CODE: Torres, Crew, P/T
SUMMARY: B'Elanna Torres discovers a device that enables her to see the future. Set during Seasons 1, 7 and in between.
FEEDBACK: junedaley@hotmail.com - Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: B'Elanna Torres, Tom Paris and all other characters related to Star Trek Voyager belong to Paramount, Viacom and the usual Trek Powers to Be.


"I must say," Neelix commented reflectively, "this is a beautiful-looking planet. But then, Hotak was always a popular place to visit. Especially during its heyday."

Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres glanced at her surroundings and grunted. She had to agree with Neelix about the planet's appearance. It did look beautiful. The green trees, sloping hills and the river nearby reminded her of Earth. At least certain parts of Earth. But the abandoned structures and crumbling ruins gave the planet's surface a desolate air. "What happened here?" she asked.

Neelix adopted a mournful expression. "War. About forty years ago, the two major inhabitants became involved in some kind of civil war. They literally wiped out each other. I recall hearing details about it, while I was a boy."

"How tragic," B'Elanna commented. She glanced at a one-story building, still scarred by scorch marks.

The Talaxian continued, "Legend has it that a holy man had premonitions of the upcoming war. Unfortunately, no one bothered to listen to him. He was among the first to die."

B'Elanna shivered. Her eyes remained fixed on the structure, nearby. For some reason, it reminded her of a religious temple. Or a shrine. She pointed at the building. "Did the holy man resided there?"

Neelix shook his head. He had no idea. "I don't know, Lieutenant. However, I believe we should continue helping the others search for that gallicite." Presently, the U.S.S. Voyager orbited over Hotak, a Class-M planet that the ship's sensors had detected, two days ago. The sensors had also detected signs of gallicite on the planet's surface. And Voyager needed the mineral badly to repair its eroding warp coils. B'Elanna found it frustrating that after six months in the Delta Quadrant, the ship was in danger of breaking apart.

The Chief Engineer heaved a sigh, as she and Neelix joined the remaining Away team on its search for gallicite. Two hours later, their search proved fruitful. B'Elanna figured they had collected enough gallicite to keep the warp coils in top condition for the next year or two.

While the other members of the Away team beamed back to Voyager with the gallicite, B'Elanna decided to indulge in some last minute sight seeing. Namely, the one-story building she had spotted earlier. B'Elanna approached the building and slowly entered. The dim light made it difficult to see. However, she was able to make out the remnants of what looked like an altar. It seemed that her first perception of this building being a temple had been correct.

Before she turned away, B'Elanna spotted an object on the altar. She picked it up. It was a small, rectangular-shaped box. A case made of dark-brown leather. Curious, B'Elanna unhooked the silver latch and opened the case. A blinding light flashed in front of her eyes . . .

* * * *

Three officers stood before the ship's warp core, as it shimmered with a brilliant blue. Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay grinned happily, while B'Elanna stared at the core with intense satisfaction.

"She is quite lovely, isn't she?" the Captain drawled.

B'Elanna frowned at the auburn-haired starship captain. "She?"

"Sorry. Figure of speech. I meant the warp core."

Chakotay added, "Discovering that gallicite on Hotak turned out to be a blessing. I understand the Away team managed to collect enough gallicite to keep the warp coils in condition for at least a year."

"Two years," B'Elanna corrected. "However, I do think it would be a good idea to collect more gallicite along the way. You know, to make sure that we don't find ourselves in this situation, again."

Janeway smiled approvingly. "An excellent idea, Lieutenant. In fact, I would like to commend you and your staff for a job well . . ."

* * * *

Once more, a bright flash blinded B'Elanna. She let out a gasp and immediately closed the case. It took her over a minute to realize that she had not left the ruined temple on Hotak.

"Lieutenant Torres? Are you okay?" Neelix poked his head inside the temple's doorway.

Breathing heavily, B'Elanna nodded. She immediately hid the case from the Talaxian's view. "I'm . . . I'm fine, Neelix. Just a little . . . the air is so dense in here. I'm having a little difficulty breathing. That's all."

As Neelix led her out of the temple, B'Elanna wondered why she had lied. And hid the device from Neelix. It would have been much easier to tell the truth. That she had stumbled across a device that allowed a person to view the future. Yet, B'Elanna knew that if she had revealed the device to Neelix, he would eventually inform the Captain. And Janeway would have insisted upon the device remaining on the planet's surface - where she had found it. The device had piqued B'Elanna's curiosity and she was not ready to relinquish her new discovery. At least not yet.

* * * *

Not long after the Away team's return to Voyager, B'Elanna's staff commenced upon refitting the warp coils. The half-Klingon spent the next two days supervising the task, while Voyager resumed its long journey to the Alpha Quadrant. On the third day, B'Elanna announced the completion of the job during a Senior staff meeting. Captain Janeway and Chakotay paid a visit to Engineering, four hours later. And the next moments unfolded just as B'Elanna had envisioned.

". . . your staff for a job well done," Janeway said, repeating the very words B'Elanna had heard in her vision. The Captain peered closely at the younger woman with blue-gray eyes. "However, you do seem a bit exhausted, Lieutenant. I suggest that you get some rest. What would you recommend, Commander? A day off? Maybe two?"

