War of Words”
Author: Briar Rose
Website: All my stories can be found here,
Rating: G, who'd have thought?
Synopsis: My reply to "The Q and The Gray" A little bit of fun, 'nuf said.
Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager, and it's characters are not mine, I'm just poking at them. All in the name of fun.
Thanks, Fof. You're my alpha/omega.
The heat hit him first, like a phaser-blast in the face, and he was glad he wasn't wearing his uniform. Something else was different, and Tom paused to look more closely around the 'resort.' There were more trees in the distance, swaying in a slight breeze, and the sun seemed larger in the sky, like it was closer to them than before.
If he strained, over the music, he could hear the sound of waves pounding against a rocky shore, and it reminded him of a beach he used to frequent back in San Francisco while he was at the academy.
He smiled and nodded his way to the bar, and greeted the barkeep cheerfully. "Hey Neelix, been tweaking the program, I see."
"Hmm? Oh no, not me. B'Elanna said she had a few improvements she wanted to make, so I gave her my permission. The resort is for the entire crew, so I rather like the idea that everyone has a hand in creating it." Neelix dried his hands on his elaborately embellished apron and smiled broadly at his customer. "What can I get you? No, wait, a Rekarri Starburst, right?"
"Right, thanks." Tom smiled back, then turned slightly and glanced around the holodeck. "B'Elanna did a good job. Subtle," he said.
"Hmm," Neelix agreed, placing the drink on the counter. "She's never overstated, is she?"
Tom's eyebrows dropped and he opened his mouth, but he decided to let the comment pass.
"And she claims not to know very much about holoprograming," Neelix shook his head, smiling again. "Harry is over there, if you're looking for him."
Tom turned and spied Harry sitting at their regular loungers. He crossed the sun-bleached tiles of the patio and slid into a chair, grinning at his friend who was getting a massage from a lovely dark-haired hologram in a shimmering blue and purple micro-mini swim suit.
"Hey, buddy," Tom called.
"Hi, Tom." Harry cracked open an eyelid, then let it fall shut again. "This is the life, huh?"
Tom took a sip of his drink and nodded. "You certainly look like you're enjoying yourself. It's a little warm though, don't you think?"
"Nope," Harry sighed contentedly. "I think it's perfect." He grinned at the 'lady' draped around his neck and she tittered at him.
What was her name again? Not that it really mattered since she was only a hologram. Of course, the doc wouldn't agree with that… or maybe he would since he hadn't chosen a name yet, himself…
A soft, breathy voice broke through Tom's musings, and he twisted his neck around to look into the face of another one of Harry's volleyball champions.
"Hi. Want a massage, too? Or something else?"
Tom grinned. It was the blond.
"Nah," he answered. Now, what was her name? He knew she had one, at least. Oh, yeah. "Aurora. I think I'll just drink my drink and chat with Harry if you don't mind. Thanks," he added belatedly.
Aurora. Tom wondered if Harry named them. He'd lay even money that the brunette was named Borealis.
Aurora shrugged a golden-toned shoulder and walked away, putting a little sway in her step that Tom was positive Harry was responsible for. "Suit yourself, Helmboy."
Tom froze. What did she say? Had he heard correctly? He shook his head, he couldn't have. "Um, so, Harry."
His friend cracked an eyelid and peered at him. "What?"
"I was just thinking about when Q showed up the other day."
"And? Another normal day in the Delta Quadrant, what's to think about?"
Tom could have sworn he heard someone snicker. He looked over his shoulder, but no one was paying any attention to them.
"And?" Harry prompted.
"And I, uh, I was thinking of putting together a Civil War program. You know, the Blue and the Gray, costumes, history, canons." Harry didn't appear impressed. "You'd get to carry a pistol," he added as incentive. "And a sword."
"Maybe," Harry said noncommittally.
A waiter appeared and plucked up Harry's empty glass and put it on his tray. "Can I get you a refill, Harry?" the hologram asked.
"Sure," Harry replied.
"What about you, Helmboy?"
Tom choked on his Starburst, coughing and spewing fruit juice down his vest. "What did you say?"
There was a rumble of laughter across the patio, and Tom looked at the amused faces of his crewmates. Harry was trying to keep a straight face, but a laugh forced its way out of him and soon he was guffawing loudest of them all.
"Careful, Buddy, don't hurt yourself." Tom sounded affronted. "It's not that funny," he muttered.
"I didn't…" Harry was laughing again, leaning sideways in his seat. "It wasn't me," he finally managed to choke out.
"Hi, Harry, Tom, mind if I join you?" B'Elanna appeared at Tom's elbow, looking cool and professional. She was still in her uniform and held a padd in one hand. "What's so amusing?" she asked, lowering herself onto a seat beside Harry.
"Nothing," Tom grumbled, glaring at Harry who was finally starting to recover.
"His face!" Harry gasped, turning to B'Elanna. "You should have seen his face!"
B'Elanna raised an eyebrow and shook her head slightly. "I'm sorry I missed it."
"Nevermind," Tom said. "Wanna drink, B'Elanna?"
"The waiter's bringing one over." She sat back and thumbed on her padd, scanning the screen.
Tom stared at her for a full minute while Harry pulled himself together. It wasn't that funny! The waiter reappeared and deposited two frosty glasses beside Harry and B'Elanna, then turned toward Tom.
"Are you sure you don't want another Starburst, Helmboy? It's no trouble."
Tom's face burned. "No, thank you," he muttered.
B'Elanna's laugh was sharp and clear, ringing loudly through the holodeck and almost drowning out the music. She brought a hand to her mouth to stifle it, but only laughed harder when she saw the expression on Tom's face. Dawning comprehension had transformed his features into a mask of surprised disbelief, and he watched his friends slide toward each other, hands extended as they tried to hold each other upright and laughed their guts out at his expense.
At his expense… B'Elanna's tweaking of the program… They did this to him! "You told her!" Tom accused, his jaw hitting the tufted canvas cushion on his chair.
"No!" Harry gulped, shaking his head in denial. "Not me!"
"He didn't have to, it's a small ship," B'Elanna snickered. "Helmboy," she added, setting off another round of laughter among the tables close to them.
"Yeah, well, laugh it up. Go ahead," Tom grumped. He sulked as they took their time composing themselves. "You know, I was really starting to warm up to that female Q," he said finally.
"Oh, come on!" B'Elanna said dryly, mopping at her eyes. "She wasn't exactly your type, Tom."
"Oh, I dunno." He slanted a glance at B'Elanna. "She was forceful, beautiful… she had great legs, I'm sure."
B'Elanna snorted. "And she was rude, and pushy, and she thought she was smarter than anyone else. On second thought, maybe she is your type."
"No, no, you're right. Not my type at all. She sure could pick a nickname, though," Tom conceded.
B'Elanna stood and reached for her padd. "If the show's over, I'd better get back to work."
"What's your hurry?" Tom asked innocently. "You just got here. Spunky."
B'Elanna's eyes slid to Harry, but he just looked confused. "Who told— Nevermind." B'Elanna snapped her mouth closed and turned on her heel. "Some of us have work to do," she sniffed. "I can't spend all day lounging around in the holodeck."
"Spunky?" Harry asked.
"It's a small ship, Harry," Tom directed
loudly over his shoulder. He picked up B'Elanna's drink and grinned,
relaxing against the lounger. He removed the pink parasol from the
glass and dropped it on the table at his elbow. "What goes
around, comes around. Eventually."
All stories by Briar Rose
All characters, concepts, photos, images, & terminology belong to Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended.