Disclaimer: The characters belong to Paramount, but the story and ideas belong to me. No copyright infringement is intended. I only borrowed them for a little while, no profit will be made, except for maybe psychological. WARNING: DO NOT read if you are uncomfortable with or offended by F/F romance. Few instances of bad language.
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Description: Sequel to 'Where It All Ends'
11 July 2000
Sickbay was dim since most of it was deserted. Lights from the biobed panels illuminated areas of the room with brightly blinking colors, as shadows fell here and there. The Doctor was not out and about filling the room buzzing chatter and activity. He was somewhere in the computer, in his own personal limbo while his program was off. However, one area of sickbay remained brighter than the rest, glowing a faint blue fluorescence, unassuming in its own corner.
The doors opened with a quiet swoosh. A slight figure entered Sickbay with soft footsteps, having no trouble navigating around the medical consoles and biobed. Curving around the last biobed, the figure stopped in front of the blue window and leaned over. The figure remained hunched over the the object of her interest for quite some time, satisfied before turning around and leaving without a word.
One week ago...
Seven awoke with a gasp, and her eyes adjusting to the environment. She was disoriented at first, not really knowing where she was or even who she was. The last thing she remembered was finding herself on the transporter pad with the body of Lt. Torres in her arms. She had tried to get up, but she felt awashed by a wave of dizziness, and then collapsed just as two pairs of hands reached for her.
"Lieutenant!," she exclaimed immediately. "Seven, itís alright."
The Doctor. Hearing his voice calmed her, a little. She found herself encased in capsule of some sort. She pushed against it, against a small window which afforded her only a fraction of a view, and her arms could only extend a foot away from her. Seven reached up to her face and felt metal where her mouth and nose would have been. She suppressed the storm of panic which threatened her from the inside of her beating chest. The Doctor peered through the window, his face distorted but very concerned.
"Seven, youíre alright. I had to put you in a biostasis chamber in Sickbay.... You were gravely injured and I had to use a systemic treatment method to heal you. Youíre done now with this particular part of the treatment, so Iím releasing you from your chamber," explained the Doctor. "Donít move. Youíve been intubated."
Seven remained still. Her mind was still confused, unable to collect itself and manage a linear thought. She heard the latch unlock and the lid open. The Doctor told her to exhale as he pulled out the intubation tube, which made her choke and cough for what seemed like an eternity of breathlessness. He covered her strangely wet body instantly with a warm thermoblanket, and reached in to lift her up from the chamber. She found herself looking at another familiar face.
"Hello, Seven. Good to see you up," greeted Janeway gently. "The doctor told me he would be reviving you this morning. I wanted to make sure I was here. How do you feel?"
"I...I am functioning, but at suboptimal parameters. Thank you for your concern, Captain," replied Seven as she peered around anxiously. "Where is Lt. Torres?"
"Sheís in another biostasis chamber over there," informed the Doctor as he pointed across the room to a dark-colored capsule.
"How long have I been unconscious?"
"Youíve been in the chamber," the Doctor answered, "for almost three weeks now. Youíve also been regenerating within it. Mr. Kim adapted a borg access port."
Seven glanced down at her left arm, where her assimilation tubules attached to the port. The Captain explained the events that followed her rescue from the Direelian colony, as the Doctor removed the rest of her medical leads and catheters, and led her to a dry biobed. Satisfied that her crew member was doing well, Captain Janeway took her leave, so that the borg could rest and re-orient herself. Seven looked over to the other chamber where another figure obviously laid quietly.
"Here, Seven," he said as he handed her a gown, "you can wear this while youíre in Sickbay. I want you to remain here at least one more day so I can monitor you vital signs and respiratory function before I discharge you. Why donít you lie down for the time being before I run my scans."
Before he turned and walked away, Seven asked, "How is Lt. Torres?"
"Sheís fine now, but she still requires more of the therapy. Beílanna was in a worse condition than you were when you were both beamed aboard. It was touch and go for awhile, but I was able to stablize her condition until the biostasis chambers were modified. Iíve been using the same therapy for you both. However, I had to perform a tracheotomy on Lt. Torres because of the inhalation injury to her mouth and throat. You were both submerged in a highly oxygenated biogenerative fluid that contained chelating agents which were able to remove the substances you both inhaled. Once I identified the substances, it was fairly easy to figure out what agents were necessary. I also increased your surfactant production and stabilized your breathing. Lt. Torres has had a much more difficult progress after suffering greater damage from a longer exposure time. However, I did managed to reverse the cellular damage from your radiation poisoning with some DNA therapy. I expect she will recover completely, her temperment intact and all, with a little more time. And all due to my creative treatment approach, " he added with a flourish.
