CODE: Robinson, Torres, and the EMH
RATING: [PG-13] For adult language.
SUMMARY: By some twist of fate, Rain Robinson from Season 3's "Future's End", ends up on Voyager. Told from Rain, B'Elanna and the Doctor's POV. Book 4. Post-"Blood Fever" to "Favorite Son".
FEEDBACK: june_daley@rocketmail.com - Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: Tom, B'Elanna, Rain and all other characters related to Star Trek Voyager belong to Paramount, Viacom and the usual Trek Powers to Be. Dammit!



Ten days. Ten days have passed since my fight with Tom. And we haven't uttered one word to each other. Hell, at least three-quarters of the crew aren't speaking to me. They all believe that I had condoned Vorik's actions during his pon farr. And none of this might have happened if I had kept my big mouth shut. Jesus!

Aunt Sarah was right. I should learn to control my tongue. And my temper. But it's hard to do that whenever I encounter stupidity or hypocracy. I guess I'm just too blunt. Too frank. No wonder I've always had trouble maintaining a relationship. And I think I've just ruined another one.

My mother once told me that although Humans make a big deal about valuing the truth, many of them can't really handle it. Deep down, they don't want to face reality, so they escape through a lot of pleasure, easy solutions and sometimes, intolerance. She also added that when someone exposes the truth, it's usually the messenger who is usually blamed. What she tried to tell me is that I should learn to be a little more diplomatic when dealing with the feelings and opinions of others.

Somehow, word of my fight with Tom got around. And now, I'm being blamed for "taking Vorik's side". What makes this even worse is that the real perputrator of the whole mess is pon farr. And how in the hell can you punish a physiological condition? You can't. Instead, you punish the poor bastard inflicted by it. Namely Vorik. And you also blame the dumb idiot, whose words robbed you of a scapegoat. The same idiot who could not keep her damn mouth shut. Or control her temper.

Aside from Tuvok and Vorik (whom I haven't seen in days), the only crewmen who seemed willing to speak to me were Jenny, Megan, Neelix, and Commander Chakotay. B'Elanna seemed too embarrassed to even be near me. I should talk to her, but I can't. It's no longer about what she did to me on Sakaris IV. Right now, I'm going through a lot of anger and frustration, because my big mouth has not only put me at odds with most of the crew. I've also driven Tom away for good when I defended Vorik . . . and brought up his past. Stupid idiot! And because I brought up his past, B'Elanna will have him in the end.

* * * *


Vorik finally returned to Alpha shift duty, today. It didn't turn out as bad as I thought it would. We had a nice, long talk before his shift began.

I know. Vorik and I had agreed he would spend one month during Beta shift and only three weeks had passed since Sakaris IV. However, he happens to be one of my best engineers and I needed him, Carey, Nicoletti and Ashmore for a special project - to strengthen the stabilization of the warp filed coils and make them less susceptible to exposure from a verteron pulse. So, I put aside any feelings I had toward Vorik and asked Chakotay to return him to Alpha shift.

The talk. To be honest, I think it was a hell of a lot worse for Vorik. I never saw a man look so embarrassed or humiliated. Now that I think about it, I guess I understand his reaction. Like me, Vulcans hate losing control. Both Vorik and I endured a lot of humiliation because of what happened. But at least I don't have to endure pon far every seven years for the rest of my life, thank Kahless. After what happened, I do intend to keep an eye on Vorik, seven years from now. If I can remember.

I had repaired my working relationship with Vorik. My friendship with Tom has survived Sakaris IV. However, I haven't spoken a word to Rain, since our encounter in the Mess Hall. I've also learned that she hasn't spoken to Tom, either. Now, that's odd. I wonder how that came about?

* * * *


I've finally realized how dangerous space exploration can be. While searching for the missing Commander Chakotay and Ensign Kaplan, Voyager came across a starship in the form of a cube. Megan and Jenny called it a Borg cube and it seemed to terrify them and practically everyone else.

