Star Trek: Voyager

"Only Human"

Written by Mark Moore

Author's note: On Friday, December 21, 2001, at 11:00 PM, I saw the "Star Trek: Voyager" episode, "Faces", where B'Elanna was split into two people: a full Klingon and a full human. At the end of the episode, the Klingon dies saving the human. Back on Voyager, the Doctor tells B'Elanna that he's going to give her Klingon DNA from the dead Klingon B'Elanna. B'Elanna doesn't want it, but the Doctor tells her that her body needs it to survive. He leaves her alone, and the episode ends with B'Elanna crying in sickbay.

I got the idea to write an alternate timeline story as a follow-up to this episode. What if B'Elanna finds a way to remain human? I wrote this story from Saturday, December 29, 2001, 10:10 PM (10:24 PM for the story itself) to Tuesday, January 29, 2002, 7:18 PM.

My thanks go to Charlotte MacFarlane for providing me with the exact medical reason why B'Elanna needed her Klingon DNA and for inspiring B'Elanna's line about honor. Thank you, Charlotte! Reviews of all kinds are welcome. Enjoy the story!

B'Elanna Torres sat on an examination table in sickbay, crying. Tears ran down her cheeks. She placed her fingers on them and wiped them from her face.
She felt bad. She had to get Klingon DNA injected into her body in order to remain alive. If only there was some way...
Soon, the Doctor returned.
"Doctor, I was wondering." B'Elanna said. "How long can I go before you have to insert my Klingon DNA back into me?"
The Doctor thought about that for a moment. "I suppose a week. Why?"
B'Elanna got off the table. "You've got that long to figure out a different way to keep me alive."
The Doctor was surprised. "What?"
"You heard me."
The Doctor frowned. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised. However, I can't make any guarantees that I'll be able to devise an alternate treatment for your condition. You'll most likely still have to receive the DNA."
"I understand." B'Elanna said. "One week, Doctor. Please try your best."
The Doctor was silent for a moment. "Very well. I'll see what I can come up with."
"Thank you." B'Elanna said. "If there's nothing else, I'll report to Engineering."
"Actually, the Captain has given you the rest of the day off. I recommend that you go to your quarters and get to bed early."
B'Elanna nodded. "Good idea."
"And avoid eating meat for the time being."
She nodded and walked out of sickbay.
This was the first time that she'd face the crew as a human. She noticed a few people give her "Who's she?" stares. She also got some "Is that B'Elanna?" stares.
She hurried to the turbolift and got inside. She called out the deck number and leaned against the wall.
The turbolift moved and soon arrived at the proper deck. She got out and walked to her quarters at a brisk pace. She ignored the stares she received. She wasn't ready to talk about this with anyone yet.
She entered her quarters and locked the door. She took off her uniform and threw it to the floor. She walked into her bathroom.
The lights in her quarters turned on, and B'Elanna Torres came face-to-face with her reflection.
She stared at herself for over a minute. Her forehead ridges were gone. She felt her forehead again. It was smooth. She took off her shirt and threw it to the floor. She cupped her breasts in her hands. They were softer than Klingon women's breasts. She took off her panties, the last remaining article of clothing, and threw them to the floor. She ran her hands over her ass cheeks. Nice and soft, like a human's.
B'Elanna's lips formed a smile, and it soon developed into a grin. She was human. Finally, after years of resentment and wishful thinking, she was human.
She got into her sonic shower and closed the door.
"Sonic shower."
The shower started. B'Elanna relaxed and slowly washed herself. She started thinking about how her life would be different now. People wouldn't look at her differently anyone. She was one of them now - a human being, a full-blooded human being. She laughed as she thought of the look on her father's face if they got back to Earth or were able to send a message. Maybe then he would love her.
After B'Elanna finished taking her shower, she dried herself, combed her hair, brushed her teeth, stared at herself in the mirror, walked into her bedroom, put on her pajamas, and pulled the covers down on her bed.
"Lights off."
The lights turned off. B'Elanna lay down on her bed and drifted off to sleep.

