Tom piloted the Delta Flyer through the planet's atmosphere.
Ion storms raged around them. Things were a little bumpy, in more ways than one.
"Take it easy, flyboy. I'm the one who has to fix this
thing,” B'Elanna Torres told him, testily. She was obviously angry at him for something.
"Yes, ma'am." Tom smiled brazenly as he threw the arrogant
reply over his shoulder.
B'Elanna marveled, briefly, how the captain managed
to restrain herself when Tom did that to her on the bridge. It's a wonder he hadn't been busted down to ensign a long
"Do you think obtaining the galacite will be as much
fun as the last time we needed it?" Tom asked the irritated half-Klingon, innocently.
B'Elanna's head snapped back, as if she had been struck.
Her eyes narrowed. Memories of her run in with the Vulcan Pon Farr washed over her.
Tuvok raised an eyebrow, but remained silent.
He questioned the logic of angering Lt. Torres further. Sitting in the co-pilots seat, Chakotay's
eyes widened at Tom's audacity. Did he have a death wish? He hadn't seen him antagonize B'Elanna this much in years.
What in the name of the Spirits was going on between the two of them?
Earlier that morning....
"I don't see why you won't move in here with me," Tom
bit out angrily. He was annoyed with B'Elanna, this discussion had been revisited more than once in the last month.
He zipped up the jacket to his uniform and sat down on the couch to put his boots on.
"I just don't want to announce to the whole ship that
we are sleeping together."
Why couldn't he just drop this, she wondered.
Tom looked at her, stunned. It's not as if it was a
"Um... I'm pretty sure everybody -knows- we're sleeping
together. If they didn't before, they sure do after that scene with you and Seven a while back."
B'Elanna groaned silently and closed her eyes, she could
hear that smug Borg's voice all over again. "There is no one on Deck 9, Section 12 that does not know when you are having
Jolting herself back to the present, she looked him
square in the eye.
"That's beside the point. This would be an open admission,”
she snapped back.
"An open admission to what? That you love me and want
to be with me?" Tom's temper began a slow burn.
"I'm not moving in here, end of discussion." She stood
defiantly, near the bedroom door, hands on her hips.
"This discussion is not over! I want to know the real
reason behind this." He stood up and faced her, his body tense with anger.
"I told you why. Now leave it alone." B'Elanna
lowered her arms and tried to walk past him.
Tom wasn't about to let this drop. He grabbed her
upper arm as she tried to pass. It was a mistake, he knew it instantly. Trying to strong arm his mate was never wise. Her
body stilled. She looked up at him. There was fire in her eyes. Unfortunately, they were not flames of passion.
"I said 'leave it alone.' We are not getting into this."
Her voice was quiet with barely constrained rage.
If he was going to die, he might as well have an answer
to what he really wanted to know.
"Is this because we aren't married?" he asked.
"Of course not, don't be ridiculous,” she answered,
but the heartbeat-long pause before she die was telling. "I told you, I don't believe in that archaic Klingon tradition. Just
because we are sleeping together doesn't mean we have to be married. Besides, you're not exactly the type to settle down.
Are you, Tom?"
He stiffened at the insult. The 'Paris mask' fell into
place and he viewed her through guarded eyes.
"I guess not." He turned on his heel and stalked out
of the cabin.
Sitting at the Engineering station on the Delta Flyer,
B'Elanna seethed. Tom was deliberately antagonizing her, she knew it. He was retaliating for this morning, she had hurt him.
She had regretted the words as soon as they had left her lips. He had hit too close to the truth, but she couldn't tell him
that. So she did what she always did. She pushed him away, hard.
As sharp jolt pulled her out of her revive.
"What was that?" she demanded.
"We have been caught in some kind of tractor beam. It
is originating from the Northern continent, at the site of the galacite readings," Tuvok answered.
"I can't break us out. Paris to Voyager--we're being
pulled to the surface by a tractor beam." There was no response.
"They're jamming our communication," Chakotay informed
"I'm going to try..." Tom was cut off as a blinding
flash of light illuminated the cockpit.
Suddenly, they were sitting on the floor of a large
room. There were several bunks in the room and nothing else. Chakotay stood up and went to the door. It didn't open.
"Is anybody there?" He called out as he pounded on the
door. No answer came. He tapped his comm-badge.
"Chakotay to Voyager. Come in Voyager." Again, no answer.
Chakotay turned to face his away team. They had risen
from the floor as well. He took note of the tension in Tom's body, ready to do battle at a moments notice; the fact that Tuvok
was rapidly assessing the current situation and the cell they were trapped in; and B'Elanna had already approached the door
mechanism and was trying to access it's controls. The crew of Voyager has been together so long, sometimes verbal interaction
was almost unnecessary.
