P. L. Heyes~~DangerMom (C) 10/9/97
Standard Disclaimer: ST:Voyager and its characters belong to Paramount. I'm just borrowing them for entertainment purposes.
Author's Note: This story is set in my "Daybreak" series, shortly after the events in "The Course of True Love." The setting is a variation of fourth season VOYAGER--Kes is gone, but Seven of Nine did not become part of the crew, and the ship and its crew have encountered different problems after leaving Borg space. Some bits of canon, however, have been incorporated in my overall storyline.
Thanks to Tara for posting this to the Archive. If I EVER get the problems with AOL fixed, it will have a link and a home via my own page...someday.
Many thanks to Ch'gris, a/k/a Romance Boy, for his help in the plotting of this story, and to Janet and Julia for the seal of approval!
WARNING: This story was mainly written as a piece of pure self-indulgence, to tie in with an upcoming spoiler premise from the series. I chose to handle it a bit differently than it will probably be dealt with on the show!
IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR
It is a well-known, recorded fact of human history that people in love will do strange things: wonderfully, foolishly romantic things.
Tom Paris had taken a big chance with his spur-of-the-moment proposal to B'Elanna Torres on the Holodeck one morning, surprising her with a gift crafted out of love, taking advantage of an emotional upheaval neither of them had expected to happen.
Luckily for him, the impulsiveness paid off, and B'Elanna had accepted his proposal and declaration of love with all her heart.
Some time later, after they had endured a period of difficulties and trials, she in turn tried to surprise him with a gift of love. She likewise took a big chance by keeping him off-balance emotionally so he wouldn't suspect she was spending what little free time she had in designing a holoprogram they could enjoy together in more ways than one.
Fortunately, her creativity and persistence also paid off, finally allowing them to fulfill all the bonds of their complicated relationship--emotional and physical.
But...it is another well-known fact that people in love will do incredibly stupid things.
In the first days that followed Voyager's departure from Safe Harbor, everything seemed to be going perfectly for them. Work and duty, as always, had to come first. But with the ship in tip-top condition following the lengthy inspection and overhaul, work was normal and almost simple, which was pretty easy to take. The nights spent in each other's quarters and each other's arms more than made up for the daily routine. It seemed that once they had consummated their relationship, they simply could not get enough of each other.
Some nights it was quiet and romantic, with Tom making love to her so gently and sweetly that B'Elanna would find herself almost in tears at the climax. Other nights it was wild and passionate, leaving somebody's quarters in a shambles, requiring the use of Tom's field med-kit so they didn't show up for duty looking like they'd been to war. On a few occasions, it was both, going from one extreme to the other for hours and hours....
So it was to be understood that they began to be a little sleep-deprived, a problem that became exacerbated when Voyager had another run of bad luck. It really wasn't B'Elanna's fault that she missed a report left for her one day by her assistant engineer, Joe Carey. Maintenance difficulties unrelated to the recent crisis had popped up, and she spent her time working on those, paying scant attention when the lieutenant voiced further concern over some sporadic warp core fluctuations that never seemed to occur when she was on duty.
Nor was it Tom's fault that Voyager's flight path had intersected with another region that boded ill for the starship and her crew--a huge expanse of tightly-packed nebulas that gave off dangerous gravity waves and bursts of highly-charged plasma. He spent time on and off duty executing and plotting course corrections that would get them safely through. And being tagged as the Doctor's new assistant also ate up a lot of hours.
Dealing with the nebulas' effects compounded the problems in Engineering. They, in turn, made it difficult to keep the ship on an even keel. So, once again, as had happened just after they'd gotten engaged, Tom and B'Elanna had to spend a great deal of time apart. Only now, knowing what they were missing, it was much harder to take.
After the third evening in a row of working flight simulations with Ensign Baytart and Lieutenant Hamilton, and helping with the cross-training of Ensigns Lang and Davis into Navigation, Tom was beginning to feel a bit stressed-out. Hell, he knew it was more than just that--he and B'Elanna had not spent a night together in almost a week, and it was driving him crazy. Sitting next to her in staff meetings was sheer torture: not quite touching, breathing in her heady scent which he'd come to know so well, knowing with frustrating certainty that there was just too much damn work to do in the hours ahead.
