna!” Tom retorted. “Harry gave us permission to use his shower at the same time, without realizing it. And we both saw each other . . . in the flesh. This is the 24th century. We have nothing to be ashamed of. Granted, you’ve got a great body, but yours is not the first naked one I’ve ever seen.” Tom paused, expecting a response – volcanic or otherwise.

Instead, B’Elanna’s dark eyes grew wide. “Great . . . I have a great body?” Her voice registered shock. Surprise. And she seemed a little flattered.

“Uh, yeah,” Tom replied softly. “One of the best I’ve ever . . .” Aware of the possibility of eavesdroppers, Tom bit off his last words. “Never mind. What I’m trying to say is that what happened last night is nothing to get upset over. We’re both adults. Surely we can handle seeing each other, naked. We should just accept that it happened and move on.”

A crimson flush crept up B’Elanna’s face. “Of course. You’re right. We should just move on.” She took a deep breath. “And by the way, you’ve got a . . .” Her face became even more flushed.

Tom’s eyes widened in anticipation of a compliment. “Yes?”

B’Elanna paused momentarily, before a slight smirk touched her lips. “I was about to say that you’ve got a pretty decent body, yourself.”

“Decent?” Tom frowned. Did she just say ‘decent’? “Is that all? Just decent?”

Innocence poured out of B’Elanna’s eyes. “Well, to be honest, Tom, you’re not exactly Ensign Larson. Or Ensign Murphy. Now, those two are really built. No wonder they’re popular . . .”

“Okay, I get the picture,” Tom grumbled. “Larson and Murphy. Thanks a lot.”

B’Elanna smiled. “My pleasure.” Her smile widened, as a pout formed on Tom’s lips. “Oh, come on, Tom. There’s no need to pout. You still have a nice body, all the same.”

“Just nice?” Tom gave B’Elanna the full impact of the Paris orbs. “Considering the way you were staring at me, I figured . . .”

The smile disappeared from B’Elanna’s lips. Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “Look here, Flyboy,” she growled, “I don’t recall staring at you or anyone else. So, I suggest you stop it right here and get the filth out of your mind.”

“What filth?” Tom allowed himself a brief smile.

B’Elanna added pointedly, “I’m already pissed at Harry for what happened. Don’t make me add you to my shit list.”

Harry. Tom almost forgot about the Operations Chief. Almost. “Speaking of Harry . . .”

“Yes?”

Tom continued, “Do you think he had deliberately set us up, last night?”

B’Elanna shook her head. “Not Starfleet. He might be naïve at times, but not suicidal. Besides, he did seem a bit tired.”

At that moment, Neelix approached their table, carrying a pot of coffee. Tom shot a glance at his cup and was relieved to find it already filled with replicated coffee. Which meant he would be spared from the Delta Quadrant variety, thank goodness.

“Hello, you two! Enjoying your morning meal?” Neelix’s orange eyes sparkled with life. He seemed to be in a good mood. Almost fey.

Tom stared at him. “What’s brightened your morning, Neelix?”

“You two,” the Talaxian replied. He offered B’Elanna some coffee, but the latter immediately shook her head. “Seeing you together like this, gives me hope for love.”

Tom and B’Elanna exchanged confused looks, before they stared at Neelix. “What are you talking about?” B’Elanna demanded.

“Well, the both of you. Sitting at breakfast together.” Neelix sat in the chair next to Tom. “Ensign Kim told me about his little matchmaking scheme for you two. He didn’t exactly give me any details, but he told me that by today, you would be a couple. And here you are.”

B’Elanna opened her mouth. And judging by her expression, Tom realized that she was about to display that famous temper of hers. He gave her a warning kick to the shin. Dark brown eyes blazed with near rage, as B’Elanna immediately closed her mouth. Tom ignored the look and said to Neelix, “We know all about Harry’s little scheme, Neelix. It didn’t work out.”

“Oh. Too bad.” The Talaxian looked disappointed. Then another idea came to him. “I hope you’re not to angry at Harry. He was only trying to help.”

Tom smiled. “We know. And we’re not angry.”

“Says you,” B’Elanna mumbled. Fortunately, only Tom overheard.

The pilot continued, “In fact, we confronted Harry about it, last night.”

“Oh. Oh, well. I guess some of us aren’t meant to be.” A brief sadness overshadowed his eyes. Tom realized that he was thinking of his aborted relationship with the ship’s medical assistant and only Ocampan. Tom gave Neelix a comforting squeeze on the shoulder, before the latter returned to galley.

Once the Talaxian was out of earshot, B’Elanna whirled upon the pilot with blazing eyes. “What the hell was that kick about?”

“To stop you from letting the cat out of the bag,” Tom calmly replied.

“The cat? What the hell are you talking about?

Tom explained that the moment Neelix had revealed Harry’s matchmaking scheme, he had thought of a way to pay back the young ensign. “And if Neelix knew how we felt, he might tell Harry. Get it?”

Silence ensued. B’Elanna gave Tom a thoughtful stare. “Oh, I see. Not only do you want to teach Harry a lesson, you want to surprise him, as well. And exactly what do you have in mind?”

A cold smile formed on Tom’s lips. “Something that involves a shower. Are you game?”

B’Elanna responded with her own cold smile.

* * * *

It was a happy Operations Chief who finally left the Bridge at the end of Alpha shift. After spending three days on double shifts to repair some of the ship’s systems, Harry felt more than happy to return to his regular schedule. He glanced forward and spotted Pablo Baytart at the Helm. Usually, Harry and Tom would usually accompany each other off the Bridge, but the latter had spent today’s shift giving courses on new flight maneuvers to the other pilots in the Conn Division.

Harry entered the turbolift and ordered the computer to send it to Deck Six. Minutes later, he arrived at his destination and stepped into the corridor. Harry could not wait to reach his quarters and enjoy a nice, long shower. Not a sonic shower, which he usually took in the morning rush; but a long shower with hot water.

Thinking of the shower reminded him of his little matchmaking scheme with Tom and B’Elanna. Much to Harry’s disappointment, it had ended in failure. Tom had reproached him over what happened at the beginning of Alpha shift, but Harry feigned surprise and innocence. He wanted to make sure that Tom or B’Elanna did not suspect him of any scheming on his part. Fortunately, both had believed the whole thing had been an accident and nothing more. He considered the pair to be his closest friends, and because of this, he was very familiar with their natures. Both tend to be volatile and vindictive, when crossed.

Right now, all seemed right with the world. Tom and B’Elanna had no idea that he had deliberately set them up. The ship’s systems were now fully operational. And that meant he no longer had to work double shifts. Feeling very satisfied, Harry finally reached his quarters.

Once inside, he removed his clothes and headed for the shower. “Computer,” he ordered, “initiate the water shower.” The computer complied and water immediately poured out of the shower head. Harry closed his eyes to enjoy the sensation of all that wetness sluicing down his body. Then something happened. The water no longer felt refreshing. Instead, it felt . . . thicker. Gritty. Harry opened his eyes and glanced at his arms. They were green. His arms were green! In fact, his entire body . . . Harry quickly examined his chest, legs and feet. All green!

The young ensign let out a bloodcurling scream and fled the shower. In his panic to reach Sick Bay, Harry raced out of his quarters without the benefit of a towel.

* * * *

Just minutes before Harry’s flight from his shower, his two best friends hovered in an alcove several feet away from his quarters. Close together. Too close, as far as B’Elanna was concerned.

“Listen Tom, could you please not stand so close to me?” she groused in a low voice. “There’s barely any room, here.”

Tom heaved an exasperated sigh. “I’m sorry for the lack of space, but we wouldn’t be suffering from all this crowding if you hadn’t insisted upon hiding here.”

“Well, we just can’t hover in the corridor outside Starfleet’s quarters. People would notice.”

Something like a scoff left Tom’s mouth. “If you say so. Although something tells me that more than caution is involved.”

B’Elanna frowned. She did not care for the insinuation in the pilot’s voice. And the laughter. “What are you talking about?” she demanded.

“I’m talking about your hand that’s on my butt.”

Her cheeks now flaming hot, B’Elanna quickly snatched her hand away. She had no idea that she had been . . .