B'Elanna felt slightly affronted. Granted, she did feel tired, but she still had enough energy to sustain her for the rest of the day. "I'm fine, Captain," she replied. "Besides, there are other matters to attend to. Those irregular fluctuation readings in the sensor power couplings . . ."

Chakotay spoke up. "Minor repairs that your staff can deal with. As of now, you're on a forty-eight hour leave. That's an order, Lieutenant."

Her first instinct was to protest even further. Yet, B'Elanna noticed the adamant gleam in both Janeway and Chakotay's eyes. She had been outflanked and there was nothing she could do about that. B'Elanna heaved a silent sigh. What the hell could she do for a day? Harry will be on duty until this evening. And there was no one else, aside from Chakotay, with whom she could spend some free time. Including the ex-Maquis crew.

Then B'Elanna remembered her little souvenir from Hotak. Perhaps this leave would give her the opportunity for further examination of the device. And more glimpses of the future. Feigning defeat, B'Elanna gave a little shrug of her shoulders. "Oh well. I guess I know when I'm licked." Both the Captain and the First Officer smiled.

* * * *

The moment B'Elanna entered her quarters, she headed straight for her desk and opened the drawer. She sighed with relief. The Hotak device had remained where she had left it. After removing the case, she strode toward the sofa. After her last experience on Hotak, B'Elanna felt it would be more prudent to sit or lay on something in case she suffered another dizzy spell. Or passed out.

B'Elanna took a deep breath. Anticipation tingled with every nerve in her body. Then she opened the case. A familiar light blinded her eyes and once again, B'Elanna found herself in the future . . .

* * * *

Red klaxon lights permeated the Engineering section. Chakotay's voice announced over the Comm system, "All hands to battle stations!" The inhabitants inside Engineering, rushed to their posts. Their chief engineer barked out orders to check the engines and every system to make sure they were operating at a hundred percent. Seconds later, the attack commenced.

Voyager rocked from the enemy's first blow. One of the consoles near the warp core exploded in a shower of sparks. B'Elanna muttered angrily, "Damn Kazons!" A second blow followed, minutes later. One panel near the anti-matter chamber exploded. Sparks flew into the face of one of the engineers. "Ashmore!" B'Elanna rushed toward the injured man.

Chakotay's voice barked over the Comm system, again. "B'Elanna! Reroute power to the shields!"

"I can't! We need all available power to keep the war engines functioning! And one of the . . ."

Another blast rocked Voyager. More explosions followed. B'Elanna curtly ordered the computer to transport Ashmore over to Sick Bay. Then she turned her attention to another injured crewman, Lindsay Ballard. Just as she was about to attend the injured woman, the Captain's voice cried out, "Lieutenant! We need that extra power! Now!"

B'Elanna emitted a growl, before she transported Ballard to Sick Bay. Then she barked at one of her engineers. "Kurt! Reroute at least 50% of the warp plasma power to the shields!"

Kurt Bendara, another former Maquis, who now served under B'Elanna, reached for the nearest console and began entering data. Before the engineer could finish his task, and explosion blew up the console and sent him flying to floor. B'Elanna rushed to her friend's side. Kurt's face resembled a mass of molten flesh and blood. By some miracle, he had remained alive. "Computer!" B'Elanna barked. "Lock on to Crewman Bandera's combadge and initiate emergency transport to Sick Bay!"

Seconds later, Kurt's body disappeared from the floor. B'Elanna rushed over to another console to complete his . . .

* * * *

The bright light flashed once more, ending B'Elanna's vision. A surge of dizziness took hold of her and she fell back against the sofa. Seconds passed before the dizziness abated. B'Elanna took a deep breath.

Kahless! Kurt! Had she just witnessed Kurt's death? Or did he survive the attack? B'Elanna wished the vision had not ended so abruptly. If she knew more details, perhaps she could warn him in time. Not only was Kurt Bendara a fellow ex-Maquis, but also a close friend. He had once saved B'Elanna during an incident near the Cardassian border. And had met Chakotay at a bar on Telfas Prime. B'Elanna could imagine how the former Maquis captain would react to Kurt's death. The two men were like brothers.

B'Elanna glanced at the chronometer on the wall. The time read 17:03 hours. Which meant that Neelix had begun serving dinner. With the ship's power fully restored, B'Elanna considered replicating a meal in her quarters. But thinking about what she had just witnessed, she needed to see Kurt. Reassure her mind that he was still alive and well. Without further thought, B'Elanna donned a loose, pullover blouse, kept her uniform pants on and left her quarters for the Mess Hall.

At first, she could not find Kurt. Or Chakotay. Many crewmen filled the Mess Hall and most of the tables seemed occupied. Then B'Elanna spotted both men sitting at a table located in the left far corner of the room. Relief overcame her, as she strode toward their table.

"Kurt! You're here!" The words came out of B'Elanna's mouth before she could stop herself. The two men stared at her with surprise. Okay, perhaps she had sounded a bit too relieved.

Chakotay's dark eyes expressed concern. "B'Elanna? Is there something wrong?"

"I . . . uh, I was looking for Kurt," B'Elanna replied rather feebly. "I wanted to ask him about the warp coil. If there had been any setbacks, after the refit."

The concern in the First Officer's eyes gave way to a rebuke. "Pardon me, Lieutenant, but I seemed to recall that you were ordered to take leave."