B'Elanna jumped back as the door opened. Two armed guards
entered followed by a third man who did not carry a weapon.
They were a large species, humanoid, taller than Tom
by several inches. Solidly muscled and fierce. They had heavily ridged eye sockets, that were connected by ridged tissue to
the tops of their ears. The dark blue jumpsuits they wore were obviously military uniforms. They reminded Tom of the Cardassians.
It was the unarmed man that worried Tom the most. The
alien's gaze had come to rest on B'Elanna, and Tom did not like what he saw in his eyes. He took a step forward and positioned
himself between B'Elanna and their captor. He knew this would anger her, but he didn't care.
"Why have you imprisoned us here?" Chakotay demanded.
"You have invaded Lynarian air space. You are the ones
who shall be answering questions," one of the armed guards replied.
"Why are you here?" the leader directed the question
"My name is Chakotay, Commander on the Federation Starship
Voyager. We are in need of some galacite. The ion storms in your atmosphere interfered with our attempts to communicate with
the surface so we brought a shuttle in hopes to obtain what we needed. I am authorized to make a fair trade for the ore,"
the commander told him.
An evil glint shown in their captor's eye.
"Well, Commander, there will be negotiations.
I will be speaking to the captain of your ship about trading for your return. The galacite is not for sale."
As he spoke, the alien approached Tom. One of the guards
followed him and the other remained at the door. Tom's arm reached behind him and pulled B'Elanna closer to his back, shielding
her more. She didn't appreciate the gesture. Violently pulling away from Tom she faced their captor, in all her Klingon glory.
"Our Captain will not negotiate with criminals," B'Elanna
all but spat at the tall alien.
The alien leader's eyes blazed with hunger as he viewed
B'Elanna. He reached out and grabbed her by the hair, pulling her forcefully to him.
Tom went after the man and was immediately struck with
the butt of a phaser rifle along his jaw. B'Elanna, enraged, struck the leader in the jaw. Laughing, he didn't even turn his
head. The sound turned Tom's blood to ice.
"Take this woman to my quarters. I will be there shortly"
His voice was cold and hard. Two new guards came into the room and took B'Elanna by the upper arms.
B'Elanna began fighting like a caged animal, but she
was no match for the larger aliens. More guards had come and they were surrounded. Tom, rising from the floor, went after
her. Tuvok stepped in front of the younger man, stopping him. The guards leveled their weapons on him.
"Getting yourself killed will not help Lt. Torres,"
he told Tom.
"B'Elanna, don't fight him," Tom implored. "It's what
he wants. This means nothing."
Tom was desperate to get through to her, but it was
hopeless. He knew she would fight to her last breath. His eyes met hers, pleading.
Momentarily stopping her struggle, she looked at him.
He could see the battle that raged within her.
In the end, the Klingon in her won. He could hear her
fighting as they took her away.
The leader looked Tom square in the face, and grinned
evilly. Tuvok had to use considerable force to hold the pilot back. Laughing, the alien left. His guards followed.
"She'll be all right, Tom. B'Elanna can take care of
herself," Chakotay said, desperate to believe it himself.
"Not this time,” came Tom's lifeless reply.
B'Elanna stood ram-rod straight in the center of room.
She would not show weakness or fear. She was Klingon. This animal would not take her without a battle. She surveyed the room
looking for possible weapons. The guard at the door watched her intently.
The door hissed opened, and the leader of the aliens
entered. He motioned to the guard.
"You can go now,” the guard nodded and left without
a glance to B'Elanna.
There was a feral gleam in his eyes as he approached
her. She held her ground, she would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her cower.
B'Elanna tensed ready to strike. In her mind she heard
She knew what he was asking, but she couldn't do it.
She was Klingon, she had to fight.
Closing her eyes for a split second, she answered him.
Then she lunged at her captor with all her strength.
In the cell, Tom sat on the edge of one of the bunks.
His elbows resting on his knees and his head buried in his hands. A single tear slipped from the corner of his eye.
B'Elanna's unclothed form materialized on the floor
of the cell. She was laying on her side, curled up in a ball. Tom quickly knelt down next to her, removing his jacket to cover
her. She was a mass of bruises and abrasions. He reached out and gently touched her shoulder. As she opened her eyes the brief
flash of terror he saw there tore his heart in two. With a small cry of recognition she shakily tried to sit up. Tom's reached
out, pulled her close and held her as tight as he dared.
As carefully as he could he pulled her on to his lap,
and sat on the cell floor. He tried vainly to comfort her as she shook violently in his arms. She was having difficulty breathing
and he could feel the blood, that seeped from between her legs, soaking his uniform. She clung to him as if he were her only
hold on life itself. Tom had never seen her so vulnerable, it terrified him. Raising his head he looked at Chakotay. The look in Tom's eyes sent chills down Chakotay's back. He had
seen that type of fury before. It made men do dangerous things.
