Quick note from the Author: Yeah, I know the series is over. I know Tom and B'Elanna had a baby. And I'm still not happy about any of it. You can assume this fanfic happened, oh, around second season or so. In fact, just ignore Blood Fever and anything that happened after, and you can assume this happened any time you like.

Disclaimer: I'm neither the creator of Star Trek, Voyager, nor any of its regular characters. Heck, I didn't even come up with the term "Selelvian". You can thank Peter David for that one.

Why yes, I'd love some feedback, thanks!





Chapter 1.

Harry blinked into the darkness, wondering for a moment why his quarters were so dark, why the windows weren't letting in even a little of the stars' light.

He turned his head to the right, and realized two things at once. One, that he was lying on rough, cold rock. Two, that if he moved that suddenly again, he was pretty sure the pain in his head would make him pass out.

As he held very still and listened to the ringing in his ears, the past few hours gradually swam into memory.

Voyager had come across yet another M-class planet, this one uninhabited by any kind of intelligent life. Very nearly uninhabited by any kind of life at all. With the hopes of finding more food for the ship's stores, new possibilities for fuel, and, as always, some way to get home, the Captain had decided to explore the planet for a few hours.

Not that it was easy. Traces of an unknown mineral in the planet's strata interfered with many of the ship's sensors.

In an unknown area as big as the Delta quadrant, with thousands of new stars, tens of thousands of new planets, and hundreds of thousands of new landscapes, life-forms, and substances to discover, it's not all that surprising that there should be yet another unknown mineral that affects a starship's sensors.

But it was annoying, nonetheless.

The atmosphere was breathable, they could tell that much. That gravity was close to Earth-normal, they could tell that too. They knew there were no obvious cities, satellites, or colonizations of any kind they'd seen before. But they couldn't tell anything about the plantforms (if there were any) or the mineral content of the planet's surface. Nor, apparently, were the transporters being very cooperative in bringing up any samples from orbit.

Tom had sighed and said it was typical. The Delta quadrant was out to get them.

But, after seven weeks of uninterrupted travel between solar systems, any distraction was a welcome break. So a shuttlecraft had been tuned up and a team of six had gone down to the surface.

Tom had gingerly landed the shuttlecraft (he didn't think he could take the sarcastic remarks from Chakotay if he totaled ANOTHER shuttle) and he and the other five stepped outside.

Harry decided within a few seconds that this wasn't going to be a popular shore-leave spot. Iron-gray spires of rock stabbed the orange sky at odd angles, while clouds of pale dust swirled sluggishly around their boots. The air was warm and thick, an overabundance of carbon-dioxide in the air making everyone breathe a little faster to get all the oxygen they needed.

"Niiiiice," Tom commented. Several of the science team members nodded while looking around. B'Elanna tapped an instruction into the tricorder, frowned at it, then turned it over to begin fiddling with its inner workings.

"Anything?" Harry asked, slinging his pack to the ground and pulling out several sample containers.

"Almost," she answered distractedly. "Once I get some kind of idea about what's blocking the sensors I should be able to filter it out of the tricorder's input."

"Hm." Tom pondered. "I'm still not sure why you couldn't just do that from the ship."

"Takes more time," Harry answered, peering over B'Elanna's shoulder.

"What?"

B'Elanna paused a moment to look up at Tom. "To filter something out of one tricorder takes a few minutes maybe. We won't have the best readings in the world from it, but it's good enough for a look around. If you want to recalibrate the sensors on the ship to filter out the interference, you've got to get past security clearances, remodulate the information-processors, fine-tune all the hundreds of interchangers.." she saw Tom's eyes glaze over and finished with "It just takes forever."

"I got it," Tom said with a smile. "And this planet's hardly worth it."

"Exactly," B'Elanna agreed, and returned Tom's smile.

Looking from one face to the other Harry got a glimmering of an idea. Half- formed, the thought made him clench his fingers into fists. Puzzled, he looked down at his hands, uncurling them thoughtfully. What was all THAT about? Why should the thought of something going on between Tom and B'Elanna bother him? It's not like..

Shaking his head, he began sifting through the chalk-dry dust at his feet, dropping the occasional stone into a container. Tom began to shovel the odd handful of sand into a series of small bags. Andrea and T'chalo, the two from the biology department, examined the few spindly blue-grey leaves that hung from a thorny plant, while Dadgh from seismology walked a small distance from the rest of the group with his satchel of equipment.





"Not too far."

From her seat on the wind-smoothed rock B'Elanna heard Harry call out to Dadgh. "Wait till we get the communicators working before you do any long- range exploring." B'Elanna looked up to see Dadgh wave absently, setting a small reader on the ground before continuing on. She looked back down at the stubborn tricorder and snapped a relay back into place.

"Harry, Tom," she called out. "Stand up and hold still a second. I want to see if the tricorder can distinguish you from the surroundings yet."

