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Coda 1: Inner Fire

"That should do it, the sensors are on maximum and are scanning the anomaly"

"Confirmed, however because of the interference that it's throwing out, we'll have to wait a couple of minutes before we can get enough sensory data for analysis before we begin collecting the omicron particles."

Harry looked at her and smiled. Lt. Kingston looked so cute when she was deep in thought. 'I am lucky to be with her'.

She finished keying in instructions to the computer and looked up catching his stare. He blushed slightly, but kept his gaze on her. She began to get that look in her eye as she moved towards him

Oh oh.

Bin sat on his lap and moved closer and closer to kiss him. Kim was not blushing now; the blood was going to somewhere else.

"Bin. Don't"

"Why?" she purred "Don't you want to kiss me?"

"You know I want to", he said exasperated. "But we're on duty, remember?"

"Who's going to know?"

"The captain for one. If she decides to monitor our life signs to make sure that we're all right, we'll be two signals on top of each other. And let's not go into what is going to sound like if she decided to open Com. lines to find out that when we finally respond, we're out of breadth."

"Spoil sport". She moved back to her station "I'm getting results now, it seems that there is a faint pattern to the omicron particles, but I can't see it, just intermittent bursts of periodicity."

He marveled at her ability to do that. No matter what she was doing before, she could always shake it off in a minute and get right back to work. He was still shaking his head out of the sexual fog it was in.

"I've got it, this is interesting!" With the oddity of the possible pattern that just showed up, his attention was now completely back to the job. "It seems that the interference that the omicron particles are generating are preventing the scanners from seeing the pattern clearly."

"I'm going to run a filter protocol that B'Elanna developed when we first encountered the particles and see if I can screen out the interference that they are generating, so that we can concentrate on the pattern."

He got to work. "I've also programmed the computer to run the standard analysis on the data that we collect so that we'll have a better idea of what we are looking at."

"You sure you don't want to fool around while the computer is working?" The way she asked the question, you would have thought she was offering him coffee.

"No, but tonight, when we get back. I promise you that."

"I wouldn't miss it for anything."

"Why can't I have a normal relationship?"

"Because Harry, normal is boring and predictable. You're in an unpredictable part of space. Act accordingly, "Seize the Day", and when you die, have that smile on your face that says, "I've lived life, I have gone beyond mere existence."

"I know the first quote, but I don't know who said the second."

"A famous Bajoran Marquis rebel called..."

"Ro, Bin"

"Very good, and besides we had a nice normal friendship at the beginning of this relationship."

He remembered

Harry hurried to the science lab after giving his report to the doctor. From the doctor's own report, the prognosis on Kes wasn't good. If they didn't find out anything more useful about that biogenetic field that Kes was exposed to, she was going to die. Kes wasn't just another member of the crew to Harry, she was a close friend. Kes, Tom and Neelix had become good friends recently and as a result, he had gotten to know her better. In fact Kes was closer to most of the crewmembers than any other one person. Harry wasn't sure if she used her mental abilities to tell her when she was needed, but she was much a morale officer as Neelix. She also had a lot of contact with the crew being the nurse aboard the ship, as well as the field medic. Harry knew that she was irreplaceable to the crew as well as to himself.

In his haste, the doors to the science lab almost didn't open fast enough. The scientist at her station was in the middle of hitting the computer consol that she had obviously been working on.

"George, George, don't do this to me!!!" she yelled.

In spite of the grim mood that he was in, Harry stifled the laugh that was threatening to erupt. Only one other person on the ship hit her consol when she was upset, but even B'Elanna did not name her pieces of equipment.

Robin looked up at him and charged, "What the hell is so funny?"

"Nothing. I came to see if I could help "George" cut through the interference that we have encountered trying to scan through the rock. Also to see if you had any thoughts on the analysis that we ran on the little data that we were able to collect." He held out the PADD to her. Without a word she took it and began to read through what he had.

Harry sat down and began to adjust he science scanners. They were a little more sophisticated than the engineering one as they were specifically designed to scan phenomena rather than occurrence. He was glad that Robin did not begin to brow beating him for implying that she couldn't get the scanner to work. From what he had heard of her, he knew that she was typical a Bajoran women and that she had a hard core of anger, bigger than most. Harry knew when he was out of his league and her, even in friendship, so he kept his relationship with her strictly professional. He'd never seen her angry before, and he had hoped that he never would. In the Marquis, he heard that her anger had been deadly. But it was said that her anger was cold, not passionate as this. She seemed concerned.

Nothing he did was able to make them get any more information than they already had. He sighed.

"Nothing." He reported to her.

"I can't see anything here that you missed. I heard that you were good as the Ops officer on the bridge, but I normally reserve judgement until I see for myself. Now I see that the rumors were true."

Harry hadn't expected to hear this from her. He was a bit annoyed and a bit perplexed. What did it matter what she thought of the way he did his job? She wasn't his commanding officer. When he looked at her, his annoyance faded. She was leaning against the wall, her eyes closed and he could see moisture escaping her eyelids.

"I didn't know that you were close to Kes?"

Her eyes flew open suddenly and she turned back to her consol with her back to him.

"She helped me a lot adjust to life here, to serving under Captain Janeway, dealing with Seska's betrayal. I can't imagine not having her as part of the crew."

She could have been giving him a report on the particulate density of the space around them, her voice was that steady, the only thing that betrayed her emotions was the way her hands kept finding her face periodically. He knew that she was trying to wipe away tears without him noticing it.

"I have to get back to Engineering." She nodded. He came up behind her softly and briefly placed his hand on her shoulder.

"We'll get her back, I'm sure of it."

Without another word, he left for engineering.

"I think that it's a great idea Neelix, I'd be happy to perform in the "1st Talent Night on Voyager". You know I'm not the only one with a musical talent on this ship, there's also Nicholetty, I've heard that Chell has dabbled in some music..."

"I've spoken to most of them and they've agreed to do a performance. However there is one member of the crew who seems a bit shy in exposing their talents to the crew and B'Elanna thought you might just be the person to talk her into doing it, perhaps as a duet with you?"

"Who is it?"

"Robin Kingston."

"You're not serious? The head of Science? Ms "Warp Plasma" herself? Shy?"

"Apparently she is when it comes to her talent and Chakotay tells me that she has talent, they've heard her play the Bajoran Kelide. And I hear it's a great non-human instrument to accompany a clarinet."

Harry had been talking to Neelix in the mess hall while helping himself to the lunch buffet. When he looked around he spotted her eating by herself, so he agreed to Neelix's proposal.

"OK Neelix I'll ask her right now."


He made his way to Robin; "May I join you?"

"Sure" He sat down.

They talked a while about the "Marayna incident", about the data they collected about the man-made forcefield which allowed the inversion nebula to remain stable, about the computer technology that Marayna's people must have in order to create it and the uplink she used to interact with them. Robin laughed when she recalled Marayna's fatal obsession with Tuvok. "Of all people to fall for she picks Tuvok" She laughed at the thought. Harry looked uncomfortable and decided that now was a good time as any to ask.

"Neelix had just asked me perform in his Talent night. I've heard that you were very good with a Kelide. Would you consider doing a duet with me?"

She looked at him and said wryly, "Chakotay and B'Elanna have been busy"

"Am I missing something?"

"Don't worry about it"

Robin hesitated a minute and then made up her mind. "OK Kim, we'll try it. If you are as good with the clarinet as you are with science, I'll do it."

This time Harry's annoyance got the better of him. He said simply,

"I am." He got up left with that retort.

Robin realized that he was correct. She enjoyed practicing with him and to Harry's surprise they did become friends. He became accustomed to her caustic remarks, and her strange, sense of humor and her mood swings. She could be fine one moment and mad the next, literally. At first he was frightened of her, and normally cancelled practice when she was in one of her moods. Unfortunately two nights before talent night, while they were on an uninhabited planet on a scouting mission. She caught a virus and it had taken the doctor two days to figure out how to treat her, so that she was unable to perform. He did the piece as a clarinet solo.

After Talent night, she suggested that they continue practicing in order to prepare for the second Talent Night that they knew that Neelix must have been planning due to the success of the first one. He readily agreed. In an odd way, he enjoyed the practice sessions. He would have not liked to stop them. Truth be told, Harry was a little lonely. Tom seemed to preoccupied most of the time that he was off duty and he and B'Elanna started to spend a lot of time together, alone. He knew Tom well enough to know that he was beginning to have a romantic interest in her and he was pursuing her. He stepped back to give him the time that he needed. Harry knew that Tom would never brush him off, so he did it for him. It was what nice guys did. He didn't want to think about what normally happened to nice guys.

One of the things that he and Robin did was play "catch-up" with each other during the first 15 min of practice. Harry enjoyed getting to know Robin a bit more. She was lively and she fascinated him. They had a lot in common. They both loved science, went to the Academy, were both curious and both loved music. Then they were worlds apart. She was a Bajoran refugee, he grew up in a safe and secure childhood. She was fire and ice, he was a lot more subdued, steadfast. She was blunt and said what she meant, whenever she wanted to. He was a *lot* more tactful. He was still innocent, straight from the Academy, an officer and a gentleman. She had seen too much in her life, she was jaded. And she had a passion for 20th Century Earth music, but unlike Paris she preferred music which was of African-Earth decent. That was from her adoptive parents. He preferred, Asian-Earth music, their current century, the type that he had always heard his mother play from since he was a child.

In time he found that, not only had he gotten accustomed to Robin's moods; but also he had learned how to deal with them.

Harry hurried to cargo bay two. It had been two days since they left Teresia and he was feeling more or less back to his old self. The doctor had allowed him to go back to duty yesterday, however he had still been worn out. He had gone right to bed at the end of his duty shift. Today he was meeting Robin to practice. It was one of the things he missed the most when he was on Teresia.

When he entered the cargo bay, she was waiting for him.

"Hey Robin"

"Well looks who's back, I'm sorry that you we had to drag you back from heaven."

Harry sighed, why did she have to be in a mood today.

"No one had to drag me, I wanted to come back"

"From all those lovely ladies? You hit the lattinum mine and you wanted to come back?"

"Yes" he said simply. Apparently the grapevine told her about the beautiful women, it didn't tell her about the certain death that he would have had to face had he stayed.

"I'm supposed to believe that?"

He tried a different tactic.

"Robin, why are you in such a bitch today?" He didn't want to leave tonight, he didn't want an argument and something about her behavior told him that she was just lashing out at him. He thought that maybe if he could get her to talk about it, she would just stop attacking him. Taking his cue from her he asked simply, directly and forcefully.

Robin was surprised, but she responded. "It's been a bad day Harry, I'm just tired that's all."

It was Harry's turn to be surprised, she usually called him by his last name, and she had lowered her voice and turned her back to him, just as he remembered her doing in the science lab so many months ago.

'I've finally disarmed her', Harry thought to himself. He said,

"Did you have dinner yet Robin?"

"Bin, and no I did not."


"Most people don't know but Robin is really an Terran way of saying my Bajoran name. Ro, Bin. My first name is really Bin."

He smiled. "Well Bin, I have some extra rations from being on Teresia so long. Would you like to share them with me?"

Her face lit up. "I'd love to"

"Oh I am so full, Harry, thank you!"

"My pleasure" he grinned. She smiled back and then looked pensive.

"Harry can I ask you something?"

"You normally don't hesitate to ask me anything"

"Why did you come back, was it because of Libby?"

"No it wasn't. I do want to get home, but I know that Libby is not waiting for me. It's been almost three years and we were just beginning to be serious, we weren't engaged. Why do you ask?"

"I just wanted to know why any man would want to leave that planet?"

"Yes the women were beautiful, but the reasons that I wanted to stay on the planet had more to do with belonging and being special, different from every one else."

Bin was surprised, she spent a lot of time wishing that she wasn't different, but she could understand the pull to be with one's own kind, one's own species.

Harry continued. "In a way I was home. But even so, I wanted to go back to the one home that I had always known. Contrary to popular opinion, human males are not only interested in one thing to the exclusion of all else that is important to them."

"In your case, it seems not."

She was quiet for a while and suddenly a she gave a yawn.

"Computer what is the time"


"Well I guess you should go to your quarters, you sound tired and I also have the early shift tomorrow. How about we try to practice tomorrow at the same time?'

"You've got a date"

"Call me if you're in a bad mood, I'll know to skip practice and feed you, that seems to calm you down."

"True, but that's because I had replicated Hasparat, I have no idea how calm I'm going to be on Neelix's Beenberry casserole."

He laughed, "Later...Bin"

As Robin left Harry's quarters, she wondered why she was feeling the way she was. She had an idea, but she dismissed it. Harry was a Starfleet Goodboy, innocent and green. No woman with the drives and experience that she had would make a move on Harry Kim. He wouldn't be able to handle her. Now she heard that Nozowa had a mean streak. There would be a man for her. She smiled a predatory smile of anticipation. She ignored the small little voice inside of her. The one tired of these games, the little part of her who welcomed Harry's uncomplicated friendship, concern and care with no ulterior motive. The little part of her who was responsible for telling Harry her real name when she hadn't told anyone else on the ship.

Harry looked around the Holoresort simulation. He was looking for Tom. After their little run in with Seska on the holodeck several days ago, he seemed to always to be looking out for him if only trying to convince himself that he was alright. Sometimes he wanted to smack Tom for all the times his friend seemed to get himself injured; he was always scaring him. Harry didn't want to think of what he would do if Tom actually died due to an accident. Then again, he was sure that he was also a constant source of worry to Tom. He also had his share of near death experiences.

He made his way to the bar and as he ordered a drink from Neelix. When Harry looked around again, he spotted Tom with B'Elanna having what appeared to be an intimate conversation. He sighed. 'Well at least he was enjoying himself. I guess I'm alone tonight'.

"Now that's an interesting couple" Bin was following his gaze to Tom and B'Elanna.

"Hi Bin, how are you?"

"Better than you, you look like you lost a friend."

"I almost Tom to a holographic Seska of all things"

Bin's face darkened. "I know. He's a good friend of yours isn't he?"

"He's my best friend."

"You know, I always thought that he was a coward and a traitor. I was very surprised to find out that the two of you are friends. I didn't think that you would want anything to do with him."

