Series: Star Trek: Voyager
Somebody up there hits the reset button too hard.
I saw these guys on UPN and thought I'd help them out with their love lives.
Valentine's Day would be just another dull day in the Delta Quadrant, or so Perpetual Ensign Harry Kim hoped, since he wasn't sure he could survive another romance. The monotony of space was relieved by a slight anomaly - a subspace signal they'd picked up a few days back. Harry thought he'd detected something like harmonies in the mysterious emission. The signal's apparent source was only a few degrees off their current course for Earth, but still several days away. Of course, they would investigate.
Harry had arranged to work a double shift today - beta and gamma shifts - to be sure to avoid all of Neelix's Valentine's Day festivities. He had to admire the Talaxian's determination to unearth every dusty old holiday in the Federation database and celebrate it as though it were fresh and new, rather than a thousand years old and better off forgotten - at least, as far as Harry was concerned. Tom and B'Elanna were thick as thieves with Neelix in the Valentine's Day plans. Well, they wouldn't get Harry Kim this time - duty called.
But first, breakfast: Harry replicated a cup of coffee to get himself from his quarters to the mess hall. He hadn't gotten enough sleep last night - he'd meant to take just one quick peek at the subspace readings, but instead, had stared at the puzzle for hours and run the elusive signal through every decryption algorithm known to man, plus a few he'd invented himself for the occasion. He'd found nothing.
Still distracted by visions of ciphers and translation matrices, he hurried out of his cabin and ran right into Seven of Nine, spilling his coffee all over the front of her uniform.
"Seven! I'm so sorry."
"Ensign Kim," she acknowledged him, "the temperature of your beverage is above the recommended--"
"Come in and take that off before it burns you," he interrupted.
"My nanoprobes are quite capable of--"
"Very well." She strode into his quarters. Harry glanced up and down the corridor, but saw no one.
He walked into his cabin to a vision of Seven stripping in front of his replicator. A fresh catsuit was waiting inside, folded up neatly right where his ill-fated coffee had materialized five minutes before.
The surprised ensign turned away from the perfect expanse of Seven's back, coughing.
"Are you ill, Ensign Kim?"
"No, Seven." Harry smiled despite his embarrassment. She knew very well that she shouldn't strip in front of male crewmembers, whether or not nudity was 'irrelevant'. She was doing it to punish him for his thoughtlessness - or rather, his imperfection.
"You may turn around now. I am clothed," she announced.
He turned to see her rolling up the coffee-stained catsuit in order to recycle it. "Here, let me clean that for you," Harry offered.
"I used your replicator rations to make the new one," she protested. If she recycled it, he'd get part of them back; in other words, the punishment would fit the crime.
"I can clean it. It would be inefficient to destroy it over a little coffee." Before she could extract his monkey wrench from her Borg works, he had snatched away the soiled uniform and started it soaking in his bathroom sink.
"So where were you headed?" Harry asked as he reemerged from the bathroom.
"I required sustenance - internally."
He chuckled. "I do, too. Shall we?" he asked, offering her an arm.
"I do not require your assistance to reach the mess hall." Nevertheless, she walked there with him and joined him at a table. Harry eyed the Valentine's Day decorations warily, but was soon distracted by Seven's questions about the anomaly.
Harry believed they were making progress with their impromptu brainstorming session. Seven had an intriguing idea that the signal was in fact some sort of lure for the overly-curious - it was just coherent enough to rule out random subspace noise, yet when analysed no particular meaning could be found.
Neelix chose that moment to walk over to their table and interrupt the discussion. "Happy Valentine's Day! Do you two have any plans?" he inquired. The dreaded holiday drove Seven's idea from Harry's mind.
"I'm on duty for the rest of the day, Neelix," the ensign answered.
"I have sufficient work to occupy me in Astrometrics," Seven contributed.
"That's a shame," the eager host responded. "This is a wonderful holiday - all it needs is a binary star in the sky and it would be just like the Talaxian Festival of Love."
"What does a binary star have to do with Valentine's Day?" Harry asked, despite himself.
"It's an omen for luck in love. 'True lovers will be united under a binary star'," Neelix quoted a favorite Talaxian proverb.
Seven, in her businesslike Borg way, said, "There is a binary star directly to port at a distance of four lightyears. It should be visible through that viewport." She pointed across the messhall towards the ominous star.
Harry had a sinking feeling in his stomach. He pushed his breakfast tray away and excused himself, saying, "I should get to the bridge."
Ignoring the retreating ensign, Neelix asked Seven to point it out for him. The last thing Harry saw as he fled the messhall was the two of them by a viewport gazing at stars.
Tuvok had the conn for beta shift; with Ayala at tactical and various easily-intimidated ensigns at the other stations, idle chatter and fidgeting were kept to a minimum, at least on the bridge. Harry was glad of the silence - no one would mention Valentine's Day in Tuvok's sobering presence. He whiled away the hours at Ops trying more decryption algorithms on the mysterious signal. He had the feeling he'd forgotten some important discovery about it - perhaps he'd solved the problem in a dream but the solution had eluded him upon waking.
Beta shift was nearing its end when Chakotay showed up at the Captain's quarters for their dinner date. Like many of the single crew, they'd had to resort to the subterfuge of a prior date to avoid Neelix and Tom's big Valentine's Day mixer. Voyager's XO had a sneaking suspicion that there was no mixer being held in the messhall at all. He could easily picture Tom, B'Elanna and Neelix up there alone among the gaudy decorations, laughing over all the romantic candlelit dinners they had inspired with their threats of yet another embarrassing singles' event.
He would have gone up there to verify his suspicions - which were, indeed, correct - if he weren't already late for dinner. Instead, he rang the door chime.
"Come," said a voice that could still make his heart skip a beat.
Inside, he presented her with a rose and a box of chocolates. She made no move to take them; instead she gave him that 'protocol' look and said, "You really shouldn't have."
