Tuesday, April 15, 2014
"When Irish Eyes Are Talaxian" [R] - 5/9
"WHEN IRISH EYES ARE TALAXIAN"
Less than ten minutes later, Tom carried B'Elanna inside their quarters, toward their bedroom. Just as he was about to lower her upon the large bed, the ship rocked, causing him to drop his wife on the bed. Miraculously, B'Elanna remained unconscious.
Tom hit his combadge. "Paris to the Bridge. Was that another . . .?"
"It's another ion storm, Lieutenant," Ayala finished. "This one seemed to be worst than the last."
A sigh escaped Tom's lips. He seemed to be doing that a lot during these past few hours. "I'm on my way." Tom planted a light kiss on B'Elanna's forehead and left.
He had barely stepped into the corridor when Neelix's voice chirped from his combadge. "Neelix to Paris. Tom, the coffee is ready. Crewman Jarvis and I are about to take it to Holodeck One. By the way, is there a problem with the ship?"
"Just another ion storm, Neelix. Nothing to worry about." Tom rushed toward the nearest turbolift. "Don't forget to check out Holodeck Two for Harry, Seven and Jenny."
Another voice crackled from Tom's combadge. "The Doctor to Paris and Neelix. Ensign Andrews and I have already searched Holodeck Two. They are not there. I assume we must regard them again as lost sheep wondering about the ship."
"Thanks for the clever similie, Doc," Tom replied in a tart voice. "Now will everyone . . ."
"Perhaps Harry and the others returned to Holodeck One," Neelix cut in. "Has anyone thought of that?"
The Doctor replied, "Something tells me that Ensign Kim won't make it that easy for us. But, I suppose it's possible that . . ."
The ship rocked once more and Tom had enough of the speculative banter from the combadges. He interrupted in an exasperated voice, "Look, will everyone please get off the Com system, get the coffee to Holodeck One and allow me to get to the Bridge without anymore interruptions? If you haven't noticed already, we have an ion storm on our hands and this is no time for any CB talk."
Confusion marked Neelix's response. "What is CB talk?"
"Probably another one of Mister Paris' quaint 20th century euphemisms," the Doctor acidly replied. "How a grown man can spend so much time looking up irrevelant . . ." Tom quickly deactivated his combadge before his mind went off the deep end from the mindless chatter.
Tom arrived on the Bridge several minutes and barked, "Report!" Ayala revealed that the new ion storm had inflicted a 20 percent drop in the shields. The inertial dampeners suffered a 15 percent decrease and the transporters, replicators and external sensors remained off line. In other words, bad news all around. Nothing new.
As before, Tom stood behind Liz Jenkins, while she piloted Voyager through the ion storm. At least she tried. Unfortunately for the young pilot, the storm proved to be too much for her and Tom was forced to relieve her at the Conn and fly the ship through the worst of the storm. Once Voyager reached calm space again, Tom gave Ayala command of the Bridge and left. He returned to his quarters to check on B'Elanna. She remained stretched across the bed, still asleep.
"Doctor to Paris," chirped Tom's combadge.
Tom responded, "Paris here. Is there something wrong, Doc?"
"No. I simply wanted to inform you that everyone inside Holodeck One has been given the inapprovaline. Although we had a bit of difficulty with Mister Tuvok. It seemed he refused to drink the coffee before he finished the last eight stanzas of Falor's Journey. Not a bad song, if I must say."
"Who is still missing?"
According to the Doctor, Captain Janeway, Chakotay, Harry, Seven and Jenny Delaney remained at large. Five people. Searching for five people with missing combadges should not be difficult. At least Tom hoped. "Listen Doc," he continued, "I'll meet you on Deck 2 and we'll search from there to Deck 6. Neelix and Andrews will search Decks 7 to 10. And I'll send Jarvis and two other security guards to search Decks 11 to 15. This way, all of us can quickly cover more ground and get this over with as soon as possible."
The Doctor responded that he would meet Tom at Turbolift 2, on Deck 2. Then Tom contacted Neelix and Jarvis and gave them their instructions. At last, Tom thought as he rode in the turbolift. Everything should be winding down. If all goes well, the entire episode would end. Hopefully, without any major problems.
