Summer 1998 8th-9th grades
Author's note: As before, Paramount owns the characters, the ship, etc., but the story is of my creation. This was meant as a sequel to Faith, but can be read as is.
* * * *
It seemed to Harry Kim like the whole ship was bent on intruding and/or delaying his plans. Or maybe that Annika always had somewhere to go and was summoned there in the middle of a date. Finally, there was time to be alone together.
He rubbed his sweaty palms on the legs of his off-duty pants. Glancing one last time in the mirror, he adjusted the collar of his cream shirt and buttoned the crimson linen vest.
"Computer, what is the time?" he queried nervously.
The unflappable feminine voice replied the time is twenty-one hundred thirty hours.
Another command ascertained that Holodeck Two was reserved for him, and Annika was on her way. Taking a deep breath, Harry stepped into the brightly-lit corridor beyond. He headed for the turbolift, and was in no time outside the holodeck.
A series of commands was tapped in, and the computer signaled that the program was ready. The interlocking doors parted, and the beauty of his creation immediately struck him.
Harry had conjured up a lush green valley, randomly interspersed with patches of pastel wildflowers. In the distance, a majestic waterfall flowed over high stone cliffs, and down into a river. He recognized the far paths and cobbled pavilion as where Tom and B'Elanna had celebrated their second anniversary.
His breath caught in his throat as he turned to see Annika entering hesitantly. She was clad in a sleeveless, formfitting white top ending just above her hips. Underneath was a long navy skirt slit to the knee that complimented her slim, willowy body.
Her long corn silk blonde hair flowed freely about her shoulders, her optic implant incongruous in comparison to the tiny gold clips. A shy smile touched her lips as she noted Harry gaping. She executed a dainty twirl that ended with her facing him.
"Speechless, are we?" were the first words she coyly uttered. The blush creeping up Harry's face confirmed this.
After a moment more, his stunned surprise gave way to a shaky grin, and he turned, gesturing to a path. "Would you care to take a walk?"
"Why yes, Harry. I'd be delighted." She seemed about to say more, but stopped. He offered his arm, and she took it, noting absently that his pulse quickened and blush deepened. "Please, lead the way."
He chose a meandering path that led down to the riverbank, and they sat on a fallen trunk. "It's quite aesthetically pleasing here. If I recall correctly, Lieutenants Paris and Torres conducted their..." she paused, searching for the word, "anniversary here."
"Yeah. Tom lent me this program to use. The water is nice and cold here. Why don't you check for yourself?" At that, Annika walked over to the edge, and slipped her right sandal off.
She cautiously dipped her foot in, then immediately withdrew it. Harry closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them when a splash of water hit him. The young woman stood on one of the rocks with water rushing all around, cupped hand reaching down for more. Her sandals lay on the riverbank, and she nimbly jumped to another rock as he took off his shoes, rolled pantlegs up his shins, and waded in after her.
At last, she was perched just in front of the waterfall, wet with spray and breathless with laughter as he waded closer. A moment later, Harry surged up and pushed her through the water. Anyone present would have hears a splash overridden by her high-pitched scream. She surfaced, to find him sitting on a stone ledge, a sheet of water between them.
Annika smiled, then lunged up, grabbing him and pulling him down. Now both were thoroughly soaked, and she pushed sodden hair off her forehead. She noticed that one of her clips was missing, but before she could say anything, he abruptly dove headfirst, and came back up holding it.
"Thought you might be missing something," he commented. Looking into her eyes, he was reminiscent of their first kiss…
They were sitting on the Holodeck, and he slipped his hand around her long delicate fingers, each shyly smiling at the other. It seemed to both that the perfect time to kiss was upon them…Bridge to Ensign Kim and Annika. Looking away, as if embarrassed over what was about to happen, Harry slapped his commbadge irritatedly. "Kim here. A problem, Captain?"
Harry, I need you and Annika up here right away. There's a problem with the controls in Astrometrics.
