TWO WEEKS LATER . . .
B'Elanna and Harry strode along the corridor of Deck Six, on their way to Jeffries Tube 69. There, they planned to work on a set of ESP conduits for repair.
"Poor Neelix," Harry bemoaned. "It must have been hell getting his lungs ripped away like that." He referred to a recent incident, in which the Talaxian had his lungs stolen by a pair of aliens, during an Away mission.
B'Elanna grunted. "If you ask me, I think Janeway let those monsters off too easily. Stealing other people's organs, for Kahless's sakes!"
Harry added, "I guess that what happens when a species has been crippled by a deadly disease. It takes away their compassion. Their morality. And it makes them dangerously desperate."
"That's no excuse!" B'Elanna angrily shot back.
"No, it isn't. But understandable."
B'Elanna bit back an exasperated sigh, as she tried not to feel irritated by Harry's compassion. She had great affection for the young ensign, but sometimes his Federation ideals really got on her nerves. For once, she wished he could be a little more . . . ruthless.
The two friends finally reached Jeffries Tube 69. B'Elanna grabbed hold of the handle for the tube's door, when Harry glanced down at his hand and let out an oath. "Dammit!" he cried.
"What's wrong?" B'Elanna demanded.
"My PADD. It has the schematics we need on it. I must have dropped it on my way here. I'll be right back." Harry turned on his heels and quickly retraced their path from the turbolift.
Meanwhile, B'Elanna attempted to open the tube's door. Only, it refused to budge. Someone had either jammed or locked the door. Muttering an oath, B'Elanna punched a few codes into the console nearby. The door finally opened on her second attempt. She grabbed her toolkit and proceeded to crawl inside the tube. The sight that greeted her inside, stopped her in her tracks.
Low moans filled the interior. Discarded uniforms were scattered about the floor. And just several yards ahead laid a completely nude Tom Paris, on his back. Straddling his waist was a female crewman - also nude - whom B'Elanna noticed was not Ensign Telac. Her breasts swung tantalizingly over Paris's face. Her body bucked up and down above the pilot's, like a rider on an unbroken horse. B'Elanna immediately recognized her. Crewman Mallory Aiwa from Security.
"Ooohh! Oh yes! Harder! Harder!" Aiwa cried. Both hers and Paris's bodies continued to move in rhythm, as they made love. Aiwa leaned closer to Paris, situating the tips of her breasts above his face. He took the bait, leaned upward and covered one breast with his mouth. His hands maintained a firm grip on her hips.
Feeling hot and embarrassed at the same time, B'Elanna immediately crawled out of the tube. She shut the door and took a deep breath. "Something wrong, Maquis?" Harry had returned with his PADD.
Breathing heavily, B'Elanna shook her head. "No! I, uh . . . It's nothing, Harry. Look, why don't we do this later? Someone else is inside, right now."
"Well, I'm sure he or she won't mind if it gets a little crowded inside." Harry knelt down on the deck and opened the door.
Too late. Harry did not hear. He crawled inside the tube. B'Elanna heard a gasp. Along with Aiwa, screaming Paris's name. Seconds later, the Ops officer re-emerged from the tube and closed the door. "Oh God!" he murmured. "I didn't need to see that."
Anger toward the pilot overwhelmed B'Elanna. She wondered aloud if they should report Paris and Aiwa to Chakotay. "Why?" Harry demanded. "I doubt that sex inside a Jeffries tube would constitute as an offense. Or a danger to the ship."
"Isn't fraternalization between Starfleet personnel, prohibited?" B'Elanna demanded.
Harry quickly replied, "No, it isn't. Not as long as they are discreet."
"I wouldn't call sex in a Jeffries tube, discreet."
A sigh left her friend's mouth. "B'Elanna, let it go. They're in a Jeffries tube, not in the corridor or anywhere else for the entire crew to see. Just let it go."
B'Elanna remained silent. She and Harry could barely meet each other's gaze. Sounds of giggling and someone opening the tube's door filled their ears. Embarrassment immediately became anxiety. B'Elanna said to Harry, "I think we better get out of here." The younger man quickly agreed and the two friends quickly scrambled away.
* * * *
Once again, Tom found himself strolling along Deck Nine. He had just left Telac Mara's quarters, following a slightly difficult conversation. After two weeks of fun and great sex, the Bajoran woman had decided to end their romance.
