Thursday, March 20, 2014
"When Irish Eyes Are Talaxian" [R] - 3/9
"WHEN IRISH EYES ARE TALAXIAN"
Several minutes later, Tom emerged from the turbolift and stepped onto the Bridge. Actually, he stumbled after Voyager rocked from an encounter with an ion particle. He steadied himself and barked in Janeway style, "Report!"
Ayala rose from the Command chair. "The ship is still in the middle of the ion storm, Lieutenant," he replied. "With the external sensors off-line, we weren't able to avoid it in time. And I've sent Andrews to Holodeck One with a Security detail." A frown creased the tall man's brow. "By the way, why are they needed there?"
"I'll tell you later," Tom shot back. He eased into the Command chair and addressed the crewman standing behind the Ops station. "Holman, where is that storm coming from?"
Holman informed Tom that the ion storm was moving at forty-three degrees from the board. And that the storm had damaged Voyager's hull. With that information, Tom ordered the shields at full maximum and instructed the pilot at the Conn to follow the storm's direction.
"Sir?" Wide blue eyes stared at Tom. He saw the fear and anxiety expressed on Ensign Jenkins' face. "I . . . I don't know . . . I mean . . ."
Following Janeway's example, Tom stood up and walked down to the Conn station. He placed a hand on his subordinate's shoulder. "Don't worry, Liz. I understand. This is your first ion storm. So, we'll just take it one step at a time. Okay?" He flashed a reassuring smile at Jenkins. Who immediately relaxed.
It took them nearly a half hour to ride the storm. Once Voyager entered clear space, everyone on the Bridge visibly relaxed and heaved sighs of relief. Tom complimented Jenkins on her piloting skills. Then he faced the rest of the Bridge crew. "I realize all of you are anxious to end your shift," he continued, "but I'm afraid you'll have to remain on the Bridge a little longer." Groans and murmurs filled the Bridge. "It seems a . . . situation has developed in the Holodeck."
Ayala frowned and stared at Tom. "Lieutenant?"
Tom nodded toward the Captain's Ready Room and the two men left the Bridge. Once inside the smaller room, Tom revealed what had occurred during the festivities. The former Maquis' eyes grew round, until they nearly popped out of his sockets by the time Tom finished. Although the acting Captain had left out Janeway's actions, Ayala seemed completely shocked by the whole story. "You've got to be kidding!" he managed to utter. "You mean to say that two-thirds of the crew are drunk?"
"I suppose you can call it that," Tom replied. "To be honest, not all of them seem drunk. Just a little . . . odd." The Captain's overt attempts of seduction popped into his head. He began to wonder how B'Elanna had reacted to the Valax. "That's why I had you send a Security team to help Neelix gather the crew. Doc is working on a new kind of inaprovaline to counter it and I . . ." His combadge beeped.
"Neelix to Paris"
Tom responded, "Go ahead, Neelix."
The Talaxian explained that he and the Security team had managed to round up several of the partygoers."Unfortunately, a good number of them have left the Holodeck, including Ensign Kim, Seven, Commander Chakotay, B'Elanna and a few others. We could use more help in finding them."
"You've got it," Tom quickly replied. "As soon as I check on the Doc in Si . . ."
Loud noises from his combadge interrupted Tom. They were soon followed by a cry from Neelix. "Oh my heavens! Commander, what are you doing?"
Tom and Ayala exchanged glances. "Neelix," the former continued, "what's going on in there?"
"Uh, it's nothing, Tom. Just Commander Tuvok climbing onto one of the tables. I gather he is about to give us a taste of Vulcan culture." A quick cough followed. "I'll get back to you later. Neelix out."
"Neelix?" No reply came from Tom's combadge. He heaved a sigh and faced Ayala. "You might as well return to the Bridge, Mike. I think you're going to be there for quite a while. Meanwhile, I'll go and see what the hell is going on."
It had not been difficult for Neelix and the Security Team to track down most of the missing Starfleet partygoers. Since most of them were roaming about the Fair Haven simulation, the searchers managed to round up many Starfleeters inside Michael Sullivan's pub. Yet, several of the partygoers remained elusive - including the majority of the Senior Staff. Neelix conveyed this information when he contacted Tom.
While he talked with the Chief Pilot, loud cheers caught Neelix's attention. He glanced up and to his shock, saw Lieutenant-Commander Tuvok climbed upon one of the tables. "Attention everyone!" the usually stoic Vulcan cried out.
More shock followed when Tuvok removed his Starfleet jacket, while onlookers whistled and clapped. "Oh my heavens!" Neelix cried out. "Commander! What are you doing?"
