Author’s Note: Set during the episode “Workforce, Pt. 2.” B’Elanna begins her journey back to her real life aboard Voyager. Rated G.
Thanks, DangerMom and thanks, Brenda, too.
by Diane Bellomo
The Doctor had explained, in somewhat too much detail, while she lay in twilight sedation on the biobed, how her memory engrams had been tampered with, and how the new treatment he had developed to restore her memories to their proper order would take a few days to complete. He explained that she would be unconscious for these treatments, and she silently thanked the gods for that, because he went on at some length about the drugs he would be using, as well as the contribution the biobed would be making to return her to health. He assured her that each time she awoke, she would remember more of who she really was, until every memory was back exactly where it should be.
Unfortunately, he said, the treatment would not include the erasure of the false memories that had been implanted by Dr. Kadan, nor of the few she had made for herself while on the planet, but she would at least be able to recognize that they were false. He also warned that the treatment might restore to the forefront recollections of times in her past when her most intimate memories had been at the mercy of others. The Doctor said it was possible he could develop a way to remove the false memories, and suppress the older real ones, but that it might, in fact, be healthier for her to allow all memories – old, new, and false – to integrate themselves in their own time as she moved on with her life. She did not allow herself to dwell on any of this for too long, fearful she’d drive herself legitimately crazy. Everything was jumbled up enough as it was. Her head had begun to pound, yet another caution from the Doctor, who had refused to give her anything for it, claiming she’d be unconscious soon anyway and would no longer care.
Now here she was, listening as the door to her quarters whooshed closed behind Neelix, kneeling beside the crib where her baby would soon sleep. Her baby. Tom’s baby. I wondered why he was so protective of me. She reached in through the bars and ran her fingers along the soft edge of a pale pink knitted blanket, folded at the foot of the mattress. The blanket…memories surfaced…had been a gift from Sam and Naomi Wildman.
Samantha Wildman was a science officer and Naomi was her daughter, a precocious child with four Ktarian forehead horns and a burning desire to become Captain Janeway’s Bridge Assistant. They were her friends, and she knew without doubt they would be back on Voyager very soon. She smiled as she remembered the moment when they had given her the blanket, and this led to recollections of other pleasant memories aboard Voyager.
B’Elanna stayed by the crib for the better part of an hour, until the baby and her primary stomach reminded her she had not eaten for quite some time. She heaved herself to her feet and went to the Mess Hall.
* * *
Neelix’s pancakes and syrup, while warm and delicious, conjured up several ugly memories of things she would have much preferred to remain forgotten. However, they provided her an odd strength to continue the personal log she was reading, and she didn’t want to make Neelix feel bad. The little Talaxian, after filling her cup with his latest decaffeinated coffee-like substitute, wisely left her to herself, patting her shoulder and sighing in mock disappointment at not being allowed to know the contents of the logs. Another memory came to her: He took his job as morale officer very seriously. He always knew how to make her feel better, always knew the exact right thing to say or do, even when she was acting like a chrome-plated bitch toward him.
Enough of that for now. Courageously and not a little nervously, she lifted a datapadd and read another entry, blinking her eyes in a futile attempt to clear the fog from her brain: I can’t believe I allowed myself to simply “not see” what B’Elanna was doing to herself. Damn that Delta Flyer and my childish obsession with it. I should have just let Seven, Harry and Tuvok build the damn thing and come after me when it was ready for a test flight. At least then I would have been with B’Elanna more, would have noticed her abnormal behavior and those awful injuries. I’m not going to be able to watch her pick up a fork without thinking she’s got some personal ulterior motive for its application. What does that make me? Her lover? I don’t think so. Christ Almighty, I can’t believe what this miserable journey has done to us. I love her so much and if she doesn’t let me in when she needs someone to help her, I will die.