Embarking on her fourth day of almost non-stop duty, B'Elanna was about ready to kill someone. Every time she turned around there was some new repair crisis to deal with, and every time she was able to spare ten minutes, Tom was required elsewhere. The one time she'd been alone with him, in the turbolift one morning, just the sight of those blue eyes focused on her with the intensity of a phaser blast had been enough to send her senses into overdrive. She'd been ready to launch herself at him and take him right there--except the lift had stopped and poor, unsuspecting Lieutenant Baxter had boarded, unaware of what he had prevented. It was a wonder the hormonally-charged atmosphere in the lift hadn't knocked him cold.
Unfortunately, they were both at their best and their worst when working under pressure. It was the brutal combination of lack of sleep, stress, and not getting any which eventually led to the error in judgement that led to a night they'd never forget, although the memory was one they certainly could have lived without.
B'Elanna looked up from her console in shock, unable to believe she had ended up working through Beta shift again. And here came the Gamma crew, the four people responsible for the engine room through the late hours. They each gave their chief a nod, and dispersed cheerfully to their stations. It didn't seem to bother them that she'd practically become a fixture down here.
Tonight should have been the end of it--she had been all set to go off-duty as scheduled, confident that this latest round of problems had been resolved. Then it happened: the warp core fluctuations she'd been hearing about all week from Joe Carey had finally chosen to manifest themselves in her presence. The readings were sporadic, weak, but damn strange. So she set herself to monitor the condition of all propulsion systems, cross-checking with the status of the navigational and helm controls, while the night crew took care of everything else. Before she knew it, eight hours had come and gone.
I should just assign someone else to watch this till morning, she thought, and get the hell out of here. Tomorrow she could attack the problem from a fresh prospective, and track down the cause. Tonight she could track down something else...solve another problem that was threatening to drive her out of her mind.
"Computer, locate Lieutenant Paris."
"Lieutenant Paris is on the Bridge."
What was Tom doing on the Bridge at this hour? She knew he'd been contending with departmental problems of his own, but surely they didn't require him to be on duty now. She quickly scanned the read-outs she had been studying earlier, and accessed an update. And suddenly, there it was--one of those weird little things that was so easy to miss. B'Elanna tapped her commbadge. "Torres to Paris."
"Go ahead," came the response, and she could hear a crackle of irritation in his voice. If the current readings on her screen were any indication, she could imagine why.
"Are you having a problem with helm control?" she asked briefly, maintaining a professional tone.
"However did you know?" came back the sarcastic reply. "Sorry," he quickly added. "It's been a weird night up here, B'Elanna. Davis was taking his first turn at conn, and there were some disruptions in the console power systems he couldn't deal with. Harry's got the big chair tonight, and he finally called me to see if I could help figure out what's going on. But whatever the hell it is, it's not constant, and it's a damn nuisance." There was a pause, and she could hear him briefly conferring with Harry. "Have you got an answer down there?" he asked hopefully.
Another look at the energy readings confirmed it. "I think so, Tom. It looks like there's been a slow leak of ion contamination from those blasted nebulas, building up in some of the EPS conduits." B'Elanna accessed more data and did another cross-reference. "There's been a cumulative effect, and the power couplings for helm control are being hit hardest. Damn--I'm going to have to send everyone here into the Jefferies Tubes to clean out the mess. I'll have to make sure there aren't any more power surges into the warp core."
There was a moment of silence, then Tom said, "Would you like me to come down and help you keep an eye on the core?"
It was typical of him to want to help, but she could certainly handle this on her own. "Oh, I don't think--" Then she stopped herself. There had been such a note of eagerness in his voice, and his assistance here would make the work easier--who was she kidding? She was desperate for any excuse just to see him, to have him close-- "Sure, Tom. I'd appreciate that," she finally replied.
"I'm on my way," he said, with such weighty promise that B'Elanna felt a shiver go up her spine. If they could wrap this up quickly enough, then just maybe the rest of the night could be theirs. She allowed herself one delicious, anticipatory moment to think about dragging him to her quarters and throwing him on the bed, before she started barking orders to her crew.
It was too late to consider that she should have given in to her first impulse and told him that his help wouldn't be necessary.
After assuring Harry Kim that the problem with the helm controls would soon be solved, and reassuring Ensign Davis that he was more than capable of handling the situation until then, Tom left the Bridge. He absolutely hated it when anything went wrong with Voyager's flight controls--after three years they were like an extension of his own self, and he felt an almost physical distress when they weren't operating properly. He'd do anything in his power to get them fixed.