"Tom and I have been close since we came aboard this ship. I think that there were a lot of the people, who are Starfleet and Marquis on this ship, who considered him a coward and a traitor. I saw something else in him when I first met him. A lot of people told me I was naive and in the end, Tom would end up disappointing me. I'm glad I stuck to my convictions, Tom has never disappointed me. When B'Elanna and I were stuck on the Ocampa homeworld, he was part of the away team who rescued us. I think that a lot of people now have changed their minds about him. We all know that the crew would not have been rescued from that planet that we were stranded on by the Kazon, if not for him. He's saved the crew, me countless times"

"I consider myself one of the people who changed their minds about him. It's just that I know who you are. I thought that you would believe that a friendship with him would be a bad influence on you."

Harry was silent for a moment as he thought of their Aquitarian experience and his recent experience with the Teresians. Of the observations that he and Tom had made about their friendship at the end of each of the experiences. Of the way they had both grown and changed together.

"I truly believe that our friendship has brought the best in each of us."

Talking with Harry always surprised her. He shared things with her. He didn't only talk to her as a prelude for sex, or because he wanted something. He treated her with kindness and mutuality. 'And that's only because you let him'. The little voice was back again. She ignored it, she was good at that.

Harry was looking at her and then he thought of something. "Were you close to Seska in the Marquis?"

"Chakotay was. I have a feeling they were lovers for a time. He took it hard for a month after she pirated Voyager and died in the rescue attempt. I was really worried about him. But B'Elanna said that he'd be fine given time and he was. I was glad. I'd hate to think that Seska, that filthy Cardassian, would destroy a good man like Chakotay." She spat out the adjectives and her voice was filled with passion.

Not for the first time Harry marveled that for all that the Marquis were hardened terrorists, they were more like a family than a Starfleet crew. Their sense of loyalty and duty, far exceeded some Starfleet crews that he had heard of.

Something was not right in her reply. He realized what it was.

"Bin, you avoided my question"

"Damn, that was one of my better dodges. I'm sorry Harry, this conversation is now closed."

Harry shrugged it off. He could understand why she wouldn't want to talk about Seska.

Bin spoke again, "However when I said that you looked like you lost a friend, I meant the way you looked when you spotted Tom and B'Elanna together."

He held his emotions in check when he answered. "I know that it's natural that he's want to spend more time with her alone, but in a way since he has become interested in pursuing her, I've almost lost not one but two friends."

She frowned. That didn't sound like Tom and B'Elanna. "They've been excluding you?"

"No, I know what's going on so I just try to stay away more."

Bin looked at him. 'He is really a sweetheart, I didn't know men existed like this'

They sat in silence finishing their drinks.

"Well you two look like you've lost your best friends." B'Elanna's comment startled them out of their thoughts.

Harry and Bin turned to see Tom and B'Elanna standing next to them. They greeted them and then Tom spoke up,

"Harry, Robin, come see the new holographic scenario which I have been working on, B'Elanna is too chicken to come see it by herself."

Tom looked at Harry with a concerned, grateful, smile on his face. Harry knew that Tom had realized what he was doing and was trying to tell him that he would take the initiative to include him in the things that he and B'Elanna did. Harry smiled. It felt good to have his friend back.

B'Elanna was looking at Robin. 'She looks so relaxed, I've never seen her look so comfortable. I'm glad that she's friends with Harry. If I didn't know better, I'd say they were involved, but that can't be, she's seeing Nozowa."

They left to go to Holodeck 1.

They knew that they were dripping water on the floor as they made their way through the corridors to their quarters. But they didn't care. They were laughing and giggling all the way back and surprisingly not cold. Harry dropped her off at the door to her quarters. He looked at her and smiled. He looked so fresh, so young and so clean. Bin's heart jumped. 'It's not supposed to do that' she thought.

He took her hands,

"Thanks for being a sounding board tonight. I appreciate the ear." He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. He drew from her and looking at her he added with a laugh,

"Now go and change before Nozowa comes off duty, sees you, and the two of you forget to make it inside your quarters before you start."

"Pig!!" She imitated B'Elannna.

But as she watched him walk off, a part of her wondered,

'What about you Harry, what would make you remember that I am a woman?'

Bin didn't know where that came from and she ignored it. Nozowa was indeed coming off duty in 10 min.

Engineering had to be the most frenzied place on the ship in their encounter with the Borg, species 8472 and their entry into fluidic space. Robin performed her duties, quickly and quietly. B'Elanna, Dalby and Jarvan who were in the Marquis with her did not have time to notice her quiet. Normally when they were getting ready for a difficult mission, she was all motion, yelling and hitting pieces of equipment. Although she could not give conscious thought to why she was that way, she knew the reason instinctively. Harry was in sickbay. One of her closest friends was lying on a bio-bed being changed into an alien. She didn't want to think about what it would be like if he died. It was indeed a good thing that she didn't have time to give to her thoughts.

She was working on some shield modifications with B'Elanna when the doctor hailed the Chief Engineer using her combadge. She took a deep breadth, Robin knew why he would be calling the Engineering chief personally.

"Yes Doctor"

"I knew that you'd want to stay informed about Ensign Kim's condition. I've successfully treated him. He's going to be fine."

B'Elanna's gratefulness came through in her voice.

"Thanks, Torres out."

B'Elanna saw a drop of water hit the consol and looked up. Robin was standing over her with tears of relief streaming down her face.

"Lt. Torres, I think that these modifications will work, however I think that you may want to go to the bridge and do some of the calibrations from there. I'll stay here to co-ordinate the effort with you, make sure you look at the power conversion ratios, it may cause a problem with the shield harmonics."

Her voice now joined the loud rushed hum of conversation around them. B'Elanna just stared at her, Robin looked puzzled and then she seemed to realize that her face was wet. Quickly she brushed the tears out of her eyes and a determined look crossed her face.

"That'll be the first thing I check when I'm on the bridge."

She touched Robin's arm and communicated her own relief that Harry was alright. The very next second she was out of Engineering.

"CAREY!!!" Robin bellowed.

They walked together silently to the messhall, each lost in their own thoughts and emotions. Kes was gone, but not dead. That was the perspective that the Captain, Neelix and Lt. Tuvok were taking. She had evolved and in doing so she had given each of them a goodbye gift, she had taken 10 years off their journey and pushed them beyond Borg Space. Sadness, relief, joy were emotions which they shared with every other member of the crew. It was fitting that they would go together to Kes' farewell party, Harry reflected, in a way it was Kes who was responsible for Robin and Harry being friends

It was a farewell party and memorial service in one. There were food, dancing and good conversations at first. Then Tuvok, being the master of ceremonies, began the sharing of memories. All of the senior officers spoke. Members of the Science department who worked with her in the airoponics bay and the people who were most touched by her all had something to share. It went on for about four hours, but no one wanted to cut that part short.

Harry kept looking at Bin who sat next to him. She was ramrod straight, dried eyed and fire flashed in her eyes. She was taking it badly, he realized. He knew that mood and he knew that he could do nothing in public to disarm her

After the sharing, the music was resumed, but it was quieter, more contemplative than it was before. It certainly fit the mood. He and Robin circulated and spoke to a few people. Most of the time Harry's mind was on Bin. When they were in the same group, she spoke, but quietly. He seen her more emotional when equipment failed. He knew that he needed to get her alone, she wouldn't allow herself to grieve when she was around people.

Harry found her talking to Ayala. "Whenever you're ready to go Robin, I'll walk you to your quarters."

"You do look tired, Robin, go with Harry, I wanted to talk to Chakotay." With that Ayala excused himself.

They walked together for a while in silence. "Bin, would you come to my quarters for a while, I don't want to be alone?"

She nodded her response and for a brief moment, she thought that Harry wanted to have sex with her, but she remembered who she was dealing with and dismissed the thought out of her mind. 'He must just want a listening ear tonight' she thought. She really felt too emotionally full to be any use, but knowing Harry all she really had to do was listen, he wouldn't expect her to have all the answers.

Once they entered, he ordered the computer to dim the lights. He took her arm and led her to the couch, Bin let him but she was perplexed when he ordered the computer to play a music selection. As the music began, Bin knew what it was. She got off the couch went to the window and in a soft voice began to sing with the 20th century artist.

If I could recapture,
All of the memories,
And bring them to life,
Surely I would,
Hear the distant laughter
Wasn't it you and me
Surviving the night
You're fading out of my sight

You're vanishing
Drifting away
You're vanishing

Bin was staring at the stars at the window, talking to them, but the he realized that she was talking to Kes. She wasn't merely talking, she wasn't merely singing, she was pouring out her heart, her hurt and her grief. Her voice was one of the most powerful instruments he had ever heard. It drew him into her experience and he began to feel as if he was speaking to Kes with her.

Reaching out into the distance,
Searching for spirits of the past
Just a trace of your existence to grasp
And if somehow I could recapture
All of the memories
And bring them to life,
Lord knows I would
But now you're fading faster
Getting so hard to see,
Taking the light
Letting the darkness inside

By this time Harry had tears streaming down his face and he didn't bother to hide it. Bin turned towards him and though her eyes were closed, tears were also cascading down her face. He was amazed that she was able not to sob, or her voice did not break. And when she finished, his heart broke with the strength of her last notes.


"Computer pause"

The computer did as he requested, and finally Bin opened her eyes.

"Bin" he said softly. She crossed the room and sat back on the couch. Without a word Harry took her into his arms. She began to sob, finally releasing all the emotions that she held in check for two days. He joined her.

After a long time they pulled away. Bin reached for a tissue on his coffee table and wiped her face. She gave the box to Harry and he did the same. Her bloodshot eyes were on his.

"Harry, I don't want to be alone tonight."

"Neither do I"

As they were removing their jackets and shoes, Bin asked, "How did you find that song?"

"I knew what period and type of artist that you liked, I simply asked the computer to do a search for what would be appropriate for Kes' departure. I've seen you when you listen to music from this century and when you talk about it. It sets off a spark in you. A spark which seemed to have been dead in the last few days. I'd hope to ignite it tonight"

"How do you know what I need just when I need it?"

They got into bed and Harry pulled her close and drew the covers over them. He kissed her on the forehead.

"I'm the Operations Chief remember, I specialize in understanding how things work and what to do if they are not functioning within their normal parameters. For the last two days you have definitely not been functioning within your normal parameters emotionally."

She was quiet as she said. "You're a good friend to me Harry." In response he pulled her closer. They lay on his bed for what seemed like hours talking, sharing their own personal memories of Kes until finally they both drifted to sleep.

Harry smiled at Bin.

"Yes it was normal alright, until someone got extremely jealous."

Bin giggled, "I will admit, I was just a touch envious of Seven."

Harry snorted, "A touch!?!"

"Ok, Ok, I was very envious of her.

Bin thought that she would either scream out loud, break something or just smack Harry upside the head. He had been going on about the new member of the crew, the "Borg Barbie" as Bin affectionately referred to her, for a month. He was smitten. It just didn't make sense. Anyone with an ounce of a brain would know to give her a wide birth at least for now. She had been Borg for close to 20 years what did she know about being in a relationship, about being sexually responsive, about being a woman? She was a child waltzing around in a woman's body, and subconsciously Harry was attracted to her body and rationalizing the sexual attraction by saying that he wanted to get to know the woman hiding behind "them". That had to be it. Why else would he be stupid over Seven and not her. Sometimes she thought that all the men on the ship, except for maybe the Vulcan males, should report to the doctor and he should do something so that their bodies just didn't produce so much testosterone. That way they would concentrate a lot more on who a woman is rather than what she looks like at first glance. And while they're in Sickbay, they should remind the physician that he is a doctor, not a fashion designer. Those outfits of Seven's left little to the imagination, she couldn't imagine those outfits being comfortable.

Bin stood in her quarters, her hands crossed in front of her chest, her breadth coming out in pants. She decided to work off a little of the energy that she her anger had produced. She began to pace. Bin had just come from Astrometics where she had to pick up the data that their scans had revealed about the disabled relay network, to see if they could learn about the harvesting of a Singularity's power. It was to be her first assignment in the morning. She arrived to see Harry gushing about something and Seven looking at him with amused disdain. She took a deep breadth, entered the room collected the data and left abruptly.

There were two things about the situation which were making it intolerable for her. The first was that she had fallen in love with Harry. She tried to run from it by squelching her feelings and having a little fling with Larson. Nothing helped. Every time she saw Harry lately, her whole being reacted. She felt comfortable with him, she told him things that she told no one else. She allowed herself to be with him, to explore parts of herself that she had denied for so long. Vulnerability, childlike wonder and awe in some of the mysteries that were unraveling in space, and between herself and the people of Voyager to name a few.

The second thing was that lately Harry seemed to be seeking her out more and more to moan about Seven. Had it been anyone else, she would have laughed at them and that would have been the end of the confidant. With Harry she didn't want to. She wanted him to talk to her, she just didn't want him to talk about Seven. Had Harry talked to Tom about her and left her out of it, she could at least find some kind of peace about the situation and move on. But every time she began to do that, he found her, to talk about Seven.

"Kim to Kingston"

"Yes Harry?"

"Are you busy?"

Damn him, Damn him, Damn me, Damn her, Damn Damn Damn

"Kingston?" Since he was addressing her by her last name, it was safe to assume one of the senior staff was nearby"

"No I'm not, what can I do for you?"

"I'll be right there."

And so it began again, one more hour of listening. Bin hadn't gotten time to sufficiently calm down before he appeared and that was never a good thing.

"Harry, listen to Tom, forget her."

"I just can't, if I can reach her I know that she and I would be great together, you understand that don't you."

Bin exploded.

"No I damn well don't. How the Hell am I supposed to understand it Harry? You and I have been friends for a year, close friends for six months, and all that time, not one look, not one clue, not one advance about having a relationship with me. Then here she comes, the captain's reclamation project, fitted in the tightest uniform I've ever seen in my life, and now you say that you've fallen in love? How the hell does that happen? Explain it to me? I don't get it. But that's not the end of it. Not only do I have to listen to you go on and on about her, but I have to do it with my heart and my feelings on the line, because Mr. Operations Chief, Mr. I understand how you work, you just didn't get it do you, you jackass!?!. I have fallen in love with you. I've been in love with you for a month now. It was the reason that I broke it off with Larson. I wanted you, not him. No one else would do. Now you torture me with your beliefs about the two of you together. Which part of all this am I supposed to understand."