To cover more ground in their search for the missing crewmen, Neelix and Andrews decided to split up. The ensign searched Decks 10, 11 and 12, while Neelix searched Decks 7 to 9. Neelix started on Deck 9 and worked his way up the ship. After unsuccessfully searching Deck 8, he stepped into the turbolift and headed for Deck 7.
Neelix arrived at Deck 7 a minute later and continued his search. He strode along the corridor, stopping at a computer console every once in a while, to ask the ship's computer if any particular room was occupied at the moment. So far, his search resulted in eight crewmen occupying their quarters and a ninth occupying the Auxillary Computer Core Room. It was not long before he finally came upon the Hydroponics Bay - Kes's old haunt.
In the two years between Kes's departure from Voyager and their encounter with the Equinox, various crewmen had tended the fruits, vegetables and other plants first tended by Kes, especially Ensign Doug Bronowski. However, last year's encounter with the Equinox provided another permanent overseer in the Hydroponics Bay in the form of one of the survivors from that doomed ship - Noah Lessing.
"Computer," Neelix addressed a nearby console, "is there anyone inside the Hydroponics Bay?" It could not be Noah. Neelix had last seen the crewman inside Holodeck One.
The computer's voice stoically replied, "Affirmative."
"Please identify the person inside," Neelix continued.
"Unable to comply."
Which meant that the person inside the Hydroponics Bay was not wearing a combadge. Perhaps one of the missing officers from the celebration. Neelix took a deep breath and stepped inside. "Hello!" he cried out. "Is anyone here?"
A low, deep voice echoed throughout the bay. A voice that chanted some familiar words. "Ah-koo-chee-moya. We are far from the sacred places of our grandfathers; we are far from the bones of our people. We come here seeking guidance."
"Commander?" Neelix walked through the bay until he came upon Voyager's First Officer squatting on the floor between the Tarkelian roses and the tomatoes. "Commander, is that you?"
Dazed eyes glanced up at the Talaxian. "Neelix!" A bleary smile spread across Chakotay's face. "My friend."
"That's right, Commander. I'm your friend." Neelix knelt beside Chakotay. "Ah, what exactly are you doing?"
"Summoning my spirit guide, of course," Chakotay responded in an off-center manner that left Neelix feeling wary. "My spirit guide will lead me to my destiny."
Neelix gave a nervous cough. "Uh huh. But, ah, don't you need your medicine bundle? Your akoonah?"
"I have it right here." Chakotay picked up an empty bottle and shook it. Neelix recognized the object as one of the bottles of Valax that were being distributed during the festivities at Fair Haven. The Talaxian reached for the bottle, but Chakotay snapped it out of his reach. "No! It belongs to me!"
"Uh, Commander, that is a bottle you're holding. And it's empty. I don't think you can summon your spirit guide with that."
A giggle escaped the First Officer's mouth. "That is what the spirits want everyone to think." His dark eyes sparkled in a conspiratorial manner. Neelix became even more uneasy. "But I know the truth. Only this," Chakotay shook the bottle once more, "can help me summon my spirit guide. And lead me to my destiny."
"What, uh," Neelix nervously continued, "what exactly is your dest . . .?"
A husky voice interrupted the scene between the two men. "What's this?"
Neelix glanced up and was relieved to find Captain Janeway looming above. He saw that she still wore her deep blue dress from the festival. "Captain!" Neelix's voice nearly sang. He sprung to his feet. "Am I glad to see you!"
"Is there a problem?" the Captain asked. Her gray eyes settled upon the Commander.
Chakotay let out a delighted, "Kathryn!" His hands reached out and clutched part of her skirt. "I knew you would come!"
"Uh, Commander, let go of the Captain's skirt." Neelix attempted to pry Captain Janeway's skirt from the First Officer's grasp, but failed. "Commander, please!"
A serene smile touched the Captain's lips. "Never mind, Neelix. If it makes him happy."
"You don't understand. Commander Chakotay is not . . ." The Talaxian paused dramatically. "As you can see, he's not . . . you know . . . well." His voice dropped a decibel or two. "He thinks he is summoning his spirit guide."
One of Janeway's auburn brows formed an arch. "Oh really?"
