Expose

************************************************************

\”Expose\”

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(Emmy Odd@aol.com)

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\”And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free.\”
John 8:32

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Kes sat, eyes closed, hands clasped in a childish attitude.
Tuvok\’s bland voice pierced her cloudy subconcious. \”All right,
Kes, breathe deeply. Focus your mind on this.\” he said, handing
her a thin chain of silver. \”What do you see?\”

Kes concentrated hard. A light shone through her mind, and
then it darkened. She had a sudden intake of breath, and she
shook her head. \”Nothing. I\’m just no good at this.\”

Tuvok sighed. \”You\’re tired, Kes. The dark circles under
your eyes suggest little sleep. The logical mind-clearer would
be to sleep.\”

Kes smiled wanly as she stood up. \”But I promised the
Doctor I\’d help him after this…\”

Tuvok shook his head, waving her out of the room.

************************************************************

Kes was still in a daze as she headed to Sick Bay.
Suddenly she ran into someone. A flood of light filled her eyes,
and she saw B\’Elanna and Chakotay locked in an embrace in
Engineering, and saw the alien who had controlled their minds.
She witnessed B\’Elanna\’s vision as acutely as Torres herself.
She blinked her eyes open once again, to see the Chief Engineer
helping her up. \”Sorry, I…\” started Torres, but Kes had
already run.

************************************************************

Kes timidly knocked on Janeway\’s Ready Room door, jarring
her from her logs and paperwork. She waved the Ocampa inside,
smiling. \”What can I do for you, Kes?\”

\”Captain, my telepathic powers have increased…
strangely.\” faltered Kes.

\”In what way?\” said Janeway, standing up.

\”I… saw a crewman vision… and I don\’t know if I should
tell you.\” said Kes, looking around nervously.

\”Well, if it\’s in the best interest of the crew, you should
tell me.\”

\”I… don\’t know, Captain! I just need to tell someone,
and I\’m afraid Neelix and Tom just wouldn\’t understand!\” cried
Kes.

\”You can trust me, Kes.\” said Janeway maternally.

The Ocampa shivered, curling herself into a nearby chair.
\”It\’s about… B\’Elanna.\”

Janeway sighed, sinking into her chair. * Mutiny and
rebellion *, she thought wearily. \”I don\’t know if I should hear
this, Kes.\”

Kes shivered. \”You\’re probably right, Captain. If you
want to, I\’ll come back later.\”

But Janeway, lost in thought, did not hear Kes\’s words, or
her silent exit. A hundred ideas plauged her… what thought of
B\’Elanna\’s would upset Kes so much?? There was only one person
who might have an idea… She tapped her comm badge, \”Janeway to
Chakotay.\”

************************************************************

Chakotay found Janeway in her Ready Room, staring out the
huge windows into endless space. He smiled at the commanding
picture she made against the infinite darkness. The smile soon
faded as she turned around, and he saw her haggard expression.
She shook her head mournfully. \”Kes\’s telepathic abilities have
increased.\”

Chakotay looked puzzled. \”Why is that bad, Kathryn?
Tuvok\’s been working for months with her to heighten her
abilities! Isn\’t that good?\”

Janeway looked sorrowfully at him. \”She saw someone\’s
vision, and was very upset.\”

Chakotay eyed her. \”Who?\”

\”B\’Elanna…\”

\”B\’ELANNA?!?!\”

\”Yes… I didn\’t ask what she saw… I wanted to talk to
you first.\”

Chakotay paced the room like a caged tiger. \”What is there
to talk about?\”

Janeway ran her hand through her hair worriedly. \”Should
we…?\”

\”… ask Kes to tell you what B\’Elanna thought?\” Chakotay
said chokedly. \”I can\’t tell you what to do, not when it\’s about
B\’Elanna.\”

Janeway stood up, clenching her fists. \”Why? Because
she\’s a Maquis? Because you want her to harbour mutinous
thoughts? Do you want her to take over the ship so you can take
over?\” she said bitingly.