She moved like lightning towards him and raised her hand, Harry who had been standing up during her whole tirade, closed his mouth and caught her arm before it made contact with his face.

For the rest of his life, Harry would never understand his following action.

He twisted Bin's arm behind her back, held the other firmly at her side and Harry kissed her hard on her mouth. Her eyes widened with shock, but eventually she responded and the couple began in earnest. As they made their way to the couch, Harry's foot caught the coffee table and the coffee cup, which had been sitting on the edge, fell and broke. They giggled, but never stopped what they were doing.

Tom and B'Elanna cautiously came out from behind the corner they were hiding. They were on their way to Tom's quarters when they heard Robin screaming at Harry. They stopped figuring that Robin was in trouble, as it was her quarters. They heard her whole tirade and decided that they didn't want to be around when Harry came running out of her quarters scared for his life. They didn't want to add to his embarrassment.

But he didn't come out. So they walked pass the door again slowly wondering if they missed him. As they did, B'Elanna gave a small giggle.

"Tom, I think things just got a little more interesting aboard this ship."

"You didn't hear what I think you heard?"

"Yes I did. Come on, let's give these two lovebirds a little privacy,........ and a little competition."

Finally Bin broke their passionate embrace.

"Harry, do you realize what you are about to do? There is not going to be any going back."

"I do"

"I know, and do you realize that there can be no-one else, that this is not going to be a one night coupling?"

"I know."

They found their way to the bedroom.

Harry had known that he was inexperienced, and he had expected her to take the lead in their lovemaking, however he was unprepared for the skill that she brought to the act. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he felt like her Kelide, being played to specific tune. As she did with the instrument, she brought out the best in him. She also made him do things that he never knew that he was able to do. It was one of the most intense experiences that he had ever had and instinctively he knew that it was only the beginning of such experiences.

When he slipped out of Bin's quarters at 4:00 am in the morning, he had the biggest smile on his face.

Sitting in the Messhall, the next morning, in the cold reality of day, Harry wasn't so sure that he made the right choice. He kept recalling the type of men who were in her history and the type of woman he knew that he had spent the night with. Was he really ready for the experience?

'How can anyone be ready for what I experienced last night?'

"You're grinning like a cat who just got away with swallowing the canary last night."

"Hi Tom, how are you?"

"Not as good as you seem to be, but close enough."

"Where's B'Elanna?"

"She headed down to Engineering early this morning, she wanted to get and early start on something. Don't change the subject."

"What subject?"

"You're going to make me pry this one out of you aren't you?"

"Pry what?"

"Robin Kingston."

Harry gave Tom a look. "You know that we have always been friends."

"You have always been friends, but I've seen the way she looks at you recently, she had become something more." Tom looked directly at his friend. "And from what I heard last night..."

"What did you hear?" Harry turned beet red.

"Oh I just happen to be strolling outside her quarters on the way to my own and overheard the most interesting conversation, actually it was more like a tirade." He left B'Elanna out of it.

"And you eavesdropped?"

"I thought she was in trouble, but apparently not. So did you spend the night with her?"

"Tom this goes no further than you, me and B'Elanna, understood."


"Yes I did"

Tom's coffee came out of the wrong orifice on his face; he was choking. After he had calmed down from his coughing fit, he studied Harry who was still a shade of red. He knew what Harry making love to a woman would mean. He echoed B'Elanna's earlier sentiment.

"This is really going to be interesting."

Walking back to his quarters, Harry felt even more insecure than before Tom had joined him at breakfast. He was a little early for his duty shift, so he thought he would pick up the data PADD that he left on his desk with an analysis of the environmental systems, which he wanted to run. As he entered his quarters, the computer activated.

"Ensign Kim, you have a message stored in the computer"

He was puzzled.

"Computer identify sender."

"Lt. Kingston."

Harry took a deep breadth, he was fairly certain what it would say. How were they ever going to keep their friendship?

He turned the monitor on. Bin appeared on the screen. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor in the bedroom of her quarters. There was a musical piece playing in the background. She looked directly at him.

The First Time,
Ever I saw your face,
I thought the Sun,
Rose in your eyes,
And the moon and the stars,
Were the gifts you gave to the dark and the endless sky,
My Love

And the First Time,
Ever I kissed your mouth,
I felt the earth move in my hands
Like the trembling heart,
Of a captive bird that was there at my command,
My Love

And the First Time,
Ever I lay with you,
I felt your heart, so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the Earth and last
Till the end of time,
My Love

The First Time,
Ever I saw your face

Bin's voice was filled with awe, wonder and love. It filled Harry's heart. For a full minute, Harry was speechless.

"Computer locate Lt. Kingston"

"Lt. Kingston is in Jeffries Tube 4, subjunction 7 alpha."

"Is she alone?"


Harry got moving; he had 20 min to go to the airoponics bay and the Jeffries tube before he had to report to duty.

Robin was so focused on what she was doing that she didn't hear Harry come up behind her until he put his arms around her waist. She jumped and turned around and he kissed her tenderly on the mouth as a way of greeting. When she broke away from his embrace, he laid a single red rose across her lap.

"For everything Ro, Bin."

He kissed her again and then left. Bin stared at him as he made his way out of the Jeffries Tube, and a single tear of joy escaped her eyelids.

"It was a good thing that you got over her very quickly."

Harry was going to give a retort, but the computer interrupted his thoughts with a beep.

"The analysis is completed."

"OK, let's see what we got." Bin had returned to her station and concentrated on the results of the analysis. "It looks like a three dimensional maze, but it seems to decrease in size as distance increases, like a tunnel of some sort. Look at how the maze appears to be focusing to one point to the sensors as the distance away from the front grows larger."

"I see, it. The computer is having trouble scanning beyond that point, but I am picking up something else at that point."

"Computer execute Science Scan Mu"


"I never heard of that scan."

"I just finished making it in the Lab last week. It is designed to scan for phenomena, which is associated with parallel universes combined with temporal displacements. I thought it would be a good idea to combine some of the standard scans to cover as much phenomena as possible in little time, considering all the things that we have gone through here in this quadrant."

"I bet B'Elanna was grateful"

"She will be. I haven't told her because I hadn't had time to test it yet, until now."

The computer relayed the findings to their consols.

"There it is" Bin said in and excited whisper. "It is a tunnel, a wormhole if you will, with one end here and the other, in a different time or place. Let's send a probe through and see what we get"

"Hold on, if that is a different time line, or a difference universe, there is no telling what can happen even if we send a probe through."

"Oh come on Harry, what harm could it do? I just want to take a peak."

"No. Let's collect the omicron particles and then tell the captain what we have found."

Bin knew Harry well enough to know that there was no reasoning with him when he was in "Starfleet Officer Mode". She pursed her lips in frustration. There was nothing she could do, Harry was the senior officer on the mission. But she did not disengage the scan.

Harry activated the Bussard collectors and activated the transformation beam for the omicron particles and then it happened.

The Shuttle jolted and Bin was thrown against her consol. Harry looked at her in horror, and began to move towards her, but the computer had other ideas.

"Warning, inertial dampers are off line."

Harry tried to collect his thoughts and put aside his desire to help Bin. He had to get them out of danger first.

"Computer, activate thrusters, get us out of here."

"Unable to comply, thrusters off line."

Harry knew that he couldn't engage the warp engine under these conditions. He heard a garbled communication,

"Voyager ...... shuttl....... Dayton, do you ...... re.......?"

"Dayton to Voyager, we need an emergency beam out"

"Unable to transmit, Communications are down."

"Computer identify the reason for the shuttle's malfunctions."

"Unexplained phenomena off the port bow"

As soon as the computer had given the answer, the swarm of omicron particles that were the only thing that could be seen with the naked eye on the Viewscreen, took the configuration of the tunnel. It happened almost instantly, and the scene before him would have taken his breadth away if he hadn't been in so much danger. The tunnel with the omicron particles glowed pink, blue and violet. The shuttle was drawn to tunnel and was being pulled in. For the first time in Harry's life he wish he were someone else besides the Operations Chief of Voyager. He wanted to be the Helmsman. Tom Paris could have gotten them out of this, but he wasn't him and not as skilled at a Conn. There was nothing he could do but allow the shuttle to be led into the maze

It took all of Harry's skill and concentration to navigate the shuttle though the tunnel until it emerged from the other side. When Harry realized that he was in normal space again and that the inertial dampers seemed to be back on line, he turned his attention to Bin. She was unconscious, slumped over her computer consol. Harry mind was whispering a mantra as he reached for the medkit.

Please let her be all right, Please let her be all right, Please let her be .............................

"Proximity warning."

Harry looked up and the last thing he saw before losing consciousness was a yellow orange beam coming straight at them.

"Voyager to Shuttlecraft Dayton, do you read." Kathryn watched as the shuttle craft suddenly began to rock in front of her eyes."

There was no answer.

Tuvok spoke, "Sensors indicate that the shuttle's inertial dampers are off-line and several key systems are down, including thrusters. However, the shuttle has started moving towards the omicron particles"

"Captain, somehow or the other the particles are interfering with the ships systems. It doesn't make sense because, there seems to be nothing connecting the shuttle to the particles. The interference it's throwing out, should not draw the shuttle to it." Chakotay was at Harry's station.

"Run a Multi Phasic sweep directed towards the particles, see if you can pick any residual energy traces from the omicr......"

"Captain!" Tom's urgent voice made her turn from the Ops station to the view screen. In a second, the omicron shuttle entered the omicron nebula and then shuttle disappeared leaving the omicron particles visible by the view screen.

There was a full moment of silence on the bridge as each person realized what had just happened.

Tuvok broke the silence with the statement "The shuttle has disappeared from sensors Captain."

Kathryn found her voice. "Bridge to Engineering."

"Torres here."

"B'Elanna, our shuttle has disappeared from our sensors and it has something to do with the behavior of the omicron particles. Report to the Science lab with the sample that we took and the analysis that we made from the last time we encountered a living omicron nebula and see if you can find anything that we may have overlooked. I'll join you when I have finished here"

"Yes Captain."

"Bridge to Astrometrics."

"This is Seven of Nine"

"Seven, our shuttle has disappeared into the Omicron Nebula. I want you to analyze the data that we had collected during all the Astrometrics Scans and see if you can pick up anything unusual that would cause this. Run the scans every 5 min and see if you can pick up differences which may give us any idea of what happened to our shuttle.

"Yes Captain."

"Tuvok, I want you to analyze every sensor reading that we took of the shuttle while it was out in front of the omicron particles. I want to know what kind of interaction that the particles may have had with the shuttle to cause the malfunctions."

"Yes captain."

"Captain, I had already started the Multi-Phasic scan before the shuttle disappeared."

"Very good Commander. Run the standard analysis and see what you can come up with. I also want you to collaborate our readings with the ones we have taken of the omicron nebula when we first came here.

"Aye Captain."

"Tom, dead stop. If we so much as move towards the anomaly one centimeter, I want to know about it and be prepared to go to warp to the outer limits of our sensor capabilities at the drop of a hat."

"Yes ma'am"

"We'll convene in one hour with our results. Chakotay you have the bridge. Keep me informed." With that Kathryn marched to the turbolift to go to the science lab.

When Harry woke up, he was alone in a dark cell. He felt as if he were a mallet in a Parises Squares tournament. He hurt all over. As his eyes grew accustomed to the dark, he started to look for Bin. She wasn't in the cell with him. He felt the panic rise from his stomach. Where was she? Where was he?.

He looked to the front of the cell and there was a yellow/orange shimmer that covered the doorway. He knew it was a forcefield. He crawled over to it as it hurt too much to stand, and touched it gently to test its strength.

When his skin came into contact with the field, he gave a yelp and fell backwards. He felt the same pain as he did when the energy beam hit the shuttle. 'It must be same thing', he reasoned. He crawled back into the corner to rest. When he looked around the cell again, he made out a bed and what seemed to be a pitcher of water and a dirty glass. He crawled to it and took a sip. He wasn't too sure when next he was going to get water so that he had to make it last. He felt weak all over, but he forced his mind to concentrate. He reached to the right side of his uniform and realized that his Combadge was still there. He took it off and hid it in his boot.

'Now I need to find a way to get out of here and find Bin'

He still couldn't stand, but he got to work on his stomach inspecting every inch of his cell.

Tuvok began, "From the sensor logs, when Ensign Kim and Lt. Kingston got the arranged co-ordinates, they initiated a standard short range scan from the shuttle. The scan ran for 5 min and then initiated another scan. It seemed to be a filter protocol but I don't recognize it."

"I do. Harry and I designed it to screen out the interference that the particles were sending out in case they interfered with the collection of the omicron particles." B'Elanna was staring at the data on her PADD. The reports were downloaded onto a PADD for each of the senior officers in the Ready Room so that everyone could have a look at the information and make a contribution.

"So it would seem that they did need to make a correction for the interference that the particles were throwing out" Kathryn spoke her thought aloud.

"The question is why?. They had not begun collecting the omicron particles as of that time according to these readings." Tuvok continued.

"They must have noticed something which our scans didn't pick up, but the short range scanners on the shuttle did, something that required them to filter out interference before they could draw a conclusion from the scan." Chakotay spoke.

"That would be a logical conclusion"

"But what? B'Elanna and I went over every piece of data we collected, and compared the readings between the first omicron nebula that we encountered to this one. Except for quantum flux readings which explained by the part of space that we are in, there was nothing different. Seven hasn't had any luck either. She is continuing scans and analysis but nothing out of the ordinary has shown up yet."

"Even if they did see something, what was it that drew the shuttle towards the particles in that instant and not before?" Chakotay continued.

"Whatever it was, it specifically crippled all of the navigation and piloting abilities of the shuttle craft. There was no way for them to escape once it entered the nebula." Tom had been studying Tuvok's records of the shuttle's sensors.

"So we know that Harry and Robin initiated the standard short range scans, saw something which made them curious, ran the new filter program. When they stopped the filter and activated the Bussard Collectors, their Conn. and Navigational systems went off-line and something pulled them into the omicron particles and they disappeared." Kathryn summarized for them.

