Saturday, September 27, 2008
"Glimpses of the Future" [R] - 1/2
Here is a STAR TREK VOYAGER story I had written, called "Glimpses of the Future". In it, B'Elanna Torres discovers a device that enables her to see the future. The story is set during Seasons 1, 7 and in between:
"GLIMPSES OF THE FUTURE"
DISCLAIMER: B'Elanna Torres, Tom Paris and all other characters related to Star Trek Voyager belong to Paramount, Viacom and the usual Trek Powers to Be.
"I must say," Neelix commented reflectively, "this is a beautiful-looking planet. But then, Hotak was always a popular place to visit. Especially during its heyday."
Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres glanced at her surroundings and grunted. She had to agree with Neelix about the planet's appearance. It did look beautiful. The green trees, sloping hills and the river nearby reminded her of Earth. At least certain parts of Earth. But the abandoned structures and crumbling ruins gave the planet's surface a desolate air. "What happened here?" she asked.
Neelix adopted a mournful expression. "War. About forty years ago, the two major inhabitants became involved in some kind of civil war. They literally wiped out each other. I recall hearing details about it, while I was a boy."
"How tragic," B'Elanna commented. She glanced at a one-story building, still scarred by scorch marks.
The Talaxian continued, "Legend has it that a holy man had premonitions of the upcoming war. Unfortunately, no one bothered to listen to him. He was among the first to die."
B'Elanna shivered. Her eyes remained fixed on the structure, nearby. For some reason, it reminded her of a religious temple. Or a shrine. She pointed at the building. "Did the holy man resided there?"
Neelix shook his head. He had no idea. "I don't know, Lieutenant. However, I believe we should continue helping the others search for that gallicite." Presently, the U.S.S. Voyager orbited over Hotak, a Class-M planet that the ship's sensors had detected, two days ago. The sensors had also detected signs of gallicite on the planet's surface. And Voyager needed the mineral badly to repair its eroding warp coils. B'Elanna found it frustrating that after six months in the Delta Quadrant, the ship was in danger of breaking apart.
The Chief Engineer heaved a sigh, as she and Neelix joined the remaining Away team on its search for gallicite. Two hours later, their search proved fruitful. B'Elanna figured they had collected enough gallicite to keep the warp coils in top condition for the next year or two.
While the other members of the Away team beamed back to Voyager with the gallicite, B'Elanna decided to indulge in some last minute sight seeing. Namely, the one-story building she had spotted earlier. B'Elanna approached the building and slowly entered. The dim light made it difficult to see. However, she was able to make out the remnants of what looked like an altar. It seemed that her first perception of this building being a temple had been correct.
Before she turned away, B'Elanna spotted an object on the altar. She picked it up. It was a small, rectangular-shaped box. A case made of dark-brown leather. Curious, B'Elanna unhooked the silver latch and opened the case. A blinding light flashed in front of her eyes . . .
* * * *
Three officers stood before the ship's warp core, as it shimmered with a brilliant blue. Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay grinned happily, while B'Elanna stared at the core with intense satisfaction.
"She is quite lovely, isn't she?" the Captain drawled.
B'Elanna frowned at the auburn-haired starship captain. "She?"
"Sorry. Figure of speech. I meant the warp core."
Chakotay added, "Discovering that gallicite on Hotak turned out to be a blessing. I understand the Away team managed to collect enough gallicite to keep the warp coils in condition for at least a year."
"Two years," B'Elanna corrected. "However, I do think it would be a good idea to collect more gallicite along the way. You know, to make sure that we don't find ourselves in this situation, again."
Janeway smiled approvingly. "An excellent idea, Lieutenant. In fact, I would like to commend you and your staff for a job well . . ."
* * * *
Once more, a bright flash blinded B'Elanna. She let out a gasp and immediately closed the case. It took her over a minute to realize that she had not left the ruined temple on Hotak.
"Lieutenant Torres? Are you okay?" Neelix poked his head inside the temple's doorway.
Breathing heavily, B'Elanna nodded. She immediately hid the case from the Talaxian's view. "I'm . . . I'm fine, Neelix. Just a little . . . the air is so dense in here. I'm having a little difficulty breathing. That's all."
