Voyager Vignettes I

Darrel W. Beach

May, 1996
Revised and HTMLized, July 1999

The following presentation is rated G.

Weary in Body and Soul

     The sigh that emanated from the doors as they closed sounded almost as tired as he himself felt. Today's shift seemed indefinite, as uneventful shifts are wont to be. His restless anticipation for something -- anything -- to happen served no purpose other than to produce a few knots of tension in his shoulders. He decided that a session of meditation was the best available remedy.
     I'd really prefer a back rub, though. And he knew who he would most like to be the administrator. So strong, yet so gentle. How he yearned to feel her hands plied against his body.
     He sighed in disappointment. The way things stood now, his desires had absolutely no chance of fruition. She had made it clear that her responsibility to the ship precluded any attempt at a personal relationship. But more than that, he knew she was still holding on to her significant other back home. While he appreciated her motivation, he couldn't fathom how she could keep denying the reality of her situation. Not that he felt like they wouldn't make it back to the Alpha Quadrant, but probably not any time soon. It would be in everyone's best interests to assume the worst case scenario and take the necessary steps to account for it, and she was no exception. If only she could accept that....
     Now wasn't the time to get worked up over something he couldn't control. Besides, he was trying to relax, not wind himself up like a drum skin. He laid out his ritual objects in front of him and assumed a cross- legged position on the floor.
     "Computer, reduce lighting to fifty percent."
     With the bright light subdued, he closed his eyes and took a few deep cleansing breaths to slow down his heart rate and loosen himself up.
     "Akoocheemoya, please help me achieve peace in both body and spirit..."

The Greater Fool

     Culluh's ill mood radiated from his body like electromagnetic waves. It couldn't be helped: it happened every single time a discussion steered to that accursed Federation vessel. It only served to remind him of how many times his ambitions of power were undermined by his nemesis, Janeway. A woman.
     He clenched his fists repeatedly. That's what bothered him the most: a woman in command of a ship. Females were fragile and weak, they shouldn't even be allowed to set foot on a warship. Those Federations were insane to put Janeway in charge. And yet he could not assert his power over her. This abject humiliation was the source of much humour for the other sects, and would have been also on his own ship had he not demonstrated the penalty for such insubordination a few times.
     Now, Seska, there was a woman who knew her place! Culluh had a true appreciation for the Cardassians, who, much like his own race, knew how to discipline the weaker sex. From monitoring Seska's activities since her arrival, he seemed sure of it. No doubt all Cardassian females were as much the complacent, subservient wenches as she. If it weren't for her usefulness as an informant of the Federations (and as a consort, though as easily satiated as she was) he would have killed her long ago.
     Well, she would exhaust her usefulness soon enough. It would be unfortunate to dispose of such a pleasant diversion as Seska, but all victories required some sacrifice. Besides, he was beginning to tire of her endless cloy gratifications.

     Posing in front of a full-length mirror, Seska affectionately rubbed her swollen belly. She was rewarded with a kick from the tiny form inside her, and she smiled. The gestation cycle was nearly complete; soon she would be able to present Chakotay with their prodigy, her final triumph over him. In some small measure, she would still have him, and there was nothing Chakotay could do to take it away from her.
     They were so much alike, she and Chakotay: strong, intelligent, cunning. He was the perfect specimen from which to produce a child. Not like that fool Culluh. He was so dense; she couldn't believe how easy it was to manipulate him.
     Imbecile, you should have listened to Chakotay. You have no idea what you're up against, she thought as the baby kicked her once again.
     Her smile harnessed a wicked tone. No, it wouldn't be long now.