Chakotay couldn\’t take anymore. \”Dammit, Kathryn, I don\’t
want the ship! I don\’t want the Maquis in charge of this ship!
And I don\’t want to protect her because she\’s a Maquis! I just
think that her thoughts are her own!\”

Janeway stepped back, overcome by Chakotay\’s forcefulness.
\”I\’m… sorry, Chakotay. I didn\’t mean to imply… my emotions
just…\”

Chakotay\’s expression softened at Janeway\’s hazed look as
her tounge fumbled to apologize. \”I understand, Kathryn, but
it\’s just not my place to say. I suppose her thoughts aren\’t her
own now that Kes has read them, even by accident. But the
question is: should Kes tell you about them?\”

\”I don\’t know, Chakotay. What if…?\”

Chakotay looked away. \”Then I guess it\’s best we know,
isn\’t it?\” he said hoarsely.

\”I\’ll talk to Kes…\” murmured Janeway abstractly, but no
one, not even herself, heard her.

************************************************************

Kes came into Janeway\’s Ready Room a few minutes later, the
time between Chakotay\’s departure and Kes\’s entrance Janeway
spent pacing the room frantically. She looked up at the timid
creature, whispering, \”Tell me, Kes.\” like a awed child.

Kes had practiced for an hour exactly how to say the
horrible words to the Captain, and began, \”You remember how our
minds were possessed by aliens once?\”

Janeway nodded reminicently, a vauge chill from the memory
sweeping over her. \”Yes, I remember.\”

Kes tried to keep up the air of calm, but she broke down at
the look on Janeway\’s eyes. Her body racked with sobs as she
sputtered, \”I saw B\’Elanna… right before she was possessed…
then she…\”

\”What, Kes? I must know!\” Janeway said, grabbing Kes\’s
arms.

\”She… and Chakotay… in her quarters…\” she moaned, but
it was not her moan, it was the aching, pain-ridden moan issuing
from the Captain that flooded Kes\’s ears at that moment. Janeway
fell back into her chair, releasing her grip on Kes\’s arms, and
covering her face with her hands. Kes\’s heart went out to the
Captain, and she fled from the room.

She ran from the room blindly, hitting a solid object as
she rushed, frightened by Janeway\’s reaction. The solid object
helped the elfin Ocampa to her feet. She blinked the tears from
her eyes, and, seeing the tattooed face of the Commander, spun
around, afraid. Chakotay furrowed his brow, and hurried to
Janeway\’s Ready Room, fearing the worst. But sabatours and
rebellion could never have shaken Janeway like what Kes\’s eyes
had revealed to the Captain.

Chakotay found Janeway on the floor of her Ready Room,
hugging her knees fiercely and shaking. She felt a warm arm
across her shoulders, and she saw Chakotay\’s fearful gaze, and a
new wave of hopelessness fell over her. Chakotay shook his head
grimly. \”So she wants your overthow, Kathryn.\”

The bright head came up to look at Chakotay, the saltwater
still dripping from her lashes. \”Not in the way you mean,
Chakotay. She…\”

\”What?\”

Janeway breathed deeply, as if it was her last. \”When the
alien brought our hidden fears and fantasies to life… we all
thought up some strange things, things we wouldn\’t want anyone to
know.\”

Chakotay nodded knowingly. \”And…?\”

\”B\’Elanna had a fantasy which was so strong that Kes saw it
as if she was inside her head.\”

Chakotay couldn\’t stand the speculation. \”AND…??\”

\”And it was about… you… seducing her…\”

Chakotay jumped to his feet. \”ME?!?! Why me???\” he cried.