"Of course I'm taking leave!" B'Elanna retorted flippantly. "I just . . ."

Kurt flashed a knowing smile. "You might as well give up, Chakotay. You can take the engineer out of Engineering, but you can't take engineering out of the engineer." He shook his head. "If you must know, B'Elanna, the warp engines are doing fine. You have nothing to worry about."

"That's what you think," B'Elanna muttered. Her slip of the tongue brought forth more stares from Chakotay and Kurt. Kahless! She really must tired. "I guess I better returned to my quarters. I must be more tired than I thought."

Chakotay added, "You do look a little exhausted."

B'Elanna mumbled a quick, "Yeah, yeah." Then she turned away and left the Mess Hall.

* * * *

The remaining evening passed uneventful for B'Elanna. But the image of a severely wounded Kurt Bandera refused to leave her thoughts. She tried everything to vanquish the image - going over old Engineering reports, and reading one of the two Klingon romance novels she had brought with her from the Liberty. B'Elanna even tried a trip to Sandrine's in the hope she would encounter her close friend, Harry Kim. Her hopes ended in disappointment after a quick trip to Holodeck One. Harry was no where to be found. And so, B'Elanna found herself back inside her quarters. Alone.

Her eyes fell upon the small leather case on the sofa. The Hotak device. Kurt Bendara flashed in her mind once more. She had to find out what happened to Kurt. She had to know if he had survived the Kazon attack.

B'Elanna plopped herself on the sofa and snatched up the case. She closed her eyes for a second. Maybe if she asked a question, the device would allow her to witness the answer. Taking a deep breath, she murmured quietly, "What happened to Kurt Bendara, after the Kazon attack?" B'Elanna slowly opened the case. The familiar light consumed her . . .

* * * *

The two senior officers inside Holodeck Two swatted a ball against the hoverball court's wall. At least B'Elanna continued to swat the ball. Her opponent, Commander Chakotay, seemed to be having less success. After B'Elanna returned his serve, he reached out to hit the ball and missed it entirely. Panting heavily, Chakotay's legs crumbled underneath him, as he fell to the floor.

A concerned B'Elanna stared at him. "What's going on, Chakotay?" she demanded. "I seemed to be beating you a lot easier than usual."

"Nothing . . . I'm fine," the First Officer said in between intakes of breath. "I guess . . . I'm out . . . of shape."

A mild smirk curved B'Elanna's lips. "Out of shape? After a three-month camping trip? You should be in perfect shape."


The morose tone in Chakotay's voice captured B'Elanna's attention. She glanced sharply at him. "Okay, now I know there is something wrong. Did something happened on that planet, between you and the Captain?" B'Elanna hoped that her friend had not heard the waver in her voice.

Apparently, Chakotay had not. He still seemed to be brooding over his problem. "Look B'Elanna, can we discuss something else? Nothing happened on New Earth that would make interesting conversation. Trust me."

"New Earth?"

A sigh left Chakotay's mouth. "Kathryn and I . . . I mean, the Captain and I named the planet, New Earth. Especially since as Humans, we were the only humanoids on the planet."

B'Elanna murmured, "How convenient."

"Yes, it was. And also very pleasant." Chakotay took a deep breath. "For the first time I . . . well, I got to know Kathryn very well." B'Elanna noticed that her friend had stopped referring to Voyager's commanding officer by her position.

B'Elanna quirked an eyebrow. "Really? So, you two became close?"

"Get your mind out of the gutter, Torres!" Chakotay retorted. "We weren't as 'close' as you might think." He paused. "Although . . . I wish we had. Listen, can you keep a secret?"

A small, mirthless laugh left B'Elanna's mouth. "If you're talking about how you feel about the Captain, I already know." She heaved a small sigh. "In fact, I've known for quite some time. And so have other members of the crew. You're not 'that' good at hiding your feelings, Chakotay."

A heavy silence filled the holodeck. B'Elanna gave her friend a sad look. Poor Chakotay. Nine months ago, she would have been devastated by his revelation. Nine months ago, B'Elanna had harbored a deep love toward the First Officer. Until she realized that what she had really felt was infatuation, fed by her gratitude toward him giving her a new lease on life, over two years ago.

"Wow!" Chakotay said, breaking the silence. "I . . . I had no idea that you knew . . ."

B'Elanna chirped in, "You don't have to say anything, Chakotay. As far as we're concerned, it's an open secret. Does, uh . . . does the Captain . . . feel the same way about you?"

Chakotay's shoulders sagged. "To be honest, I don't know," he murmured. "I think she might be attrac . . ."

* * * *

The blinding light ended B'Elanna trip into the future. The familiar wave of dizziness followed. Only this time, it took her a little longer to overcome the dizziness. After several minutes, B'Elanna's eyes flickered open. She heaved a shuddering sigh.

Recovering from use of the device seemed to be getting more difficult. But that did not disturb B'Elanna as much as what she had witnessed. Despite her efforts, the device had failed to give her an answer on Kurt Bendara's fate. Instead, it confirmed a suspicion she has harbored for the past three months.