“. . . week’s Security report should be ready for your perusal by the end of the day,” a familiar voice echoed. B’Elanna immediately recognized Lieutenant Tuvok, the ship’s Security Chief.

Seconds later, the Vulcan emerged from around the corner, along with Captain Janeway. Both B’Elanna and Tom pressed further into the alcove. The auburn-haired captain replied, “It looks as if you’ll be the first. Chakotay is still waiting for . . .”

The doors to Harry’s quarters slid open. A naked figure with green skin burst into the corridor, screaming at the top of his lungs. Harry. “Look at me!” he cried at the two command officers. “Ohmigod! My skin is green! I have to get to Sick Bay!” Then he raced up the corridor before Janeway or Tuvok could speak.

Laughter bubbled within B’Elanna. She had to press her face against Tom’s chest, to keep her laughter in check. B’Elanna felt his body shaking with mirth. As for the Captain and Tuvok, both stood in the middle of the corridor and exchanged shocked expressions.

“I believe that was Ensign Kim, who had just . . .,” the Vulcan officer began in a reflective tone.

Shaking her head in disbelief, Janeway interrupted. “Yes, I know who that was. I think . . . I think we should keep this little incident out of the official logs. Don’t you agree, Tuvok?”

“A very logical decision, Captain.” And the pair continued along the corridor, in Harry’s wake.

The moment Janeway and Tuvok were out of earshot, B’Elanna and Tom burst into loud laughter. “Oh God!” the former declared breathlessly. “Did you see that? Poor Starfleet! Now that was a moment I’ll never forget.”

“This ought to teach him not to play matchmaker,” Tom said between fits of laughter.

“Oh! Maybe we came down on him a little too hard. You think?” Despite her words, B’Elanna did not feel a smidgen of remorse.

And neither did Tom, it seemed. He took a deep breath. “Are you kidding? After that stunt he had pulled on us? I don’t think so. However,” he linked his arm with one of B’Elanna’s and gently steered her along the corridor, “we better get along. Harry may have realized, by now, that he’s in his birthday suit.”

The pair walked along the corridor – in the opposite direction of Harry, the Captain and Tuvok. B’Elanna noticed Tom examining his uniform. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“It’s nothing. Just a hole in my uniform.” Tom paused and smiled at B’Elanna. “Thanks to you.”

The Chief Engineer’s face grew hot with embarrassment. “Sorry about that. It was the only way I could keep from laughing aloud.”

“Uh-huh. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that you got a big thrill out of it. Are you in the habit of biting someone else’s chest . . . Chief?”

B’Elanna glared at her companion. Pig! She snatched her arm away from Tom’s. “I told you that I . . .” Tom’s blue eyes twinkled with mischief. B’Elanna now felt even more embarrassed. Until she reminded herself that two could play games. She gave him a sweet smile. “Maybe I did get a thrill out of it.” Tom’s eyes now grew wide. “Of course, I got an even bigger thrill from Harry.”

Blue eyes narrowed. “Harry?”

“You know, Harry. Fresh-faced kid just over two years out of the Academy, Harry Kim. I must admit that I never realized he was so well-endo . . .”

Tom immediately interrupted. “I think I got the picture!” His face turned red, much to B’Elanna’s delight. “Of all the people! Harry Kim!”

B’Elanna allowed herself a small smile. There was nothing, she decided, more enjoyable than deflating a man’s ego. Especially one that belonged to Tom Paris. To be honest, on the matter of endowments, Tom had nothing to worry about. Not from Harry or any other man she could think of. But she would be damned if she ever told him.

THE END

“With Harry Kim’s Compliments” [R] – 1/2

Here is a humorous story set during Season 3 of “Star Trek Voyager” about Harry Kim’s efforts to act as matchmaker for his two best friends:

“WITH HARRY KIM’S COMPLIMENTS”

RATING: [R] For sexual innuendos.
SUMMARY: Harry Kim decides to play matchmaker with a shower and his two best friends. Set between Season 3’s“Alter Ego” and “Coda”.
FEEDBACK: Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: Tom, B’Elanna, Harry and all other characters related to Star Trek Voyager belong to Paramount, Viacom and the usual Trek Powers to Be. Dammit!

———-

“WITH HARRY KIM’S COMPLIMENTS”

Part 1

Tom Paris strolled along the corridors of Deck Four, humming to himself. He had just finished a double shift on the Bridge. And at the moment, he looked forward to spending quality time in his quarters. Underneath a nice shower with hot running water. And a meal, along with a long rest, would make a great follow-up.

His quarters loomed ahead. Tom punched in his entry code and walked inside. Ah! Home at last! Without any thought, he began removing his uniform. Once he removed the last stitch of clothing, Tom entered his bathroom and stepped into the shower. “Computer,” he ordered, “begin shower with hot water.”

Instead of water slucing down his body, Tom heard the computer reply, “Unable to comply. The water system for the shower is malfunctioning.”

“WHAT??” Tom cried out in outrage.

The computer dryly responded, “Please restate the question.”

“Computer . . .” Tom took a few deep breaths. ‘Calm down, Paris. It’s just a computer.’ Now he felt calm and collected. “Computer, how long has the water shower been down?”

The computer replied, “The ship’s water system has malfunctioned since 14:23 hours.”

In other words, for the past six hours. Great! Tom heaved an exasperated sigh. So much for a nice, hot shower. It looked as if he would have to settle for a sonic shower. And Tom hated them. “Computer,” he continued, “begin sonic shower.”

To his surprise, the computer announced, “Unable to comply. The sonic shower is malfunctioning.”

What the hell? Now, Tom was in a fix. How in the hell was he supposed to clean himself, with both showers not operating? Maintaining a tight rein on his temper, the pilot asked the computer how long the sonic shower has been malfunctioning. Since 14:23 hours – like the water shower.

Tom left the shower stall and snatched his uniform jacket to activate his combadge. “Paris to Engineering.”

“Engineering here.” The voice belonged to Ensign Carl Ashmore, one of the engineers under B’Elanna Torres’ command. “I gather you’re calling about your shower?”

“That’s right. What the hell is going on?”

Ashmore explained that the ship’s shower systems were malfunctioning. “None of the showers from Decks Two to Five aren’t working. Also Decks Eight and Nine. And only the sonic showers from Decks Ten to Fifteen are operating.”

“Great!” Tom retorted. “What the hell am I supposed to . . .” He paused, recalling Ashmore’s words. That meant the showers on Decks Six and Seven were fully operational. And Tom personally knew one crewman with quarters on Deck Six. “Never mind, Carl. I believe I know how to solve my problem. Paris out.” After severing his connection to the engineer, Tom activated his combadge once more. “Paris to Kim.” Sounds of grunting reached his ears. What the hell was Harry doing? “Paris to Kim. Harry, can you . . .?”

“I hear you, Tom. What is it?”

Tom asked, “What the hell is going on? Where are you?”

“Jeffries Tube 23C. Working on the internal systems,” Harry replied. “What do you need?”

“A shower, buddy. Neither my water or sonic shower is working. Can I use yours? All showers on Decks Six and Seven are operational.”

Harry responded through more grunts, “Be . . . my guest.”

“Great! Paris out.”

The moment he tapped off his combadge, Tom donned a T-shirt and stretched pants. Happy that he would be getting that shower after all, the helmsman strolled out of his quarters, whistling through his teeth.

* * * *

“Hey Starfleet!”

Harry jumped at the sound of B’Elanna’s voice and bumped his head against the tube’s wall. He had been staring at the panel before him, for the past five minutes, wondering where the hell he went wrong in repairing the conduits that maintained the ship’s shower systems.

Rubbing his head, Harry glanced at the tube’s entrance and found Voyager’s chief engineer in a crouching position. “Hey B’Elanna!” he greeted in a tired voice.

“How long have you been here, Starfleet?”

A heavy sigh left Harry’s mouth. “It seems like forever. Damn shower systems! I can’t get the damn thing to work properly. Only the showers on Decks Six and Seven are completely operational.”

B’Elanna cleared her throat. “Speaking of Deck Six, isn’t your shower working?”