"There is one more thing," Chakotay told them. "I wasn't able to complete the Multi-Phasic sweep before they disappeared, but I was able to detect a beam of some kind coming from the shuttle, towards the nebula at the instant that they were drawn towards it."

"Tuvok, why were the scanners not able to pick that up?" Kathryn asked.

"I don't know." It was a simple statement, made in his usual manner, but his right eyebrow raised as he read the report that Chakotay had made, communicated more than his tone. He was as surprised as Kathryn was at this finding.

"I think I know why Captain." B'Elanna said., "From the data that Chakotay collected, it seemed that the energy signature of the beam was a in the low frequency range. Since the interference of the particles begins in the cloud and radiates outwards, it masked the scan emanating from the shuttle to our sensors which were concentrated on the shuttle. When Chakotay ran the Multi-Phasic sweep it was towards the nebula, not the shuttle and he picked it up."

"Can you identify what scan it was?"

"No, the sweep was on for too short a time." B'Elanna gave a deep sigh.

"Now what?" Tom shifted in his chair. Harry was missing and so was Bin. He wanted to DO something.

"I think that it would be prudent if we can reproduce the series of circumstances and see if the nebula would behave as it did when it encountered our shuttle. However, I do not think that it is wise to send another shuttle out until he have more information."


"I've been thinking, we can send a class five probe out and modify it's sensors so that it would scan with the same output as a shuttle. We would have to install an additional power source, and do a lot of modifications but I also believe that we can build a mini-Bussard collector in it." B'Elanna suggested

"That still might not be enough to "activate" the particles so we can track where our shuttle is" Tom said

"However it would give us a start." Chakotay looked at Tom, who was radiating impatience.

"Then let's do it. B'Elanna, Tuvok and I are with you. Commander, you have the bridge and Tom your orders are the same, if we get any closer, move us away and then notify me. Dismissed."

Tom gave a loud audible sigh. Janeway threw a steely look at him and the attempted to straighten up as he turned and made his way to the Helm. B'Elanna felt for her lover. At least she was getting to do something to help bring Harry and Robin back. All Tom could do was watch, wait and worry.

Harry was tired of waiting. After crawling around on his cell for a time, he found that it was easier to bear the pain and walk. As he did, the pain in his legs did seem to diminish somehow. He didn't find anything that was of use in the cell to help him disable the forcefield. And he hadn't seen or heard from or about Bin either. He tried to shout to see if anyone would answer him. When he heard laugher at his cries and cries of agony coming from other prisoners, Harry knew that he wasn't alone in the prison. He took comfort that he hadn't heard what he thought would be Robin's voice, screaming. He wanted to believe desperately that somehow, someway she was able to escape. But given her unconscious state when he last saw her, he knew that it was unlikely. So he sat and he waited.

B'Elanna rubbed her neck. After two and a half hours of work, they finally had the probe ready for launch. Chakotay beamed the probe into space at the exact location where the shuttle had been, and the three senior officers; herself, Tuvok and the captain were headed for the bridge. Once they got there, Tuvok and B'Elanna took their regular stations and Chakotay took Ops.

"The probe has begun transmitting." Tuvok informed them and synchronized Voyager's scans of both the probe and the particles.

Janeway joined B'Elanna at the engineering station on the bridge.

"Are you seeing that? It seems to be some sort of pattern?" B'Elanna asked.

"Confirmed" Tuvok said in reply, "The same information is being relayed by Voyager's sensors"

"But we can't get a good reading on it." Said Chakotay.

"That has to be why they initiated the filter protocols." Janeway thought aloud. "Commander?"

"Initiating. I see it, it is a tunnel!!."

"On screen."

Tom strained to see what they were talking about but it was still hard to see any pattern in what seemed to be a cloud of dust.

"Is the probe moving any closer to the nebula?"

"No Captain, it isn't."

"Ok, initiate the probe's mini Bussard collectors."

"I'm on it." Chakotay replied. "No change in the nebula"

"It has to be that scan they ran that triggered the reaction. Any ideas how we can find out what?"

"It has to be a composite scan, but I have no idea where to begin and to try them all out will take days. That probe only had enough energy to do a scan and a collection for the next two hours and then we'll have to beam it back, recharge the power cell and beam it back."

"Start with the most basic combinations you can think of given the nature of their mission. I'll help you so that while your initiating the scans, I can be thinking up of others. Tuvok you go engineering and begin modifications on one more probe, that way we can alternate probes and not waste time. Commander you have the bridge. Begin examining the data as it is collected by our sensors and by the probe's. Tom...."

"I know, sit ready with my hand on the controls." Sarcasm dripped in his voice and Tom's shoulders sagged.

Kathryn was about to say something, but something struck her. Chakotay had come out from the Ops station to join her at the command center. She felt him next to her preparing to say something also. He began

"Lt. Paris......."

Kathryn put her hand on his arm to stop him.

"Have Ensign Bethard relieve you and report to Engineering. Take the analysis that Tuvok had of the sensor readings and analyze them from a Conn. perspective. See if you can come up with anything and use holodeck 2 to run simulations."

Kathryn knew that Tom was worried and restless and sitting at the Com. with nothing to do but wait was what was causing Tom's behavior. Chakotay wouldn't understand, he was a patient person. She and Tom were different. Bethard could hit a button and get them out of danger if need be.

"Acknowledged" Tom sprang from his seat. As he passed the captain, he said "Thank you" quietly. He knew why the captain had given those orders. Chakotay watched the look of worry pass between the captain and the Lt. and he knew why Kathryn did what she did. He felt a little guilty for attempting to reprimand the Lt.. It's just sometimes, when his defenses were down, Tom got to him. Like when he was worried.

Harry woke up with a start, when he heard a voice say roughly "Get in there". The forcefield was lowered and Bin shoved into his cell and the field was erected again.

"Bin, Bin? Can you hear me."

She replied in a hoarse voice, "Harry?"

"Yes it's me. Where have you been? What have they done to you?"

"I'm all right", she whispered, but she was crying.

"No you're not. I'm going to try to move you to the bed, it may be more comfortable than the floor"

He wasn't too sure about that though when he had examined the bed earlier, it seemed that the floor would have been more comfortable.

She leaned on him as he half carried her to the bed. The effort to help him get her to the bed, seemed to exhaust her.


He gave her a glass. She drank greedily. When she finished, he took the glass from her. "So sleepy" and with that she fell asleep. Harry crawled around her and enclosed her to the wall with his body. He lay awake trying to think about a way to escape with tears streaming down his face.

Bin awoke with a startled cry after half and hour. Harry who was searching the cell again for any possible way of escaping was by her side the instant she bolted upright on the bed.

"It's OK, I'm here."

"Harry?" She appeared disoriented.

"Yes it's me"

"I thought I was back in the torture room, with Kandis"

"Is that the name of the people who are holding us here."

She nodded. "One of them. He was the one who....." She swallowed hard. "Tortured me"

Harry turned white with rage. "What did he do? What happened? All I know is that we came out of the tunnel of the omicron particles and as I was trying to see if you were all right, a bright orange beam came towards the shuttle. When I woke up I was in this cell. I must have been in here for hours by myself. I didn't know what happened to you."

"I don't remember much, I remember being thrown against the consol in the shuttle. When I awoke, I was in this room and there was this person standing over me. He looked humanoid, class five, almost like us except he seemed to have spots on the side of his face like the Kremin, the race whose space that we went around six months ago. And he was tall, when I first woke up, I thought that was Hirogen. But obviously not, his complexion was too smooth."

"How did he ....torture you?" Harry asked carefully.

"I don't know. I tried to ask him, where I was, what did they want, where you were and he said nothing and then......" She bowed her head down, "I remembered......."

"Remembered what?"

"Bajor" she whispered. Harry felt his heart constrict.

Harry woke suddenly and violently from the dream he was having by being struck in the arm.

"Ow". His eyes flew open and in the darkness he could just make someone out standing at the foot of his with their hands clench, he rolled off the bed and grabbed his phaser from the bedroom draw and aimed it at the stranger.

"Computer lights"

Bin stood at the foot of his bed, hands clench and an expression of pure hatred on her face. Harry lowered the phaser and said with a relieved sigh,

"Bin you scared me, don't do that in your sleep again OK?". Harry replaced the phaser in the drawer

Bin didn't answer. She just stared. Harry grew alarmed when he looked at her, she seemed to have been turned into a statue of stone.

"Bin, Bin?". He moved towards her and shook her gently. She seemed to snap out of it.

"Where am I? Harry what......Oh!" It seemed that the memory came back to her in a flash.

"Bin did you have a bad dream?"


"What was it?"

"It's nothing Harry, lets just go back to bed." She got back into the bed. Harry didn't like what he was seeing. He had seen Bin in all states before, but never one without emotion. She concentrated with a lot more emotion than she was showing now. It seemed almost like she was traumatized. He got in the bed and turned to face her. Her back was to him, she was hiding.

"Bin turn around"

"Harry, I have to get up early tomorrow, I really want to sleep."

"No. Turn around. Now." His voice was very soft, but Robin was surprised to hear the steel and determination in his voice.

"Or what?"

"Kim to Sickbay." Harry activated the ship's Com with his call.


"This is the Doctor. What seems to be the problem Ensign?"

"I'm in bed with........."

"All right" she hissed and then turned around.

"Doctor, cancel that last request."

"Ensign, I'm a doctor, not a romance counselor, the next time......"

"Kim out"

Harry looked at her and said nothing. She was studying his toes as if they held a faster way back to the alpha quadrant. He turned her face towards him and kissed her deeply. At last he thought he could see something in her eyes. She just looked at him and began to tell her tale.

"When I was 12 years old and living on Bajor during the occupation my father told me never to go away with a Cardassian alone. When one came to me and asked me to take him to my family cell, I did because I knew that my father should have been back from the working in the mines and he would be there, waiting on supper rations from the Cardassians. When I got to my cell it was empty. He wasn't home, but my mother was. She had this strange look on her face. He said to her that all three of us were going to take a walk to the Prefect's office. My mother was there so I figured it was OK. It wasn't his office. It seemed to be an interrogation room. My mother and father were then placed in a room which only had a forcefield separating us and then the Cardassian began to torture me.

I had never understood why people hated as much as they did until that moment. I think that it went on for hours, or it could have been a few minutes. They pushed me right up to their calculated tolerance of pain for a Bajoran child of my age. They did that to get my father to talk about the work he did in the resistance cell. My mother was screaming like a mad woman trying to get away from the Cardassian who was holding her down. They stopped for a while and the Prefect asked my father questions. My father told them, everything they wanted to know and anything. Some things may not been the truth. He would have said anything to stop them from hurting me.

When they seemed satisfied by the answers that he gave, the two Cardassian soldiers stopped torturing me and left the room. The prefect raped me while my parents watched. At first I kept looking at my father pleading and shouting with him to help me. He almost killed himself trying to go to the forcefield, but it was firmly in place and after a time he died. The spark of defiance that I had always known in my father had disappeared. That act had broken him. In the end he stood silently and watched. My mother was cowered in the corner, whimpering. I wished that I had never been born. The hatred that I thought I understood during the torture was mere child's play compared to the one I felt after the rape. The Prefect called the guards and they shot my father in front of my mother and me. My mother was then taken away.

I became the plaything of the Prefect. I performed sexual pleasures for him. When I pleased him, he treated me well and after a while I learned how to do that constantly. I got used to my existence. I learnt things during those sexual episodes, about him, the way he ran the mines; he liked to brag about his accomplishments after he had alcohol and sex. I kept that knowledge in my head intending to use it one day. The only thing that kept me from going insane was the hope that I would see my mother again. That I would be able to rescue her.

One night as I was eavesdropping on a conversation, I overheard the guards talking about me. They wanted to try me and have their turn. Why should the Prefect have all the fun? They wondered if I was as good as my mother. It was a pity that she had hanged herself three years ago, the day after they raped her and the Prefect raped me. Even for one night, she was a good lay.

The Prefect had lied to me. He had been using my mother as a way of keeping me in line and making sure that I would do his bidding. I snapped. I grabbed the guns from the guards and killed them. They didn't know that I was in the room hiding and they were drunk so it was easy to disarm them and kill them. I had been sleeping with transport captain for the mines in hopes that when I rescued my mother, he would sneak us out of Bajor. That night I cashed in. I was hidden on his transport and when we were a day's journey away from Bajor, we rendezvoused with a Ferengi Marauder. I sold my secrets about the prefect for the lattinum to pay the Ferengi and for seven days, I slept with who ever would feed me and give me passage further and further away from Bajor.

My last "ride" and I got "accidentally" drunk one night when we were on one of the transport stations orbiting Earth while we were on his ship. He "accidentally" beamed me down to Earth and conveniently forgot me while he left orbit. I found that out by using the communicator that he forgot I had. So lived in the woods near Johannesburg for a week eating what I could find. Sometimes picking up men so that I could get a meal out of them, stealing.

I met my adoptive father when I propositioned him one night as he was hanging out at the local watering hole."

Her voice was calm and quiet with a hint of resignation in it. It was only when she finished her story that she looked up at Harry.

It was as if he had turned to stone. He simply stared at her and the horror, disgust and revulsion was written clearly on his face. He made no move to get closer to her.

She misinterpreted his look. Bin's heart broke in two for the first time in her life. She had just had a vivid dream about being tortured. The pain she had endured had been horrendous, but they had never broken her spirit. With the look on Harry's face, she just felt that everything that she had ever gone through in her life made no sense, she felt empty and hollow, her spirit was indeed broken.

Bin got up and began to dress. Again Harry watched and made no move to stop her. Bin felt the tears burning her eyelids, but with the little bit of pride that she had left, she was not going to let Harry see how completely he had broken her. She turned to him

"I'm sorry Harry. I should have realized when I fell in love with you that you would not be able to be with me in who I am. I should have never let this relationship happen"

With that she left his quarters.

Harry got no sleep whatsoever that night.

He stood outside the Commander's office and put his hand to press the chime. He didn't ring it and he lowered his hands showing his indecision. Though he hadn't slept in 24hrs he wasn't tired, just numb. It was a good thing that he had the next shift off. He didn't know what to think, what to do and how to even approach Bin after what she told him the night before. Thoughts, plans and feelings just swam around in his head. He needed someone to talk to. For the first time Harry wished that there was a counselor on board. He didn't want to confide in Tom. Somehow or the other he just felt that it wouldn't be fair to them if he did. Both Tom and Bin were friends and he knew that he couldn't divulge Bin's past to him.