Chakotay was in love with Kathryn Janeway. The realization hit B'Elanna with the force of a tsunami. She still remembered that moment when she first harbored suspicions about her mentor's feelings toward Voyager's captain. It happened three months ago - during the incident with that living organism they had mistaken for a nebula. Upon visiting Chakotay's quarters, she found him inside with the Captain, teaching the latter how to use his medicine wheel. It had been a startling moment for B'Elanna, finding the man she love being cozy with another woman. Granted, no sex had been involved. But there seemed to be an intimate aura between the two that made B'Elanna feel very uneasy.

Another thing B'Elanna remembered from her vision - the future Chakotay had seemed uneasy about Kathryn Janeway's feelings toward him. That alone gave B'Elanna hope that she still had a chance for a different kind of relationship with her mentor.

B'Elanna felt tempted to use the Hotak device again. To learn more about a possible future with Chakotay. But since the device never responded to her question regarding Kurt Bendara, she suspected that it would be hopeless to use it in order to automatically receive another vision about Chakotay - if asked. And to be honest, her last use of the device had left her feeling exhausted. B'Elanna realized that she would, instead, benefit from a good night's sleep. She returned the device to her desk and made her way to the bedroom.

* * * *

"Hey Maquis!" Ensign Harry Kim cheerfully greeted B'Elanna inside the Mess Hall, the following morning. She placed her breakfast tray on Harry's table and sat down on the chair, opposite her friend.

B'Elanna yawned and reached for her coffee cup. Harry frowned. "Wow! You really look tired! Did you get any sleep, last night?"

"Plenty," B'Elanna croaked. Then she took a sip of her coffee. There was nothing like a great cup of raktijino - freshly replicated.

Harry continued to question B'Elanna. "Exactly how much is 'plenty'? Seven hours? One?"

"What are you getting at, Starfleet?"

Heaving an exasperated sigh, the young ensign shot back, "Have you taken a good look in the mirror, B'Elanna? You look as if you've spent the last few days in hell." He paused. "And the odd thing is that you've been on leave for the past fifteen hours." Harry's dark eyes bored into B'Elanna's. "Are you having trouble sleeping?"

"Okay, so I couldn't sleep last night," B'Elanna grudgingly admitted. "Is it a crime?"

One of Harry's brows quirked upward. "No. Are you having problems? Nightmares?"

"No, I . . ." B'Elanna hesitated. Should she tell him? About the Hotak device? The knowledge of her new discovery weighed heavily on her mind. Perhaps confiding to a friend would help lighten that burden. B'Elanna took a deep breath. "Harry, how would you feel if you were able to see the future?"

Confusion whirled in the dark eyes. "What do you mean? Are you trying to tell me that . . . you're able to receive visions of the future?"

After an uneasy glance around the Mess Hall, B'Elanna continued, "Of course not! I'm not precognitive or anything like that. You see it all began three days ago. On Hotak."

"What about Hotak?" a third voice asked. Both B'Elanna and Harry glanced up. A smiling Tom Paris loomed above them, holding a tray. "Is there something special about that place?"

Fearful that the Chief Helmsman had overheard most of their conversation, B'Elanna snapped at him. "Dammit, Paris! Are you in the habit of eavesdropping on other people's conversation?"

"What are you talking about?" the pilot protested. His blue eyes radiated innocence. "I just happened to hear you mention Hotak to Harry."

B'Elanna struggled to keep her irritation in check. Ever since the Vidiians had held her and Paris captive, their hostile regard toward each other had vanished. Along with their mutual dislike and competition for Harry's friendship. However, B'Elanna still found it difficult to consider the pilot as a close friend. The problem with Tom Paris, she decided, seemed to be his cocky and somewhat shallow personality. He might be a good friend - at least to Harry - but he seemed to lack a moral center that B'Elanna found uncomfortable.

"Harry and I were having a private conversation," B'Elanna coolly replied. Her mood ruined by Paris' appearance, she sighed. "Never mind. I think I'll go back to bed. I'm still feeling a little tired."

Harry's face expressed concern. "Listen Maquis, if you still want to talk, I'll come by your quarters, later."

"Thanks, Starfleet." B'Elanna gave her friend a bright smile. "Maybe I'll see you later." She spared Paris a cool nod and quickly left the Mess Hall.

* * * *

B'Elanna strode into her quarters and flopped down on the sofa. She heaved a frustrated sigh. Kahless! She felt so tired! Despite the fifteen hours of leave already taken, her exhaustion seemed to have increased. B'Elanna began to wonder if the Hotak device had anything to do with her physical condition. If so, maybe she should pay a visit to Sick Bay.

A visit to Sick Bay, she realized, would mean revelation of the device in her possession. It would also mean facing Captain Janeway's wrath. And after the humiliation of being in the Captain's doghouse, nearly five months ago, B'Elanna had no desire to face that situation again. The Hotak device, B'Elanna decided, would have to remain her secret. A secret she would no longer meddle with. At least until she regained her strength.

Having made a decision, B'Elanna decided to spend her time on other activities. She tried a small nap. Didn't work. After twenty minutes, she remained awake. Then she tried returning to her old Engineering report. Didn't work. Nor did her Klingon romance novel. No big surprise, there. In the end, B'Elanna knew what she really wanted to do - use the Hotak device. And if that meant more exhaustion, so be it. Perhaps another glimpse into the future would be worth the price.

With great effort, B'Elanna climbed off the sofa and retrieved the device from the desk. She returned to the sofa and sat down. Breathless with anticipation, she slowly opened the case. The now familiar light filled the room . . .