Tom held B'Elanna, rocking her battered body, soothing
her as best he could. After a while, she fell asleep in his arms. He gently laid her down on one of the bunks. The bastards
hadn't even given them a blanket. Tuvok removed his jacket and handed it to Tom so he could cover B'Elanna more.
Glancing up at the Vulcan to thank him, Tom was caught
off guard at the anger blazing in the other man's eyes. Tom was reminded, once again, that Vulcan's are not devoid of emotions.
They just have better control of them, in most instances.
After making B'Elanna as comfortable as he could he
walked over to where Chakotay and Tuvok were standing.
"How bad is it?" Chakotay asked quietly. He was pale
and shaken. B'Elanna was like a sister to him. He had know her longer than any of them.
"Not good," Tom began. "She has at least one broken
rib, most likely several. Her breath sounds are labored, indicating a punctured lung. She has a broken wrist, and a fractured
clavicle. I can't even begin to guess at the internal injuries," pausing to gather himself he continued. "She's bleeding vaginally
and has tenderness in her abdomen. We need to get her to Voyager, now."
The extent of her injuries had horrified Tom. She had
been brutally savaged. He was surprised she was still alive. Had she been fully human, he doubted she could have withstood
the violence of the rape.
Chakotay nodded and said, "Let's hope the captain has
"Seven, have you been able to break through the ion
storms with the sensors yet?" the captain asked as Seven continued to work at her duty station on the bridge.
"Negative. There is too much interference. I am unable
to isolate their signatures."
"I am not about to negotiate with that man. I want options
people. And I want them now," Janeway stated in no uncertain terms, she was running out of patience. Hold her people hostage,
would he? He didn't know who he was dealing with.
"Take Voyager down through the atmosphere. Once we are
below the storms we will be able to lock on to the away team," Harry suggested. It was the only thing he could think of.
The current helmsman, Ensign Deeis, looked up from the
conn in horror. He wasn't Tom Paris, in the name of the Prophets! He had never taken Voyager into an atmosphere. No one but
Tom had ever landed the ship.
"Um... Captain? Ensign Paris isn't here. Just who did
you have in mind to pilot the ship into the atmosphere?" he asked the captain, knowing full well what her answer would be.
"I believe that's your job, Ensign," she replied, her
tone brooking no argument. "You are qualified for a planet decent? Are you not?"
"Then I guess that answers your question," she told
him with more confidence in her voice than she actually felt. She had learned a long time ago, the belief in yourself and
your crew could get you through almost anything.
"Blue Alert! All hands to battle stations! Prepare for
planetary decent," Captain Janeway announced to the ship.
Turning back to the conn, Deeis Navar offered a small
prayer to the Prophets. He was going to need all the help he could get.
Tom was concerned about B'Elanna. She was feverish and
beginning to drift in and out of consciousness. Helplessly he sat on the floor next to her cot and held her hand. She was
moaning in her sleep, he could feel her pain.
Chakotay had been trying to get a guard to come to the
door, but had given up pounding and yelling when it became apparent no one would come. Tuvok had also given up trying to access
the door controls, they were too well sealed.
Tuvok approached B'Elanna. Tom looked up at him, there
was such pain in his eyes that Tuvok could not help but be moved.
"I believe I can help, Mr. Paris," Tuvok said.
"How?" Tom asked.
"There are certain meditative techniques Vulcan's use
to heal themselves. I may be able to help Lt. Torres use her own body to heal herself. If you'll let me," he told Tom.
"Tuvok, if you can do anything, please try," Tom said.
Tuvok nodded and knelt down at the head of the bunk.
He placed his hand on B'Elanna's cheek.
"My mind to your mind," Tuvok invoked and the connection
began to form.
Tuvok's mind was buffeted by the pain and trauma B'Elanna
was suffering. It was almost overwhelming. Her mind was filled with images of the assault. One brutal act after another. Tuvok
felt his own rage, as well as B'Elanna's, at the alien who abused her. He pushed it aside, he needed to focus on B'Elanna.
He began to force the memories of the rape aside. Pushing them into a corner of B'Elanna's mind. Isolating them from her,
she needed to use all her strength to heal. She would have to deal with those memories later...if she survived.
When he had cleared her thoughts of the trauma he began
to help her with her injuries. Showing her how use her mind to control her body. After a few minutes he began to separate
from her. She could continue on her own.
As he withdrew he felt another presence. It had been
there before, helping him isolate the memories, protecting B'Elanna from them. Opening his eyes he looked at Tom. The blue
eyes that met his blazed of determination and defiance.