"Who in the hell are the Borg?" I demanded.

Jenny replied, "They're a race of humanoids that are part-organic, part-machine. They're like . . ."

"Cyborgs!" I added, remembering my television. "Like the SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and THE BIONIC WOMAN!" Ah, the glory days of television re-runs. How I miss them.

The twins stared at me with baffled eyes. "What are you talking about?" Megan asked.

I told them about the two television shows I used to watch. "Maybe I'll find it in the computer database and show it to you, one day. What do these Borgs look like?"

Jenny led me to a computer console, located against one of the walls in the Mess Hall. I swear, this ship is practically a flying Microsoft center. She punched in a few codes and . . .

"Here they are," she said, pointing to the image on the screen. "The Borg. They're native to the Delta Quadrant, but they have the technology to travel to other quadrants. Including the Alpha Quadrant, back home. They've already tried to conquer Earth once." So, that's the Borg. I told Jenny that they look like mechnical zombies. "Not a bad description," she added.

Then I said, "And the Captain thinks the Commander and Marie Kaplan have been captured by them?"

Megan shook her head. "I don't think so. I heard from Harry Kim that the drones found inside the cube are dead. I think many of them were killed by some electromagnetic storm."

Drones? I guess that must be a pretty simile for a zombie. "So, where are they? Commander Chakotay and Kaplan?"

No one could answer my question. At least not until hours later, when the crew found the missing pair on a planet inhabited by survivors of the cube. Well, they found Chakotay, alive and well. Poor Kaplan had been killed by some scavengers who raided the village inhabited by former Borg drones. Among them was a blond woman who had been captured by the Borg, during the latter's attack upon Earth, several years ago. Everyone seemed to be talking about her and the Commander.

"Is it true?" I asked Neelix, after encountering him near one of those turbolifts on Deck 2. "About the Commander and this Fraizer woman?"

Neelix shrugged. "I have no idea. I haven't seen Commander Chakotay since he left the ship with Ensign . . ."

At that moment, the doors slid open. Three figures walked out of the turbolift - the Captain, Commander Chakotay and a beautiful, blond-haired woman with blue eyes. Both she and the Commander seemed a bit engrossed with each other. As for the Captain - despite her usual command look, she seemed grim to me. Oh, oh! Something tells me there was a little trouble in Paradise.

Then Janeway noticed Neelix and me. Something like a cross between a smile and a grimace appeared on her face. "Miss Fraizer," she said in her usual gravel voice, "I'd like to introduce you to our two civilian crewmen. This is our Talaxian guide, Neelix and Miss Rain Robinson. Neelix, Miss Robinson, this is Miss Riley Fraizer."

We shook hands with the new guest. Miss Fraizer seemed particularly curious as to how a civilian like myself, ended on Voyager. I told her the truth. That I was a visitor from Earth's past, who had stowed away aboard ship. Both the Captain and Commander Chakotay seemed particularly embarrassed by the whole story.

Finally, we all parted. Neelix and I entered the turbolift, leaving the others behind. "I wonder what that was about," I said, as the lift took us to Deck Two. "The Captain seemed embarrassed when I told that woman about how I came aboard."

Neelix replied that he had no idea. "But I did notice something else," he added. "The Commander and Miss Fraizer. They seemed very focused upon each other. I have the feeling there is some kind of romance between them."

Good old Neelix. I never really understood why so many of the crew looked down upon him. I'm not saying that they treated him badly. But they have this tendency to be rather condescending. Including, I'm sad to say, Tuvok. They don't seem to realize that under that comical façade lay a pretty sharp fellow.


Damn Borg! Next to the Cardassians, they were the most treacherous beings in the Universe. I take that back. They are the most treacherous. What they did to Chakotay was abominable. And it caused me a lot of pain, as well.

