Voyager Vignettes III
Darrel W. Beach
Revised and HTMLized, June 1999
The following presentation is rated G.
The Battle Within
Tuvok sat alone at his usual table in the mess hall, sipping on a
cup of tea while he engrossed himself in his novel. He hadn't
originally planned to schedule a break for himself this evening, but
Captain Janeway had insisted upon it. Voyager was due to arrive at the
Fraalian homeworld in the morning and the captain wanted every member
of the away team to be fully rested and alert for the welcoming
reception. It didn't matter to her in the least that a Vulcan could go
for days without sleep; given the history of their encounters with
alien species in the Delta Quadrant so far, she wanted to make as
positive an impression as she could.
He took another sip. He had to admit, he didn't mind getting an
opportunity to relax. The last several months had been more physically
and mentally demanding than usual. He scrolled to the next page,
contented that Neelix finally knew enough not to disturb him while he
was reading. The Talaxian usually went out of his way to test the
Vulcan's emotional reserve.
Violence. Bloodlust. Brutality. Carnage.
Lon Suder clenched his fists and closed his eyes, riding out the
wave of emotions that swept through him. These moments were an
increasing source of frustration now that Lt. Tuvok had shown him the
way of logic and control. He thumped the desktop angrily, upset with
his accursed diseased mind, wondering if he could ever find an end to
his suffering. He then took a deep breath, reigning in his rising
temper. He was overreacting again. Tuvok would never approve of such
The Betazoid turned off the desktop terminal and paced the room,
trying to expend his nervous energy. Suder found his confinement to
quarters a difficult situation to live in, especially during extended
periods of time. Tuvok normally stopped by every couple of days,
either to discuss botany or to play a game of chess, but lately his
visits were becoming more infrequent and Suder was having trouble
finding ways to occupy his time. All of this idleness was putting a
greater amount of stress on him. He needed something that would take
his mind off the violent impulses running around inside.
Tranquillity. Calm. Strength. Balance.
He set the lights in his quarters at a low intensity, just as any
Vulcan preferred when preparing for meditation. Although the condition
was not an absolute necessity, meditation always heightened the senses
and reduced lighting would prevent undue damage to the eyes once the
session concluded. The temperature of the room was a bit cool, since
it was set to Federation standard, but it mattered not to him. Vulcans
had a tolerance for a great many things, and the inconvenience would
soon be forgotten anyway. Therefore, it would be illogical to adjust
the environmental controls at this time.
Tuvok usually found great comfort in meditation: it allowed
clarity of thought and purpose, a way of reaffirming the calm control
of logic that all Vulcans valued. However, ever since the mind-meld
with the psychopathic Betazoid, Tuvok's meditation served more as a
means of therapy, to assist him in coping with the unstable emotions
that had now become a part of him. The impulses that once threatened
his health and sanity were now nowhere near as severe or frequent, but
it was a slow process of healing.
Igniting some candles of incense, the chief security officer
spread himself out on his bunk, his eyes closed and hands steepled
together atop his chest. Almost automatically his breathing deepened
and slowed, his heart rate dropped, and with them his mind began to
recite the verses of Surak's teachings. Tuvok looked into himself, now
in a state of centeredness.
Reason. Logic. Control. Inner peace.
It was those things that Suder sought most in his endeavor to
take his life back from the violent tendencies that haunted him. All
his life the Betazoid surrendered to the need to inflict pain and
death, not ever really knowing why, only that it had to be done. Once
he had tried to defeat this bloodlust, trying every kind of treatment
and therapy conceivable in modern medicine. In the end he found the
only possible solution was to give in to the destructive urges, hoping
against all hope that perhaps one day his appetite for death would be
sated. Unfortunately, that day never arrived. Whether by chance or
predestination, he found himself isolated on a solitary Federation
vessel, deserted in a distant region of the galaxy fraught with
hostile, conniving peoples and uncertainty. Now, suddenly, there was
no outlet for which to unleash his macabre craving for bloodshed.
