Disclaimer: Star Trek: Voyager and all characters therein are the property of Americans who are not me. No infringement of copyright is intended.

This story is set approximately around Season 3-4, but no particular spoilers other than this happens before Thirty Days. Rating M/15 for mature themes. Thanks to Star Trek Voyager: Lower Decks for all factual/technical information pertaining to the layout of the USS Voyager, and Star Trek: Technobabble for the correct spelling of "Jefferies Tube".


Chapter 1

Tom Paris ducked through the hatch at the junction of the upper gantry leading to Upper Cargo Bays 1 & 2; it was quiet down here, the semi-gloom making it positively restful, and above all, it was one place where he could smell nothing of Neelix's slow-cooking Elbarak Casserole. That was the trouble with the Delta Quadrant; you just couldn't get a happy medium. Elbarak Casserole was, in fact, extremely delicious, but unfortunately the 'active ingredient' was a foul-smelling fungus that had to be slow-cooked for 72 hours in the mixture…at least unless you wanted to end up in Sick Bay twisting like a pretzel in searing agony.

Still, he grinned - he had just spent an hour cleaning the warp plasma manifolds…and couldn't be chirpier. Harry owed him monumentally for this, and Tom had already collected by appropriating Harry's Holodeck booking for that Alpine skiing program that was right after his own booking. He was also going skiing, but his holodeck time was going to be a more intimate affair. B'Elanna enjoyed skiing, true, but after a couple of runs, Tom intended to introduce her to the real fun of après-ski; roaring log fire, bearskin rug, a nice bottle of Chateau Rothschild '79…

"It's wrong!"

He jerked back to the present from removing B'Elanna's blouse at the cry. Tom listened intently, but heard nothing even after several moments. He hesitated; had he imagined the noise? It was possible; humans in silent, spooky areas like deserted cargo bays did tend to start over-imagining things.

It had sounded like B'Elanna though and her voice had not been scolding or chastising but…anguished? After listening again but hearing silence, Tom nevertheless began to move towards Cargo Bay 1. If there was nothing there then there was only himself to see him look foolish, but they were forging through a completely uncharted part of the galaxy, and all too often the little things you thought you could ignore had a nasty habit of coming back to bite you in the ass like a rabid Targ.

Even though he couldn't hear anything now, he cautiously made his way along the gantry toward the Cargo Bay, ensuring he kept as quiet as possible and hoping he was merely suffering from an over-active imagination; but if there had been an undetected alien incursion, he would need to sound the alarm.

Easing through the hatch of the upper left gantry, he assured himself that he was invisible in the black shadows cast upon this section. The shuttles were present and correct, silent and dark, as were the racks of Neelix's supplies. There was nothing that seemed untoward but as he strained his ears he could hear faint, indeterminable sounds.

Cautiously he checked again and saw a figure in silhouette in the faint available light; a clearly female silhouette. She moved slightly, revealing her profile – B'Elanna. Tom moved forward instinctively at her strange stance but stopped dead as a shadow moved and he saw that B'Elanna was embracing someone.

Taller than her; too deep in the shadows to identify; B'Elanna was once again anonymous as she and the man kissed passionately. For some reason Tom found himself unable to make his legs move and vaguely realised he was in shock; there could be no mistake, not when blobs of hands cupped her buttocks to pull her against the larger shadow in an unmistakable gesture of carnal intent and when she responded with that characteristic Klingon growl-purr of pleasure that she vocalised during their love-making. Tom was aware of a buzzing in his ears and a tiny, ignored voice warned that he could well fall off the gantry if he didn't get it together.

Abruptly however, the shadow convulsed and B'Elanna pulled away, back towards the doors, raising both hands to grip her hair in agitation. "We can't go on like this! It's wrong and you know it. We have to stop."

"No," Chakotay moved forward, catching her arm, his face an abstract of harsh planes and angles in the dimness. His voice was tight with strain, "I need you."

"Chakotay," she half-sobbed his name, "You think I don't? But…"

"Tom is my friend; do you think I don't hate myself?" Chakotay almost snarled the words but then he pulled her against him, fisting one hand in her hair as he kissed her ravenously, making her hiss with pleasure as he fondled her breast with the other. "But I need you too much…B'Elanna…now, in the shuttle, like last time – I need to taste you, to be inside you…"

She swayed towards him but pulled herself back, "I'm supposed to be in engineering, Vorik will be coming looking any minute…but soon…I want you, Chakotay…"

Part of Tom realised he was very lucky to land without breaking one or both of his legs as he simply vaulted the gantry rail and hit the Cargo Bay floor, but they were too startled to react and by then he was on them; he dimly heard B'Elanna cry out as he flung her aside and Chakotay wasn't fast enough to deflect the blow that broke his jaw. Tom gave him no quarter as he stumbled back, raining down blows with fists and feet again and again and again until sheer exhaustion left him panting and shaking above Chakotay's body. His hands throbbed and as he looked at them he realised they were a deep red colour. Chakotay lay unmoving, his features unrecognisable, his body battered to pulp. B'Elanna was kneeling a few feet away, her chalk-white face spattered with a few droplets of blood, staring at Tom with horror.

A soft hiss impinged on his awareness and he came to himself to find that he was alone; the Cargo Bay doors were just closing. Chakotay and B'Elanna were both gone, and he was still standing on the gantry.

Continued in chapter 2…

© 2005, Catherine D. Stewart