Tom's voice demanded over the combadge, "Neelix, what's going on in there?"
Time to nip this little problem in the bud. Neelix quickly placated Tom, explaining that Tuvok had climbed upon one of the tables. He did not bother to include Tuvok removing the jacket, much to the pleasure of others. Especially the women. "I'll get back to you later. Neelix out."
The moment he broke contact with Tom, Neelix rushed over to the Security Chief standing on the table. "Mr. Vulcan, please! Stop making an exhibition of yourself!" Tuvok ignored Neelix's pleading and proceeded to remove the gray tunic. "Mr. Vulcan! Tuvok!"
Strong hands grabbed Neelix's arm and dragged him away from the table. Hands that belonged to Sue Nicoletti, one of Voyager's top engineers. "Let him finish whatever he was doing, Neelix," she said in a voice huskier than usual. "It's so rare to see Tuvok so . . . so open like this." Her blue eyes glistened with lust.
"Lieutenant, I have to stop this. Commander Tuvok doesn't realize what he is . . ." A gray turtleneck shirt soared in the air and landed on Neelix's head. Laughter filled the pub. The Talaxian removed the offending shirt and glanced up. Tuvok now wore his gray undershirt, black pants and nothing else. He had already removed his boots and socks.
The Vulcan stood upright on the table, his legs slightly apart and hands on hips. "Since today is a holiday . . ." It amazed Neelix that in a state of intoxication, Tuvok could still project a dignified appearance. ". . . I will perform a song beloved on my homeworld. It is called 'Falor's Journey'." He cleared his voice and began to sing in a soft, deep voice.
Again, Neelix rushed toward the singing officer, only to be stopped by several hands. Andrews and the other Security were even less successful. Determined to end the exhibition, Neelix turned to another source. He pushed his way through the crowd and stopped before the fiddler who had began to accompany Tuvok. Neelix attempted to tear the instrument from the hologram's hand, but others shoved him away and he found himself as frustrated as ever.
"Neelix, what is going on?" The Talaxian found Captain Janeway at his side. Her hands were busy fastening the buttons along the front of her blouse. Even more amazing were the strands of hair that had escaped her bun. Her eyes fell upon the Security chief in the center of the pub. "Oh. I thought I recognized 'Falor's Journey'. What verse is Tuvok now singing?"
Stunned by the Captain's disheveled appearance and the events of the past few minutes, Neelix hesitated. "Huh? Oh, uh, I have no idea."
"I can tell you that you're in for a long performance. There are 348 verses in 'Falor's Journey'. Why is he half-dressed?"
I can ask the same about you, Neelix silently added. "To be honest, Captain, I have no idea. I tried to stop him."
"Why? He looks comfortable." A predatory light gleamed in Janeway's eyes as she continued to stare at Tuvok. "And I'm not complaining."
The Captain's rejoinder knocked Neelix into a loop. What was going on here? And what happened to Tom and the Doctor? They were supposed to help him.
"By the way," the Captain continued, "where is the delectable Mr. Paris? Why hasn't he returned?"
Neelix nervously explained that Tom had an emergency to deal with on the Bridge.
"Still?" The Captain's eyes remained on Tuvok. "And Chakotay? Where is he?"
"Actually, I don't know, Captain. I've been searching for him and the other senior staff members." Neelix's eyes scanned the pub. "I suppose the Commander is back in his quarters." I hope so, the Talaxian thought. Then he caught sight of Michael Sullivan entering from the pub's back room. Like the Captain, he looked relaxed and slightly disheveled. "I see that Mr. Sullivan is available."
Janeway acknowledged the Irishman's presence with a sultry glance. "I've already had my brief moment in the sun with Mr. Sullivan." Her eyes returned to Tuvok. "Besides, it's time to move on to other pastures." A lavacious smile spread across her face.
Her remark shocked Neelix. "Captain! What are you . . .?"
"Paris to Neelix," chirped the Talaxian's combadge. "Neelix? Neelix, are you there? What the hell is going on?"
Neelix let out a long sigh and answered, "Nothing at the moment, Tom. Everything is fine. Where are you?" Tom replied that he was on his way to Holodeck One. "Oh, don't bother. I have everything under control." He glanced at the Captain, who seemed very interested in his conversation. "I'll meet you in . . ." Neelix broke off when he caught sight of a familiar figure standing in the doorway. A wide-eyed Naomi Wildman. "Uh, Tom, I'll get back to you, later. Something's come up. Neelix out." He deactivated his combadge before Tom could respond.