As Neelix led her out of the temple, B'Elanna wondered why she had lied. And hid the device from Neelix. It would have been much easier to tell the truth. That she had stumbled across a device that allowed a person to view the future. Yet, B'Elanna knew that if she had revealed the device to Neelix, he would eventually inform the Captain. And Janeway would have insisted upon the device remaining on the planet's surface - where she had found it. The device had piqued B'Elanna's curiosity and she was not ready to relinquish her new discovery. At least not yet.
* * * *
Not long after the Away team's return to Voyager, B'Elanna's staff commenced upon refitting the warp coils. The half-Klingon spent the next two days supervising the task, while Voyager resumed its long journey to the Alpha Quadrant. On the third day, B'Elanna announced the completion of the job during a Senior staff meeting. Captain Janeway and Chakotay paid a visit to Engineering, four hours later. And the next moments unfolded just as B'Elanna had envisioned.
". . . your staff for a job well done," Janeway said, repeating the very words B'Elanna had heard in her vision. The Captain peered closely at the younger woman with blue-gray eyes. "However, you do seem a bit exhausted, Lieutenant. I suggest that you get some rest. What would you recommend, Commander? A day off? Maybe two?"
B'Elanna felt slightly affronted. Granted, she did feel tired, but she still had enough energy to sustain her for the rest of the day. "I'm fine, Captain," she replied. "Besides, there are other matters to attend to. Those irregular fluctuation readings in the sensor power couplings . . ."
Chakotay spoke up. "Minor repairs that your staff can deal with. As of now, you're on a forty-eight hour leave. That's an order, Lieutenant."
Her first instinct was to protest even further. Yet, B'Elanna noticed the adamant gleam in both Janeway and Chakotay's eyes. She had been outflanked and there was nothing she could do about that. B'Elanna heaved a silent sigh. What the hell could she do for a day? Harry will be on duty until this evening. And there was no one else, aside from Chakotay, with whom she could spend some free time. Including the ex-Maquis crew.
Then B'Elanna remembered her little souvenir from Hotak. Perhaps this leave would give her the opportunity for further examination of the device. And more glimpses of the future. Feigning defeat, B'Elanna gave a little shrug of her shoulders. "Oh well. I guess I know when I'm licked." Both the Captain and the First Officer smiled.
* * * *
The moment B'Elanna entered her quarters, she headed straight for her desk and opened the drawer. She sighed with relief. The Hotak device had remained where she had left it. After removing the case, she strode toward the sofa. After her last experience on Hotak, B'Elanna felt it would be more prudent to sit or lay on something in case she suffered another dizzy spell. Or passed out.
B'Elanna took a deep breath. Anticipation tingled with every nerve in her body. Then she opened the case. A familiar light blinded her eyes and once again, B'Elanna found herself in the future . . .
* * * *
Red klaxon lights permeated the Engineering section. Chakotay's voice announced over the Comm system, "All hands to battle stations!" The inhabitants inside Engineering, rushed to their posts. Their chief engineer barked out orders to check the engines and every system to make sure they were operating at a hundred percent. Seconds later, the attack commenced.
Voyager rocked from the enemy's first blow. One of the consoles near the warp core exploded in a shower of sparks. B'Elanna muttered angrily, "Damn Kazons!" A second blow followed, minutes later. One panel near the anti-matter chamber exploded. Sparks flew into the face of one of the engineers. "Ashmore!" B'Elanna rushed toward the injured man.
Chakotay's voice barked over the Comm system, again. "B'Elanna! Reroute power to the shields!"
"I can't! We need all available power to keep the war engines functioning! And one of the . . ."
Another blast rocked Voyager. More explosions followed. B'Elanna curtly ordered the computer to transport Ashmore over to Sick Bay. Then she turned her attention to another injured crewman, Lindsay Ballard. Just as she was about to attend the injured woman, the Captain's voice cried out, "Lieutenant! We need that extra power! Now!"
B'Elanna emitted a growl, before she transported Ballard to Sick Bay. Then she barked at one of her engineers. "Kurt! Reroute at least 50% of the warp plasma power to the shields!"
Kurt Bendara, another former Maquis, who now served under B'Elanna, reached for the nearest console and began entering data. Before the engineer could finish his task, and explosion blew up the console and sent him flying to floor. B'Elanna rushed to her friend's side. Kurt's face resembled a mass of molten flesh and blood. By some miracle, he had remained alive. "Computer!" B'Elanna barked. "Lock on to Crewman Bandera's combadge and initiate emergency transport to Sick Bay!"
