A Perfect Mate - Voyager Chapter 5
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Revision History: 12/21/06
Summary: Voyager searches for B'Elanna. B'Elanna finally awakes from her coma.
Kathryn Janeway looked around curiously at all the activity in the cavern as she stepped off the ladder that now extended from the opening above to the cavern floor. Her eyes went to where Tuvok was kneeling beside Harry Kim and Joe Carey and she immediately started toward the small group.
"Captain," Tuvok rose and greeted Janeway as she walked up.
"You said Harry found something?" she asked.
One dark eyebrow raised, "I said Ensign Kim detected energy signatures behind one section of the cavern wall," Tuvok corrected her.
Janeway's lips twitched in satisfaction, she was tense, worried, and had needed that moment of levity from teasing her Security Officer. "Somewhat unusual for this environment," she remarked dryly glancing around at the rough grey stone of the cavern walls.
Tuvok nodded, "Ensign Kim is currently attempting to determine if the cavern wall in that location is natural or artificially created."
A determined gleam lit the Captain's blue-grey eyes, "Could you use come help?"
"Your assistance would be appreciated, Captain," Tuvok assured her impassively, carefully hiding his satisfaction.
The Captain was an accomplished scientist, and was indeed a welcome addition to his small team, but it would not do for Janeway to realize that he had anticipated her wish to join them. He had been so certain of his ability to predict her actions that he had not requested another officer from the sciences department as he would have done otherwise. He understood Janeway's needed to feel that she was doing something to find Lt. Torres, and her assisting Ensign Kim would admirably fulfill that need. However, it still would not do for the Captain to realize he had predicted her actions so accurately, he knew his friend hated being predictable.
"But we met when we were both children," B'Elanna protested confused.
Anxiety rolled off of Blackfur so intensely B'Elanna was almost surprised she couldn't actually see it. If it hadn't been for the bond between them she would have jumped to the conclusion that Blackfur was feeling guilty because she hadn't made it clear to B'Elanna they were bonded earlier. However, because of the bond she knew Blackfur's anxiety wasn't due to guilt, it was due to concern, concern for her. But why Blackfur was concerned, and what it had to do with the Rana bonding to her, she didn't understand.
"What's wrong," she asked, now completely confused by the situation.
Blackfur finally answered, "You were injured."
A jagged hole in the earth, seeing movement just before the ground beneath her feet gave way, then falling and nothing. The room dipped and swayed nauseatingly around her for a moment as a sharp shooting pain when through her head. Then Blackfur's arms wrapped around her and she thankfully rested her head against the Rana's warm chest trying to will the pain and nausea away. "This has happened before," she murmured remembering the other two times when she had felt this way.
"Yes," Blackfur confirmed.
B'Elanna was bewildered, and beginning to feel frightened. She thought she remembered being injured but had no idea when it could have happened or where. The flashes of memory made no sense to her; she had never been anywhere that looked like that. "I don't understand, when was I injured?" she asked plaintively.
Blackfur didn't answer immediately, and the images and snippets of the Rana's thoughts B'Elanna got through their bond only confused her further. Finally Blackfur answered, "I am uncertain, I believe the robots have been keeping us sedated, perhaps four or five days."
"Sedated?" B'Elanna repeated, her voice rising as she grew more agitated. She pulled away and stared up into Blackfur's concerned eyes. "But I'm not sedated…" her voice trailed off, clear in the Rana's mind she could see the image of a medical bay with the two of them lying side by side on a wide bio bed. "But…" she looked around her room, at the workbench and engine Blackfur had been calibrating. Everything seemed real, surely her friend was wrong…and yet the memories, the memories didn't fit anywhere, she had never been off Kessik IV, and that place in her memories didn't look anything like anywhere she knew of on Kessik IV.
"Are you saying I'm dreaming?" she asked in disbelief, pulling away from Blackfur, "This isn't a dream, it's real, we're in my home." She stared at her friend feeling the beginning stirrings of anger, this wasn't amusing at all.