* * * *

Calypso music filled the interior of Holodeck One. B'Elanna sighed with satisfaction, as she made her way across the tiled terrace. Without a doubt, Neelix's Talaxian resort had to be her favorite holoprogram. Not only did she love the sub-tropical setting and the color, she especially reveled the warm sun that shined above.

Clutching the towel around her neck, B'Elanna made her way toward one of the patios. She paused and ordered the computer to summon her favorite holocharacter - a muscular beach boy she had dubbed Ricardo. Unfortunately, Ricardo failed to materialize. B'Elanna frowned. Now what the hell?

"Computer," she barked, "include holocharacter, Ricardo."

The computer's voice coolly replied, "Request denied. The holocharacter, Ricardo, has been deleted from the program."


"Unable to respond. Please restate the . . ."

Her anger now threatening to erupt, B'Elanna snarled, "Computer off!" She sighed, closed her eyes and took a deep breath." Oh well. She did not need Ricardo to enjoy her time in the holodeck. She still had the resort. And the glorious sun. B'Elanna spotted an empty deck chair and sat down. Ricardo or no Ricardo, she was determined to enjoy herself and relax.

"Mind if I join you?" A soft, masculine voice took B'Elanna by surprise. She glanced up. Her heart fluttered at the sight of one Thomas Eugene Paris, standing above her. He also wore casual clothes - deep blue beach shorts that revealed long and steady legs, and a purple T-shirt that stretched over a broad, muscular chest.

B'Elanna tried to keep her voice steady. "Wish I could say yes, but I seem to be occupying the only chair in this spot."

"Well then, I'll just share yours." Tom plopped down on an empty spot on the deck chair. B'Elanna opened her mouth to protest, but her raging hormones intervened. To be honest, she really did not mind sharing the chair. Especially with Tom. She rather enjoyed the feel of the muscular thigh that brushed against her leg. And the warmth that his skin radi . . .

'Stop it!' B'Elanna took a deep breath. She could not believe this. All Tom Paris had to do was sit down next to her for a few minutes, and already she felt excited. One part of B'Elanna's brain found the idea of her being attracted to Voyager's chief pilot, humiliating. And disturbing. Off all the men to develop an attraction toward - Tom Paris. One-time loser and Voyager's resident Lothario.

"You know," Tom began, cutting into her thoughts, "you look absolutely delicious in that swim suit." Blue eyes expressed overt admiration. "Good enough to eat."

'So do you' was B'Elanna's immediate response. Fortunately, she kept her thought to herself. Instead, she commented, "Well . . . thank you. I thought you were going to use the word, stunning. Isn't that what you told me, three days ago? At the luau? And I didn't realize you were into cannibalism."

Tom stared at her with a mixture of seductive charm and desire. B'Elanna shivered. "Actually, I didn't have cannibalism in mind," he replied softly. "I was thinking of something a lot more pleasant. And private." He whispered the last two words.

B'Elanna realized that she should get up and leave. Right now. Before she ended up throwing herself into the pilot's arms and ravaging him at that . . . Another deep breath followed. B'Elanna managed to cut short the impulsive thought with her usual ruthlessness. "That," she said in a husky voice, "will have to wait for another day."

Blue eyes twinkled deliciously. "You mean there's hope for us both?"

A retort hung on B'Elanna's lips, but she decided to keep her mouth shut. What exactly could she say to Tom? That there was no hope? Or that she had no intention of becoming his latest conquest? B'Elanna decided to nip this attraction in the bud. Fast. Before something happened that they both might regret. Or even worse, enjoy. She heaved an inward sigh and retorted, "I have no idea on what you're talking about!" Kahless, she sounded so unconvincing!

Tom smiled. "Whatever you say, B'Elanna." His eyes fell upon her tote bag on the floor, below. "Say, where's your little companion, Roberto? Isn't he usually around to give you a massage or something?"

Realization hit B'Elanna. She pointed an accusing finger at the helmsman. "It was you, wasn't it?" she growled.

"What are you talking about?"

"Cut the crap, Paris!" B'Elanna shot back. "It was you! You're the one who deleted Ricardo from the program! And his name is Ricardo, by the way! Not Roberto!"

Innocence reigned in those vivid blue eyes. "I have no idea on what you're talking about."

"You have no . . ." B'Elanna took a deep breath. Then she asked, "Computer, who deleted the character, Ricardo, from this program?"

The computer replied, "Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres."


"Please restate the . . ."

Interrupting the dry voice once again, B'Elanna growled, "Computer off!"

"You see? I told you that I had nothing to do with whatshisname." Tom leaned forward, his face merely an inch or two away from B'Elanna's. "If you need someone to give a massage that badly, I'd be willing to volunteer." His eyes now twinkled with promise.

B'Elanna inhaled deeply. Tom's scent filled her nostrils, forcing her to suppress a shiver. She wanted to say yes. The idea of the pilot's long fingers on her bare skin filled her with desire. But fear of being another notch on Tom Paris' bedpost prevented . . .

* * * *

Back in the present, B'Elanna let out a gasp and fell back on the couch. The device slipped out of her hand.