Seconds later, Kurt's body disappeared from the floor. B'Elanna rushed over to another console to complete his . . .
* * * *
The bright light flashed once more, ending B'Elanna's vision. A surge of dizziness took hold of her and she fell back against the sofa. Seconds passed before the dizziness abated. B'Elanna took a deep breath.
Kahless! Kurt! Had she just witnessed Kurt's death? Or did he survive the attack? B'Elanna wished the vision had not ended so abruptly. If she knew more details, perhaps she could warn him in time. Not only was Kurt Bendara a fellow ex-Maquis, but also a close friend. He had once saved B'Elanna during an incident near the Cardassian border. And had met Chakotay at a bar on Telfas Prime. B'Elanna could imagine how the former Maquis captain would react to Kurt's death. The two men were like brothers.
B'Elanna glanced at the chronometer on the wall. The time read 17:03 hours. Which meant that Neelix had begun serving dinner. With the ship's power fully restored, B'Elanna considered replicating a meal in her quarters. But thinking about what she had just witnessed, she needed to see Kurt. Reassure her mind that he was still alive and well. Without further thought, B'Elanna donned a loose, pullover blouse, kept her uniform pants on and left her quarters for the Mess Hall.
At first, she could not find Kurt. Or Chakotay. Many crewmen filled the Mess Hall and most of the tables seemed occupied. Then B'Elanna spotted both men sitting at a table located in the left far corner of the room. Relief overcame her, as she strode toward their table.
"Kurt! You're here!" The words came out of B'Elanna's mouth before she could stop herself. The two men stared at her with surprise. Okay, perhaps she had sounded a bit too relieved.
Chakotay's dark eyes expressed concern. "B'Elanna? Is there something wrong?"
"I . . . uh, I was looking for Kurt," B'Elanna replied rather feebly. "I wanted to ask him about the warp coil. If there had been any setbacks, after the refit."
The concern in the First Officer's eyes gave way to a rebuke. "Pardon me, Lieutenant, but I seemed to recall that you were ordered to take leave."
"Of course I'm taking leave!" B'Elanna retorted flippantly. "I just . . ."
Kurt flashed a knowing smile. "You might as well give up, Chakotay. You can take the engineer out of Engineering, but you can't take engineering out of the engineer." He shook his head. "If you must know, B'Elanna, the warp engines are doing fine. You have nothing to worry about."
"That's what you think," B'Elanna muttered. Her slip of the tongue brought forth more stares from Chakotay and Kurt. Kahless! She really must tired. "I guess I better returned to my quarters. I must be more tired than I thought."
Chakotay added, "You do look a little exhausted."
B'Elanna mumbled a quick, "Yeah, yeah." Then she turned away and left the Mess Hall.
* * * *
The remaining evening passed uneventful for B'Elanna. But the image of a severely wounded Kurt Bandera refused to leave her thoughts. She tried everything to vanquish the image - going over old Engineering reports, and reading one of the two Klingon romance novels she had brought with her from the Liberty. B'Elanna even tried a trip to Sandrine's in the hope she would encounter her close friend, Harry Kim. Her hopes ended in disappointment after a quick trip to Holodeck One. Harry was no where to be found. And so, B'Elanna found herself back inside her quarters. Alone.
Her eyes fell upon the small leather case on the sofa. The Hotak device. Kurt Bendara flashed in her mind once more. She had to find out what happened to Kurt. She had to know if he had survived the Kazon attack.
B'Elanna plopped herself on the sofa and snatched up the case. She closed her eyes for a second. Maybe if she asked a question, the device would allow her to witness the answer. Taking a deep breath, she murmured quietly, "What happened to Kurt Bendara, after the Kazon attack?" B'Elanna slowly opened the case. The familiar light consumed her . . .
* * * *
The two senior officers inside Holodeck Two swatted a ball against the hoverball court's wall. At least B'Elanna continued to swat the ball. Her opponent, Commander Chakotay, seemed to be having less success. After B'Elanna returned his serve, he reached out to hit the ball and missed it entirely. Panting heavily, Chakotay's legs crumbled underneath him, as he fell to the floor.