B'Elanna woke up the next morning by the sound of her alarm.
"Computer, cease alarm."
The alarm stopped.
B'Elanna got off of her bed, made it, changed into her uniform, combed her hair, and exited her quarters.
Time to face the crew.
She walked to the turbolift and went inside.
"Mess hall."
The turbolift moved. When it stopped, she exited it, walked a short distance, and entered the mess hall.
She got in line.
"Cereal." she said when it was her turn to order.
"Coming right up." Neelix filled a bowl with cereal and milk, added a spoon, and looked up. "Here you go, B'Elanna." He nearly dropped the bowl. "Oh, my goodness!"
That got the attention of quite a few crew members.
B'Elanna tried to ignore their stares. "My cereal, Neelix."
"Uh,...uh,...sure." He handed the bowl to her.
She took it and a napkin and walked to an empty table. She sat down and started eating her cereal.
Seeing that there was no one in line, Neelix walked over to B'Elanna's table. "Uh, may I join you?"
He sat down across from her. "May I ask what happened?"
"A Vidiian extracted my Klingon DNA in an experiment."
"So, you're...human now?"
"Yeah," she said, "human."
"How does it feel?"
She shrugged. "Different, but I'll get used to it."
Her combadge chirped. "Janeway to Torres."
B'Elanna tapped her combadge. "Torres here."
"Lt., before you report for duty in Engineering, I'd like to see you in my ready room."
"Yes, ma'am."
"Janeway out."
B'Elanna finished up her cereal. "I'll see you later."
She stood up, disposed of her bowl and spoon, and left the mess hall. She got into the turbolift.
After a short trip, she exited the turbolift and walked onto the bridge. She hurried over to the captain's ready room and pressed a button. The door chimed.
"Come in."
The door opened. B'Elanna walked into the room. The door closed.
Captain Janeway stood up and walked over to her. "B'Elanna, when I asked the Doctor last night about how you were doing, he told me that you asked him to find a way to keep you human."
B'Elanna nodded. "That's right."
"He also told me that your cells' ability to synthesize protein was severely compromised." Janeway added. "Reinserting your Klingon DNA into your genetic code would correct the problem. Yet you don't want it back. Why?"
"Because I want to remain human."
"And why is that?"
"Why do you care?" B'Elanna asked. "It's my body. It's my decision. If, after a week, the Doctor tells me that I need the Klingon DNA, I'll take it. But until then, I want him to find another way. I'm not endangering myself, Captain."
"All right." Kathryn said. "I can't argue with that. But if you want to talk, - "
"I'll know where to find you." B'Elanna finished.
B'Elanna turned and exited the ready room. She got in the turbolift.
"Deck 11."
The turbolift took her down. She exited it and stepped into Main Engineering.
Various crew members stared at her in surprise as she walked over to the warp reactor.
B'Elanna turned around and looked at all of them. "Don't just stand around. We've gotta add dilithium to the warp core."
Slowly, they all went to work.

At 12:00, B'Elanna went on her lunch break.
She walked into the turbolift.
Her combadge chirped. "EMH to Lt. Torres."
B'Elanna tapped her combadge. "Torres here."
"Whenever you have the time, stop by sickbay. I believe I have devised a treatment for you."
"I just went on lunch break. I'll be right there. Torres out. Sickbay."
The turbolift started moving.
After it stopped, she exited it, walked a short distance, and entered sickbay.
The Doctor walked over to her. "Lt., you recall our first encounter with the Vidiians, where one of them removed Mr. Neelix's lungs. Correct?"
B'Elanna nodded. "Yeah."
"I was able to keep Mr. Neelix alive by creating a pair of holographic lungs for him. I think I can do a similar thing for you."
"But...that was only a temporary keep him alive. He got a lung donation from Kes."
"True, but, unlike lungs, your body replaces the cells that it loses. I believe I can create holographic DNA that will enable your cells to synthesize protein more easily."
She thought about that for a moment. "What would I have to do?"
"I should have it set up by this evening. For dinner, I want you to eat meat. Then report to sickbay."
B'Elanna nodded, then she turned and left sickbay.
She took the turbolift then walked to the mess hall.
After getting her lunch, vegetables and orange juice, she sat down at an empty table and started eating.
"May I join you?"
B'Elanna looked up at Chakotay. "Sure."
He sat down with his lunch - a ham sandwich and a glass of water.
B'Elanna stared at the sandwich. "You're lucky. You get to eat meat. I can't until tonight."
He smiled briefly, then he grew serious. "The captain tells me that you want to remain human."
"She told you?" she asked in surprise.
"Why wouldn't she?"
"I guess you have a point."
"Do you think you're making the right decision?"
"Of course."
"Then you won't get any argument from me." he said. "But remember, you're tampering with nature. I just don't want you to regret your decision later on."
She thought about this as she stuck vegetables into her mouth.