He wasn't particularly close to the Commander, but from what he had observed of him when he dealt with Neelix's suicide attempt, he seemed to be a good listener, non-judgmental and truly concerned with any crewmember's well being. It wasn't only his observation of Chakotay's relationship with Neelix that led him to the Commander, but also his relationship with Henley, Gerron, B'Elanna and especially the Captain. Sometimes it seemed to Harry that just as Captain Janeway was the head of the Crew, Chakotay was the heart. This was not to say that Captain Janeway was cold and distant from the crew, just the opposite. She was warm and compassionate when the occasion called for it. It was just as the Captain, the crew's physical safety and well being was of paramount importance to her, and there was a certain distance which was inherent with that responsibility.

Captain Janeway was the captain she was because of Commander Chakotay. He had seen them on the bridge and off duty, observed them together and apart. They worked well together and their concern for each other was apparent. The only thing which was more important to them besides their friendship was getting the crew home. They supported each other through what had to be the most difficult experiences that they had personally, and as a crew. What amazed Harry constantly was that their friendship never seemed to undercut their command structure. Except for one time. Harry shared the concern of Tom, B'Elanna, Ayala, Samantha and other members of the bridge crew during their encounter with the Borg. It was apparent for the first time to them that something had occurred during that encounter to cause a strain in the relationship between the captain and the first officer. Never before had the tones of conversation been so polite, the personal space between them so respected, and the bridge banter so confined to topics such as ship's systems. He had been relieved when he realized two months ago that their friendship was on the mend and they got back to acting normally. Even during that "fight", their professionalism was maintained for the good of the crew and concern for each other as friends still apparent. When the Vhori kidnapped Chakotay, even though she seemed to be holding her feelings more in check, the concern of the captain was noticeable.

Chakotay was an able officer and scientist. Harry did not often think of him as the captain's subordinate, but as her partner. Together they were ensuring safe passage of the crew through the delta quadrant. He heard the rumors making their way around the ship; about the possible romantic relationship between the two chief officers. It was a rumor which was very carefully circulated. No one wanted Janeway and Chakotay to know about it. The crew wasn't too sure how they would react if they heard about the speculation. Harry wasn't sure if it rumor was true or not, but he believed that if it was, not much would change in their leadership style or their relationship with one another in front of the crew. The crew would always come first.

What impressed Harry even further about the Commander was that being the heart of the command structure did not make him vulnerable, weak or second place. He found that Chakotay was courageous and capable of great acts of kindness, able to defend the crew against danger and will always to listen. Something about him imparted wisdom. It was that wisdom that Harry sought now.

He sighed.

From the end of the hall Chakotay watched him. He had stepped out of his office to confer with the captain about something on the bridge and was on his way back, when he spotted Harry raise his hand to activate the chime and lower it again. When he took a closer look at the ensign, he saw that he looked as if he hadn't slept for a while; he was pale. He also looked worried. Chakotay began to move towards him.

"Harry, I just stepped out to the bridge, I hope you weren't waiting long for me. Come in"

He preceded Harry to his office and waited for him to follow. In effect he gave the younger officer no choice. Harry did indeed comply. He stood a little beyond the doorway of the office. When he had studied the young man outside of his office, he knew that whatever he was here about was personal. Chakotay proceeded to the couch and sat down.

"Join me."

Harry did that. He sat on the edge of the couch and his shoulders were taunt.

"What is it Harry?"

The concern in his voice was enough to break through Harry's reserve and the ensign told him about his relationship and what the Lt. had told him last night. Chakotay was shocked when he heard about Robin's childhood and the horrors that she had gone through. He was also surprised because she showed so few signs of the trauma that she had endured when she was younger. He would have expected her to have serious emotional problems because of her experience, but she did not.

"The thing is that I don't know what to do, I don't know who to be with her."

"Why don't you want to be who you are with her?"

"I'm so inexperienced with this sort of thing. I've lead such a sheltered life until four years ago. I know that I have come a long way since I first boarded this ship. But this is out of my league. I have never heard of anyone, or even thought about anyone going through what she has gone through in her childhood. I'm not qualified to be with her. She doesn't need me, she needs someone who can be who she needs him to be. Someone a lot stronger than I am."

The last sentence was said in a whisper and when Chakotay looked at Harry he could see that he was on the brink of tears. Chakotay had an idea of where this sentiment was coming from.

"You don't think you're a strong enough person to be with Robin?"

"No I don't"

"When did that change? You must have obviously thought so at one time or else you would not have continued seeing her?"

"I didn't always believe so at the beginning. But when we first started being friends and then lovers, I realized that I may be. It just seemed that B..Robin never asked me to be anything more than I was. She seemed to like the innocent, straight lace side of me. I guess she realized, like I did that we balanced each other. We explored ourselves through each other. Now that she has told me what she had to live through, the reason why she is the way she is, I feel that I am not able to be strong for her when she has to go through the ramifications of what happened to her. No one who experienced that, walks away without open scars. I don't think that I am able to deal with them when they come up. The thing that haunts me is that I was so shocked at what she told me, I didn't know what to do, how to act last night. I just let her walk out of my quarters after breaking up with me. I haven't talk to her since."

Harry put his head in his hands, and Chakotay knew that he was trying to compose himself. As Chakotay gave him a moment of privacy, his heart went out to the younger man. He was indeed maturing and Chakotay knew that what he was feeling was the growing pains of that process. Chakotay remembered his own experiences when he was Harry's age.


Harry took his head out of his hands and looked at the older man.

"Do you love her?"

He remembered her laugh and the way that he was with her. Some of her bluntness had rubbed off on him. Her openness and her passion were other characteristics that he treasured. He loved talking to her, sharing his days and his self with her. He treasured when she shared herself with him, in and out of bed. He could not begin to think about this journey without her. He looked directly at the Commander

"Yes I do"

"Then it begins and it ends there."

It seemed an obscure statement to Harry until he looked at he Commander. He saw the wisdom and the empathy in the Commander's gaze and understood the rightness of that statement and suddenly he knew what he had to do.

"Thank you Commander"

"You're welcome. My door is always open Harry, whenever you need to talk"

"I will remember that."

When he left the office, Chakotay gave a little smile. It was hard for him to believe that he had been thrust into this role of counselor/confidant to the crew. He never wanted it. It was a source of discomfort to him sometimes. He barely knew how deal with his own woundedness, far less anyone else's. But he remembered what his father had told him.

"What we desire the most when we are in emotional pain Chakotay, is not someone who will take away our pain, solve our problems for us or give us all the answers. What we need is some one to walk with us, to be for and with us. Never underestimate the power of 'presence'. As sentient beings we have this in common We need to know that we are not alone in times of our pain."

Not for the first time, Chakotay wondered if he could ever be as wise in life as he realized that his father was in death.

Harry hurried to Engineering. The four hours of sleep that he managed to get had cleared his head a bit and he knew what he had to do. Bin was working with Lt. Carey bent over a consol and did not notice him as he stood waiting for them to finish.

"We'll start this first thing in the morning" It was at this point that he looked up and noticed Harry standing there.

"Aren't we the lucky one, an escort tonight. Hey Harry do you do this for all the female engineers on the ship, to keep them safe from unknown dangers lurking in the corridors?"

Bin looked down and Harry looked uncomfortable. Carey realized then that there was something wrong with the couple and quickly excused himself.

"Robin I'll see you in the morning, have a good night you two" with that he left them.

"What can I do for you Harry?" Calm and collected was the way that she sounded, but Bin was anything but. She got one hour of sleep that night and had barely been able to keep up with her duties. She wanted to crawl into her bed and cry her self to sleep again. She wasn't ready to talk to Harry just yet, and her heart felt like it was breaking all over again when she looked at him.

"B..Ro, Bin we need to talk."

"Why? You had nothing to say last night."

"I know and I'm sorry, it's just that...."

"Hi Harry. Bin what are you still doing here, you said you wanted to get straight to bed after your shift?"

B'Elanna came up to them and clasped Harry's arm by way of a greeting.

"Harry do me a favor, make sure that she gets to bed, escort her there personally." She seemingly gave them a playful shove out of engineering. As the doors closed behind them, her gaze remained on the door and she whispered, 'And work it out you two, whatever it is, and that's an order"

"Lt., I need your hand here." Sighing, B'Elanna went back to work.

They walked down the corridors to Bin's quarter's in silence. In front of her door, they stopped and Harry asked quietly,

"May I come in?"

She shrugged and entered her outer room and he followed. She took a seat on the couch and he stood and looked at her. He took a deep breadth and started.

"Bin, I want to apologize for not saying anything to you last night. I wanted to, but I did not know how. I have never heard anything like that before. I don't think that I have ever been so angry, so hurt for you and so confused about us. I don't know who to be around you. I'm so innocent, I've never had to handle something like this, I don't know what to be around you"

Ro,Bin felt as if she had been thrown a curve ball. A glimmer of hope began to come alive within her.

"What do you mean you don't know who to be around me? What's wrong with being you?"

Harry turned to face her, he owed her that for all that happened. "I'm afraid that when this comes up in our relationship I will make it worst for you because of my inexperience, in relationships and in dealing with anything like this."

"WHAT?" Bin was dumbfounded. "You mean that you don't think that I am repulsive because of what happened to me, because of what I've done. You don't think that I am stained, tainted." Her voice had started out as a shout, but the last remark was barely above a whisper.

"NO. Is that what you think?", Harry moved and knelt at her feet and took her hands in his, his eyes on hers. "Of course, with my reaction, that's what you were lead to think. Bin I love you, I love you enough to let you go. To be with someone else who will not do hurt you while dealing with this."

"Will you be able to do that, to let me go?"

Harry looked down, "It will be the hardest thing that I have ever done and I'm not to sure that I can be around you and him and it will take time, but I will make myself do it." Bin saw a single tear cascade down his face. She raised his face with her hands and looked lovingly in his eyes.

"You really are a jackass, you know that. I told you because I wanted you to know. I trusted you with myself, because of who you are. I love you Harry Kim and I want to be with you, no one else. I don't expect you to deal with this like a professional. I can't deal with this professionally and I've been in extensive therapy for four years. I expect you to be at my side, through all the mistakes, through the pain and hurt. I don't expect you to be anyone else but yourself. When I apologized last night for getting involved with you and broke it off, it wasn't because I thought that you couldn't handle who I was, it was because I thought you were unwilling to. That's what your inaction communicated to me, now I know why you were paralyzed."

She leaned over and kissed him tenderly. Harry sat on the floor and pulled her into his lap and put his arms around her as if he was afraid that she would be snatched away from him. Bin leaned into him and drank in his smell. So fresh and clean. She felt safe and secure.

"When Ben Kingston turned me down, he asked me where I was staying. Normally I lie when asked that by men I'd picked up, but something about him lead me to trust him and I told him the truth. He took me into his home and later he and his wife adopted me. I thought that he was one of the people who had a thing for his daughter and in that situation, the man is the initiator. But he never made any advances. I had learnt early on in my life to use sex to get what I want and I did. Normally it was for better grades and little trinkets in stores, but I was very careful not to sleep with anyone who knew my adoptive parents. For some odd reason, I did not want to let them down. I started to have nightmares about Bajor when I finally began to feel comfortable around the Kingstons. It seemed that when my mind acknowledged that I was safe, then I could remember what had been done to me.

When I awoke screaming on three consecutive nights and could not remember why, they sent me to a counselor. I had no idea that Dr Ramera was a full Betazoid. I didn't even know they existed until a year prior. Since I was under the age of 18, my parents gave their consent and she tapped my mind in one of her sessions and everything came pouring out. I never told my parents the harsher details of my time with the Cardassians, they think that I was just tortured to the point that it induced this trauma, which is correct. They just never knew how. Dr Ramera and I worked for three afternoons every week for four years to get me to acknowledge what had been done to me, to acknowledge my feelings of absolute hatred against Cardassians, to get me to interact with people without using my body as a bargaining tool. To get me to accept love from my parents and my friends, to help me understand that I was worth being loved. To awaken my interest in science and to get me to feel comfortable at the Academy. We were tossing about the idea of me telling my first true "lover" at the time, what had happened to me when Cardassian Treaty came to the forefront. I told Dr Ramera and my parents that I felt that this was the opportunity I had to do something about the Cardassians, to make up for leaving Bajor so many years earlier, for not being part of the resistance that finally got the Cardassians to leave my home land. I was going to the Border. To my surprise they gave me love, support and encouragement and let me go. When the colonists dissolved the Treaty, I was there. I never looked back, when I was involved in the first scuffle in the de-militarized zone."

Bin never knew how good it felt to unburden herself completely and to have someone still be present to her. Harry began to stroke her. Sitting in his lap, she felt him become aroused. She broke his embrace and looked at him. He kissed her and raised her to her feet with him.

Harry led Bin to bed and made love to her. Bin for her part, let herself be loved. She didn't display any of her skills or take the lead. Harry made love to her slowly and tenderly, as if to reassure her of his desire to be with her and for her. And when their passion was spent and Harry took her into his arms, she realized that she had been crying throughout their entire lovemaking.

"How did you remember Bajor? Were you asleep, dreaming? Or did they give you some kind of drug?"

Harry demanded.

"I don't feel any implants and they didn't inject me with anything while I was awake maybe they did it while I was asleep. All I know is that one moment I was looking at Kandis and the next moment I was being tortured. And it was all too real. All too real."

Her voice was not a whisper now, but it was deadly calm. Harry recognized it. He moved to get closer to Bin but she got up and began pacing the room. She seemed to deliberately shake herself of the memory and bring herself back to the present.

"We've got to get out of here"

"I know, I've been looking, but I haven't been able to find anything that we can use to break this forcefield. The only thing that might help us is my combadge."

Bin looked at the right side of his uniform puzzled.

"I hid it."

"They took mine. We may be able to build something out of the Combadge that can help us. And when we do get out of here, I tried to memorize the route they used to take me from the torture chamber to here. There was a large computer consol in the room and before they began, there was a report of a prison escape, I was able to watch Kandis and the guards use the consol to locate the prisoners. I think that I understand how to use it."