Seven raised her brow after the last comment. It seemed nothing had changed in the past three weeks, as evident in the Doctorís good humor. Seven spent the next few days in the Doctorís good company, completing her follow-up care, and regenerating in the biobed. Ensign Kim came in every day to say hello and monitor the borg access port. She spent much of her time reading the official logs of the past couple of weeks. Apparently Voyager was able to break into a few of the deuterium containment stores and retrieve a fair amount, but none that would have been worth the lives of two of its crewmembers. At other times, she would sit patiently and observe the Doctor as he treated Lt. Torres. Mr. Paris arrived early this particular morning. He greeted the pair as he entered the Sickbay.
"Morning, Doc," he said with a nod, "Seven."
"Good morning, Mr. Paris," returned the Doctor. "What brings you in this early? It canít be for your training exercises."
Paris let that comment pass with a smirk. "Why no, Doctor. I came to check on Beílanna. I have to pull a double shift so I wonít be able to come by later. Howís she doing today?"
"Ah, of course. Sheís doing well, actually. Her extraordinary Klingon healing capabilities are kicking in. Having an eight chambered heart is a plus. I doubt anyone else would have survived such an ordeal. Her respiratory system is still recovering and Iíd rather not have her breathe on her own just yet."
"Thanks, Doc. Can I talk to her?," asked Paris.
"Of course. Iíll leave you two alone," replied the Doctor, and began walking back to his office. "Oh, and Mr. Paris, do try to get to your training exercises."
Paris moved closer to Beílannaís chamber, when he noticed Seven was still sitting on the nearby biobed. "Um, Seven, would you mind?..." Paris tilted his head to the other side of the room with an expectant look on his face.
Seven complied, but not without raising her eyebrow. She proceeded out of the sequestered area, but remained near enough to eavesdrops. She knew that it was inappropriate and illogical to do so, but she was curious. She could excuse it as another necessary observation of human behavior.
Tom punched a few buttons on the medical panel to access the speaker. The Doctor told the crew early on that, even though unconscious, Beílanna would be able to hear their words of encouragement.
"Beílanna," Tom began, "weíre all waiting for you to get better. ...Iím waiting for you. I miss our conversations, and our Velocity games. Harryís got this huge party planned when youíre outta here. I told him we should have it at Sandrineís, and Iíll have our table set up with all your favorite food, and booze, of course. I want you to know I...I still love you." Tom bowed his head, then turned to leave.
"Ensign Paris," Seven approached. Tom walked over to Seven.
"What can I do for you, Seven?" His voice was raw with emotion.
"I could not help but overhear. What did you mean when you said you still loved Beílanna?," asked Seven. Tom looked at Seven, with her eyes wide with curiosity. Beílanna was right. Seven could be annoying at times, prying into other peopleís privacy. She obviously didnít know any better in most cases. She was so child-like sometimes. He folded his arms and took a deep breath, trying to figure out what he was going to say.
"Well,...ah. Hmm... This is going to be between you and me, okay, Seven." She nodded. "Beílanna and I arenít officially together together anymore." A look of confusion crossed her face. Tom sighed. "Look, Beílanna and I mutually agreed that our relationship should no longer remain exclusive." Still perplexed. "We arenít a couple, per se, anymore."
"How did this occur?," she inquired. Now she was really curious.
"This is going to take longer than I thought," Tom noted. He leaned his butt against the next biobed. "We just decided that the relationship wasnít heading in the direction we each wanted it to go, so we decided to change our relationship."
"But you both continue to resume intmate relati..."
Tom broke in abruptly, "Yeah, yeah, I know. Weíre still very close and we enjoy each otherís company. And whenever there seems to be any confusion, we talk about it. Hey, Seven, Iíd like to stay and chat some more, but Iím due on the bridge."
"Yes,... and thank you, Ensign Paris, for your candor," Seven acknowledged sincerely.
Mr. Paris gave her a brief smile and left. Seven walked over to the stasis chamber in silence. She looked at the capsule in wonderment as she played over what she had just heard. She saw a brief movement through the window. Lt. Torres had been stirring more often of the late. Of all the visitors Lt Torres received, Seven was the only one who had not spoken to her through the comm yet.
Seven placed her finger on the key pad. "Get well, lieutenant. The crew of Voyager is not complete without you."
Janeway rapped her fingers on the arm of her captainís chair, while she waited for the data to come in. The bridge was teaming with nervous energy as the crew had, once again, encountered another aggressive species.
"Mr. Kim, do you have that report yet?," demanded Janeway.
"Iím sorry, maíam. The internal sensors are just coming back online."
Boom! Another shot rocked the ship. Even the inertial dampeners couldnít keep the ship steady, though the weapons fired at them were less advanced.
"Carey," Chakotay hailed, "Have you got the warp engines back online?"
"Negative, Commander. Vorikís working on it right now. Weíre going to need just a few more minutes to replace a some isolinear chips that were fried."
"Keep at it. Captain, it doesnít look like diplomacyís going to work in this case," Chakotay commented as another hit damaged the shields.
"Shields down to 60%!" informed Tuvok.
"Evasive manuvers pattern Zeta-alpha, Mr. Paris!," ordered Janeway.
Janeway analyzed the data from their sensor story.
"Target their weaons array, Tuvok. Fire phasers when ready, then send a full spread of photon torpedoes. Thatíll keep them at bay until Carey can get those warp engines back on," commanded Janeway. "Seven, is there anyway to bargain with these people?"
"Captain, I believe they will force us to surrender in order to get the deuterium. They value it more than we do."
"Thatís true thus far, Captain," added Tuvok. "They have not targeted any systems that would destroy the ship."
BOOM! The ship lurched, throwing the bridge crew to the floor. The lights and computers blacked out in several sectors of mutiple decks.
"What the hell was that?," demanded Janeway.
"A torpedo impacted on our shields, and somehow penetrated," informed Tuvok.
"Captain, Iím reading power failures on decks 10-15, in sectors 9, 11, and 13," yelled Kim.
Chakotay had been reading the scans made of the blast. "It looks like the impact of the torpedo set off an EMP and shorted out the areas within itís wave range."
"Captain, life support is currently failing in those areas. They need to be evacuated," Kim added.
"Make it so. Okay, Mr. Paris, turn this ship around. Weíre going to give back as good as weíre getting."
"Janeway to the Doctor." There was no answer. Before she could make another order, the ship rocked again. The three ships had now converged and were firing continuous volleys.
"Engineering here, Lt. Carey suffered a head injury on the last lurch. Heís knocked out cold."
"Seven, get down there."
Seven made her way down to engineering. She bypassed several corridors to avoid the blacked out sectors. Her heart was pounding, and she could not help the panic she felt knowing the Doctor was not responding and that Lt. Torresí life was in danger.
"Captain, The Tak flag ship is hailing us," informed Kim.
"On screen." The Tak commander appeared on the main screen, and he was by far, one of the hairiest creatures Janeway had ever seen. Covered in fur head to toe, only his stout muzzle seemed to give his face any dimension.
"You will surrender your ship now. We will escort you to our base where you will unload the deuterium you stole," his coarse voice growled.
"And you are?," inquired Janeway.
"Commander Yazar of The Tak Commonwealth. You have invaded our space without authorization."
"Commander Yazar, we mean you no harm. We did not know this region of space was restricted. We only seek safe passage through this sector, and weíll be on our way. Weíre willing to negotiate that. However, this deuterium was recovered from an abandoned colony that was neither one of yours nor in a region of space under your jurisdiction."
"We confiscate whatever cargo that any illegal ships are carrying in our space!"
"Well, Iím afraid I canít let that happen."
"Hah, hah, hah, you donít have a choice! Youíre dead in the warp zone."
Janeway gestured to Harry to cut the transmission. "Mr. Paris, keep evading them. Tuvok, keep hitting the lead ship with all weíve got."
"Engineering, we need the warp engines. Howís it coming?," demanded Commander Chakotay.
"Vorik, here. Sorry, sir, weíre still working on it. The antimatter flux controls are frozen. We canít seem to access it without reinitialization with security codes."
"Seven of Nine should be there shortly."
"Aye, sir. Vorik out."
The ship rocked again as two ships renewed their attacks, unloading what seemed to be their entire weapons arsonal. Boom! Rumble! Suddenly, the science console bursted in shards of fiberglass and metal, as its wiring blazed in flames out of control. Luckily, no one was standing close enough near it to be seriously injured. Kim was bleeding from the forehead after catching a few flying debris in his direction. A few of the bridge crew were carried away by the medic team amidst the chaos. The alarms were blaring loudly, and the dark overcast from the red alert feuled the confusion on all decks. With all the enemy ships in pursuit, Paris could hardly outmanuver on thrusters.
"Captain," Tuvok exclaimed, "our shields will not hold another attack!"
BOOM! One more volley knocked Janeway out of her seat. Chakotay pulled her up back into her chair, looked at her pupils and examined her for injuries.
"Engineering," Chakotay hailed, "where are those damn warp engines!"
Suddenly, Seven replied over the comm, "theyíre back online, Commander!" Paris confirmed it.
"Set a course, Tom, warp 8 and engage!," commanded Chakotay.
Voyager blasted off into a blur of light as it jumped precariously into warp speed. To the relief of her crew, The Tak ships gave no pursuit.
"Good work, Seven," Janeway croaked.
"Actually, it was not me," replied Seven as she turned her head in amazement to the sight that shocked everyone in engineering.
There hunched over at the warp engine control console stood Lt. Torres, covered in a very wet robe. Her raspy breathing was labored as she inspired in and out through her tracheotomy tube.
"Apparently, the EMP blast knocked out the conduit which links my operationing controls," explained the Doctor as he repaired the tracheotomy incision at Beílannaís throat. "I was lucky it didnít go anywhere near my program files."
Janeway and Ensign Kim had reported to Sickbay for their injuries, accompanied by Seven. Janeway decided to wait for the full story before returning to the bridge where the crew had already begun repairs.
"I found myself in the capsule when I was jolted to consciousness. The capsule door was open so I removed all the equipment from myself except for this thing. I heard from the comm what was happening in engineering. Since there was nothing I could do for the Doctor, I made my way down there instead," finished Torres. The Doctor removed his instruments and turned to examine Lt. Carey who laid on a nearby biobed.
Janeway walked over and patted her on the leg. "Good work, lieutenant. But for now, no more adventuring out from Sickbay, until youíre given a clean bill of health from the Doctor." She gave Torres a sweet smile, one that indicated she was proud of her fast-thinking, talented officer, before she exited.
"So Starfleet, howís that thick forehead of yours," joked Torres.
"Itíll take more than a few shrapnel to bring me down. Luckily, I donít have as big a target as Tom," quiped Harry.
"Hey, Iíll tell him you made fun of his receding hairline."
"He already knows. Itís good to have you back, Beílanna. Now about that party at Sandrineís...."
"Just make sure I donít drink you under the table again after only a couple of minutes."
They shared some warm laughter before he took his leave to update Tom on Beílannaís condition since he was still stuck on the bridge, piloting the damaged ship. Seven hesitantly approached the biobed, as Beílanna watched her with unfocused, blinking eyes. There was a moment of uncomfortable silence before Seven spoke up. Neither of them attempted to make eye contact for very long.
"I will return engineering to its proper functioning while you and Lt. Carey recover," assured Seven.
"Thanks, Iíd appreciate that."
"I am glad that your damage from the planet has been repaired."
"Er, ...thanks. Iím glad too."
Seven figeted nervously with her left shoulder. "I will leave you to rest now." And she abrupted turned and left Sickbay, leaving a very confused Torres behind.
"I guess thatís not all that needs fixing," Torres mumbled to herself.
[A nice interlude of like Sugar Rayís Falls Apart plays. I know, very cheesy.]
You walk along by yourself There's no sound, nothing is changing Been gone away, left you there Emptiness is nothing you can't share All those words that hurt you More than you would let it show Comes apart, by yourself All is well and everything is wasted
Runaway runaway (background: runaway runaway) Hold you but your going away Runaway runaway (background: runaway runaway) Hold you tomorrow but your leaving today
[credit: http://www.sugarrayfans.com/lyrics/fallsapart.txt ]
To be continued....