Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"The Helmsman's Log - 2372 [PG-13] - Part II




"THE HELMSMAN'S LOGS - 2372"

I am continuing with the saga of Lieutenant Tom Paris' personal experiences with the Voyager crew, in the Delta Quadrant. This covers Season 2 episodes from "Initiation" to "Basics, Part 1".


Part 2

STARDATE 49406.28 - Oh shit! What the hell has Tuvok got me into? And why in the hell did I agree to get involve in his crazy plan? Okay, I know why. There's a spy aboard Voyager. Someone aboard ship may be in contact with Seska and the Kazon. And the Captain and Tuvok have asked me to help me flush out this spy. The plan calls for acting like a malcontent - being late for duty, submitting incomplete reports, tweaking regulations. And all this would mean coming into conflict with the ship's First Officer. Namely Chakotay.

A part of me does not really want to take that step backward. I don't want to be that man who had first boarded Voyager just over a year ago. But if it means flushing out that spy . . . Gods! I only hope that a lot of people will forgive me when this is over. End personal log.


STARDATE 49415.19 - Operation . . . hell, I don't know. Bad Boy? Well anyway, it has commenced. The operation to flush out the spy.

I began with a little something that was bound to get me into trouble - an illegal gambling operation. Unfortunately, the plan called for using Harry. Allow him to win a game of pool to bolster his ego. Then challenge him and a few others with another game of chance - namely, predict the daily radiogenic particle count at the price of one replicator credit per bet. And I would get to keep a small percentage of the proceeds for operating the game. This ought to grab Chakotay's attention and get me into trouble. End personal log.


STARDATE 49417.21 - Murder aboard Voyager. This morning, B'Elanna told Harry and me that she had found Crewman Frank Darwin inside an ESP conduit - apparently murdered. Tuvok has already found the culprit. Namely, Lon Suder. I'm not really surprised. I didn't know Suder that well in the Maquis. That's because one glance at those creepy peepers of his had encouraged me to stay away. Can you blame me? There seemed to be a violent and bloodthirsty aura about him. And to think he had killed Darwin, because he didn't like the way the other man looked at him. I'm glad that he never caught me staring.

B'Elanna seemed really shaken over the whole thing. She complained that Tuvok made a big thing over Chakotay's failure to inform him and Janeway about Suder's character. I replied that I didn't blame Tuvok. If everyone knew about my "criminal" past, why should Suder be exempt? B'Elanna, loyal as always, didn't respond well to my remark.

Tonight, the radiogenic sweepstakes will resume. I wonder who will win the pot. My guess is no one. End personal log.


STARDATE 49420.49 - It's finally happened. The first steps of the operation to flush out Seska's spy ended when Chakotay found out about the sweepstakes and shut it down. And it only took him two days. He tried to give me the old "I thought-you-could-do-better" speech, but I shot him down with a nasty comment. I have to be honest. I really enjoyed getting Chakotay's goat like that. It's as if this whole mission has given me carte blanche to express my true feelings.

What I don't like is earning the other crewmen's antipathy. Especially Harry's. He is my closest friend on this ship. And ever since being captured by the Vidiians, the crew has slowly begun to accept me. I only hope the spy will make him or herself known before I can piss off anyone else.

As for the brains behind this operation - I haven't seen Tuvok lately. Instead, I've been reporting to Captain Janeway. According to B'Elanna, who heard from Ayala, Tuvok had mind melded with Suder to learn the latter's motives for killing Darwin. I wonder what had happened that led Tuvok to disappear like that? End personal log.


STARDATE 49458.08 - The operation to flush out Seska's spy continues. At Tuvok's request, I was late for the senior staff meeting, regarding the latest crisis, looking disheveled. The problem is that I wish I hadn't - considering what was being discussed.

Voyager had encountered . . . would you believe this? We had encountered a Cardassian missile here in the Delta Quadrant. And it arrived in the same manner as we did - via the Caretaker's array. What made this situation even more bizarre is that the Maquis had captured the missile and reprogrammed it to strike a Cardassian target - namely a fuel depot in a sector far from here. The missile apparently believed it was still in the Alpha Quadrant, and that an M-class planet called Ralorka IV was the Cardassian fuel depot.

B'Elanna confessed that it was she who had reprogrammed Dreadnought - the Maquis' name for it - without Chakotay's permission. Apparently, the Big Guy, in that "damn soft voice of his" made his disappointment known after he found out. Typical Chakotay. But I didn't say so to B'Elanna. Our conversation eventually switched to my recent "discipline" problems. She had heard about my recent altercations with Lieutenant Rollins, regarding my navigational reports. What could I say? That I'm pretending to be a pain-in-the-ass, so that Tuvok can flush out a spy? Instead, I lied and told her that Rollins had over-exaggerated the situation. You know, I almost chucked Tuvok's crazy little scheme after that conversation. I don't know. Manipulating Harry was bad enough. But for some reason, I really felt like a heel after lying to B'Elanna. End personal log.


STARDATE 49459.81 - She did it. B'Elanna stopped the Dreadnought missile from striking Ralorka IV. And not a minute too soon. At first, we all thought she had deactivated the missile - until I noticed that it had resumed its course to the planet. Hearing its voice - B'Elanna's voice - over the Comm system nearly gave me the creeps. It sounded so unemotional. So unlike B'Elanna.

After we lost contact with B'Elanna during her second trip to Dreadnought's interior, the Captain decided to evacuate Voyager and detonate it in front of the missile to divert it from Ralorka IV. I wanted to stay behind and help, but she insisted that Harry and me follow Chakotay and the others to the escape pods. Only Tuvok remained behind. Fortunately, B'Elanna destroyed the missile and we all returned to the ship. It just hit me. If Voyager had been destroyed, I would have been left with the messy task of informing Chakotay about the mission to find the spy. And considering our recent hostilities, I would have found myself in a sticky situation. End personal log.


STARDATE 49499.09 - It's been over a month since I began this mission to trap the spy and I'm getting nowhere. I haven't been approached or anything. So, the deception continues. Once again, I was late in reporting for duty on the Bridge. I must say that I came up with some pretty lame excuses - like helping Sam Wildman give birth. Unsurprisingly, no one bought them. And naturally, Chakotay raised a fuss. The only other action that occurred was an encounter with a Vidiian ship. It didn't turn out that big of a threat. We only found one lifesign aboard - a female who was seriously ill. Talk about a dull and frustrating day. End personal log.

STARDATE 49501.45 - Chakotay and I had a fight in the Mess Hall. A spat, really. And for once, it wasn't my doing. Okay, maybe it was my fault, since I was the one who became hostile. But I have to admit that Chakotay presented me with the perfect opportunity in his attempt to play the Good Samaritan. He wanted to talk about my recent problems. Maybe help me. You know, I almost laughed in his face. But I didn't. Instead, I sneered at his concern for me and accused him of never taking my contributions to the ship, seriously. I even brought up my suggestion of investigating a nebula. Actually, I knew it was a dumb idea that Chakotay would surely dismiss. And give me the opportunity to express my hostility.

Poor Chakotay. I really feel sorry for him when he learns about this deception. Don't get me wrong. I don't like the guy, but the shit is really going to hit the fan when he realizes that the Captain and Tuvok had decided not to include him in this little scheme. I finally asked Tuvok why he didn't want Chakotay to know. He replied that he suspected a former Maquis of being the spy and he wanted to spare our first officer of any personal conflicts, considering the latter's tendency to jump to the Maquis' defense whenever one of them encounter any discipline. Seemed plausible. Somewhat. Okay, it was pure bullshit. I may be wrong, but I have the oddest feeling that spite and dislike played a part in Tuvok's decision. As our indomitable security chief has stated repeatedly, Vulcans have emotions. They only suppress them. Yeah, right. This decision to keep Chakotay in the dark is a sure sign of emotional suppression. End personal log.


STARDATE 49503.51 - The Doc is in love! Who would have believed it? Well, I already knew that he harbored some feelings for Kes. I just never thought he would fall or someone else. Namely, our Vidiian visitor. I've only met her briefly, inside Sandrine's, last night. When the Doc told me about her reactions to his overture, I realized that my original estimation of Denara Pel had been right. She was shy. Even B'Elanna, who had every reason to hate the Vidiians, developed a sympathetic regard for her.

After the Doc's failure with Denara, he asked me for advice. Me, Tom Paris. Of all people! I guess he doesn't know about my rapidly declining reputation. Anyway, I told him about my old Academy girlfriend, Susie Crabtree, and how she dumped me at the end of our first year. After word of Caldik Prime got around, I guess she finally realized that she had been right to dump me. Anyway, I agreed to help the Doc win Denara Pel back. And I just came up with an idea. End personal log.

LOG SUPPLEMENTAL - Just paid a visit to Tuvok's office. He informed me that it was time to take our deception a notch upward. A step that should either bring me in contact with the spy or Seska. I have to create some kind of physical altercation with Chakotay that will get me in the Brig. Oh great! This should look good on my record. Sigh! I hate to say it, but Tuvok is right. So far, the Big Man has barely reacted to my insubordination. I'm beginning to suspect that he's a stick of wood in disguise. Maybe what Tuvok has in mind will finally do it. Push the situation beyond control. And the sooner I end this charade, the better. End personal log.


STARDATE 49509.03 - Well, it finally worked. Tuvok's plan. I reported on the Bridge yesterday morning, late as usual. Chakotay coolly informed me that he has found someone else to replace me at the Helm. Namely Baytart. I know this was supposed to be an act, but for some reason, I felt a surge of anger. I really wanted to hit the bastard. Instead, I insisted upon reporting for duty and that was when Chakotay gave me the opportunity. He touched me on the arm, but I purposely over-reacted and shoved him. I have to be honest. It felt good. The pleasure disappeared when the Captain ordered Tuvok to escort me to the Brig. For a brief moment, I felt a sense of déjà vu. It brought back the time when Starfleet captured me after three weeks with the Maquis. The feeling ended when Tuvok led me to his office. He assured me that this little stint to the Brig will not appear on my record.