She reached up the other hand to hold it against his face, reveling in the emotions contained in such a simple gesture. Abruptly, he stood, as if to break contact and compose himself. "Do they ever know when to call?" Annika murmured as she rose beside him.
He was about to reply to the Captain, when the next thing he knew, he was looking into Annika's innocent eyes, as she kissed him, light as a feather. Staying there for a moment, he knew that this was much better than any dream he could have had. Her striking sapphire eyes gazed into his deep brown ones.
"I've always thought your eyes were mysterious…" She was cut off as he reached over and kissed her back.
Now, Mr. Kim! You and Annika can have more time later.
Annika's cheeks reddened, as she reached over to close the still-open comm channel. "We are coming, Captain." Privately, she hoped that Mr. Paris could have heard them, to satisfy his nosy attempts to get them together. However, she did hope most of the conversation was too low for the Captain to hear…
"Remember our first kiss?" Her voice brought him rushing towards the present.
"Y'know, that's just what I was thinking of right now. I also remember how we met the Captain, and found out she was in the Turbolift, so no one else overheard."
Her playful smile was infectious; he stepped closer and brushed his lips across hers. "It's awful cold here. Race you back to the shore!" Not waiting to see her reaction, he swam off towards the distant riverbank, Annika following.
They both reached it at the same time, and stumbled out of the water. She twisted water out of her hair, scowling at the way her skirt stuck to her legs. Harry took off his vest, laying it out to dry on a rock.
The young woman squeezed her hem, water trickling out of it in large drops as he smoothed back his hair. She reached over and mussed it, laughing as he untangled the various strands.
"That reminds me, I have a surprise for you. Close your eyes," she followed this direction, and felt him take her hand in his. She wondered if he was going to toss her back in the water. As if reading this thought, he said, "No, no, I just have something to give you." At that, he fished into his pocket, and slid a ring on her pinkie. It was a delicate band of silver, beveled edge and all. Taking it off, she discovered words carefully etched in letters so miniscule she could only read them with the help of her optic implant:
this is where I profess my undying love and devotion
"Harry…It's gorgeous…it must have cost you a week's worth of replicator rations…" she was speechless, watching him carefully for his reaction.
"Actually, I had the ring made back on one of those shore leave planets. But only the beveled band; I've been on the holodeck a lot, running a program-" He was cut off as she wrapped her arms around him and took his breath away with a kiss.
The ensign closed his eyes, savoring the moment once again. But this time, he wasn't going to get wet. He finally broke away, "The most beautiful gift I could find, for the most beautiful woman I've ever met."
She hesitated, looked down, then asked softly, "Even more beautiful…than Libby?" Annika sat there, as if expecting to be slapped. But all he said was:
"Yes. Libby didn't wait for me, and it's not like I could ask her to. Annika," he took her face in his hands, "I love you. You are my heart, my soul, you mean so much to me."
Next, she reached up, unclasping the silver chain she had worn, and he had not noticed. She gently passed it through the ring, which she now held cradled in her palm. "Now, I can wear it close to my heart."
* * * *
Kathryn Janeway was asleep in her quarters, held in the arms of her husband, first officer, and the father of her child. Chakotay stirred for a moment, gave a content sigh at her presence, and dozed back off. Even little Kayla was still slumbering, her usual early morning cries for once silent.
The first shots to the ship awakened them. Orange energy spat from an unknown source, and both officers woke immediately. Kathryn slapped her commbadge, opening a channel to the Bridge, when a column of transporter energy sparkled in their quarters. An alien appeared, cowled, veiled, and carrying a large weapon.
Her comm link was only static; the alien bent down and swept Kayla up into its arms. Kathryn saw the muzzle of the weapon point at her, she screamed, and then...
Sat bolt upright in bed, covered in sweat. Chakotay stirred beside her, and was immediately awake at seeing the panic of the one he loved the most.
"Kat, what is it? Calm down, love…" His quizzical expression, full of wholehearted concern calmed her rapid pulse down, and she leaned forward, hugging her knees to her chest.