Janeway hugged her knees again. \”How should I know, or
Kes, or anyone. Only B\’Elanna knows, and when she mentioned it
to me, not telling me WHAT she envisioned, she was as confused as
we are. But you are friends, and no one can accuse you of
unattractiveness.\”

Chakotay sighed, not hearing Janeway\’s obvious compliment,
which he normally reveled in, it being so rare. \”This
complicates things even more… why?\”

Janeway shook her head. \”It was a subconcious thing, after
all, Chakotay. She can\’t help it.\”

\”But now that it\’s out…\”

Janeway put her hand on his shoulder. \”I don\’t know what
to say to encourage you, but something must be done.\”

Chakotay started to walk towards the door, then was
arrested by a sudden thought. \”You don\’t think that B\’Elanna
might do something…?\”

Janeway shook her head. \”Klingons have a high sense of
honor, Chakotay.\”

\”Maquis half – Klingons, Kathryn?\” said Chakotay poignantly
as he left the room.

************************************************************

Janeway was in her quarters when Chakotay entered the room
with B\’Elanna. Chakotay smiled with the wonderful dark smile he
always saved for her… but now he smiled at B\’Elanna. He looked
at Janeway as if he looked at a lower lifeform. \”I love
B\’Elanna, as I always have, and we\’re taking over the ship!\” he
laughed mockingly, aiming a phaser at her.

\”NO!!\” Janeway screamed, and she sat up in her bed, her
brow drenched in cold sweat. She put a hand up to her throbbing
forehead, and realized she wasn\’t getting any sleep tonight. She
looked around, feeling horribly stifled in her own quarters…
she wanted to run and hide where no one could find her… but on
Voyager, that was impossible.
Janeway thought of the holoprogram Chakotay had shown her a
few weeks before… a serene lakeside. She flung on her uniform,
ripping off her comm badge, and strode to the holodeck.

************************************************************

When she got there, she commanded, \”Computer, activate
program Chakotay Alpha One.\”

The computer beeped jarringly. \”Negative. Program is
already in progress.\”

Janeway arched an eyebrow, but shrugged her shoulders.
\”Very well. Let me enter.\” The doors swished open and shut
behind her, leaving her in a beautiful mountain vista. She
breathed in deeply, smiling at the pine aroma. She found a
familiar footpath, where she and Chakotay had walked only a few
weeks earlier… she sighed, saddened, and plunged down the path
towards the shimmering lake.

She walked for what seemed an eternity, until her eyes,
weary of constant forest shrubbery, feasted on a gorgeous sunset
over a picturesque lake.

She could hear Chakotay whispering, \”That\’s the real beauty
of this place, Kathryn… walking in the darkness for so long,
and then… this.\” She could feel Chakotay\’s grip on her hand,
his breath sweeping over her face, indicating the nearness of his
face to hers; his free hand gesturing towards the lake, then her
face, caressing her cheek as he kissed her for the longest moment
of her life.

She had been so perfectly happy… but now she was plauged
with strange and horrible emotions and thoughts.

She walked down to the pebble-strewn beach, towards a huge
boulder where they had sat, hand in hand, just watching the
sunset. But she had had the thrilling feeling that Chakotay
hadn\’t even noticed the sun. She sighed, her voice swelling
until it reverberated across the lake.

She saw with suprise a head pop up from behind the huge
stone, then disappear again. Her reverie broken by this, she
walked over to where the boulder was, and found Chakotay there.
She crouched beside him, whispering, \”You couldn\’t sleep either?\”

\”I didn\’t even try.\” he murmured.

\”I did, and all it got me was chills down my spine and a
horrible nightmare.\”

\”What about?\” Chakotay said, eyes full of caring, but his
hands leaden, almost afraid to touch her.

\”It was horrible… you said… you said you didn\’t love
me… and you tried to kill me.\” said Janeway, her voice
unsteady.

\”Oh God, Kathryn! I would never do that… I would never
say that!\” he whispered savagely.