Harry saw what was coming. “Yeah, it is. Why?”

“Well, my shift ends in a few mintues,” B’Elanna continued. “And systems malfunctions or not, I’m beat. I really need a shower and rest. So . . .”

This was news. B’Elanna leaving her post before the completion of repairs. Harry realized that she must really be beat. As for her using his shower . . . well, there was the problem of Tom. Who knew how long the helmsman might be using his shower? Harry opened his mouth to tell B’Elanna about Tom, but suddenly changed his mind.

“What is it?” B’Elanna asked, frowning at the younger man.

Should he tell B’Elanna? Harry knew he should. But he also remembered what Neelix told him about what happened at the luau, some ten days ago. The Talaxian cook had described the look on Tom’s face after Vorik had usurped B’Elanna’s time during the party. Harry had been well aware of the attraction between his two best friends. And their frustrating attempts to deny their feelings. Perhaps an accidental meeting in his quarters would help strengthen the bond between the two. And so with matchmaking in mind, Harry set about a course that no sane person in his or her right mind would attempt.

Harry finally answered, “Nothing. Go right ahead, Maquis. Be my guest. It’ll be a while before I’m probably off-duty.”

B’Elanna flashed her friend a smile. “Thanks, Harry. You’re a prince.” She crawled away from the tube’s entrance.

Smiling himself, Harry sat on his hunches and returned his attention to the console. If only he were a fly on a wall. He would give his right arm to witness the fireworks between the chief engineer and the pilot. Harry had no idea that in the end, he would sacrifice something a lot more important than a limb.

* * * *

A shower at last! B’Elanna could barely wait. Many of the ship’s systems had been crashing all day. With the exception of the showers, B’Elanna, the Engineering staff and the Operations division, managed to repair them all.

After nearly pulling a double shift, all she required . . . needed was a refreshing shower and a long rest. Two years ago, B’Elanna would have insisted on remaining on duty until the last repair was completed. But that was two years ago, when she was an inexperienced division head. It took her staff, especially her second-in-command, Joe Carey, to teach her the joys of delegation. She could deal with working during a double shift. But beyond that . . . well, she was a wiser and older woman. Let poor Harry deal with the remaining repairs. Besides, the ship’s system was technically a job usually assigned to the Operations Division.

The turbolift halted on Deck Six. B’Elanna stepped out and made her way along the corridor. In fact, she nearly skipped all the way to Harry’s quarters. And she did not care if any passing crewman saw her.

Still feeling high over her escape from Engineering, B’Elanna punched in Harry’s entry codes and continued inside. The first thing she noticed was the sound of running water. The shower. B’Elanna frowned. Why in the hell was Harry’s shower running? Did he . . .? B’Elanna immediately spoke up. “Computer, locate Ensign Kim.”

“Ensign Kim is located in Jeffries Tube 23C Alpha,” the computer’s voice responded. Which only meant one thing – Harry had left his shower running all day, the dumb idiot. Talk about ration credits pouring down the drain. For her friend’s generosity, B’Elanna decided to donate a few extra credits to his account. Meanwhile, she might as well take advantage of the running water.

B’Elanna removed her boots and peeled off her uniform. Completely nude, she strode into Harry’s bathroom and opened the shower door. A loud cry escaped her mouth. B’Elanna found herself facing Tom Paris – wet, naked and fully frontal.

“B’Elanna?” Tom’s blue eyes grew wide with surprise. “What the hell are you doing here?”

To stunned to speak, B’Elanna surrendered to panic and proceeded to slam the shower door, shut. Unfortunately, Tom had decided at that moment to stick out an arm and the door slammed against the protruding limb. “AAAUGH!” The pilot cried out in pain.

“Tom! Are you hurt?” Forgetting about his naked state, a concerned B’Elanna grabbed his arm and began to examine it. She found a purple bruise between his elbow and his wrist. Without thinking, she began to rub it. “Is that better?” she crooned. “Do you need a dermal regenerator?”

The pilot’s eyes grew even wider. “Uh, B’Elanna?”

“What?” B’Elanna stared at Tom, who looked very uncomfortable. Almost stiff. What the hell was the matter . . .? For some unexplained reason, her eyes slid downward and noticed Tom’s swelling member. Then she remembered. He was naked. Completely. And when she saw him staring at her chest – her bare chest – she realized that she was also naked. “Kahless!” B’Elanna cried out, immediately dropping Tom’s arm. “I have to . . . I have to go!” The half-Klingon woman turned on her heels and quickly fled the bathroom.

* * * *

“B’Elanna!”

Tom cried after the fleeing woman. “B’Ela. . .” As he stepped out of the shower, he nearly slipped on the wet floor.Goddammit! “B’Elanna!”

Tom took one step toward the doorway and realized that he was still nude. He reached for a towel and wrapped it around his waist. Then he reached for another towel and scurried into the living area. And just in time. He spotted B’Elanna, shapely bottom included, scampering out of the door. With no clothes on. “B’Elanna, you don’t have any . . .”

The half-Klingon stopped in her tracks, noticed the state of her undress with a gasp and bolted back inside. Tom quickly turned away to spare her any further embarrassment. “Uh, B’Elanna? Here’s a towel you might want to use,” he said, holding out the object.

Growling a quick “Thanks,” B’Elanna snatched the towel from Tom’s hand. “By the way Paris,” she added, “what the hell are you doing here?”

Paris? “You haven’t called me Paris in over a . . .” The word stuck in Tom’s throat as he turned around. And found the towel wrapped around B’Elanna’s torso – accentuating every shapely . . . ‘Don’t go there, Tommy Boy! Just don’t!’

“Tom!” B’Elanna added in a sharp voice. “You haven’t explained what the hell you’re doing here!”

Tom replied, “Taking a shower, of course. Harry gave me permission to use his shower.”

“What are you talking about? He gave me permission!” B’Elanna’s eyes grew wide. “Oh my God! The big idiot! I bet he planned all this!”

Recalling the fatigue in Harry’s voice, Tom doubted it. He suspected that the Operations chief had merely suffered a lapse in memory. Still, who was he to complain when it gave him the opportunity to see B’Elanna Torres in all her glo . . . ‘Stop it, Paris!’ Tom inwardly reprimanded himself.

“What’s wrong?” B’Elanna’s voice cut through Tom’s thoughts. “Why are you staring at me like . . .?” She paused and glanced at her towel. Red spots tinged her cheeks. “I better get out of here.” The chief engineer gathered her belongings.

Tom rushed toward the departing engineer. “B’Elanna! No! Wait! You don’t have to leave now. You can . . .” he grabbed her arm, “. . . take the shower, first. Please.”

The half-Klingon paused, seemingly unaware of Tom’s hand on her bare arm. He noticed that up close, her eyes seemed to focus upon everything, except him. B’Elanna shook her head. “Uh, that’s okay. At least my sonic shower is still working.”

“Perhaps, but you were obviously in the mood for a water shower. Why else would you be here? Look, I just barely got started on my shower, when you, uh . . .” Tom stumbled a bit. “Well, you know. Just go ahead and use it. Be my guest.” He gently steered the engineer toward Harry’s bathroom. “Ladies first.”

Dark brown eyes grew wide with disbelief. “Ladies?” However, B’Elanna did not reject Tom’s offer. She dumped her clothes and boots on a nearby chair and headed for the shower. Once the bathroom door closed behind her, Tom dumped himself unceremoniously on the sofa and sighed. Green or not, Ensign Harry Kim had a lot to answer for.

END OF Part 1

“The Rain Chronicles” [PG] – Book VII

 

“The Rain Chronicles” [PG] – Book VII

Rain Robinson of ”Future’s End” ends up on Voyager, following her adventures with Tom Paris and Tuvok in late 20th century Earth. Here is Book VII. 

————-

RAIN ROBINSON – JULY 31, 2373:

Ten days. Ten days have passed since my fight with Tom. And we haven’t uttered one word to each other. Hell, at least three-quarters of the crew aren’t speaking to me. They all believe that I had condoned Vorik’s actions during his pon farr. And none of this might have happened if I had kept my big mouth shut. Jesus!