Grabbing Blackfur's hand she turned and pulled the Rana along with her, ignoring her friend's questions as they went down the stairs to the main floor of her house and into the kitchen where her mother was preparing dinner. "Mother," B'Elanna called urgently, causing her mother to turn around sharply and stare at them with a concerned frown, "Blackfur's been with us since I was eight hasn't she."
The Klingon looked at the two of them incredulously, "B'Elanna you brought her home with you after that camping trip with your father."
B'Elanna looked at her friend triumphantly, but Blackfur's concerned, gentle expression did not waver. Seeing it, her newly found certainty wavered, doubt began creeping in again and she remembered the two other times she had visions of falling. "And her parent's, how did we ask them if it was ok for her to stay with us?" she whispered. Her mother did not answer, and B'Elanna did not turn around to see why, staring into Blackfur's green eyes instead and seeing the truth there.
It could not have happened like this. An unknown alien from the Delta Quadrant on a Federation colony going unremarked, uninvestigated, allowed to stay with her family for years without any questions, any government officials asking how the Rana had got to Kessik IV in the first place. Impossible.
Her throat tightened unpleasantly, and dull pain blossomed in her chest as she reluctantly admitted the truth to herself. This was a dream, this had all been a dream.
Strong arms surrounded her, "If I could make it so, I would have been there for you B'Elanna. I would have been with you always, but I can only be with you in your past in your dreams as I have been." Blackfur's voice was deep, and echoed the regret B'Elanna could feel thorough their bond.
"I know," B'Elanna choked out as she wrapped her arms around the Rana's well-muscled torso and laid her face against the dark skin of her chest.
"There!" Ensign Kim exclaimed in triumph as he looked at the screen, and more specifically at the regularly oscillating energy signature displayed upon it.
"They worked," Captain Janeway commented, her tone filled with relief as she stared at the sensors pressed against the rock of the cavern wall. Only it wasn't rock, at least not natural rock, the energy signature confirmed that.
"Finally," Harry commented in a self-derisive tone.
Janeway swung about in surprise, looking at her Operation officer's face. "I don't think we did that bad," she commented in surprise, filling a little stung at the implication.
The speed with which Harry's face filled with surprise and dismay was almost comical. "Captain," he almost stuttered, "I didn't mean it like that," he looked down at the ground, "I just meant that if B'Elanna had been here..."
Janeway's face softened, "I understand Ensign. I miss, and am worried about her as well." She turned back to the rock face resolutely, she understood what Kim meant, if B'Elanna had been with them no doubt they would have found the solution hour's earlier, the woman had a definite gift when it came to engineering. However, Lt. Torres was not here, she was somewhere behind this concealing rock, and Janeway was not about to give up until she had her back.
B'Elanna groaned as she opened her eyes, blinking them rapidly and forcing sluggish muscles to raise her hand so she could wipe away the crust that had formed on her lashes. She felt the surface she was lying upon shift and heard an exhaled breath, and did not have to look to know Blackfur was lying beside her. It wasn't just the solid comforting presence of the bond between them, but the unique spicy, cinnamon scent of the Rana woman that informed her of just who was next to her.
A burst of emotion through the bond caused B'Elanna to scrub at her eyes more fiercely, wondering what was confusing Blackfur, and finally she was able to open them. They were not in the medical bay she had seen in her friend's memories.
"We have been moved," Blackfur's tenor voice clearly revealed her displeasure.
B'Elanna looked over at her, understanding that the Rana was annoyed with everything that was being done to them while they were both unconscious and therefore unable to either agree or object. Blackfur's dark maned head swung toward her, the upright ears swiveling to maintain their orientation toward her as the Rana turned to face her. Thick dark eyebrows above jade green eyes angled downward as they merged in with the thin coating of black fur that covered the Rana's nose. Bare ebony skin showed around the flared nostrils, lips and eyes, then a fine dusting of hair began again on the cheeks, thickening until it merged in at the temples with the shoulder length black mane.
Currently the dark brows were drawn together as the Rana frowned, "How are you feeling?" Blackfur asked, her gentle tone at odds with the troubled emotions B'Elanna could sense through their bond and see upon her face.