"It will not work, Mr. Paris," he informed Tom. Tuvok
understood what drove him to do this, but it couldn't last forever.
"Maybe not, but I can still try," Tom asserted.
Tuvok didn't doubt the younger man's sincerity for a
minute. He just knew that Tom's limited empathic link with his mate would not be strong enough to keep hold of B'Elanna's
memories. Her consciousness was one of the strongest Tuvok had ever encountered.
"Harry, I want you to get the away team out of there
as soon as you get a lock on them. We'll worry about the Flyer after we get our people back," Janeway ordered. "Ensign Deeis,
take us down."
Navar set his course and started towards the planet's
atmosphere. Trying to keep all his knowledge and instructions on this procedure foremost in his mind. He could almost hear
Paris running him through it like he did in the holodeck simulations Tom made his pilots participate in weekly. If he got
the ship through this he was never going to complain about Tom's relentless battle simulations again.
The decent was turbulent, but not as bad as he had expected.
"Shields are down 22 percent," Seven said from her station.
"Reroute power through the deflector dish to compensate,"
"Acknowledged." Seven tapped the panel to reroute the
power. "Shields are holding."
"We're almost through the storms, Captain." Navar announced.
"Mr. Kim, do you have a lock on the away team?" the
"Stand, by....I've got them. Two human, one Vulcan,
and one Klingon. Captain, B'Elanna's life signs are very weak." Harry was concerned.
"Beam them directly to Sickbay, Mr. Kim," she told him.
"Done. All four are in Sickbay."
"What about the Delta Flyer?" Now that her crew members
were recovered she could concern herself with the shuttle.
"I can't get a lock on it. It must be shielded," Harry
"Captain, the General is hailing us," Seven told her.
"Captain Janeway. You have violated Lynarian air space,
leave now or I will be forced to fire on your ship."
"I want my shuttle back, General." She'd had enough
"I believe we spoke earlier as to what I wanted in return
for your shuttle. When you are willing to meet my terms, we can continue this discussion," General Trink cut the channel before
the captain had a chance to answer.
The ship was rocked by a blast. Tuvok, Chakotay and
Tom entered the bridge as another blast struck the ship. They took their stations.
"They are firing photonic cannons at us. Our shields
will not be able to withstand repeated hits," Tuvok reported.
"Mr. Paris, take us above the storms. We will deal with
how to retrieve the Flyer when we are not under fire," Janeway said.
"Aye, Captain. Beginning rapid assent." With in a few
minutes they had achieved a synchronous orbit. After parking the ship in orbit, Tom looked at Ensign Deeis.
"Well done, Navar,” he said with quiet admiration.
The Captain entered Sickbay with Tom right behind her.
When Chakotay had told her what had happened she had headed straight for Sickbay with Tom in tow. Once inside Tom went to
B'Elanna's bed. He began checking her vitals himself, making sure she was all right for himself.
"Captain,” the Doctor beckoned her from his office.
If it was possible for a hologram to look physically ill, this one did.
"Is she going to be all right?" Janeway asked him.
"Physically, yes. I've been able to repair the extensive
damage that was done. I've also taken precautions to make sure a pregnancy does not occur. It's her emotional health I am
worried about. Klingon's believe rape is a dishonor to the woman. A Klingon woman who can't fight off an attacker deserves
to be raped." The disgust of this belief was evident in the Doctor's voice.
"You're not serious!" she exclaimed, stunned. That was
"Unfortunately, I am. Once again we find ourselves in
need of a ship's counselor."
"Tuvok has served in that capacity before, do you think
he could help B'Elanna?" Janeway asked.
"I think he is our only option. Whether or not he can
help, remains to be seen," the Doctor replied.
Tom was relieved to see B'Elanna resting comfortably.
Her injuries had been even worse than he had thought. The Doctor's report had made him ill, when he read it. The animal had
enjoyed hurting her, that much was obvious. All Tom could think of was what he would do to him if he got the chance.
B'Elanna's eyelids fluttered then opened. Tom bent over
so she could see him.
"Hey, there...how do you feel?" he asked softly.
"Terrible. What happened?"
"We were taken hostage, for ransom. The captain brought
the ship down, and got us out," Tom glossed over the events.
There was more to it than that. She could feel it. He
was hiding something from her. Something she should remember...
The memories began to break through the gossamer barrier
erected in her mind. They were too strong for Tom to hold. Slowing he let go, unable to stop the inevitable.
She gasped as the memories returned. Sitting up she
looked wildly about Sickbay. As if she expected her abuser to be there. Tom stood helplessly next to her, his hand resting
on her back. Not knowing what to do. She was breathing rapidly and shaking violently. The Doctor came out of his office as
her bio-alarms started going off.
