By Jemima Pereira (
© November 2000
Codes: P/T, J/C
Rating: PG
Series: Star Trek: Voyager

Whatever happened to that pairing-up thing? Based on bits of "Drive", "Repression" and "Someone to Watch Over Me", but no major spoilage.

Lyrics to 'The Windmills of Your Mind' are by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Lyrics to 'Something Good' are by Oscar Hammerstein II. Original lyrics to 'Jet Song' are by Stephen Sondheim. Filked lyrics to 'Jet Song' are protected as parody by the copyright laws of the United States of America.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Jade for encouraging my sickness, checking my facts, and playing thesaurus.

They had been back from their honeymoon for a couple of weeks when Tom noticed something odd.

"B'E," he said over breakfast in the messhall, "they're staring at us."

His new wife glanced around the room, driving off several pairs of eyes with her fierce Klingon gaze.

"Yeah," she shrugged.

"But why?" he asked.

"It's the taboo."

"What taboo?"

Torres was taken aback by the question. Violating the taboo had been one of her main motives in getting and staying involved with Tom. She had always assumed that he felt the same way - that he was too much of a rebel to be bound by Voyager's unwritten rule. Now it seemed that he had just been too clueless to notice it in the first place.

Would she have to spend the rest of her life spelling out the obvious? She sighed and began to explain about the taboo. "Do you remember when we were first stranded out here, how we thought everyone would pair up, get married and have babies?"

Her adorably clueless husband nodded.

"But then it never quite happened," she continued. "Where are the babies? When were the weddings? Sure, a few people paired up at the start and are still together, but they've never asked Janeway to marry them. They keep a very low profile, because relationships are taboo."

"I never thought of it that way."

"We all know thinking isn't your strong suit," she chided him with a grin. "And for the past few years, who has even paired off, besides us two?"

"Seven propositioned Harry a few times," Tom suggested.

"Seven and the Equinox crew weren't affected at first, but now even she knows better than to ask anyone out on a date." B'Elanna grinned evilly - however friendly she'd become with the Borg recently, she had no regrets over last year's little plot to nip her dating career in the bud.

If the half-Klingon had been the introspective type, she might have blamed that incident on the taboo as well. Perhaps she had overreacted to their starring role in Seven's research project on human mating behavior because, on some level, she felt guilty about violating the taboo. Perhaps such subconscious guilt had also inspired Tom's unusually malevolent plot to get back at the Borg voyeur.

Tom still felt a twinge of guilt for having destroyed the Doctor's chances of romantic assimilation, so he changed the subject. "When did it start?"

"One guess, flyboy."

"Give me a hint - was it after us, or before?"

"Before us. We broke the taboo."

Tom's brows knit in concentration. B'Elanna munched on a blue fruit Neelix had picked up on the last uninhabited M-class planet. He was asking everyone in the mess line to suggest a name for it.

"It must have been when we retrieved the Captain and Commander from that planet," Tom concluded. "Everyone assumed they would--"

"--pair up, get married, have babies," B'Elanna finished his sentence mockingly. "Instead, they came back surly and made everybody tense. Suddenly, group activities were all the rage - holodeck volleyball, talent contests, poker games. No one was willing to be too obviously happy while Janeway and Chakotay were unhappy. After a while, the respectful silence got out of control and turned into a taboo no one dared break."

"Except you."

"Oh, they had me going for a while there, too, but then my Klingon side asserted itself. Why should I be lonely just because a few humans want to make themselves miserable for seventy years?"

"We should do something about it," Tom said decisively.

"Don't let it bother you. They'll stop staring eventually."

"That's not what I meant." A wicked gleam lit her husband's eye. "I have an idea..."

"I don't think 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes' really addresses the problem, Tom," B'Elanna complained from the front row of the theater.

"Sorry - wrong reel. Hold on a minute..." Tom had gone all-out with his movie theater holoprogram. Back there in the control room, he had real film projectors programmed to overheat and melt the holographic film at random intervals.

"We'll start with the classics," Tom announced, as the screen flickered and filled with black-and-white, two-dimensional images.

"Casablanca?" B'Elanna said incredulously. She'd seen that tearjerker several times on their replicated TV set. It appealed to her inner Klingon, but... "It's hardly the mood we're trying to convey."

