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Holonovels And The Dictates Of Poetics

Captain Blood
Ginny — 16 Jun 1997

This holonovel was inspired by an e-mail exchange that Jules and I had a couple or three months ago.

On a stretch of sandy beach in the sun-drenched Caribbean, two men face each other. One man is elegant, dark, and sinister. The other is tall and slender, with blonde hair and glinting gray eyes. Off to the side, a dishevelled woman is surrounded by burly buccaneers, her beautiful face showing barely concealed irritation and not a little boredom.

Despite his outrageous French accent, the dark man speaks in clipped, precise tones, drawing his sword as he speaks. "You'll not take her while I live."

The blonde man responds, drawing his own sword. "Then I'll take her when you're dead."

The men test each other's swords lightly, and the blonde man says evenly, "For two breaches in our articles committed by you, you should be macarooned."

The dark man draws back his sword and says, "I believe the word is 'marooned', Mr. Paris."

Tom's fair brow wrinkles slightly. "Oh, okay. You should be marooned. That's what I intended for you in the end. But since you prefer it this way, you muskrat. . ."

"Muckrake", corrects Tuvok.

"...muckrake, faith, I'll be humoring you!"

They begin to fight in earnest. The contest ranges all over the beach. At one point, Tuvok laughs maniacally, a sound so in-human and unexpected that Tom stumbles and falls. "Sheesh, Tuvok, don't scare me like that." Tuvok says nothing in reply, simply attempting to press the advantage, but Tom recovers, and the fight moves closer to the incoming tide. Finally, Tuvok lunges, but Tom steps under the lunge and runs his opponent through. Tuvok falls to the sand. Tom stands looking down at his prostrate foe and says, with surprising conviction, "And that, my friend, ends a partnership that should never have begun."

Unfortunately, the dramatic effect is spoiled when Tuvok suddenly sits up, coughing and spitting sea water. Tom reaches down to give his friend a hand up, when he is hit across the back with the flat of a sword.

"What the...?", Tom exclaims, spinning around to see B'Elanna standing there with a sword in hand. "B'Elanna, what are you doing?"

"Lt. Torres," Tuvok says calmly, still sitting in the surf, breeches and boots full of sea water. "You are straying from the established parameters of this program."

"But it's boring playing the damsel in distress", B'Elanna complains.

"Well", continues Tuvok, "you should have considered that before you insisted on participating in this scenario."

"Oh, bite me, Tuvok," B'Elanna retorts, assuming a classic fencing stance. "En garde, Tom."

Tom sheathes his sword and rolls his eyes in an exaggerated fashion. "I'm not going to fight with you, B'Elanna."

"Why not?" B'Elanna demands. "Afraid I'll run you through? You should be." She slashes her sword through the air for effect. "Draw your sword, Tom."

Tom walks over to her and grabs her sword in one (fortunately) gloved hand and says, "This isn't about the sword, B'Elanna. This is about sex."

B'Elanna snorts derisively. "You wish."

Tuvok, still sitting in the surf, shifts suddenly and pulls a starfish out from under him. The embattled couple doesn't notice.

B'Elanna jerks her sword out of Tom's hand. "Come on, Tom. Fight me!"

"Oh, sure," Tom replies, assuming a classic Errol Flynn pose with his feet apart and his hands on his hips. "You WANT to fight now. But you didn't want to fight the other day in the Klingon martial arts program, did you?"

B'Elanna opens her mouth to respond, but Tuvok rises suddenly from the wet sand, pulling a crab from the folds of his breeches and stepping between the feuding pair.

"Tuvok..." Tom begins, surprised.

"Be quiet, Mr. Paris." The Vulcan looks steadily at the startled young pilot. "The unresolved sexual tension between you and Lt. Torres is beginning to pervade every corner of this ship, with the possible exception of the area immediately surrounding the Captain and the First Officer. Even I, a Vulcan, find it unsettling. It interferes with your work performance and makes the junior officers nervous."

At these words, B'Elanna looks mortified, and Tom blushes to his hairline.

Tuvok continues. "As distasteful as I find it to involve myself in other people's personal affairs, I suggest that the two of you go to one of your quarters, "help" each other until you're blue, and spare your crewmates the repeated spectacle of these hormone-induced exchanges. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find a nice, quiet place to meditate."

Tuvok turns on his soggy heel and, with as much dignity as one can muster while pulling seaweed out of one's cumberbund, sloshes his way off the holodeck.