"B'Elanna. It's all right. You're back on Voyager now,"
the Doctor told her as he administered a mild sedative to calm her.
Her breathing slowed after a few moments and she looked
at Tom. The hollowness in her eyes sent chills down his back. He had seen that look in her before. She almost killed herself
with her reckless behavior the last time it was there.
"Just go, Tom. I'm tired. I want to sleep," she told
The Doctor and he exchanged knowing looks. Tom left
Sickbay without another word. The captain followed him.
"I want to go with the away team to retrieve the Flyer,"
he told the captain in the turbo-lift, as they headed to the bridge.
"I understand you feel the need to go, Tom. But I can't
let you. You're too close to this, your judgment is impaired."
"Computer. Halt turbo-lift," Tom commanded, then turned
to face her.
"I'm asking you as my friend, Kathryn, not my captain.
Please, let me go."
"As your friend, I can't let you. As your captain, I
need you here to pilot Voyager. We will be under fire, you're the best pilot I have. I won't risk the safety of this crew
for your personal vendetta. I'm sending Chakotay, Tuvok and Seven."
Tom realized she was right, but it didn't make him feel
any better. With resignation he instructed the turbo-lift to resume.
Chakotay ran silently through he halls of the Lynarian
installation, flanked by Tuvok and Seven. The could hear the photonic cannons as they fired on Voyager. The battle was their
cover. They need to knock out the shield generator so Voyager could beam the Flyer out.
"The shield generator is just up ahead," Seven said
quietly. "Through those doors." Referring to the double doors that two guards stood on either side of.
Chakotay signaled to Tuvok to take out the guard on
the right while he took the guard on the left. Leveling phasers they fired simultaneously.
The guards collapsed unconscious, on the floor.
Rushing up, Seven opened the door while Tuvok and Chakotay
lifted the guards up and dragged them into the room. Once inside they sealed the doors. Seven began working at the console.
"The shield generator can be overloaded by shutting
down the coolant system," she announced after a few minutes.
"Do it!" Chakotay ordered.
"Coolant system is locked down. I suggest we leave here,
the feed back will cause these counsels to blow out," Seven said.
"All right, let's go." Chakotay picked up his phaser
and Tuvok unsealed the door. Quickly checking down the corridor the trio headed back the way they came.
They just had to wait for the shield generator to go
and the captain would beam them up. They didn't want to use the comm-badges if it wasn't necessary.
They rounded a corner, Tuvok several steps behind Seven
"That will be far enough, Commander," General Trink
cut in behind Chakotay and Seven. Tuvok dropped back and pressed himself up against the corridor wall. Unseen by the general
and his guard.
"I had a feeling I would find you here, trying to take
back your shuttle." As the general spoke Chakotay saw Tuvok come up behind him. They had been rendered unconscious by the
Vulcan before they even felt his hands on their necks. Tuvok lifted the general and began to drag him back to a storage room.
Chakotay followed with the guard. Seven covered them.
"Stand guard, at the door, while I hide them," Tuvok
He pulled the general to a back corner, behind some
boxes. Quickly he went back and got the guard. After making sure they were hid, Tuvok dropped to one knee next to the general.
He placed his hand on the man's cheek.
"My mind to your mind."
He entered the general's mind with a sole purpose. He
opened his mind and gave the general B'Elanna's memories of the rape. All the pain and terror she felt. The horror at being
rendered helpless and taken against her will. He forced the memories into the alien's mind knowing full well what he was doing,
and not caring. If nothing else, this man would know forever the meaning of rape.
"Tuvok, do you need help?" Chakotay called to him.
Breaking the mind meld he stood up and went to the door.
"No, Commander. I am done here," Tuvok told him calmly. There
was no outward trace of what had just transpired.
An explosion could be heard through out the installation.
The three were beamed back to their ship as chaos insued.
"They're back on board, Captain. And I have the Flyer
in the shuttle bay," Harry Kim informed her.
"Very well. Take us out of here, Mr. Paris."
"Yes, Ma'am." It was obvious how much Tom wanted to
"Beginning rapid assent."
"Any problems, gentlemen?" The Captain asked as Chakotay,
Tuvok and Seven got off the turbo-lift.
"None, Captain," Tuvok answered her.
"We've cleared the atmosphere, Captain," Tom informed
"Set a course away from here, Mr. Paris. Warp 8." She
was more than ready to leave this system.
"Course laid in," Tom said.
Tom entered Sickbay. The Doctor had wanted to speak
to him. The captain had relieved him of duty as soon as they had left orbit.
"You wanted to see me, Doc?" He noted that B'Elanna
was no longer in Sickbay, the Doctor must have released her.