"I couldn't be spotted in the hallway without the appropriate gifts for my Valentine," he joked. "They're coffee-filled," he added, holding out the box of chocolates.
She smiled and took the box, leaving him to find a vase for the flower.
The remains of dinner were congealing on their plates, but the Captain and Commander were still deep in conversation as gamma shift relieved beta shift two floors above. They'd started off talking shop, then moved on to reminiscing about their first years in the Delta Quadrant.
As she always did, Janeway changed the subject before it got too close to their time together on New Earth. Somehow she got him to tell her one of his old Maquis stories. He altered some details so she wouldn't be obliged to testify against him later, then changed the subject himself, to his days teaching at the Academy. The students' hijinks made for good small talk.
"I'm sure she got a good grade in tactics," the Captain chided him.
Was it the wine, or was she flirting with him? "I never played favorites with my students," he replied.
"You don't have to play favorites to have a favorite."
She was definitely flirting. It always ended badly for him; he paid for this particular recreation of hers in sleepless nights and distant pangs from that deeply buried organ that had once been his heart. But he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Dessert?" he asked, as he cleared the table. He wasn't backing down, he told himself, just regrouping.
"A Captain has to watch her figure," she demurred.
"One portion of tiramisu," the Commander told the replicator.
When he turned around, her face had fallen, but she perked up again when he set the dish down before her. She raised an eyebrow in inquiry.
"I'll watch your figure for you while you eat," he said, pulling up a chair for the purpose. It looked especially appealing in that blue dress.
She didn't answer; he thought she'd reached her flirting quotient for the month, until she picked up the spoon.
If anyone could flirt merely by eating, it was Kathryn Janeway. She caressed the spoon like a coffee cup and savored every bite as though it were a mouthful of the True Java. Chakotay wouldn't sleep for a week after this - he wondered how the spoon could stand up to such treatment.
Halfway through the engrossing tiramisu, she asked, "Are you sure you don't want some?"
He leaned forward, ostensibly to follow the spoon's next journey from plate to mouth. "Of course I want some," he answered in a tone to rival her throatiest pronouncements.
His face was dangerously close to hers; he figured he had only fifteen seconds or so before she backed off or pushed him away with the spoon.
"Come and get it," she answered, waving the hardy utensil.
He reached for the spoon with one hand, but somehow only managed to get farther from it and closer to her. Their cheeks were centimeters apart, while the spoon was far out over the plate - an alien glancing in the viewport might have thought they were dancing with it.
If he turned his head, and she turned her head, they would be only millimeters away from a kiss. Millimeters, protocols, regulations, and thirty more years from a kiss, to be more precise, but when it was only millimeters it was easy to forget the rest.
She turned her head. If only she weren't the Captain, if only he weren't so handsome... 'You are not going to kiss him, Kathryn,' she told herself, mentally imitating her mother's voice to drive home the point.
He turned to face her. 'She's not going to kiss you,' he told himself. He could have kissed her anyway, tried to persuade her with a demonstration of what she was missing, but that would end badly, he knew.
Before these thoughts could finish their trek across his mind, they began to fade. Chakotay forgot that she wasn't going to kiss him; he forgot she was the Captain and he was her first officer. He even forgot the terrible consequences of taking their flirting too far; he forgot that he wasn't going to risk it and then he closed those last few millimeters.
She forgot, for her part, that she wasn't going to kiss her first officer. In fact, she forgot that she had a first officer and that she was on a ship. When she found herself kissing him back, she even lost her grip on her first name. It was that kind of a kiss.
When he finally drew away, he looked confused. "I love you, but I seem to have forgotten your name," he said.
She shrugged. Could you get amnesia from a kiss? It had been an impressive one - though, come to think of it, she couldn't recall ever having kissed another man than this dark and handsome fellow with the odd tattoo over his eye. "Who are you?" she asked.
"I don't know."
Ensign Kim had taken Tuvok's place in the big chair at the start of gamma shift. Soon afterward, Seven had appeared and taken over the Ops station, having blown out a plasma relay in Astrometrics in one of her attempts to increase efficiency. Poor Harry had just begun to believe that he had evaded the holiday - binary star or no - but now he was nervous again. Could Seven's appearance be part of another one of Tom's plots?
He'd discovered Tom's current shenanigans when he'd hailed Neelix for a report on the ongoing party and had instead woken the Talaxian from a deep sleep in his own quarters. Neelix had tried to feign disappointment that no one had come to the party, but Harry recognized the hand of Paris in the affair.
Harry had gradually relaxed again as Seven went about her task of anomaly surveillance, contributing little to the sleepy gamma shift crew. He was surprised to hear her speak now.
"Ensign Kim, we are being scanned," she reported. "I'm detecting a concentrated tachyon beam." She paused as another console beeped. "It appears to be downloading the ship's databases."
"What's the source of the beam?" Harry asked.
"I am unable to trace it. Sensors are off-line."
"Red alert," he ordered, but no sirens blared and no dramatic red lighting suffused the bridge.
"Warning systems are off-line. Systems are failing all over the ship - transporters, holodecks, replicators. The warp core has shut down. Deck fifteen--"
Harry turned towards Seven when she suddenly stopped speaking. Her face had gone blank.
"Identify yourself," she ordered.
He opened his mouth, but found he had nothing to say on that subject.
"Comply," demanded the woman with the metal eyebrow.
"Who are you?" the man in the central chair asked in return.
"I ... lack a designation." She glanced around the room, seeming particularly interested in the view on the forward screen.
Chrome Girl had an odd way of putting things, but she was something to look at, or so the young man in the big chair thought. She turned back to him and declared, "You are the commander of this vessel."
"What makes you say that?"
"The rest of us are positioned in front of consoles - presumably the controls of this ship. You, however, are seated in a chair overlooking our stations. Your function must be to co-ordinate our activities."
"I'll take your word for it," he said. He took charge, and it felt natural enough. "Does anyone know who we are or why we're here?" His crew shook their heads. "Examine your stations for clues," he ordered, and proceeded to investigate the small viewscreen embedded in his chair.