Before she could allow any other memory to surface, she quickly skipped to another entry, this one more recent, but no less fervent: My wife, B’Elanna Torres. Did you know that, you idiot computer? She’s my wife! She’s beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Every time I look at her, I see an angel. She’d kill me dead if she knew that, so I’ll never tell. She’s my life, my blood, my hope.
B’Elanna looked down at the fork in her hand, watched it begin to tremble as detailed memories of her self-abusive holodeck activities came flooding in, unbidden and unwelcome. She tried to read the other entry again, to take her mind away from the terrible place it wanted to go, but tears blurred her vision and her mind’s eye continued to serve up scenarios of that dark time. She choked once before she could swallow down the bile. The baby rolled nauseatingly and she gripped the edge of the table and clamped her jaw shut to avoid making any more noise.
Carefully, B’Elanna peered over her shoulder to the kitchen. Neelix was busy scrubbing a heating coil and not paying any attention to her. She took a huge breath and let it out slowly and evenly. After another moment of supreme Klingon effort, mixed with a touch of Tuvok’s meditation technique, she was able to calm her rampaging memories. Time to get moving. She stood.
“Neelix, I’m finished. I’m leaving. I’m due in Sickbay.”
He was out of sight now, banging around in a lower cabinet. “All right, B’Elanna. Just leave the plate there. I’ll get it.”
“Thank you.” If he had noticed her trouble, he did not address it. Another reason why morale was so much better these days. Since his self-appointment, Neelix had been learning right along with them. He didn’t push so much any more, so the crew appreciated all the more the times when he did.
She left as quickly as she could and was perversely glad that this once, just this once, there were no eyes in the corridor to see the shape she was in. She stopped in one of the few shared bathrooms on Voyager, splashed water on her face, and went and sat on a toilet until her heart rate slowed and the baby quieted. When she finally arrived in Sickbay, she was smiling and ready to receive what the Doctor told her would be the final treatment.
Little did either of them know just how soon it would be before the crew would be back on Voyager.
* * *
B’Elanna was in Sickbay when Tom was beamed in, along with Willy McKenzie, Lydia Anderson, Patrick Mulcahey, John Ayala, Joe Carey, Sam and Naomi Wildman, Chell, Jenn and Meg Delany, and Nozawa Kashimuro, to fill all the beds. Janeway, Chakotay, Seven, and Tuvok, along with the balance of the crew, had been beamed to Cargo Bay One, which had been outfitted with biobeds and the required amount of hyposprays the Doctor would need to treat them. The Doctor’s treatment had been perfected on B’Elanna, and he was expecting things to move quickly and without problem. The instant the transporter finished rematerializing everyone, he and Harry went to work.
B’Elanna had been assigned to assist Harry and the Doctor in the cargo bay, with Neelix handling those in Sickbay, until she learned what the beam-in roster would be. Then she pleaded with the Doctor, literally pleaded, to be allowed to help Neelix.
“Please, Doc. I know Neelix can handle it himself, but I just want to be with Tom when he’s beamed in. Please.” She had not known she was gripping his hand, and since he knew she couldn’t do any real damage, he did not say anything. He wondered for a moment, looking into brimming sable eyes, how Tom Paris could resist any plea this woman might make.
Even at that, the Doctor nearly caved in and granted permission to have only Tom Paris beamed to Sickbay, but he caught himself in time. B’Elanna had been given instructions and she was no dummy – he trusted she would be able to separate her personal need to see her husband from her newly-assigned professional duties as triage nurse, but he also gave her fair warning.
“All right, B’Elanna, you may assist Neelix in Sickbay, but remember there will be eleven others there. And I know you haven’t forgotten how you were at first, angry and frightened. Tom will be no less so, though I suspect his knowledge of Voyager and seeing you may calm him. But you must be ready for an emotional outburst, not only from him, but from the others, who have not had the opportunity Tom, Seven, and Janeway did to discuss their situation with Detective Yerid. You must be ready to administer treatment immediately. Do you understand?”