Disbelief flooded every nerve in her body. Tom Paris? B'Elanna could not believe it. Her mind refused to accept the possibility that she would develop an attraction toward Tom Paris! That pig! B'Elanna took a deep breath. Okay, perhaps the man was not a pig. He could be quite decent, as his behavior toward her in the Vidiian mines had attested. But the Chief Helmsman, in her opinion, was the last man in the universe with whom she would strike a romance. Tom Paris??

Had she become so desperate for a love life that she became attracted to Paris? Had a possible romance with Chakotay become so futile that she ended up considering just anyone?

While her dizziness lingered, B'Elanna heaved a large sigh. These dizzy spells seemed to be remaining longer, each time she used the device. B'Elanna tried taking a few more deep breaths to rid herself of them. Or meditation. But neither methods seemed to help very much. And closing her eyes for meditation only seemed to conjure unwanted memories of her and Tom Paris inside the holodeck. Maybe what she had witnessed will turn out to be a fluke. A momentary attraction that will eventually . . .

The ship's communication system beeped. "Paris to Torres."

Speak of the devil. Barely suppressing her annoyance, B'Elanna snapped, "Torres here! What do you want?"

A pause followed. Then, "B'Elanna?"

"What the hell do you want, Paris?"

A sarcastic voice responded, "So what happened to Tom and B'Elanna?"

"Okay! Tom! Now what do you want?" Another wave of dizziness hit B'Elanna.

Paris replied, "I'm looking for Harry. We were supposed to meet at Sandrine's. Have you seen him?"

"No!" The word left B'Elanna's mouth with the speed and precision of a phaser blast.

Another pause. "Okay! I guess I caught you at a bad time. Someone could sure use a few hours on the holodeck, tonight."

"Yeah, just not with you! Torres out!" B'Elanna quickly ended the conversation before the pilot could respond. Then she sighed. Her taste in men must have really sunk low, in the future. Tom Paris. She shook her head. It could not have lasted very long. Not a relationship between her and that . . . that pig!

Her eyes fell upon the device on the floor. B'Elanna frowned. Should she use it, again? Learn what will happen between her and Paris? If that seemed possible. Past experience with the Hotak device had already taught B'Elanna that it only gave random visions. Besides . . . Another wave of dizziness struck her. These damn spells seemed to be getting worse B'Elanna decided that what she really needed was a trip to Sick Bay.

B'Elanna slowly eased into a sitting position on the sofa. Instead of preparing herself to stand up, she reached for the Hotak device and opened the case . . .

* * * *

The two figures lay entwined on the floor of the Delta Flyer. Their bodies moved perfectly together, as they engaged in passionate love. Finally, heartfelt cries echoed throughout the shuttle, indicating the couple's climatic pleasure. Cries immediately became sighs and heavy breathing. Feeling boneless and slightly out of breath, B'Elanna collapsed on top of her new husband's damp body.

"Hmmm." The sound came out of her mouth as a low growl. B'Elanna glanced at the wide chest beneath her. She noticed the teeth marks that circled Tom's left nipple and giggled. "Ooops!" she said, poking at the mark. "Did I do that?"

A lazy grin stretched Tom's mouth. "You mean that after two years, ten months and ten days of dating, and three hours of marriage, you don't recognize a Torres love bite when you see one? I'm appalled."

"Oh you!" B'Elanna gave her husband an affectionate slap on the forearm. "I should punish you for that remark."

Blue eyes sparkled mischeviously. "Punish me? Hmm, I can't wait to see what you have in mind." Tom waggled his eyebrows suggestively. Inducing another fit of giggles from B'Elanna. Tom joined in the laughter.

Once the laughter inside the shuttle subsided, silence reigned. The newly wedded couple stared at each other with eyes that reflected love, desire and wonder. B'Elanna closed her in anticipation, as Tom captured her mouth for a kiss. His tongue explored the inner wetness and grazed her teeth. Finally, Tom's mouth reluctantly parted from hers and gently nipped an earlobe. B'Elanna shivered with delight.

Encouraged by Tom's kisses, B'Elanna responded by caressing his broad shoulders. Her hands strayed toward his thighs and began to massage them. She could feel him stir below. "Hmmm," she murmured, "looks like someone still has a bit of energy left." Her hands slipped between his legs. "More than a bit. Is that you, Tom Torres?"


"Hey Maquis!" Ensign Harry Kim cheerfully greeted B'Elanna inside the Mess Hall, the following morning. She placed her breakfast tray on Harry's table and sat down on the chair, opposite her friend.


"Hey Maquis!" Ensign Harry Kim cheerfully greeted B'Elanna inside the Mess Hall, the following morning. She placed her breakfast tray on Harry's table and sat down on the chair, opposite her friend.

B'Elaever did B'Elanna imagine she would find herself married to Tom Paris, of all people. And she could not have been happier. "That sounds just fine to me," she purred.

"And to me," Tom added in a whisper. He lowered his mouth upon B'Elanna's . . .

* * * *

The familiar light blinded B'Elanna. She let out a gasp and her eyes flew open. The half-Klingon woman struggled to rise from the sofa. Only the dizziness made it impossible for her to sit up. After a minute or two of struggle, B'Elanna gave up and surrendered to darkness.

* * * *

Her eyes fluttered open. Above hovered three faces. Two belonged to Chakotay and Captain Janeway, and both looked very worried. The third belonged to a grim-faced medical hologram. B'Elanna licked her dry lips and took a deep breath. "What's going on?" she muttered.