"It was another nightmare. The same alien, but this time it didn't just raise ominous warning, it took our baby, and-" He pulled her into his arms and held her close, making soothing sounds and stroking her honey-toned hair.
"Kat, I would never let anything happen to you. No matter what. Come on, do you want me to tell you a story, or something? How about the Angry Warrior speech I gave to you on New Earth?" At her nod, he began, and she remembered what words had passed between them:
"We have to talk about this."
"I think we need to define some parameters. About us."
"I'm not sure I can, define parameters. But I can tell you a story, an ancient legend among my people. It's about an angry warrior who lived his life in conflict with the rest of his tribe. A man who couldn't find peace, even with the help of his spirit guide. For years he struggled with his discontent, but the only satisfaction that he ever got came when he was in battle. This made him a hero among his tribe, but the warrior still longed for peace within himself.
One day he and his war party were captured by a neighboring tribe led by a woman warrior. She called on him to join her because her tribe was too small and weak to defend itself from all its enemies. The woman warrior was brave and beautiful and very wise. The angry warrior swore to himself that he would stay by her side, doing whatever he could to make her burden lighter. From that point on her needs would come first, and in that way, the warrior began to know the true meaning of peace."
"Is that really an ancient legend?"
"No, but that made it easier to say."
…"Remember what we said about 'parameters?"
"I'm glad my angry warrior and I have everything all figured out now." At that, he smiled, then leaned over and kissed her. Kathryn slowly lay back down after, her back to him, and Chakotay's arms around her waist. She stayed awake long after he slept again. It was times like this everything seemed truly right.
* * * *
"Vorik, Carey, I certainly hope that this little 'problem' with the warp manifold maintenance can be taken care of soon. I have a weekly report due to the Captain tomorrow, and they will be properly cleaned, or do I have to go into detail?" B'Elanna Torres-Paris stood facing two of her best engineers, scowling darkly. She let the words sink in for a moment, then, "Well, didn't I say due tomorrow?"
A very crisp, "Yes Chief," from each, and she turned away back to her console. B'Elanna ran her hands through her chocolate brown hair, and rubbed her Klingon brow ridges as if a headache were setting in. She closed her eyes a minute, then checked her schedule; maintenance of plasma conduit 8A. The half-Klingon young woman grabbed her tool kit, checked that the styluses were in her pocket, and entered one of the Jefferies Tubes.
The conduit was located at a junction, and she had room to stand fully upright. Well, her tricorder read a minor fracture in the conduit walls, not serious unless they went into warp. Carefully, she popped off an access panel, and shunted power away from the area, reconfiguring the flow. Her laser stylus came in handy here for the delicate work of repairing the fracture.
It only took a few minutes, and when scans showed the job complete, B'Elanna punched a few more controls, and power once again flowed freely. Straightening slowly and massaging cramped neck muscles, she sensed a presence behind her, and was just in the process of turning when a hand slapped over her mouth.
"Don't move," the command was hissed in an uncannily familiar voice. She tried to raise her hands, when she was spun around. There was no time to identify her assailant before he began to smother her in kisses. Finally, she gasped out,
"Thomas Eugene Paris, the next time you try that, I might actually have to hurt you! And then, heavy objects will fly!"
Her husband's blue eyes flashed mischievously, and he whined, "Be', you always take the fun out of things! Half the enjoymen bor sneaking up on you comes from the danger of being hurt!" She sighed and rolled her eyes.
"Anyway, Helmboy, the Captain says no more 'making out' in the Jefferies Tubes." She knew exactly what he was going to say next.
"Ah, but we aren't on the Jefferies Tubes. This is a power juncture maintenance area, if I'm not mistaken. Besides, last week I thought I saw our commanding officers exchanging a lip-lock in the turbolift."
"Tom, that's none of your business. Remember the first time Carey found us, and all three ended up with bruises? Well, he mostly bruised his dignity." While she was speaking, B'Elanna gathered up her tools, and closed the kit with a definitive snap. "My shift isn't over for another half an hour, and you went off duty an hour ago, right?" At his nod, she continued, "Meet me back at our quarters then. See to it that Zya is napping peacefully with the Captain because she's off shift too."