It all started with those former Borg drones we found with Chakotay. Marie Kaplan had been killed, while defending him and the drones from some scavengers. Poor Marie. She was a good engineer. Chakotay had been wounded, and later healed by the ex-drones' neural transponder. What on earth made Chakotay allow them to use such a device on him, is beyond me. Granted, he was badly wounded. But he had also been conscious enough to know what they were going to do.

Once he was healed, Chakotay became involved with one of the former drones - namely a beautiful blond woman named Riley Fraizer. It seemed she was a former Starfleet officer who had been assimilated by the Borg during the Battle at Wolf 359, some six-and-a-half years ago. To make a long story short, after Miss Fraizer and Chakotay became . . . "friendly", she and her companions asked Voyager to help build some kind of axonal amplifier. They wanted to create their separate collective. For the defense of their little colony. What gets me is that Chakotay wanted to help.

After delivering Miss Fraizer and the other former drones some supplies to her friends, Chakotay and I headed back to the ship. During our little journey, my best friend suddenly went "Borg" on me, thanks to that neural processor in his brain, and shot me with a phaser. According to Harry, who told me the rest, he flew to the Borg cube to help Miss Fraizer and her friends reactivate that axonal amplifier, and create their new collective. They also destroyed the cube.

Now, poor Chakotay is feeling guilty for his actions, even if it wasn't his fault. And I'm still recovering, despite leaving Sick Bay, some five hours ago. Damn Borg! It's obvious that they cannot be trusted. Even when disconnected from the Collective.

Kahless! This headache is killing me! I need an anglesiac, badly. I returned to Sick Bay to ask for a shot and found the Doctor with another patient. Rain Robinson. What was she doing here?

"There you go, Miss Robinson. Your cut is completely healed." The Doctor tossed an instrument on a nearby tray. "Working near an opened computer console can be very dangerous."

Rain sighed. "Yeah Doc. Sure. I'll be more careful."

"Good. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to see to Lieutenant Torres." The Doctor faced me. "Ah, Lieutenant. I see that you have started walking around again. Is that wise? You were supposed to be resting."

I let out a groan. "I have a headache. And I need something for it. Badly."

The Doctor picked up a hypospray and filled it. "Here you go, Lieutenant." He pressed the damn thing against my neck. "This should help. And I also suggest that you get some rest. And not leave your quarters for the rest of the day."

"I don't need any rest," I grumbled. "I'm perfectly capa . . ." Then it hit me. A wave of dizziness that left me grasping for the nearest structure. Namely, a computer console.

A smug look appeared on the Doctor's face. Since when did holograms start looking smug? "May I assume you're experiencing some dizziness, Lieutenant?"

I snapped back, "You as . . ." The room began to tilt once more. I sighed in defeat. "Maybe I am feeling a little dizzy."

"What a surprise." Really, someone needs to reconfigure his personality subroutines! The Doctor turned to Rain. "Miss Robinson, will you please escort Lieutenant Torres to her quarters."

I immediately protested, claiming that I did not need an escort. Unfortunately, another wave of dizziness struck me. The Doctor ignored my protests and insisted that Rain escort me. I had no choice but to surrender.

Neither Rain or I exchanged a word with each other - at first. I could tell that she felt uncomfortable in my presence. Just as I did in hers. Sakrari IV still came between us, despite my apology from a month ago. Well, I didn't really blame her. If I had been attacked by an erratic half-Klingon . . .

"How are you feeling?"

It took me a few second to realize that Rain had spoken. To me. I blinked and responded with a "Huh?" Oh great! Such brilliant dialogue!

"I said," Rain continued, "how are you feeling? After being shot by Commander Chakotay?"

Did she really have to put it like that? Utilizing every ounce of my patience, I told her that I felt fine, aside from the dizziness. That Chakotay had only stunned me with a phaser. Okay, maybe I had lied a little. Chakotay may have only stunned me, but dammit, it hurt!

