Title: Come of Age
Author: Annette Welsh-Shinya 01/99
Series: VOY
Part: 11/?
Rating: NC-17
Codes: P/T, K/7, EMH Doc, Neelix, Vorik, Naomi Wildman
Summary: Spoilers for Night and 30 Days. After an encounter with a hostile species, most of the crew of Voyager is scattered throughout a region of space as prisoners. Tom Paris leads what's left of the crew in an attempt to recover their missing members.
Disclaimer: Paramount's property, my story, who wants to go a round with the Bat'leths?
Feedback: Encouragement/criticism gladly responded to. Flames will be consigned to the nearest airlock where proper venting procedures per Starfleet Engineering regulations will be followed.
Posting: OK to ASC, ASCEM, BLTS, & PT Fever. Please notify me if you post anywhere else...I love to see my name in lights!


Tom pulled B'Elanna into his arms as soon as the doors to his quarters were shut. They were still in the dark, but he didn't need any light to know where she was. He always knew. It was a combination of scent and visceral awareness that had been honed over the time of their relationship. B'Elanna could do the same thing. They could be in a room together, then they would both look up at the same time, each seeking the other, knowing they were thinking about each other. The awareness was so completely a part of him that he knew he had truly mated with her. He was hers for life and she was his. Their embrace tightened and they kissed.

Their kissing had different levels. Sometimes there were light, playful kisses, soulful and passionate kisses, deep and drugging kisses, and more than that. Then the kisses were devouring kisses. Pulling from each other the depth of their feelings. Their tongues met and receded, teeth gnashed lips and drew blood, arms pulled and pushed, alternatingly rough and soothing. In short, they were trying to impart all of their pent-up feelings for the past two weeks in a matter of moments.

B'Elanna broke off first, calling, "Computer, lights 20%." She made out Tom's features as the lights came up. He had a lean, hungry look on his face, almost lupine. His teeth were bared as if grinning, but he was not amused. His eyes were glittering, even in the dim illumination. They snapped with energy and he panted lightly, as if storing oxygen for an upcoming strain on his system. His hands were holding onto her shoulders and he was standing very close to her. She could feel the tension in his body, the weight of his erection against her. Heat diffused from him in great waves, and the scent of male hung heavy about him. It excited her. Her breathing became harsher, and she heard a roaring in her ears from her own pulse. She gloried in the moment, the satisfaction of what was to come enough for just that moment. Her Klingon part was shouting within her to take her mate, while her human part was savoring the sensation of delayed gratification. Both parts were enormously pleased with what was happening. She became more a whole person when she made love with Tom; he fused her being together with love and desire and satisfaction. She was seldom so at peace as when she was lost in their mutual passion. Then she moved.

She reached up her hands and pulled his face down to hers. She was very quick, and he did not resist initially. She kissed him quickly and deeply, then turned his faced and bared the nape of his neck. Her teeth nibbled the neck at first, then began biting in earnest. Tom allowed her to chew for a while, then twisted out of her grip suddenly. He pulled off his tunic and stood their in his t-shirt. They circled one another for a moment, then Tom reached in and grabbed her by her shoulders again and kissed her hard. Then, squeezing her shoulders tightly, he lifted her up and used his teeth to open her tunic. He nuzzled it open and then stripped it off, stepping back out of her way. She followed him immediately and pulled him forward by the nape of his neck, growling a bit. She snagged the front of his trousers and pulled them open with her free hand, while she kissed him. Now sounds of growling were eminating from Tom. He really had learned how to sound like a Klingon, she mused off-handedly, as she pulled his trousers down and he kicked them off. Just to get things going, she nipped his cheek and drew a little blood. Tom roared and broke her hold on him and pushed her up against the bulkhead. Pinning her arms up above her head, he trailed his mouth down her neck to the edge of her t-shirt and then back up again. He paused just at the scalene muscle on the right side of her neck and carefully took her flesh into his mouth and bit down, hard. She screamed in equal parts rage and passion. Then they began wrestling in earnest.

