DISCLAIMER: Donít own Star Trek: Voyager. Donít own the characters. Donít own Macbeth, for that matter. Just borrowing. No money involved.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Story That Dare Not Speak Its Name
Act III, Scene iOur Time Does Call Upon Us
In the his quarters located on Deck 3, Lieutenant Tom Paris prepared for the away mission Captain Torres was sending him and Ensign Kim on in the Delta Flyer. Later that evening, he and Kim were to attend the special dinner the Captain had planned to celebrate her elevation to Commanding Officer and, not incidentally, he thought, the recent naming of Seven of Nine to Executive Officer. Torres had made a special point to invite him to hurry back from the mission, in which he and Harry were to act as envoys to prepare the way for trade negotiations with the people on the planet around which Voyager was now orbiting. That she had made such a point of publicly inviting him personally to hurry home made him uncomfortable in the extreme, let alone the inappropriate speed with which such a celebration was being held, with Captain Janeway practically still warm down in Sickbay's morgue, two other crewmen dead, and no rush to pursue the killers on the part of the new Captain. Indeed, mused Paris, the "celebration" followed hard upon the memorialsso hard that he wouldn't have been surprised if the funeral-baked meats didn't coldly furnish the party table set up in the Briefing Room for tonight! "Thrift! Thrift!" thought Tom wryly. "Captain Torres is to be commended for her conservation of the ship's energy stores."
"Captain Torres," indeed. How he missed Janeway! How he yearned for the order and straightforwardness of their former Captain's command. In the short time since Torres had assumed the captaincy he didn't know if he was serving in a circus or a seraglio. Torres seemed unwilling to venture very far from her Ready Room, preferring to relay her commands through Lieutenant Ayala, to whom she'd given the position of Ops Manager so she wouldn't have to make many appearances on the Bridge. She'd rather spend her time in the Ready Room playing with her second in command, Seven of Nine. And what about Commander Seven? The first time he'd seen her in her command red biosuit replete with plunging cleavage he thought he'd never recover. Janeway would never have allowed such an overtly sexual display of feminine attributes. Normally he wouldn't have complained, but this excess made him distinctly uncomfortable. Captain Torres had held a brief reception in the mess hall for her new XO, at which Seven had made her first appearance in her eye-popping new "uniform." The devastatingly precipitous plunge of her neckline led the eyes inevitably downward to the two peaks poking through the fabric with such definition that he had leaned over to Harry and muttered, "Are those her pips or is she just happy to see us?"
Commander Seven had heard the low exchange, of course, and had merely looked over at them and arched her ocular implantand her backand smiled.
As he pulled his dress uniform from his tiny closet to hang out to change into later, he felt the weight of the past few weeks begin to overwhelm him. "You have it all, now, B'Elanna," he thought. "Chief, Commander, Captain, all, just as the weird sisters promised. Yet I'm afraid that you've come by it most bloodily." What was it that those silly women had said about him, again? Lesser in rank, yet ranker? Happier, yet less happy? Touching greatness, but not touching it? Targshit. The vulgarism gave him pause. He stood as if struck, sabotaged by the memories evoked by the Klingon expression. B'Elanna and him, against the world, taking on all comers. Tinkering with Alice, the old shuttlecraft. Building the Delta Flyer. Playing Constance Goodheart and Captain Proton. He sighed. When had it all gone bad on them? And how was it that now he didn't even recognize his old love? Maybe this mission would cheer him up. Getting away from the farce that life on Voyager had become, even for a little while, would surely do him good. After the dinner tonight he'd find Chakotay and talk to him some more. The thought that together they might be able to arrest the Klingon and her Borg consort in their transformation of the formerly trim little ship into a couch for luxuriousness and debauchery cheered him in no small measure. He shook his sense of sorrow and foreboding off and strode out of his quarters toward the Shuttle Bay.
Scene iiThings Bad Begun
"Come," called Captain Torres from the overstuffed couch she'd had replicated for her Ready Room. Much as she wanted to continue her delightful activities with her second in command, who lounged upon her lap, her biosuit undone, her delectable feminine attributes exposed to her Captain's wandering fingers and eager lips, she had business to attend to, and this could wait a few minutes.
"Ah, Lieutenant Ayala! I'll be just a moment," she told her new Ops Manager. No fool, Ayala abruptly turned his back and studied the passing stars out the viewport.
"We shall continue our discussion of the system upgrades at our leisure this evening, Commander Seven," she told her number one as Seven covered herself and fastened the blood-red biosuit, adjusting the suit to display her deep cleavage to its best advantage.