"Good, let's get to work. I think I may have located the power source for the forcefield. It seems to be inside the cell, but it is guarded by the same type of forcefield as our cell. It seems to carry some sort of electrical charge which does not external damage, but disrupts the neurons in the nerve endings of the body."

"It's inside of the cell? That's strange, it should be outside. But at this point, I'm not going to argue. Give me your combadge."

As Harry was about to do so, a loud alarm sounded and the forcefield which had been shimmering orange and yellow, went dark. Bin and Harry looked at each other and Harry took the metal cup that they had been drinking from and threw it in the direction of the field. It passed right through. The forcefield was down. Wordlessly, Bin motioned him to follow and he did as she made her way to what she thought was the torture chamber.

B'Elanna was frustrated. They had been working for close to two hours and they still hadn't come up with the combination of the scans which initiated the tunnel of omicron particles which had drawn their shuttlecraft in. She knew that they what they were trying to do would only produce results, if they were lucky, in three days time. All of the standard combinations were tried, but to no avail. The omicron particles remained the same no matter what they did.

"What in the name of Kahless did you do Robin, or was this combination scan Harry stupid idea?" She shouted hitting the consol in Engineering that she had been working with. Then it struck her. They were doing the right thing but looking in the wrong place for the source of the scan.

"Torres to Janeway"

"Janeway here."

"Captain, I just thought of something. If they initiated a combined scan, it is possible that they left the parameters of that scan in the computer system on this ship. They were in the shuttle for too short a time to re-configure the sensors for a combination scan that is taking us this long to find. I'd suggest that Commander Tuvok go through the logs, transfer logs, sensor logs, engineering logs and even Harry's and Robin' personal logs and see if he can find any mention of combination scans that they may have made. I'll continue to work here."

"Excellent idea Lt. I'll have Tuvok begin right away. Janeway out."

"Janeway to Tuvok"

"Tuvok here."

Please report to the Ready Room"


Kathryn told him of B'Elanna's idea and he left to begin searching. Kathryn looked up from her consol after five minutes of working. Her neck was sore and she knew that she had been staring at the screen too long. She moved to the window and stared at the stars, her mind on Harry.

She heard the door open behind her and turned to face Chakotay.

"Seven tried to contact you via your Combadge but you were talking to Tuvok. She wanted to tell you that there has been no change on her end, but she is working on some new scanning configurations which she feels would be able to give us more information on the omicron nebula."

"Thank you Chakotay."

He turned to leave and stopped. Kathryn had turned back to the window. Chakotay covered the room in four strides and stood very close behind her. They stood in silence for a while. Kathryn broke it.

"Every member of this crew is important to me. We've been through so much together, but the senior staff, they're special. I guess because I have the most contact with them and I work more closely with you all than any other crewmembers. Harry. So young when he came on board. He has grown up a lot in the last four years. He has had more experience than a lot more officers who have been in the service for twice that length of time. He has matured. I have been grateful to watch him grow, as I had the chance to watch Kes grow. I have to get him back."

Her voice was a whisper. Chakotay placed his palm on her back and she turned to her side to face him.

"We will get them back." he said simply.

She leaned a little on him, collecting her strength. Again she was grateful that she had his friendship and support back. Six months ago, she didn't think that she would, and she didn't know what she would have done without it.

"Tuvok to Captain."

"Go ahead."

"I've found a series of combination scans that Lt. Kingston had been working on before she went with Ensign Kim on the away mission. She made a record that she was working on them in her science logs. Computer logs confirmed that she transferred the parameters for five of those scans onto the shuttle. I found no corresponding evidence from my investigation of Ensign Kim's Ops logs.

"Good work, Commander."

Chakotay removed his hand from the captain and together they went out to the bridge. As she moved from her ready room she communicated with other officers

"Janeway to the senior staff, please report to the bridge, we are going to execute a series of scans which we believe will make the tunnel visible to us."

"Acknowledged." Tuvok answered.

"Aye Captain" B'Elanna answered from engineering

"On my way." Tom left the holodeck and almost ran to the turbo lift

"Janeway to Astrometrics"

"Seven of Nine here."

"Seven, we are going to execute a series of scans which we believe will reveal the tunnel to our sensors. Configure the Astrometrics sensors to receive the information that the probe collects for the next series of scans, and also to initiate astrometrical scans from the probe."


Captain Kathryn Janeway stepped onto her bridge with her second of command right behind her, ready for anything.

They heard loud voices, yelling and screaming and the sound of fighting and gunfire. But they saw no one. The back of Harry's neck prickled. "Something's not right" he said to Bin as they made their way, trying to stay in the shadows.

"I know, we haven't run into any guards since we began this, in fact he haven't seen anyone and at times the noise has been deafening, we should have been intercepted by now."

"We can't think about that now, maybe we'll get more answers from the computer."

Bin nodded. "This way"

When they got to the chamber, the door was slightly ajar. They could make out one guard at the consol working feverishly, but no other. There was a piece of pipe right outside the door and Bin picked it up. Before Harry could protest, she snuck into the room and brought the piece of pipe down on the guard's neck. She shattered his spinal column at the neck. He slumped down on the floor. She began to work. Harry picked up the guard's gun and stood sentry.

After a moment, Bin called out in a harsh whisper. "Harry come look at this"

He joined her.

"It looks like we're in some kind of structure. We are here and if we follow this route, we can get out. It seems like all systems except sensing are down, so we can just walk out of here."

"Can you switch to outside sensors, so we can have an idea of what we'll meet when we do 'walk' out of here."

"I'll try" She worked for a while and then said. "There's nothing, not for 20 KM out, 50 KM out. All I'm picking up is natural vegetation. We seemed to be on the deserted part of a planet."

"Good. I didn't want to run into any of the natives."

"Step away from the consol !!!.", a voice behind them commanded. Harry reacted instinctively and fired as he turned around. This guard also slumped to the floor unconscious.

"Let's go." The left hastily

Watching them leave the room on his monitor, Kandis smiled. After they had existed, the guard that was killed by the weapon, simply woke up and walked over to the consol. In another minute, he had patched into Kandis communicator.

"I'm sorry that Hellar had to die, they did not see the weapon which was laid in their path in order to "kill" him.

"It is not important Ranfer, He died in Preparation. It is a most honorable way to die. We will be true to all he stood for and have a successful Hunt in his honor."


The two men bowed their heads for a second and raised them to the sky giving the Beginning Howl of the Hunt.

"Engineering has downloaded the parameters of the scans into the probe and the probe's Bussard Collectors are ready and standing by." B'Elanna gave her report from the Engineering consol.

"Tuvok?" Kathryn was at the Ops Station with Chakotay

"Ships sensors are at the ready."

"We're ready here at Ops. Tom, keep your hands on the control, if the ship begins to move towards the particles, get us out of here, but run diagnostic scan from the helm on any phenomena that we may trigger and have the computer interpret the data from a propulsion standpoint."

"Initiating a level 5 diagnostic scan from the helm." Tom acknowledged.

"Bridge to Seven of Nine, your status."

"I am ready Captain."

"Then lets do it."

"Initiating filter protocol"

"Registering the tunnel on ship's sensors from Tactical"

"Registering on sensors from Ops."

"And from Engineering."

"Tunnel is identified in Astrometrics."

"Diagnostic from Helm shows nothing out of the ordinary."

"Initiating Science Scan Beta. Standard results noted, information about the tunnel the same as before. Activating Bussard Collectors." There was a moment of silence as everyone concentrated on their own consols, collecting data and performing routine analysis.

"No change registered at Engineering." All the other officers gave negative reports.

"Initiating Science Scan Mu. Activating Bussard Collectors."

"Captain!" B'Elanna was the first to notice the results coming through on the sensors. Kathryn marched over to the Engineering station on the Bridge and confirmed what B'Elanna was interpreting. They were able to get new information about focal point of the tunnel.

"Captain, Astrometrics scan reveal that the tunnel is at our coordinates in space and time but not in our universe, the quantum flux levels are slightly different from particular matter in this region of space at this point of time."

"The tunnel leads to a parallel universe."

"Indeed Captain. Astrometrics scans have been confirmed by Tactical scans."

"Captain, Multi Phasic Scans are showing a build up of energy."

"From where Commander."

"Standby." Chakotay worked quickly. "The interference that the omicron particles are throwing out are interfering destructively with itself, that's why there is a build up of energy".

"Deactivate filter protocols."

"Done Captain" B'Elanna answered her.

"Captain, with an energy build up that large in space near a shuttlecraft, the thrusters would be rendered inoperative, so would the inertial dampers. A ship the size of Voyager would be able to withstand it, but a shuttle craft would be at its mercy." Tom reported.

"Do we have sufficient data to do a through analysis?" All departments gave their affirmation.

"B'Elanna, activate the Bussard Collectors on the probe."

She did and the effect on the probe and the particles was instantaneous. The particles outlined the tunnel and began to glow. The probe was drawn into the it."


"We're safe here captain. Voyager is still holding position."

"Connecting the probe's sensors with the main viewer."

"On screen Lt." B'Elanna made the necessary adjustments on her consol and the Viewscreen changed from an omicron cloud tunnel to inside the tunnel.

"The gravimetric disturbance within the tunnel is extreme. I don't know how much longer the probe can transmit under these conditions." Chakotay did not bother to look up as he gave his report.

"Captain, I believe that the probe is exiting the tunnel." Tuvok was correct. The visible gravitation eddies gave way to normal space.


"Scanning the region. I am picking up one planet which seems to be sparsely populated there are......."

"Captain, the probe's outer casing is beginning to breach." As soon as B'Elanna spoke these words, the Viewscreen winked out.

"The probe has been destroyed." Tuvok reported

"Seven, what was your analysis of the scans you able to complete?"

"The planet was directly in front of the planet as it exited the tunnel. There was one shuttle in orbit of the planet. It does match the configuration of Federation shuttlecrafts. There was also one ship on the continent, directly below the last known position of the probe."

Kathryn gave a small sigh of relief. Things were looking up, at leas they had found the shuttle. It stood to reason that Kim and Kingston were on the planet.

"Tuvok, Tom, go to the shuttlebay and use the analysis from the diagnostics that Tom collected in order to modify Shuttlecraft Armstrong to safely navigate the tunnel. B'Elanna and I will join you and help to modify the inertial dampers and thrusters, after we analyze the data we collected on the destructive interference of the omicron particles.

"Aye Captain"

"Yes Ma'am. Ensign Bethard, please report to the bridge"

"Yes sir."

They left the bridge for the shuttle bay.

"Chakotay, I need you to analyze all the other data that we collected. Co-ordinate your efforts with Seven, we need to have all the data we can before we launch the shuttle."

"Aye, Aye Captain."

Bin was exhausted, they had been walking around in a wooded area for about three hours after they had left the prison. So far they had seen no other escaped prisoner and no tracking guards. She felt a growing alarm about their situation. She knew that Harry was feeling it to. At one point after not seeing anyone, any wildlife in the forest, she and Harry tried as best they could to see if they could determine whether or not they were in a holographic environment. But nothing that they tried seemed to give them any indication of this. So they continued.

Harry pointed. "Look there are some caves ahead. I think it's best that we chose one to get some sleep in and then travel by night. It's getting hot and it seems that water deposits are not that plentiful here. We can conserve more body fluids if we travel by night."


They chose one whose opening was hidden from view from most angles. They inspected it and found it suitable. It was completely closed off, had a sandy floor and twigs blown in from the forest littered it.

"Stay here and try and clear an area for us to sleep. I'll go back into the Forrest and see if that root I saw was really like keptha root, which is used to start natural fires on Bajor."

He nodded. "Here take the gun" She did and left.

"Janeway to shuttle bay. Report"

"We have modified the shuttle's systems based on the analysis that you gave us. We have been able to modify the shuttle's shields to completely withstand the effects of the omicron particles and the gravitational eddies. However we were only able to modify the thrusters and inertial dampers to compensate for 90% of the effects of the omicron destructive interference." Tuvok gave the initial report

"We're as ready as we'll ever be." Tom answered.

"Then let's do it gentlemen." She nodded at Chakotay who was at her side and he left the bridge for the shuttle bay.

In a minute, Tuvok was back on the bridge.

"The shuttle has initiated launching protocols."

"Bridge to Shuttle craft Armstrong."

"We're in the final stage of the launch." Chakotay answered.

"B'Elanna and I have gone over the com system on the shuttle and there is still no way to maintain communications when you enter the tunnel. You'll be on your own"

"Acknowledged. We'll contact you when we reach the nebula. Chakotay out"

"Clearing Voyager. All systems are on line and the shuttlecrafts sensors and Bussard Collectors are standing by." Tom gave the final status report of their launch.

They flew in silence for a while and then Tom spoke.

"Commander, I want to apologize for my tone and attitude on the bridge. I'm just worried about them that's all."

Chakotay looked at him.

"See that it doesn't happen again." he ordered.

"Yes sir"

Chakotay softened his voice. "I am worried about them too, that's why I didn't notice your frustration the way the captain did. We're approaching the nebula. Chakotay to Voyager."

As the Commander appraised the captain about their arrival and the shuttle's systems, Tom thought back to all the times that he had butted heads with Chakotay and of their recent stabs of peace as he had to learn to work under his command. He had always respected Chakotay and his abilities. Somewhere on this journey they had buried the hatchet that they used on one another. However, on odd occasions, each seemed to dig up that hatchet. They were two different types of men he had realized, there would always be something about Chakotay that brought out a bad side of Tom.



"Here we go" And with that Tom activated the scan and the Bussard Collectors and cut the thrusters power to allow maneuvering only. The shuttlecraft was drawn into the tunnel and the two pilots concentrated on maneuvering the gravitational eddies.

When they cleared the tunnel, Chakotay tried to hail Voyager but got no response.

"I guess we're on our own. Scans confirm that there are no other ships in orbit and one other ship on the surface. No detection systems and only one shelter showing no life signs. We should be able to locate Kim and Kingston and leave without anyone being none the wiser. Activating a tractor beam to tow the shuttle behind us"

"Initiating locator scan." Tom responded. "Got one combadge signal, human life signs and two alien ones in his close proximity. There was evidence of weapons fire recently near the group. No sign of Robin."