With this playful warning, B'Elanna crawled back out through the Jefferies' Tube, though not without a final kiss.
* * * *
The next morning, Annika stepped out of her alcove. As time wore on, she needed only a few hours of regeneration every couple of days, and so had more time alone if she wished it. What surprised her was that she enjoyed time with Harry quite so much. The human part of her brain scolded the still-part-Borg part for thinking quite so, so…efficiently.
She looked down and felt the slight, reassuring weight of the ring pressing against her chest, and smiled. Making a quick calculation, she decided that the few minutes necessary to change from her usual silver bodysuit to something else would be worth it. Calling up the database on her console, she checked just how many of her almost unused replicator rations she would need to replicate what was pictured.
What she replicated was a dark turquoise-blue jumpsuit, quite a bit looser but still formfitting. She pulled on the long sleeves, enjoying the sensation of how it fit differently. Heeled boots were slipped back on, the silver chain laid over the lower cut neckline. Yes Annika thought to herself much better. Pleased with herself, she exited the cargo bay, heading toward Sickbay for her monthly check.
When she entered, the Doctor looked up from his PADDs, and raised his eyebrow in surprise. "Well, I see we're making a change today," was his only comment before he began to run his tricorder over her. "I see nothing the matter. Just an up in the adrenaline, though that's perfectly normal for a humanoid when they have someone to impress. I believe your next appointment can be scheduled next month."
Leaving her to ponder his closing comments, he went back to his office and sat down. Annika thought a minute, remembering that B'Elanna needed her to help in Engineering this morning. Well, perhaps the engineer could give her some, what had she heard the Captain say? Ah, yes, love lessons and advice. Anyway, she had all the way down to Engineering to find a way to phrase her questions.
At last, she arrived, and fond B'Elanna in an uncharacteristically good mood, though she twisted her wrist a bit stiffly. She was talking to Tom, and he was rubbing the back of his neck as if it hurt. Annika put these things together, along with the Doctor's sharp mood, and decided it was absolutely none of her business what happened. Waiting for the exchange to finish, which took a few minutes, she still wasn't sure how to ask her question. Finally, B'Elanna turned away from her husband, and saw the waiting woman.
"Morning, Annika." She grimaced as her hand went to her shoulder.
"Lieutenant, is something the matter?"
B'Elanna blushed, looked around, and pulled Annika by her arm into one of the access chutes. When they were safely alone, she hissed, "Well, now that you ask…"
"If you do not wish to tell me, I shall assume you sustained the injury exercising."
The engineer shook her head, "Let's just say it only hurt worse my honeymoon. Anyway, I didn't get you in here to tell you that. I can see a question in someone's eyes when there is one."
Annika shifted her weight uncomfortably. "You are correct. I need…advice. From someone who knows about," it was her turn to glance nervously around, then leaning closer, she spoke softly, "love." At this, B'Elanna smiled.
"Annika, Annika. Well, we're dealing with you and Harry, right?" At her nod, she continued, "You see, just trust your heart."
"Mmhmm Do what you feel is right. Heck, Tom and I never had a game plan. Things just sort of happened."
"My heart," she repeated. "But, how will I know what to do?"
"You'll know, believe me. Anyway, what I had for you, Carey already took care of. Why don't you take the report up the Captain for me?" She handed Annika the PADD she was carrying, and she was once again left to consider someone's words.
* * * *
Annika was pensive in the turbolift, and the computer told her the Captain was in her ready room. Twenty more feet to think of something.
Kathryn was sitting at her desk, listening to Chakotay tell her about some problem of other with the environmental controls. He had just left when her door chime sounded. "Enter," she called out, deciding B'Elanna probably had her report.
She was surprised when Annika stepped over the threshold. "Captain, here is the engineering report." Kathryn looked up again, finding Annika still there.