"Stiff," B'Elanna was shocked at how hoarse her voice sounded. Not that she hadn't already believed that she had been sedated and dreaming as Blackfur said, but the condition of her voice backed up that fact. Slowly she sat up and looked about the room curiously.
Forest was the first word that came to mind for the rooms color scheme, well if forests had cream colored floors, she amended the thought as she glanced down at the floor. The lower half of the room's walls were paneled in what appeared to be dark colored wood, and the upper half was painted dark green. The same color as the cover upon which the two of them rested B'Elanna noticed looking down at the fabric underneath her.
Almost immediately, her gaze was drawn from the dark fabric to where her companion's thigh approximately six inches from her own. Ebony skin and nothing else but a light dusting of black hair covered well-defined quadriceps. A quick sideways glance confirmed that the rest of her friend was just as bare. Heat curled from up from her thighs and down from her stomach, meeting at her groin. Blackfur's jade-green eyes met hers, the Rana sensing her arousal through their bond.
B'Elanna watched as the green eyes darkened and felt Blackfur's matching interest. Any remaining doubts that her friend was bonded to her vanished, she knew full well that Rana responded sexually only to their mates. The only remaining question in her mind was what was her reaction going to be? Would she accept the bond and become Blackfur's mate, or deny it and doom her friend to a lifetime of aloneness. Her friend, the word caught in mind, tangled between her dream memories and the reality of this place. The conflict between what her memories told her, and what reason, this place, and Blackfur told her, was bewildering and confusing.
'I'm not ready for this', B'Elanna thought, feeling overwhelmed by all the revelations of the past hour. It was too much all at once, she lifted a hand to her temple; her head was suddenly pounding.
The sound of the door opening distracted her momentarily from the pain in her head, and she watched warily as what was obviously one of the robots who had brought them here entered the room and approached the bed upon which she and Blackfur were still sitting.
An agitated swirl of concern and anger burst through B'Elanna's bond with Blackfur, 'She is not fully healed,' the Rana signed her gestures abrupt and sharp.
The robot remained motionless for a moment then made a brief acknowledging gesture, the machine then moved over to B'Elanna and began scanning her with what appeared to be a medical tricorder.
B'Elanna watched the progress of the scan with impatience, eager to learn what was causing her memory loss and hopefully what injury had occurred initially as a result of her fall. When the robot changed some settings on the tricorder and began scanning once again without saying anything, she began to feel worried and agitated. B'Elanna's temper was just about to snap at the robot's continuing silence when the machine finally completed the second scan and signed in Rana, 'How are you feeling?'
Her anger chilled at the reminder of just why she was here in the first place, 'Not well,' she signed, 'my head still hurts and I cannot remember...,' B'Elanna paused trying to find the correct signs to use. The Rana language was a rich one, containing many words to describe sights, sounds and smells, but it was not the language of a technologically advanced people, there were simply no signs with which to communicate her continuing memory loss. "Don't you have a universal translator?" she finally blurted out in frustration.
The robot replied succinctly, "Yes," in clear Federation Standard.
Taking in a quick breath, B'Elanna began describing what she had remembered, her continuing inability to remember anything past her seventeenth birthday, and the sharp pains in her head that occurred when she had memory flashes of her accident. Occasionally Blackfur added in her own comments, describing what she remembered of the times the accident had been brought up, and how B'Elanna had reacted.
After they both finished the robot stood motionless for a few seconds, and this time it occurred to B'Elanna to wonder if perhaps the pause was due to it communicating with a central computer core. When the robot next acted it did not speak as B'Elanna had expected, but instead moved to a section of the wall which turned opaque revealing a data screen.
"These were your injuries when we began treating you," a three dimensional image of a brain appeared, rotating slowly. "From the extent and nature of them, we estimated that five to six severe impacts to the exterior of the skull occurred resulting in bruising to the brain here and here, and here and here." The robot extended a limb and pointed to two separate areas on either side of the rotating brain image, which paused helpfully as the robot,'s limb touched the screen. The first two areas were at the front and back of the brain in the frontal and occipital lobes; the second two areas were on either side of the brain in both the right and left temporal lobes. "The repeated impacts also caused minute shearing throughout the brain tissue. Our first action was to stop the hemorrhaging within your brain tissue then we removed the excess blood to prevent pressure damage to the brain tissues."