And if that happened to include spending time in Engineering with B'Elanna, then all the better. Damn, they hadn't even shared as much as a kiss in the past five days, and what little sleep he'd been getting was haunted with dreams of their lovemaking--which provided little relief for his building frustration. So if he could do anything to help solve this latest dilemma, and get her out of the engine room and into his bed...just the thought started his pulse racing as the lift descended.
He never stopped to think that he should have kept his mouth shut and stayed on the Bridge to work on the problem from that end.
The blue-white light of the warp core flickered with an almost hypnotic intensity. B'Elanna could almost see a pattern in the swirling flashes, which was a good sign. The quiet thrum-thrum-thrum it emitted was steady and sure. All readings were slowly approaching normal limits, the final indication that the repairs were having the desired effect.
The chief engineer smiled as she bent over the console. Everything was going well. When she heard the doors slide open and shut, and the approach of firm, confident steps, her smile grew bigger. She glanced over her shoulder with a welcoming look for her visitor.
"How's it going?" he asked, stepping up beside her and studying the readouts himself.
"Just fine," she answered. "The decon procedures should only take another forty-five minutes or so. I've already done some shield enhancements to keep this from happening again." She tapped a few controls. "Then one final round of diagnostics will wrap things up."
"Good," he responded. "What can I do to speed things along?"
"Well, if you could fly this ship faster and get us away from these nebulas, it would help."
"Hey, if you could keep a better handle on things down here, I'd have enough power to do that."
They looked at each other, straight-faced for just one second. Then Tom grinned, while B'Elanna shook her head and smiled.
Tom reached for her hand. "It's been a hell of a week, hasn't it?" he said, and they both knew he wasn't just referring to the ship's problems. He rubbed her fingers between his, and tried to pull her closer to him. "I've missed you," he said plaintively.
B'Elanna resisted, taking her hand back and putting it up to stop any further advances. "Don't try to sweet-talk me, Paris," she joked nervously. "I know what you've missed."
"I bet you've missed it too," he replied with a sly smile.
"Get used to it," she answered shortly, trying to keep her eyes on the console, not wanting to acknowledge the look of hunger in Tom's eyes. "There must be more damn anomalies in this one sector than in the entire Delta Quadrant," she complained.
He got one hand around her waist. "Harry thinks these nebulas were part of that region we passed through month before last--that those Delta 'badlands' were once much bigger, and these are a remnant that broke away millennia ago." He bent his head close to hers, breathing in the delicious combination of her own delicate earthiness and the pungent aroma of engine coolant that always made his head spin. He added in a whisper, "We'll be out of it soon."
The feeling of his warm breath against her ear sent a wave of dizziness through B'Elanna. This was not helping. Then he was even closer, letting their bodies touch, and nuzzling her neck, sending a tremor of pleasure right down to her toes. "Tom, stop it!" she insisted, pushing him away before she was lost completely. "We're supposed to be working--"
He let go of her and stepped back "Sorry--you're right." He took a deep breath, and another step back. Distance would be a good thing about now. I came down here to help her, not-- "What else needs to be done?" he quickly asked.
B'Elanna glanced up for only a second. "Could you monitor the antimatter readings? I have to update the status report..." She didn't wait for him to acknowledge her request, hurrying past him to get to her office, away from the touch of his hands, the warmth of his body pressing against hers. She made it into the alcove without looking back, trying to steady herself as she opened the log files. Qu'vatlh jay'! Asking him to help had been a real mistake. I should just send him back to the Bridge.
Tom watched her go, then set himself to the required task, doing his best to concentrate. She was right, the work was more important, it always had to be if they wanted to keep the ship and crew safe. He had to think about that, not the sweet taste of her skin, or the way the light of the warp core made her eyes shine--Damn, did that power level just spike?
Obviously, clear thinking was not part of the duty-roster tonight.
The antimatter levels fell steadily, and were soon close to normal. Tom almost called that out to her, but felt restrained by the midnight stillness of the engine room. He set the controls to issue a warning if the readings changed, then started to her office.
B'Elanna had gotten reports from her crew, added them to her update, and routed the log entry to the Bridge. She was double-checking the shield enhancements when the air stirred and she caught the rich scent of masculinity that was forever imprinted in her brain. With one hand upraised she jumped out of her chair and whirled around to face Tom. "What's wrong?" she asked sharply.