They were rolling around on the floor, the remainder of their clothing pulled off by one or the other, groans and growls mixing with the odd love murmer in the strange and wonderful combination that was theirs alone. Finally, Tom got up and scooped B'Elanna into his arms and carried her to the bed. He dropped her on the bed, ignoring her sounds of protest and climbed up on top of her. He took her head into his hands and looked into her eyes. They were intensly dark with emotions that whirled through her at light speed: passion, love, anger, desire, need. He knew that they exactly mirrored what was within him. They were so alike. He saw her face and wondered if there was anyone so utterly beautiful as her in the universe. He didn't think so, because it wasn't just her face that was beautiful. It was her self and all that made it up. He never tired of thinking about her in this way. He never stopped thanking whatever forturne, deity, or force in the universe that had directed her his way. Then, the moment of introspection was over, and he pressed his mouth over hers. He felt her breasts against him, their tautness pressing his chest. He bent and took one in his mouth, his tongue touching the nipple, rolling over it. Taking the nipple in his teeth, he tugged and tongued it until she moaned from the sensation. He repeated it on the other breast. She was a willing passive participant now. He knew he'd better enjoy it. She wouldn't stay this way for long. He was right.

B'Elanna enjoyed the sensation of Tom caressing her breasts. She took a breather, letting the feelings build up in her again. She loved his loving touch. He could almost make her come by just his mouth on her breasts. After a while, she decided that it was long enough. She hooked her leg around his and at the same time pushed on his shoulder, neatly flipping him with a technique honed by experience. Her sound of triumph blended with his roar of not really surprised satisfaction. Now, it would begin in earnest. She pushed him down on the bed with force and began roaming down his torso with her mouth and teeth and tongue alternating contact with his skin. She stopped short of his erection, and made a path down one thigh. Biting the firm flesh there not very gently, she reached over for him and held him with a light grasp that still had Tom flexing his hips up in reaction. She was a contradiction in action, sometimes rough, sometimes so gentle it was painful in the contrast. He was always guessing, always wary, always willing. He loved it. She stroked him, then took him into her mouth. Her tongue slid over the flesh with practiced surety, knowing exactly where to go to drive him crazy in the shortest amount of time. He was hard enough to ache so that it was a toss up which hurt more, her mouth doing him, or her not. He agonized forever as she took him to the edge and back again. Then, she was gone, pulling back to retake his mouth and stroke down his body with her strong hands.

Tom felt the pressure against his shoulders as B'Elanna grasped him, her torso had slid down his and they were all but joined. Her legs grasped him in a tight grip that he could seldom break. She was definitely in a Klingon mood tonight. She pulled him up in a semi-reclining position and was now making sounds that weren't in any language. It was all right, he understood her just fine. He was making his own sounds; they were remarkably similar. Their mouths mated fiercely, meeting and pulling back, only to meet again with even more ardor. Their embrace tightened as B'Elanna slid down on his erection, moaning as she did so. She was wet and tight, aching with longing that had been too long unfulfilled. It was just too damn long since she'd had him. Now, she would devour him. She drove up and down, her thrusts drawing him out then deep within herself with speed and force. She held his shoulders in a grip that was as fierce as her driving movements. Tom knew that it was a matter of time before Newton's law had to be obeyed; the force would have to go somewhere. At this point, he really didn't care too much. He was at the edge of the abyss and B'Elanna was eagerly behind him, ready to push him over.

"B'Elanna," he got out. It was a sign of pleasure, of defeat, of acceptance. He wasn't going to last much longer; he hadn't lasted very long at all. Usually, he was better than this, able to keep up. Not tonight. Tonight, she seemed intent on taking him all the way in record time. He didn't mind. If he was still in one piece later, they could go slowly.

"Yes," she replied, utter, gleeful satisfaction in her voice. Her movements actually increased in pace. She was so close, she could feel him ready to come apart. He was thrusting up at her in time with her movements, perfect synchronization obtained through practice. Pleasure ripped through her as the first tremulous pulses of orgasm occured then grew stonger. She shouted her satisfaction and was unaware that her grip on him strengthened so that his left clavicle finally gave out. Her scream of climax mixed with his as the force of her coming and the breaking of his collarbone combined to send him triumphantly over the edge of his own release. He came and felt himself giving her everything within him. She drew it all out. Then he fell back, only then wincing at the pain in his shoulder. She was panting, still feeling the aftershocks of her climax.