Her daughter was doing somersaults, making her slightly nauseous again, but she understood clearly the huge favor the Doctor was granting her. She must not allow the sight of Tom to distract her from her duty to everyone else. She would have plenty of time to bring Tom back to himself “Yeah, Doc, I’ve got it.” Instinctively, she wrapped her arms around her belly. The Doctor nodded once and left to prepare for his patients in the cargo bay. She did not notice him wriggling the fingers on one hand.
* * *
Above the din of everyone else, she could hear Tom yelling as he materialized. “…you just wait a minute, WAIT a minute!” The biobed locked his wrists and ankles, as programmed, but the sight was upsetting B’Elanna and not doing much more for Tom. “Hey!” He pulled against the restraints. “Tell this goddamn bed to let me GO! I’m not going anywhere! Hey!” Difficult as it was, she kept to her assignment and resisted rushing to him. Quickly, she picked up a hypospray and turned to the nearest biobed. On it lay Naomi Wildman, and it was clear she was frightened to death. Her eyes were pinched closed, but tears were leaking out the corners. Unlike the others, she was not making a sound and her horns and freckles stood out sharply against her pale skin. B’Elanna placed a comforting hand on the child’s arm.
“It’s okay, Naomi, you’re home now. Open your eyes.”
Naomi opened one eye and then let out a huge breath, opening the other eye.
“You know me, don’t you, sweetheart?”
She nodded. “You’re B’Elanna. Where’s my mom?”
B’Elanna glanced at the next biobed, where Neelix was about to administer the first hypospray to Samantha. “She’s right beside you, honey. Here now, just turn your head for me, okay?” Naomi obediently turned her head towards the bed beside her, while B’Elanna placed the hypospray against her neck and released the dosage. Mother and daughter had one moment to acknowledge each other’s presence before the first of the treatments rendered them unconscious and both the drugs and the bed began their work.
B’Elanna now risked a look to the bed where Tom lay, her brows furrowed with worry. He was still conscious but he was no longer shouting or struggling. Neelix, moving quickly from bed to bed, spoke, his tone one of understanding and concession.
“Go to him, B’Elanna. I’m okay here, and he needs his first dose.”
Now that she had permission, she found she was apprehensive and approached his bed with trepidation, picking up a hypospray on the way.
He turned to her voice, and smiled in relief when his eyes fell on her. “B’Elanna, my god, it’s awfully good to see you. What’s going on here? Detective Yerid told us a high number of us in the city, especially many of those who worked at the power plant, had been in treatment for Dysphoria Syndrome, when in reality it could be something much more insidious. Is that true?”
“Yes, Tom, it’s true.”
He nodded and then turned his head to stare at the ceiling. “Tell me.”
“You and me and the rest of the crew, except Chakotay, Neelix, and Harry, who were on an Away Mission, were kidnapped from Voyager. The memory centers of your brain were altered. Well, some memory engrams were altered, some were suppressed, and others were left intact. Which means you remember parts of your life, but get a lot of the details wrong. You know your name and that you’re from Earth and you know my name, but you don’t know who I am. You say being in space makes you sick, but, in fact, you’re the pilot of this ship. You say…”
He cut her off with an ice-blue gaze that took her breath away, speaking so softly she could barely hear him. “Who are you, B’Elanna?”
She swallowed hard against a sudden ache in her throat, but managed to keep tears from filling her eyes. Carefully, oh so carefully, she released the wrist closest to her and brought his hand to her swollen stomach.
“I’m the mother of your child. I’m your wife. I’m…” And ever-so-gently, she placed the hypospray against his neck, releasing it with a quiet hiss. “…your angel.” She leaned over and placed her lips next to his ear, whispering softly, removing his hand from her stomach and closing her fingers around it, “I love you, Tom Paris. Sleep well, now. I’ll be here when you wake up.” The last thing she felt him do was squeeze her fingers lightly.