"Let's get down there, fully armed. Tom make the necessary adjustments, to make sure that the transported does not render our weapons inoperative. Set the transporter to set us down facing the aliens two and a half meters away."

"Ready." He took the phaser and tricorder from the shuttlecraft locker and joined Chakotay on the transporter pad at the back of the shuttlecraft.

"Energize" and they twinkled out of the shuttle.

Kandis and Ranfer were good hunters, so Bin did not notice anything was wrong when she stepped out into the woods. The root was about a fifty kilometers away. When she reached it, she bent down and began to collect the root. Ranfer had asked that the female be his kill and Kandis had granted his request. At the appointed time and distance, Kandis stepped on a twig to herald Ranfer's presence. Bin wheeled around and grabbed the gun. When she saw Ranfer and recognized him as one of the two guards, she fired, but nothing happened. She stood straight up and dropped the gun.

"Such pitiful prey." Kandis said as he made himself visible to Bin. "The hunt was barely worth the Deceit Preparation."

Bin understood all of the inconsistencies of their imprisonment and escape all at once. They had been led here so that Kandis and his two guards could hunt them down. Her initial deduction that they were Hirogen were not off the mark, they may be of a cousin species to the Hirogen, where the Hunt was an important part of their lives.

Ranfer drew a small hand held weapon and fired on Bin. As the beam made contact with her skin, she screamed. She felt as if all of her nerve endings were on fire. Her brain and skeletal matter seemed to be dissolving and pouring out of her eyes. She never stopped screaming as she hit the ground. Her last rational conscious thought of her life was of Harry. Somewhere in her she found the strength to send a prayer to the Prophets for his safety. Then she breathed her last.

Harry heard her scream from that distance. He had no idea why he heard the scream from that distance, and he didn't care. He ran out of the cave and in the direction of the woods. He knew where to go, because she had pointed out the root to him. They had made a note of where it was by marking trees on their right with an X with a sharp rock as they made their way looking for shelter. They couldn't carry the root with them because they had no bags, so they figured that they would come back for them when they found shelter.

He was as silent as possible, careful not to make any noise as he made his way through the dry twigs on the floor. He heard voices and his heart chilled when he realized that one of them was not Bin. He ducked behind some bushes and from his viewpoint he was able to see Kandis and Ranfer bending over Bin's body. She was not moving and Harry desperately prayed that she was just unconscious. He heard the two aliens speak, and the translation was carried through by his combadge.

"We should wait a moment until her fluids have congealed somewhat, dismembering her corpse will be messy."

It was then that Harry Kim knew that he ceased to exist in the realm of emotional beings. It felt as if all that made him Harry Kim, the spark , the inner light that a lot of people, Bin included, said he possessed was snuffed out. Harry Kim, according to him, had become a moving breathing functioning corpse. His first thought was of the logistics of retreat out of the bush he was hiding behind and run to safety. His second thought of obtaining the weapon from Kandis and Ranfer. He knew he was going to kill them, sooner or later. As he hid in the bush, his mind was filled with alternating plans of how he was going to achieve his goal.

He didn't have to think to hard, as the problem was solved for him. He heard the activation of a transported beam and Tom and Chakotay materialized in front of Kandis, Ranfer and Bin's body.

"Drop it !" Tom ordered as he and Chakotay were armed and their phasers were locked onto the two aliens.

"Kandis" Ranfer looked at his tribe leader.

"Do as he said Ranfer" Ranfer complied dropping his weapon. The two aliens stepped back and Tom began to inspect the body of Bin.

"She's dead Commander. Her neural pathways have been completely severed and it seemed that her nerve endings have been completely burned out. Not even Seven's nanoprobes can compensate for this kind of damage." Tom had been scanning the body with his tricorder while Chakotay had his phaser on the two aliens.

"Where's Harry?"

"I am here." Harry said quietly as he stepped out of the bush. Both officers were surprised to see him hiding.

"Let's get out of here." Tom's attention shifted a bit when Chakotay was about to tap his combadge for a beam out and out of the corner of his eyes, Harry saw a secret look pass between Kandis and Ranfer. Ranfer screamed and rushed Chakotay. This distracted Tom even further. He did not see Kandis reaching into his clothing slowly. Harry, who never took his eyes of Kandis saw the movement.

In one dive, he grabbed Kandis' arm and revealed another weapon. He knocked it out of the alien's hand and aimed it at him. Chakotay had stunned Ranfer with his phaser and now turned his attention to Harry and Kandis. Harry was standing very still, his hand very steady with the weapon trained on Kandis. Chakotay also trained his phaser on Kandis. Tom was running another medical scan, this time it was on Ranfer.

"He's dead. It seemed that our phaser beams interacted detrimentally with his body chemistry."

Tom looked at Harry and Chakotay and mirrored the look of concern on the Commander's face when he looked at Harry.

"Harry," Chakotay was addressing the Ensign. "No, don't do this"

Harry fired the weapon long and hard at Kandis. He didn't even have time to scream before he died. Harry stopped and fired the weapon again and at the end of ten seconds, Kandis was no more than a charred biomass.

Chakotay and Tom were in shock. They simply stared at Harry. He dropped the weapon and with a calm voice asked, "Which shuttlecraft did you take to come get us, or is Voyager in orbit?"

Chakotay found his voice first, "We took the Armstrong"

"Kim to Armstrong. Three humans and one Bajoran Corpse to beam up."

On the shuttlecraft, Tom and Chakotay had their full attention on the controls. They needed every ounce of concentration to navigate the tunnel back to their normal space. It was only when they cleared the tunnel that they stole glances at Harry who was in the passenger cabin behind them. He sat very calmly observing space around him. Chakotay and Tom shared a worried look.

"Armstrong to Voyager. We're on our way back"

"Acknowledged. Did you find them?"

"Yes captain we did, however Lt. Robin Kingston was dead when we arrived on the planet where they were being held."

Chakotay relayed the news. He could hear the Captain's small intake of breadth. Her eyes would be wide and sad at the realization that the delta quadrant had claimed yet another of her crew. He could see in his mind the determined look which would cross her face next, replacing the sad one, and almost hear her silent promise that not one more of her crew would be taken from her again. It was only a second passed before he heard her voice, calm and collected.


The chime in the ready room sounded. "Come in"

Chakotay entered and found Kathryn staring on the couch at the PADD in her hands. "Did you read Ensign Kim's report?"

"Yes I just finished."

"I was on my way to see Ensign Kim in Sickbay and the Doctor gave me his analysis of the species who held them prisoner."

He sat next to her on the couch and handed her another PADD. "He believes that they were Hirogen, or at least a cousin species to the Hirogen race."

"I've had the same conclusion when I read all of the inconsistencies that Kim and Kingston encountered and the last conversation between Kandis and Ranfer that Ensign Kim overheard. They must have evolved a little differently than those in this universe. Did you plan the memorial service for Lt. Kingston?"

"Yes, it's at 1800 hrs this afternoon. I have a skeleton crew on the bridge and I've given all of Engineering and Science the time off to attend."

"Very good."

Chakotay shifted his weight on the couch and Kathryn could see that something was bothering him. She put her arm on his, "What is it Chakotay?"

He took a deep breadth. "I'm worried about Ensign Kim."

She nodded. "He must have taken it hard. I don't think that he's ever had a friend of his die when he was with him on an away team."

He didn't want to share this with her, but Harry was a member of the bridge crew and this had the potential of interfering with his job. He weighed his decision, whether to keep a confidence or to tell his best friend about his concerns which were both professional and personal. Had they only been personal, he didn't think that he would have told her. But there was definitely a professional aspect and he could not have a bereaved Ensign at Ops, especially one who seemed to unwilling to begin the grieving process.

"Robin and Harry had been lovers for about a month now Kathryn."

"Oh." Was all she said. The implications came to her at once and the worried look which was on Chakotay's face now marked hers.

"He hasn't begun to grieve yet, I believe that he's still in shock. I would like to give him three days off before he officially reports to duty and then I want him on light duty for the next week. I also want him to report to the doctor for check ups every two days."

"I didn't know that they were involved. I agree that he should have three days off instead of one in light of what you have told me. But why do you want him to report to sickbay that often?"

Chakotay leaned back on the couch and felt the weariness in his bones. "He's not dealing with this Kathryn, and to make it worst there is something else which is not in Kim's report. Something which I'm afraid is going to affect him more than he realizes once he begins the grieving process. I know that I can't deal with this one alone and even though the doctor made a mistake with Kovin, he still has more knowledge than I have to deal with this."

"What did he leave out of his report?" Kathryn demanded.

"He murdered Kandis in cold blood."

Kathryn did not say anything for a full five seconds. "WHAT? He said that Kandis attempted to harm you and that's why he fired that shot."

Chakotay turned to face her. "What he didn't say was that by the time he had fired that shot, Ramfer was dead and both my phaser and Tom's were trained on Kandis, he could not have done anything to us at that time. Harry fired on him despite of my warning not to do so. He stopped and then fired on him again and kept firing until he was a charred biomass. Either Kim lied on his report or he has completely blanked out what he has done. Anyway you look at it, I have some serious concerns about Ensign Kim's mental stability at this time."

"And so do I. I agree with you. Have him report to the doctor as often as you see fit. Has Harry ever talked to you about any personal problems he's had before?"

"In fact, he came to me once when he and Robin was having a problem in their relationship. I hope to try and see if I can get him to open up. Tom and B'Elanna are also concerned, so the three of us are going to accompany Harry when we go through her quarters. Just to remind him that we're there for him and incase he needs us. I would like to have the Doctor on standby incase something happens when we clear out her stuff."


"I'll go to sickbay right away." Chakotay got off the couch and Kathryn could see a fleeting look of uncertainty cross his face. She touched his shoulder.

"In the long run, he's going to be alright, I know it."

Chakotay gave a small smile, "I make a policy not to question those crew-maternal instincts of yours"

"See that you don't change that policy."

"Yes Ma'am"

"I'm not going to ask you to break any confidences unless absolutely necessary, but keep me informed as best you can."

"I will" and with that he was gone. Kathryn walked over to the window and was deep in thought as she watched the stars streak by.

Tom and B'Elanna waited outside of Harry's quarters. They shared a look of concern and worry about him between them. They had been back for 24 hrs and Harry had been incommunicado. When he was released from sickbay, he returned to his quarters and slept for a good ten hours. He was off duty and as far as Tom could tell he spent the day in his quarters and in the holodeck in escapist reading and programs. He declined all invitations to eat with the two Lts. Now on they were on their way to clean out Robin's quarters. He had told them that he would be out in a moment, but did not invite them in. They had been in his quarters before, so they could not understand his insistence that they wait outside for him.

"Tom, B'Elanna."


"Where's Harry?"

"He said that he would be right out." As B'Elanna finished the sentence, Harry came out of his quarters.

All three were surprised when they took a good look at him. He seemed smaller and the light that was always in his eyes; the inner light was gone. They also got a good look at his front room as he stopped in his doorway for a few seconds before advancing into the corridor. It was in shambles. Tom realized that it would have given his front room competition. Harry was usually meticulously neat. Harry was holding a small package in his hand.

"Commander, Tom, B'Elanna." If his physical condition was cause for concern, it was nothing compared to his tone of voice. It was deadly quiet.

"What's in the box?" Chakotay asked.

"Some of the things that Bin left in my quarters. I've recycled the clothes, but I think that some of these things she would have wanted her friends to have." Harry deadpanned.

"Did you keep anything for yourself?" B'Elanna asked.

There was no change of expression. "No." No change of tone either. "Shall we get going?" Harry stepped ahead of the others on their way to the turbolift. The three other officers shared deeper looks of concern.

They worked for over an hour. They gathered all of the things that Harry thought would be good momentoes for the rest of the crew. Harry gave Chakotay a bird's feather which Bin had picked up on a planet, where they had stopped for supplies. It was as big as a peacock's feather, but the primary colors were purple and gold, Bin had been planing to give it to the Commander for his birthday. For Tom and B'Elanna, there was a computer recording of Bin performing her favorite 20th century soul love songs with some instrumental pieces which Bin and Harry had done separately and together. They had planned to give it to the couple on their 6-month anniversary. Harry gave it to them then and there.

They recycled her clothes in the replicator and B'Elanna took her PADDs with the science data that she was working on at the time she left for the away mission. The last thing that had to be done was to delete all of her personal logs. It was one of the things that signaled that a crewmember was really gone. It was a final act of Goodbye performed by friends. Chakotay did it.

"Computer, are there any final messages recorded by Robin for any members of the crew in her personal logs. "

"There is a general message to be played at Lt. Kingston's memorial service and a holographic message recorded for Ensign Kim at the time of her death." The computer informed him

They had found the message holographic generator in her top draw next to her Bajoran earring, but they had not played it as they didn't know what it would contain. Tom gave the generator and the earring to Harry.

"Computer download the farewell message into the central computer and delete the personal logs of Lt. Kingston, authorization Chakotay alpha four seven beta first"


They left her quarters in silence.

"My friends, if you are hearing this, then I am indeed dead. I have no idea how this would have occurred, I can only hope that it was a quick death. I just wanted you to know that it has been an honor to serve with the members of the Marquis first and then the members of the Voyager crew. I know that in the beginning, I was difficult. My acceptance of the situation was long in coming, but it did come eventually.

Captain, I would like to apologize for all the things I said about you. Things that I'm sure you're either not aware of, or heard only a watered down version of my opinion of you. I would like to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to be the head of science even though Golwatt was next in line for a promotion. You gave me an opportunity that I hadn't had in a long time to be a scientist.

Captain and Commander, you have done an excellent job of guiding this crew through the Delta Quadrant and under your leadership and the crew's support you will make it back to the Alpha Quadrant. All I ask is that you remember me as a crewmember who was proud to serve with you in life and is still proud to be with you in death.

To the science and engineering crew, thanks for putting up with me. Continue doing what you've always been doing. You are the best at what you do. I should know, you've worked with me and I certainly am one of the best.

May the prophets smile on you and be with you as you journey, as I am.


There was hardly a dry eye in the messhall when the message was finished playing. All the officers stood as Tom blew the whistle to signal the ejection of the Pod into space. The official part was over. A lot of people stayed and those who knew about their relationship, went out of their way to give their consolations to Harry.