B'Elanna smiled at Tom, her satisfaction catlike. She was practically purring with niceness, now that she had what she wanted. She stretched and pulled herself off of him. He just watched her as he lay on the bed. She walked over to the bathroom and disappeared for a moment. He just lay there, trying to catch his breath, and wondering if her could make it to the osteoregen he had in the dresser without moaning. She'd tease him about that. He decided that he didn't care and moved to get it and let out a moan, albeit a low one. He shuffled over and got the regen and was diligently applying it. He didn't even bother with a tricorder reading. He'd had enough fractured clavicles to diagnose this one the old fashioned way - by touch. B'Elanna appeared out of the bathroom and watched him for a moment. When he was finished, she took the regen and put it away and led him to the bathroom. Now, she began phase two of the assault. She put him into a hot shower with real water and bathed him. He was dazed with the attention, so much so fast, all over his body, she moved with quick sure touches. She stroked him, massaged him, indulged herself in his body. Then she dried him and herself and led him back to the bed. Tom could do nothing but dumbly follow her lead. He was utterly and completely at her beck and call. She could do anything to him and he'd love it. She did. He did. They did it again. They finally slept, neither noticing that they'd been uninterrupted by a crisis. For the first time in a long time, both Tom and B'Elanna slept practically dreamless, cuddled in each other's arms for the entire night, which might be some people's version of heaven.

"Report," said Tom as he walked onto the Bridge the next morning.

"All systems functioning within reasonable parameters, sir," replied Ensign Powers from Ops. She looked rather energetic for someone who had just finished a night shift.

"Very good, Ensign," said Tom as he accepted the padd with the night's logs and reports on it from her. He walked over to his chair and sat down. The shift change commenced as he began reading the reports. B'Elanna came over from the Engineering station and sat down.

"Here are those figures you wanted me to check on regarding the use of the shielding at the higher warp speeds," she said handing him her padd. "It looks like we can do it, provided we have the power. With the warp engines back on line, we are concentrating on increasing our power production. It looks like we can bring the systems back up to almost full force if we can be sure to eliminate the hazard of exposing them to the seeker programs."

"The sensor modifications are underway?" asked Tom looking up from his padd.

"Yes," replied B'Elanna. "Seven has a team working now on the lower decks and I'm meeting my own in just a few minutes. We're going to start on deck 1 and the two teams will meet in the middle."

"Sounds good to me, Lieutanent," said Tom smiling. "I'll just hold down the fort on the Bridge. Let me know if you need anything else to finish the job."

"I don't believe we will, sir," replied B'Elanna getting up. "I'll periodically update you on our status."

"Very good, Lieutanent," said Tom and B'Elanna went to the turbolift to meet her crew which had arrived. They fanned out on the Bridge and began the modifications. They took some time, but finally finished, and then they were gone to other sections.

The day was filled with reports of the progress of the modifications, status reports, calculations (he sure missed Seven for those), and reworking his plan for infiltration of the Ibesian holdings. Halfway through shift, he got a call from Riley in Ship's Systems.

"Yes, Ensign Riley?" replied Tom. "I am confident that you have good news to report to me regarding the status of the ship's computer."

"Well, sir," replied Riley, her voice sounding tired and jubilant at the same time. "I'd like to thank you for your vote of confidence, and I hope it's not misplaced. I wish to report that I believe I have finally deconned the entire system and am ready to give the whole integrated system a whirl."

"That is just what I wanted to hear, Ensign," said Tom, approval and appreciation warming his tone.

"I would like to caution you though, sir," said Riley. "I've done everything I could think of as well as used every trick and concept I could derive from the Vandal's systems, but, we're dealing with unknowns here, sir. It could be that I missed something and it could come back and fry the entire system, so we'd be doing calculations until Hell freezes over just to keep the turbolift system on line."