"Mr. Paris, yes. I wanted to tell you that I've released
Lt. Torres to her quarters. I think you should know that she has refused to let Commander Tuvok counsel her. She insists she
will handle the problem on her own. I don't believe she can," the Doctor told him.
"Neither do I. I'll talk to her." Tom had know this
would be a battle.
He headed to her quarters. Dreading the oncoming confrontation.
As he entered the turbo lift he realized that she may not have followed the Doctor's orders.
"Computer. Locate Lt. Torres."
--Lt. Torres is in Engineering--
What a surprise.
"Engineering," he instructed the turbo-lift.
When he got to Engineering, she was already gone. Vorik
told him she had come in and grabbed some of her PADD's to work on in her quarters. Tom went after her.
He caught up with her on Deck 9, close to her quarters.
"Hey, wait up," Tom called ahead to her.
Stopping, she turned around to face him with a guarded
"I was just going to lay down for a while. I don't feel
that well," she told him.
"I'll come with you, I've been relieved of duty for
the time being."
"No, I'd rather you didn't. I want to be alone."
"I don't think that's such a good idea, B'Elanna,”
"Look...Tom. I'm fine. I just need to get some rest."
Why couldn't he just go?
"You're not fine. I can see it in you eyes. You need
help with this."
"What? Tuvok? You? I don't think so." She was getting
"You can't pretend it never happened! You have
to get some help."
"I don't have to do anything! Just leave me
alone!" She turned and went into her quarters. Shutting the door behind her.
Tom went to the door and keyed the chime. She didn't
respond. He wasn't about to walk away from this.
"OPEN THIS DOOR, B'ELANNA!" Tom pounded on the
door with his fist. She had engaged the security lock when she had entered.
Tom pounded on the door again.
"I'm not going away. You're going to have to let me
in." He was met with silence.
"Stubborn Klingon," he muttered under his breath.
"Computer. Override security lockout to these quarters.
Authorization Paris-tau-sigma-2-1-8,” he instructed.
"Unable to comply. Level 4 security lockout engaged.
Command Authorization only."
Tom pressed his forehead against the door. She was the
most obstinate woman he had ever known.
"Computer. Override security lockout. Medical Authorization
Paris-beta-2.” She couldn't lock out a medic code.
The door hissed open. It took his eyes a minute to adjust
to the dark room. She was sitting in the corner of her bedroom, on the floor. With her legs pulled up to her chest, and her
arms wrapped around them. Her head rested on her knees.
"B'Elanna,” he spoke softly.
"I don't need any help. I'm fine. I can handle this
on my own," B'Elanna said.
"Like the last time?" Tom quietly asked.
"What are you talking about, what last time?" She
kept her head down.
Tom knelt on the floor directly in front of her, taking
both of her hands in his own. Forcing her to look at him. He wouldn't back down this time. She needed to deal with this.
"When Steth raped you,” he said. She tried to
pull her hands from his, but he tightened his grip.
"No, B'Elanna. Not this time. I let you pull away from
me once, never again. If I had been there for you then, maybe you wouldn't have turned to the holodeck to deal with your pain.
Maybe you could have handled the deaths of your friends without hurting yourself. I promised myself I would never let you
hide from me again."
"You don't know what you're talking about,” her
voice trembled with anger.
"Steth told me. He gloated as he tried to escape in
the shuttle. I waited for you to tell me. At first I thought you didn't realize what had happened, and you didn't did you?
It was almost two weeks later before you knew. I could have killed Harry and his big mouth. Even though it was wrong, I never
wanted you to know. I would have carried that secret to my grave if it meant protecting you from the pain. It wasn't long
before I realized you couldn't stand to have me touch you. You'd tense up, or pull away from me. I didn't know what else to
do, so I let you. I should have forced you to deal with it, with me. The time in your life when you needed me the most, and
I let you push me away. It tore me up inside when Chakotay told me what you had been doing to yourself. I should have seen
it, I should have stopped it." The self-loathing was evident in his voice.
She felt compassion well up in her at his anguish. She
pushed it down, forcing it from her thoughts. She didn't need his help.
"You don't understand. I will handle this on my own.
I don't need yours or Tuvok's help," B'Elanna said.
"Yes, you do. You're not handling it at all. You're
just running away from it. I know you're frightened...." Tom stopped when she cut him off.
"YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!" She screamed. "I am
KLINGON! I should have never allowed this to happen." She pressed her head back against the wall, continuing in a whisper,
"A Klingon woman who lets a man to rape her is without honor."
"Let him rape you?" Tom was furious. "Dear God,
B'Elanna. You didn't let him do anything. You fought him to with-in an inch of your life. You should have 'let him.'
I begged you to 'let him.' I almost lost you because of your damned Klingon honor. What he did was meaningless.