After twenty-four hours in the Brig, I was released. No one had come by to visit me. Not even Harry. I guess I don't blame them. That reminds me, I have to find out how the Doc's date with Denara Pel went. End personal log.


STARDATE 49520.59 - This will be my last log entry, until my return to the ship. That is, if I ever return. Since my little spell in the Brig, I have become persona non gratis aboard Voyager. Only the Doc, Harry, Kes and Neelix seemed willing to talk with me. The Captain and Tuvok decided it was best to take the deception to the next level. Leave Voyager and offer myself as bait to Seska. Tuvok contacted a Talaxian freighter that was looking for a new pilot. He figured that once the crew learn about my departure, the spy would contact Seska. I only hope that . . . (door chimes) Enter! Got a visitor. End personal log.


STARDATE 49526.06 - I am so glad to be back! And to be honest, I really didn't think I would make it. Especially after Seska caught me using the ship's computer. But it was too late. At least for her. I managed to discover the spy's identity before she could stop me. It was Mike Jonas. Now that I think about it, I'm not really surprised. There was always something about him that I didn't trust. Even back in the Maquis. Too quiet and too sneaky. And I also remembered that he and Seska used to be quite chummy back in those days. Well, he's dead, poor Mike. I don't think anyone will mourn him.

Now that I've succeeded in my mission, I've become very popular aboard ship. Both Neelix and me. I think that little spot on the "Breakfast With Neelix" show must have done the trick. Personally, I found it embarrassing, but Neelix insisted that he interview me. I don't know why. He was just as responsible for stopping Jonas and Seska from luring Voyager into a trap. And he was the one who had killed Jonas.

Most of the Maquis are pretty upset over the revelation. Especially Hogan. I haven't seen such embarrassment since Seska had been revealed as a Cardassian spy. I think the embarrassement was worse for Chakotay. Not only was he the one who had originally recruited Jonas, but he also found out about Tuvok and the Captain's scheme. I don't know if he has forgiven those two for making a chump out of him, but judging from the silent treatment I have received since my return, he hasn't forgiven me. I guess things are back to normal. End personal log.


STARDATE 49537.58 - The Doc's lady love, Denara Pel, left Voyager today. We delivered her to a Vidiian colony without being detected by her people. The Doc seemed upset, but resigned. It seemed that the little matchmaking scheme Kes and I had devised, worked. Good. At least he had a nice romance.

Chakotay has begun talking to me again. Somewhat. At least when the topic of ship's business come up. But it's worse with B'Elanna. She hasn't given me the silent treatment, like Chakotay. Nor has she been hostile. But she seemed bent upon making sure that we're never alone, together. And during off duty hours, she usually sticks to Harry like glue. Or remain in her cabin - alone. I'm beginning to suspect that once again, our friendship is in serious trouble. End personal log.


STARDATE 49547.7 - Gods! This has been one bizarre day! Harry . . . and I mean by Harry Number 2 . . . Hell, I better start from the beginning!

It all started during Alpha shift. Sam Wildman went into labor, while we all anxiously awaited news of Voyager's first baby. It wasn't long before I spotted Vidiian ships on the sensors. Voyager eventually hid inside a plasma cloud to avoid detection. Once the ship left the nebula, all hell broke loose. The warp engine stalled, the antimatter supplies began to drain and proton burst caused a hull breach. We had no idea where the proton bursts came from, since B'Elanna had not begun to start our own bursts to stave off the antimatter drain. Then our situation became worse. The Doctor reported that Sam's baby had died, due to the ship's power drain. And . . . shit! It's all in the past and I'm still shaking. B'Elanna . . . B'Elanna reported from Deck 15 that Kes had disappeared into a mysterious void. (Pauses) And that Harry had died after being sucked into space. (Pauses) That news really floored me. I mean, Harry was gone. Permanently. But I didn't have time to digest that at the time. None of us did. Before we knew it, another hull breach occurred on Deck 1 and we had to abandon the Bridge.

What happened? A divergence field had caused sensor reading to double and every particle on the ship to duplicate. Two Voyagers eventually formed and there wasn't enough antimatter to sustain both vessels. We also discovered that the proton bursts that were damaging our ship, came from the second one. The Captain Janeway from the other ship visited our and explained everything. I don't know what plan the two captains had come up with. To be honest, we didn't have time for an explaination. The Vidiians had returned and began firing upon our ships. I mean, the other Voyager. Captain Janeway #2, in an effort to prevent the Vidiians from a successful organ harvest and detecting our ship, initiated the self-destruct button. Both the second Voyager and the Vidiian ship were destroyed.

Before the two ships were destroyed, the second Captain had sent over her Harry Kim and baby Wildman to our ship. In the end, Sam Wildman ended up with her baby after all. And we got Harry back. Sort of. Hell, I don't know. This is all crazy. Harry #2 - I guess I should just call him Harry - had repeated the Captain's words that weird was all part of the job of being a Starfleet officer. If you ask me, I could do without it. End personal log.


STARDATE 49556.69 - We held a christening for Sam Wildman's new baby. The good ensign named her Naomi. Very pretty. Neelix has been named godfather. During the whole, ungodly mess two days ago, he had comforted Sam while she dealt with the loss of the first baby.

Ever since our encounter with the plasma cloud, B'Elanna has grown even closer to Harry. I guess I don't blame her. Even if there are times when I feel that I'm being shut out. Witnessing the death of a friend can be very traumatic. I know from past experience. Which leads me to something else. Namely the odd looks I've been receiving from Harry. I wonder what he had witnessed. My counterpoint's death at the hands of the Vidiians? End personal log.

STARDATE 49583.99 - That's it! I've had enough! I asked Sue Nicoletti for a date and again, she gave me the brush off. I don't know what to believe. That she won't go on one simple date with me, or that I've been pursuing her for six months. I told Harry that my nickname for her is "Cold Hands, Cold Heart Nicoletti". Great! I've been pursuing an iceberg. I can't think of any other woman aboard this ship that I'm deeply interested in. Well, there was Kes, but I've recently discovered that I'm no longer in love with her. She's a warm and sweet woman. Like a sister. And I'm not really interested in incest. End personal log.


STARDATE 49608.69 - Dick Bennet is dead. He and two other crewmen were killed in a shuttlecraft crash, during a geological survey mission on the moon of Drayan II. Only Tuvok survived. Both McCormack and Margot Gallagher are devastated. Especially Margot. I went to her cabin to offer my condolences, but I don't think she was in the mood to receive visitors. I hope she doesn't do anything drastic. End personal log.


STARDATE 49654.99 - I used to think what I did on Caldik Prime was the worst I could image. Maybe it was. But what happened to Tuvix makes me wonder. I still remember standing on the Bridge, with him begging us to help him, while Security dragged him away. What could I do? Order the guards to let him go? Free him myself? The Captain would have won in the end, and we got Tuvok and Neelix back. So I just stood there like a goddamn coward. I am so disgusted. Not only with myself, but with the rest of the crew. The only person who didn't seem upset over the whole matter was Kes. She got Neelix back. I wonder if her experience with the Ocampans had really changed her. The Captain is wearing one of those "I did the right thing" expressions. Well, no one will condemn her. Hell, none of us can. We're just as guilty for standing by while she killed Tuvix. End personal log.


STARDATE 49659.92 - While investigating this planet in the Nyras system, the Captain and Chakotay were bitten by an insect that infected them with a deadly disease. In order to keep them alive, the Doc had them put in statis. At least until he can find a cure. This has left Tuvok has assumed command of the ship and me, as acting first officer. Great! End personal log.


STARDATE 49744.67 - It's over. The Doctor was unable to find a cure for the Captain and Chakotay's disease. He had no choice but to return them to the planet's surface, where they had been infected. The planet's atmosphere helps keep the disease benign. So, we beamed them surface, along with equipment and supplies for a habitation.

Tuvok broke the news to the rest of the senior staff, during a meeting. He also added that the Captain had ordered the crew to continue on to the Alpha Quadrant. That meant Tuvok and I would permanently become the two senior officers. Oh God! This is the last thing I wanted - being Tuvok's XO. I can only assume that serving directly under Chakotay would be worse. As for Tuvok - he seemed so damn cold about leaving the Captain and Chakotay behind. What is it with him? Doesn't he have any feelings? (Sighs) Of course not. He's a Vulcan. And a Vulcan is the last person in the universe who should be in command of a ship. End personal log.


STARDATE 49704.69 - I never realized, until today, what an idiot I've been. And a bigot. It took Ayala, of all people, to remind me.

It all started with Harry, who has been continuously bitching about Tuvok since we left the Captain and Chakotay behind. All of us were in the Mess Hall, brooding over our present situation and new captain. To be honest, Tuvok hasn't been much of a problem. But we were all still pissed by his cold attitude about leaving our officers behind. I thought that Ayala would understand how we felt, considering he used to be one of Chakotay's right hand men. Surprise, surprise! Instead, he reminded us that we were not giving Tuvok a chance to prove himself as a captain and leader. He reminded B'Elanna and other Maquis about how Chakotay had to grow as a leader of a Maquis cell. And he reminded the Starfleeters that Janeway had to do the same aboard Voyager. Ayala also added that Vulcan starship captains were nothing new in Starfleet. He had a point. He castigated us for not giving Tuvok a chance to grow into the new role as commander of a starship with a crew dominated by Humans.

I don't think Ayala's speech had much affect on the others. With the exception of a handful from the Security Division, Kes, Gerron, and our resident Vulcans, everyone else continued to brood over our new captain. I guess I can now consider myself part of the former. Mike was right. We should give Tuvok a chance. Hell, I got one. Why not him? I guess I've always prided myself on being tolerant. Mike made me realize that I had forgotten the Vulcan security officer who had not automatically considered me guilty of murder, last year. God, I feel like shit! End personal log.


STARDATE 49808 - Trouble on the Bridge, today. Harry had detected a Vidiian ship some several light years away. Tuvok acknowledged the new with usual stoic manner and ordered us to continue our course. Then Harry made a mistake. He insisted that we contact the Vidiians to seek a cure for the Captain and Chakotay's disease. Even worse, he tried to rally support from the other crewmen on the Bridge. Between Tuvok's threats of a trip to the Brig and my warning, Harry finally backed down.