Rain, of course, wasn't fooled. Not with me experiencing constant dizzy spells. I continued to have them all the way to the turbolift. Hell, I didn't have this much trouble coming here. By the time we reached my quarters, I decided that I needed to put Sakari IV behind us, for good. Again, I tried to apologize for assaulting her, but Rain stopped me.

"Look, you've already apologized. There's no need for you to do it, again. Besides, it wasn't your fault. Anymore than it was Commander Chakotay's fault for shooting you."

I hesitated, feeling embarrassed over her burst of generosity. Strange that Rain never brought up my Klingon temper. I had felt sure that it had scared her of. "If you think I'm scared you, I'm not," she added. I think the woman must be emphatic. "Although I admit that I was a little leery of you, for a while. But I guess you felt the same about Vorik."

An awkward pause fell between us. So, Rain had been a little leery of me. I'm not surprised. She was right about me feeling the same about Vorik. And now, I'm beginning to wonder if I'll harbor similar feelings about Chakotay. Will he suddenly become Borg again and attack us, now that we're edging toward Borg space?

We arrived at my quarters. Before I could punch out my entry code, I did something stupid. I told her that she had no reason to worry about me. I also added that I would never attack her in such a manner again. "I admit that I have something of a temper. It's the Klingon in me. But you won't have anything to worry about, from now on."

Rain gave me a curious look and said something that took me off-guard. "What does your being Klingon have to do with your temper?"

I blinked. Surely, her old buddies, the Delaney sisters, have told her about me? About Klingons in general? "I'm half-Klingons," I said, as if speaking to a child. "Klingons have bad tempers."

"So do Humans. And I've heard that Bajorans are also temperamental. What's the big deal?"

Kahless! Was this woman obtuse? Or blind? Doesn't she understand what I'm trying to say? Or do I have to bring up Sakari IV again? I explained, "Humans may have bad tempers, but they are nothing in compare to the Klingon temper." We entered my cabin. Rain led me to the sofa.

"Hey, I've read about the Klingons in the ship's computer," she replied. "The only difference I see is that Klingons are stronger and more openly aggressive. I think your opinion of Humans might be a little too high. Just like everyone else aboard this ship."

Was she trying to tell me that Humans are not that different from Klingons? I nearly laughed aloud. Poor woman, wait until she sees her first full-bloodied Klingon. If she ever gets the chance. Or perhaps Humans from her time were a little more violent . . .

"I know what you're thinking," she added, cutting into my thoughts. "That perhaps Humans from the 20th century are more violent. Maybe they are. Then again, after getting to know this crew, I've discovered one thing. Humans - back in my time and the ones, today - seemed to think they're rational and civilized and above violent behavior. But when something goes wrong or someone stands in their way," a smirk appeared on her face, "look out! They can become real savages. Like your friend, Harry. I've noticed that he tends become anxious or volatile whenever something unexpected happens. If you don't believe me, watch him. Or some of the others. You'll see it happen right before your eyes."

Kahless! What had made her so anti-Human? Rain seemed to regard them the same way I regarded Klingons. She must have went through a hell of a time, before meeting Tom and Tuvok. Perhaps some time spent in the 24th century would teach her to appreciate how much her species have evolved. She'll see how wrong she was about Humans . . . and Klingons.

Only I kept my thoughts to myself and instead, smiled and asked her to replicate some drinks for us both. Rain replicated a cup of raktijino for me, and declined a drink for herself. She claimed that she had to return to duty. Which she did.

In the end, I guess we finally put Sakari IV behind us. And I must admit that it was a relief to know someone who did not seem put off by my Klingon half. But she will. Eventually. Both her and Tom. It's only a matter of time.

* * * *


Life has pretty much returned to normal aboard Voyager. Well, somewhat. I've noticed that Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay seem a bit distant with each other. Considering his romance with a beautiful bionic woman, I'm not really surprised.