"Yes . . ." Neelix paused and stared at her. "Captain, you seem . . . well, normal."
Janeway frowned. "Shouldn't I be?"
"Well, you have been acting odd, along with the rest of the crew. Have you taken the Doctor's medicine?"
The Captain paused momentarily. "Why . . . yes! Yes, I have. I ran into the Doctor some time ago." Her glance returned to Chakotay, who was now rubbing the edge of her skirt against his cheek. "Now, shall we do about the Commander?"
Neelix picked up the carafe he had left on the deck. "Well, I was about to give Commander Chakotay his . . ." He paused and shook the canister. Empty. "Oh dear. I've seemed to run out of medicine."
"Do you need to get more?" The Captain's voice oozed with compassion.
"I'm afraid so." Neelix glanced at the First Officer, who continued to rub Janeway's skirt against his cheek, while chanting. "Uh, Captain? Could you . . .?"
Janeway finished his sentence. "Keep an eye on him?" A bright smile lit up her face. "I would be happy to."
For a second, Neelix hesitated. He peered at the Captain, wondering if he had spotted an odd look on her face. However, a second glance made him realized that his imagination might be running rampant. As he headed for the exit, the last words Neelix heard was Captain Janeway's gentle voice instructing the Commander to release her skirt.
When Neelix returned to the Hydropondics Bay with a carafe in hand, he discovered to his dismay that Captain Janeway had disappeared. Again. Fortunately, Commander Chakotay had remained. Yet, the First Officer seemed to be in a curious state of undress.
"Commander?" Neelix knelt beside Chakotay. The latter's vest had been tossed to the side and his white shirt, ripped apart. Neelix spotted what looked like love bites over the Commander's broad chest. Love bites? Even more disconcerting was the sight of Chakotay's unfastened trousers, pulled down below his waist. Neelix's eyes widened. He had a pretty good idea on what had transpired between the Captain and the Commander during his absence.
Chakotay grunted as he attempted to rise from the floor. "Hey Neelix!" he crowed in a slurred voice. "What are you . . ." He slumped back on the floor with a thud. "What are you doing here? Ah!"
Neelix leaned over the inert officer. "Are you okay, Commander?"
A wide grin that some would describe as silly, spread across Chakotay's face. "I'm better than okay, Neelix. The spirits have finally answered my prayers. After so many years."
The First Officer sighed. "Ah, if you only know. To think, Kathryn and I had finally . . ." He paused and frowned. "Neelix, where is Kathryn?"
Neelix hesitated. "She's ah . . . she's waiting for you." He leaned forward and whispered in the other man's ear. "Inside your quarters."
The words shot new life into the First Officer. He immediately sprung forward into a sitting position. "Really?" His dark eyes sparkled with a light Neelix had not seen in ages.
"But first," the Talaxian continued, "how about a little coffee to bring to her?" He shook the carafe.
"Actually, I would prefer to bring her more Valax," Chakotay replied.
Neelix thrust the carafe in Chakotay's face. "I've added a little Valax in the coffee. To give it more flavor. Sort of my version of Irish coffee. Would you like a sip?"
Naturally, the First Officer accepted Neelix's offer. Who could refuse Valax in any form? Neelix screwed the top off the carafe, filled it with coffee and handed it to the Commander. Who immediately consumed every drop.
"Delicious!" the burly man declared with another silly grin plastered on his face. Then he passed out.
Neelix tapped his combadge. "Neelix to Andrews. Please meet me in Hydropondics."
"Andrews here. Is there a problem?"
"No. I merely require your assistance in carrying Commander Chakotay to his quarters."
Andrews replied, "I'm on my way."
Neelix sat back on his hunches and sighed. What a day this has been! At least half of the crew, drunk from his Valax. Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay in the Hydopondics Bay. Janeway and Michael Sullivan in the holodeck. The Captain oogling Commander Tuvok and propositioning Tom Paris. And the Captain with Ensign Larson in one of the turbolifts. Poor woman. Is it any wonder, considering how bereft she had been of companionship these past six years? After all those years of celibacy, her libido seemed to have spun out of control. Neelix wondered if any other crewman had reacted in a similar manner.
END OF PART 5