DISCLAIMER: Star Trek Voyager and its characters are the property of Paramount. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Epic fail on my part to do a prompt for RalSt's IDF prompt challenge. I started way too late and although I wanted to do just a one-shot, it looks like this is going to be two. Prompt: Write a story from a characters point of view in which the main focus is getting out of their scratchy, hot uniform. Prompter: JJ
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To dehickey[at]hotmail.com
I am Going to...
die- or possibly kill someone. This uniform is is well, I've just about had it. Enough is enough. They itch, they don't breathe and they are tight in all the WRONG places- and forget scratching. Seven years of this! This is like some kind of twisted Saturday morning cartoon villain torture, I mean the year is 2376 and I've got a wedgie to end all wedgies! I can't even pull it out lest Paris notice me moving and wiggle his eyebrows in some stupid attempt to look alluring. Honestly, he's down to leering and whistling and I'm quite sure that we've taken a few steps back as a society if this kind of thing is the best that some guys got.
Janeway, thankfully, has her back turned to the table as she looks at the latest benign nebula that Seven has discovered on our current heading. I think the brilliant blue-eyed blonde does these things on purpose to torture me- did I just think of her as a 'brilliant blue-eyed blonde'? Ok, now I'm suffering from lack of oxygen to the brain or something; if I didn't hate Sick Bay or dealing with the Doc, I'd excuse myself for a check up right now.
Kahless's left nut! I gave *my* report and it was short and sweet; the Doc grumbled something about wanting Paris to put in more shifts- to which I got in my two cents of support for good measure- and then Tuvok prattled on for a good 30 minutes on the effectiveness of proper morning hygiene on maintaining 'alertiveness' throughout your shift. I swear I had to fight the drowsiness begging my forehead to introduce itself to the table. Then, the Captain perks up and asks Seven for her report on the next sector of space. Maybe I shouldn't have snorted 'cause I'm now almost positive those sky blues of hers flicked to me. I practically felt it when her gaze fell on me. I swear I got the chills and had to fight to keep from shivering one of those good shivers. That woman has got more power than anyone here even knows.
But I'm starting to think she knows, and by Kahless- gah! Ungh, something just shifted and moved somewhere else! How much longer does Janeway need to convince Chakotay for? He's already smiling and nodding although, come to think of it, that seems to be just about all he does these days At least the coffee in her hand seems to be empty and hopefully she doesn't she is- she's looking at her cup. Oh crap, I know that look, that's her 'should I get a refill?' look and if she does that we'll be here another hour dammit, gotta distract her THINK Torres! Uh, um, ah
"Captain, if you're planning to stop and have a look, I can use the time to replace some plasma injectors in the starboard nacelle, it's dirty work, but it's also only a one or two man job so the rest of Engineering can continue to run smoothly."
One or two man job? Why would I say that? I just want to be alone so I can pull off this excruciating personal torture device known as: The Starfleet Uniform- Kahless help Paris if he 'volunteers' to assist me, I will not be responsible for my actions and accidents do happen
"Captain, with my scans of this sector and the next two complete, I am free to assist Lieutenant Torres thereby minimizing the strain on the Engineering staff for the duration of her proposed work on the starboard nacelle. The likely 8.79% increase in efficiency resulting from the maintenance will provide for a more stable warp field and reduce our energy consumption for the next approximately four months, sixteen days, three hours-"
Oh my god this is a disaster. How am I going to survive this? Why did I say "or two"! Stupid, Torres, real stupid She's trying to kill me. That's gotta be it. Her great big plan is coming to fruition. Since day one of her arrival here on Voyager, Seven has had it in for me. And now it's all coming to a head. We'll be working in cramped, sweaty confines and I won't be able to take off my uniform and she'll most likely be making it worse with her intentional 'inadvertent' innuendos, double-entendres and searing gaze. I'm going to die in this uniform. They'll say, "B'Elanna Torres, dedicated Starfleet Officer till her dying day. Went out proud wearing the uniform and doing what she loved best "
Ok calm down Torres, breathe and think of your animal guide or, um something else poor thing really didn't deserve its fate... You can survive this- oh goody Janeway has cut off Seven's 'approximation' with a hand and an enthusiastic agreement of 'our' brilliant plan. Don't roll your eyes, don't roll your eyes. Sit up straight. Don't snort. Kahless this uniform makes it hard to maintain one's composure. Maybe that's what this is all about, Kahless is testing me. Yeah, that's it
I do not believe I am a vengeful person. At least, I do not want to be a vengeful person, however, these 'biosuits' the Doctor created for me have been a constant source of physical discomfort since my arrival on Voyager. Fortunately my nano probes are capable of dealing with uncomfortable nerve irritation in a timely manner, however I find that I no longer care to have my physique on display for all to see and it is a direct result of the Doctor's inability to understand his own attraction for me when he created these garments.
In the three years, six months, nine days, seven hours and twenty-one minutes since I have come to Voyager- and thirty seconds thirty one- I believe I have developed into my own person and while I do not allow pride to be a weakness, I am beginning to understand how others see me and use that image for selfish reasons instead of selfless ones. Mr. Paris never stops leering and Ensign Kim's pupils dilate in arousal as his gaze predictably drops to my chest during conversation. The Doctor isn't even capable of understanding the social inappropriateness of his own lingering glances at my physique despite his belief in his own superiority regarding "social etiquette".