What the hell was the matter with him? I realize that he missed the Captain. Hell, so do I. But what he did was stupid. Especially for a man with ambitions for a stellar career in Starfleet. End personal log.


STARDATE 49810.13 - He did it again. Once more, Harry tried to convince Tuvok to contact the Vidiians. He had approached Tuvok in the latter's quarters, early this morning. Harry had apologized for his earlier behavior on the Bridge. He even added that the Doc was willing to contact Dr. Denara Pel and that B'Elanna was willing to donate a sample of her Klingon DNA. Now that took me by surprise! And disturbed me, too.

In the end, Tuvok rejected Harry's request, reminding him of the destruction of that Vidiian ship, some three months back. And once again, Harry lost his temper. (Sighs) You know, maybe we should contact the Vidiians - if that would keep Harry from starting a large-scale mutiny. And with the Vidiians close by, a mutiny is the last thing we need. If that happens, who would save us? Tuvok is the only one aboard this ship with the tactical knowledge to deal with the Vidiians. And he can't do that, while in the Brig. End personal log.


STARDATE 49813.52 - In the end, Kes managed to convince Tuvok to contact the Vidiians. I'm relieved, but at the same time, I feel like a failure. As acting First Officer, I should have been the one to talk to him. It was my job. Just as it was my job to inform Tuvok about the crew's morale, without resorting to Harry's temper tantrums. Instead, I kept silent. Some XO I turned out to be. End personal log.


STARDATE 49818.7 - It worked. We got the cure from the Vidiians, thanks to Dr. Pel's generosity. And without Tuvok, we would have never escaped. Looking back on it, he was right to doubt the Vidiians' help. If it had not been for his tactics and Dr. Pel's help, we would have never succeeded. Now, we're on our way back to the Captain and Tuvok. End personal log.


STARDATE 49853.36 - It's been almost two weeks since our encounter with the Vidiians. I feel as if I'm on another ship. Voyager is on its way back to retrieve the Captain and Chakotay and the crew is happy. I know that Harry is happy. He has returned to acting like the ideal Starfleet officer he had been before this whole incident. But his little act isn't fooling either Tuvok or me. I didn't think Vulcans could deliberately act cold toward a particular person, but I've noticed that Tuvok has been giving Harry the cold shoulder. I tried to point this out to Harry, but the big idiot replied that Tuvok had promised not to inform the Captain about his little insurrection. Maybe, but I wouldn't be surprised if she found out what happened, anyway. And Harry will live to regret it. End personal log.


STARDATE 49933.57 - It's been a day since the Captain and Chakotay's return to Voyager. I wish I could say that everything is back to normal. But I would be lying. Despite their gratitude, our two senior officers did not seem happy to be back. I would give a month's worth of replicator rations to learn what happened during those three months on that planet. I pointed out the Captain and Chakotay's subdued manner to B'Elanna and Harry. The former seemed disturbed, while Harry dismissed the whole idea. I'm beginning to wonder about Harry. In some ways, I think he has become even greener since leaving the Alpha Quadrant. Or maybe he just doesn't react well to change. And that's not a good trait for a Starfleet officer. End personal log.


STARDATE 49947.25 - Had lunch in the Mess Hall with Harry and B'Elanna. It turned out to be a disaster. Harry complained about Tuvok giving him a hard time on the Bridge, while the Captain and Chakotay were going over reports in the Ready Room, this morning. I told him what did he expect, after the trouble he gave Tuvok. I also added that he was lucky that Tuvok never reported him for insubordination.

Okay, maybe I should have kept my mouth shut, but all the tension from the past six months had finally got to me. And Harry's whining was irritating the hell out of me. He left the Mess Hall in a huff. B'Elanna demanded that I apologize. Why should I? Someone had to make Harry realize the consequences of his actions. He doesn't realize that he may have screwed up his Starfleet career for good. Limited as it is, here in the Delta Quadrant. I said this to B'Elanna and she gave me one of her death glares before leaving the Mess Hall. Shit! I really should keep my mouth shut. End personal log.


STARDATE 49950.6 - I had apologized to Harry for my remarks in the Mess Hall and he has forgiven me. We're friends, again. I can't say the same about B'Elanna. She continues to give me the cold shoulder. Not once, during dinner, did she utter one word to me. I'm beginning to suspect that her attitude has more to do with the deception I had carried out to flush out Seska's spy, than about Harry. At first, I felt frustrated by her attitude. Now, I'm pissed. I'm getting tired of worrying about what she thinks of me. It seems as if she can't make up her mind. If she wants to be friends again, fine. If not, I guess I can live without her good opinion. I've done it before. End personal log.


STARDATE 49985.91 - Voyager came across a message buoy. From Seska. It seemed she finally had her baby. Or should I say, Chakotay's baby? And Maje Cullah seemed upset by the identity of the baby's father. Judging from the expression on Chakotay's face, I have a feeling that won't be going after the child. Which suits me just fine. If you ask me, this whole thing sounds like a trap. End personal log.


STARDATE 49987.73 - Chakotay and the Captain have decided to go after Seska's baby, after all. Oh God! This would mean heading for the Kazon-Nistrim stronghold in the Gema system. I had suggested we contact the Talaxian mining colony on Prema II for extra help. Even the Doc had a suggestion - use the ship's deflector grid as holoemitters in order to project images of nearby Talaxian ships. Not a bad idea, even though it's a deception that probably won't last. I did consider suggesting that we call this whole thing off, but I don't think anyone will listen. End personal log.


STARDATE 49996.36 - Voyager encountered a Kazon shuttle with an injured man inside. I recognized him immediately. One of Seska's aides - Tierna. Chakotay also recognized him. Personally, I think we should space Tierna out of the nearest airlock. I can't help but feel that we're being set up. I've heard that Chakotay has his own suspicions regarding our visitor. But as Harry has continuously pointed out, we are a Federation ship. And that means giving aid to those who needs it, regardless of our suspicions. Is it any wonder I never wanted to be a Starfleet officer in the first place? If the Captain is determined to give aid to Tierna, I hope she has considered contacting the Talaxians on Prema II. End personal log.


STARDATE 49999.98 - Tierna has regained consciousness. He claimed that Maje Cullah had killed Seska, after learning that Chakotay was the baby's father. As for the baby - it will be sent to Gema IV, the seat of Kazon-Nistrim power, to be raised as a servant. What's the point of repeating myself? This mission doesn't feel right. Besides, I really can't see Voyager infiltrating the Kazon-Nistrim stronghold.

Although today is New Year's Eve, no one is in the mood for a party. A few of us had gathered at Sandrine's for a little celebration. But the party mood died out before 2373 arrived and everyone left. Very dismal. End personal log.


THE END

Monday, July 28, 2008

"LEATHERHEADS" (2008) Photo Gallery




"LEATHERHEADS" (2008) Photo Gallery

Below is a gallery featuring photographs from the new period piece comedy directed by George Clooney, "LEATHERHEADS". Clooney also stars in the movie, along with Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski and Jonathan Pryce:





































Thursday, July 24, 2008

"HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX" (2007) Review




"HARRY POTTER and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007) Review

I usually tried to avoid reading reviews of movies I am interested in seeing in the near future. Instead of relying on the opinions of others, I prefer to form my own opinions. However, my curiousity got the best of me and I could not help but read several reviews and opinions on the latest cinematic release from the HARRY POTTER franchise - namely "THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX". Mind you, the story was never my favorite HARRY POTTER novel, but after the near travesty (okay, perhaps that description is a bit exaggerated) . . . after the slight disappointment of 2005's "GOBLET OF FIRE", I could not help but wonder how this next movie would fare. After all, the novel was longer than even the fourth entry. Fortunately, my fears proved groundless and "THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX" has become my second favorite HARRY POTTER movie.


Before I begin to wax lyrical over the movie, I need to point out what I consider to be flaws in the movie. My sister had informed me that the producers of the HP movies had originally intended Mike Newell - director of "GOBLET OF FIRE" - to helm the fifth novel. Somehow those plans fell through (thank the Lord above) and they found themselves scrambling for a new director before production was scheduled to begin. They eventually settled upon UK television director, David Yates. I must say that for his first theatrical production, Yates did an excellent job. But there is one aspect in which his years in television did the movie a disservice was the pacing. Quite frankly, I found the pacing a bit rushed. The movie felt more like it had a running time of at least 100 or 110 minutes, instead of a movie over two hours long. I understand that Yates planned to helm the next HP movie, "THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE", as well. I only hope that he will learn his lesson from this movie and maintain a better pace.

I also had a few other problems with the movie. One of them happened to be Evanna Lynch, who portrayed the eccentric Hogswart student - Luna Lovegood. Before I receive accusations of sacriledge, please hear me out. Ms. Lynch physically captured the essence of Luna perfectly. And although she managed to convey Luna's offbeat persona in a competent manner, there seemed to be something missing from her portrayal in the movie. Then it occurred to me that there were times when the movie Luna seemed to be devoid of any emotion. She came off as too serene. And as I recalled, the literary Luna was capable of expressing more emotion - including anger at Hermoine's dismissive atttitude toward her. And Luna was not the only character I had problems with. Characters like Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), Percy Weasley (Chris Rankin in a non-speaking role), Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Tena) and the Blacks' house-elf Kreacher, barely seemed to exist. Lupin's biggest moment came when he tried to prevent Harry from chasing after the murderous Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham-Carter)

One last problem I had with the movie was the lack of closure on a few plot points. We never learned the consequences of Harry's discovery that Umbridge had used veritaserum on Cho Chang in order to coerce her into exposing "Dumbledore's Army" and Harry's lessons. I never understood why Kreacher even made an appearance in the movie, considering he did not seem to have an impact upon the story. The movie failed to bring some closure or allow Harry to discuss with Sirius and Remus about Snape's memories of the bullying James Potter. And what happened to Lucius Malfoy after Sirus (or Remus - I forgot whom) managed to defeat him? The movie never revealed his fate.