"As you wish, Captain," murmured Seven, rising from her commanding officer's lap and stepping through the door to the Briefing Room.
"A pleasant afternoon, is it not, Lieutenant?" asked Torres, rising and fastening her tunic, as she stared at the door to the Briefing Room. If the truth were known, Captain Torres wanted her executive officer clean in this particular operation. The fewer who knew, the better. Besides, she realized that she wanted to shield her lover as much as she could, knowing full well that Seven was up to her teeth in their doings. If she could keep her out of anything more, she was willing to do so.
"Yes, sir," said Ayala, his voice and face carefully neutral.
Torres walked over to the table, upon which stood an ever-present jug of bloodwine and mugs, one of the many improvements she'd made aboard Voyager since taking command.
"Pour you a drink?" she asked him, pausing over the mug. At his polite "No, thank you, sir," she shrugged and poured herself a healthy draught. In one motion, she tossed it back and then wiped her mouth with her sleeve, sighing in deep satisfaction.
"You've taken care of the little errand I asked you to do for me?" she asked him, looking him directly in his eyes, alert for any hint of dissembling.
"Yes, sir," answered Ayala immediately. "You have nothing to worry about."
"No chance of a misfire or malfunction in the device?"
"None, sir. I stake my reputation on it," pled Ayala earnestly.
"There'll be more than your reputation 'staked', if there is. Do you read me, Lieutenant?" she glared at him.
The former security officer blanched slightly. "Yes, sir!" he responded, coming to full attention.
"Good," Captain Torres smiled, pouring herself another. When she turned back around, she found that Ayala was still standing at attention. "Oh, you're dismissed," she said.
Scene iiiCome, Death, and Welcome
The planet loomed in the viewscreen of the Delta Flyer as Tom Paris flew the shuttlecraft toward the landing coordinates he'd received from the people he and Harry were to meet below on the planet's surface. They were about ready to enter the atmosphere when the small ship was rocked by an explosion in the starboard nacelle.
"She's not answering her helm, Harry!" Tom shouted as the little craft rolled sickeningly over and over on its side, venting precious oxygen into the vacuum of space. If the Flyer entered the atmosphere at this angle and speed, with no ability to be righted, she'd burn to a cinder. That, or blow up. Paris realized that the best he could hope for was to get Harry out as he tried to stabilize her long enough for the escape pod to jettison safely. "Send a distress call to Voyager and get the hell out of here!"
"No, Tom! You're coming with me. We put two escape pods in here for a reason! I won't leave without you!"
"Harry, get down to the surface," Tom ordered as if he hadn't heard his friend's response. "Don't contact the Captain. When you can, contact Chakotay. But whatever you do, don't let Torres know you're alive!" he commanded.
"But, Tom!" Harry protested.
"Harry, go! That's an order!" He looked across the small space between the chairs at his old friend, their eyes meeting in a long look of comprehension and utter clarity.
"Tom," Harry whispered. Tom nodded and smiled. Then Harry rose and entered the escape pod. Paris watched in satisfaction as the pod was jettisoned from the Flyer. He then continued to try to correct the badly wounded bird's erratic flight path. If he could right her, he'd try to enter the planet's atmosphere and land her, but he knew even as the thought occurred to him that it was hopeless. She was losing speed, and it was taking every ounce of strength he had to maintain even a modicum of control over the little ship as she fought the helm.
He felt a sense of relief when the warning light blinked on the console, informing him of dangerously low levels of oxygen in the cabin. He let go of the controls, and the Flyer began to spin in a circle, caught now in the planet's gravitational pull. It would be over soon, one way or another. He felt the heat begin to build in the cabin, and he idly wondered if he should have inspected the Flyer more carefully before he and Harry had left Voyager. It didn't matter. No, in fact it was better this way. If she wanted his life, she could have it. He felt an immense sadness as he looked around at the shuttle he and his former love had helped to build.
The heat in the cabin was becoming unbearable, and he knew he had but seconds before the Delta Flyer became a ball of fire streaking across an alien sky.
From the tiny window of the escape pod, Harry Kim watched the fireball as it exploded in a burst of red, yellow, and orange tracers.