Maybe I had been wrong about her. Maybe the Captain is really in love with the Commander. But why does my gut say otherwise? I had immediately noticed that she was attracted to the man. Who wouldn't? Jenny and Megan told me that even B'Elanna Torres once harbored a secret passion for the guy. Maybe so, but I've never seen her look at him with lovesick eyes. As for Janeway, either she is the world's greatest actress, or she is simply not in love with Chakotay. I haven't made up my mind, yet.

The Doctor has been displaying unusual interest in Earth's history. Mainly in famous personalities. When he wasn't checking the ship's computer, he was grilling me about people like Gandhi and Lord Byron. Lord Byron? Jesus! What the hell would I know about him? I'm not even a fan! I mean, I used to be pretty good in history. Especially World History. So, I really didn't have much problems in answering the Doc's question. Well, except for questions about Lord Byron. What I wanted to know is why he has developed a sudden interest in this topic.

"I have decided to expand my programming," he declared in his usual pompous, but friendly manner. "I am in the process of creating a personality-improvement holographic program, utilizing the personalities of several historic characters." Then he waved his little instrument over my chest. "Take a deep breath, please."

Ever since I stowed away on this damn ship, I have been subjected to a medical check-up on a monthly basis. It seems the Captain wanted to make sure that I didn't fall victim to some 24th century disease that I might be unable to resist. Once the medical exam ended, the Doctor declared me fit. I slid off the bed and faced him. "Say Doc," I began, "about this new program of yours - are you sure you want to do this? I don't see anything wrong with your personality right now."

"That is what I keep telling him," Kes said from the other side of Sick Bay. She walked over to where we stood. "But the Doctor will not listen to me. Doctor, I'm not sure that this new program is a good idea. Remember what happened the last time?"

Kes explained that a few weeks before my arrival, the Doctor's program had begun to malfunction after two years of continuous activation and added subroutines to his program. Four months ago, I wouldn't have known what the hell Kes was talking about. But I do now. What she was describing was similar to someone adding additional and unnecessary programs to a PC hard drive.

"The only way we could save him was to graft the Doctor Zimmerman matrix from the holodeck systems into his program." She gave him a look that expressed both annoyance and concern.

The Doctor had the good sense to look embarrassed. But he still insisted upon going through with his experiment. "Many of the crew have complained about my lack of a bedside manner. Perhaps this new program will help me develop one."

"Doc, you already have a bedside manner," I retorted. "And quite frankly, I have no problems with it. Okay, you can be a little brusque and arrogant at times." He shot me a glare that I did my best to ignore. "So what? I've encountered too many doctors who will smile in my face and do absolutely nothing for my health. I think the crew should be grateful that you know how to do your job. And to be honest, many of them aren't exactly a bed of roses in the personality department."

One would think after a speech like that, the Doctor would reconsider his idea. But, no. Much to my and Kes' disappointment, he decided to go ahead with his scheme. Who knew that a being of photon light and energy could be so damn stubborn?


What is it with the Universe? Why is it so damn determined to make my life miserable? What the hell have I ever done to it?

Once again, I found myself in Sick Bay. For the third time in less than two months. Only this time, I found myself under attack by the Doctor. Yes, that's right, the Doctor. Not Vorik, not Chakotay, but Voyager's very own holographic medical officer. Kahless!

It was that damn program he had created! That personality improvement holographic program! The stupid idiot wanted to add it to his own program, in order to improve his personality. Some improvement. Instead of a hologram with a new and improved bedside manner, I found myself facing a schizophrenic psychopath, who paralyzed my legs and my vocal cords, kidnapped Kes and tried to kill her new boyfriend. Well, at least he achieved one objective. He prevented Kes from leaving Voyager for good. Of course, it's not the way I would have done it.

* * * *

The Doctor apologized for what he did to my legs, this afternoon. Kahless, it seemed like déjà vu, for the third time around. And as usual, I had no choice but to accept an apology. At least I won't have to worry about his personality going through such a change in another seven years. Or worry about some piece of Borg technology in his body. I made sure that his new program was purged from his matrix. Permanently.