Despite the above flaws, I enjoyed "ORDER OF THE PHOENIX" very much. It still managed to be a more than satisfying summer movie. The original novel happened to be the largest in the entire series. Yet, screenwriter Michael Goldenberg managed to pare it down to the novel's main narrative. I suspect many HP fans would have preferred an exact adaptation of the novel. Thankfully, Goldenberg spared the moviegoing audience of what could have been a long and excrutiating period in the movie theater. To this day, I still believe that "THE SORCERER'S STONE" and "CHAMBER OF SECRETS" could have faced a little more editing. And some of the changes made to the story - Neville Longbottom's discovery of the Room of Requirement (instead of Dobby the house elf); no visit to the St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries (along with no repeat appearance of Gilderoy Lockhart and Neville's parents); Neville's own revelation of his parents' fate to Harry (instead of the discovery being made at St. Mungo); and Cho Chang's exposure of the Dumbledore Army (instead of Marietta Edgecombe committing the deed) - did not hurt the story at all. However, I am certain many fans would disagree. What made "ORDER OF THE PHOENIX" work for me was the combination of a mystery regarding Harry's connection to Voldemort and the growing fascist state at Hogswarts that also reflected within the wizarding world under Cornelius Fudge (Tom Hardy). I have to commend both Yates and Goldenberg for skillfully weaving these two elements within the movie's plot.

The movie also benefitted from excellent acting by the cast. In fact, I found this to be a great relief after suffering from the hammy acting found in the previous entry - "GOBLET OF FIRE". Both Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) were top-notched as usual. And so was Matthew Lewis as the likeable, yet clumsy Neville Longbottom. I especially must commend Radcliffe for conveying Harry's angst over Cedric Diggory's death in the last story and frustration at being ignored by Dumbledore. And I want to sink to my knees and give thanks to the spirits above and David Yates for preventing Emma Watson (Hermoine Granger), Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), Ralph Finnes (Voldemort), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) and also James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) from repeating their over-the-top performances in "GOBLET". Oh, such a relief! On the other hand, Helena Bonham-Carter's portrayal of the insane Bellatrix Lastrange did seem over-the-top. But considering that the literary Bellatrix was equally hammy, I had no problems with this. By the way, I must applaud Imelda Staunton for her delicious portrayal of "Miss Hitler in Pink" herself, namely the ladylike, yet poisonous Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry undersecretary who became the new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. In the novel, she is described as being toadlike, yet Ms. Staunton is obviously a more attractive-looking woman. But despite this, she managed to capture Umbridge's insidious and bigoted evil beautifully.

However, the movie's piece-de-resistance - at least for me - happened to be the battle that takes place inside the the Ministry of Magic. I must confess that the literary version of the battle usually left me slightly confused. I guess I simply found it difficult to visualize what took place. But Yates' direction not only clarified the entire battle for me, it left me feeling thrilled beyond measure. In my opinion, the battle has catapulted in what I now feel is probably the best sequence ever shown in any of the films so far. It was simply superb. Yet, there are other little golden moments in the film that I managed to enjoy:

-the Dumbledore Army's Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons

-Ron stands up to Seamus for Harry

-Filch's attempts to get inside the Room of Requirement

-Ginny's jealous glances at Harry and Cho

-Dean Thomas' (Alfred Enoch, who had more lines in this movie than the last two combined) argument with Umbridge

-Hermoine's handling of Gwarp (different from the novel)

-the fact that both Ron and Ginny helped Neville and Luna escape from Draco and the Inquisitor's Squad (I could be wrong that Ginny helped; if so, please inform me)

-Harry and the Order of the Phoenix's trip to London via broomsticks


And one of my personal favorite moments in the movie turned out to be Fred and George's torment of Umbridge before making their escape from Hogswarts. Classic moment.

Although "ORDER OF THE PHOENIX" possess have some flaws that prevent it from becoming my favorite HARRY POTTER movie so far ("PRISONER OF AZKABAN" still holds this title in my heart), I must admit that it reassured me that the movie franchise had not declined following the slightly disappointing "GOBLET OF FIRE". I do look forward to seeing it again before the summer ends.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Neighbors" [PG] - 3/11




"NEIGHBORS"

Part 3

As usual, Leo was the first member of the Halliwell household to reach the breakfast table. All of the activity from last night, along with the orbing and healing had whetted his appetite for a large morning meal.

His wife emerged from the kitchen, carrying a platter of scrambled eggs and bacon. She placed it on the dining table. "Here we go. Now if only Phoebe and Paige would get their butts downstairs."

"Our butts are right here," Paige's voice announced gaily. She and Phoebe slid into empty chairs, opposite Leo. "Oooo! This looks nice. I haven't had a breakfast like this in ages."

Piper sat in the empty chair next to Leo. "That's because you've never hung around long enough to enjoy one, when you were working. Phoebe?" She glanced at the middle sister. "Can you pass me the butter?"

A somewhat subdued Phoebe passed the small bowl of butter to her older sister. Leo frowned. He understood her bleak mood. Which had been around ever since Cole agreed to give her the divorce. Both Piper and Paige expressed bafflement over Phoebe's attitude. After all, she had longed for a divorce from Cole for the past few months. Perhaps she wanted the divorce. But Leo suspected that some inner core of Phoebe's still longed to be with her ex-husband.

"By the way," Piper added, "I got a call about an hour ago. From Olivia McNeill's grandmother. It seems she has invited us over for Sunday brunch."

Biting into a slice of toast, Paige frowned. She chewed on her food and swallowed it. "Did you accept? I thought we had decided to be discreet. Even with other witches."

Piper heaved a sigh. "We might as well accept. After all, Elise McNeill was one of Grams' closest friends. An old friend from college, as a matter of fact. She used to be one of Grams' teachers."

"I'm surprised that none of you recognized Olivia McNeill, the other night," Paige said between bites.

To Leo's surprise, Phoebe spoke up. "Piper and I never really knew her. At least I didn't. Piper may have remembered her from high school."

"I remembered her. Only a little." Piper reached for another slice of toast. "Prue knew her best. They had graduated together, after all. Only . . ."

Leo asked, "Only what?"

Piper continued, "Well, they didn't like each other, very much. Olivia McNeill had this Auntie Mame persona that rubbed Prue the wrong way. However, I heard that she and Andy Trudeau were good friends. Which irritated Prue even further. I'll have to ask Darryl about her."

"Auntie Mame, huh?" Leo chuckled. "That's Olivia, all right. She's very unorthodox. In fact, the entire McNeill family is."

"And you told them all about us," Piper added accusingly.

Sensing trouble, Leo immediately rose to his defenses. "C'mon Piper! You've met Olivia. She has a real talent for making others talk. It's a wonder she doesn't have psychic abilities." He paused. "Although her younger brother does."

"Her younger brother?"

Leo added, "Harry. Harry McNeill. He's a telepath. And her older brother, Bruce, has the power of transfiguration. Like his dad."

A slight frown appeared on Piper's face. "Bruce?" Then clarification lit up her eyes. "Ohmigod! Bruce McNeill! He's the sous chef at one of San Francisco's top restaurants, the Golden Horn. And it's owned by his mother, Gweneth . . ."

"Gweneth McNeill," Leo finished. "She's a very good cook."

Piper rolled her eyes. "Are you kidding? She's one of the finest chefs around. And Bruce, I understand, is developing a similar reputation. Wow!"

"So, culinary talents aside, just how strong are the McNeills?" Phoebe asked.

Leo stared at her. Phoebe did not seem particularly interested in Piper's rhapsody over the McNeills' profession. However, she did look rather miserable. So miserable, in fact that it nearly broke Leo's heart. Come to think of it, Cole had seemed rather subdued, last night. Speaking of which . . .

"Leo?" Piper's voice cut into his consciousness. "Phoebe asked how strong were the McNeills."

He automatically replied, "Oh. Uh, very strong. The Power of Three is stronger, of course. But the McNeills are as strong as you are . . . individually." The sisters looked impressed. Leo added, "By the way, Olivia had a visit from a warlock, last night."

The Charmed Ones immediately became alert. "Is she all right?" Paige asked, looking concerned.

Leo nodded. "Yeah. After I had healed her."

"She must have been hurt pretty badly," Phoebe commented. "It's a miracle that she was able to vanquish the warlock. Or did she?"

Leo paused. He found it difficult to say these next words. But the Halliwells, especially Phoebe, deserved the truth. "Uh, no she didn't."

Phoebe frowned. "What do you mean? The warlock got away?"

Taking a deep breath, Leo continued, "It was Cole who saved her. He had vanquished the warlock."

While Piper and Paige reacted with consternation and surprise, Phoebe's face turned pale. "Cole vanquished the warlock?" Paige demanded. "What was he doing there? Don't tell me that he's still trying to prove how 'good' he is."

"He was saving Olivia's life," Leo replied calmly. "And she lives in the apartment below the penthouse."

Phoebe took a deep breath. "I don't recall her living in the building when . . ." Her voice dropped to a whisper. "When Cole and I lived there."

"Olivia had just moved into the building on Tuesday."

Silence enveloped the breakfast table. Paige, Leo noticed, shot sympathetic glances at Phoebe. Who now looked even paler. Meanwhile, Piper began picking at the food on her plate. Time to lighten the mood. "So," Leo continued with false joviality, "do you all still plan to visit Elise McNeill?"

The three sisters stared at him. Leo had a pretty good idea what their answer would be.

* * * *

Olivia strode along the corridor of the police station's second floor. As she passed the Men's Room, a familiar voice cried out her name. She halted in her tracks.

"Olivia, wait up!" Darryl Morris caught up with his redheaded colleague. The pair eventually continued along the corridor. "So," the tall man asked, "how are you? I've tried to get in touch with you, yesterday, but you were away from the station, most of the day."

The nervous edge in Darryl's voice caught Olivia's attention. She had a pretty good idea why he seemed on the edge. "How am I?" Olivia gave her companion a pointed stare. "What are we? Mere acquaintances? Why do you sound so formal? Or is there something you want?"

"What makes you . . .?" Darryl began.

"Darryl? Enough of the bullshit, please!"

The tall man sighed. "All right. I just wanted to know if you got anything new on that body found in Lafayette Park, the day before yesterday."