Forgetting Tom, the Captain, Tuvok and just about everyone else, Neelix rushed toward the young half-Ktarian. "Naomi! What are you doing here? Aren't you suppose to be back in your quarters by now, with your mother?"
Naomi's small mouth formed a pout. "Mom is still on the Bridge. And Icheb is in Engineering. Besides, I'm lonely. Why can't I stay here?" Her eyes focused on the singing Vulcan. "And why is Tuvok singing, dressed like that?"
Noticing his goddaughter's glance, Neelix grabbed hold of her shoulders and swerved her around. "You shouldn't be here. It's not safe. Especially with everyone acting strange. Now, why don't you say good-bye to the Captain and . . ."
"Where is she?"
Neelix glanced at the spot where he had left the Captain. And noticed that she had disappeared. A careful scrutiny of the pub revealed that she was no where to be found. Oh no! The Talaxian tapped his combadge. "Neelix to Paris."
A heavy sigh echoed over the combadge. "Paris here! Neelix, what's going on? Why did you cut me off like that?"
The Talaxian explained Naomi's sudden appearance inside the Holodeck. "There's another problem, Tom."
"What?" Even the combadge failed to disguised the pilot's exasperated tone.
Neelix continued, "It seems another member of the senior staff has gone missing. It's Captain Janeway."
At that moment, it seemed that the Universe had turned against Thomas Eugene Paris - again. He had already survived a great deal in his life - being the only son of Owen Paris, disappointment at being forced to enroll in Starfleet, Caldik Prime, the Maquis, prison, being hurled into the Delta Quadrant, the Warp 10 flight, Seska and the Kazon, the Atkirian prison with Harry, the Borg, the Hirogen, that damn DNA-snatching alien, B'Elanna's depression, his demotion, Alice, the war memorial on Tarakis, the Borg again . . . Tom sighed. The Universe certainly had a lot to answer for. And now this.
After so many years of avoiding voluntary command of the Bridge, he had finally agreed to a little experience in the Big Chair. And what happens? He misses part of the St. Patrick's Day celebration in the Fair Haven simulation - a celebration that happened to be his idea. Voyager drifts into an ion storm and the ship's external sensors become damaged. And now, he learns that Neelix had served a non-synthehol drink to the crew, causing them to behave erratically. What else could go wrong?
The moment those last words flashed through Tom's mind, the turbolift's doors slid open. He stepped out and ran smack into a soft body in white and teal. "What the . . .?" Tom murmured. He shook his head before his eyes focused on the figure of a sprawled on the floor. One of the Delaney twins. Which one, Tom had no idea.
The young beauty wore a 19th century white blouse and teal skirt that fitted her body nicely. She glanced up at Tom and smiled. Dimples formed on each cheek. Ah! Now he knew! "God, Jenny! I'm sorry. I didn't see you coming. Here, let me help you . . ."
"I'm Megan," slurred the Delaney twin.
Tom blinked. "Huh? Oh, sorry about that." He reached down and grabbed her hand. Intending to pull Megan to her feet, Tom found himself being jerked to the floor. "Hey!" He sprawled on top of her.
Megan gave Tom a seductive smile and began to giggle. "Oh Tommy," she whispered in his ear, "it's me, Megan." A faint odor of alcohol reached Tom's nostrils. She grabbed his jacket front. "Tom-my! Tommy Boy! Come play with me." Megan stuck her tongue into his ear.
"Jenny! What the hell are you doing?" Tom jerked his head away and attempted to free himself from the young officer's strong grip.
"I'm Megan, silly boy! And stop fighting! C'mon Tommy Boy! Why don't you put on that tight, sexy Captain Proton outfit of yours, so we can explore where every man and woman have gone before." Another burst of giggles followed.
Tom rolled his eyes. There was nothing worse than hearing one's old pick-up line from someone else's mouth. "Jen . . . uh, Megan, this is no way for a Starfleet officer to behave!" He continued in his attempts to free himself from the young woman's grip Unfortunately, he found himself losing the struggle. Christ! Megan seemed to have the strength of ten drunken Klingons on shore leave. Or a pon-farred Vulcan out of control.
Female arms looped around his neck in a vise-like grip. Megan inched her puckered lips toward Tom's face. A little voice inside his head murmured, "Might as well give in, Tom. One little kiss won't hurt. And it will probably get her off your back." However, another inner voice argued, "Are you out of your mind, Paris? Kissing another woman behind your half-Klingon wife's back? You might as well commit suicide!"