Eyes wide, he took a step into the alcove. "Nothing--the core is stable. I don't think there's going to be any more trouble with it." He put his hand out, not quite touching hers, just trying to offer assurance. "Anything else you need from me?" he asked, unaware he had chosen the wrong way to offer more help, or that being this near her again was a mistake.
She stared at him, knowing all too well what she needed from him. But this was not the time, nor hardly the place. She tried to say something, to tell him no, to ask him to leave, but her mouth had gone dry and she could only think of how bright his eyes were in the semi-darkness.
Tom stared back at her, as a familiar sensation of warmth built in his chest just from being in her presence. The feeling spread through him, slowly, then with startling speed, and his breathing quickened as he tried to fight it down. The pounding of blood in his ears drowned out the tiny voice that was desperately telling him to leave.
B'Elanna was having her own trouble breathing, and she backed into the console in an effort to get away from Tom, although he had made no move towards her. He was still too close though--she could almost taste the heat of his blood, and she forgot all about power disruptions and warp core fluctuations as she felt fierce desire igniting in her own veins.
The tension built between them, as the thrumming of the core echoed their rapid breaths and matched the pace of their heartbeats. Tom reached out and took her by the shoulders. B'Elanna shook her head wildly, but even as she forced out a "no," she was moving into his arms. They melted against each other and their lips met with the force of a matter/antimatter collision.
All reason and common sense fled the engine room, leaving the pair lost in the throes of misplaced, misguided desperate passion.
But one last shred of duty asserted itself in B'Elanna. She somehow pulled her mouth away from Tom's and gasped out, "What about the core--?"
He kissed his way along her jaw, murmuring against her skin, "I told you--it's fine."
She threw her head back, and let him push her down to the console. "My crew--" she blurted worriedly. "They'll be finishing soon..."
Tom paused above her, staring down intently. "They'll call in before they leave the Jefferies Tubes...won't they?" he asked huskily. B'Elanna nodded--it was standard procedure. It was the last coherent thought she had as she threw her arms around him and pulled him to her. Their lips met again in a bruising kiss, their tongues thrusting out to meet deeply as their bodies pressed together.
But as they moved urgently against each other, her body slid over a set of control pads. The console let out a whine and alarms started beeping, scaring the hell out of them. Tom straightened in surprise, releasing her, and B'Elanna struggled to flip over and terminate the raucous alert.
Finally it was quiet again, except for their ragged breathing as they stared at each other dazedly. It should have been the moment for reason to return, but it was far too late and their desire had been denied for far too long.
Tom seized B'Elanna and dragged her off the console, kicking the chair out of the way as he lowered them both to the floor. She threw herself on top of him and they rolled under the console, bodies entwined in a matter of seconds. She ground her hips against him, growling in satisfaction as she felt him grow hard beneath her through double layers of cloth. He ran his hands through her hair, down across her shoulders, pulling her uniform top off and down to her waist. Then he reached in under her shirt, trailing his fingers across the bare skin of her back and sides.
B'Elanna arched up as his touch burned into her. She tore at his tunic, wrenching it away from his body, ripping his shirt in two. She buried her face in the crook of his neck, kissing and licking his throat as he moaned in delight. Tom forced his hands between them, pushed her shirt up and cupped her breasts, twisting away from her questing mouth to put his lips to their soft fullness.
She clutched at him, digging her nails into his arms as the pleasure built and built. "Tom, don't...don't stop," she gasped as he continued tasting her. But he did stop, his breath coming harshly as he rolled her onto her side and thrust against her, harder and harder. It was too much--it wasn't enough--a liquid heat exploded in her blood as she matched his movements, pressing against him in frightening need.
"B'Elanna, B'Elanna..." It was agonizing to be so close and not have all of her. Every part of him burned with the need to be with her, in her. He knew by the sounds she was making deep in her throat how close to the edge she was--he was almost there himself. Then he felt her mouth against his neck, and as her teeth just grazed his skin, his blood burned even hotter. He couldn't stand it--now, it had to be now....
With one swift motion, Tom slid her body beneath him. He moved his hands to the top of her trousers, just as she reached for his, still pushing against him, her head rocking from side to side. Then she let out a gasp--one of shock, not passion, and went perfectly still, staring out across the floor with an expression of horror. He turned his head that way and froze himself when he saw a pair of legs approaching from the main engine room.