Olivia paused in the middle of the corridor and stared at her colleague. Then she grabbed his arm and dragged him toward an alcove where a candy machine stood. "Okay, Darryl. I have a question for you. How long have you known that the Halliwells were witches?"

Shock, denial and wariness flashed in Darryl's dark eyes in rapid succession. "What are you . . .?"

"Darryl? Please don't tell me otherwise. I know they are the Charmed Ones. Hell, I knew that Prue would be a witch before she did. And you were acting pretty odd that night at Lafayette Park. Besides, the Halliwells' grandmother and my grandmother were old friends."

Suspicion gleaned in Darryl's eyes. "Wait a minute. Does that mean you're a . . . witch?"

Olivia nodded. "Been practicing magic since I was fourteen."

Darryl shook his head in disbelief and sighed. "Oh God! There are more of you?" Then he added, "Did Andy ever knew about you?"

"Not at first." Olivia paused. "I had told him just before his death. He knew about Prue and her sisters, right?"

A touch of sadness briefly dimmed Darryl's expression. "About a month or two before he was killed. I learned the truth about six or seven months later."

"Oh. May I ask you one last question?"

Darryl replied, "Ask away."

Olivia hesitated. Unable to keep her new neighbor out of her mind, she asked, "Do you know Cole Turner? I believe he was . . ."

"Yeah, I know him. He's Phoebe Halliwell's husband. Well, ex-husband." Darryl eyed her warily. "Why? Have you met him? Has he caused any trouble?"

Olivia shook her head. "No. He's been a perfect gentleman. As a matter of fact . . . he's a neighbor of mine. I live right below him. And he saved me from a warlock, last night."

"I don't want to hear anymore about it." Darryl waved one hand in the air.

A sigh left Olivia's mouth. "Okay. I didn't realize that the subject of Mr. Turner was that disturbing to you."

Indignation flashed in Darryl's eyes. "He's more than disturbing. He's dangerous! Did you know that he's a demon? Or that over half a year ago, he became the leader of the Underworld?"

"That would be the Source," Olivia added.

"Well, he eventually got Phoebe pregnant with some kind of spawn of evil and made her evil, as well. That man - if you want to call him one - put the Halliwells through a lot of hell. They vanquished him," Darryl continued, "but unfortunately, he came back from the dead. And he tried to win Phoebe back by trying to some kind of Good Samaritan."

Olivia commented dryly, "Didn't work, huh?"

Darryl shook his head. "No, thank God. Phoebe made it clear that it was hopeless. Their divorce became final, yesterday."

"Hmmm." Olivia walked away from the machine.

Close on her heels, Darryl continued, "Look, I guess you don't think he's all that bad, considering that he saved your life. But I wouldn't put it past Cole that he did it to impress Phoebe."

"Gee! Thanks!"

Darryl grabbed her arm. "Olivia, all I'm trying to say is be careful. I mean the man is a half-demon. At least I think he is. He has caused a lot of misery. Especially to people I care about. And I don't want you to be next on his list."

Olivia gave Darryl a reassuring smile. "I assure you Darryl, you have nothing to worry about."

* * * *

The intercom on Cole's desk buzzed. His secretary's voice announced, "Mr. Turner, you have a call on Line 3. It's Mrs. . . uh, Miss Halliwell." A pause followed. "Your wife."

From behind his desk, Cole froze. Phoebe. What did she want, now that the divorce papers had been signed? Cole - rather reluctantly - picked up the telephone receiver. "Hello?" he greeted. "Phoebe?"

Her words came out in a breathless rush. "Cole? What's going on? Leo just told us what happened last night, with Olivia McNeill. What were you doing in her apartment?"

Resentment and a little anger sparked within Cole. He did not care for the accusatory tone in Phoebe's voice. After taking a few deep breaths, he calmed down. "I was saving her ass from a warlock. Or did Leo forget to add that?" Damn! He had not meant to sound so sarcastic or bitter.

A pause followed before Phoebe replied, "No, he didn't. I'm just curious as to why a . . . why you would bother to save her. You're not exactly in the habit of saving strangers on your own. What were you trying to do? Impress me? Because it's too late for that."

"I wasn't trying to . . ." Once again, Cole felt the anger within. He could not believe this! All he did was try to save some woman he barely knew and now, he was being accused of some ulterior motive. Granted, he had been guilty of this in the past. But not now. Not when it was too late. "Dammit Phoebe!" he shot back. "Don't you think it's a little late for me to impress you? All I did was try to save her! It was . . . I don't know. I guess after helping you and your sisters for over a year, I guess I've developed a habit of saving innocents. Hell, I didn't even know that Leo was her whitelighter!"

Silence greeted Cole's ears. Then he heard Phoebe take a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Cole. It's just . . . well, Leo's news took me by surprise. And I thought . . ."

"Yeah, you've made it pretty clear on what you thought," Cole interjected. Then he silently muttered an oath. He had not meant to sound so harsh. Or did he?

"Cole . . ."

It became Cole's turn to sigh. "Look, Phoebe, let's just end this conversation before it turns into a screaming match."

One last pause followed. "Fine," Phoebe replied in a choked voice.

Struggling to control his own swelling emotions, Cole hesitated. Another silent moment passed before he continued, "Shit! Phoebe, I'm sor . . ."

"Bye Cole. Maybe I'll see you around." Phoebe hung up.

Cole slowly replaced the receiver on the telephone. He swerved his chair around, and found himself facing the large window that overlooked San Francisco. While he brooded.

* * * *

Later that evening, Olivia stood inside her kitchen, putting the final touches on a dish she had just prepared. A dessert called Floating Island. Her "thank you" offering to her new neighbor, for saving her life.

Olivia picked up the dish, left her apartment and strode quickly toward the elevator. Once inside, she shifted the dish to one arm and punched the button for the penthouse. The only one in the building. Olivia wondered how Cole Turner managed to get his hands on it, let alone keep it after disappearing last summer. The lucky bastard.

The elevator delivered to the top floor. Olivia walked out and headed straight for the penthouse's double doors. She hesitated. What the hell was she doing? Her new neighbor was a half-daemon. A half-daemon who was at least over a hundred years old. And who for at least two months, had been the leader of the Source's Realm. That is, if Leo and Darryl were correct. So why did she bother with this visit? Especially when common sense would have dictated that she avoid him at all costs?

Olivia could only conclude that gratitude for saving her life had contributed to her decision to pay her new neighbor a visit. After all, Cole Turner really had no reason to help her. She was not a Halliwell. If she really must be honest, Cole reminded her a little of Richard. Her fiancé of long ago. Well, not that long ago. Richard had been dead for less than a year. Olivia saw the same intensity, loneliness and conflicted emotions that used to radiate from Richard's eyes when they first met. She knew that Cole was not another Richard, despite their similarities. But she could plainly see that he had endured a lot over a period of time. And that he desperately needed a friend.

She rang the doorbell. A minute passed and no one answered. Olivia rang the doorbell again. This time, one of the doors slowly opened. She caught her breath at the sight of the man that filled the doorway. He wore nothing but a pair of trousers and a sleeveless T-shirt. Good God! No wonder Phoebe Halliwell had fell for him like a ton of bricks! It seemed like a miracle that the other Halliwells did not follow suit.

Cole's blue eyes grew wide at the sight of Olivia. "What are you doing here?" he demanded.

"Excuse me?" Olivia shot back.

Consternation flitted across Cole's handsome face. He sighed heavily. "Sorry, I . . . I didn't mean to sound rude. May I help you?"

Olivia held out the dish in her hands. "Actually, I'm here to give you this. It's called Floating Island. Just a little thank you gift for saving my life, last night." She placed the dish in Cole's hands.

He stared at the dessert. "I . . . uh, thanks. Although to be honest, I'm not really that . . ."

"Oh, you should try it," Olivia insisted. "It's really quite delicious. Well, hopefully. Floating Island is one of my mom's specialties and she is much better at making it than I am."

A nervous cough. "Look, I'm grateful for the . . . uh, gift, but I'm not really hungry at the moment. I'm trying to watch my weight."

"Really?" Olivia allowed her eyes to roam appreciatively over his masculine figure. "I'd say that a diet is the last thing you need to worry about."

"Okay, look," Cole returned the dish to Olivia, "thanks for the Floating Land, or whatever you called it, but no thanks. I'm not interested."

A spark of anger ignited within Olivia. Then she took a deep breath. 'Calm down, Olivia. Calm down.' "You don't have to eat it now," Olivia continued in her most calm voice. "Just keep it in the . . ."

"I . . . don't . . . want . . . the . . . damn . . . thing!" Cole literally shouted in her face. "UNDERSTAND??"

Her control over her anger slipped and Olivia's temper exploded. "Yeah, I understand! Christ! All I was trying to do is be a friend! There's no need to be rude!"

"A friend, huh? I bet you wanted more than that!"

Olivia's eyes narrowed dangerously. "What the hell did you mean by that?" she hissed.

A sneer formed on Cole's lips. "Leo must have told you all about me. The half-demon who became the Source? And since I saved your ass, you're probably wondering what makes me tick. Am I right?" The sneer disappeared, followed by an intimidating stare. "Well, I'm not in the mood to tell you what makes me 'tick'. Not to you or anyone else. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to be left alone. And the next time you find yourself dealing with a warlock or demon, I suggest you holler for Leo!"

"Thanks for the advice!" Olivia shot back scathingly. "Meanwhile, enjoy the dessert!" Using her telekinesis, she sent the Floating Island out of the dish and right smack into Cole's face. Then she spun on her heels and marched toward the elevator, feeling very humiliated.


END OF PART 3

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"The Helmsman's Log - 2372" [PG-13] - Part I




I am continuing with the saga of Lieutenant Tom Paris' personal experiences with the Voyager crew, in the Delta Quadrant. This covers Season 2 episodes from "Initiation" to "Basics, Part 1".