But you were willing to give you life for it. Where is the honor in that?"
"Meaningless? How can you say that? He took what was
yours alone, and I let him. How could you ever want to be with me again?"
"Because it doesn't matter to me. It's not important,
I won't make him important. He isn't worth it. The only thing that matters is you. You're the reason I live for. I'm not about
to let some animal take that away from me."
Tom reached forward and pushed the hair away from her
face. Caressing the ridges on her forehead with his thumb. He had to make her understand. Cupping her face in his hands he
leaned forward and kissed her softly on the lips. Just brushing them with his own.
B'Elanna pushed him away and got up off the floor. She
walked over to the window and stared, unseeingly, out at the stars. Tom sat back on his heels and watched her for a moment.
Noting the stiffness in her spine and the death grip she had on the window ledge. Getting up he crossed the room to stand
behind her. He reached out to put a hand on her shoulder, but thought better of it and let it drop to his side.
"I just want to be alone for a while. Please, Tom."
Her voice was so quiet he had to strain to hear her.
He turned and headed out of the quarters. He stopped just
before the exterior door and looked back at her.
"I'm here for you, you know that, right?" he asked.
B'Elanna's shoulders slumped and she just nodded in
reply. Not turning to him. With a sigh, he left her alone.
Tom walked into the mess hall. He wasn't hungry but
he didn't feel like sitting alone in his quarters. Both the holodeck's were being used for private programs, this was the
next logical place. Being well past the dinner hour there was only a couple of crewmen sitting at a table discussing some
maintenance schedules. Neelix came out from behind the kitchen and greeted Tom.
"Hello, Tom. Can I get you anything?" He was uncharacteristically
subdued in his greeting.
"No, thanks. I just wanted...." Tom paused, not sure
what he wanted.
"Why don't we sit down. I'm done for the night. We can
have something to drink. I'll get it." Neelix indicated to an empty table with his hand. Tom sat down as Neelix went to the
"Two Aldervan Whisky's," Neelix instructed it. The glasses
appeared instantly. He took them over to table and sat down across from Tom.
"Here, you look like you could use this."
"Thanks, Neelix." Tom took a drink and smiled. "The
real stuff, huh? I look that bad?"
"Well, maybe not to everyone else. But I've known you
quite a while, Tom. I can tell when you're bothered by something." Neelix paused to take a drink, and then continued in a
somewhat shaken tone. "It's hard, isn't it? Accepting the fact that another man has forced his way into your lives. Violated
your relationship. Hurt the one you love. It's the helpless rage that gets you the most. You can't fix it. You can't
make it better. You just have to be there for her, so she can work through it herself. It's the hardest thing you will ever
have to do, my friend."
Tom looked at Neelix in shock and sympathy.
"Kes?" He asked.
"There were things about Kes that only I knew. The Kazon
were not kind to her when they held her. Why do you think I was so desperate to rescue her? Jabin hurt her like B'Elanna's
been hurt. I know what you're going through. I just wanted you to know you can talk to me about it."
"Thank you, Neelix. I appreciate it. But right now I
need to focus on B'Elanna. She needs to come to terms with the rape and stop hiding from it. I don't know how to get through
to her." There was desperation in his voice.
"Tom, she is going to have to do this in her own time.
You can't force her to deal with her emotions before she's ready. Just be there for her. Once she feels safe again, she will
be ready. Tuvok will help her. All you need to do...is love her."
Tom finished off his drink and resisted the urge to
hurl the glass across the room. How could he show her he loved her if she kept pushing him away.
"Go ahead. It'll help," Neelix said.
"What?" Tom hadn't heard him.
"Throw the glass. Toss a chair or two. It will help,"
Neelix told him.
Tom looked at his friend in silence for a moment then
"Maybe later, my friend. I think I'm going to go and
get some sleep. It's been a long day." He was bone tired, physically and emotionally.
"That sounds like a good idea, Tom. You could use some
rest. I'll see you in the morning." Neelix stood up and took the empty glasses back to the replicator.
"Thank you, Neelix," Tom said just as he was leaving.
"You're welcome, Tom."
She was calling to him....
"B'Elanna!" Tom cried out as he awoke. He sat up in
bed, shaking and breaking out in a cold sweat. Throwing back the blankets he bolted out of bed and left his quarters
not even bothering to grab a robe. Barefoot he ran though the corridors of Voyager in only his pajama bottoms.
"Deck 9, Section 12," he told the computer as he entered
"Computer override security lock out to Lt. Torres'
quarters. Medical Authorization Paris-beta-2," he gave the command as the turbo-lift took him to Deck 9.
As soon as the doors opened he sprinted to her quarters,
entering at the push of a button.