Obediently the two of them stood up. She heard Harry mumble to Tom "Say cheese," but she ignored that, frowning instead at the readings that scrolled across the tiny screen.

Tom's voice floated back over the sandy expanse. "If it doesn't work, it's Harry's fault."

"Bite me, pilot," Harry's unconcerned voice replied. The readings on the tricorder wavered a bit, due to Tom and Harry jostling each other.

"Behave, children," B'Elanna said, not even bothering to look up.

The wind carried back snatches of the resulting conversation. "He started it." "Did not." "Did too." "Not." "Too." And B'Elanna mentally sighed and wondered if Starfleet knew how weird their crewmen got without anything interesting to occupy them for a few months.

"Hey," Dadgh's voice swam up over a rocky wall. "There're some caves over here."

"Has to be more interesting underground than up here," Tom quipped, and started toward the Selelvian's voice. He stopped for a moment to give a hand to B'Elanna, who accepted it without thinking. He pulled her to her feet, and she stared for a moment into ice-blue eyes and an adventurous smile.

"Race you to the entrance?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow.

"Pass," she answered with a smile. He nodded and she watched the back of his head as he carefully picked his way among the dust and boulders.

"Anybody in there?" Harry's voice startled her, and she looked behind her and up into his face.

Something's odd about his eyes today, she thought to herself. They had a hardness around the edges, matching the corners of his mouth. His whole face had a smooth blankness to it, like a closed window.

"Something bothering you, Starfleet?" She accompanied the cynical tone with a concerned look. The well-deep eyes blinked at her, and his expression softened into a laughing smile.

"No, just fine thanks. Come on, we'd better make sure they don't get into any trouble."

She watched him go, shrugged, and then followed after them.



Dadgh was staring into the cavern's mouth when they arrived. Tom considered telling him to pick his jaw up off the floor, but he had to admit they were starting at an impressive sight.

Once the planet had probably been as damp and rain-blessed as Earth. What happened to change things they might never know, but the evidence of all that water still remained.

Hundreds of stalactites hung down toward the floor. The absence of stalagmites underneath them suggested that the floor used to be underwater. Whorls and eddies carved into the rocky ground supported the idea.

When the water had finished sculpting the cave's mouth, the wind had taken over. Instead of simple pointed cones, the stalactites were carved into wavering, sharp-edged designs. They looked more like melting ice than stone.

The razor-edged sculptures marched along the cave's ceiling into darkness. Harry pulled a hand-light out of this satchel and waved the beam into the depths.

"There won't be so much erosion further into the cave," Dadgh commented absently.

"Anybody up for a look?" Harry asked.

Tom nodded, remembering Mammoth Caves in Kentucky back on Earth, wondering if they'd compare with what he was looking at now. B'Elanna mumbled acceptance of the idea, but Dadgh shook himself before answering.

"I'm all for it, but we'd better watch it. I'm picking up some low-level seismic readings every few minutes."

"Anything we need to worry about?" B'Elanna asked.

The Selelvian shrugged. "Not that I can see, but the planet's interference is still messing with the equipment. Best guess, we should be fine."

Tom nodded. He looked to B'Elanna and Harry. "Ok, do we go in or not?" Andrea and T'chalo had wandered over by this point. Harry and B'Elanna glanced at each other.

"Not all of us," B'Elanna finally offered. "We'll have to have somebody outside to watch the shuttle in case of emergencies."

"I'm going in, at any rate," Dadgh said. No one seemed surprised.

"I'll stay," Andrea said. The diminutive Andorian had to poke T'chalo to get his attention. "You with me?"

"Sure, no problem," he piped up before he'd heard the question.

B'Elanna, Tom, Harry, and Dadgh entered the cave while Andrea and T'chalo continued gathering samples. Daylight, such as it was, soon faded as they went further in, and the hand-light B'Elanna carried sliced into the darkness.

The inside was no less dry, but he stalactites were more whole. Huge pillars disappeared into the dark above them, stopping at a point handsbreaths from the floor. The party had to weave their way through a maze of stony teeth, walking single file through narrow paths as the cave sloped further and further down.

The earthquake, when it happened, didn't catch them COMPLETELY by surprise. Dadgh had continued placing his seismic readers every hundred feet or so. Even with the planet's interference, there was no mistaking the sudden spike in the readings.

He had time to shout "Quake!!.." before the ground slammed up and sideways, slapping them into the walls. Fist-sized stones crashed out of the darkness above them.

Tom, lying face down on the ground, hands cupped over his head, felt a crushing weight on his right leg. His head snapped around to see what the HELL had fallen on him, his teeth grinding down on a scream.

He looked around just in time to see B'Elanna dodge a toppling pillar, dropping the hand-light in the process. Before the tiny light was crushed it illuminated Harry, crumpled on the ground, a bloodstained stone bouncing away from his head and a red stream curling down his face.

A boulder fell squarely on the hand-light, and darkness closed over everything.