-----------

"THE HELMSMAN'S LOGS - 2372"
RATING: [PG-13]
SUMMARY: The second in a collection of Tom Paris' personal logs during Voyager's seven years in the Delta Quadrant. Part 2 focuses upon the ship's second year, 2372.
FEEDBACK: deerush76@yahoo.com - I would
appreciate constructive feedback. Thank you.
DISCLAIMER: Tom Paris and all other characters related to Star Trek Voyager
belong to Paramount, Viacom, Rick Berman, the Roddenberry family and other Trek producers.



Part 1

STARDATE 49000.95 - Aaaagh! Shit! I've got the worse hangover! I
never thought anyone could get a hangover from synthehol. Hell,
I haven't had one since my days with the Maquis and that was
with real alcohol. Poor Marie was still unconscious when I left
her quarters, this morning. Oh well. At least we had one hell of
a party. Too bad all of us weren't able to enjoy it. Tuvok
wasn't there. And B'Elanna left the party before the New Year.
Too bad. The party became even wilder after she left. In fact, I
have to say this was one of the best New Year parties I have
ever attended. End personal log.

STARDATE 49004.6 - We nearly lost Harry, today. While making a
polaron scan, his shuttle accidentally intersected a time stream.
Harry would have been killed from a warp-core breach, if Torres
had not transported him to the ship in time. After we retrieved
him, he asked if I was aboard the ship. Strange. He said
something even odder after he appeared on the Bridge. "I owe you
one."
Now, what did he mean by that? End personal log.

STARDATE 49013.63 - Harry told B'Elanna and me a strange tale,
this evening. Only, it wasn't really a tale. That time stream
that Harry had intercepted, sent him to an alternate reality. A
reality where neither of us ended up on Voyager.

Harry told us that in the other reality, he served in the
Starfleet Corps of Engineering and lived with his fiancée in San
Francisco. Lucky bastard. It seems my alter ego never made it
aboard Voyager, especially after I . . . I mean, he got into a
fight with that Ferengi bartender on Deep Space Nine. Alternate
Tom was pardoned on Stardate 48702 - three months short of my
full sentence. I, or he ended up as drunken barfly in
Marsailles. When Harry told us this - most reluctantly, I may
add - not even B'Elanna could look me in the eye.

In the end, even Harry ran into hot water after visiting a known
"Maquis sympathizer" - namely me - and accessing classified
files about Voyager. Those idiots at Starfleet Command accused
him of spying for the Maquis. Harry found out about the
time stream accident from an extra-dimensional intelligence named
Cosmo. Assigned to watch over Harry after the accident, Cosmo
eventually gave Harry the coordinates to return to the right
timeline. And Harry would have never accomplished this without
help from Libby and Alternate Tom. I may add that my alternate
ego died in a shuttle core breach just seconds after helping
Harry return to our time. Poor bastard. Makes me appreciate my
life aboard Voyager even more.

B'Elanna asked Harry why he didn't remain in that alternate
life, when given the chance. It seemed he couldn't live with his
friend, Danny Byrd, being unnecessarily stuck aboard Voyager. Or
me, wasting my life away at Sandrine's. Poor Harry. He gave up
so much in the name of friendship. And to right a wrong. That's
Starfleet for you. I hope he never changes. End personal log.

STARDATE 49045.55 - The Captain has finally approved my
suggestion to conduct flying lessons for members of the crew
outside of the Conn Division. So far, only five crewmen have
volunteered. Harry, of course; Mike Ayala; a Bajoran named Tal
Celes; Sue Nicoletti and Kes. I noticed that my good buddy,
B'Elanna, failed to volunteer. She claimed that Engineering took
too much of her time. Right! Tell me something new. The truth is
that she can't bear to drag herself out of Engineering for
anything other than meals and sleep.

As for Kes - well, I didn't really expect her to volunteer. A
part of me felt elated. Another part of me dreaded the lessons.
I mean, c'mon! Kes and me inside a small shuttle, together?
I don't know if I would be able to keep my hands off her.
End personal log.

STARDATE 49053.37 - I am so pissed! That goddamn warthog! (Takes
a deep breath) Okay, I'm calm. How to start from the beginning?

Well for one, I finally admitted my feelings about Kes - to
Harry, of course! I sure as hell didn't confess to Kes. Even
when I had the opportunity. It was those damn flying lessons! I
knew those lessons would be a problem. Watching her face lit up
as she attempted to maneuver the shuttle (in Holodeck Two, of
course) through one of the simulations I had created. And then
she fell right into my arms . . . It's a damn good thing I have
great restraint, or I would have tried to seduce her right there
on the spot.

That little shuttle lesson became the breaking point for me. I
had to tell someone. Who better than my good friend, Harry Kim?
When we arrived in the Mess Hall for lunch, I felt relieved that
he had joined me. We found Kes eating her lunch, all alone.
Unfortunately, Harry was called to the Bridge. Which left me
alone with Kes . . . and Afarian hair pasta. Who in the hell
ever heard of hair in pasta? Anyway, Neelix went green-eyed
jealous over the whole thing and dumped a plate of pasta on my
chest. So, I decided to return the favor. And the next thing I
knew, he tackled me to the floor and we began to wrestle. The
Captain summoned us to her Ready Room for a mission, before I
had the chance to change into a fresh uniform. Needless to say,
she was a little miffed. However, she seemed more concerned with
our mission. Which was? Neelix and I were ordered to fly to an
M-class planet to collect foodstuff. Great! Just what I need! A
day with a jealous, volatile warthog with no fashion sense. Oh
well. At least we didn't get busted for the fight. End personal
log.

STARDATE 49055.85 - This has certainly been a day of changes.
Yesterday, I wanted to strangle Neelix. But after spending
several hours on a planet together, caring for a baby
reptohumanoid, we're now best buddies. Who would have thought?
To be honest, once you get past Neelix's insecurities and
jealous temper, he's not a bad guy. He's one of the very few
people I can talk with on this ship. I even told him about that
ridiculous grade Dad gave me in Survival Training at the
Academy.

Now that Neelix and I are friends, I have to consider Kes off-
limits, permanently. I'm still attracted to her, but as I had
told Neelix, she has eyes for no one but him. I might as well
stop fooling myself and admit it.

Shit! This itching is driving me crazy! Damn trigemic vapors! I
hope the Doc has some cordrozine available. End personal log.

STARDATE 49068.04 - Miracle of miracles! Harry and I finally
persuaded B'Elanna to volunteer for pilot lessons in the
Holodeck. Today marked her first day in the classroom. After
insisting that she was already a pretty good pilot, she managed
to crash the shuttle during a flight through an asteroid belt. I
didn't laugh out loud, but she did order me to wipe that smirk
off my face. What smirk? I don't recall smirking. End personal
log.

STARDATE 49089.37 - Is it me or has the Captain becoming testy,
lately? I suppose it was inevitable, with everyone demanding her
attention. We're about to enter Botha space and Neelix has
expressed concern over the matter. Doesn't exactly do much for
my sense of security, either.

Both Harry and B'Elanna are still in Engineering, trying to find
a way to install holoemitters throughout certain areas of the
ship. They've been working on this project for nearly a week,
now and I miss them. New holoemitters would supposedly free the
Doc from the confines of the Sick Bay and the holodecks. Hell!
It's bad enough dealing with the man, while in Sick Bay. Must we
have him underfoot, as well? End personal log.

STARDATE 49098.27 - If I ever find myself in Botha space again,
it would be too soon. God, what a horrible place! To have one's
deepest fears and desires exposed like that. I simply hated it!

The Captain was the first to experience these illusions. She
claimed that she saw her fiancé on the view screen. Tuvok saw
his wife and Harry, Libby. Soon, nearly the entire crew ended up
telepathically manipulated by the Bothan. I thought I would end
up facing my old love, Susie Crabtree. Or Kes. Instead, I found
myself facing good ole Admiral Owen Paris, my childhood horror.
There was he was, standing behind my shoulder and spouting those
same hateful words I had to endure during most of my life.
Naturally, I lost it.

Why the Admiral? Why him, of all people? Dammit! It was like
facing all the insecurities and doubts of the past, again. I
thought I had put it behind me, when I ended up in the Delta
Quadrant. (Sighs) Apparently not.

Sandrine's was pretty crowded this evening. Even Neelix and Kes
were there. Kes seemed particularly wary of me. I wonder why.
Harry began his usual chatter about Libby. I guess seeing her in
that alternate timeline made his longing for her, even worse.
B'Elanna never told us what she had imagined. She didn't have
to. The Captain and Chakotay's appearance told me everything. I
can only imagine what had gone through her mind.

This is just great! B'Elanna is still mooning over the Great
Spirit Guide and Harry still longs for Libby. At this rate,
they'll end up as the two loneliest people on this ship - after
Captain Janeway. End personal log.

STARDATE 49123.7 - Spent a pleasant Valentine's Day. The crew
held a party inside Sandrine's. Harry and B'Elanna arrived
together. I came with Ensign Renlay Sharr. I think B'Elanna
would have enjoyed herself more, if Chakotay had not been there.
She spent most of the evening, shooting discreet, yet longing
glances at him. At least Harry and I were able to distract her
with a dance, each.

I also managed to enjoy a dance with Kes. Again, she seemed a
bit distant and I don't know why. She has been like this ever
since we left Botha space. When I finally brought up the
subject, she snapped out of it and became the old Kes I know and
love. I wanted to ask what happened, but instinct told me it
would be best to remain silent. End personal log.

STARDATE 49166.03 - Ten months after our encounter with the
Caretaker, we came across another array station, similar to the
one that brought us into the Delta Quadrant. The Captain ordered
Harry to hail the station. To our surprise, we found it
maintained by Ocampans - unfriendly ones, at that. They would
have continued firing upon the ship, if Kes had not asked them
to stand down. Neelix told me that the Captain will hold a
dinner for our Ocampan guests in her new private dining room.
Along with him, Chakotay, Tuvok and Kes have been ordered to
attend. And the food will be prepared by the Ocampans. Lucky
people. End personal log.

STARDATE 49171.76 - We finally made contact with the Caretaker's
mate and it nearly ended in disaster for Voyager. Her name is
Susperia and she came close to killing the Captain, B'Elanna,
Tuvok and a few others in Engineering. Susperia had no desire to
help us return to the Alpha Quadrant. Instead, she wanted
revenge for the Caretaker's death. Despite what the Captain told
her, she believed that we had killed him. If it hadn't been for
Kes, she would have eventually destroyed the ship.