\”I try to convince myself of that, but I can\’t.\”

Chakotay looked hauntedly at Janeway. \”I think you just
killed my soul, Kathryn.\”

Janeway couldn\’t bear to look at Chakotay\’s face, which was
now blanched and fearful. \”I\’m sorry, Chakotay, but what if…?\”

\”I love you, Kathryn. Nothing can change that. Know
that.\”

His tone was filled with melancholy and passionate
undercurrents, and Janeway looked at the face that she trusted so
implicitly as her First Officer, but was so diffident of in love.
Her voice faltered, \”I don\’t know…\”

Janeway was so unconciously lovely in her miserable
bewilderment that Chakotay unknowingly edged nearer to her,
laying a finger on her lips. His voice was rife with tender
passion as he murmured, \”Here, at this exact spot, you were so
very sure, Kathryn, that you loved me. And I was just as sure of
my love for you then as I am now. A few weeks, a few years, it
makes no difference; I will always love you. Seska, B\’Elanna, or
anyone else is of no consequence. If you wish, I will speak to
B\’Elanna, and I will tell her the same thing.\”

A single tear rolled down Janeway\’s cheek, and she looked
up at Chakotay, a shadow of a smile on her lips. And there was
naught to do but for him to kiss her. But even as Janeway\’s lips
responded, she wondered about the Chief Engineer, and how she
would ever face her again.

************************************************************

The afore-mentioned Torres was hunched over a console near
the warp core, busy entering countless command codes and
diagnostics, when she felt a steady pressure on her shoulder.
She spun around, finding Janeway standing behind her, uncommonly
anxious. \”I need to speak to you, Lieutenant.\”

\”Yes, Captain?\”

Janeway shook her head. \”Not here. My Ready Room.\”

B\’Elanna looked quizzically at Janeway as she strode out of
Engineering, but followed nonetheless.

************************************************************

When they arrived in the Captain\’s Ready Room, Janeway sat
in her chair, eyes darting around the room. She drew a sharp
breath, and began the hardest speech she\’d ever made in her
career, no shilly-shallying… it only made it harder.
\”Lieutenant, when Kes bumped into you yesterday, she
inadvertently had a telepathis episode, and she saw a deeply-
buried vision.\”

B\’Elanna turned defensive. \”What do you mean, Captain?\”

Janeway sighed. \”She saw your alien vision from a few
months ago.\”

B\’Elanna stood like a deer in headlights, her eyes saucers.
\”No…\” she gasped. Janeway could only nod, and B\’Elanna
murmured tragically, \”Does…?\” Janeway nodded brokenly again.
\”Oh GOD… I don\’t understand… it was subconcious… it wasn\’t
REAL… I could never THINK such a thing… oh GOD…\” she paced,
clenching her fingers violently.

Janeway gathered her shattered nerves, and walked over to
B\’Elanna, murmuring maternally, \”It\’s all right… we all had
visions we couldn\’t control… you can rest in your quarters…
it will be all right… I promise…\” she cooed, more to herself
than the frustrated Torres. She desprately wished Chakotay
wasn\’t involved with this… he was B\’Elanna\’s friend, he could
soothe her… but not now… Torres nodded mutely, rushing
angrily from the room.

************************************************************

For the first time since being promoted, B\’Elanna Torres
didn\’t follow the Captain\’s orders – – instead burying herself in
her work, her only words barked orders. A hushed silence fell
over Engineering, as crewmen snuck by the fearful majesty of
B\’Elanna\’s humiliated wrath.

An incredibly brave, or incredibly insane, crewman, an
ensign, slipped beside her silently, laying a hand on her tense
arm. Her head snapped up, nearly knocking into Harry\’s. How
Harry survived the glare alone was a feat in and of itself. Her
whole body plainly said, \”Die, foolish mortal.\”, but Harry, a
generous amount of the milk of human kindness mixed with his
blood, was willing to take that risk.

\”What\’s wrong, B\’Elanna?\” he said, genuine concern in his
eyes.

B\’Elanna was more than a little bewildered by Harry\’s
gentle tone, and found her wrath toppling beneath simple
friendliness. She frowned nonetheless as she related the
horrible events of the past few hours to the eager ensign before
her. By the time she got to the part about her confrontation
with Janeway, hot tears were spilling unconciously over her
cheeks, and Harry guided her towards the empty hall.