Chakotay, Kathryn, Tom and B'Elanna found that they'd had ended up in a group by themselves. Neelix came up to them and asked.

"How is Harry holding up?"

"He seems OK. But I can't believe that he didn't say anything when we were sharing at the beginning." Tom said.

"Believe me, if he was anything like I was when we had Kes's farewell party, he wouldn't be in any condition to say anything."

"Neelix, you were grieving, we could all see it. Harry seems to have shut down. Has he talked to any of you?"

"No captain" came the various replies

"I have a feeling that this is going to take him a while to work through."

Chakotay knew that it would.

"I don't want to talk about it Tom."

"Harry you can't run forever."

"I'm not running."

"You haven't eaten with anyone for a whole week. You do your duty as if you're an android. I haven't heard you play the clarinet since you came back. I have never seen your quarters in such a state of disarray. Every time I look for you during off duty hours you're in the holodeck. I haven't been able to have a real conversation with you about Robin at all, neither has Chakotay, B'Elanna or the Doctor; although I can understand why you wouldn't want to talk to the doctor. Now you say that you haven't listened to her farewell message. Don't tell me that you're not running away from grieving over her."

"Tom this conversation is now over." Harry got up and left Tom with his mouth hanging open. B'Elanna was just preparing to sit down with her tray and had overheard the end of their conversation.

She sat down opposite Tom. "I take it that your talk with Harry didn't go over well."

"You heard him." Tom's mouth was in a grim line and worry lined his face.

"May I join you?"

"Go right ahead Commander."

"Have any of you had any luck with getting Harry to talk?"


"Neither have I. I have been told, in very polite terms of course, to mind my own business."

"I've tried Commander. All he's done for the past week is avoid people and hide in the Holodeck."

"The Holodeck?" B'Elanna was surprised at that piece of information. "Tom do you know what program he has been running?"

"As a matter fact I do. He's been running your Calisthenics Program, level four."

"Four!?! With his training, he shouldn't be able to get past level two.!!!"

"The program is that strenuous?"

"Strenuous? Chakotay I use that program to work rage out of my system, sometimes I don't get past level three."

Chakotay frowned. Something was beginning to make sense. He could see Tom looking at him and he saw that he was thinking along the same lines.

"What?" B'Elanna caught the look that was exchanged. Chakotay gave a slight nod of his head signaling his OK for Tom to tell B'Elanna.

"B'Elanna, Harry murdered the alien who killed Robin on the planet."

The light dawned. "You think, that he's still enraged. He's not running, but just repressing rage."


"Chakotay I have an idea."

All three of them bend their heads as she spelled it out for them.

"Torres to sickbay. I'm on my way to pick up Harry now. Are you ready?"

"Yes we're ready down here." The doctor gave Chakotay the nod.

"Torres to Paris"


"I'm on my way to Harry now."

"Acknowledged. Good luck"

She covered the length of the corridor in two strides and when she rang the chime on Harry's door, he came out immediately. They made their way to Holodeck two.

The first level of the Calisthenics program was easy enough and B'Elanna enjoyed the workout. It had been a long time since she had ran the program. She kept looking at Harry. He kept up easily enough. When they switched to level two and the simulation began, she thought that she could at last notice some emotion in him. The inner light seemed to be back. By the time they reached level three, B'Elanna could feel herself straining. Harry seemed to have no problem keeping up. They had pinned a holographic Norseman to the ground and as B'Elanna was about to deliver the deathblow with her Bathleth, when another grabbed her from behind. Harry quickly killed the Norseman on the ground with his sword and turned his attention to the one who held B'Elanna.

'Stand back, Human or she dies."

B'Elanna forgot where she was as she saw the look of pure hatred and fury on Harry's face. His nostrils flared, his eyes seemed to be burning coals, and the inner light that she thought that she had seen before was actually an inner fire which was raging out of control. It threatened to consumed Harry. With a howl, that may have made Kahless, tremble, Harry lunged at the Norseman. The computer having monitored Harry's fighting style was unprepared for Harry's behavior and the Norseman reacted with surprise. Harry knocked him to the ground and then without stopping, grabbed her Bathleth and cut his head clean off. He never stopped grunting and swearing under his breath as he began to dismember the holographic character.

"Computer freeze program" B'Elanna panted out.

Harry turned to her and the look of fury was still on his face.

"Do you think that this is going to bring her back, or even erase the fact that you killed in cold blood, even though the alien deserved it?"

"What the Hell do you know about it Torres? Kandis killed her, in cold blood, just like that, after torturing her. One moment day we were fine and the next she's dead. What the fuck does it matter to you, you still have Tom"

B'Elanna's blood ran cold at his words and the furry of his voice. Harry was screaming.

"It damn well matters to me. You weren't the only one who loved her, the only one who will miss her." B'Elanna yelled back at him. "All I know is that this is just a temporary outlet for your rage. You have to begin to deal with her death. You are not going to have any peace until you do."

"I don't want peace. She's dead and no one can bring her back. I can't bring her back. I want to rot like this. Damn it."

Harry wanted to silence B'Elanna, to silence his feelings which were coming out of him now that there were no holographic aliens to dismember. She was forcing him to face his pain. He'd been running way too long. He had to stop her accusations. With a hoarse cry, he lunged at B'Elanna. B'Elanna was ready for him. She turned sideways so as to avoid his lunge. While turning, she grabbed Harry's arms. Harry may have been spurred on by his fury when he was fighting the Norseman, but talking with B'Elanna had weakened him. He stopped. They were both panting hard and B'Elanna did a surprising thing. She put her arms around Harry and enveloped him in a bear hug.

All the fight left Harry and he slumped against B'Elanna. Harry was heavy as dead weight, so she sank to the floor with him, not breaking her hold on Harry. They spent a long time getting their breaths back into a regular pattern. She didn't hear him at first, but then his cries broke through his trembling frame. Harry began to sob.

Tom was pacing outside of the doors to Holodeck Two. He was worried about B'Elanna's plan. Logically, he knew that of all of them, she was the one who stood the best chance of keeping up with the Calisthenics program. He still didn't like it. They had neutralized some of the safeties so only deathblows would stop the program. It was still possible that she could be injured. Tom wasn't prepared to wait any longer.

"Computer Status of the program and occupants of Holodeck Two?"

"Calisthenics program is at level three, Lt. Torres and Ensign Kim are on the ground......"

Tom didn't wait for the computer to finish. He ran into the Holodeck. The sight that greeted his eyes pulled at his heart. B'Elanna was embracing Harry as they sat on the floor and Harry was crying on her shoulder with his back to him. B'Elanna lifted her head when she heard the door swish open and he could see that she was crying silently also. She shook her head and he realized that she wanted them to be left alone. He gave her a look of love and left the holodeck quietly.

"Paris to Sickbay."

"Chakotay here."

"I've just come from Holodeck Two."

"We saw you on the monitor. Have you spoken to Torres and Kim? They seem to be immobile in the Holodeck, but, they are out of danger and the program has stopped. We respected B'Elanna's Com. silence and didn't try to contact her."

"They're fine Commander."

"Torres to sickbay."

"Doctor here Lt."

"Ensign Kim has drifted off to sleep. I don't want to wake him and you may want to do some tests to make sure that he's OK. Beam us directly to sickbay,"


"I'm on my way." Paris made his way to deck five.

Harry was a little groggy when he woke up in sickbay. He looked up and saw three pairs of concerned eyes on him.


"Doctor why am I here?" As soon as he posed the question, he remembered what had happened. He also began to feel. It had been a week since he felt anything, from the exact moment when he was hiding of the bushes and realized that Kandis had killed Bin. He felt as if a starship had gone through his body, but it was nothing compared to the pain that he was feeling emotionally. The tears gathered in his eyes.

"Harry you don't remember where you were before?" B'Elanna asked as the doctor began to run another scan.

"Yes I do now." The doctor stopped his scans.

"I suggest that you get some rest Ensign. Your muscles are protesting loudly now because of what you have put them through. I'll give you something for the pain. However you need to rest. Mr. Paris." The doctor walked towards the tray with the hyposprays. Tom followed him puzzled. The doctor did not need any help to do this.

"I don't know how you are going to do this, but I don't think that he should be alone tonight"


Harry spoke to B'Elanna while they were gone. "B'Elanna I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..."

"Don't worry about it Starfleet. And don't try that again. Never pick a fight with a Klingon."

He chuckled through his tears. She thought she could see the light again. It was faint, but she knew that in time it would grow brighter. She smiled at him.

"Anytime you need to talk Harry. And next time, we'll try it without Corsicans."

He nodded silently.

The physician walked over to Harry and pressed the hyperspray to his neck.

"Report back to me in the morning before you go on duty."

"Yes doctor."

The three made their way to Harry's quarters. Harry seemed unaware that he was crying. A couple of the crewmembers who passed them gave them puzzled looks. Others who knew what was going on, gave Harry looks of sympathy. When they reached Harry's quarters, he invited them in and excused himself to change out of his exercise clothes. Tom whispered to B'Elanna.

"The doctor says that someone should stay with Harry tonight. I'll do it, go to bed and get some rest."

"This time you won't get any argument from me, I'm drained. Besides it's your turn to play best friend."

B'Elanna smiled at him.

Tom was serious as he said. "You're a good friend to him and to me." He bent over and kissed her.

Harry was standing in the doorway as they kissed and immediately he realized that he would never kiss Bin again. The tears began to fall. B'Elanna looked up and saw Harry. She broke Tom's embrace and went over to hug Harry.

"We're going to get through this Starfleet. Together."

She broke the embrace and looked at him. "Remember that. If you need anything, call me."

Harry nodded. "Good night" She touched Tom briefly and she left.

Tom didn't say anything and Harry didn't ask. It seemed that they knew that Tom would be spending the night on his couch.

"Tom, would you listen to Bin's last message with me."

"I'd be honored."

He brought the portable hologram and activated the message.

"My love. The time has come for me to leave you physically. I will never leave you emotionally. You are a part of me and I am a part of you. Death cannot take that away. I don't know if I had the time to tell you this before I died but being in love with you has been the single most life-giving activity that I have been involved in for years. You brought out the best in me Harry. You tempered a jaded woman and made her see the wonder of the universe through your eyes. You let me be all that I was, and supported me through all of the difficult times. I hope that I have done the same for you.

I know you Harry, this is going to be hard for you. You will love again. The woman would not take my place in your heart, but she will steal your heart and I know who ever you chose, you will be very happy. You have a lot to offer women and I hope you realize this.

I don't know where I am, but I will be keeping my eye on you. Whenever I remember you, I remember making love, in and out of bed. You are the first person that I really made love with and to. I always thought that we should live life to the fullest. Throw ourselves fully into each experience. I have never done that with love, I've always shyed away from it because of my childhood experiences. But now I can truly say that I have experienced the ultimate experience in the universe. I loved and have been loved.

I want you to have my Bajoran earring and I have programmed a backup of some music that I've done in performances in this hologram, including some voice pieces. Whenever you need to Harry, play them. Remember me, remember us through them.

Bin Ro."

Harry was crying hard at the end of the message. Tom clasped his hand on Harry's shoulder throughout the whole message.

"Bin Ro?" He asked quietly.

Harry calmed somewhat. "Her name was a Terran way of saying her Bajoran name, Ro,Bin. Her first name is really Bin, it was a term of affection between us."

Tom began to understand exactly how close they were. They really had been in love. "Come on, let's get you to bed."

Tom watched Harry sleep on his bed as he settled down in the lounger. "This is going to take some time" He realized.

"Need I remind you Ensign, that there's no environment less hospitable to humanoid life than a Class Y" Tuvok informed Harry.

"Actually, Tuvok, no you needn't remind me. What's the alternative, resume course? Creep along at a quarter-impulse hoping we find fuel before we end up dead in the water? We've got deuterium within arm's reach. We can't let the opportunity slip away without even trying."

"He's got a point" Chakotay knew he was right and it felt good to back up the ensign when he took such a forceful position in the briefings. There was a time after Bin's death, when he literally didn't speak in a meeting unless he was spoken to.

"Even if I agreed", Kathryn was continuing despite Tuvok's warnings, "I'll never let you go alone."

"Of course not. That's why I'm volunteering my good buddy Tom here to go with me."

Kathryn looked at Tuvok who still displayed his surprised of being so forcefully addressed by Harry. He would deny it, but she could see it in his expression. She smirked. It was good to have Harry back.

The other officers left the briefing room, but Chakotay stayed behind with Kathryn.

"It feels good to have him back, I must admit, I thought that we had lost him the first month after Robin's death. He was just so quiet."

"I know. I don't think that Tuvok was especially appreciative of that fact that he was put in his place by an Ensign." Chakotay began to chuckle and Janeway joined him.

"No he definitely wasn't. Harry is definitely more forceful now. I saw it in our dealings with the Hirogen when you were still under the influence of the neural implants."

"I think he got a glimpse of it when he was working with Seven during the Omega Particle Crisis. He was annoyed and abrupt with her for the first time since he met her. I think that he's been through the worst of Robin's death. I guess where just going to have to get accustomed to this 'new and improved' Harry. I wonder if Tuvok can deal with it."

They laughed together as they made their way back to the bridge.

"How do I explain this? When I first came on board Voyager I was pretty green, right?

"A deep, almost fluorescent green if I remember correctly."

"I was young, inexperienced and I acted like it, nervous about giving my opinion, hesitant to make suggestions, so I usually kept my mouth shut. And I behaved that way for so long that it became a habit. But in the last four years, a lot has happened. I fought the Borg; been transformed into an alien; helped defeat the Hirogen. Hell I've even come back form the dead!!!!"

'And I've buried one lover.' Harry didn't say that part out loud but Tom could see it on his face. He knew that Harry was trying to keep the conversation light. He complied.

"It's been a wild ride" , he said with a smirk.

He was truly glad, that Harry seemed to be his old self again. But somewhere inside of him, he knew that this was only the beginning of Harry's transformation.

"Vanishing": Mariah Carey from the album by the same name; Columbia Records © 1990
"The First Time ever I say your Face" Roberta Flack, from the album "Softly with these Songs"; Atlantic Records © 1993

Part 6: A Formidable Woman