Speaking of Kes, I heard the Ocampans helped strengthen her
telekinesis. Because of this, she nearly killed Tuvok, destroyed
the plants in the Airpondics Bay and weakened Susperia by
attacking one of the Ocampans. Whew! I never realized how
powerful she could be. Then I remember she was the one who had
defeated that Bothan. End personal log.

STARDATE 49179.6 - While delivering a navigational report to
Engineering, I asked Sue Nicoletti out for a date. She said no.
Okay. I'm a little disappointed, but I'll get over it. I realize
that Sue might not be my type, but neither is Kes. And I ended
up falling in love with her.

Of course, one might ask why Sue Nicoletti? Again, like Kes,
she's different from the other women I usually date. And quite
frankly, I'm getting a little weary of fleeting romances. Sue is
beautiful, intelligent and seems like someone I would like to
know very much. Unfortunately, she is not interested in me. But
hey! I'm a Paris. And Parises never give up. End personal log.

STARDATE 49201.76 - Voyager took one hell of a beating from the
Kazon-Nistrim, today. We came across a Federation signal from a
nebula cloud. A cloud that hid a Kazon ship, commanded by an old
friend, Maje Cullah. The attack turned out to be a raid,
masterminded by another old friend, Seska. Who now looks
completely Cardassian. The raid resulted in the theft of a
transporter module, a Kazon shuttle stuck in the ship's hull and
a collapsed warp field. It's a damn good thing the Kazon were
only interested in a hit-and-run raid. Or we would have been in
serious trouble.

Harry later managed to drag B'Elanna out of Engineering for
dinner in the Mess Hall. We talked about the raid and Seska.
B'Elanna told us that Chakotay felt guilty for recruiting Seska
into the Maquis, in the first place. Not really surprised.
Chakotay had never been a good judge of character. Tuvok, on the
other hand, is a pretty good one. Neelix repeated a suggestion
he had made to the Captain. And I quote: "Perhaps Commander
Chakotay could use his intimate knowledge of Seska to manipulate
her in much the same way she manipulated us."
(Laughs) Oh God!
(More laughter) I wish I had witnessed that little moment.
(Takes a deep breath) Poor Neelix looked embarrassed when he
repeated Tuvok's words. So did Harry. As for B'Elanna . . .
hell, she looked as if she could commit murder. Instead, she
stormed out of the Mess Hall in a huff. Probably to offer
comfort to our embarrassed First Officer. End personal log.

STARDATE 49204.06 - We finally managed to rescue Chakotay from
Seska and the Kazon-Nistrim. It seemed Seska had integrated our
transporter module into Kazon technology. She and Cullah
executed three men from the Kazon-Relora by transporting them
into space. This turned out to be the last straw for Chakotay,
who went after Seska and the module in a shuttle, without
Janeway's permission. He left a message beacon, instructing us
not to rescue him. Tuvok argued that we should heed the good
Commander's advice. I had no problem with that. However, the
always loyal B'Elanna convinced the Captain to go after
Chakotay. We rescued him by first, kidnapping a group of Kazon,
including Cullah, and insisting on a trade. It worked. End
personal log.

STARDATE 49209.09 - Stunning news, today. Well, first things
first. Chakotay has returned to duty. He and the Captain spent a
few minutes inside her Ready Room. Judging from their
expressions, the Captain must have placed an official reprimand
on his record.

And the big news? Seska left behind a message beacon for
Chakotay. He rejected the Captain's offer to relay the message
to his office. Big mistake. It seems Seska had used the sample
of Chakotay's DNA she had stolen to impregnate herself. And now,
she's carrying his child. Boy! The look on Chakotay's face was
one I will never forget. He looked absolutely stunned. I can
imagine how B'Elanna will react when she hears the news. End
personal log.

STARDATE 49220.98 - Saw B'Elanna for the first time in four
days. Ever since Seska's little bombshell, she has been hiding
out in her quarters or Engineering. Harry finally forced her to
show up her shuttle lesson, today. In the end, I couldn't keep
my mouth shut and asked where had she been for the past several
days. B'Elanna claimed that she had been busy repairing the hull
breach from Seska's raid. I called her a liar (God, I'm a brave
man!) and told her I knew what was really going on.

"Like what?" she demanded.

I told her. I told her that I knew she was upset over Seska's
pregnancy. I added that it wasn't Chakotay's fault. That Seska
had stolen his DNA, while he was unconscious. And that Seska
used the DNA to impregnate herself. "It's not like they had
sex,"
I added.

Big mistake. B'Elanna immediately ended the lesson and started
to leave the holodeck. Determined to make her see the light, I
blocked her way and added that a) I knew about her infatuation
with Chakotay; b) she was wasting her time on a man who was not
the ideal she seemed to believe he was; c) Chakotay never struck
me as her type; and d) that being the case, she should consider
letting go of this infatuation.

Okay, maybe I had been a little too blunt. My words didn't
exactly sit well with B'Elanna. In fact, she lost her temper and
threatened to dismember me if I didn't get out of her way. Well,
a guy usually knows when he's not wanted and I knew that if I
didn't step aside, she would carry out her threat. So I moved.
And she left. God only knows when she'll speak to me, again. End
personal log.

STARDATE 49234.53 - I must be very unpopular with female
engineers, lately. B'Elanna still isn't speaking to me. I really
must have pissed her off. I also asked Sue Nicoletti for another
date. This time, she responded with an emphatic no. (Sighs) I
wonder if Harry is available for a quick game of pool, tonight.
I might even allow my old snuggle bunny, Ricki, to make an
appearance. End personal log.

STARDATE 49245.06 - Trouble aboard Voayger, today. The warp
field coils are beginning to malfunction. And they're affecting
the port nacelle. Engineering had to reroute power to the anti-
matter reactor. It's the only way we can keep moving. Harry and
B'Elanna informed us that Voyager desperately needs tellurium
for the reactor. Fortunately, Neelix knows where we can acquire
a supply. Until then, many shipboard systems will be down. End
personal log.

STARDATE 49250.52 - Ever since the Captain, Tuvok, and B'Elanna
end up missing on the Mokra homeworld, the crew has been in a
state of anxiety. All because of the damn tellurium. Neelix's
description of the Mokra Order reminded me of the Nazi regime
from 20th century Earth history. In the end, our missing trio
and Neelix ended up dealing with representatives from the
Alsarian resistance movement. Neelix returned to the ship with
the tellurium. Unfortunately, the others ended up either missing
or captured. End personal log.

STARDATE 49253.87 - We got the Captain, B'Elanna and Tuvok back.
Barely. Chakotay sent me and an Away team to rescue them from
the Mokra Order. By the time we found them, they had rescued
themselves. Augris, head of the Mokra, had been killed. I think
the Captain is still upset over the death of that old man. The
Doctor healed Tuvok's wounds. Never saw a Vulcan look so chewed
up like that. I don't know about B'Elanna. She has been in her
quarters, since her return to the ship. I think Harry is with
her. I'd join them, but I don't think B'Elanna wants my company.
End personal log.

STARDATE 49260.43 - I'm running late! The staff meeting
starts in less than 15 minutes and I just finished showering. If
I had remembered, I would have never spent the night with Margot
Gallagher. She and Dick Bennet had finally called it quits some
five weeks ago. Big argument in the Mess Hall. Bennet consoled
himself with Jana McCormick from Engineering. Since Sue
Nicoletti is proving to be elusive, I decided to try my luck
with Gallagher. At least for a while. According to Harry, Bennet
is pissed. Too bad. He should have thought of that before he
took up with McCormick. End personal log.

STARDATE 49278.21 - The crew found and beamed aboard an android
that had been floating in space. Naturally Tuvok, with his usual
Vulcan "doom-and-gloom", nay-sayed the idea. But the Captain
gave B'Elanna and Harry permission to repair the android. Now,
they have a new toy to become obsessed over. Harry eventually
grew tired and left Engineering. Not B'Elanna. I gather she's
still there, obsessing over her new toy.

Also, Gallagher asked me over to her quarters for dinner. I
guess I would have preferred Nicoletti, but something tells me
that a date with her would be hopeless. So, I'll be keeping
company with the lovely Margot, tonight. End personal log.

STARDATE 49281.19 - A hell of a lot has happened, lately. The
android that B'Elanna had repaired, kidnapped her so she would
create a prototype of Pralor druids. The Captain threatened the
Pralor ship with force, in order to force them to return
B'Elanna. Instead, they responded by attacking the ship. The
attack left Voyager with little warp power for half a day. End
personal log.

STARDATE 49282.84 - The Captain, Tuvok and Chakotay finally came
up with a plan to rescue B'Elanna. Thank God! The plan was to
distract the Pralor ship long enough for me to slip inside its
shields by shuttlecraft, beam B'Elanna aboard and fly back to
Voyager. I did suggest getting inside the Pralor's shields
without a diversion and Mister "Crash" Chakotay had the nerve to
hint that I might wreck another shuttle. This coming from a man
who has wrecked more shuttles than all of the Federation's
enemies combined!

In the end, another ship filled with androids created the
diversion. They were the Cravic, and were at war with the
Pralor. I managed to slip through a breach in the Pralor's ship,
caused by the Cravic. I also beamed B'Elanna aboard the shuttle.
Unfortunately, not before she was injured.

Later at Sandrine's, Harry and I learned from B'Elanna that
there had been a war between the Pralor and the Cravic. They had
created androids to fight their armies. When the two races ended
their war, the androids exterminated them in fear of being
deactivated or destroyed. I've said it before and I'll say it
again - we're too dependent upon technology.

And yes, B'Elanna is speaking to me again. She thanked me for
rescuing her from the Pralor. After Harry left our table for
drinks, she also admitted that I had been right about her and
Chakotay. I don't think her infatuation is completely over, but
I can see that she no longer puts him on a pedestal. It's a
relief to know that she is finally on the road to recovery. End
personal log.