The day of Crewman Frank Darwin's killing was a mixed blessing in
disguise. From the onset of their arduous journey he avowed once again
to acquit himself of this murderous hobby, motivated by the closeness
of space and the rapid familiarity with those aboard. And for a while
he had shown remarkable restraint. However, the mounting pressure to
kill finally became too overwhelming to suppress. That was when Lt.
Tuvok proposed the notion of performing a Vulcan mind-meld in an
attempt to understand the ensign's motive for murdering the junior
engineer -- which, of course, there was none -- and in so doing opened
up a realm of contentment and resolve Suder had never aspired to taste.
It now seemed so much easier to push the violent instincts aside and
view the world from a quiet, rational perspective.
However, inner peace came at a price. A regimen of mental
exercises and meditation was demanded of him by Tuvok in order to keep
his resistance up. And so it was that he found himself now, deep in
the recesses of his own mind, attempting to focus his thoughts and
energies into the calming influence of logic.
Hate. Rage. Confusion. Despair.
The emotions came unbidden, and in one brief moment he felt his
control slipping from him. It was unsettling, that even though he had
an upper hand in dealing with them, they could still affect him so
profoundly. In that one moment he longed to hear the sound of bones
fragmenting and cartilage tearing, to scream a blood-curdling cry of
anguish and torment, to free himself of a tortured existence. But just
as quickly as it came, he exerted his mental powers to gather up his
emotions and submerge them under a barricade of control. Hopefully
time would be the provider of wounds healed.
Awakening, Suder hoped that tending to his flowers would provide
extra solace for his troubled mind. He said a silent prayer of thanks
to Lt. Tuvok for providing him with a new arsenal of weapons to fight
his demons. They had yet to cure him, but right now he felt closer to
a normal life than he had ever known.
Awakening, Tuvok hoped that tending to his flowers would provide
extra solace for his troubled mind. Once again the battle was waged,
and once again he arose the victor, overcoming impulses that were not
truly his own. Still, he wondered if he would ever be able to purge
himself of these noxious emotions.
It was finally over; the journey of the nomadic U.S.S. Voyager
was at an end. Despite all the perils the ship and crew had endured,
Kathryn Janeway had delivered on her promise to return them home -- a
little bruised and battered, but safely nonetheless. One thing she
prided herself on was keeping her word.
Even as she stood outside the yard of her home, she could still
hardly believe that it wasn't all a figment of her imagination. After
all the time travelling through the cold depths of uncharted space, the
condition of her house and property appeared unaltered, preserved to
the exact day she had last set foot here. The garden was fresh with
the sweet scents of azaleas and irises; the grass was lush and dewy and
in need of a trim; the birch was in its full splendor, casting a cool
shade across the yard.
The playful barking of a dog interrupted her nostalgia of the
scenery, but with a growing disbelief she recognized it as the warm
greeting of her old friend Molly Malone. It seemed incredible, that
she would manage to survive this long, long enough to welcome her owner
and companion back to the homestead. Kathryn spun to her left, only to
see a shaggy mass of rusty fur bound across the yard and around the
corner of the house to the back. It struck her as odd that the Irish
setter hadn't tackled her upon sight, but then considering how long she
had been away, maybe Molly Malone had forgotten her scent.
Eager to reacquaint herself with her old companion, Kathryn
followed the path to the backyard. The vision that unfolded made her
heart burst with joy. Through the open gate she spied the form of her
long-lost lover, Mark. The facial features were a little more etched,
the hair beginning to grey at the temples, but it was still the same
man who captured her affections so long ago. She couldn't put into
words how much it meant to her that he was still here, tending to Molly
Malone. In her heart she knew Mark hadn't forgotten her.
"Mark!" she cried out excitedly, but he seemed not to hear her.