"That is what we would like to know, Lieutenant," the Captain replied. "How are you feeling?"

B'Elanna closed her eyes for a brief moment. No dizziness, thank goodness. And yet, her limbs felt like lead. She murmured, "A little tired. Exhausted, actually. Wha . . . what happened?"

"I just finished operating on you, Lieutenant," the Doctor coolly replied. "To repair your damaged neural pathways."

Janeway added, "Ensign Kim and Lieutenant Paris found you inside your quarters, unconscious. After they were unable to awaken you, they beamed you here to Sick Bay."

Oh." B'Elanna tried to sit up.

The Doctor added, "Don't bother, Lieutenant. I gave you a depressant, following the operation. You needed the sleep."

Taking another deep breath, B'Elanna continued, "Can't I do that in my own quarters? I don't . . ."

Chakotay added, "I'm sorry, but the Doctor needs to keep you here under observation. He and Kes can look after you."

B'Elanna sighed with defeat. If only she had never come across that damn device. Speaking of which, she wondered if anyone had found . . .

"Looking for this?" The Captain held up the leather box. B'Elanna's heart sank. "Lieutenant Paris found this in your quarters. Apparently, seconds after he opened it, he found himself in another time frame. Possibly in the future." B'Elanna found herself wilting under the gray-eyed stare of the Captain's. "Once you're released from Sick Bay, you and I are going to have a long talk." After giving the Chief Engineer a firm nod, she turned on her heels and left. Chakotay followed, but only after he shot B'Elanna a sympathetic glance.

* * * *

The following afternoon, the EMH finally released B'Elanna from Sick Bay. The latter immediately headed straight to the Captain's Ready Room and revealed how she found the Hotak device. And her experiences in the future. Of course, B'Elanna did leave out certain details - like her flirtation with Tom in the Holodeck, and their subsequent honeymoon.

For her actions, the Captain revoked B'Elanna's holodeck priviledges for a week. The auburn-haired captain added that she had ordered Voyager back to Hotak in order to return the device to its previous location. B'Elanna received one last lecture on responsible behavior befitting a Starfleet officer before being dismissed.

Her cheeks flaming with embarrassment, B'Elanna left the Captain's Ready Room through the second door and entered Deck One's corridor. She had never felt so humiliated since the incident over the Sikiris transporter. One good thing came out of her use of the Hotak device - she saw a future that seemed destined to end in disaster. Marriage to Tom Paris? Inconceivable. Hell, she could say the same about a romance with the erratic helmsman. B'Elanna simply could not see someone like Paris remaining in a relationship with a Human/Klingon hybrid, let alone a Human female. Any marriage to him seemed bound to meet the same fate as her parents'. With her driving Tom away.

B'Elanna knew what she had to do. Make sure that a relationship between her and Paris would never happen. She had no desire to get involved with a man who would only disappoint her in the end. Resolved by her decision, B'Elanna marched toward the turbolift.

* * * *

Five years and seven months later . . .

"Good grief, Harry! You're not going to eat Neelix's apple pie again, are you? Don't you remember what happened the last time? You ended up in Sick Bay, getting your stomach pumped."

B'Elanna and Harry sat inside Voyager's Mess Hall, finishing the last of their lunch. The Chief Engineer had planned to immediately return to Deck Eleven, when she spotted the slice of "apple pie" on the ensign's plate. If one could call it apple pie. It looked more like a banana cream pie - with the filling dyed green and no whip cream topping.

Annoyance flashed across Harry's face. "I won't get sick. Besides, Neelix and the Doctor found the ingredient that made me ill. And Neelix swore that he left it out, this time."

"Yeah, right," B'Elanna grumbled.

"What's wrong with you anyway, Maquis? Got up on the wrong side of the bed, this morning?"

B'Elanna sighed. "It's nothing. We're still working on the damaged deflector dish, thanks to Chakotay. He allows the damn thing to shorten out and won't even tell me why he did it. I don't think even the Captain knows. Something about the Temporal Directive."

A frown creased Harry's forehead. "You still haven't fixed the deflector dish? It's been a week since that incident. What's the problem?"

"I don't know. Gremlins, perhaps?" B'Elanna said with a shrug. "Even worse, Sue Nicoletti passed out, this morning. Just fainted dead away. And the one thing I don't need right now is to have one of my best engineers ill.

Harry smiled. "Oh, I have a pretty good idea on what's wrong with Sue. Haven't you heard? She's . . ."

The doors to the Mess Hall opened, interrupting Harry. Tom Paris strode inside and many of the crewmen burst into cheers, whistles and applause. Then to B'Elanna's further confusion, Neelix walked up to Tom and offered his congratulations. Why, B'Elanna had no idea. She turned to Harry. "What the hell is going on?"

Harry did not answer. Instead, he waited until the pilot appeared beside their table, stood up and enveloped the older man with a bear hug. "Hey Tom! Congratulations!" he crowed. "It's not every day a man becomes a father."

A father? The moment those words left Harry's mouth, B'Elanna became ill. She felt as if a photon torpedo had made impact with her stomach. Tom Paris, a father. That could only mean that Sue Nicoletti was pregnant. B'Elanna dreaded this moment since the day her subordinate married Tom. Keeping her jealousy in check, she reacted with an enthusiasm that she did not feel. "A new father! You mean to say that Sue fainted, because she was pregnant?"