She was having a nightmare. Screaming for him. Tom went
to her bed and pulled her into his arms.
"Shhh...It's okay," he assured her. "I'm here
now. You're safe." He rocked back and forth as he held her.
"Tom?" She was disoriented from just awaking. She trembled
in his arms. Tom held her tighter. Kissing her on the top of her head.
"Yeah, it's me. You were having a nightmare. Do you
want to talk about it?" he asked, concerned.
"I don't remember it, really," B'Elanna evaded.
"Why don't you tell me what you do remember," he prodded.
She paused for a moment. It was hard to describe what
she had dreamt about.
"It was dark, I couldn't breath. I couldn't move. I
needed you and you weren't there. I just kept calling for you, but you weren't there!" She was sobbing now.
"I'm here, now. I won't leave you." But I wasn't there
when you needed me, was I, he thought to himself.
"Stay with me. I'm sorry I sent you away before. I do
need you," B'Elanna admitted. It was hard for her to show weakness. But she didn't want to be alone anymore.
Tom crawled into bed next to her, holding her close.
Wishing he could take all the pain away. Knowing there was nothing he could do.
"I won't leave you," he promised. "Go to sleep,
you're safe now."
Tom sat at the conn. An uneasiness nagged at him. He
couldn't quite put his finger on it. Something dark hovered at the edges of his mind. It was cloying and terrifying at the
same time. Reaching out to him, pulling him closer...
"No!" he cried out.
The entire bridge crew looked at him in concern.
"Paris to Torres," he activated his comm badge, ignoring
the questioning looks of his friends.
"Tom...." Chakotay but was silenced when Tom raised
"Computer. Locate Lt. Torres," Tom instructed
--Lt. Torres is in her quarters--
Tom looked up to Tuvok.
"Get a security detail down there right now," he told
To his credit, Tuvok didn't hesitate. With in seconds
a security team was enroute to B'Elanna's quarters.
"Mr. Paris! What is going on!" The captain had lost
"I'm sorry, Captain. I don't have time to explain. I
need to get to B'Elanna. Now."
"Tuvok, Chakotay, go with him." She had learned
to trust this man over the years. If he said B'Elanna was in trouble, she believed him.
They arrived at B'Elanna's quarters to find the security
team just standing in the hall.
"What's wrong?" Tuvok asked them.
"She's erected a level 10 force field around her quarters,
with an encrypted lockout. We can't get any closer," the guard told them.
"Chakotay to Kim"
"B'Elanna's put up a force field around her quarters,
can you lower it?"
--I've been trying, Commander. It's encrypted, it's
going to take a while.--
"We don't have a while, Harry!" Tom broke in.
--I'm working on it, Stand by--
Tom flung his body back against the bulk head in frustration.
He should have realized what she was up to. She had been so calm this morning, agreeing to see Tuvok and start counseling,
telling Tom exactly what he wanted to hear. He had failed her, again. And now he was going to lose her because of it.
B'Elanna sat on the floor of her quarters. Candles and
incense burned, illuminating the room.
She picked up the ritual blade used for the Hegh'bat
Normally a family member would hold it for her, but
she had no one on Voyager who would help her do this. She would die alone, disgraced.
Placing the knife over her hearts she began the ritual.
She could feel Tom's desperation. It would be difficult for him to accept her decision. She hoped he wouldn't blame himself.
A vision of him swam before her eyes....
It's all right, I've got you.
B'Elanna? What have they done to you?
No, I can't let you do this.
Oh, believe me, I'd like to. But I know this isn't really
Maybe it will show me how to make your heart quicken.
I'll throw you over my shoulder and carry you out of
here, if I have to.
You picked a fine time to tell me.
I love you.
The memories crashed like waves upon the beach. One
right after the other, pounding away at her, beating her down. She dropped the knife as they continued. Tom angering her.
Tom rescuing her. Tom irritating her. Tom holding her. Tom loving her. A cry of utter agony left her lips.
She couldn't hurt him like this.
"Computer. Lower force field on Deck 9, Section 12.
Authorization Torres-epsilon-7-7-1-gamma." She instructed the computer shakily.
Tom was there in seconds, gathering her in his arms
and holding her tight. He was shaking as well.
Chakotay nodded to Tuvok and the security officers,
sending them on their way. The door closed and the couple was left alone.
The next few months were hard on both of them. B'Elanna
was counseled by Tuvok individually and they saw him as a couple as well. There were tears and pain, anger and a lot of broken
objects, but they rode the storm out together, in each other's arms.
They never discussed moving in together again. Duplicates
of Tom's personal items were left in her quarters and she did the same in his. Sometimes they would sleep in his bed, and
sometimes they would sleep in hers.
Never again, however, did they sleep alone.