As for Zahir, Kes decided not to join him with the other Mikhal Travelers. She claimed that she could not leave Voyager. I wonder. I suspect that she felt worried about the Doctor, after his experiences in that damn 4-C program. Or maybe she was simply afraid to move on. Too bad. I have this feeling that she might eventually regret not joining Zahir.


In the two weeks since my failed experiment with the 4-C program, I have managed to repair any damaged relationship with both Kes and Lieutenant Torres. Much to my profound relief. Not only do the two women serve a vital function to my duties as Chief Medical Officer aboard Voyager, I consider them both friends. Especially Kes.

Ironically, restoring my relationship with Lieutenant Torres has proven to be less difficult. Perhaps after dealing with Ensign Vorik's pon-far and a slightly assimilated Commander Chakotay, being paralyzed by me must have seem like another day in the Delta Quadrant.
It was not long before we regained our old relationship.

Kes has proven to be somewhat more difficult. Not only did I physically assault her companion, Zahir, I also kidnapped her. And threatened her with force. Even worse, I had admitted my true feelings for her, while in the throes of schizophrenia. Very embarrassing, I must say. We spent the following week in a state of awkwardness that nearly left me in despair of ever regaining our old friendship.

Within a week, our awkwardness had begun to dissipate. It did not completely disappear until today - when we found ourselves facing another endless medical emergency. It started when Voyager encountered an alien ship. Ensign Kim, for some apparent reason, deemed the ship a threat and fired upon it. Naturally, the aliens fired back and Voyager suffered major damage in the Engineering Section. By the time the ship managed to slip away, Kes and I found ourselves faced with wounded crewmen. Including Miss Robinson. Imagine our surprise.

Ensign Kim appeared a few minutes later. The Captain wanted him examined to comprehend the reasons behind his actions on the Bridge. The ensign seemed particularly stricken by Miss Robinson's unconscious state. Kes and I managed to stabilize Miss Robinson's condition by treating her scorched lungs with pulmozine. However, her burns still required attendance and I curtly dismissed Mister Kim.


The following morning, Ensign Kim returned to Sick Bay with a new dilemma. Spots. Spots had appeared on his face, overnight. I immediately assumed he had been infected with some kind of virus. After a careful examination of his body, I came to the conclusion that Mister Kim had not been afflicted by some disease.

Miss Robinson regained consciousness while Ensign Kim was in Sickbay. She seemed slightly groggy from the pulmozine and she also continued to experience slight pain in her lungs. Which is why I ordered her to remain in Sickbay for another day.

Mister Kim apologized for the being the cause of her injuries. Miss Robinson seemed more than willing to accept his apologies. In fact, she seemed quite friendly. Both Mister Kim and myself learned from her that she was in Engineering to deliver an Astrometrics report, when she suffered her injuries.

A few hours later, Voyager came across a Taresian ship, which helped us fight off the pursuing Nasari ships - the very people whom Ensign Kim had attacked. The Captain, Lieutenants Tuvok and Paris, and Ensign Kim paid a visit to the Taresian surface. Only Ensign Kim remained behind. The Captain delivered an astonishing tale about the ensign discovering that his true heritage was Taresian and that his DNA had resurfaced upon Voyager's proximity to the planet. After examination of Mister Kim's DNA, it seemed the Taresians had been truthful. However, I decided to run more tests.

Lieutenant Paris paid a visit to Sick Bay, several hours later. He expressed interest in Ensign Kim's genetic condition

. But I knew the truth. While I discussed Mister Kim's DNA coding, Mister Paris began casting surreptious glances at the once again unconscious Miss Robinson. Realizing that I was wasting my breath, I asked in an exasperated tone, "Do you wish to speak with Miss Robinson?" It was not difficult to detect the emotions that reflected in his eyes. Concern, compassion, tenderness and something else. Dare I say it? Love?