Their own legs were projecting out from under the console. Their exertions had shoved both tunics out into the open, to lie beside the overturned chair. And whoever was out there came closer, halting just outside the doorway. Mad passion vanished in a heartbeat as reason and clear-thinking made their belated reappearance. B'Elanna prodded at Tom frantically. "Get off me! Get up!" she hissed, trying to wriggle back into the shadows. But she pushed too hard just as he was moving, and his head shot up and connected sharply with the underside of the console. "Son of a bitch!" he yelped.
"Mr. Paris, your position is undignified enough without resorting to profanity."
It was Tuvok.
They froze once more, hearts pounding in mortification. The security chief spoke again. "If you could spare a moment of your time, Lieutenant Torres, I would like to have a word with you, in the main chamber...and you as well, Lieutenant Paris." Then they heard him move away.
They scrambled up into hunched sitting positions. "What the hell is he doing down here?" Tom whispered, trying to tuck in the ends of his torn shirt, then reaching blindly for the nearest tunic. "That's mine," B'Elanna snapped, grabbing it out of his hands. She hauled herself up and out into the open. He found his own top and followed, and they avoided looking at each other as they hurriedly put themselves to rights. "Stupid, stupid..." B'Elanna muttered under her breath as she tried to smooth her hair.
Tom glanced at her cautiously. "B'Elanna...I'm sorry..."
She glared at him. "How could I let you--how could we be so stupid?!"
He had no answer to that.
Tuvok was standing in front of the warp core control station when they finally emerged from B'Elanna's office. He turned to face them, hands clasped behind his back, his face set in its usual Vulcan calm. But they both knew him well enough by now to also detect a faint air of disapproval. They approached him with no little trepidation.
"I have the security watch tonight," he began without preliminaries, "and was monitoring ship's status in my office when the report came through from Engineering, concerning the power level fluctuations. You seemed to have the situation...under control, Lieutenant Torres, but then an alarm sounded from your main station." He finally paused, giving the chief engineer a look of inquiry.
B'Elanna couldn't help fidgeting. Janeway had The Look, and Chakotay his Quiet Voice, but Tuvok possessed a combination of both that was almost harder to face. She drew herself up, and answered as calmly as she could. "The alert was triggered by...accident, sir."
Tuvok nodded impassively. "So I gathered, when no follow-up report was forthcoming, and all systems read as normal. However, as I was about to embark on my rounds, I decided to do my own follow-up in person."
The hapless lieutenants exchanged a sideways glance. Tuvok's reputation for thoroughness was legendary, although his timing couldn't have been worse.
"I was also...curious," Tuvok continued, "as to why Mr. Paris had left the Bridge, after his assistance had been requested there by the duty officer."
Tom straightened his shoulders. He knew better than to trade on his friendship with the Vulcan at a time like this, and answered dutifully. "The situation on the Bridge was under control, sir. I...thought it best to give B'El-- Lieutenant Torres some help down here, as it was the helm controls that were being most critically affected."
"Yes, Lieutenant. I did read all the status reports tonight." Tuvok gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head as he studied the pair before him. Fine officers both, but possessing equal amounts of volatile unpredictability that the Vulcan found fascinating yet perplexing. Strict disciplinary action was not called for in this situation, but he could not in good conscience let them off without some sort of warning.
"Your efforts to deal with this crisis are to be commended, considering the extra hours you both have been putting in of late, plus the fact that neither of you were officially on duty this shift." His sharp ears caught their faint sighs of relief. "However," he went on, "that does not excuse the lapse in judgement and professional standards that occurred here tonight. And it would be in everyone's best interest that such a lapse not occur again." He let the reprimand sink in for a millisecond. "Understood?"
"Yes, sir," they responded in unison, unconsciously moving apart.
Tuvok turned his attention to the control console. "Lieutenant Torres, who on your Gamma crew has seniority?"
"Ensign Ashmore," she responded quickly.
"Very well. I will remain here and oversee things until they return from their repair duties. Consider yourselves confined to quarters until further notice. You are both dismissed."
Fascinating. He had never before seen anyone move at a pace that approached warp speed.
They stood plastered to opposite walls of the turbolift as it rose from Deck 11, not quite looking at each other, enduring an extremely awkward silence.
"That went...fairly well, all things considered," Tom finally ventured.