Tom was still grinning over his Valentine's Day mixer plot as he recycled dishes from his and B'Elanna's romantic dinner at home. Suddenly the replicator made an odd noise and shut down with half a dish still in it. Behind him, B'Elanna stopped complaining about the engines in the middle of an expletive-laden sentence. He picked up the malformed dish and prodded the machine, but he was rudely interrupted - someone grabbed him from behind, twisting his arm back and shoving him face-first into the wall. The half-plate fell and shattered on the floor.
"Identify yourself, p'tak!" a sexy voice growled in his ear.
Funny, he couldn't recall his name at the moment. "Nice to meet you, too," he quipped.
"Where is this place? What am I doing here?" she demanded.
"Let me go and I'll help you find out," he answered.
She released his arm, but as he turned around she pushed him back against the wall, pinning him by his shoulders this time.
He eyed her. She had a cute nose and a forehead that went on forever. He couldn't recall whether he was a forehead man, but he decided he would be from now on.
"So, Blue Eyes, what do you know?" she asked.
"Is that all?"
"I'm afraid that about sums it up, yes." He wondered what had happened. She seemed to be wondering the same thing; noticing that she was distracted, he kissed her.
She bit him, but in an affectionate way, he thought. In any event, he took it as encouragement and tried again.
The next thing he knew she had thrown him onto the table. "Don't get too frisky, Blue Eyes - you're a married man."
"I thought you didn't know me," he said.
"I don't. I see the ring."
Blue Eyes felt his ring finger with his thumb, and sure enough, there was a ring there.
"It's a shame," she added. "You've got nice buns."
Funny how he couldn't remember this woman for the life of him, but his heart skipped a beat when she looked at him that way, and he knew the glint in her eyes meant she was up to no good.
He closed his eyes and sighed, but his arm whipped out and grabbed her wrist before she could back away. He rolled onto his side, opened his eyes, and held up her hand.
"Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Blue Eyes."
"To Katie O'Clare - All my love, Michael Sullivan," she read from the inside cover of a book of poetry they'd found in the room. "Do you think that's us?" she asked the tattooed man.
"It doesn't ring a bell. Maybe Michael is your ex," he suggested.
"Call me Katie."
"Call me whatever you'd like, Katie."
She looked him up and down. "Tattoo," she pronounced.
"Take a look - I saw a mirror in the bathroom."
She waited for him by the viewport. They were passengers on a starship, or at least she was. His red and black suit looked like a uniform - he was probably a member of the crew. She thought of all the wonderful destinations that might be theirs: vacation spots, new colonies, undiscovered star systems. Then again, they might be part of a fleet of war, and their amnesia the result of a secret enemy weapon.
He made no comment on the tattoo when he emerged, but said, "I think we should find the infirmary."
The man in the big chair first believed he was the captain when he got the viewscreen working. Well, not exactly working - all it said was:
CAPTAIN'S CONSOLE 1-3A-14
INTREPID CLASS STARSHIP
SERIAL NUMBER 017664\A\56\2
UTOPIA PLANETIA SHIPYARDS 2271
He fiddled with it, but it just kept asking him to 'load the standard Federation databases.' Perhaps said databases had gone the way of their memories.
Not surprisingly, Chrome Girl was the first to report. "This is the Operations station. There are interfaces for the communications, transporter and sensor systems, but none of them are operational. The ship appears to have just been built, at--"
"Utopia Planetia Shipyards," the Captain contributed.
"Yes. Only the information that was hardwired into the ship's systems is present. None of the databases necessary for the ship to function have been installed."
"I take it life support was hardwired in."
"Fortunately, yes," Chrome Girl answered the Captain. "There are quarters for a crew of one hundred and seventy-five. We must assume there are others aboard."
Indeed, at that moment, a door opened behind the Captain Elect and a dark man with pointy ears climbed out of a shaft onto the bridge.
"Greetings," he said. "Do any of you know who you are?"
"I appear to be the Captain," the hopeful leader answered. Throwing a bone to Chrome Girl, he pointed at her and said, "This is my Operations officer. We've lost our memories."
Pointy Ears walked over to a vacant station. "Perhaps I can be of assistance." The Captain nodded his permission.
"Sir, this is the helm," a crewman reported from another console. "The navigational database is missing. We are adrift."
"Try to determine our current position, helmsman," the Captain ordered.
Katie and Tattoo explored several decks of the ship before coming across anything that resembled an infirmary. Along the way, they met a blue man and a woman with a crinkly nose who joined them in their quest.
Eventually the four of them found a promising room filled with biobeds and medical instruments. The adjoining office, however, was empty. The blue man sat down at the office desk and began to fiddle with the console, which read:
CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER'S CONSOLE 5-6C-2134
INTREPID CLASS STARSHIP
SERIAL NUMBER 017664\A\56\2
UTOPIA PLANETIA SHIPYARDS 2271
Blue hit a few buttons and the readout changed to:
EMERGENCY MEDICAL HOLOGRAM MARK 1
ZIMMERMAN - EMH1/O354
TEST DEFAULT MATRIX
"Sounds promising," Tattoo commented. "Can you activate it?"
Through the glass office walls they watched a man appear in the main room. "Please state the nature of the medical emergency," he said.
Katie went out to him and replied, "We've lost our memories."
The hologram processed this information for a few milliseconds, then said, "Please load the standard Federation medical database."
"Can you do that?" Tattoo whispered to Blue, who was still hunched over the console. Blue tried a few buttons, then shook his head.
Nose Crinkle relayed the bad news to Katie. "I'm sorry," she answered the hologram in turn, "but we seem to have lost that, too. Can you treat us without it?"
"My default matrix includes a basic knowledge of humanoid physiology, but I recommend that you locate the Federation medical database as soon as possible. Please lie down on biobed one."
Katie climbed onto the biobed.
"How long have you been experiencing memory loss?" the EMH asked.