"Have a seat. Yes, I can see that you have a problem, or a question. Normally B'Elanna brings these reports herself, so she must have sent you here for a reason."
The younger woman sat nervously, and began, "That is correct, Captain. She suggested that you could give me advice."
"Advice on…?" Then it stuck Kathryn that Annika was blushing, something she usually never saw her do, unless she was with-ah ha! "Annika, is there something I can tell you about you and Harry?" she asked, noting the ring she wore.
"Yes. What dinnyou tell me about love?"
"That's no easy subject. Let me just say that you will know what is right. Your heart and soul will guide you. I don't know that much, except I found my true love. And Chakotay and I never knew exactly what to do next. We just followed what we felt was right."
Annika rose slowly. "Thank you, Captain, I will think about this." As she turned to leave, Kathryn added one more thing,
"Talk to Harry. I think, no, I know he is having just as hard a time as you."
* * * *
After her shift was over, Kathryn returned to their quarters, finding her husband playing with Kayla. Their daughter was two years old, and had her father's dark eyes. But her hair shaded from brown to a lighter honey tone, like Kathryn's. As she walked into the bedroom, Chakotay picked up Kayla and put her back into her crib.
He turned, and pulled Kathryn to him for a kiss. "Well, anything eventful happen today?"
"You mean, besides the Doctor complaining that Tom and B'Elanna were in again this morning?" He nodded, and, "Well, yes. Annika brought up the Engineering report, and asked me about love."
Chakotay smiled. "And what did you tell her?"
"To follow her heart. I get the feeling that's what B'Elanna told her, too. Anyway, she should talk to Harry herself. I mean, what can I tell her about love?"
In response, he swept her into his arms, carrying her to the couch. "Well," he murmured into her hair, "I always thought you knew a lot about the subject. You've had a long day. Actually, we both have." By this time, she had settled comfortably back against his shoulder, and he decided against moving his arm, even though it was losing blood fast.
"So, I have the perfect program for us. Computer," he addressed the air, "Reserve Holodeck One for my use. Now," he added to her, "you have fifteen minutes to slip on what I have laid out on the bed."
* * * *
The moment Kathryn ordered the lights to full illumination, she gasped in shock. Laid out on the bed was a costume of the style worn during Earth's Renaissance Period. The forest-green brocade gown fit snugly to the waist, and spread gracefully to the floor. It was laced from the low neckline to her waist, snowy white showing underneath. The sleeves were attached on the bottom half to the dress; they sat on her shoulders easily flounced at the shoulders and elbows, ending tightly at her wrists. Above and below each flounce was a band of gold braid, as well as at the wrists of each white sleeve. In the center front, the dress split from the knee, showing lighter green material underneath.
Kathryn carefully corkscrew-curled the hair at her temples, and loosely coiffed the rest at the back of her head. At her throat went a gold chain, and she pushed her wedding and engagement bands further up her fingers. She lifted up her hem so as not to trip over it, slipping soft embroidered slippers on her feet. A thin chain of gold and tiny pearls was pinned in her hair securely.
She emerged from the bedroom, to find Chakotay totally dressed and ready. He had on brown pants, over which he buttoned a white shirt. The shirt's collar showed at the top of his deep blue velvet doublet with sleeves that puffed at the elbow. His sleeves, unlike hers, were slashed at the elbow, fabric from his shirt underneath pulled through. The doublet had a small white fur-trimmed collar, and he took a moment to fasten the gold buckled belt.
Black leather boots were fastened at his shins, and a sword slid neatly into it's embossed sheath. A jaunty smile completed the outfit as he offered his hand to Kathryn. "My lady?" Kathryn looked slightly worried at the fact they would be walking down the corridor as if they had stepped from history. He seemed to sense this, and, "No fear, Lady Catherine." With that, he tapped a control on his PADD, and they were transported to a lush forest.
In the distance, they heard music and saw a splash of bright colors. "Milord? A fair ses hu Renaissance?"