Scene ivBlood Will Have Blood
"Commander Seven and I appreciate your presence here tonight as we celebrate our taking command of Voyager," said Captain B'Elanna Torres, standing at the head of the luxuriously appointed conference table in the Briefing Room. "I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that we are embarking upon a new era aboard Voyager. And while we remember and honor the past, we look forward to a bright future, a new way of thinking, and a change in direction. I look forward to serving with you. To the future!" She paused dramatically, raising a glass of bloodwine, waiting as her guests somewhat hesitantly picked up their glasses, which gleamed opaquely with the thick, scarlet vintage. In attendance were Seven of Nine, resplendent in her blood-red biosuit, cleavage flying; Commander Tuvok; Lieutenant Ayala; Lieutenant Carey; and the Doctor. Neelix hovered in the background, dressed in white, with a towel draped over one arm, awaiting orders to begin serving the sumptuous meal. Two chairs were conspicuously empty.
"To the future," murmured her guests, taking reluctant sips of the viscous, potent brew. Seven tossed her glass off in one swallow, her head thrown back. She sat her empty glass back down on the table and looked around, her eyes glistening, bloodwine dribbling down her chin. Captain Torres leaned down and took her lips in a long, wet kiss, which ended with Torres licking the dribbled wine from her executive officer's chin.
"Captain," interjected Tuvok, eager to break up the unseemly consorting of the ship's first and second in command. "Are you implying that we shall be deviating from our objective since becoming trapped in the Delta Quadrant? Will we no longer be searching for a way back to the Alpha Quadrant?"
Torres looked up from her task, her eyes unfocused. Then they cleared and she sat down and snapped her fingers to Neelix, who rushed over with the jug of bloodwine and refilled her and Seven's glasses.
"Later, Tuvok," she told him. "I have many plans for the good ship and crew of Voyager. But there's plenty of time to discuss those plans in the coming days and weeks. Tonight let us eat and drink and enjoy each other's company."
"But where are Tom and Harry?" asked the Doctor. "Weren't they due back from their away mission some time ago?"
"What are you talking about, Doctor?" asked Torres, frowning. "They're right here. Or at least Tom is. Where's Harry, Tom?" she asked the empty spaces. Her guests looked at her and each other in alarm. Seven spoke up. "What the Captain means is that she is aware that they are here in spirit. Their devotion to their duties has kept them longer at their task than had been anticipated. Till they return and take their positions in corporeal flesh, that are here held by our fond thoughts of them, let us pledge ourselves to them by raising another glass. To Tom and Harry!"
Seven raised her glass and was satisfied when the senior staff dutifully raised theirs and took another tentative sip of the scarlet wine. She was worried, however, that Captain Torres sat dumbfounded, staring at the two empty spaces in increasing agitation. She ordered Neelix to begin serving.
"Will you get hold of yourself!" she whispered into Torres's ear, leaning over to her so she could cover her exasperation with a show of affection. "Stare not amazed! Make not your face to be so contorted! You stare but at emptiness!"
"You can't prove I did anything!" said Torres, as if to the ephemeral air. "Don't raise your burnt and chary hands to me!" She pushed herself from the table and stood, the chair crashing to the deck.
Seven stood hurriedly, herself, and tried to remove Captain Torres from the room by taking her arm.
"Sit and eat, everyone," she said, looking around at the crew as they watched their Captain with eyes rounded in shock. They looked at each other incredulously.
"It is but the Captain's little joke," dissembled Seven as she continued to pull Torres toward the Ready Room door. "Remain seated. That is an order!" With that, she succeeded in pulling the Captain out of the Briefing Room and into the relative safety of the Ready Room.
"For shame!" railed Seven at her dishonored Klingon. "This is a figment of your imagination! This is the air-drawn kut'luch that you said led you to Captain Janeway! This is not real. A Klingon warrior would not stand so unmanned before mere shadows! You show yourself as a frightened tika cat in a room full of targs!" She grabbed the Captain by the arms and struck her three times across the face, causing the half-Klingon's head to whip back and forth.
"If morgues and space itself send back their cargo and those whom we dispatch, our memorials shall be but fictions, our hopes and dreams writ small and as if in water," murmured Torres, still staring wide-eyed into the distance.
"What, quite disarmed! You lack, not the courage to act, but the sticking power that bears the weight of actions taken to achieve desired ends," said Seven, shaking her head sadly as she searched the face of the woman with whom she'd thrown in her lot. "All may yet be saved! Come, beloved, back to those assembled, and put the lie to the shameful behaviors witnessed else they take back to the ship the talk of their Captain holding discourse with the very air."
"Aye, my love," said Torres as she straightened her dress tunic and took her second in command by the arm. "Come, we'll go in together."