"It's been at least two hours."
"Why didn't you report to sickbay immediately?"
"We didn't know where it was."
The Doctor adjusted the instruments, or rather, he programmed them as well as he could under the circumstances. The main computer was off-line.
"You appear to be in perfect health for your age. I do not detect any foreign organic or chemical agents in your system. Without your medical records, however, I cannot determine exactly what has happened to your neural pathways."
The others received the same inconclusive diagnosis. They did find out that Katie and Tattoo were human, Nose Crinkle was Bajoran and Blue was Bolian. It was the first concrete piece of information they had about themselves, so they weren't entirely disappointed in sickbay and the EMH.
The hologram ordered Tattoo and Katie back to their quarters to rest, sent Blue to the bridge to report, and kept Nose Crinkle, who seemed to have an affinity for medicine.
Katie puttered around the main room of 'their' quarters until Tattoo stuck his head out the bedroom door and insisted that she come to bed.
"I'm not sure that's such a good idea," she replied.
"It's the holographic doctor's orders."
"I could be married," she elaborated. He seemed pleased with that idea, so she added, "to someone else."
"I don't think so," Tattoo opined.
"I could be a nun, for all we know," she insisted.
"I know you're not a nun. You must be a scientist, the way you're considering the most esoteric explanations possible instead of accepting the commonsense one right under your nose. You've overlooked the most important piece of evidence we have."
"What would that be?" Katie asked.
He closed the distance between them and reenacted the compromising position in which they had first found themselves. And so Pointy Ears and Chrome Girl found them. He blushed green, she blushed red, but the couple kissed on, oblivious to the intruders.
When Blue had reported to the bridge, the Captain had sent these two out to reconnoiter. The mess hall on deck two was deserted, though the decorations indicated the date - Valentine's Day, whatever that might be. Now Pointy Ears and Chrome Girl were methodically exploring the quarters on deck three.
The former hemmed politely. When that also failed to attract the couple's attention, Chrome Girl parted them by force, announcing, "The Captain has ordered us to secure the ship." Turning to Katie, who was still in the blue dress, she said, "You are a civilian. Please remain in these quarters until further notice. You, however," she said to Tattoo, who was in uniform, "will assist us."
"Who is the captain?" Katie asked Pointy Ears, who seemed to be a bit less of a busybody than Chrome Girl.
"He has also lost his memory," the dark man answered cryptically.
Tattoo edged around Chrome Girl and took Katie's hand, saying, "Get some sleep, dear. I'll be back in a few hours."
Katie didn't think much of this ragtag crew, but she figured Tattoo would keep them out of trouble for the time being. She retired, and the augmented security team moved on to the next cabin.
As soon as they were outside, Tattoo asked the other two what the ship's heading was. Chrome Girl was reluctant to share that information with the lower decks crew, but Pointy Ears was glad to have found someone older and perhaps more experienced than the Captain Presumptive, so he answered the question.
"We're adrift," Pointy Ears explained. "Navigation and propulsion are off-line."
"Do you have any idea what happened?"
Chrome Girl, seeing that Tattoo, like Pointy Ears before him, was worming his way onto the senior staff, decided to make a virtue of necessity and trust him. She expounded her own theory.
"I believe it was a weapon, designed to erase both the computer databanks and our memories, and render us incapable of damaging the enemy forces."
"Do you agree?" Tattoo asked Pointy Ears.
"No," he answered. "I believe that our condition is the result of a natural phenomenon. An enemy would have seized the ship or disabled it more permanently. Perhaps the ship was constructed recently and ran into this phenomenon on a test voyage. The memory loss may be an unforeseen side-effect of a new propulsion system."
"Do you concur?" Chrome Girl asked Tattoo.
"Yes and no. I agree that the phenomenon was not meant as an attack - anyone capable of wiping the databanks and our memories could have disabled us more effectively and permanently. As it is, all we need to do to recover is contact our Federation for copies of the databases and details of our mission. But I do believe that our memory loss and the computer's memory loss are too much of a coincidence not to be connected. The information must have been purloined, not lost accidentally. Perhaps an alien race was curious about us and this is their way of doing anthropology."
"We must find a way to contact them and recover the information," Pointy Ears concluded, implicitly endorsing Tattoo's theories.
After having secured several more decks, the inspection team heard growls and other strange noises coming from a cabin on deck nine. Tattoo blushed red and Pointy Ears blushed green, but Chrome Girl rushed in to render aid.
"Cease your attack on that man," they heard her shout.
"I'm not attacking him," another voice said, "but I can't say the same for you." New sounds, not unlike chrome hitting a bulkhead, emanated from the cabin of peril. Tattoo and Pointy Ears rushed in to rescue Chrome Girl before she was damaged too badly.
They found a scantily-clad Blue Eyes restraining the growling Mrs. Blue Eyes. A slightly dented Chrome Girl was responding to a growled accusation with, "I was not attempting to 'steal your mate'."
Blue Eyes tried to change the subject by asking the newcomers why they'd stopped by.
Pointy Ears explained, "We are conducting a sweep of the ship in order to inform the crew of our situation."
"And that is?"
"The crew and passengers have lost their memories."
"We noticed," Mrs. Blue Eyes growled. "So now if you'll just move along..."
Tattoo and Pointy Ears herded Chrome Girl out of the room. "Please report to sickbay at your earliest convenience," Tattoo added as they backed out the door. "It's on deck five."
Chrome Girl muttered something about insubordination and the brig, but even she didn't seem willing to press the issue. As the outer door slid shut behind them, the disturbing noises resumed inside.
The only other incident of interest was the team's discovery of a frightened, furry man in garish clothing, hiding in Hydroponics. When they asked him what he was afraid of, he could only say that they were all 'such weird-looking aliens' and he didn't know how he'd gotten on their 'depressingly ugly ship'.