Aunt Sarah was right. I should learn to control my tongue. And my temper. But it’s hard to do that whenever I encounter stupidity or hypocrisy. I guess I’m just too blunt. Too frank. No wonder I’ve always had trouble maintaining a relationship. And I think I’ve just ruined another one.

My mother once told me that although Humans make a big deal about valuing the truth, many of them can’t really handle it. Deep down, they don’t want to face reality, so they escape through a lot of pleasure, easy solutions, illusions and sometimes, intolerance. She also added that when someone exposes the truth, it’s usually the messenger who is usually blamed. What she tried to tell me is that I should learn to be a little more diplomatic when dealing with the feelings and opinions of others.

Somehow, word of my fight with Tom got around. And now, I’m being blamed for “taking Vorik’s side”. What makes this even worse is that the real perputrator of the whole mess is pon farr. Biology. How in the hell can you punish a physiological condition? You can’t. Instead, you punish the poor bastard who had been inflicted by it. Namely Vorik. And you also blame the dumb idiot, whose words robbed you of a scapegoat. The same idiot who could not keep her damn mouth shut. Or control her temper.

Aside from Tuvok and Vorik (whom I haven’t seen in days), the only crewmen who seemed willing to speak to me were Jenny, Megan, Neelix, and Commander Chakotay. B’Elanna seemed too embarrassed to even be near me. I should talk to her, but I can’t. It’s no longer about what she had done to me on Sakaris IV. Right now, I’m going through a lot of anger and frustration, because my big mouth has not only put me at odds with most of the crew. I’ve also driven Tom away for good when I defended Vorik . . . and brought up his past. Stupid idiot! And because I brought up his past, B’Elanna will have him in the end.

LIEUTENANT B’ELANNA TORRES – STARDATE 50593.64:

Vorik finally returned to Alpha shift duty, today. It didn’t turn out as bad as I thought it would. We had a nice, long talk before his shift began.

I know. Vorik and I had agreed he would spend one month during Beta shift and only three weeks had passed since Sakaris IV. However, he happens to be one of my best engineers and I needed him, Carey, Nicoletti and Ashmore for a special project – to strengthen the stabilization of the warp filed coils and make them less susceptible to exposure from a verteron pulse. So, I put aside any feelings I had toward Vorik and asked Chakotay to return him to Alpha shift.

The talk. To be honest, I think it was a hell of a lot worse for Vorik. I never saw a man look so embarrassed or humiliated. Now that I think about it, I guess I understand his reaction. Like me, Vulcans hate losing control. Both Vorik and I endured a lot of humiliation because of what happened. But at least I don’t have to endure pon farr every seven years for the rest of my life, thank Kahless. After what happened, I do intend to keep an eye on Vorik, seven years from now. If I can remember.

I had repaired my working relationship with Vorik. My friendship with Tom has also survived Sakaris IV. However, I haven’t spoken a word to Rain, since our encounter in the Mess Hall. I’ve also learned that she hasn’t spoken to Tom, either. Now, that’s odd. I wonder how that came about?

RAIN ROBINSON – AUGUST 13, 2373:

I’ve finally realized how dangerous space exploration can be. While searching for the missing Commander Chakotay and Ensign Kaplan, Voyager came across a starship in the form of a cube. Megan and Jenny called it a Borg cube and it seemed to terrify them and practically everyone else.

“Who in the hell are the Borg?” I demanded.

Jenny replied, “They’re a race of humanoids that are part-organic, part-machine. They’re like . . .”

“Cyborgs!” I added, remembering my television. “Like the ‘SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN’ and ‘THE BIONIC WOMAN!’!” Ah, the glory days of television re-runs. How I miss them.

The twins stared at me with baffled eyes. “What are you talking about?” Megan asked.

I told them about the two television shows I used to watch. “Maybe I’ll find it in the computer database and show it to you, one day. What do these Borgs look like?”

Jenny led me to a computer console, located against one of the walls in the Mess Hall. I swear, this ship is practically a flying Microsoft center. She punched in a few codes and . . .

“Here they are,” she said, pointing to the image on the screen. “The Borg. They’re native to the Delta Quadrant, but they have the technology to travel to other quadrants. Including the Alpha Quadrant, back home. They’ve already tried to conquer Earth once.” So, that’s the Borg. I told Jenny that they look like mechanical zombies. “Not a bad description,” she added.

Then I said, “And the Captain thinks the Commander and Marie Kaplan have been captured by them?”

Megan shook her head. “I don’t think so. I heard from Harry Kim that the drones found inside the cube are dead. I think many of them were killed by some electromagnetic storm.”

Drones? I guess that must be a pretty simile for a zombie. “So, where are they? Commander Chakotay and Kaplan?”

No one could answer my question. At least not until hours later, when the crew found the missing pair on a planet inhabited by survivors of the cube. Well, they found Chakotay, alive and well. Poor Kaplan had been killed by some scavengers who raided the village inhabited by former Borg drones. Among them was a blond woman who had been captured by the Borg, during the latter’s attack upon Earth, several years ago. Everyone seemed to be talking about her and the Commander.

“Is it true?” I asked Neelix, after encountering him near one of those turbolifts on Deck 2. “About the Commander and this Fraizer woman?”

Neelix shrugged. “I have no idea. I haven’t seen Commander Chakotay since he left the ship with Ensign . . .”

At that moment, the doors slid open. Three figures walked out of the turbolift – the Captain, Commander Chakotay and a beautiful, blond-haired woman with blue eyes. Both she and the Commander seemed a bit engrossed with each other. As for the Captain – despite her usual command look, she seemed grim to me. Oh, oh! Something tells me there was a little trouble in Paradise.

Then Janeway noticed Neelix and me. Something like a cross between a smile and a grimace appeared on her face. “Miss Fraizer,” she said in her usual gravel voice, “I’d like to introduce you to our two civilian crewmen. This is our Talaxian guide, Neelix and Miss Rain Robinson. Neelix, Miss Robinson, this is Miss Riley Fraizer.”

We shook hands with the new guest. Miss Fraizer seemed particularly curious as to how a civilian like myself, ended on Voyager. I told her the truth. That I was a visitor from Earth’s past, who had stowed away aboard ship. Both the Captain and Commander Chakotay seemed particularly embarrassed by the whole story.

Finally, we all parted. Neelix and I entered the turbolift, leaving the others behind. “I wonder what that was about,” I said, as the lift took us to Deck Two. “The Captain seemed embarrassed when I told that woman about how I came aboard.”

Neelix replied that he had no idea. “But I did notice something else,” he added. “The Commander and Miss Fraizer. They seemed very focused upon each other. I have the feeling there is some kind of romance between them.”

Good old Neelix. I never really understood why so many of the crew looked down upon him. I’m not saying that they treated him badly. But they have this tendency to be rather condescending. Including, I’m sad to say, Tuvok. They don’t seem to realize that under that comical façade is a pretty sharp fellow.

LIEUTENANT B’ELANNA TORRES – STARDATE 50617.7:

Damn Borg! Next to the Cardassians, they were the most treacherous beings in the Universe. I take that back. They arethe most treacherous. What they did to Chakotay was abominable. And it caused me a lot of pain, as well.

It all started with those former Borg drones we found with Chakotay. Marie Kaplan had been killed, while defending him and the drones from some scavengers. Poor Marie. She was a good engineer. Chakotay had been wounded, and later healed by the ex-drones’ neural transponder. What on earth made Chakotay allow them to use such a device on him, is beyond me. Granted, he was badly wounded. But he had also been conscious enough to know what they were going to do.

Once he was healed, Chakotay became involved with one of the former drones – namely a beautiful blond woman named Riley Fraizer. It seemed she was a former Starfleet officer who had been assimilated by the Borg during the Battle at Wolf 359, some six-and-a-half years ago. To make a long story short, after Miss Fraizer and Chakotay became . . . “friendly”, she and her companions asked Voyager to help build some kind of axonal amplifier. They wanted to create their separate collective. For the defense of their little colony. What baffled me was that Chakotay wanted to help.

