by E. L. Zimmerman
Her mind centered on containing her increasingly notorious Klingon temper, B'Elanna Torres used a trick Tom Paris had taught her. He called it ‘distraction therapy,’ an approach he clearly endorsed based on the amount of free time he spent ‘distracting’ himself through creating ever-more-elaborate holodeck pursuits. Simply put, distraction therapy challenged the sufferer to lessen his or her undesired feelings or emotions by masking it with an even stronger, more pleasant mental stimulus. So, in her mind’s eye, B’Elanna imagined the conduits, the pathways, the configurations, and the variables of the warp mainframe power inducers tracked from subprocessors A367 to A368. There were dozens of fragile connections between this, her favorite power junction. The mental picture could, if needed, keep her occupied for hours.
It was a simple trick, but, so far, it was working. She marched into the Lemm Sciences Complex. For the first time since arriving on Besaria, she was reporting to her workstation promptly. As anticipated, Seven of Nine met her at the main entrance.
"Lieutenant," her crewmate greeted her.
"Good morning, Seven."
"It is agreeable to see you this morning."
B'Elanna offered her a curt smile. "I’m just here to do my part for the team."
Curious, Seven tilted her head. "I fail to see the analogy."
"I'm not surprised."
Briskly, the two strode together through the complex, especially careful not to bump into the wayward Gallenian-Lemms. ‘They love to chit-chat about their passion for power induction,’ B’Elanna mused, watching as Lemms of all shapes, colors, and sizes busily rushed to their respective posts.
"Is it safe to assume, lieutenant," Seven began, "that your timely arrival this morning signifies your acceptance of the captain's transmitted request last evening?"
She filled her mind’s eye with the image of two power invertors coupling together with the customary magnetic ‘click.’ Peacefully smiling to herself, B'Elanna nodded. "I got the message loud and clear. You?"
"I concurred with the captain’s order," Seven agreed.
"Captain Janeway wants me to jump when these Borg overlords say 'jump,'" Voyager’s chief engineer said. "As far as I’m concerned, I'm no longer interested in asking ‘how high’ or ‘for how long.’ I’ve been ordered to jump by my captain, so I'll jump."
"Lieutenant," Seven tried, keeping perfect stride with the half-Klingon woman, "you’ll pardon my reluctance to accept your explanation at face value. Rather, it has been my observation aboard Voyager that, on occasion, you’ve been known to take issue with the captain's directives."
"However could you notice?" B’Elanna muttered.
She wasn’t fond of Seven. She hadn’t been, since she had come aboard Voyager under less-than-ideal circumstances, but she didn’t exactly dislike her shipmate, either. It was a relationship that ultimately boiled down to mutual respect, and that was it.
"Regardless of your opinion," Seven pressed, "you have always followed the captain's orders."
"Would I be correct in assuming that you’ll adhere to this missive, as well?"
The half-human, half-Vulcan smiled. "Seven!" she cried. "Relax! The day's only just begun!"
Casually brushing their way past through the scurrying Lemm, B'Elanna saw that they were en route to colliding with her Borg supervisor, Krynn. At her hands, over the past few days, he had suffered several beatings.
While the captain didn’t mention her by name in last evening’s communiqué, she felt quite certain that her efforts were the cause for the message. Perhaps it was her Klingon pride.
Gradually, B’Elanna sensed the distraction therapy was failing. She felt herself slipping back into the unpredictable emotional abyss that was her explosive Klingon nature. Though flawed, it occasionally brought her great joy … while bring others tremendous bruising.
Smirking devilishly, she thought, ‘Who knows what the day will bring?’
Stopping directly in front of Krynn, she flashed him a wide grin.
She wasn't certain, but she thought she detected a glint of fear in the Borg’s visible, human eye.
"Top o’ the morning to you, Krynn," she cooed.