They found most of the passengers asleep in their cabins, but certain departments were manned overnight. The bridge had already contacted them by sending runners back and forth between the major departments. In Engineering, the survey team found another Pointy Ears with a human male, a Chrome Boy, and the talented Blue directing the crew in their attempts to restart the engines.
At that point the team split up; Tattoo went home to Katie, the original Pointy Ears headed for the bridge, and Chrome Girl dragged Chrome Boy off to sickbay for the medical exam she'd skipped on her first pass through deck five.
The EMH had seen about thirty patients by the time Chrome Girl and Chrome Boy arrived, but none as interesting, from a medical standpoint, as these two. "You are Borg," he announced almost gleefully.
"I am Borg?" echoed Chrome Girl.
"Yes. Your species of origin is human." To Chrome Boy, he added, "Your species of origin is a humanoid race not listed in my default matrix. Neither of you is linked to the Collective. Did you find any other Borg drones during your exploration of the ship?"
"No," Chrome Girl answered pensively.
"I wonder how you were separated from the Borg Collective," the Doctor mused to himself. "It could make an interesting journal article."
After some thought, Chrome Girl announced to Chrome Boy, "We require designations. My designation will be 'One of Two', and yours will be 'Two of Two'." Two nodded in agreement.
After having made his report to the Captain, Pointy Ears returned to the mess hall to investigate the food stores. He collected samples of them to bring to sickbay for analysis, then returned to the mess hall and prepared a meal for the hungry crew. Replicators were low on the list of systems to be repaired, but an ad hoc intercom system had been put together, and in half an hour he announced the availability of a meal.
Other announcements over the intercom included the Captain's request that everyone search for clues to their identities and share them. He regretted that request when One guided him to their quarters. In her search, she had found a cabin with a picture of him with an older couple, apparently his parents, on the wall and a uniform exactly like the unique one she was wearing in the bathroom.
Now, One of Two was something else to look at, the Captain had to admit, but in the realm of personality she was sorely lacking. Even the sullen Pointy Ears seemed to have a better grasp of interpersonal relations than One did. It must have been very lonely at the top for him to have succumbed to her questionable charms. Still, he was stuck with her now, and he would do his best to try to discern the soul beneath the chrome.
"Do you require regeneration?" she asked him, interrupting his thoughts.
"Sleep, you mean? Yes, but perhaps we should eat first."
"I do not require sustenance at this time."
Well, if they couldn't get the ship's computer back on-line, she certainly would make a good substitute. With a slightly tinnier voice... He chided himself for such thoughts, and forced himself to smile at One as he said, "I'll just stop by the mess hall for a snack and then come back."
She nodded, and he left on his quest for sustenance.
Mr. and Mrs. Blue Eyes had hightailed it for deck two, famished. The food was a little bland, but otherwise good. There were, unfortunately, no seconds. Nevertheless, they lounged at their table, looking out the viewscreen at the stars, until Blue Eyes overheard Pointy Ears addressing one of the people in the mess line as 'Captain'.
"Let's blow this joint, woman," he whispered to Mrs. Blue Eyes. "The Captain's here - we don't want to get drafted."
She nodded in agreement, and they slunk out of the room. "Back home?" she asked him, with an enticing growl.
He shook his head. "They know where we live now."
Instead, they found themselves on deck six, in front of a door with a particularly elaborate computer interface that said:
EXTERNAL HOLODECK CONSOLE 6-2A-2501
INTREPID CLASS STARSHIP
SERIAL NUMBER 017664\A\56\2
UTOPIA PLANETIA SHIPYARDS 2271
Mrs. Blue Eyes poked at it, but the most it would tell them was 'Please insert the standard holodeck database.'
"Let's try it from the inside," Blue Eyes suggested. His wife duly ripped open some paneling and hotwired the door. "How did you know to do that?" he asked.
"It must be a bad habit of mine," she answered with a grin.
The more responsible members of the crew occupied themselves with reprogramming vital ship's systems. Sensors were at the top of the list, and soon they had a rudimentary radar system working. Katie and another 'passenger' took over the kitchen from Pointy Ears and cooked the second meal.
Katie addressed the remainder of her time to the Captain's request for clues about their identities. Try as she might, she could not find Two's quarters - he ended up sleeping in an empty cabin - though her investigative skills cleared up most of the remaining mysteries of cabin assignments. Taking a hint from One's discovery, she had used clothing sizes to great advantage in the investigation.
Well, there was one disadvantage. She'd found Tattoo's quarters almost immediately. He had a distinctive build. Katie briefly considered not telling him, but she was fairly sure she wasn't the kind of person to lie about something like that. After all, he could be married. What a depressing thought! Why did she have to look into every cupboard and corner - why couldn't she have left well enough alone?
Katie wasn't very pleased with her own personality. Most of all she disliked her destructive curiosity and the way she backed away instinctively whenever Tattoo made the most harmless advances, although she loved him and felt certain she had before the amnesia as well.
However, she was a strong-willed woman and she could change if she wanted to. She made a resolution on the spot - no more investigating mysteries the solution of which could do no good. Moreover, she was going to keep Tattoo, despite the separate cabins, and whether or not they recovered their memories. She would find a way.
Mr. and Mrs. Blue Eyes had missed the announcement of the second meal - the intercom system didn't work inside the holodeck, apparently - so, after having spent countless hours just to duplicate the sickbay holomatrix and make a few amusing adjustments, they emerged famished again and crept back to the mess hall.
They raided the refrigerator and settled down on the kitchen floor for a snack, but before they knew it, Pointy Ears was staring down at them. He scolded them for stealing food from the mouths of their shipmates. Their punishment was to cook a midnight snack and deliver it to the night crew.
Mrs. Blue Eyes elected to do the cooking, putting Blue Eyes in charge of climbing up and down turbolift shafts with cargo containers of hot food. She growled when he suggested a more equitable distribution of labor, and thus did Blue Eyes learn that marriage is not all fun and games.
He found one familiar figure in Engineering: Tattoo was wedged under a console with another Pointy Ears, fiddling with isolinear chips. "Soup's on!" Blue Eyes announced, and the diehard engineers had a picnic on the floor in front of the darkened warp core.