Finally, she incoherently finished her tale, and broke down
completely, the only thing keeping her from collapsing was
Harry\’s awkward grasp around her shoulders. \”And… I\’m just
so…\” she sputtered.

\”What?\” asked Harry, slightly expectant.

\”Embarassed… angry… afraid…\” moaned Torres, clutching
Harry tighter.

\”Afraid? Of what?\” queried Harry.

\”I\’ll lose Chakotay\’s friendship…\”

\”Oh.\”

\”Oh?!?\” B\’Elanna said, looking up at Harry\’s rather
crestfallen face.

\”Well… I was hoping you\’d think I was…\”

\”What?\” said B\’Elanna pointedly, staring at Harry from the
uncanny position she was now in.

\”Well… that I was jealous…\”

\”Jealous?!?\” flubbered Torres. \”What do you mean??\”

\”Well… I might be a little… jealous you weren\’t
thinking of me…\” blushed Harry.

B\’Elanna twisted from Kim, confused. \”Why would you be
jealous…?\”

Kim looked at B\’Elanna very intensely… and Torres\’s eyes
widened with comprehension. \”You don\’t mean…?\”

\”I think so.\”

\”I… I don\’t know what to say… or think… or feel…\”
said B\’Elanna wildly, finding her thoughts drifting oddly to
Chakotay. As if to counteract her mental torment, she kissed him
passionately, and rushed down the hall abstractly, leaving poor
Harry, dazed, standing in the center of the hall, much as
Cinderella had fled her prince at midnight.

************************************************************

Janeway sat, alone this time, staring at the gorgeously-
hued sunset in the holodeck, trying to piece the puzzle of the
past two days together, finding all the parts hopelessly askew,
and many of the pieces missing, if they existed at all. She
heard a shuffling step, and her heart lept, but sank as she saw
the gold of the uniform that was nearing her. \”Captain, I
thought I\’d find you here.\” said Harry disjointedly.

Janeway smiled serenely at Kim. \”Come, sit down, Harry.
What\’s wrong?\”

Harry looked around, ignoring her painful question.
\”Beautiful place you have, Captain. Very relaxing, I suppose.\”

Janeway flushed. \”It\’s not my program. It\’s… Commander
Chakotay\’s.\”

\”Oh.\” said Harry, realizing he\’d trod on rather personal
ground.

\”But that doesn\’t answer my question, Harry… what\’s
wrong?\” Janeway said maternally, the resonance in her tone
inspiring utter confidence.

\”It\’s… B\’Elanna.\” he mumbled.

Now it was Janeway\’s turn to whisper, \”Oh. What…
happened?\”

\”I… sort of… implied that I was… jealous of her
fantasy about Commander Chakotay… and…\” faltered Harry.

\”And…?\” said Janeway strangely.

\”And… she kissed me… and ran away. I don\’t
understand…\”

Janeway smiled wanly at Kim\’s distraught face, so like
little Clare\’s as she pored over some difficult quantum mechanics
or internalized some childish hurt. She withheld a desire to hug
Harry, and mother the fear and pain from his wounds.

Once again she wished Chakotay wasn\’t involved in this…
they all needed him so much… but it was up to her. \”Oh Harry,
I wish I could say love makes everything better, but I can\’t, or
I\’d be a hypocrite. I don\’t know what B\’Elanna thinks about any
of this, and I have a feeling she doesn\’t either. All you can do
is be strong, for her and for yourself. And that\’s all she can
do, either.\”

\”Thank you, Captain.\” said Harry as he stood up, a peaceful
smile flickering across his face as he left. His grateful words
were silently echoed by the tall, dark figure a meter away in the
dense woods, before he disappeared as well.