A concerned B'Elanna stared at him. "What's going on, Chakotay?" she demanded. "I seemed to be beating you a lot easier than usual."
"Nothing . . . I'm fine," the First Officer said in between intakes of breath. "I guess . . . I'm out . . . of shape."
A mild smirk curved B'Elanna's lips. "Out of shape? After a three-month camping trip? You should be in perfect shape."
The morose tone in Chakotay's voice captured B'Elanna's attention. She glanced sharply at him. "Okay, now I know there is something wrong. Did something happened on that planet, between you and the Captain?" B'Elanna hoped that her friend had not heard the waver in her voice.
Apparently, Chakotay had not. He still seemed to be brooding over his problem. "Look B'Elanna, can we discuss something else? Nothing happened on New Earth that would make interesting conversation. Trust me."
A sigh left Chakotay's mouth. "Kathryn and I . . . I mean, the Captain and I named the planet, New Earth. Especially since as Humans, we were the only humanoids on the planet."
B'Elanna murmured, "How convenient."
"Yes, it was. And also very pleasant." Chakotay took a deep breath. "For the first time I . . . well, I got to know Kathryn very well." B'Elanna noticed that her friend had stopped referring to Voyager's commanding officer by her position.
B'Elanna quirked an eyebrow. "Really? So, you two became close?"
"Get your mind out of the gutter, Torres!" Chakotay retorted. "We weren't as 'close' as you might think." He paused. "Although . . . I wish we had. Listen, can you keep a secret?"
A small, mirthless laugh left B'Elanna's mouth. "If you're talking about how you feel about the Captain, I already know." She heaved a small sigh. "In fact, I've known for quite some time. And so have other members of the crew. You're not 'that' good at hiding your feelings, Chakotay."
A heavy silence filled the holodeck. B'Elanna gave her friend a sad look. Poor Chakotay. Nine months ago, she would have been devastated by his revelation. Nine months ago, B'Elanna had harbored a deep love toward the First Officer. Until she realized that what she had really felt was infatuation, fed by her gratitude toward him giving her a new lease on life, over two years ago.
"Wow!" Chakotay said, breaking the silence. "I . . . I had no idea that you knew . . ."
B'Elanna chirped in, "You don't have to say anything, Chakotay. As far as we're concerned, it's an open secret. Does, uh . . . does the Captain . . . feel the same way about you?"
Chakotay's shoulders sagged. "To be honest, I don't know," he murmured. "I think she might be attrac . . ."
* * * *
The blinding light ended B'Elanna trip into the future. The familiar wave of dizziness followed. Only this time, it took her a little longer to overcome the dizziness. After several minutes, B'Elanna's eyes flickered open. She heaved a shuddering sigh.
Recovering from use of the device seemed to be getting more difficult. But that did not disturb B'Elanna as much as what she had witnessed. Despite her efforts, the device had failed to give her an answer on Kurt Bendara's fate. Instead, it confirmed a suspicion she has harbored for the past three months.
Chakotay was in love with Kathryn Janeway. The realization hit B'Elanna with the force of a tsunami. She still remembered that moment when she first harbored suspicions about her mentor's feelings toward Voyager's captain. It happened three months ago - during the incident with that living organism they had mistaken for a nebula. Upon visiting Chakotay's quarters, she found him inside with the Captain, teaching the latter how to use his medicine wheel. It had been a startling moment for B'Elanna, finding the man she love being cozy with another woman. Granted, no sex had been involved. But there seemed to be an intimate aura between the two that made B'Elanna feel very uneasy.
Another thing B'Elanna remembered from her vision - the future Chakotay had seemed uneasy about Kathryn Janeway's feelings toward him. That alone gave B'Elanna hope that she still had a chance for a different kind of relationship with her mentor.
B'Elanna felt tempted to use the Hotak device again. To learn more about a possible future with Chakotay. But since the device never responded to her question regarding Kurt Bendara, she suspected that it would be hopeless to use it in order to automatically receive another vision about Chakotay - if asked. And to be honest, her last use of the device had left her feeling exhausted. B'Elanna realized that she would, instead, benefit from a good night's sleep. She returned the device to her desk and made her way to the bedroom.
End of Part 1