Tom smiled, causing B'Elanna's heart to skip. "Yep. She's due in another six-and-a-half months."

"Just in time for the New Year," Harry added.

B'Elanna inhaled before flashing the pilot a brilliant smile. "That's great, Tom! I'm happy for both you and Sue." Then she returned her attention to her breakfast tray, unable to say anything further.

While Tom and Harry continued to discuss the upcoming pregnancy, B'Elanna's thoughts wallowed in misery. And regret. Where did it all go wrong? She has asked herself this question so many times during the past six years. Yet, she knew the answer. Her stubbornness. Her fears. She had the bad misfortune to catch a glimpse of a possible paradise. And instead of anticipating the future, she allowed her fears to get the best of her. Push away a chance of happiness before it could begin.

After her glimpse of a future with Tom Paris, B'Elanna had done everything possible to ensure that the relationship would go no further than distant friendship. It had been simple during Voyager's first two years in the Delta Quadrant. Tom was first preoccupied with a crush on Kes, the ship's former nurse, and later, pursuit of Sue Nicoletti. That third year, however, proved to be difficult. Tom suddenly developed an interest in B'Elanna. She did her best to ignore him by ignoring his flirtations and invitations to dinner. She had even ignored Tom and Harry's offer to escort her to a luau being held inside Neelix's old Resort holoprogram. Once B'Elanna made it apparent that she harbored no interest in a relationship with the Chief Helmsman, he stopped pursuing her. And two months later, he returned his attention to Sue Nicoletti.

At first, it seemed that Tom would have no better luck with Sue than he did the previous year. However, matters came to a head on possibly one of the worst days in B'Elanna's life - her personal Day of Honor. One, a failed experiment with creating a transwarp conduit ended with the ejection of the warp core. The Captain ordered the core to be retrieved - only she ordered B'Elanna to send another member of the Engineering team. B'Elanna did. She sent Sue Nicoletti, who ended up accompanied by Tom Paris. B'Elanna had no idea what occurred between the pair on that mission. But four days later, Tom and Sue became a couple. Their three-year romance ended with an impromptu wedding, following an intergalactic race. Since of their romance, B'Elanna found herself regretting her decision to change the future. Dreams of that alternate honeymoon aboard the Delta Flyer have haunted her, ever since.

". . . have any idea why Chakotay destroyed the deflector?" Harry was saying. Apparently, both men had lost interest in Sue's pregnancy.

Tom shook his head. "I've heard rumors of something about him invoking the Temporal Directive. Whatever that means."

"Speaking of temporal anomalies," Harry continued, "do you remember that device you found on Hotak some five or six years ago, B'Elanna? You know, the one that allows you to see the future?"

Dread numbed every nerve in B'Elanna's body. Of course she remembered. There was not a single damn day when she forgot. "Yeah, I remembered," she mumbled.

Harry continued, "Now, I remember you telling me that you saw Kurt Bendara's death, a future game of hoverball between you and the Commander, and even Neelix's resort program." His attention switched to the pilot. "But Tom, you also used the device and you never told me what you saw."

Tom hesitated. His gaze dropped to the food on his tray. "It was nothing, Harry. In fact, it never happened."

"C'mon, Tom! Everything B'Elanna had witnessed came true. Right?"

Memories of that passionate moment inside the Delta Flyer flashed in B'Elanna's mind. "Right," she replied in a choked voice.

Harry continued, "So, tell us. C'mon Tom, what did you see?"

The pilot took a deep breath. "Okay. I was inside a cave . . . with . . . with someone." His blue eyes briefly rested upon B'Elanna. "From Engineering."

'He knows!' B'Elanna felt a surge of panic. Judging from Tom's brief glance, she felt sure that he knew about their life together, in that alternate timeline. She struggled to maintain a calm fa├žade.

Harry frowned. "What cave?"

"On Sakaris IV," Tom replied. B'Elanna winced. The sight of her infamous bout with pon far. Voyager had come across a supply of gallacite and B'Elanna was ordered to form an Away team to retrieve the mineral. She had knew about Tom's talent as a rock climber, but decided to exclude him from the Away mission. But not before an emotional unbalanced Vulcan engineer infected her with pon far. B'Elanna spent her entire time on Sakaris IV longing for Tom, while rejecting any offers of help from Harry, Tuvok and Chakotay.

His frown deepening, Harry shot back, "But you only spent one hour on Sakaris IV. With Carl Ashmore and me. When we helped the Sakarians avoid further detection by the Borg."

"That's right, Harry," Tom replied. "But in my vision, I was there for several hours." Again, his eyes shot a glance at B'Elanna. "With Sue."

Harry shook his head and murmured, "Now, that's strange. Sue never made it to the surface. I guess time must have been changed."

"I guess," Tom echoed. For the third time, he glanced at B'Elanna.

"You know," Harry continued, "this reminds me of something the Captain once told me. She said that our trip to Earth's past made her realize how much temporal mechanics gave her a headache. I think she might have something, there. Right, B'Elanna?"

The Chief Engineer did not reply. Unaware of her friend's last words, she stared into space, devastated and filled with regret.