After delivering Miss Fraizer and the other former drones some supplies to her friends, Chakotay and I headed back to the ship. During our little journey, my best friend suddenly went “Borg” on me, thanks to that neural processor in his brain, and shot me with a phaser. According to Harry, who told me the rest, he flew to the Borg cube to help Miss Fraizer and her friends reactivate that axonal amplifier, and create their new collective. They also destroyed the cube.

Now, poor Chakotay is feeling guilty for his actions, even if it wasn’t his fault. And I’m still recovering, despite leaving Sick Bay, some five hours ago. Damn Borg! It’s obvious that they cannot be trusted. Even when disconnected from the Collective.

Kahless! This headache is killing me! I need an anglesiac, badly. I returned to Sick Bay to ask for a shot and found the Doctor with another patient. Rain Robinson. What was she doing here?

“There you go, Miss Robinson. Your cut is completely healed.” The Doctor tossed an instrument on a nearby tray. “Working near an opened computer console can be very dangerous.”

Rain sighed. “Yeah Doc. Sure. I’ll be more careful.”

“Good. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to see to Lieutenant Torres.” The Doctor faced me. “Ah, Lieutenant. I see that you have started walking around again. Is that wise? You were supposed to be resting.”

I let out a groan. “I have a headache. And I need something for it. Badly.”

The Doctor picked up a hypospray and filled it. “Here you go, Lieutenant.” He pressed the damn thing against my neck. “This should help. And I also suggest that you get some rest. And not leave your quarters for the rest of the day.”

“I don’t need any rest,” I grumbled. “I’m perfectly capa . . .” Then it hit me. A wave of dizziness that left me grasping for the nearest structure. Namely, a computer console.

A smug look appeared on the Doctor’s face. Since when did holograms start looking smug? “May I assume you’re experiencing some dizziness, Lieutenant?”

I snapped back, “You as . . .” The room began to tilt once more. I sighed in defeat. “Maybe I am feeling a little dizzy.”

“What a surprise.” Really, someone needs to reconfigure his personality subroutines! The Doctor turned to Rain. “Miss Robinson, will you please escort Lieutenant Torres to her quarters?”

I immediately protested, claiming that I did not need an escort. Unfortunately, another wave of dizziness struck me. The Doctor ignored my protests and insisted that Rain escort me. I had no choice but to surrender.

Neither Rain or I exchanged a word with each other – at first. I could tell that she felt uncomfortable in my presence. Just as I did in hers. Sakrari IV still came between us, despite my apology from a month ago. Well, I didn’t really blame her. If I had been attacked by an erratic half-Klingon . . .

“How are you feeling?”

It took me a few second to realize that Rain had spoken. To me. I blinked and responded with a “Huh?” Oh great! Such brilliant dialogue!

“I said,” Rain continued, “how are you feeling? After being shot by Commander Chakotay?”

Did she really have to put it like that? Utilizing every ounce of my patience, I told her that I felt fine, aside from the dizziness. That Chakotay had only stunned me with a phaser. Okay, maybe I had lied a little. Chakotay may have only stunned me, but dammit, it hurt!

Rain, of course, wasn’t fooled. Not with me experiencing constant dizzy spells. I continued to have them all the way to the turbolift. Hell, I didn’t have this much trouble coming here. By the time we reached my quarters, I decided that I needed to put Sakari IV behind us, for good. Again, I tried to apologize for assaulting her, but Rain stopped me.

“Look, you’ve already apologized. There’s no need for you to do it, again. Besides, it wasn’t your fault. Anymore than it was Commander Chakotay’s fault for shooting you.”

I hesitated, feeling embarrassed over her burst of generosity. Strange that Rain never brought up my Klingon temper. I had felt sure that it had scared her. “If you think I’m scared you, I’m not,” she added. I think the woman must be emphatic. “Although I admit that I was a little leery of you, for a while. But I guess you felt the same about Vorik.”

An awkward pause fell between us. So, Rain had been a little leery of me. I’m not surprised. She was right about me feeling the same about Vorik. And now, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll harbor similar feelings about Chakotay. Will he suddenly become Borg again and attack us, now that we’re edging toward Borg space?

We arrived at my quarters. Before I could punch out my entry code, I did something stupid. I told her that she had no reason to worry about me. I also added that I would never attack her in such a manner again. “I admit that I have something of a temper. It’s the Klingon in me. But you won’t have anything to worry about, from now on.”

Rain gave me a curious look and said something that took me off-guard. “What does your being Klingon have to do with your temper?”

I blinked. Surely, her old buddies, the Delaney sisters, have told her about me? About Klingons in general? “I’m half-Klingons,” I said, as if speaking to a child. “Klingons have bad tempers.”

“So do Humans. And I’ve heard that Bajorans are also temperamental. What’s the big deal?”

Kahless! Was this woman obtuse? Or blind? Doesn’t she understand what I’m trying to say? Or do I have to bring up Sakari IV again? I explained, “Humans may have bad tempers, but they are nothing in compare to the Klingon temper.” We entered my cabin. Rain led me to the sofa.

“Hey, I’ve read about the Klingons in the ship’s computer,” she replied. “The only difference I see is that Klingons are stronger and more openly aggressive. I think your opinion of Humans might be a little too high. Just like everyone else aboard this ship.”

Was she trying to tell me that Humans are not that different from Klingons? I nearly laughed aloud. Poor woman, wait until she sees her first full-bloodied Klingon. If she ever gets the chance. Or perhaps Humans from her time were a little more violent . . .

“I know what you’re thinking,” she added, cutting into my thoughts. “That perhaps Humans from the 20th century are more violent. Maybe they are. Then again, after getting to know this crew, I’ve discovered one thing. Humans – back in my time and the ones, today – seemed to think they’re rational and civilized and above violent behavior. But when something goes wrong or someone stands in their way,” a smirk appeared on her face, “look out! They can become real savages. Like your friend, Harry. I’ve noticed that he tends become anxious or volatile whenever something unexpected happens. If you don’t believe me, watch him. Or some of the others. You’ll see it happen right before your eyes.”

What had made her so anti-Human? Rain seemed to regard them the same way I regarded Klingons. She must have went through a hell of a time, before meeting Tom and Tuvok. Perhaps some time spent in the 24th century would teach her to appreciate how much her species have evolved. She’ll see how wrong she was about Humans . . . and Klingons.

Only I kept my thoughts to myself and instead, smiled and asked her to replicate some drinks for us both. Rain replicated a cup of raktijino for me, and declined a drink for herself. She claimed that she had to return to duty. Which she did.

In the end, I guess we finally put Sakari IV behind us. And I must admit that it was a relief to know someone who did not seem put off by my Klingon half. But she will. Eventually. Both her and Tom. It’s only a matter of time.

END OF BOOK VII

“The Rain Chronicles” [PG] – Book VI




“The Rain Chronicles” [PG] – Book VI

Rain Robinson of ”Future’s End” ends up on Voyager, following her adventures with Tom Paris and Tuvok in late 20th century Earth. Here is Book VI. 

————- 

RAIN ROBINSON – JULY 17, 2373:

Christ! What a surreal day this has been! Who would have thought a simple mineral gathering expedition would turn into some bizarre journey into alien sex, lust and violence. Hmmm, sounds like a bad “B” movie. 

Anyway, I know one thing. Never get between a lust-driven Klingon and the object of her desire. Damn! My shoulder hurts just from remembering what happened. And all because Ensign Vorik went into some mating frenzy. Something he had managed to pass on to B’Elanna. Tuvok explained it all to me. 

I was in Sick Bay, being treated by the Doctor (when is that man ever going to find a name?) when Tuvok entered. B’Elanna had already left, thank God! I really couldn’t face her at that moment. And Vorik remained unconscious on one of those beds. “There you go, Miss Robinson,” the Doctor said, after waving some instrument over my shoulder. “You’re completely healed.” 

Aside from a bit of soreness, the Doc was right. I sighed with relief. Tuvok halted in front of me. “Miss Robinson, he greeted, “how are you feeling?”

I tenderly moved my shoulder. “Fine. I can’t say the same about Vorik,” I added, staring at the unconscious man. “Looks like he’s still out cold. What happened down there?” 