For a moment, I wondered if I had been hasty. After all, I have been aware of the attraction between Lieutenants Paris and Torres for the past half year. However, I also recalled the vibrant chemistry between Mister Paris and Miss Robinson during our adventures on 20th century Earth. Although their relationship had somewhat cooled in the past five months, the chemistry between the pair remained obvious.

"Mister Paris?" I added. He had failed to respond.

The helmsman snapped out of his reverie and blushed. Interesting. "Yeah, Doc. Did you say something?"

"Yes. I asked if you would like to speak with Miss Robinson. I'm sure that a few minutes of your dazzling wit will not harm her." My usual caustic tone drew a glare from the pilot.

However, Mister Paris rejected my offer. He shook his head and replied, "No thanks, Doc. Rain probably needs the rest and I don't want to disturb her." He started toward the door.

I called after him. "Mister Paris!" He paused and I caught up with him. "Mister Paris, about a year ago, a compassionate young man once convinced me to take a chance with a woman I had harbored a great interest in. And now, I would like to return the favor."

Blue eyes stared at me, warily. "Meaning?"

I sighed. When it came to facing his emotions, Thomas Eugene Paris can be incredibly stubborn. "Meaning, it seems clear to me that you still harbor some feelings for Miss Robinson. I do not comprehend the reason behind your estrangement during the past five months, but it is apparent that neither of you have been happy, lately. May I suggest that you take a chance? Mend your relationship. Why continue in this unhappy state?"

The helmsman's face hardened. "Thanks for the advice, Doc. But I think you're barking up the wrong tree. Excuse me, I have to report back to the Bridge." He quickly left Sick Bay.

Kes sauntered over to me and patted my arm. "I'm sorry, Doctor. I had hoped Tom would take your advice. Perhaps he will. One day." She stood on her toes and planted a light kiss on my cheek. "On the other hand, I'm also very proud of you."

I never realized that holograms could experience bodily warmth, due to a kiss from an organic. Until today.

* * * *


I missed the whole incident regarding Harry and the Taresian women, thanks to the injuries I had suffered. No matter. Harry told Neelix, Tom and myself the entire story during lunch.

He told us how he had been deliberately infected with a retrovirus that genetically altered his DNA to resemble the Taresians. The retrovirus gave him an instinctive urge to return to Taresia. And attack the Nasari ships. The very act that led me to being nearly scorched beyond recognition.

To make a long story short, Voyager visited Taresia. Harry decided to remain on the planet's surface, believing he had returned home. He learned that the planet was mainly inhabited by women, who gave him this cock-and-bull story about some Taresian who traveled to Earth to plant an embryo into his mother's womb. The Taresians really wanted his genetic material to harvest for procreation. I guess this was their way getting knocked up. Lovely. Harry managed to escape with Voyager's help. This led to a discussion about sea sirens that lured men to their doom. If you ask me, this whole incident could have been called, "Kim and the Vampire Women". What a lovely B-movie that would made. Bram Stoker couldn't have written a better story.

Then as we left the Mess Hall, Harry and Tom began some nonsense about how they wish they could be each other. Yeah, right. It became so nauseating that I begged them to stop. After the turbolift stopped on Deck Six, Harry said good-bye and disappeared. But not without one last apology. Tom took it upon himself to escort me to my quarters. I didn't mind. Although I had been released from Sick Bay, I still felt a little weak.

Once we reached my quarters on Deck Eight, I invited Tom inside for a drink. Surprise, surprise! Perhaps I was in the mood for company. Or maybe I remembered what the Doc told me about Tom's visit to Sick Bay. Tom accepted my offer. He even suggested that I lay on the couch, while he replicated the coffee. Is it any wonder that I . . .

"Here you go." Tom handed me a cup. His blue eyes reflected concern. Compassion. Hell, I almost drowned just staring into them. Then he asked me, "How do you feel?"

I took a sip of the coffee. Strong, sweet and with plenty of milk. "Fine," I said, "but I'm still a little groggy. And my skin is a bit tender in some parts."

