“Ah, Mr. Vulcan!” Neelix exclaimed happily, as Tuvok walked into the messhall. The squat Talaxian hurried over to greet the Starfleet officer who rarely visited him. “What can I get for you? Something to drink perhaps? No, I know! You came for a sample of my latest Leola Root Stew! I’ll get some for you right away,” he said cheerfully, without waiting for an answer.
“Mr. Neelix,” Tuvok said in a voice that would have dimmed the joyfulness of nearly any crewmember except for the happy-go-lucky chef. “I am not here for food. I prefer to eat in my quarters.”
“And that’s a nasty habit that is,” Neelix scolded him, not noticing the hint. “You should mingle with the crew more! Let some of the younger officers get to know their chief of security!” He gave Tuvok a slap on the back. “Now, look at Ensign Jenkins sitting over there. I’d say she looks rather lonely, wouldn’t you?”
“I am not here to socialize, Mr. Neelix. I am here to perform the weekly security check,” the Vulcan stated, stepping around the Talaxian and into the kitchen.
Neelix frowned. “Isn’t that nice Crewman Chell supposed to check security in the mess hall?”
“The ‘nice Crewman’ is in sickbay,” Tuvok answered him, his sensitive nose picking up a putrid smell coming from one of the bubbling pots. His Vulcan mask did not slip as he contemplated whether or not to cut his inspection short.
“That’s terrible!” The pesky Talaxian said, shaking his head. “I’ll have to bring him. . . oh, what’s it called. . . lichen soup?”
“I believe the word you are looking for is ‘chicken.’” Tuvok straightened from his scanning. “If you will excuse me, Mr. Neelix, I must finish my security rounds.”
“Of course, of course,” Neelix replied, wringing his hands. “But you absolutely must taste my soufflé!”
“Perhaps another time.” The Vulcan turned and quickly left the messhall, with Neelix’s protests ringing in his ears.
Lieutenant Commander Tuvok walked neither quickly nor slowly through the maze of corridors that existed within the ship called Voyager. For seven years now, Tuvok had been the chief of security, ever since the dreadful incident that had stranded Voyager in the Delta Quadrant, thousands of light-years from home. And every week since then, Tuvok had overseen all the security officers under his command in a check of all systems.
Turning into the Transporter room, Tuvok nodded to the nervous-looking Ensign on duty as she stood to attention.
“At ease, Ensign,” he said firmly, allowing her to continue her duties. Tuvok moved over to the console next to her and started typing, checking into the security. “Curious.”
Ensign Lang jumped. “What?”
The Chief of Security looked her sternly in the eye. “There is a discrepancy in the transporter logs.”
“Tha- That’s impossible,”
she stuttered, moving to check herself. “Everything was fine last
night, and I haven’t been off duty since then. . .” Lang looked up at Tuvok.
“How is this possible? It looks like
someone’s deleted the site to site transporter logs for late last night and early this morning.”
Tuvok raised his eyebrows. “I will discuss this matter with the Captain, then, perhaps I will need to investigate this matter further. Ensign,” he nodded to Lang, making a note in his PADD as he left.
Kathryn Janeway gave a sigh of disgust. Naturally, she wouldn’t have noticed that she had forgotten her PADD for the crew evaluations until after she was tucked away in her ready room. She dropped a report from B’Elanna back on her desk and left her office, startling Tom.
“Captain? Out of coffee already?” he drawled.
She gave him small smile. “Not yet. I just forgot your crew evaluation, and I didn’t want to have to write out all my complaints about you for a second time.”
Tom gaped at her response as Harry laughed. “She got you there Tom,” the younger Ensign teased his friend, noticing that the Captain had seemed to be in a really good mood for the past few days.
Seeing that Commander Chakotay wasn’t quite out and about yet, Janeway said, “Tuvok, you have the bridge.”
“Actually, Captain, I thought perhaps I would accompany you.” Janeway gave her Vulcan friend a thoughtful look at his response.
“Very well, Harry, you may the bridge,” she amended, deliberately skipping over Tom as she threw a grin over her shoulder.
“Thank you Captain,” Harry said as the turbolift doors slid shut. Janeway immediately turned to Tuvok.
“Captain, I have some disturbing news. During my security check, I discovered that someone has erased the site to site transporter logs,” Tuvok said as the turbolift halted and let them out.
Janeway kept a calm face as they walked. “Erased?”
Nodding to herself thoughtfully, the Captain remained silent for a moment. “Have you noticed any other problems, items disappearing, anything?”
Tuvok shook his head regretfully. “If there are any, I am unaware of them.”
“All right,” Janeway came to a decision. “Keep an eye out on it, but right now I want you to stay on top of the phaser malfunction. It takes priority.” They reached her quarters and the Captain input a code and the doors opened.
“Understood.” Tuvok stopped and watched a transporter beam fade from the room. He looked at the Captain and saw amazement clearly written on her face, and perhaps something else. . . the look disappeared as Janeway stepped in her quarters and looked around.
“Well, nothing seems to be disturbed,” she commented, picking up the PADD from her coffee table.
“I will check the transporter logs-” Tuvok started, but Janeway laid a hand on his arm, stopping him.
“Don’t bother. The intruder has most likely already deleted them.”
“We have no reason to believe that these two incidents are connected,” Tuvok pointed out.
“All right.” Janeway didn’t look satisfied. “But I want you to make it fast. We’re in a part of space where we could be attacked at any time. I’ll feel better once I know those phasers are at full efficiency.”
Tuvok nodded and started off for the transporter room in an attempt to solve this latest puzzle as Captain Janeway stood watching him for a moment before turning in the opposite direction towards the bridge.