Tuvok opened his mouth to speak, when he noticed the Doctor staring at him with anticipated interest. “If you don’t mind, Doctor. This is a private conversation.” The Doctor let out a grunt and retreated to the office behind the glass wall. Tuvok continued, “Both Ensign Vorik and Lieutenant Torres had been affected by the pon farr.” 

“Yeah, I remember you mentioning that on the planet, below. But what does it mean?” 
Tuvok shot a glance at the Doctor’s office and sighed. “Considering what happened to you, today, you deserve an explanation.” Then he gave me one. 

Pon farr – the Vulcan term for the time of mating. According to Tuvok, the Vulcan ‘s reserve and logic are completely ripped away by an intense mating desire. Many Vulcans discover their life-long mates when they experience pon farr. If any of them are unable to sexually satisfy their urges, a chemical imbalance forms in the brain, causing the Vulcan to become even more violent. This is called plak-tow. The “blood fever”. And this happens to the Vulcan every seven years of the adult life. Christ! 
“You mean to tell me that sex is the only way to satisfy these urges?” I asked. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. 

Tuvok replied, “As I had explained on the planet, it can be resolved three ways – intercourse, meditation or combat ritual.” 

“And B’Elanna and Vorik got rid of theirs the third way. Through hand-to-hand combat.” 

“Precisely.” Tuvok nodded. 

The explanation continued. It seemed that Vorik had chosen B’Elanna to be his life-long mate. When she rejected him, the plak-tow got worse and he attempted to telepathically link with her. This is how Vulcans become couples and it usually happens during a Vulcan’s pon farr. Although the mind link failed, Vorik had accidentally transferred his mating urges to B’Elanna. Which explained her overtures toward Tom and my aching shoulder. 

I asked, “Why didn’t Vorik use meditation to get over this pon farr? It seems it would have been a lot easier.” 

“Actually, Miss Robinsnon, meditation is the most difficult method.” Tuvok maintained his usual stoic demeanor. “Most Vulcans rarely succeed in resolving their pon farr through meditation. It is extremely difficult to resolve. As you have witnessed from Ensign Vorik and Lieutenant Torres’ actions. In a way,” he released a rare sigh, “pon farr is like a side effect of the Vulcans’ tradition of suppressing our emotions.” 

Well, I had a simple answer to that. “Then maybe you shouldn’t suppress your emotions,” I replied with a shrug. 

“Miss Robinson, you have seen a Vulcan with his control of his emotions, ripped away. Imagine all Vulcans consistently behaving in that manner if we did not suppress our emotions. There have been cases of Vulcan sects who refuse to suppress their emotions and maintain that doing so is unnecessary. However, in the end, they have been proven wrong. In fact, Vulcans are so naturally volatile, we have to meditate on a daily basis to maintain control of our emotions.”

Memories of a violent Vorik challenging Tom for B’Elanna’s hand, entered my thoughts. Now that I think about it, I would prefer that Tuvok and Vorik keep their emotions in check. “I understand,” I finally said. 

Tuvok nodded. “Good. Do you have any further questions?” I told him no and heaved an exhausted sigh. Tuvok must have noticed my reaction, for he added, “I suggest that you retire to your quarters for rest, Miss Robinson. This day has obviously proven to be quite exhausting for you.” 

Knowing good advice when I heard it, I nodded once more and left Sick Bay. 


RAIN ROBINSON – JULY 18, 2373:

The following day, I received a visitor in my quarters. It was Vorik. Gone was the violent expression and odd light in his eyes. Aside from looking slightly exhausted, he seemed his usual self. “Miss Robinson,” he greeted. 

I tried to smile, but failed in the attempt. Those last moments on Sakari IV keep entering my mind. “Vorik. What are you doing here?” I knew the answer. But I wanted to hear it from his lips. 

A faint green blush colored his face. Green blood? “I came here to apologize, Miss Robinson. For my actions. What I did was . . . unpardonable. I never meant . . .” 

“Wait a minute,” I said, interrupting. “Why are you apologizing? You never attacked me.” 

“If I had not attacked B’El . . . Lieutenant Torres, she would have never injured your shoulder.” True. Can’t argue with the truth. Vorik continued, “I realize that I can never repay for what happened . . .” 

I interrupted him for the second time. “Vorik, I understand what happened to both you and B’Elanna. Tuvok explained everything.” 

“Oh.” His face became even greener. He looked embarrassed. Almost ill. 

Then I asked him, “How many times has this . . . uh, pon farr happened to you?” 
Embarrassment flitted across his face. Vorik murmured, “I’m sorry, Miss Robinson, but that subject is considered . . .” 

“I realize that it’s a taboo subject, Vorik,” I quietly responded. “But after what happened, I think I at least deserve an answer.” 

His expression tightened for a second. And then, “Of course.” Vorik took a deep breath. “The answer to your question is this was my first experience with the pon farr.”

Hmmm, no wonder he went off the deep end. Then again, I recalled Tuvok stating that for a Vulcan, controlling one’s pon farr does not get any easier with age. Seven years from now, I plan to remain locked inside my quarters. I asked, “Have you spoken to B’Elanna since our return to the ship?” 

Vorik replied that he had just paid a visit to the Chief Engineer’s quarters and offered an apology. “She has accepted it.” He paused. “Somewhat. However,” his dark eyes looked slightly embarrassed, “I have suggested that I spend the next month on Gamma Shift. It would be easier for both of us, since she seems to be a little uncomfortable in my presence.” 

Hell, I don’t blame B’Elanna. I don’t exactly relish being in the same room with her, right now. 

——–

Several hours later, B’Elanna approached me during lunch, in the Mess Hall. Amazing. The moment I felt her presence, I became immediately tense. I guess I expected her to fly into a rage and toss my body across the room. Ridiculous, of course. But it’s hard to get over being attacked by a half-Klingon in a state of pon farr.

Like Vorik, B’Elanna offered an apology for what happened on Sakaris IV. And like the other engineer, she seemed very embarrassed. I told her that I understood her actions. Did I? Maybe, I did. At least a part of me did. I added, “Both Tuvok and Vorik explained everything to me.” 

“Vorik?” The lieutenant’s eyebrows shot up several inches. “You’ve spoken with Vorik?” 

Surprised by her reaction, I replied, “Yeah. He wanted to apologize. I understand that he’s done the same to you.” 

B’Elanna nodded. “Yeah. I uh . . . he came to my quarters, this morning.” 

“I guess he’ll be starting on the Gamma shift, today,” I added.

Dark brown eyes narrowed. “He told you about that also, huh?” B’Elanna did not look particularly pleased by that bit of news. Or the fact that I knew. Why, I have no idea. 

Coolly, I replied, “Yeah, he did. Why? Is there a problem? Vorik told me that he had volunteered for that shift.” In any other situation, tempers would be flying right now. Including mine. But I suspected that both of us wanted to avoid any further conflict between us. Especially, after what happened on Sakari IV. 

“Of course. I . . .” Once more, B’Elanna’s words froze. Christ! This conversation seemed to be growing more uncomfortable. Frankly, I wished she would just leave. A moment later, my wish came true. “Never mind.” B’Elanna nodded and gruffly said good-bye. Then she left. For how long, I don’t know.


LIEUTENANT TOM PARIS – STARDATE 50553.18:

What a damn mess this has been! All because of that damn Vorik who didn’t have the decency to keep his hands to himself! Hell, he’s a Vulcan for crying out loud! One would think he could have learned to control that pon farr!

And B’Elanna! What an awful thing for her to experience! All because that bastard couldn’t control his damn libido and keep his hands to himself! Thanks to Vorik, B’Elanna became infected by the pon farr, nearly went berserk, assaulted both Rain and myself; and nearly died of a chemical imbalance in her brain. Shit! 

Perhaps I should have relieved her blood fever in the Sakari caves. But I felt unable to take advantage of her like that. It would have ruined our friendship. Even worse, I couldn’t have done with Rain looking on. That really would have ruined any semblance of a relationship we had left. God! What an awful mess!