"Regenerated skin."

Both of fell silent and continued drinking our coffee. I never realized that silence could be so damn uncomfortable. Then at the same time, we both decided to speak. I don't know about Tom, but I wanted to get a few things off my chest. "About what I said that last time," I began.

He said at the same time, "Rain, I want to apologize . . ."

We blinked and stared at each other. I asked, "Apologize? For what?"

"For avoiding you these past two months," he replied. Tom glanced away as his face slowly grew red. "I guess I was . . . well, a little upset over what . . . I mean . . ."

Knowing what he was about to say, I quickly added, "You mean you were upset when I brought up your past." A hot flush burned my cheeks. Embarrassed, I found myself unable to look at him. "I know. I don't blame you for being upset. I didn't mean to use your past against you."

"You have every right, believe me."

A note of self-hatred in Tom's voice caught my attention. I've recognized it so many times in my own voice that it seemed strange to hear in someone else's. Especially from someone as confident as Tom.

"Look Tom," I continued, "I wasn't putting you down for what you did in the past. I was just trying to point out that if you could be forgiven for your actions, so could Vorik. I . . . I'm sorry if I caused you any pain." I took a deep breath and lifted my eyes to meet Tom's. Forgiveness and understanding shined in those blue peepers, much to my relief.

A smile touched Tom's lips. "I understand." The smile disappeared. "How did you . . . uh, find out about . . . Caldik Prime, anyway?"

"From a crewman." The answer popped out of my mouth before I could stop myself. Dammit! When will I ever learn to control my mouth?

Sandy blond brows rose questioningly. "Oh? From whom?"

I stared into a pair of blue eyes that seemed to grow steadily angry. I knew that his anger was not directed at me, but at the person who told me about Caldik Prime. Namely that creep, Pat Mulcahey. Actually, the latter hinted it and I checked the ship's computer for more details. Looking into Tom's eyes, it struck me that if I named Mulcahey, he would go after the man with a vengeance. Which would only lead to trouble. So I lied.

"I forgot who mentioned it," I said. It was easy to see that he didn't believe me. "I read about Caldik Prime from the ship's computer."


"I read that you confessed to lying about the accident and who was to blame, despite the fact there were no evidence on what really happened."

Tom nodded silently. I could see that he still found the subject, disturbing after all these years. "But I still lied," he added. "And Starfleet cashiered me."

"Why? You confessed. I can understand if you had been found out before confessing." I continued, "But you did so before anyone could learn the truth."

In a low voice, Tom explained that Starfleet frowned upon lying and falsifying reports. "Typical military hypocrisy," I murmured sarcastically. "I bet they've lied every now and then, themselves." If it had been up to me, I would have demoted Tom and assigned him to some post in the boondocks. And ensure that he never receive his own command. Personally, I think Starfleet went too far - especially since he had confessed before anyone could discover that he had lied.

I sighed. "Oh well. I'm just glad that . . ." Again, my face turned hot with embarrassment. "I'm just glad that we came to an . . . you know, understanding."

Tom smiled. "So am I." He paused momentarily. "By the way, I've found these two old vids in the computer database. I thought it would be nice to show them to a few friends in my quarters. Would you like to join us?" Tom added that he would be showing, "Orgy of the Walking Dead" and "Bride of the Corpse". Bless his heart! I haven't seen a decent movie since I boarded this ship. And the fact that he would be showing two of my favorite movies? Well, how could I resist? I said yes.

"Okay then," Tom added with a broad smile. "I'll be seeing you in my quarters, tomorrow evening at 01900 hours."

O what? "Huh?" I gave him a perplexed frown. Tom explained that meant at seven o'clock, tomorrow evening. Of course. Dummy me.

I returned Tom's smile with one of my own. "Seven o'clock, then. I'll be there." He flashed one last smile, finished his coffee and left. Well, that went great! Tom and I might never find ourselves on the verge of a romance, but at least we're talking again. As friends.