He was as frustrated as was possible for a Vulcan as he walked back to his own quarters that night. Tuvok had allowed himself three hours to track down the transporter culprit before starting in on the phasers and had made relatively no headway in either problems.
Pressing the call on the turbolift he waited for the doors to open as usual. They didn’t. Without a change of expression Tuvok queried, “Computer, is this turbolift in working condition?”
The cool voice of the computer answered him: “Affirmative.”
Raising an eyebrow he asked, “Is it occupied?”
“How many life signs?” Tuvok put his hands behind his back.
Most logically a couple using the turbolift for their own private mating ground. Tuvok would have to place a mark in their records. “Who are they?”
“Unable to verify. Identification shielded.”
Tuvok pondered the best way to proceed. “Computer, bring the turbolift down to this level. Security clearance Tuvok pi alpha.”
“Unable to comply.”
His eyebrows twitched at this unexpected twist. Making an about-face, Tuvok climbed into the closest Jeffries tube and moved into the turbolift shaft. He began to climb quickly, spotting the turbolift a few levels above him.
Whispered voices echoed down the shaft, perceptible, but unable to be understood. A low chuckle reached Tuvok’s finely tuned ears as he moved closer. He moved carefully but quickly, his boots making a slight thud as they hit each metal bar of the ladder.
As he moved under the lift, he began to distinguish words, and decided that the occupants of the lift were both a male and a female.
“He almost caught me today,” the male voice commented.
“Don’t I know it.” the woman laughed softly. “We’ll just have to be more careful.”
“That Vulcan is clever. We’ll-” he paused suddenly. “What was that?”
Tuvok froze in his position, barely breathing.
“What? Did you hear something?” the woman questioned him quickly.
“I thought I did,” the man said, then was silent. They were both obviously straining to hear any hint of activity.
Tuvok was quiet as well, contemplating what he had heard so far. The couple in the turbolift was almost surely none other than the ones responsible for deleting the transporter logs.
The two resumed talking, softer than before. Tuvok slowly slid his feet upward, closer and closer to the hatch. There would be no chance of the it opening quietly. He moved into position and prepared to open the hatch as quickly as possible, without bothering to keep the stillness.
Timing it carefully, Tuvok
suddenly wrenched the hatch up, hearing the startled gasps from the occupants
as the man shouted, “Computer, sequence Omega five!” As Tuvok poked
his head through the bottom of the turbolift, all he saw were two beings
of blue light shimmering out of
existence, leaving Tuvok alone in the lift.
Kathryn hummed softly to herself, lighting at her small dinner table before pronouncing it, “Perfect.” After their scare in the turbolift yesterday evening, Kathryn had decided that a quiet meal would take both their minds off of Tuvok and his investigation. Hopefully, the stubborn Vulcan would realize that it was pointless to continue and give up the case.
Waving out the match, she gave a last look in the mirror before addressing the computer. “Where is Commander Chakotay?”
“Commander Chakotay is in the Captain’s ready room.”
Voyager’s Captain gave a mischievous smile. “Is anyone else in the room?”
“Negative.” the computer replied.
“Computer, beam Commander Chakotay to my quarters, then delete the transporter record.” Kathryn turned and positioned herself next to the table for Chakotay’s arrival.
“Acknowledged.” The computer obliged, sending a transporter beam flickering into the room.
As the blue light that had softly bathed the room in color faded away, Tuvok raised an eyebrow at the Captain, her face the perfect image of shock.
“Tuvok?” she stuttered, looking everywhere but at the Vulcan, who stepped forward and gestured to the Starfleet insignia on his chest.
“It seems that the Commander
and I have switched comm. badges, Captain,” Tuvok said without preamble.
Janeway only stared. “If you will excuse me, I shall return his badge
to him.” The long pause continued. Taking her silence for an
answer, Tuvok nodded his head once, then turned
and left the quarters.
The doors opened only a few seconds later as Kathryn’s tall, dark and handsome first officer stepped through the threshold, shaking his head. He looked at her oddly.
“Did you know that Tuvok had my comm. badge?”
Kathryn finally broke through her speechlessness. “Yes,” she said unsteadily. “I just beamed him into my quarters.”
Chakotay’s eyes widened noticeably. “You what?”
“I beamed him into my quarters,” she said again, disbelieving it herself. “He was wearing your comm badge, and when I told the computer to beam you in. . . he appeared.”
Chakotay’s expression matched hers for a moment, before widening into a rueful grin. “That Vulcan can be too smart for his own good sometimes.”
“But what will we do?” she asked as he moved over to her.
“Right now,” Chakotay replied with a charming smile and a quick kiss, “I suggest we eat. This is Tuvok we’re talking about, and he’s very discreet.”
“I suppose,” Kathryn still looked doubtful, but lightened up as Chakotay took her into his arms for a passionate kiss.
Tuvok leaned back into the
couch in the privacy of his own quarters and sipped his Vulcan tea, contemplating.
After recognizing the voices in the turbolift, he had immediately taken
action to confirm his suspicions. And, sure enough, he had been correct.
Now the only question was
what to do with the information.
“Computer, begin recording,”
he said finally, as the computer beeped in acknowledgement. “Chief
of Security’s Log, Stardate 54069.2. I have discovered and corrected
the phaser malfunction. It was a simple gel pack malfunction, and
Lieutenant Torres has been notified and asked to check the remaining gel
packs on that deck. As for the transporter logs. . . “ Tuvok set
down his cup and stood up, walking the length of the room. “I have
found that I was mistaken in believing the transporters
were being used without authorization. I will no longer be investigating the matter. End log.” he said abruptly, but with finality.
Tuvok stood at his window,
gazing out at the stars flashing by and very illogically, wished his Captain
and Commander the best.
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