Lieutenant Torres however I believe that once again, the Doctor is indirectly responsible for my failure to properly integrate into the Voyager Collective. Had I known then what I am aware of now, I never would have allowed myself to be seen in public in these biosuits. Lieutenant Torres' initial reaction to my presence- anger- might not have been so severe had I been clothed in something more 'standard' among Voyager's Collective. I now believe that she felt that I was 'flaunting' my physique in an attempt to gain the psychological "upper hand" or intimidate her and undermine her femininity among the rest of the crew.
Since the time when she selflessly sheltered me in Engineering when my cortical node was failing, I have found that I want to gain her approval more that any other member of the crew. I had a considerable amount of respect for her as Chief Engineer previously, but since that day, when I saw the softer, protective side of B'Elanna Torres directed at me, I have found that I wish to see it again. That I wish to be in her presence more often and that I wish for her to be the only person who sees my physique; my scars and all.
I believe I have developed a romantic attraction to Lieutenant Torres.
This hypothesis is supported by my recent extended research into the mating behaviours of the Alpha Quadrant species. As I had begun to suspect, the Doctor had omitted several areas of romantic avenue during his attempt to 'help' find me a 'date'- including same sex coupling. I am curious as to whether or not he had consciously or subconsciously guided my research to increase the probability of failure. It is irrelevant now as I have come to my own conclusions regarding romance. It *is* necessary for the continued optimal function of many humanoids, including Humans and Klingons, therefore it is not irrelevant and I should pursue it.
That was the main reason why I 'jumped' at the opportunity to help Lieutenant Torres with her maintenance suggestion. Perhaps it wasn't completely unpredicted, her suggestion. In my observations of the Senior Staff during meetings, I have come to the conclusion that only the Captain and Neelix wish to use all of the allotted time to discuss ship's business.
Commander Chakotay, the highest ranking male aboard Voyager, (a position he gained through circumstance and not merit, unlike Lieutenant Torres) merely wishes to appease the Captain through his contrived objections and simple smiles. Lieutenant-Commander Tuvok is stubbornly determined to enlighten the Senior Staff regarding 'proper' behaviour and does not care for the extraneous dialogue. Mr. Paris uses the opportunity to leer at both myself and Lieutenant Torres and suggest a 'festive gathering' at every turn; Ensign Kim wants to impress everyone in the room in the hopes of receiving a promotion and the Doctor is consumed with his own status above all else.
Lieutenant Torres, I have observed, more often than not, wishes to simply be back in Engineering taking care of 'her ship'. I can tell it 'irks' her when she gives a maintenance time to the Captain and the Captain tells her to do it in half the time. Does the Captain not understand that she is giving the best estimate? Does she believe that Lieutenant Torres gives poor estimates or that she is somewhat lazy? I find the Captain's behaviour in this regard to be incredibly disrespectful of Lieutenant Torres' ability.
Perhaps I knew the timing of my revelation of the Class VII nebula would cause a certain amount of scientific curiosity in the Captain. Perhaps I had been waiting to reveal this information for a week since I had discovered it until we were close enough to almost guarantee a slight detour to study it. Perhaps I had concluded that Lieutenant Torres would likely suggest taking the time to perform some required maintenance. Perhaps even, I had been following the Engineering maintenance logs for the past month. Do all of these things make me manipulative? Am I a 'bad' person? I prefer to believe myself to be an opportunist. It has been very difficult to judge whether or not Lieutenant Torres would welcome a direct request to aid her in Engineering. She is very protective of her 'turf'.
Despite her apparent attempt to not look 'put out', I do not believe she would not accept my help because she dislikes me. In fact, I have been noticing physiological signs of arousal 'seeping' through her surface mask of volatility as of late. Even her mask of volatility toward me has softened over the past few years and I now believe she actually enjoys arguing with me for entirely different reasons. This would also support the research I have done into Klingon mating behaviours. Klingons always challenge a potential mate. Even Chakotay will often submit to Lieutenant Torres despite his outranking her. His submission often takes the form of him making something an order and then slinking away like a cowardly Tika cat. It is only the Captain to whom B'Elanna will capitulate and that is out of respect. Again, I find this to be another trait of B'Elanna's that I am attracted to.
"We don't need it down to the second, Seven. Your and B'Elanna's idea is a good one and I don't see why the two of you can't take the time over the next few days to complete the work. How long will the full maintenance of the nacelle take with the two of you, B'Elanna?"
I could have answered the question but it is the purview of the Chief of Engineering to answer maintenance questions and I have no issue with this protocol. It helps maintain order and a structured hierarchy. I look to B'Elanna and notice her gaze catches my own. Once again my nervous system becomes overactive and I direct my nano probes to work harder to maintain my optimal functioning status. I notice once again that my outfit is, I believe the term is "riding up" into an uncomfortable place. I will wait until Mr. Paris leaves before adjusting it and standing up. I hope B'Elanna doesn't mind if I bring a change of clothes to the work area so that I'm not crawling around in heels and my biosuit.
"With Seven's help, it should only take about thirty-two hours total if all goes as it should."
I concur with that estimate, and-
"Good. Get it done in twenty-five. Now, if there is nothing else, Tom, set course for the nebula and Harry, inform the science team on shift to prepare for an in-depth study of a Class VII nebula saturated with ultimatons. I think I'll even join them. Chakotay, you'll have the bridge. Dismissed."
I find myself sharing the look of annoyance that B'Elanna has directed at the Captain.
To Be Continued
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