A Restraining Situation
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - Paramount own 'em.

For Manny, who gave me the idea.


Tom Paris burst into the alien bar, desperate to find Harry and B'Elanna. On this particular occasion he needed them not as best friend or lover, but entirely for their engineering skills.

Of course, a little humanity and pleasantness wouldn't go amiss, but after his last argument with B'Elanna he'd be lucky if certain parts of his anatomy didn't go missing.

He found them, eventually, in the darkest corner of the bar in the middle of what looked like a very energetic conversation. Or, more accurately, B'Elanna was - arms flailing dramatically, bystanders having to move away to avoid getting hit. Harry wore a long-suffering expression of his face, no doubt bored out of his mind after having heard and reheard what a pig Tom Paris was, and how she never wanted to see him again, let alone have sex with him against the shuttlecraft console after too much alcohol and very little persuasion.

When Harry glanced up and saw his friend approaching, an expression that could only be described as absolute joy covered his face. Jumping up from his seat, he nearly threw himself at his friend.

"Tom! Great to see you. I thought you'd never get here!" Which, when translated properly, actually came somewhere between "You're in it big time," and "Get me the Hell out of here."

Tom was planning on doing the latter, but entirely for his own reasons.

"Harry," He greeted warmly, clapping his friend on the shoulder before sitting down. Glancing at B'Elanna he frowned, discovering that she was still the only person he knew who could somehow ignore him and glare at him at the same time. "B'Elanna."

Nothing, of course. Her fingernails suddenly became fascinating.

Sighing, he began. "Guys, I need your help."

"Absolutely," Harry agreed immediately.

"You don't even know what I need yet."

"Doesn't matter. Whatever it is, I'll do it."

"Thanks," Paris responded, trying not to grin at his obviousness.

Turning his attention back to his lover, any thought of grinning vanished. "B'Elanna?"

Still nothing.

"Look, I know you're angry. And you're right. I'm pond scum. I'm lower than pond scum. I'm...whatever pond scum feeds on. The Captain is going to *kill* me." When she didn't look particularly displeased by that prospect, he tried again. "Please, B'Elanna. This is an absolute dire emergency. The entire chance of us getting home is at risk here. You're the best engineer I know and I need you."

That caught her attention. "Okay," She sighed, still avoiding looking at him.

"I'll let you whip me at hoverball later," He encouraged.

"I always whip you anyway."

"Hey," Kim joked "I didn't need to know *that* much."

"Shut up Harry."


"So what's this dire emergency?" Kim asked after they'd managed to force their way out of the crowded bar.

"You'll see in a minute," Tom responded, glancing at Harry who was to his right as he led both him and B'Elanna to their destination. "But I may as well give you the story on the way." He continued, then sighed.

"As you know, when we arrived at Duvan IV, Voyager was badly in need of repairs and we needed to land. The Duvan ruling body was all too pleased to help us, giving us free reign to land at almost anywhere in their vast landing areas on the planets surface. The only restrictions were a few little details that I...umm..."

"Didn't pay attention to?" Harry guessed correctly.

"Look I didn't do it on purpose! The Captain trusted me. She said "Alright Mr Paris, here's the data. I'll let *you* decide where we land." She trusted me, and I screwed up!"

"So what's the problem with where you landed?"

Tom gulped, then led them around a corner so they were in view of the landing area. Voyager was the first ship in sight.

B'Elanna's eyes widened and her feet stopped moving. "Kahless...Tom, what have you done?"

"I didn't do it on purpose!" He cried again, rubbing a hand over his face. "Turns out this section is for cargo ships only, and as we're not exclusively a cargo ship..."

Harry frowned, still a little shocked. "So they fit a restraining device around the port nacelle?"

Tom sniffed. "They clamped us, Harry."

The full realisation of the situation seemed to hit the younger man then. "Shit!" Then, "She's going to *kill* you!"

"I *know* that! I *said* that!" He turned to them, grabbing their forearms. "That's why I need you guys. You have to...get that contraption off before the Captain gets back."

"Where is she now?"

The pilot grinned slightly, the only sign of happiness he possessed. "Chakotay managed to convince her to take some shore leave - don't ask me how. All I know is that she isn't on board. And neither is Tuvok, thank God. Ayala's on bridge duty right now and has promised to help us keep it a secret, but we're running out of time."

B'Elanna shrugged. "I'm not an expert on this kind of thing...but don't you just usually pay a fine and they remove the clamp?"

He cringed. "No, we're not paying this fine."

"Why? What is it?"

He hesitated before blurting it out. "Neelix."


"They want Neelix," Tom repeated. "Seems they're running out of people who are actually interested in cooking. Neelix would be a vital addition to their world."

"Oh that's just ridiculous," B'Elanna scoffed, then thought over it for a few moments. "Well, why don't we hand him over?"

"B'Elanna!" Harry yelled, surprised.

"I don't mean it seriously," She countered. "I just mean until they remove the clamp. Then, after we've taken off, we can stage a rescue mission."

"And what if it goes wrong?" Tom asked. "What if we can't rescue him?"

"That's the chance we always take."

Shaking his head, Tom almost laughed. "I don't think you realise how serious that situation would be, B'Elanna. If we failed...not only would we be loosing our cook, Ambassador and morale officer...but we'd be loosing the one person who knows where the Captains coffee supply is hidden."

Her expression of faint humour rapidly transformed into one of absolute horror. "Shit! Let's get going!"

They all turned and legged it to the ship.


"I must say, Captain, you have a most well developed sense of humour."

Kathryn Janeway smiled warmly at the Duvan leader. "Thank you, Prime Minister. Although it's no more well developed than you own."

"Oh," He scoffed gently, not really meaning it. "If you say so Captain. But there's nothing we Duvan regard more highly than a sense of humour."

"That must be, indeed, why we've worked so well together," She agreed, before turning her gaze to look out the window once more, where she could see three of her senior officers climbing onto the warp nacelle of the Intrepid Starship Voyager. "I have to say...this is a marvellous vantage point. Thank you for your help with this, Prime Minister. It has given me a most needed uplift."

"Only the best for our guests," He replied, before excusing himself from the room.

As he left, Chakotay approached. "You are evil," He whispered in her ear as he stood next to her.

Her gaze still firmly locked outside, she almost gasped in delight as Harry nearly fell off the nacelle, only to be grabbed by B'Elanna at the last second. "You wouldn't serve under me if I wasn't."

She could hear the smirk in his voice. "Probably not. So...are you ever going to tell them?"

Finally moving her head away, she smiled at him. "What? And spoil all my fun?"


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