Once we found Tuvok and Chakotay, the former practically ordered me to have sex with B’Elanna. On one hand, I’ve always wondered what making love with B’Elanna would be like. On the other hand, there was Rain. I saw the look of horror in her eyes when Tuvok gave the order. As much as I hated Vorik for interrupting B’Elanna and me, a part of me felt relieved over the interruption. 

I did not see either Rain or B’Elanna for the next three days. Finally, I encountered B’Elanna in one of the turbolifts. She tried to dismiss her actions on Sakari IV as something meaningless that had occurred, due to Vorik’s pon farr. A part of me just could not allow her to get away with that. I told her that her Klingon side did not frighten me one bit. And that I would like to see more of it. You know what she said before leaving the turbolift? “Be careful of what you wish for, Lieutenant.” Was that an invitation? 

B’Elanna’s words took me by surprise. But Rain’s comments, later that evening, shocked the hell out of me. Left me practically stunned. 

It started after my encounter with B’Elanna. I spotted Rain inside the Mess Hall, for dinner. Sitting with Vorik, of all people! What the hell was she doing with that bastard? 

I felt so outraged that I confronted Rain inside her quarters, an hour later. “What the hell were you doing speaking with that bastard?” I cried out, after she ushered me inside. 

Rain stared at me with stunned eyes. “What? What are you talking about?”

“Vorik! I saw you having dinner with him about an hour ago, in the Mess Hall! How can you even be around that bastard, after what he did . . .” 

“To B’Elanna?” she finished rather nastily. “You forget. It was she who attacked me. And you. Not Vorik.” 

I shouted back, “It was Vorik who practically mind raped her in the first place! Giving her that damn pon farr!” By then, I felt furious.

Equally furious, Rain reminded me that B’Elanna had tried to rape me in the Sakari caves. “And that was before she threw me against the cave’s wall! Dislocating my shoulder!” 

“She was under the pon farr!” 

“So was Vorik! Or have you forgotten?” 

I could not believe this! How could Rain defend Vorik for what he did? I asked her that, adding, “At least B’Elanna has an excuse! She wasn’t used to being under some influence, common to Vulcans!” 

Rain stared at me with a look that dripped with contempt. A look that made me feel very uneasy. “Oh, I get it. It’s okay to excuse B’Elanna for attacking us, but not Vorik for attacking her.” 

Jesus! Was she this stubborn? How could I get her to understand? “Rain, didn’t you hear what I said about B’Elanna?” Frustration oozed in my voice. “B’Elanna has an excuse. Vorik doesn’t!” 

“Oh, gee Tom! I hate to tell you this. Whether any of us like it or not, he does have an excuse. It’s called pon farr!”

“You don’t know what you’re . . .” 

Then she exploded. “For God’s sake! You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, do you? Do you have any idea what pon farr is like for a Vulcan? Do you?” Staring into those impassioned dark eyes, I found myself unable to respond. “Neither do I!” Rain continued. “At least not personally. But Tuvok gave me a pretty good idea what it is like. Did you really expect Vorik or any other Vulcan to control their pon farr just like that?” She snapped her fingers. “Hell, they have to meditate on a daily basis just to maintain control of their emotions. Jesus, Tom! You saw how it affected B’Elanna. Well, it affects Vulcans, just as bad. And if you think all Vorik had to do was take a cold shower or masturbate, while reading a “PLAYBOY” magazine . . .” 

“Play what?” I asked. 

Rain’s eyes narrowed even further. “A pornographic magazine,” she hissed. “Controlling the pon farr is not as easy as you seem to think, for Vulcans. This is serious shit for them. Most of them can’t even control it without sex or violence. Meditation rarely works, as well. Even for Vulcans with long experience with pon farr. And this was Vorik’s first time at the bat!” 

I opened my mouth to speak, but I could not. I wanted to deny Rain’s words. Tell her that she was wrong. But she did not give me the chance. Even worse, I had the horrible feeling that she may be right.

“What were you about to say?” she continued. “Hmm, I guess being a Human, you don’t really understand what going through thepon farr means. Do you? You know, for a man who prides himself on being tolerant, you sure can be narrow-minded! Was that how the rest of the crew were to you, two years ago?” 

I gave her a sharp look. How did she . . .? Of course! The ship’s computer.

“That’s right,” she said, confirming what I suspected. “I read your Starfleet record. All about Caldik Prime and serving time in prison. Maybe accidentally killing three people and lying about it doesn’t quite add up to assaulting a fellow officer, while under a chemical imbalance. But like it or not, Vorik has a hell of a better excuse than you do.” 

People have accused me of a lot of things. Cowardice, murder, lying and God knows what. But I have never been accused of being a bigot. Or a hypocrite. Until now. 

Rain spoke one last time. “Now, if you’ll excuse me,” she marched to the door and opened it, “I’d like to be alone.” 

Still dazed, I slowly walked out of her quarters. I later learned from Harry that Vorik had volunteered for duty during Gamma shift, for the next four weeks. To be honest, I barely heard him. My thoughts remained fixed on the words that Rain had hurled at me, earlier that evening. I also realized something else. I never did find out what Rain and Vorik were talking about, during dinner. 


END OF BOOK VI

“The Rain Chronicles” [PG] – Book V




“The Rain Chronicles” [PG] – Book V

Rain Robinson of ”Future’s End” ends up on Voyager, following her adventures with Tom Paris and Tuvok in late 20th century Earth. Here is Book V. 

————- 

RAIN ROBINSON – JUNE 9, 2373:

Voyager is at some space station near the edge of an area called the Nekrit Expanse. There, Neelix had a reunion with an old friend named Wixiban. I’m glad. Ever since he and Kes broke up, he has been in the dumps. He also confessed a fear that Captain Janeway might toss him off the ship, now that Voyager will be traveling through an area unfamiliar to him. I think the poor man is suffering from a major identity crisis. But then, aren’t we all?

I also encountered one of B’Elanna Torres’ engineers. He’s a Vulcan named Vorik. Unlike Tuvok, his skin is pale and he’s also a lot younger. Don’t get me wrong. I like Tuvok, but he does remind me of some elder statesman, sometimes. Vorik seems friendlier. Warmer. He even volunteered to fix the replicator in my quarters. Maybe I’ll get a chance to know him, better.


LIEUTENANT B’ELANNA TORRES – STARDATE 50442.37:

Poor Neelix! He has certainly endured a lot over the past month or so. First, Kes breaks up their relationship for good. And now, he has to spend the next two months, scrubbing dilithium chambers. Punishment from Janeway for getting involved in an illegal drug deal. Neelix, a drug dealer. I just can’t imagine!

Neelix and his friend’s little drug trade also resulted in a murder on the station. Which led to Chakotay and Tom being arrested for the crime. I was nearly beside myself when I heard the news. Rain Robinson didn’t seem concerned. Which struck me as very odd. But then, her attitude toward Tom has been odd ever since she boarded this ship. Perhaps she doesn’t love him, after all.


RAIN ROBINSON – JUNE 10, 2373:

When I heard that Tom had been arrested for murder, I nearly had a fit! It was all I could do from storming Captain Janeway’s office and demand that she do something about Tom. Until I remembered that Tom has no feelings toward me, other than as a friend. Since he’s so interested in B’Elanna Torres, I decided that she should be the one to storm the Captain’s office.

Ensign Vorik finally came by to fix my replicator. Like I said before, he’s a nice guy. We even have something in common – we both enjoy mountain climbing and are very good at it. He told me a lot about Vulcan – the people, the language, and its history. According to him, Vulcans and Humans first met some 210 years ago, when a Vulcan scout ship had detected a warp signature in Earth space. I recall reading about the Federation’s “First Contact” from the ship’s database. And about Ephram Cochrane.

For some reason, Tom and Lieutenant Torres popped into my mind. I began wondering about the Vulcans’ first contact with the Klingons. Or Earth’s. When I brought up the subject of Klingons with Ensign Vorik, two odd things happened. One, a strange light appeared in his eyes. And two, he began praising B’Elanna’s name to the skies. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that Vorik had a crush on her. 

“Excuse me, Ensign,” I began, curious over Vorik’s behavior, “do you have feelings for . . . uh, Lieutenant Torres?”