Tom had foreseen the breakup. In fact, he helped set it in motion. Mara began expressing more than a passing interest in him. She wanted to know everything about Tom - his fears, his desires and most inner thoughts. Tom immediately realized that she wanted to move their relationship to a serious level. Only, he had no desire for such a relationship.
Rejection from a girlfriend at the Academy, a distant father and plenty of insincere friends had taught Tom to be wary of love and romance. He did not want or trust it any longer. Aside from Harry Kim as a close friend, he preferred mere acquaintances, brief sexual partners and nothing more.
To stave off the danger of Mara's increasing interest, Tom began to hold her at arms' length. Treat her in a cool manner when they were not engaged in sex. After a week of such treatment, it worked. Not only did Mara backed off, she began showing interest in other men. Just this morning, Tom had found her in the Mess Hall, sitting with Crewman Jarvin. Both seemed intensely interested in each other. Tom got the hint. Not that he really minded. He no longer had Mara in his hair. And compensation awaited him in a Jeffries tube on Deck Six. With Mallory Aiwa. Tom allowed himself a smile. A pleasant way to spend a few minutes. Now that Mara has officially ended their relationship, he was on his way to Aiwa's quar . . .
The door to one of the cabins slid open. Tom gasped at the figure standing in the doorway - completely nude. "What the hell are you doing?" he growled, shoving her back inside the cabin. "Someone could have seen you!" The doors slid shut.
A satisfied smile curled her lips. "That was the point," she said. "For you to see me. After I found out you were on this deck, I came here and ordered the computer to track you all the way from Telac's quarters."
"If you're expecting a repeat performance of two weeks ago, don't waste your time," Tom retorted. "I have other plans."
Her smile grew wider. "Certainly not with Ensign Telac, I assume. You were only in her quarters for ten minutes or less. Break up?"
Tom's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "How did you find out? I haven't told anyone, yet."
"I saw the good ensign with Jarvin during breakfast, this morning. It wasn't hard to guess what was going on." She reached out and stroked Tom's cheek. "I thought you needed a little consolation."
"I already have my own ideas about that. And it involves someone else."
Slowly, she wrapped her arms around Tom's neck. "I bet she can't console you the way I can." Her mouth hovered inches away from his.
Tom inhaled deeply. He could already feel his body reacting to her nearness. And the last thing he wanted was a repeat of their last time together. Seconds later, his hopes dissipated. As she leaned forward to plant a light kiss on the side of his mouth, the tips of her breasts brushed against Tom's chest. His member automatically began to twitch. Much to his embarrassment.
"Okay, that's it!" he roared and pushed her away. Laughter greeted his ears. "If you want to get laid so badly, find someone else." Tom marched to the door, opened it and heard voices in the corridor. He immediately slid the door shut.
Her voice, smooth and taunting, said, "I thought you were leaving."
"I will," Tom coolly replied. "Just as soon as the hallway is cleared."
A soft body pressed against his back. Tom struggled to ignore it. "In that case, why don't you stay here, a little longer? Pass the time, until the corridor is cleared."
"I doubt that mere seconds is enough time to do what you really want."
Slender hands gently forced Tom to turn around. He found himself staring into a pair of eyes that brimmed with desire. "Maybe you want what I want. Can't you stay longer than mere seconds?"
Tom blinked. He felt no love for this woman. Hell, he hardly felt any kind of affection toward her, whatsoever. Desire, however, was another matter. He had to admit that she was one of the most sexually satisfying women he had ever met. And unlike other partners, she demanded nothing more than sex. At least from him. Tom did not mind. Aside from his friendship with Harry, love and affection rarely played a part in Thomas Eugene Paris's life.
She planted a kiss on his mouth. And another. And another. "Just stay a little longer," she whispered between kisses. "Just a little . . ." Unable to ignore his desire any longer, Tom drew her into his arms and crushed his mouth against hers.
* * * *
The couple was inside the Jeffries tube, just as she had remembered. He lay stretched out on the floor. She straddled his waist. Neither wore a stitch of clothing.
She allowed her fingers to run through the red-gold hair on his chest. A pleasure-filled sigh escaped her mouth. So thick and luxuriant. She could do this all day. Then his member twitched against the crack of her backside. Then again, why bother? There were other parts of his anatomy she could also enjoy.
Sliding down his body, she raised her slightly and sat down, once more. His member impaled the wet folds of her flesh. A deep moan rose from her throat. His hands gripped her hips, forcing her to match the rhythm of his body.