A Mess in the Mess

     "Mr. Vulcan! So good of you to join us this evening!" Neelix's jubilant enthusiasm bubbled as vigorously as the contents in the pot he was stirring.
     Tuvok looked at the stocky chef with disinterest as he picked up a meal tray. "I fail to see how my presence in the mess hall at this particular time should be of any more significance than any other instance. If I am not mistaken, I arrive here for dinner at the same time every day."
     Neelix cackled like an old man. "You and your sense of humor! You may have duped everyone else with your 'unemotional' facade, but you don't fool me, not for a second."
     The lieutenant stifled a tired sigh. He would have pointed out that his statement was not intended to be humorous -- and the fact that it was illogical for Vulcans to practise humor, as it was an emotion -- but Neelix always came back with yet another illogical rationalization to contradict him. He contemplated whether all Talaxians were like Neelix, but decided he did not have sufficient information to make a reliable assessment. "Might I ask what is being served this evening?"
     Neelix's eye twinkled with merriment. "You most certainly may." Grabbing a bowl, he spooned out a portion from the bubbling pot. "This," he said, shoving the bowl under Tuvok's nose, "is a special recipe I picked up during an expedition to the twin moons of Dressak Prime."
     Tuvok reflexively jerked his head back to prevent being hit with the bowl. The pungent odor of the brew assaulted his nose, compelling him to push the bowl down onto the tray.
     "It's Feldian waterfowl, boiled in a light sap extracted from Dressak mistlerod trees. Add a few fresh veggies, and have a stew fit for a king! Eh, of course, the original recipe is rather lifeless, so I added in some leola root to give it a more robust personality."
     Several visions flashed through the security officer's mind, all of them very un-Vulcan. Visions such as they were not uncommon: Neelix had a way of getting under the skin of the unflappable Vulcan. It was at times like this when the Kolinahr was particularly valuable. Without it, Voyager's morale officer would likely have been the victim of an unfortunate accident within a week of first boarding the ship. With a conscious effort, he suppressed the disagreeable thoughts, and took his tray into a secluded corner of the mess hall. Maybe if he immersed himself in his reading, he would banish the thought of giving Neelix a personal demonstration of the Vulcan neck pinch.

     "Mind if I sit down?" Lt. Paris didn't wait for Ensign Calloway's permission before straddling the seat opposite her.
     "By all means," she sarcastically intoned, "make yourself comfortable."
     She knew why he was here: the Conn officer had been pestering her for a date for several weeks, despite the fact she kept turning him down. Every time she thought he'd finally given up, he'd come back as persistent as ever. He just wouldn't take no for an answer.
     "Thanks, I will." Tom could tell he was driving her nuts with his 'naive and innocent' routine. He'd make her so frustrated that she'd have no choice but to concede to the date, just to get him to stop harping her. Tom had set his sights on Calloway ever since the Delaneys had become seriously involved, and he was determined to get the next top prospect while there was still time to pick and choose.
     He watched as the young security officer placed a morsel of food in her mouth, she trying her best to ignore his piercing stare. "Hmm, dinner looks good tonight. What is it?"
     Her eyes never left her tray. "I think Neelix called it felda bird stew. It would probably taste better without the leola root."
     Tom sighed dramatically. "Ah, Neelix and his leola root! He just has no concept for decent cuisine. Now, if you would agree to have dinner with me tomorrow night...."
     "Paris, how many times do I have to tell you: I'm not interested. I don't like you."
     He gave her a look of genuine hurt. "Now how can you say that? You don't even know anything about me."
     Calloway fixed him with a cynical 'give me a break' stare.
     "Oh, come on, Leena, I'm just asking for treat. What have you got to lose? Here's your chance to get a really good meal at my expense, and we can get to know each other better. You might find out I'm not such a bad guy."
     She still didn't really want to it: Paris' reputation as a philanderer was unprecedented. Unfortunately, it was mostly hearsay to her; she could be judging him on the basis of unreliable or biased information. Why not give him the benefit of the doubt?
     That suspension of doubt only lasted for about a second, when the lieutenant opened his mouth.
     "And, well, if the evening is still young, I'm sure we could find other ways to become even better acquainted."
     Ensign Calloway set her spoon down and sipped the water in her glass. "Paris, cool off," she said as she hurled the contents of the glass in Tom's face. She stood up and walked out of mess hall, while several crewmen stared at a soaked Lt. Paris, some in surprise, others in amusement. Lt. Tuvok kept his gaze focused on his PADD, seemingly oblivious to everything that had just transpired.
     Paris wiped off some of the moisture with his palm. I really ought to learn to keep my big mouth shut. Silently he calculated the odds of her ever speaking to him again. It didn't look good. If he hurried, maybe he could control some of the damage by apologizing.

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