"Mmmhm. Most of the crew here, too." They leisurely made their way up to brightly colored tents and stalls of wood and cloth. Every crewmember they passed curtsied or bowed. Tom and B'Elanna strolled by, arm-in-arm, and they stepped out of the way to chat.
"Milady Catherine, Milord Chakotay," each murmured.
B'Elanna had a scarlet and gold velvet gown on, a thin silk sash loose at her waist. Her scarlet sleeves were tied on with thin ribbons, cream fabric puffed out at the top and through slashes. Wedding and engagement bands adorned her hand as well, a gem-studded bracelet clasped about the same wrist.
Tom's doublet matched his wife's in color and pattern. Gold braid banded his collar and cuffs. Navy pants were tucked into low brown boots, and a small dagger was belted at his waist. Intertwining his arm with B'Elanna's once again, he called over his shoulder as they headed for one of the many tents, "You should see Annika and Harry."
The two commanding officers strolled among the crew and holograms. Chakotay stopped once and bought her a small gold ring, emblazoned with a many-pointed star. In fact, Tom had been right. Annika and her escort were both indeed a sight to see.
The dress Annika was wearing was a shade of pale blue, though the color underneath her laced bodice was light coral. Her sleeves, like B'Elanna's, were also tied on, coral underdress showing at the top and through slashes. At the hem, her underdress flowed out beneath the blue. Her gold hair was held in check by a net, and the silver chain and ring were at her throat. Annika rested her hand on Harry's arm, seemingly amazed by the profusion of color and sound.
Harry tugged at the low collar of his grey pleated doublet, adjusting the silver-embroidered sleeves. Tan pants disappeared into low boots a shade darker. His dagger was sheathed at his side as well, and he appeared slightly uncomfortable. Kathryn, or rather Lady Catherine guided the way to them.
"Well, Milord Chakotay, who do we have here?"
The young Asian man looked slightly tongue-tied, and his companion smoothly interjected with a curtsy, "Milady, milord, I am Annika, this is my escort, Sir Henry of Kim."
He recovered immediately and bowed, adding, "How do you like the fair?"
"Very much indeed. I don't suppose anyone would be so kind as to tell me what will happen next?"
A mischievous smile from Chakotay, "No, milady. It's a secret. Do continue on your way, Annika and Henry."
"Well, milord. We certainly still seem to be the figures of authority here."
"I see you haven't exactly changed your name any." She playfully teased.
"No, I couldn't find a likable equivalent, and frankly, I don't think Annika could either."
"What about Tom and B'Elanna?" She indicated the two, in a relatively quiet place, having an animated discussion. "No, no, let me guess, Sir Thomas of Paris, and his lady. We'll just have to ask her the name she chose. Grant it," she added with a smirk, "I wonder what it is..."
When they had woven their way through the festivities, Tom and his lady looked up. "Now, sir, I don't believe you've introduced your lady to milady and myself."
The man being questioned inclined his head. "I do apologize, your lordship. I am Sir Thomas of Paris, and this is Lady Brigitte."
Now it was Kathryn's turn to tease. "Well, Lady Brigitte," she put light emphasis on the name, "I see you kept it from the Hirogen?"
She spoke up for the first time, "Indeed, milady Catherine. Would you care to join us? My husband and I were just about to approach Sir Henry and his paramour."
* * * *
Meanwhile, Annika and her companion were in a secluded woodland area. They sat in silence, and finally ended up in each other's arms, kissing and discussing their relationship. As they broke apart, Harry dropped to one knee and fumbled in his pocket for something. He took her hand and slid a gold band onto her finger, "A Kima, will you marry me? I love you, and-"
She cut him off with a shy smile. "I thought you would never ask." Annika examined the ring closer. Diamonds surrounded a brilliant aquamarine, her human birthstone. White gold constituted the actual ring, and was a good deal rarer than the normal yellow. Inside was: from Harry to Annika, 2gether 4ever
"Now, when do we tell the Captain?"
* * * *
On to Part II>
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