************************************************************

Harry poked his head into the darkened Mess Hall, ducking
from a flying tureen that clattered beside his head. His eyes
widened as he witnessed B\’Elanna in all her fury… no more
tears, no more weakness; only a fearful tower of seething rage
issuing silverware and dishes from her person as she stormed
around like some huge human tornado.

She didn\’t see Harry sneak up behind her until, as she was
wrenching a heavy pot from its hook, she was siezed around the
waist and dragged to a seat near the window. She clawed and
screamed like a banshee, it was a wonder that someone didn\’t here
or that Harry wasn\’t ripped to shreds.
Then again, it wasn\’t a wonder at all – – while B\’Elanna
had only frustration and anger fueling her strength, Harry had
adrenaline and simple human passion coursing through his veins as
he slung B\’Elanna into the seat; the only things keeping him from
ending up in a thousand pieces on the floor.

He hunched over B\’Elanna, pinning her arms to the chair so
she wouldn\’t slug him. Staring into her eyes, he said, \”What is
WITH you?? It was just a vision!\”

\”It\’s not about that anymore!! It\’s… it\’s…\” cried
B\’Elanna wildly, struggling to unpin her arms, but Harry held
firm.

\”It\’s WHAT?\” said Harry staring at her deeply.

B\’Elanna writhed uncomfortably, but seeing that Harry
wasn\’t to be denied, sighed, half-irritated, half-thankful. \”I
don\’t know… I guess… I was glad you were… jealous…\”

Harry shook his head, confused, releasing his grip on
B\’Elanna\’s arms. She spun from the chair, knocking him into it
as she fled to a less intimate seat. Her eyes glowed faintly in
the moonlight, the scattered silverware casting strange patterns
of reflected light on her face.
The expression on her face had transformed: intense as
ever, but more curious and poignant than furious. She set her
mouth, and they stared at each other, the foriegn, eerie Klingon
gazing at the innocent moonlit face of the boyish ensign.

It was almost as if they would never speak or move again…
until Kim eyed the floor for a split second and saw the violent
mess strewn on the floor. B\’Elanna shifted her gaze as well, and
they both fell to the impersonal task of collecting Neelix\’s
mangled utensils. Suddenly, B\’Elanna noticed the clink of
gathered dishes only came from her – – Harry was just sitting
there, staring into space… her space… \”Harry!\” she whispered.

\”Huh?\” said Harry, shaking the cobwebs from his mind.

B\’Elanna crawled over to where Harry sat. \”You were just
sitting there – – what\’s up?\”

\”Oh… umm… I was just thinking… umm… it wouldn\’t be
a total loss if Neelix never found his cookpots, would it?\” he
grinned, covering up the fact that he had been internally
soliloquizing on B\’Elanna\’s hunched form.

B\’Elanna smiled, and Harry blurted, \”You know, you\’re even
more beautiful when you smile than when you\’re angry.\”

B\’Elanna turned to look at him, her eyes softening. \”You
really think that?\”

Harry nodded, Libby all but forgotten. \”With all my
heart.\”

During this episode, they had unconciously edged closer and
closer to each other. B\’Elanna smiled again, and Harry was so
intoxicated by her smile that he wrapped his arms around her and
kissed her.

After a few breathless minutes, B\’Elanna and Harry opened
their eyes, and looked around again. B\’Elanna looked at Harry.
\”You know, we really do have to pick this stuff up.\”

Harry shrugged his shoulders. \”Not yet.\”

************************************************************

A few days later, Janeway sat in her quarters, her head
leaned back against Chakotay\’s chest as they talked. \”It\’s
almost as if Kes\’s telepathic mishap did more good than harm.\”

\”I\’m just a little suprised at B\’Elanna – – Harry doesn\’t
seem her type.\”

Janeway craned her neck to kiss his cheek. \”Opposites
attract, Chakotay.\”

Chakotay and Janeway shared a long kiss, their happiness
mirrored by a half-Klingon and a young ensign sharing dinner in
the Mess Hall.

************************************************************

FIN

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