"First, we have to hook them. We'll reel them in later." As he threaded the other projector, he muttered, "'Of all the starships in all the worlds...' Ok, here's one for Harry."

"'Dead Again'," Torres read off the screen. "I've never heard of it."

She munched quietly on the taboo fruit she'd brought from the messhall. Neelix, the unsuspecting non-native Standard speaker, had liked Tom's suggested name best. B'Elanna was lost in thought when she heard a familiar voice saying, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

"Someone forgot to rewind this one," Tom apologized.

"At least it's in color. What is it?"

"'Gone with the Wind'."

"It sounds depressing. How about 'An Affair to Remember'?" she asked, somewhat ashamed at how much she'd learned from Tom over the years.

"I've got it right here, next to 'West Side Story'."

"Isn't that a little obvious?"

"How so?"

She hummed a few bars: "When you're Maquis, you're Maquis all the way / From your first covert op to your last dying day."

"They're supposed to be relevant, B'E. That's part of the plan."

"Fine. Just don't show 'Titanic' - that one gives me the willies."

Neelix volunteered to run the popcorn stand. B'Elanna asked Chakotay to give them the holodeck on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the last two hours of beta shift and the first two of gamma shift - they wanted to have back-to-back showings so everyone could attend. Considering the stress they'd been under lately, the Commander was grateful for any distraction that might improve morale.

Once everything was arranged and everyone had promised to attend, Tom added his little proviso: for true mid-20th-century authenticity, all single adults would be expected to bring a date. Anyone showing up without a date would be assigned a holographic one at the door.

With one brilliant, manipulative stroke, Tom had made it impossible for anyone to come without a date, or to stay home. Since Fair Haven, the whole topic of dating holograms had become a taboo of its own. No one was willing to mock the Captain by dating one, or insult her by appearing reluctant to be seen with one. Suddenly, intra-crew dating was not only permissible but necessary.

Chakotay received an unusual number of requests for shift changes. A few of the requests came through Tom or B'Elanna; he granted those as well. It went without saying that he would accompany the Captain - after all, they were friends, and she couldn't very well date a member of her crew, could she?

It was Saturday, beta shift, and Chakotay was pulling a double shift. Lieutenant Chapman was at the movies with Dorado. She was on gamma shift, and Chapman had just gotten up the nerve to ask her yesterday. Chakotay had said he could rearrange the duty roster, but that was becoming far too complicated. Instead, he just covered the shift himself.

The Commander stared blankly at a PADD, his mind far away. The film series had been going so well, until this week. Now he wasn't sure he'd see the inside of Tom's cinema holoprogram, not to mention the Captain's quarters, again. He hummed a few lines of the haunting theme song from Wednesday's movie: "When you knew that it was over you were suddenly aware / That the autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair."

Wednesday night had begun so auspiciously, with dinner together in her quarters. Kathryn had laughed at his complaints about the shift rosters, and told him that crew quarters would be his next headache - Ken Dalby and Jenny Delaney had come to her ready room today and asked her to marry them. She'd said she thought it had something to do with the recent showing of 'The Shop Around the Corner', but she wasn't sure. Feeling like proud parents, they'd celebrated with a little too much replicated wine and had barely made the first showing of 'The Thomas Crown Affair'.

Tom gave his usual jargon-filled introduction before the film - Chakotay still didn't quite understand cinematic expressions like 'eye candy', 'sleeper', 'French New Wave', 'Oscar', and 'best score'. The Captain rolled her eyes at Tom's passionate defense of this original 1968 version against all the 'shoddy remakes' of the following century. Even Chakotay's interest was piqued when Tom promised 'the longest kiss in Hollywood cinematic history'.

But when the lights came up, he was angry and she was white as a sheet. "I'm going to have a word with the proprietor," he'd said, as the rest of the audience quietly filed out of the theater.

"What was that about?" a soft, dangerous voice echoed in the semidarkness of the control booth.

B'Elanna, equally surprised by the movie, had been glaring at Tom since the chess scene, and he was feeling cornered. He answered Chakotay defensively, "'The Thomas Crown Affair', USA 1968, starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, produced and directed by Norman Jewison, original score by Michel Legrand--"

"Allow me," Chakotay interrupted. "A woman hunts for a criminal, finds him, and then does the most dangerous thing imaginable - falls in love with him. While she's deciding whether to turn him in to the authorities, he manipulates her and betrays her."