Again she bellowed his name, but to no avail; his attention was clearly
Kathryn puzzled over what it might be until she heard the
ebullient laughter of young children and the yapping of puppies. No
doubt the scene was more than distracting, but it left her a more
curious riddle: since obviously Molly Malone was too advanced in age to
bear young, whose puppies were they? Through rational thought she
deduced that they must belong to one of the pups from Molly's first
litter. It would also explain why her canine friend didn't recognize
her; more than likely it was this pup she had mistaken for her
companion. A slight stab of grief struck her at the thought that
perhaps Molly Malone had passed on after all. Still, it comforted her
knowing that Mark had kept the pup, to give her something of Molly to
Reaching the gate entrance, Kathryn took in the view with a
sudden horror. The children whom she had heard -- which she assumed
were visiting neighborhood kids to play with the puppies -- bore a
strong resemblance to her lover. The same fair hair, the same eyes; it
was unmistakable. The nightmarish spectacle progressed, as an unknown
woman appeared from within her home. Kathryn could not see her face,
but the glint of the golden band encircling her finger was all she
needed to see.
Kathryn was completely helpless as she watched her paradise
shatter before her like so much fine stemware. She vainly attempted to
intercept the woman's path, to grab Mark by the cuff of his shirt and
demand an explanation of what she was witnessing, but her feet were
rooted into place. Every moment that passed seemed to lengthen her
distance from him, out of reach from her grasp, until it felt like she
was a mile away.
Kathryn awoke from the nightmare, a clammy sheen of
perspiration covering her skin. It frustrated her to no end that they
still recurred, even after all this time. She had accepted the fact
that Mark and Molly Malone were a distant part of her life now -- or so
she believed. The bad dreams suggested that she might yet have some
A certain first officer of hers, whose counsel she had come to
trust, implied that the dreams were a manifestation of the guilt and
regret she felt for being unable to say good-bye properly. He also
strongly recommended that she talk to her spirit guide, who could help
her move on to the next phase of her life, and allow herself to open
up to someone new.
At the last piece of advice she dismissed as she always did; it
just wasn't acceptable for the captain to get involved in a
relationship. There were already too many responsibilities with which
to concern herself, a romantic involvement would be too much of a
distraction. It was a distraction she couldn't afford, not when it
meant jeopardizing the safety of her ship and crew. She had made a
promise to return them all safely to the Alpha Quadrant.
One thing she prided herself on was keeping her word.
The dining room table was elegantly adorned for the night's
occasion: sterling silverware, bone china, crystal champagne glasses --
right down to the white cotton tablecloth. The freshly lit pair of
tapered candles cast just the right amount of light in the darkened
room, glimmering like the twin stars of Vendrax as seen from his home
on a warm summer night. It had taken him over five hours to prepare,
but it had been worth it; everything was in perfect order. This would
be an evening she would remember for a long time.
Neelix started pacing the room, burning off the nervous energy
quietly accumulating within him. He remembered the first time he met
Kes, the victim of a needless beating at the hands of the Kazon-Ogla.
Despite the swollen and discolored welts masking her alabaster skin, he
was instantly drawn by her flawless beauty. Even more alluring was her
determination and thirst for life and adventure, which she made evident
by her explorations to the dry, desolate surfaces of Ocampa and her
defiance to the Ogla warriors. From that moment on he determined to
remove her from all the harms of the universe. This remembrance made
him smile with satisfaction, knowing he'd triumphed in that endeavor.
"Neelix? What's going on?" asked his spritely companion, who
found herself walking into shadows. Stumbling across the room, Kes
aimed straight for the source of illumination. She eyed the spread on
the table with curiosity mixed with delight. "Oh, Neelix, this looks
wonderful! But why? I don't understand."
The Talaxian bubbled over with excitement. "Today is our
eighteen month anniversary, my sweet! I wanted to surprise you with a
special dinner. It was Lieutenant Paris' suggestion to use the
candles; he told me it's a common practice among humans, to set the
"Well, that would explain why he acted so peculiarly when I saw
him today," she remarked to herself.
Neelix approached his mate and cupped her chin in one hand.
"Do you know how much you mean to me, my dearest Kes? My life would be
empty and without meaning if I didn't have you here to share it. If
you were ever lost, I'd shift heaven and earth to get you back. I just
love you so much."
She smiled affectionately back at him. "I know you do, Neelix.
Just being here, on this ship, every day reminds how much you care for
me, and how much I care for you, too."
They stood there for the longest time in silence, mesmerized by
each other's gaze. The two lovers didn't even consider the meal lying
on the dining table, now cold.
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