Tom and B'Elanna stand very still, looking straight ahead. Finally, Tom turns to B'Elanna and says quietly, "B'Elanna, I know this is a pretty bizarre situation. Probably not what either of us had in mind..." Tom pauses, as though suddenly recalling something, then shrugs and plunges ahead. "But it's too late to worry about that now."

B'Elanna steps forward and, putting her hand to Tom's lips, says, "Tom..."

Tom replies softly against her fingers, "What?"

"Did you think I wouldn't know a set-up when I see one?" B'Elanna steps back and pulls her sword around to the ready position. Tom backs away, looking slightly guilty and more than a little concerned. B'Elanna laughs unpleasantly. "You ought to look concerned, Helm-boy. And once I'm through with you, I'm going after your little Vulcan friend. Computer, initiate Torres Holo-simulation 4447."

"What's that?" Tom asks cautiously.

The sword in B'Elanna's hand transforms into a dagger. Smiling maliciously, she says, "Women Warriors at the River of Blood."

When we last left Voyager's Couple Most Likely To..., B'Elanna was holding a dagger on Tom and had just informed him that Torres Holo-Simulation 4447 was entitled "Women Warriors at the River of Blood".

Dedicated to Leonie, who wanted MORE.

Tom's immediate reaction catches B'Elanna completely off-guard, as the skin around his light gray eyes crinkles, and he starts to laugh.

"What's so funny?" B'Elanna demands crossly, waving her dagger in a vaguely menacing fashion.

Tom stops laughing and looks at her, a big, cocky grin on his face. "I'm just trying to picture it--you and me, circling each other, panting and snarling like Klingon firecats, while you make a speech about how the honor of your house would never allow you to consider mating with someone like me. Then, overcome by the passion of the moment and the smell of blood, you pounce on me, wrestle me to the ground, and bite a hunk out of my jaw."

B'Elanna is astonished. "You read the book!"

Tom nods. "Well, sure. I told you I would." He hesitates. "Ummm, all except for Fretta's interminable speech about the honor of her house." He mimics a yawn.

B'Elanna's eyes narrow slightly. "Are you making fun of Klingon honor, Tom?"

Tom's smile vanishes, and his face takes on that look of absolute sincerity that he does so well. "No, of course not, B'Elanna. I have nothing but respect for the Klingon concept of honor." He grins slyly. "But, come on! The damn thing runs on for 47 pages. Besides, I figured the really sexy stuff would come after the speech, anyway." His grin broadens. "And I was right."

B'Elanna raises her eyebrows at him and gives a soft snort of laughter. "I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You're a pig, Lt. Paris." She sheathes her dagger.

Tom tilts his head slightly to one side and looks at her thoughtfully. "Sometimes," he says quietly, "maybe I am." He moves nearer, never taking his eyes from B'Elanna's face, so close now that she can feel the heat coming off his body and see the pulse beating beneath the fair skin of his throat. "And sometimes, on rare ocassions, I like to think that I have had enough of a sense of honor to show some restraint, even in the face of great temptation." One side of his mouth suddenly quirks up. "Of course, I'm really hoping that this won't be one of those times."

B'Elanna glances down, pressing her lips together to keep from laughing out loud. _He really is adorable, when he chooses to be._ She looks back up, cautiously studying the expression in Tom's quicksilver eyes and breathing in the musky smell of his skin. She remembers that smell from another encounter, and an image of Tom in a dark cave, his face luminous as an angel's, flits across her mind's eye. She leans into him, then, laying her head on his chest and wrapping her arms around his waist. Tom puts his arms around her, and they stand quietly for a moment.

The moment stretches into a long minute. And then another. And yet another. Tom shifts restlessly and queries, "B'Elanna?"


"You gonna wrestle me to the ground and bite me, or not?"

For the briefest second, B'Elanna doesn't even twitch a muscle. When she does move, though, it is with such speed that Tom barely has time to register the sensation of falling before he lands, flat on his back, on the holodeck floor.

Outside in the corridor, a dripping Tuvok listens to the exchange over an open com link. He hears a thump and Tom's startled "Ooompf!", followed immediately by the pilot's sharp intake of breath at what Tuvok can only imagine is the first of many love bites. Tuvok nods to himself with as much satisfaction as proper Vulcan demeanor will allow. He closes the com link, and, as he turns to head down the corridor toward his quarters, he considers his afternoon agenda. First, he will change into some dry clothes. Then, he will go find the Captain and the First Officer and invite them to participate in his "Casablanca" holonovel tomorrow afternoon.

The End