After a rather tiring afternoon in Engineering, B'Elanna was hungry.
She walked into the mess hall; got a piece of steak with hickory smoke barbecue sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a glass of cola; and sat down at a table by herself. She eagerly ate her meal, savoring the taste.
B'Elanna looked up at Tom. "Hi."
"Can I sit with you?"
Tom sat down across from her and started to eat his dinner, which was the same as her meal. "Enjoying your first real meal since yesterday, huh?"
"What the hell?" B'Elanna asked. "Is everyone talking about me?"
"Well, I wouldn't say 'everyone'." Tom said. "B'Elanna, lemme ask you something. Why are you doing this?"
"Because I like being human." she said.
"But you were so scared on the away mission." he said. "Don't you miss your Klingon courage?"
"Tom, you were right. Courage isn't the absence of fear. It's learning to overcome it. I accomplished that. I did my job, not thinking of my fear. I did that as a human. So, there's no reason that I have to become a Klingon again."
"Oh, no. That kind of argument might fly with Captain Janeway or Commander Chakotay, but I don't buy it." Tom said. "You hate your Klingon DNA. You're finally rid of it, and you don't want it back. Pure and simple."
"I don't hate my Klingon DNA." B'Elanna told him.
"You're running away. You're ashamed of your heritage, so you're trying to make it easier to forget about it." Tom went on.
"Listen to me." B'Elanna said. She paused for a moment as she tried to find the best way to word it. "My Klingon DNA was extracted from me. It was used to form a second B'Elanna Torres - a fully-Klingon B'Elanna Torres. The Klingon gave up her life so that the human might live. I feel I should remain human to honor the Klingon. My Klingon half is dead, Tom. Let's let her go."
Tom looked down at his plate, thinking.
"Besides," she said, "I'll always have something to remind me of my Klingon heritage. My name is B'Elanna Torres."
Tom looked up at her. "More like B'Aloney Torres."
B'Elanna stared at him, then she stood up, picking up her plate and glass. "I've gotta get to sickbay."
"Here." Tom handed her a chip. "There are some 20th century songs on there that I'd like you to listen to tonight after your 'treatment'."
"Fine." She turned and walked away.
After disposing of her plate, glass, and utensils, she left the mess hall, went to the turbolift, and got in.
The turbolift moved. When it stopped, she exited it. She walked to sickbay.
Upon entering sickbay, she saw Kes.
"The Doctor will be with you shortly." Kes told her.
Soon, the Doctor came out of his office. "Ready?"
B'Elanna nodded.
"Lie down on the biobed." he instructed.
B'Elanna went over and lay down on the bed.
The Doctor closed it around her to keep her in place. "You're not claustrophobic, are you?"
She stared at him. "I'm the Chief Engineer. I crawl around in Jeffries tubes."
"Yes or no?"
"I may not have to perform this procedure at all." the Doctor said. "It seems that there's still some Klingon DNA in you."
"Quit being a smart-ass, Doctor, and get on with the procedure!" she yelled.
"Very well. During this treatment, you'll have to remain perfectly still for the entire night."
"The entire night?!"
"It takes a while for the protein to go from your stomach to your cells." he told her. "You'll have to sleep here."
She groaned. "All right."
"The holographic DNA will enable your cells to function properly. This is just a temporary measure until these cells die out. These treatments should allow new healthy cells to take their place. I'm going to activate the holograms now."
The Doctor pressed some buttons, and, in B'Elanna's body, some holographic DNA was added to her cells.
"Good night." he told her. He turned to leave.
"Doctor, there's a chip on the biobed. It's got some music on it that Tom wants me to listen to." she told him. "Could you put it on for me, please?"
"Certainly." The Doctor picked up the chip and took it into his office. He placed it in his laptop. "Computer, play all files on this chip once."
The first song started. It was "Fate's Wide Wheel" by Scott Bakula:

"As I travel in space and time,
I want to stay, I want to go.
You see my face, but it's not mine.
What you can't see, you'll never know."

Ha, ha! Very funny, Mr. Paris, B'Elanna thought. She continued listening:

"We all begin this life alone.
We live, we love, all through the years.
Yet, deep inside, we long for home,
but every sea's obscured by tears."