B'Elanna's head snapped up, her eyes flashing. "How can you say that? I've never been so humiliated...what will he put in his security report? What if he tells the captain?" She raised her hand threateningly. "Why didn't you stay on the Bridge where you belonged?"
"I was only trying to help!" he retorted.
"Help yourself to me!" she fired back.
"Hey, I wasn't alone down there. You wanted it as much as I did!"
She wasn't about to own up to that. "Why did you have to follow me into my office?"
He wasn't about to take the blame. "Why didn't you just tell me to leave??"
Without realizing it, they'd both moved forward and were only inches apart, practically yelling in each other's face. B'Elanna noticed first, and also realized it wasn't just anger she was suddenly feeling. She jumped back, panicking slightly when Tom came right after her, his hand outstretched.
"Don't you dare touch me, Tom Paris," she spat out.
He backed away, but looked at her with an odd smile. "Wait a minute," he said slowly.
She stared at him curiously. "What?"
"It did go well with Tuvok. He could have been a lot harder on us," he said thoughtfully.
The lift came to a halt and opened on Tom's deck. B'Elanna waited for him to get off. But he kept on smiling, and then grabbed her hand and dragged her out of the lift.
"Tom, let go of me!" she protested, fighting for release as he pulled her down the corridor. "I have to get to my quarters...we're on report!"
He turned and gave her a look of such evil delight that she stopped struggling. "Wanna bet?"
Two minutes later, they were in his quarters. Tom was seated at the computer terminal, with B'Elanna peering over his shoulder. Despite her worries, she had accompanied him, curious to find out what had him so fired up.
"Computer, access most recent Security Log entries. Authorization: Paris Alpha 249."
B'Elanna shook her head. "Tom, he wouldn't have filed a report this quickly."
He gave her a quick grin over his shoulder. "Tuvok lives for efficiency. He probably did it from your office two seconds after we left."
They watched in anticipation as the entry appeared on the screen--a very brief mention of the repairs to the power couplings, and an alarm malfunction in Main Engineering. And then: "Security Log Addendum: Due to extreme overwork, I have removed Lieutenants Paris and Torres from duty for the next 36 hours. They are restricted to their quarters, the mess hall and the holodecks..."
Tom slapped the computer off switch before B'Elanna could read the rest. "There," he said with quiet smugness, "we're not on report after all. We're on leave."
She stared at the blank screen in shocked disbelief. "But...Tuvok..."
"...understands human behavior a lot better than he lets on," Tom finished proudly. Then he stood up, with another wicked smile. "Now, I think we have some unfinished business, Lieutenant," he said, reaching for her.
B'Elanna stepped away quickly. "Hands off, Paris! Tuvok may have let you off the hook, but I haven't!"
He paid absolutely no attention to her warning and kept after her. She dodged without looking behind her, and stumbled backwards onto the bed. Tom dove after her, but she rolled away from him and off the bed, snarling a laugh as she reached for the nearest heavy object....
Lieutenant Walter Baxter finished his patrol of Deck 4, Section B3, and moved on to Section C3. It had been an uneventful night thus far and he had spent most of his shift thinking about the new exercise program the Doctor had asked him to develop for general crew usage.
A loud crashing noise interrupted the security officer's thoughts. He hurried in that direction, hearing another loud thump, and arrived at a cabin door in time to catch a cry of what sounded like pain. Then he thought he saw the door vibrate, as though something had collided with the other side, accompanied by another resounding crash. He was about to demand entry when he heard a voice swear loudly...in Klingon.
Baxter spared one second to read the name plate, then took several steps away from the door. As far as he knew, Voyager's chief engineer and conn officer were happily engaged...but still, he had his duty to perform. After another strangled cry erupted, he quickly hit his commbadge. "Baxter to Commander Tuvok."
"Sir, I have to report a possible--altercation," he said hesitantly, flinching as he detected more violent noises.
"Location, Mr. Baxter?"
"Lieutenant Paris' quarters, sir." Now it had gotten ominously quiet. "I--ah...think Lieutenant Torres may be involved."
There was the briefest of pauses before he got a response from his superior. "Lieutenant, in my experience, both Mr. Paris and Lieutenant Torres are quite capable of 'defending' themselves. You would be best advised to leave well enough alone, continue your rounds, and not include this matter in your end-of-shift report. Tuvok out."