Up and down, they moved. Faster and faster. She could feel him stab deeper and deeper inside her. One of his hands traveled up past her waist, until it cupped one tender breast. His thumb pressed against a taunt nipple and again, she moaned. Then it moved to another breast. Her moans grew louder.
Their bodies moved faster. His thrusts became harder. Deeper. Until his entire length filled her walls. Unable to hold back any longer, she climaxed and the muscles within her folds ruthlessly constricted his member. He called out her name and exploded inside her. As she finally fell over the edge, she threw back her head and called out his name. "Tom!"
* * * *
B'Elanna gasped out loud, as her eyes opened. Her body snapped into a sitting position. Had she just . . .? Once the fog cleared her brain, she realized that she was inside her quarters and not in a Jeffries tube. With Tom Paris. B'Elanna also realized that she had thrust her hand inside her pajama bottoms and they now rested on the damp mound between her legs. Embarrassed, she immediately withdrew it.
Then it came back to her. Every detail of her dream. It had been a replay of what she had witnessed inside Jeffries tube 69, this afternoon. Only, the woman having sex with Tom Paris had not been Mallory Aiwa, but her - B'Elanna Torres.
B'Elana's cheeks grew hot. Erotic dreams were not new to her. She had them before. Only, they had usually consisted of her with a young man she once worshipped from afar, back on Kessik. And later, of her and a certain Maquis captain, turned first officer. B'Elanna never thought she would have dreams about a womanizing pig like Paris.
Slowly, she crawled out of bed and headed for the wash basin. B'Elanna washed her hands and splashed water on her face. The chronometer in her cabin read 01:37 hours. Duty awaited her in less than seven hours. B'Elanna groaned. She hoped it would not be difficult for her to return to sleep.
A heavy thump dashed any hopes of continued sleep. The thump came from next door. A loud moan followed. B'Elanna sighed. The phantom couple had returned.
"Oh yes! Oh . . . oh . . . ah! Faster! Faster . . . oh gods! Fas . . . aaaah!" The cries and moans, accompanied by more thumps followed.
B'Elanna took a deep breath. She tried to ignore the sounds from next door. Yet, it seemed very difficult, especially with them becoming increasingly loud. And her growing more aroused.
At last the noise subsided, but not before the female next door shouted a name that took B'Elanna aback. "Oh yes! Oh . . . oh yes! Oh . . . aaah! Oh Gods! To-ooo-omm!"
Tom? B'Elanna sat on her bed in deep shock. Did she just hear some woman cry out Tom Paris's name?
* * * *
Harry stared at B'Elanna in disbelief. "Are you sure that was Tom's name you heard?" he demanded.
"Of course I'm sure!" B'Elanna snapped back. The two friends shared a small breakfast table, in the Mess Hall, the following morning. "How many Toms do you think are on this ship?"
"Tom happens to be a common name," Harry explained. "It could be someone else."
B'Elanna rolled her eyes. "Starfleet, I checked the list of personnel on this ship. There is only one Tom aboard Voyager. And his name is Thomas Eugene Paris." She scoffed with derision. "Eugene. What were his parents thinking with a name like that?"
Eventually, Harry conceded that B'Elanna was right. "Okay, so it was Tom in that cabin, next door to yours. So what? Maybe whomever he's dating, lives there. What's her name? Crewman Aiwa."
"Crewman Aiwa's quarters are located on Deck Seven," B'Elanna coolly retorted. "I checked. And no one occupies the cabin next door to mine."
Harry paused. "Oh. Well, even so . . ."
Exasperated, B'Elanna cried out, "Dammit, Starfleet! Don't you get it? Paris and Aiwa weren't supposed to be there. I'm going to report this to Chakotay."
"Oh come on, Maquis! You've got to be kidding!"
B'Elanna gave her friend a pointed stare. "Do I look like I'm kidding? Paris has overstepped the line, this time."
"Overstepped the . . ." Harry heaved an exasperated sigh. "C'mon B'Elanna! Listen to yourself! You sound like some by-the-book Starfleet officer! Not even the Captain or myself are that bad!"
"Paris is using an empty . . ." B'Elanna lowered her voice, after she noticed several pairs of eyes, staring at her. "Paris is fraternizing in an unauthorized area. No one is supposed to be in that cabin. And both he and Aiwa are keeping me awake with all that noise. I intend to make sure that doesn't happen again."
Harry's face became hard. B'Elanna had never seen such an expression on his face, before. "I'm telling you, Maquis. You're making a big mistake. Granted, Tom might find himself in trouble. But sooner or later, word will circulate that you were the one who snitched on him."