Blue Eyes appropriated a share of each snack he delivered - he loved his wife's cooking. He plopped down next to Tattoo and began munching on one of her creations. "Don't you ever sleep?" he asked the sullen, dark man beside him.
"Why bother?" Tattoo replied.
"I heard you had a girlfriend," Blue Eyes insinuated.
"Who told you that?"
Blue Eyes realized immediately that this was not a man you should tease about his girlfriend. His voice took on a concerned, comradely tone as he answered, "Word gets around. There aren't too many people on this ship with experience in woman problems. Maybe I could help you out."
"You seem to be getting along pretty well with your woman," Tattoo replied.
"Ah, well, it did start off smashingly, but now she has me hauling food around the ship."
"My woman threw me out of our quarters."
"That's harsh," Blue Eyes sympathized.
"She says she loves me, but they're her quarters. I live next door. I don't know what kind of nutcases we used to be, but I wish she'd just give up on the past and..."
"...and let you move back in?" the younger man asked.
"You weren't...?" Blue Eyes insinuated, in a nice way.
"No, but if it weren't for that damn Pointy Ears we would have been."
Pointy Ears the Fair looked up at this. "Not you," Tattoo apologized, "the dark one."
"Indeed, he is a busybody," Pointy Ears the Fair commented, and turned his attention back to the food.
After another day, the thrusters were on-line. The Captain had the ship backtrack as far as it could have drifted since the incident, and they scanned (well, radared) the area, as well as investigating visually. There was no trace of alien info-snatchers, so he ordered the helmsman to proceed along their original course, as indicated by their direction of drift. One of Two assembled a mini-collective of passengers to take turns looking out the windows for anything alien.
Katie flatly refused to join One's collective, much to the Captain's surprise. He was equally non-plussed when Mr. and Mrs. Blue Eyes came to the bridge to report that the holodeck had been repaired.
"Why?" he asked them.
"It wasn't working," Blue Eyes answered, somehow managing to keep a straight face.
"I mean, what use is it?"
"I have been unable to determine the function of the Holodeck," One commented from her post at Ops, implying that these lowly passengers could not have succeeded where the Borg had failed.
"We did learn to program the computer," Mrs. Blue Eyes said defensively. Blue Eyes could have kicked her - she'd just gotten them drafted. Why did everything One said rile her? He'd never understand women.
"Then you can repair the main computer," the Captain ordered. "The core is accessible from decks ten and eleven."
"It'll be fun," Mrs. Blue Eyes promised as they boarded the now-functional turbolift, but her husband wasn't buying it.
The Captain had managed not to 'regenerate' concurrently with One for almost three days, but eventually his live-in caught up with him and bluntly suggested copulation.
"We hardly know each another, One," he blurted out. Funny, he would have thought starship captains were better at this sort of thing.
"You do not desire me," One responded, in a somewhat less impassive tone of voice than than her usual monotone.
"It's not that, One," he started to say, but then looked up into her eyes and saw a tear there. He couldn't bear to see her cry - and she might rust, besides - so he kissed her. He was beginning to think that copulation wasn't such a bad idea after all when she pushed him away suddenly and jumped backwards herself.
"One?" he choked out in his surprise.
She had backed up against the wall of the cabin, and was staring at two snakelike tubules protruding from the back of her hand.
"I could have damaged you," she said, sounding genuinely concerned. Then the more mechanical side of One reasserted itself, and she announced, "Remain here. I will go to sickbay." She was out the door before he could say anything.
There was an upside to the copulation incident - the EMH informed One that the tubules had another function than merely assimilating romantic partners. She could use them to interface with other machinery. Within a few hours she had the sensors reprogrammed to suit her personal tastes, and she proceeded to process all incoming data through her cortical implants. Thus she discovered the subspace signal.
The source was too far away to reach by impulse drive, so she gave the helmsman the exact bearing and went to Engineering to try the Borg approach on the warp core. Two of Two would be of assistance there.
Two days later, the ship had come to a halt beside the likely source of all their trouble. Engineering dedicated itself to understanding the small alien probe; even the EMH was sent sensor readouts and asked his professional opinion. Mrs. Blue Eyes, angry that One had 'infected' the main computer with Borg technology, dragged her husband back to the holodeck to create and study a holographic model of the probe.
Katie refused to have anything to do with the probe; she and Tattoo helped to compensate for the sudden loss of staff in other departments brought on by probe-mania.
"I don't know what they're all so desperate to remember," she said to him on the second day of the probe-fest, which seemed to be making steady progress. The only problem the engineers foresaw was another complete loss of memory - everything they'd felt and done since the first incident would be 'overwritten' when the old memories and databanks were restored.
"They're fools if they do it," Tattoo said. "We have no idea what we will 'wake' to - what war, carnage, disaster or death we're lucky enough to have forgotten. And here we are, so happy--"
"So happy," she echoed.
"We have no sorrows, no problems - why ask for trouble? And why die - yes, die, because that's what it amounts to - in order to get those old troubles back?"
She grasped his hand tightly. "I won't die," she said. "I won't forget you. There has to be another way."
The engineers solved the puzzle, as they always do, and as much as Tattoo, Katie and many others protested, the Captain insisted on restoring their memories. They were forced to resign themselves to taking their chances on their unknown prior life.
Katie found a pen and some paper for the Captain to make a written log - the others, it seemed, didn't consider their one week of life worth any sort of memorial at all, but the Captain saw the wisdom of Katie's idea.
Janeway shook herself. She'd been having the oddest daydream about tiramisu, but the table was bare except for her box of chocolates. She'd been flirting with her First Officer again, though she'd never slipped into fantasizing before - not with him still in the room, anyway. She scolded herself for crossing the line. If she let her feelings out of their bottle, the ship and crew could be endangered.