Scene vStrange Fits of Passion
"This whole thing stinks," said Lieutenant Carey, sitting back after watching the Captain and Commander depart.
"What do you mean, Lieutenant?" asked Neelix, who'd sat down in an empty chair after the two women left. "I'm sure that the Captain is just a bit fatigued from the disruptions of the past few weeks. That, and her new duties and responsibilities must be quite draining."
"Hmph," Carey spat.
"Lieutenant Carey," said Tuvok. "This is neither the time nor the place to air your grievances. Let us speak no more about this."
"Yes, sir," murmured Carey, looking down at the food cooling and congealing on his plate. He'd lost his appetite long ago, yet he picked up his fork and began toying with his dinner.
While Tuvok shared Carey's suspicions about their new Captain and her executive officer, he did not want to tip his hand, uncertain as he was about the loyalties of all those gathered around the table. He eyed Ayala surreptitiously. Anyone promoted by Torres immediately fell under suspicion in his book. He would continue to investigate the murders of their Captain and crewmembers, gathering evidence to build a case against the half-Klingon and ex-Borg. In the meantime, he was growing increasingly disturbed by the tardiness of the Delta Flyer in returning from her mission. He found that he could not shake a growing dread, and he began to fear for the lives of Paris and Kim.
The door to the Briefing Room slid open, and Seven of Nine and a newly refreshed and recovered Captain Torres walked in arm-in-arm.
"Have no fear, everyone. I am quite recovered. It's just a bit of fatigue and a touch of the nehret, I'm afraid. I'm not as young as I used to be," she laughed. "Neelix! Fill 'er up!" she said as she held her glass to Neelix who filled it up again with bloodwine. She looked around the table again and smiled.
"I drink to the success of our Captaincy, to the health of all of you gathered, and to our dear comrades, Tom and Harry, would that they were here!"
"Cheers," said Carey under his breath. He closed his eyes and drank his glass off in one gulp. He wanted to get blind drunk tonight. He held the glass out to Neelix and wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his uniform jacket.
"Now, Carey, you're drinking like a proper Klingon!" roared Torres in approval. "Again!" she ordered and tossed back another glass.
The tension eased as more and more bloodwine was consumed. Only the Doctor and Tuvok remained unaffected. Both men kept watchful eyes on the command staff. They would meet later tonight and continue their quiet investigations.
Suddenly, all attention was again drawn to the Captain, who dropped her wineglass.
"Away!" she shouted. "Leave me alone! Go back to space, where I consigned you! I can't bear to look into your eyeless eyesthey damn me with their love!" Once again, Captain Torres seemed to be speaking to someone who wasn't there, whom only she could see.
Seven had heard enough. "Clear the room!" she ordered. "The Captain is unwell. She but needs rest. All will be well by morning."
The senior staff came to their feet and moved quickly out the door and onto the Bridge.
"Well, now you have done it, B'Elanna," fumed Seven as she escorted Torres back into the Ready Room through the other door. "There will be a general mutiny by the morrow or I am a cloistered nun!"
Torres grabbed Seven by the arm and turned her roughly to face her.
"Where's Chakotay? How is it that we cannot find him? I know he's on board, the sneaking bastard!"
She released Seven and turned away, clasping her head and closing her eyes.
"How am I to sleep knowing he's out there, plotting my overthrow? I will tomorrow to the Weird Sisters. I'll use the worst means to know the worst," she muttered, pacing in the small space, completely unaware of Seven's presence.
"I'm in so deep now to go ahead is no worse than turning around. I'll be just as steeped in blood one way or the other. There's more blood yet to be let." She stopped, arrested by a thought. "Ha! I have become quite the blood-letter! I wonder the Doctor has not recruited me to aid him in Sickbay! Come, Doctor. Let us be leeches together!"
"Hush, beloved," soothed Seven, taking her Captain by circling an arm around her waist and leading her to the couch. "You must rest. Things will be clearer in the morning."
"What?" asked Torres, seemingly only now becoming aware of Seven's presence. "Oh, yes, yes. Let's to sleep, Seven. Let us cross the River Lethe, go," she said, sinking wearily with Seven onto the couch, hoping it might be so.