"So what! Aside from you, Janeway and Kes, there isn't a soul on this ship who wouldn't like to see Paris get his comeuppance!"
"Perhaps," Harry replied. "But they'll also remember that you snitched on someone. Sooner or later, they'll become wary of you and eventually, you'll become ostracized on this ship. Like Tom."
B'Elanna opened her mouth to protest, but Harry seemed to be on a roll. "Tom may not be popular right now. But if word gets around that your reported him for having sex in some empty cabin, he'll be a hero in compare to you. No one likes a snitch, B'Elanna. Isn't that why the Maquis dislike him in the first place? Because you all believe he had ratted on you to the Captain?"
In one of those rare moments in her life, B'Elanna found herself speechless. She could not believe the words coming out of Harry's mouth. After several long seconds, her voice finally returned. "Tell me Harry, are you saying that you would tell Paris that I snitched on him?" B'Elanna tried to sound menacing, quiet. Unfortunately, wavering insecurity came out, instead.
"C'mon B'Elanna! I'm not a snitch!" Harry expressed outrage. "Besides, I wouldn't have to. Tom is a pretty smart guy. He would have found out, eventually. And knowing him, he would have found some way to get even." He leaned forward, his face radiating intensity. "Please, Maquis. Don't do it!"
B'Elanna, most reluctantly, realized that it would be wise to heed Harry's warning. She did not fear reprisal from Tom Paris. Yet, she had no desire to become an even bigger pariah on the ship. Her anger toward the pilot's sexual escapades, however, remained. A new obsession sprung within her. An obsession to discover the identity of Paris's paramour. Whom she suspected was Mallory Aiwa. And when she finally confirms Aiwa as Paris's partner-in-crime, B'Elanna promised herself that she would get even with both.
* * * *
Dark eyes seemed to follow Tom Paris nearly everywhere. They scrutinized him whenever "she" was on the Bridge, at her station. Those same eyes observed him in the Mess Hall, during breakfast, lunch and dinner. And whenever he appeared in Engineering to deliver a report or work on the navigational array, the dark eyes observed him . . . closely. Tom could also recall seeing those same eyes along Voyager's corridors, on occasion. After nearly two weeks of such scrutiny, Tom came to the conclusion that he was being stalked.
He had heard about Klingon women who stalked potential mates. Yet, the deep suspicion and dislike in B'Elanna Torres' eyes led Tom to believe that she did not view him as a potential mate. Which led him to speculate on her sudden interest in him.
"Quite frankly, I don't know what the hell is her problem," Tom complained to his best friend. The two officers sat inside the shuttlecraft, Cochrane, as it sped toward the Banean homeworld.
Voyager had came across the M-class planet two days ago. After learning that its inhabitants possessed warp technology and promised to help Voyager with its damaged collimator. Captain Janeway ordered Harry to work with one of the Banean scientists. And ordered Tom to fly Harry to the planet's surface. It seemed that Banea was at war with another race who occupied the planet, called the Numeri. Who had established a blockade around Banea.
Tom spared the younger man a quick glance. "Torres is your friend, Harry. Do you know why she's suddenly so interested in me?"
Harry sighed. Which told Tom that he knew something. And was reluctant to reveal. "What? C'mon Harry. Spill it."
"Okay." Another gust of breath followed. Then, "Tom, have you been seeing anyone on Deck Nine, lately? Other than Telac Mara?"
It took all of Tom's skills in dissembling to maintain his usual mask. How did Harry know about his trips to Deck Nine? Better yet, what did it have to do with Torres? "I don't know what you're talking about," Tom mumbled.
"Cabin Nine-I?" Harry continued. "It seems you've been using it for a little private down time with a certain someone, this past month. Only you haven't been that private."
Tom sighed in defeat. "Okay. I surrender. How did you find out?"
"I didn't. B'Elanna did. She could hear you two."
A hot flush crept up Tom's neck. "How did she . . .?"
Harry added, "B'Elanna's quarters are next door - Cabin Nine-H. She heard everything."
"Great!" Tom pursed his lips in irritation.
The younger man continued, "She knows it's you in there, but she doesn't know who your friend is."
"She isn't exactly a friend," Tom retorted.
Confusion filled Harry's dark eyes. "Huh? What are you talking . . .?"
"So B'Elanna knows," Tom said, interrupting the other man. "I suppose she plans to go running to Chakotay."