Chakotay was seated across the table from her, his head in his hands, lost in thought. Rather than disturb him, she reached for the box. Her mind was still on dessert, but when she opened the box all her coffee-filled chocolates were gone.
"Chakotay, I'm surprised you didn't spoil your supper."
"Sorry, Kathryn; I didn't hear you."
"Did you eat all the chocolates or did you just bring an empty box?"
"There were chocolates in there when I brought it," he answered, but he was still too distracted to appreciate the mystery properly. Besides, coffee in any form had a way of disappearing around Kathryn Janeway, and he found it wiser not to ask too many questions.
"That's odd," she said, but then weird was part of the job. What was weirder than being in love with your best friend and not even being able to flirt with him on your Valentine's Day date? They didn't warn you about these things at the Academy.
"Bridge to the Captain," Harry's disembodied voice floated across her dinner table.
"Janeway here," she answered, glad of the distraction. She'd rather not dwell on the things she'd had to give up in the name of protocol and discipline.
"We're getting some strange readings up here, Captain," he said. "You might want to take a look."
The senior staff - the real senior staff - assembled in the conference room half an hour later. Captain Janeway stared at a sheet of paper she held in her hands, neither speaking nor putting it down until the last staff member had arrived.
"I have quite a story for you," she said, "but first, reports."
Tom gave their position, more than a day away from their last known location. Tuvok reported that the ship's chronometer was off by eight days, four hours, fourteen minutes and eleven seconds. Harry had detected an inert probe of unknown design about an hour behind them, but he could find no trace of the mysterious subspace signal. Neelix said a significant portion of their foodstuffs were missing, though the leola root was, fortunately, untouched. B'Elanna and the EMH reported only minor abberations. Chakotay was silent.
"Any theories?" the Captain asked with a mischievous grin.
Tuvok answered, "I would say that we were unconscious for the duration of the incident, but, presumably, we ate the food."
"I assure you, your neural pathways show no experience of the past eight days, nor does my holomatrix," the EMH commented. "As far as we're concerned, it's still Valentine's day."
"Maybe we had another run-in with the Time Patrol," Torres suggested.
"No, we didn't. We had a dip in a mythical river," Janeway said mysteriously. Eyebrows were raised around the table. She held up the paper again. "I found this in my ready room. I'll read it aloud."
Captain's Log, date unknown.
I find myself in command of the starship 'U.S.S. Voyager', or so the plaque on the wall informs me. The passengers, crew and I have lost our memories. With some effort, we discovered that both our memories and the ship's databases were extracted by a ancient probe currently off the port bow.
With the help of the Emergency Medical Hologram, my engineering team has found a way to restore our memories and the databanks and also, I hope, to disable the probe permanently. I am writing this log because we will not remember any of this once the probe's effects have been reversed, nor will our recent computer logs be preserved.
There has been some protest about reversing the process - the crew is happy as they are, and are confident that with enough time, we could restore more systems and get the ship fully functional again. "Let the Federation find us if they need us," they say, but I must assume that our mission was an important one and deserves to be resumed.
Engineering is prepared to reverse the process once the crew returns to the same locations we were in when the incident occurred. I have delayed them in order to write this log, and to allow my crew a few more hours of the only life they remember. My last act as Captain will be to marry two of my crew, who 'do not go gentle into that good night'.
The Captain looked up from the paper with a tear in her eye. "That's the end."
"Kahless, that's romantic!" B'Elanna exclaimed. "I wonder who they were."
"We'll never know," Janeway said.
"I find the idea of strangers falling in love in our bodies a little disturbing," Chakotay commented.
"They weren't strangers, they were you," countered the EMH. "Amnesia is not generally considered a impediment to judgement."
"In which case, this couple, whoever they were, may be legally married," Tuvok added, "providing the marriage was not a bigamous one."
Tom blanched. He would never hear the end of it if he'd married someone else in a fit of amnesia. Fortunately, they'd never know, unless that gleam in Neelix's eye signified more than just the usual Talaxian good cheer. There could be a lot of replicator rations in this.
"Since we have no way of knowing who they are, I suppose the legality of the marriage is moot," the Captain said, meaning to dismiss the meeting.
"Excuse me, Captain, ma'am," Neelix piped up. "I found something in the mess hall which may be of help."
Tom immediately began calculating odds in his head. The Captain nodded to Neelix to continue.
"I couldn't quite figure it out at first, but now I see it must be the marriage license. It was signed," Neelix said cheerfully.
"The signature of someone who does not know his own name is of questionable validity," Tuvok contributed.
"I suppose it would be, Mr. Vulcan, but the parties signed the license with their thumbprints."
"Talk about 'not going gently'! Those two were determined to mess up somebody's life," Tom said, while mentally adjusting the odds. Chakotay shook his head sadly.
"So, what are we going to do about it?" B'Elanna wondered aloud.
Neelix had a plan. "I think a wedding reception is in order."
"What if they don't want to be married?" Chakotay objected.
"Then they may find it necessary to divorce," Tuvok answered.
"Let's not talk about divorce when they don't even know they're married yet," the Captain protested. Underneath that cold Starfleet exterior beat the heart of a hopeless romantic. "I agree - a wedding reception is in order. It is my understanding," she explained, with a playful glare at Tom, "that the Valentine's Day party never actually took place. Mr. Neelix promised the crew a party and this time he will provide one."
Tuvok raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
"See you all there," she dismissed them.
The Valentine's Day decorations were still up in the messhall when Janeway and Chakotay arrived for the reception.
"You know Paris is running a pool," he whispered to her as they entered the crowded room.
"I know. I insisted that half the proceedings go to the newlyweds. My money is on him and B'Elanna."
"That's very romantic of you. I have a lot of rations riding on Seven and Harry, myself."
"I thought you didn't approve of all this," she teased him.
"However I might feel about it, it seems to have done wonders for morale. I didn't know there were so many hopeless romantics in all of Starfleet. Whoever the couple is, it looks like they'll go through with it."