Scene viRoyal Visitor
Deep within the bowels of the good ship Voyager, in an unused section of Deck 15, three bedraggled figures huddled over a holographic fire, burning cheerfully if fraudulently along, illuminating the glittering eyes and monstrous faces looming over it. What were once crisp, tidy, Starfleet uniforms were now torn and incomplete, augmented with tattered Starfleet-issue blankets and replicated clothing from numerous cultures. The three women looked less like officers than they did street people, the biological detritus to be found in a sweep of any large city on any planet in any galaxy. Most disturbing of all about their appearance, though, were their faces. Formerly beautiful features were now contorted in ugly grimaces. Once flawless skin sported wrinkles, spots, and moles, and there wasn't a complete set of teeth among them. On the deck, near them, sat a pile of charms and amuletssmall bones, feathers, and what looked to be a shriveled ear, dark, leathery, and desiccated.
Their attention was directed to an alcove set into one wall by its sudden blinking into life, a greenish glow emitting from a round disc at its top. They watched as the cybernetic woman stepped from the alcove and walked over to where they were squatting.
Sam Wildman looked up at her and asked, "What's up, Queenie? You look pissed."
The Borg Queen, eyes flashing in anger, took them sternly to task.
"Do you not think I have cause, stupid bitches that you are, saucy and overreaching? How dare you to tinker with Torres in riddles and affairs of death, when I, the one who is many, queenly creator of all that is bad, was out of the loop, not given the poop, so now to beg knowledge I find I must stoop! And, what is worse, you have chosen one to support who has more honor than sense, whose ties lie not with me, who am the Borg, but rather with Kahless, a pitiful blusterer who would rather sit in a circle and blubber about long-ago battles than go about the important work of assimilation!"
"Jeez, we're sorry, your Borgness," cringed Jennifer Delaney. "You want a swig of bloodwine?" she offered, holding the bottle out to the Borg Queen.
The Queen had been pacing between her alcove and the weird sisters since she finished her tirade. Suddenly she stopped and faced them once more.
"Put yourself in Torres's way again tomorrow and you may yet make amends. I will meet you there. She will seek you, to know her destiny. You will provide, by your charms and portents, what she seeks. I will above, and this night shall weave a dismal and fatal end. Much business must be wrought ere then, and by my careful ministrations shall put forth such illustrations that the Klingon, in her comfort, will mistake the false for true. As for you," she looked each woman in the eye in turn, "that you make much ill eruption shall excuse your interruption."
Then she disappeared in a shimmer of sparkles, leaving the weird sisters staring at the space she'd just occupied.
"Frigid bitch," muttered Megan to the delighted squeals of her sisters.
Scene viiTwo of a Kind
In another part of Voyager, two other crewmembers were yet to find sleep. Commander Tuvok stood next to the EMH in his office in Sickbay, speaking in low tones.
"Captain Torres will announce in the morning that Harry Kim, who has apparently escaped, had rigged the Delta Flyer to explode, thereby killing Lieutenant Paris."
"But why? What would Ensign Kim gain by killing Paris?" asked the EMH. "This is making no sense."
"Perhaps to cast suspicion upon one or both of them, Doctor," said the Vulcan patiently. "They are much easier to blame in their absence than if either were here to defend himself."
"I can't believe it! Poor Tom." The EMH shook his head sadly. "He had the makings of a physician. He just couldn't tear himself away from his original lovesengines, flying, and B'Elanna Torres."
Both men fell silent as each was lost in his own memories of better times.
Tuvok mentally shook himself out of his reverie. "Be that as it may, Doctor, we will need to keep our wits about us in the coming hours. Captain Torres may begin to feel trapped. If that happens, we may come to blows within our very ship."
"Have you spoken with Chakotay?" asked the Doctor.
"I have," answered Tuvok. "He is biding his time, and I am not completely in his confidence. He wishes to keep his plans to himself for now. This may well be a wise course of action. Torres does not trust me. I may be arrested at any moment."
"What? I thought Vulcans were strong enough not to break under torture," jibed the Doctor gently.
"This is true, Doctor," responded Tuvok, "but I do not trust Seven of Nine. Given the right provocation, she might well assimilate me to gain the knowledge of Lieutenant Chakotay's plans."
"Now, there's a horrible thought," muttered the Doctor.
"Indeed," nodded Tuvok. "Assimilation is an unpleasant experience." He knew of what he spoke.
"Oh, not that!" interjected the EMH. "I mean the thought of you and Seven of Nine, well, joined or that is to say . . . ."
"Good night, Doctor," said Tuvok. Turning on his heel, he left abruptly.
"Well, don't go away mad," called the Doctor after him. "Horrible thought," he repeated before deactivating himself.
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