"Have confidence, Ensign Riley," said Tom blandly, although his stomach was trying to dance with his liver. "You're the best we've got, so we go with what you say. Is it ready?"

"As it will ever be," replied Riley crossing her fingers and looking upward.

"Then throw the switch, or whatever," said Tom. "We're not going to get through this thing without all the computer on line."

"Yes, sir," said Riley. "I'll notify all departments and start the reintegration procedure."

"Let me know when you're ready to go," said Tom. "Paris out."

A few minutes later, Riley was back on line and the moment of truth had come.

"Ensign Riley, you may begin," said Tom, his voice even, but taut.

"Beginning reintegration of system sequence. It will require a few moments, then the entire computer system will be restarted," said Riley in a equally tight voice. They all knew that during that few minutes of restarting, the ship was literally a sitting duck. No one had ever recollected hearing or reading about a starship restarting its computer in anything but a drydock setting. It was not a good idea. Tom reasoned that it was also not a good idea to be running around an unfriendly area of space without full computer functions. They had to take the chance. They waited the intermitable few minutes, and then Riley's voice came back on the comm system.

"Ship's computer is online and fully functioning, sir," came a very happy voice from below.

"Ensign Riley," said Tom over the happy sounds of the Bridge crew. "Consider yourself given a gold star for the day."

"Thank you, sir," said Riley with a laugh.

"Oh, and Ensign Riley," added Tom.

"Yes, sir," replied Riley.

"I would like a full report on my desk, tomorrow," he finished.

"Yes, sir," she replied with alacrity. Riley sat back in her chair and her grin became even wider. Her report not due until tomorrow. Since the report was practically the only thing she had left to do beyond basic maintanence of the system, and she had help doing that, she was left with the impression that Mr. Paris wanted her to take it easy for the next day or so. She could do that.

There was just a lot of really good things happening that day. Ship's Systems finally got the computer back on line. The sensor realignment project made big headway and was nearing completion. The Doctor reported that all of his patients had either been returned to duty or released to their quarters for a little down time prior to being assigned back to duty. And best of all, those damn padds were going back to their primary function, holding devices for information, not blackboards for endless calculations. It was a satisfactory day altogether. Tom was sitting down in his ready room when his doorchime rang. It was Neelix.

"Hello, Neelix," he said looking up from the reports on his desk.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Paris," said Neelix. He looked very formal. "I have Creurie Bernard waiting outside, sir. You stated that you wished to talk with him regarding his actions yesterday."

"He has been released back to duty by the Doctor, I take it?" said Tom.

"Yes, sir. He has been fully released," Neelix handed Tom a padd. "This is my report on the whole incident, and Bernard has also made a statement regarding his actions."

Tom took the padd and said, "Is there anything more in this report that the facts that you told me yesterday?"

"No, sir. It's basically the same situation that I told you. Bernard was careless and disregarded protocol and thereby endangered his work partner, the crew, and the ship. He is aware of this, sir," said Neelix. "He has stated that he expects to be reprimanded for his actions as he is wholly responsible for the matter."

"Very well, Mr. Neelix," said Tom finally. "Have Bernard come in."

"Yes, sir," said Neelix and he moved to the door and motioned Bernard in. Neelix then looked at Tom and Bernard, then left the room. He was not good at disciplining the crew members. He knew this to be a failing. He was going to have to work on it. It was not his nature to be critical of other people, but, his job required that he be that way. He just wished more of the regular Security people had been left on the ship. He felt sometimes that he was just barely holding his own.

"Crewman Bernard," said Tom getting up from his desk. Bernard stood at attention in the center of the room. Tom walked over to face him. "You violated safety protocol and entered an unsecure area with a personal communicator, and used that communicator, thereby causing an explosion of a seeker device which damaged the systems of this ship. You have been the direct cause of lost time, material, and precious power resources that we can ill afford to lose. You endangered the life of your partner and the crew of this ship." Tom looked hard at Bernard. "You have stated that you are aware of what your actions have caused. Do you have anything to add to the statement you gave Mr. Neelix?"