Neelix hemmed and hawed in an attempt to attract the audience's attention, until Tom took over. He whistled and announced, "Last bets!"
Neelix motioned to the EMH, who joined him on the makeshift podium. "The Doctor will identify the happy couple's fingerprints using the medical database."
The EMH, as curious as any organic crewmember, practically lunged for the paper, but Neelix was too quick for him. "First," the slippery Talaxian said pointedly, "I will read the marriage license, which Mr. Vulcan assures me is binding under Federation law:"
We, the undersigned, being of sound mind and body, have been married this day by the acting captain of this ship, according to the marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer, which was lent to us for the purpose by a crewmember who found it in her cabin.
"Let me tell you," Neelix interrupted himself, "that's a very romantic ceremony. I looked it up in the database, and it brought tears to my eyes: 'With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow'..." A few glares from the audience were enough to get Neelix back on track.
The rings were also lent to us, by the couple from deck nine, section twelve.
The rest of the inhabitants of deck nine turned to stare at Tom and B'Elanna. "No rations for you," Chakotay whispered to the Captain.
Two witnesses were present, and so we hope that we have fulfilled all the legal requirements for marriage. Though we will have lost our memories when this document is found, we hope we will be faithful to our word.
'Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.'
"They laid it on thick, didn't they?" Chakotay asked Janeway, who elbowed him for his trouble.
"I think it's romantic - keep your pessimism to yourself." Janeway thought what a nice Gothic holonovel this all would make. "What kind of cad," she wondered aloud, "would go back on his word after all that?"
Chakotay had no opportunity to answer; the EMH was already pointing a medical tricorder at one of the fingerprints. "And the lucky couple is..." he announced dramatically, "...Commander Chakotay..." As the Doctor processed the other fingerprint, the room, already silent, grew deathly still.
Chakotay mentally kicked himself for falling in love and forgetting the woman, again. Spirits, he hated these situations - his love life was starting to resemble Harry's. If he was lucky, he'd married Sam; bigamy would nullify the contract.
"...and..." the Doctor intoned, prolonging his moment in the spotlight as long as holographically possible. Janeway swore silently to herself. It must have been one of the blondes, she thought, and I just stood there and married them like it meant nothing to me. If there's a Q in heaven, please, please don't let it be Seven of Nine...
"...Captain Janeway," the EMH concluded. For the first time, Chakotay admired his other self, and wondered how he had pulled this off.
"Congratulations!" Neelix chimed in, but the EMH wasn't through yet.
"There are three other thumbprints here, the acting Captain's and the two witnesses'." The crowd was curious again, and even Janeway was distracted from her unexpected role as romantic heroine by the belated realization that she had not been in command during the probe incident. Of course the Captain's log had been in a strange hand, but she had chalked that up to the amnesia.
"The Captain of Voyager for the past eight and a half days was...Ensign Harry Kim! Let's all thank him for service above and beyond the call of duty. And the witnesses to the wedding were...Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris and Crewman Celes Tal."
Tom approached the happy couple and handed them a PADD. "Here's your share of the replicator rations. There are plenty of holodeck hours in there - enjoy your honeymoon." Before they could protest, several more wedding presents had been forced into their hands. Janeway glared as Chakotay instinctively unwrapped one, then laughed despite herself when he stared at the mysterious object within.
"It's a twentieth-century lava lamp, Chakotay. It must be from Tom and B'Elanna." She rifled through the wrapping paper for a card, then looked around for the couple in question. They were slipping out of the mess hall. While she wondered what that perilous pair were up to, Neelix wheeled out a cake, and Captain Harry and the Kimtones struck up a wedding march.
Janeway found herself worrying about writing the thank-you notes. Chakotay eyed her warily - was she really going to go along with this? Before he could ask her any stupid questions of that sort, the crowd had parted to form a dance floor and the newlyweds had been manoeuvered into the center of it to lead the first dance.
"I can't believe I walked right into this one," Janeway said as they began to dance. "I let that Talaxian get the best of me."
"There's only one person on this ship who could outwit Kathryn Janeway. It's not Neelix's fault that she finally got the opportunity."
She chuckled at the picture he'd painted of her other self. "But I thought you didn't approve of a stranger falling in love in your body."
"I admire his taste. And what kind of cad would go back on his word after all that?"
"Maybe one who has protocol to think about," she replied seriously.
"I believe morale trumps protocol. We didn't violate any regulations when we got married, after all."
At that, she stopped short in the middle of the floor. The crowd, which had been murmuring, stared silently at the frozen couple, and even the band faltered, but played on.
"I actually married you," she said, as though realizing it for the first time.
He, too, was suddenly struck with the wonder of the thing. "I wouldn't have guessed that you loved me that much," he whispered. "I was never sure whether you loved me at all."
She responded with a lingering kiss, which drew applause from their forgotten audience. The happy couple blushed and began dancing again, and the rest of the crowd joined them on the dance floor.
After about half an hour of festivities, Tom and B'Elanna returned to the mess hall. and managed, with some effort, to corner the newlyweds.
"You missed the cake," Chakotay chided his old friend.
"We brought you something," B'Elanna replied.
"You shouldn't have. We love the lava lamp, really," Janeway insisted.
Tom handed something small to Chakotay. "It's your rings."
"We can't take your rings," Chakotay protested.
"We worked something out." Tom waved a hand to prove he still had his own ring.
"Did you replicate them?" Janeway wondered aloud.
"Not exactly. B'E thought that would be gauche."
"Well, what did you do, then?"
"We reenacted one of those transporter accidents," B'Elanna explained, "you know, like the one that split Will Riker into two people."
"One of him was enough, if you ask me," Chakotay said under his breath. "You two..."
"...are hopeless romantics," Janeway finished his sentence.
"You're a fine pair to talk."
Lethe is the mythical river of the underworld whose waters cause the dead to forget their past lives.
"Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" is a poem by Dylan Thomas.
The excerpt from The Book of Common Prayer is from an old edition - not all versions include it in full.