Survival instincts kicked in and Tom's common sense returned. He made another attempt to pull away from Megan's grip, but she continued to put up a strong resistance. "Megan, let go of . . ."
"Tom?" He did not recognize the quivering tone, but he certainly recognized that voice. Tom closed his eyes, praying that he might be mistaken. Then he opened them and focused on a lilac skirt - the same skirt he had coerced B'Elanna into wear to the festival. As his life began to flash through his mind, Tom glanced up into the pair of sable eyes that belonged to his wife. "Tom, what are you doing?"
Tom smiled weakly. "Uh, B'Elanna, let me explain . . ."
"What's going on?" Expecting a swift kick to the skull, Tom frowned at the melancholy tone that seemed so unlike B'Elanna. "Are you two . . .?"
Tom struggled to his feet. Or tried. Megan maintained a strong grip around his waist. "B'Elanna, it's not what you think. Let me . . . Megan! Will you please let go of me? Let me explain, B'Elanna. I had just stepped off the turbolift and ran straight into Me . . ."
A strangled sob escaped B'Elanna's throat, catching Tom by surprise. He had never heard such a depressing sound. "Oh Tom! Why? Why do this to me now? Is she the first?"
"No! No, no! B'Elanna you go it all wrong!" Tom crawled toward his wife. "This is purely a misunderstanding! Nothing . . ." He swatted Megan's busy hands away from his rear end. "Nothing's going on!" The turbolift's doors swished open again. Tears flowed from B'Elanna's eyes as she picked up her skirts and fled into the lift. "B'Elanna? B'Elanna!" But the doors closed in his face before he could reach her.
Tom reasoned that he had no time to search the entire ship for his wayward wife. Especially with over half of Voyager's crew acting like escapees from a lunatic asylum. His first priority was to deliver the very randy Megan Delaney to Sick Bay. Only how would he accomplish this?
An idea finally came to him. Tom stood up and forced Megan to her unsteady feet. While she gripped his arms, weaving back and forth, he whispered in her ear, "Say Jen . . . uh, Megan, instead of hanging around here, I know where we can find some privacy. And play Captain Proton and Demonica to our hearts' content. What do you say?" Tom gave the stellar cartographer his most intimate smile
Lo and behold, it worked. Megan's bleary eyes lit up with desire. "Hmmm, your place or mine?" she slurred. A giggle escaped her lips.
Tom struggled to keep his eyes from rolling. He took a deep breath. God, this was hard! "Actually," he continued to whisper, "I was thinking of Sick Bay. We'll have soft lights and plenty of beds to choose from." Then he leaned forward and nipped Megan's earlobe. B'Elanna, he prayed inwardly, forgive me. "And plenty of privacy. The Doc's still in Holodeck One."
Again, Megan giggled. "Ooooh, now you're talking!" She grabbed the pilot's arm and dragged him along the corridor.
Surprised by Megan's rough manhandling, Tom complained. "God, Megan! Why don't you just bash me on the head with a club and drag me by the hair to the nearest room?"
"Don't be silly, Tommy!" A wide grin spread across Megan's face. "I'm not Klingon and you don't have enough hair for me to grab!"
"Mister Paris," the Doctor greeted Tom in his usual curt manner. He cut short his next remark when his eyes focused on the figure of a Delaney twin gripping one the Chief Pilot's arms. His eyes narrowed. "What is this?"
Tom dumped the squirming woman on one of the biobeds. "This is a Megan Delaney," he shot back. "I found her near one of the turbolifts on Deck 5. And I had one hell of a time getting her here. Now, about that antidote to the Valax," Tom heaved a sigh and straightened his uniform, "have you found one yet?"
"As a matter of fact, I have." The Doctor picked up a hypospray from a nearby tray. "It's right here. It's an altered version of the usual inaprovaline I use for those who are intoxicated. And all I have to do is apply it to all of those who drank Mister Neelix's concoction after we round them up."
"Will it work?"
Will it work? After all the medical breakthroughs he had accomplished in the Delta Quadrant and the numerous times he had saved lives, someone had the nerve to question his ability? Affronted by Tom's question, the EMH glared at the pilot. "Of course it will work!" he snapped. "I happen to know what I'm doing, Mister Paris. Or have you forgotten . . .?"
"No, Doc! I haven't forgotten about your programming. Or your great medical breakthroughs," Tom interrupted in a weary voice. "Now, will you please get on with it?"
Impertinent! The Doctor seared his assistant with one more glare, heaved a sigh and pressed the hypospray against Ensign Delaney's neck. "She should be rendered unconscious any minute," he announced.
A minute passed. Ensign Delaney, to the EMH's consternation, remained conscious. "Why are you two staring at me?" she slurred. "Tommy, I thought you said that the Doctor would be at the party?"
Panic filled Lieutenant Paris' eyes. The Doctor would have been amused if he did not have other concerns. Namely, Ensign Delaney's failure to react to the drug. "Doc," the pilot added, "I thought you said she would be unconscious."
The hologram frowned. "I don't understand! She should be. The inaprovaline is supposed to work immediately."
Ensign Delaney's eyes grew round. "Don't understand what?" When the Doctor leaned forward to apply another shot from the hypospray, she flinched back. "What are you doing with that?"
"Something's wrong," the Doctor grimly announced. "The inaprovaline isn't working."
Tom muttered, "Maybe you should have tried coffee. That's always a good remedy for a hangover. Believe me, I know from experience."
Coffee! The Doctor's holographic eyes lit up. "Of course! It would not hurt to try." After returning the hypospray back on the tray, he walked over to the replicator and ordered a copy of coffee. Once the drink materialized, he opened the hypospray and added two drops of the inaprovaline into the drink. "Here you go, Ensign," he said to the young woman, "drink this." The EMH handed her the coffee.
Ensign Delaney shied away from the drink. "I don't want any," she whined. "I want more Valax!" She began to slip off the biobed. "Tommy! I thought you said we would be alone."
Interesting, the Doctor thought, noting the pilot's embarrassed expression. Ensign Delaney seemed to be the second female under the influence of Valax, to express sexual interest in Tom Paris. The Doctor recalled how the Chief Pilot had to fight off Captain Janeway's advances inside the Holodeck. He had never taken Lieutenant Paris' reputation with women seriously before. For years he had assumed that reputation had been a creation of the pilot's imagination. Apparently, he had been wrong. Curious.
The lieutenant took a deep breath and walked over to the wavering ensign, catching her before she could fall flat on her face. "We will be alone, Megan," Lieutenant Paris replied in a soft voice. "Just as soon as you drink some coffee." He paused, his face just inches away from Ensign Delaney's. A seductive smile touched his lips. "It has Valax in it. You know how you like Irish coffee."
Ensign Delaney glanced at the coffee with a wrinkled nose. "It doesn't look like Irish coffee. Are you sure? Where's the whipped cream?" It amazed the hologram that a completely inebriated woman could be so picky.
Still smiling, Tom took the coffee from the Doctor's hand. "But it's just as good. See?" He tipped the cup to his lips and tilt his head back. "Hmmm! Delicious! Try some."
Only a person who was blind or too drunk would not have seen that Lieutenant Paris never took that sip of coffee. Fortunately, Ensign Delaney was too drunk. Her interest perked by Tom's feigned reaction, she grabbed the cup of coffee and drank in several gulps. Both the EMH and the pilot stared at her with great expectation. Ensign Delaney weaved slightly before . . .
"That was delicious!" the ensign crowed. "May I have another cup?" She thrust the cup in front of the Doctor's face.
The hologram turned a sour face toward the pilot. "So much for our 'hangover theory', Lieutenant. Any other bright ideas?"
His eyes wide with innocence, Lieutenant Paris protested. "Don't look at me! I'm not the medical expert here! Maybe your little concoction doesn't work!"
Doesn't work? The Doctor almost went into a hissy fit. After nearly six years in the Delta Quadrant, he could not recall any medical failures - aside from a handful of patients beyond any help. Of course, his antidote to the Valax worked! It had to. "Of course it works!" the Doctor snapped back. "I just need the right agent to administer the antidote."
Tom retorted, "Well, why don't you try Neelix's godawful coffee? At least it's made of Leola root, like the Valax!" He paused and stared at the Doctor. Who returned the stare. Neelix's coffee. Of course!
The Doctor tapped his combadge. "Sickbay to Neelix."
"Neelix here," the Talaxian responded. "Is there something I can do for you, Doctor?"
The hologram continued, "Yes, there is. Do you have any of your coffee available in the Mess Hall?"
"Uh, well . . . not exactly. I meant to make some, but I never got around to . . ."
"Go to the Galley and start making a new batch of coffee, Mister Neelix. Now, if you please."
A pause followed before Neelix replied. "Well, shouldn't you be finding a remedy for the Va. . ."
"The coffee, Mister Neelix! NOW! The Doctor out!" The hologram tapped his combadge one last time and sighed.Tiresome man!
A drunken voice from the biobed whined, "Hey? What happened to my Irish coffee?"
END OF PART 3