"No, sir," replied Bernard, his voice low but clear. "I have no explaination, sir. I take full responsbility for my actions."

"You will be taking responsibility, Crewman," Tom snapped back. "What I want to know is, are you going to repeat this performance? If you are going to be working in Security, you need to keep your attention to the detail at hand. It is a position of grave importance on the ship, Crewman Bernard. If you can't handle it, I can reassign you to a duty more fitting to your abilities."

"I can handle it, sir," said Bernard, not breaking attention. "My inattention won't happen again. I am aware of the seriousness of my position, and take my job very seriously, sir. I would like to remain on the Security detail, sir."

"Very well, Crewman," said Tom after a moment. "You are officially reprimanded for your carelessness. You are reduced a grade and confined to quarters for a week when you are not on duty. You may remain in your position in Security, your assignment will be determined by Mr. Neelix. Dismissed."

"Yes, sir," said Bernard, who breathed again. He had not realized that he had been holding his breath. "Thank you, sir." He turned and left the room.

Tom walked over to the viewport and gazed at stars. It took a while, but his pulse finally came back down to normal. It had brought back some ugly memories. Being called on the carpet did not change, no matter who you were. A kid of ten, a Lieutenant about to become an Ensign, or a Crewman who'd probably been so exhausted he hadn't known what day it was. It didn't matter; he'd broken the rules and screwed up. The punishment fit the crime. Oh, God. He was now the judge, jury, and executioner. He, who was the king of screwups, twice jailed. The conflict within him roiled. He did not deserve to be in this position. He was not the right one. Yet, who would it be if not him? He mentally filed through the candidates. He supposed that he knew the answer to his questions. Sure, there were others who could fill the position. They could make do, do what he did, just do their best. He decided that he could go crazy wondering why he had to do it. It was his job; he needed to just shut up and do it. Still, it pained him to be the one do make these hard decisions. He felt inadequate to the task. It was necessary that it be done. That was the only thing he could hold onto right now. It would have to do. There were things to be done. He moved on to the next one.

"Entering the outer reaches of the Barnok system, sir," Ensign Baytart called out from the Conn.

"All stop, Mr. Baytart," replied Tom. "Ensign Seven, sensor report."

"No signs that we have been detected by any passing ships or inhabitants, sir. Shielding systems are stable and there are no indications of any Vandal ships on long range scanners," Seven replied from Ops.

"Very good, Ensign," said Tom. "There's a nice moon around the fifth planet, Mr. Baytart. Please take us there and use it to shield our presence from any prying eyes on the fourth planet."

"Yes, sir," Baytart replied and made the necessary course modications. Interally, he was wondering why they needed the moon to hide with their shielding. He didn't wonder long.

"Ensign Seven," said Tom. "How long do you think your latest code incarnation with the Borg alogorithms is going to hold out to the seeker technology?"

"There is not enough information available to make an accurate calculation, sir," replied Seven. "The technology does not respond to Borg modifications in the same way as to the other changes we have tried."

"Doesn't everything," said Tom shaking his head, but was pleased anyway. "Let's keep an eye on that, Seven. I want to know the minute you find any of those itinerant mines floating our way sending out the seeker signals."

"Yes, sir. I've set the sensors on automatic scans for the remodulating requencies of the mines that we know, and I begun some calculations with the computer for discovering further permutations on the information that we have," said Seven.

"Good work, Ensign," said Tom. "It's a good thing we got the computer back. I wouldn't want to have to help you with those calculations."

"I wouldn't want you to have to help me either, sir," replied Seven with no inflection in her voice. However, Tom could detect a bit of humour in her eyes. He didn't reply but his mouth quirked a bit. He didn't want to admit it, but Seven sometimes was in the running for taking over as entertainment officer on the Bridge, a position previously held by a certain Ensign at Conn. He felt somewhat nostalgic for the days of relatively little responsibility, then ruthlessly suppressed it. He had work to do. When they were *parked* behind the moon, he called a staff meeting. Things were about to get trickier.

End Part 11 1