Outside the control room, crew members were trickling in for the next showing. Inside, a deadly silence hung in the air.

"What are you up to, Tom?"

Tom was silent, but B'Elanna answered, "We were trying to dispel the taboo."

"What taboo?"

Movieboy, reassured that his wife was willing to go down with his rapidly sinking ship, responded, "When B'E and I got married, nobody else on Voyager was even dating. Love was a taboo subject. We thought the film series might...clear the air."

Chakotay had nothing to say to that; he turned around and left the room. Outside, he found Kathryn gone, as he'd expected, but he was surprised to see Tuvok seated in the back row.

"Did the Captain send you to keep me from killing Tom?"

"No, Commander; she recommended the movie highly. Crime is within my purview." Tuvok raised an eyebrow. "What has Lieutenant Paris done this time?"

"I believe the 20th-century term for it is 'the perfect crime'. Enjoy the show."

She hadn't said two words together to him since 'The Thomas Crown Affair'. Now it was Saturday night, and he was standing in front of her ready room door. She'd been in there since alpha shift.

"Come," she said.

He forced himself to be as cheerful and confident as he had been a week before. "The gamma shift bridge crew is here. They're raving about 'The Sound of Music'."

"Catchy title," the Captain said noncommittally.

Two words! He was making progress. "They say it's the feel-good movie of the month. Show time is in five minutes."

"I have reports to write," she excused herself halfheartedly.

"You wouldn't make me go with a holographic date, would you?"


He played his last card. "It's a musical..." She loved musicals, though she wouldn't admit it.

She sighed. "You're buying the popcorn this time."

"Yes, ma'am."

The next morning the Captain and Commander were talking shop on the way to breakfast. They failed to notice the unusual level of noise coming from the messhall until they walked in and found Harry Kim and Seven of Nine leading the room in a spirited rendition of 'The Sound of Music'.

Chakotay didn't miss a beat; he strode into the center of the crowd and took up the song in a strong baritone Janeway had neither heard nor dreamt of in the seven years she'd known him. The startled crew stopped singing and stared for a moment. Tom was the first to join back in, and soon the room was ringing again.

Janeway grabbed a bowl of taboo fruit from Neelix, who wasn't singing but was grinning like a Cheshire cat. She spotted B'Elanna at a corner table, sporting a similar expression, and joined her.

"This movie idea of Tom's has really improved morale," the senior officer commented.

"An unintended benefit," B'Elanna said mysteriously.

"I know I'm going to regret asking this, but what was his real purpose?"

"I told him about the taboo."

Janeway looked down at her breakfast.

"No, not the fruit."

"I'd hoped once he married you he'd give up on these little schemes."

"So you knew about the taboo?"

"I'm the Captain. I know everything."

The strains of 'Edelweiss' now filled the messhall. Janeway didn't have to look up to know Chakotay's eyes were on her.

B'Elanna asked reproachfully, "Why didn't you do something about it?"

"What was I supposed to do - order the crew to pair off?"

"The Captain should set an example," B'Elanna replied icily.

Janeway glared at her; she glared back. The air between them crackled, but Torres would not back down or retract her challenge. The Captain stood up, gave B'Elanna a glare for the road, and walked away from the table, quickly transferring her glare to Tom Paris, whose voice cracked suddenly under the unexpected assault. The singing died out and the recycled atmosphere grew heavy with the meteorological impossibility of approaching thunder.

Janeway halted in Chakotay's personal space, still glaring at the shrivelled remains of Tom Paris, co-conspirator, now slinking off to B'Elanna's corner table. Her expression changed completely as she turned towards her first officer.

"I didn't know you could sing," she said in her huskiest voice, and before his stunned brain could process those words, she was kissing him.

When she was sure she'd outdone the longest kiss of cinematic history, she released him and asked, "Are we still on for Wednesday?" He nodded. She continued on her way out of the messhall.

Tom was whimpering in the corner and B'Elanna was reassuring him the Captain was gone. The rest of the crew stood around in shock. Chakotay began singing softly,

"Nothing comes from nothing,
Nothing ever could;
So somewhere in my youth or childhood,
I must have done something good..."