It was a good song, B'Elanna decided, yet she knew why Tom had told her to listen to it. She didn't know what the original meaning was, but she listened to the song all the way through. Then, the next song started. It was "To the Moon and Back" by Savage Garden:

"She's takin' her time
making up the reasons
to justify all the hurt inside.
Guess she knows
from the smiles and the look in their eyes,
everyone's got a theory about the bitter one.
They're sayin'
'Momma never loved her much' and
'Daddy never keeps in touch.
That's why she shies away from human affection.' But
somewhere in a private place,
she packs her bag for outer space,
and now she's waiting for the right kind of pilot to come,
and she'll say to him...

She's sayin'
'I will fly to the moon and back if you'll be...
if you'll be my baby.
Got a ticket for a world where we belong.
So, will you be my baby?'"

B'Elanna couldn't believe this. At first, she thought that this was another lecture song. Now, though, it seemed like it was Tom's way of hitting on her. Did he seriously think that she'd fall for him?
Yeah, like that'll ever happen, she thought. She continued listening:

"She can't remember a time
when she felt needed.
If love was red, then she was color blind.
All her friends,
they've been tried for treason
and crimes that were never defined.
She's sayin'
'Love is like a barren place, and
reaching out for human faith is...
is like a journey I just don't have a map for.' So,
baby gonna take a dive and
push the shift to overdrive
and send a signal that she's hanging all her hopes on the stars.
What a pleasant dream..."

Yeah, it is a lecture song, B'Elanna decided. The story of my life was recorded as a song almost 400 years before I was born. Ha! She started laughing.
After the refrain was repeated, the instrumental break began. B'Elanna loved it. It reminded her of how her father used to play the Spanish guitar for her when she was little.
Slowly, she drifted off to sleep.

B'Elanna slowly opened her eyes and woke up.
The biobed was open, and she could move. She sat up, yawned, and stretched her arms.
She swung her feet over the side of the bed and stood on the floor. She found the chip on the biobed and picked it up.
The Doctor came out of his office. "Lt., the first treatment was successful. Report back this evening after dinner. You've got an hour before your shift begins."
"Thanks, Doctor." B'Elanna turned and walked out of sickbay.

She returned to her quarters, took a sonic shower, dried, brushed her teeth, put on clean clothes, and combed her hair.
Then she reported for duty in Main Engineering. At 12:00, she went to lunch. Then she went back to Main Engineering and worked the rest of her shift.
After that, she went to the mess hall and got her dinner - spaghetti, meatballs, and a glass of cola.
She sat at a table by herself and started eating.
"Hey, Tom." she said. "Have a seat."
Tom sat down across from her with his dinner - the same things that she had.
"So, how'd it go?" he asked.
"It was successful." she said. "I have to come back tonight and every night until I have enough new cells to process protein on my own."
"Oh, thanks for the music. I enjoyed it." She held out the chip to him.
"Keep it." he said.
"Okay, thanks." she said. "That treatment was longer than I expected. I had to lie there all night."
"I know."
She rolled her eyes. "That's right. News travels fast on this ship."
"Warp 10." Tom joked. "B'Elanna, it's not too late to change your mind about this."
"I'm not having second thoughts." she said.
"But didn't you have any pride in being half-Klingon?"
"C'mon, B'Elanna." Tom said. "Think 'Qapla'!' Think 'Long live the Empire!'"
"Think again."
He sighed. "Fine."

After dinner, B'Elanna went to sickbay and received another treatment.
She received four more treatments after that.
When she woke up after the sixth treatment, the Doctor walked over to her.
"I ran a thorough scan on you 14 minutes ago." he said. "Your body has enough new cells to process protein. You don't need to come in for anymore treatments."
B'Elanna grinned and hugged him. "Thank you, Doctor!"

That evening, after B'Elanna's shift ended, she went to the mess hall and got dinner - a juicy steak with barbecue sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a glass of cola.
She sat at a table by herself and started eating her meal. Soon, she heard footsteps approaching her table.
"Hi, Tom. Sit down." she said.
Tom laughed and sat down with his dinner - the same meal as she had.
"So, what's new?" he asked.
She smiled. "No more treatments."
"I see." Tom said. "Well, B'Elanna, - "
"Lana." she said. "You can call me Lana if you want."
"Lana Torres?"
"Yeah." she said, liking the sound of it. "Lana Torres."
"If you insist." he said. "So, what do you do now?"
"I'll keep doing my job." she said. "My life will be a bit different now, of course. Who knows what my future will be like?"
Tom sighed and shook his head. "I still think that you made a big mistake."
B'Elanna smiled at him. "Well, what do you expect? I'm only human."

The End

Copyright 2001, 2002 by Mark Moore