STARDATE 49302.85 - Sad news today. Q or Quinn has committed
suicide. According to Kes, he killed himself by swallowing
Nogatch hemlock. A little gift provided by that other omnipotent
being, Q. After the Captain gave him asylum aboard Voyager, I
thought he would readily join the crew. I guess not. Kes said
that she didn't feel too sad. Not only was Quinn free of the Q
Continuum, he no longer had to deal with an existence in
eternity. End personal log.

STARDATE 49315.82 - The Kazon-Nistrim are back. Dammit! Voyager
sustained damage to several decks and impulse engines, during a
twenty minute battle. We engaged against two Nistrim ships. One,
I'm happy to say, was destroyed. The other, although heavily
damanged, managed to escape. I hope it will be a while before
our next encounter with the Kazon. However, my gut tells me that
we'll be seeing them a lot sooner. End personal log.

STARDATE 49327.65 - God, I'm tired! Once again, Voyager had
another battle with the Kazon. Don't these people ever give up?
This time, they managed to take us by surprise, during Gamma
shift. The battle ended in the destruction of the Kazon ship.
Unfortunately, Voyager sustained damage to the starboard nacelle
and Deck Eight. Two crewmen - Larson and Golwat - were injured.
Right now, I need a bite to eat and some rest. End personal log.

STARDATE 49330.11 - Another battle with the Kazon-Nistrim.
Cullah and Seska seemed to be after us with a vengeance. Again,
several decks were damaged, along with the navigational
deflector and impulse engines. B'Elanna had to shut down the
warp engines, to prevent a core breach. After the battle, I went
to Engineering to help her repair the navigational deflector.
The place was a mess! Several crewmen had been injured, along
with Kurt Bandera. B'Elanna told me that he died not long after
he had been beamed to Sick Bay. She seemed pretty shaken by the
news. So was I, to be honest. Kurt had been the only Maquis who
had treated me decently, despite being one of Chakotay's closest
friends.

Kurt's memorial service was held during Gamma shift. After the
service, Ensign Hogan, another ex-Maquis, accosted the Captain
about trading Federation technology with the Kazon. He saw no
harm in it. Mind you, I have a pretty low opinion of the Prime
Directive, but not even I would consider such a trade. Unless
the situation was desperate enough to call for one. But I don't
see the harm in forming an alliance with the Kazon.

Thankfully, Chakotay managed to convince the Captain into
considering a Kazon-Federation alliance. Harry was appalled.
Tuvok, surprisingly, seemed to have found logic in the idea.
Tuvok and Chakotay agreeing to the same thing - scary! B'Elanna
suggested we try to make an alliance with the Nistrim. I thought
it was a good idea. Chakotay didn't. I guess he would have
preferred another Kazon sect. But the Captain told him that he
would have to deal with an alliance with Seska and Cullah. Since
the whole idea was his to begin with. You know, I'm glad the
Captain has finally considered this alliance, but I have a
nagging feeling that she hopes it will fail. End personal log.

STARDATE 49332.42 - Harry is still bitching about the possible
alliance with the Kazon. He said that the latter cannot be
trusted and such an alliance would a violation of Federation
ideals. B'Elanna coolly asked him if he had felt the same about
the Federation's treaty with the Cardassians. Harry remained
silent after that.

Neelix has left to make contact with the Kazon-Pommar. I guess
the Captain has plans to establish an alliance with all of the
Kazon sects. Good luck! We should rendevous with Neelix,
tomorrow. End personal log.

STARDATE 49337.71 - The whole alliance between us and the Kazon
has gone to hell, thanks to the Trabe. Funny thing is, I'm not
really surprised. People don't really change that much, and I
guess one could say the same about the Trabe. A few decades ago,
they had been a highly sophisticated race who oppressed the
Kazon for generations. Turned them into a slave race. The Kazon
eventually rebelled against the Trabe and more or less, have
been hunting them down, since.

The Captain, Chakotay and many others believed the Trabe had
learned some humility over the years. Ha! What a joke! I'm not
saying that I was suspicious of the Trabe, but I don't think
people change that drastically, no matter what they went
through. And I certainly didn't think the Kazon would tolerate
the Trabe's presence at the peace conference. Well, I was right.
The Trabe tried to kill all of the Kazon majes and the entire
alliance fell apart. So, that's the end of that. And judging
from the Captain's little "we are Starfleet" speech, I think
she is secretly pleased over the alliance's failure. She never
wanted the alliance in the first place. But sooner or later, I
suspect she's going to realize that one day, she will have to go
against Starfleet protocol to ensure our survival in the Delta
Quadrant. End personal log.

STARDATE 49346.39 - Harry, B'Elanna and I discussed an
interesting topic during lunch, today. Warp 10 flight. According
to B'Elanna, the dilithium we had picked up from that dark
nebula about a month ago, has proven to be strong and rich
enough to remain stable at a much higher warp frequency. In
other words, it could be used to allow a ship to travel at Warp
10. Starfleet has always considered it an infinite velocity
unattainable by normal warp drive technology. But with this new
dilithium, Voyager could travel at Warp 10. This would enable
the ship to travel at a speed that theoretically, occupies all
points in the universe simultaneous. Maybe give us the ability
to travel at transwarp speed.

We all agreed it was something to think about. I think B'Elanna
and Harry saw this as an opportunity to quickly get home. I
saw it as an opportunity to make aviation history. Since the
Captain is now in her quarters, we plan to present the idea to
her. I better hurry or I'll be late. End personal log.

STARDATE 49346.8 - The Captain has agreed to let us work on the
Warp 10 project. (Takes a deep breath) Okay. Warp 10. God, I
hope we'll be able to pull it off. (Pauses) Boy, wouldn't that
be something? To be the first pilot to reach Warp 10. I wonder
how Dad would react if I succeed? Would he finally see more than
just an embarrassment to the Paris name? (Pauses) I don't know.
End personal log.

STARDATE 49357.67 - I didn't know whether to hug or kiss Neelix
after listening to his little story. Okay, I had settled for a
hug. Harry, B'Elanna and I have been running holodeck
simulations on the Warp 10 flight. And each simulation, ending
in failure. We thought it were the nacelles buckling under
pressure of transwarp flight, but it was the shuttle's hull.
Neelix's tale (hell, I forgotten all the details) gave me an
idea. We should strengthen the shuttle's hull with tritanium,
instead. A second holodeck simulation proved that my idea worked.
Harry, B'Elanna and I informed the Captain and Chakotay. And now,
it seems I will be conducting the Warp 10 flight, tomorrow morning.
I only hope . . . (door chimes) Hell, who is it now? End personal
log.

LOG SUPPLEMENTAL - Dammit, I nearly lost the flight! All because
of the Doc. The Captain came by to inform me that the Doc found
a slight enzymatic imbalance in my cerebellum. And that
something that might affect my health during the experiment. And
that Harry will conduct the flight in my stead.

(Sighs) For a moment, I thought I might have overreacted at the
news. I really didn't realize how much I wanted to make
this flight, until I nearly lost it. Do I want the recognition
that badly? To be known as the one who made the first Warp 10
flight? I mean, what was it going to get me? (Pauses) I don't
know. I . . . Hell! Who am I kidding? It's not the name
recognition I want. It's the respect.

Yeah, I know that some of the crew have begun treating me with
more respect and friendliness, in the past six months or so.
Treat me as part of the crew. But I still see signs of hostility
and disgust in the eyes of many people. Especially people like
Chakotay. Maybe this Warp 10 flight will finally erase their
distrust for good. End personal log.

STARDATE 49359.86 - I did it. I became the first Human or
sentient being to achieve Warp 10 speed. It was amazing! In a
breath of a second, I went everywhere in the universe. Other
sectors of the Delta Quadrant, the Alpha Quadrant, in the past
and in the future . . . My name will probably end up in the
History books, with others like Cochrane and Armstrong. And yet
. . . I don't know. I guess I don't feel as elated as I should.
The Captain certainly did. And so did B'Elanna. Now, why don’t
I feel the same? I don't know. Maybe earning the respect of
others just isn't enough. (Sighs) Oh well. Huh, it's almost
17:00 hours. I forgot that I'm supposed to meet B'Elanna in the
Mess Hall, so we can go over the specs of the flight. End
personal log.

STARDATE 49378.33 - This has all been a surreal dream. I wish it
had been a dream. But it wasn't. I actually died. And
resurrected as a lizard, a salamander or something. The Doc told
me that I had evolved into man's future state. I don't know if I
agree with that conclusion. How can an amphibian be considered
man's future form?

The funny thing is that I don't remember a damn thing that
happened. Well, I take that back. I do remember how awful
Neelix's coffee tasted. Maybe I can get him to change the name.
And I remember lying flat on my back in the Mess Hall, and
writhing in pain, while B'Elanna stroked my hair. (Pauses) Whoa!
Now why did I say that? Anyway, the Doc happily filled me in on
some of the hazy moments. Let's just say that he knows a lot
about the history of my sex life. Perhaps too much. He also
knows that I don't trust people who don't cry and that I have a
serious inferiority complex. Gods! What else did I reveal? Oh,
he did add that I asked Kes to give me a kiss. Thank goodness
Neelix will never find out.

The Doctor had a plan to restore my original DNA, using matter
from the ship's warp core. Only, I managed to escape, kidnap the
Captain, and leave Voyager in the Cochrane, before he could
succeed. The crew found the Captain and I on some swampy planet,
three days later. And we had transformed into a pair of
salamanders. Salamanders with babies. Great! In a space of four
days, I've died, resurrected, transformed into another species,
kidnapped the Captain, transformed her, took her to a planet and
knocked her up. I must add that we had three babies. Chakotay
and Tuvok had decided to leave them on the planet. Huh. Too bad.
I wouldn't have minded being a father. I think.

I had apologized to the Captain for my behavior. She's really
something. She had suggested that she might have been the one to
initiate our . . . uh, mating. Shit! Now I feel like an
embarrassed schoolboy! As for the Warp 10 project, it looks as
if we might have to find another way for a starship to travel at
that speed - and without "evolving" into another animal.
End personal log.


END OF PART I