According to Harry, the Chief Engineer almost did. Until he talked her out of it. "And it wasn't the first time, Tom. We caught you and Mallory Aiwa inside Jeffries tube 69, around the same time B'Elanna found out about Cabin Nine-I."
Tom sighed. "You two seem very familiar with my love life, lately. Anything else?"
"Well, you haven't exactly been discreet," Harry retorted.
"Who has? Do you think Mallory and I were the only ones using the Jeffries tubes? Hell, I'll bet that half the crew are doing the same. I've caught at least four couples inside the Jeffries Tubes, since we blew up the Caretaker's array."
The disturbed expression on Harry's face told Tom the extent of his friend's innocence. Poor Harry. His mind jumped to the half-Klingon. Poor me. Tom realized that he had a hostile senior officer on his hands, just itching to get him into trouble. He would have to be more careful in the future.
"What I don't understand," Harry continued, "is why you and Aiwa would even bother using an empty cabin on Deck Nine in the first place?"
Might as well be truthful. Somewhat. "I've never been with Mallory on Deck Nine," Tom explained. "I was with someone else."
"Does Aiwa know?"
A curt laugh escaped Tom's mouth. "Of course not, Harry. I doubt that she would really care, these days." He paused. "We broke up just four days ago. Mallory began having delusions that she alone, could finally get to know the real Tom Paris. Naturally, I had to disappoint her."
Harry shot Tom a sharp glance. The latter ignored it as he continued to guide the shuttle toward the Banean homeworld.
* * * *
Tom's cry startled the woman, bent over one of the consoles inside a junction that connected two of the Jeffries tubes on Deck Five. She glared at him. "Dammit Paris! What the hell is your problem?"
"I've been looking for you." Tom jumped off the ladder and landed next to her.
She gave him a sniff and returned to her work. "You've found me. Now what do you want?"
Tom grabbed hold of her shoulder and forced her in an upward position. "I want to talk to you, not your ass."
"That's funny. You seemed to be in backsides, lately. Including one that belong to a certain Banean woman."
Laughter bubbled up inside Tom at the absurdity of her jealousy. "What is this? Don't tell me you're jealous?"
"Of course not! Now what do you want?" she shot back in an acid voice.
Tom became sober. "Just to let you know. The next time you get any ideas about a quick roll in the hay, find someone else. It seems that a certain friend of yours has found out about our little activities in Cabin 9-I. And considering her volatile nature, I have no desire to find myself facing the Captain. Or Chakotay."
"Are you saying that Torres is a snitch? B'Elanna?" Disbelief shone in her eyes.
Tom shrugged. "Normally, I'd say no. But this is me, we're talking about. Just about ninety-eight percent of the crew would love to see me in trouble with the Captain. And guess what? I won't be alone, this time."
She sniffed. "Fine. If it makes you feel any better. Of course . . ."
Oh God, Tom thought. Trouble. "I'm getting out of here. See you around."
"Wait!" She grabbed Tom's arm. "Does B'Elanna know about me, as well?"
Tom stared at her uneasily. "No, just me. Why?"
A seductive smile appeared on her lips. "Well, since I don't want to get into trouble, any more than you do, I promise I won't ambush you on Deck Nine anymore. That is . . . if you don't mind meeting me at my favorite cabin, later this evening. Say around 1630 hours? Torres usually likes to hang around Engineering a little longer than the usual eight-hour shift."
Tom wandered if she had lost her mind. Why was she so interested in him? Was she that desperate for sex? "Are you crazy?" he exclaimed. "No! Didn't you hear what I said?"
"Yes. But you obviously didn't hear me. What's wrong with a little afternoon sex? Trust me, B'Elanna won't be there. Meet me at Cabin 9-I at 1630 hours. Unless," a sneer crossed her face, "you've developed a taste for Delta Quadrant women."
Coolly, Tom responded, "Maybe I have."
"Oh." She paused. "Well." She reached up and brushed a finger across his lower lip. "Too bad. I had hoped to work up an appetite before dinner."
Tom's body immediately stiffened. He grabbed her hand and drew her against him. Damn that woman! She always had a talent for breaking his defenses. Or perhaps a year in prison had rekindled his sex drive. "I'll see you in Cabin 9-I. Sixteen thirty hours."
"I'll be there." She forced her mouth upon his for a brief, passionate kiss, ending it with a bite on his lip. "Just a reminder of our appointment. I'll see you later." Then she turned her back on him and resumed her work. Tom took a deep breath and started up the ladder toward Deck Four.
END OF PART TWO