He looked startled for a moment. Like a kid whose hand had been caught inside the cookie jar. “I, uh . . .” He blinked. Then, “Why yes. As a Vulcan, I have the greatest respect for Lieutenant Torres. She is a competent chief engineer and commanding officer.” His voice seemed calm and full of respect. But his eyes told another story. They practically brimmed with deep emotion. Strange, considering what I’ve heard about Vulcans. Looks like B’Elanna has two men mooning over her. Figures.


RAIN ROBINSON – JUNE 18, 2373:

Busy day for me, today. I got to experience my first inversion nebula. I must admit that I found it just as thrilling, viewing it from the Bridge. Especially since I never saw those super novas, from last month. I may not be that crazy about Janeway, but I am grateful that she allowed me on the Bridge to view the nebula. I must thank Jenny, Megan and Tuvok for asking her permission.

Later this evening, Neelix hosted a luau in Holodeck Two. It was great! Well, at first. Polynesian music, exotic drinks (I asked for a Mai Tai, of course), and great food. I managed to replicate this deep blue dress with white orchid prints and a halter top. Ensign Pat Mulcahey seemed particularly enamored of the dress. He even asked if I would like to share a private table. But I said no. He’s a nice looking guy, but a little too shallow for my tastes.

Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay arrived at the holodeck, arm-in-arm. They looked like the happy couple – she, smiling at the partygoers and he, shooting love-sick glances her way, when she wasn’t looking. Poor sap. He must really be infatuated with her.

The Doctor was also there, with a girl on each arm, looking like the star of “Bond Goes Hawaiian”. And then there was Tuvok, the last person I had expected to appear at this bash. Strange, he’s a bigger loner than I am. I wonder what drew him to the luau? Seconds after his arrival, Tuvok’s eyes focused upon some blond holocharacter, playing a game. Ah hah! So, that’s why he decided to break his “fortress of solitude” and join the party.

Not long after Tuvok appeared, new arrivals joined the luau. It was Tom and B’Elanna. She wore a nice, white dress with thin straps and maroon flower prints. It went well with her skin tone. Tom wore this cool Hawaiian shirt that reminded me of the ones my dad used to wear. Of course, that pleasant memory faded, once I realized how perfect they looked together. 

Then I saw the most amazing thing. Vorik appeared at B’Elanna’s side and said something to her, causing her eyes to grow wide. And Tom’s. Like a zombie in a horror film. Still in a state of shock, B’Elanna allowed Vorik to lead her to a private table. And there stood Tom, looking like a big chump. Interesting.


LIEUTENANT B’ELANNA TORRES – STARDATE 50462.21:

What in the hell was I thinking? Why did I allow Vorik to lead me away from Tom, like that? It was not what I had expected. Or wanted.

I had expected an evening with Tom, Harry and Vorik. I wanted an evening with Tom. Alone. Harry didn’t bother to show up. Vorik suddenly remembered a conversation about my favorite view and took advantage of the situation. I felt so surprised that I didn’t bother to put up any resistance.

Then something worse happened. Tom’s gaze shifted from Vorik and myself to Rain Robinson. And although she was surrounded by the Delaneys, Pat Mulcahey, Ken Dalby and Chell, her eyes managed to return Tom’s gaze. And for a brief moment, I had the feeling of watching electricity sizzle between two entities. Thank Kahless, Rain finally looked away and remained with her friends. Despite her eventual rejection, that exchange of looks told me one thing – Tom has not lost interest in the woman from the past. And I suspect that she feels the same.


RAIN ROBINSON – JULY 16, 2373:

Voyager has come upon a planet rich with gallicite. According to Jenny, gallicite is a mineral substance used for the construction of warp field coils. I’m not going to get into what the hell all of this means, other than it has something to do with the ship’s ability to travel at a fast speed. The name of the planet is called Sakaris IV and the ship is now orbiting around it. Jenny also told me that B’Elanna Torres will be leading a team to collect the gallicite.

Where do I fit in all this? Well, the original team was supposed to consist of B’Elanna, Neelix, Vorik and Tom, who is also a climbing expert. Apparently, Vorik went berserk in Engineering and tried to attack B’Elanna. I knew he was crazy about her, but this is ridiculous. I wonder what made him, of all people, go off the deep end like that? Anyway, to make a long story short, guess who has been chosen to replace Vorik on the mission? That’s right! Me. Someone – either Vorik, Tom, Neelix, or one of the Delaneys – must have informed the Captain about my particular skill. I don’t know who, but I am grateful. After spending over two months in space, I’ll finally have the opportunity to get off this damn ship. Hell, I’ve been going stir crazy!


LIEUTENANT B’ELANNA TORRES – STARDATE 50541.36:

Everything has gone to hell, thanks to that p’taq, Vorik! Him and his damn pon far! I should have known something was amiss when he proposed marriage to me! Naturally, I said no. What made that idiot think I would ever be interested in him? After I rejected him, that . . . that bastard attacked me, by trying to establish a mind meld. I paid him back by breaking his jaw. Too bad the Doctor healed it immediately. I would have liked to see him suffer.

After Vorik’s attack, everything seemed like a haze. Neelix mentioned to the Captain, a possible candidate to replace Vorik. I didn’t think we need one. Neelix and Tom would have suited me just fine. To my surprise, it turned out to be Rain Robinson. Great! Now, I’ll have deal with the Blast From the Past, cozying up to Tom during the entire mission. Huh! Not if I can help it! I became determined to make sure that she would not occupy much of Tom’s attention. Damn pon far playing upon my aggressiveness, I guess.

As we climbed down into one of the underground caves on Sakaris IV, Neelix’s climbing piston malfunctioned. He dropped to the bottom, taking me along for the ride. Neelix broke his leg. I bruised my shoulder, sprained my ankle and lost my temper. Even worse, I bit Tom’s chin in a fit of anger and desire, declaring him as my mate in the worst Klingon manner. Kahless! I never thought Human blood could taste so . . . intoxicating! But I didn’t hang around to deal with my actions. Especially with Miss “Know-It-All” Robinson witnessing the entire scene.

Someone must have informed Voyager on what happened. Probably Tom. Not long after I had found a supply of gallicite, Tom and Rain arrived, with Chakotay and Tuvok in tow. I really didn’t notice the others. Only Tom. Everyone tried to explain that I had been afflicted with the pon far and need to return to the ship. I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. I was too dizzy and simply longed to be with Tom. Alone.

It never happened. Several Sakarians decided to make their presence know. There was this avalanche and the next thing I knew, I was alone with Tom. And Rain Robinson. As if matters couldn’t get any worse. I tried to ignore her, pretend that she didn’t exist. Unfortunately, it didn’t help. Especially after I . . . oh God! What the hell was I thinking? I guess I simply couldn’t keep my hands off Tom any longer. There seemed to be this fever within me, urging me to mate with him. So, I tried to seduce him. Right in front of Rain. When he rejected me, it simply became too much. I attacked him. Tackled him to the ground, determined to . . . I guess I wanted to have sex with him. The idea of his body pressing against mine, and the touch of those hands just overwhelmed me.

Two things happened. Rain tried to intervene and I tossed her aside like a rag doll. Then Tom scrambled away from my grip and out of harm’s way. Even worse, he began paying attention to Rain, who seemed to be hurt. I thought she was faking, until Tom declared that I had sprained her shoulder. Oddly enough, I felt frustrated, instead of embarrassed.

Things got hazy again, when we finally reconciled with Tuvok and Chakotay. Tuvok, bless him, insisted that Tom mate with me in order to quench my plak-tow – my blood fever. And this time, Rain would not be able to stop us. She didn’t, but that p’taq, Vorik, did. He had escaped Voyager and interrupted what could have been some great sex. Goddamn Vulcan! Vorik challenged Tom for my hand! I didn’t need Tom or anyone else to kick that bastard’s ass! I did it myself. Thoroughly.

But it’s over now. My fever is gone, and so is my opportunity with Tom. He has seen my . . . well, my Klingon side at its worse. Kahless! I must have really scared him off. Looks like Rain will have him all to herself. Damn!


END OF BOOK V