The robot paused for a moment, "We believed that we had healed all of your injuries, but your inability to fully access your memory engrams indicates that there is still damage to your temporal lobes. The most probable reason for your symptoms is that the shearing injury to the tissues in your temporal lobes disrupted your memory pathways, rendering you unable to retrieve those particular memory engrams even though they are still present."
The robot turned away from the data screen, "There is no information about your species in Researcher Katara's database; we do not have enough knowledge of your physiology to determine what specific damage remains that is preventing you from regaining your memories. Without a historical brain memory engram scan we cannot determine which memory pathways have been disrupted."
The robot fell silent once again, but this time B'Elanna had the clear sense that it was closely examining her, "We have been monitoring the activities of the other members of your starship. The probability that they possess the medical technology to determine what damage remains to you, and to repair it, is extremely high. Non-Rana are not permitted entry to this facility, you will be transported to another location to make contact with them."
The robot began moving toward the door, making it obvious that the discussion was over as far as it was concerned and it was time for her to leave. "Wait a moment," B'Elanna protested, the robot stopped, the head swiveled toward her. Now that she had its attention she wasn't certain what to say, only the thought of meeting several people who she did not remember but knew her was more than slightly intimidating.
Blackfur, feeling her rising anxiety through their bond rumbled, "Could you transport us to where Seeker and Seven, members of my rann live. Seven is also a member of B'Elanna's clan, and will be able to contact them."
B'Elanna met Blackfur's green eyes with relief, grateful that her friend had found a way to spare her the ordeal of having to meet several strangers. Blackfur and the robot began discussing exactly where Seven and Seeker's house was located and where to transport them. As B'Elanna listened to them an alarming fact sunk in, one that perhaps should have occurred to her earlier but hadn't among all the other jarring facts, "We are in the Delta Quadrant?"
Her outburst caused both of them to fall silent and stare at her. Embarrassed she babbled, "Of course we are how else could I have fallen..." she stopped abruptly as the words triggered her memory. She was making her way up a steep slope covered in loose shale thinking about the study Seven had done of her and Tom's relationship. An image of a blonde haired man flashed in her mind, smiling and merry-eyed, confused feelings of affection, weariness and disappointment accompanied the image. The memory faded and she realized that she was kneeling on the forest-green carpeted floor, the heels of both hands pressed hard to her forehead in a vain effort to still its pounding. Blackfur was crouched beside her with a supporting arm around her back, and the robot was scanning her once again.
"From this information I can correct the neural pathways connected to the memory you just accessed, and relieve the pain you are experiencing from accessing that specific memory," the robot announced after it finished. As soon as the robot finished speaking, it moved rapidly over to the door where it paused, "If you will follow me to the medical area." The pounding in her head was easing, but B'Elanna was still grateful for Blackfur's steady arm and strength as the Rana helped her down the hallway after the robot.
Twenty minutes later, B'Elanna was finally able to remember the immediate events leading up to her fall, and the fall itself. The blond haired man was Tom Paris, her sometimes lover when she wasn't angry with him for obsessing over some new holoprogram he was developing, or for playing in one and completely forgetting her. The study that she remembered was one Seven had done of their relationship. Seven had concluded that she and Tom were the best choices for each other among Voyager's limited crew of 144.
That was why she had been angry with Seven, angry that the woman had pointed it out so bluntly, and that was why she had been sad, sad that Seven had seen the truth so clearly. She and Tom were hardly the ideal couple, back in the Alpha Quadrant they likely would have never even dated, but here in the Delta Quadrant there had not been many choices. At least there hadn't been until now, B'Elanna thought, glancing over at Blackfur.
She understood that in reality she and the Rana had only been together for a few days, but her mind, her memories still insisted that they had known each other for years. In all that time Blackfur had been her closest friend, her trusted confidant, the one person who knew and understood her better than anyone else. Someone, she though as she met Blackfur's eyes, who knew all her foibles and faults, her temper and habit of brooding and cared for her despite them.