View From A Replicator

by Suz

I must apologise for my varying fanfic production of late. My problem is that I love to get feedback on my stories as they're being written, to see if the characterisation is right, if the story idea is good, if the whole thing is crap and I should delete it...

Unfortunately this means that when the muse isn't generous I leave you all hanging. I apologise, because no matter how much I bug other people to finish stories (Sarah, Rebecca, Rani, Sy, Anna, Mindy...ahem) I know how difficult it can be. At other times I can't stop writing, but then it just halts.

So...I manacled myself to the computer today and told myself "Susan!! You are not leaving until you get one of your many started stories finished!"

But the fates being what there are, this is what emerged...and does anyone know their real heights?

Disclaimer - characters are Paramounts.

I'd really appreciate some feedback.


They speak to me occasionally, perhaps thinking it rude not to acknowledge my presence in some way. It's never a long conversation, just a quick word as if they are permanently in a hurry. Most of the time, however, they ignore me.

I can't blame them really. I know I'm quite inconspicuous looking and they more than likely forget that I'm there. While this as times can leave me feeling lonely, it does have its advantages.


I often find myself wondering just what their relationship is. I knew who they were of course - names, ranks, histories...even the size of the uniforms they wear. But I didn't know their personalities yet. I could make an educated guess, but all I really had to go on at the moment were details stored in the computer core.

Were they just friends? Co-workers? Best friends, lovers, or something else? If I wanted I could find a way to access their personal logs and find out, or listen in to all their personal conversations...but wouldn't that spoil my fun? It was much more satisfying trying to deduce what their relationship was just by observing.

So I watched.

Captain Kathryn Marie Janeway of the USS Voyager, designated NCC 74656, red hair, blue/grey eyes, 5'2" tall, uniform size small...touched the hand of Commander Chakotay, First Officer of the USS Voyager, designated NCC 74656, brown hair, brown eyes, 6' tall, uniform size large.

This was not the first time she had touched him. She did it quite often which is part of the reason why I found it so difficult to discover what their relationship was. This time however, it seemed more like a caress. Her hand lingered over his far longer than the 1.2 seconds it normally stayed there for. It was there for another 15.6 seconds and I believe it would have stayed there longer had they not been interrupted.

I had connected myself to other ships systems earlier, so when the internal sensors detected a humanoid life form outside the entrance to the room, I also knew someone was there. Dutifully, the doors opened for the newcomer despite the fact that they didn't want Captain Janeway or Commander Chakotay interrupted either. As a result, the doors opened at only 47% of their normal speed, trying to make the newcomer realised that they should leave.

It did not deter him, although he seemed quite concerned about the efficiency of the doors. Sensors proceeded with further scans and relayed the information to me. Vulcan male...height and weight confirmed that it was Lieutenant Commander Tuvok.

Captain Janeway instantly removed her hand from Commander Chakotay's as she greeted Lieutenant Commander Tuvok. I considered contacting further systems in the ship and asking them to create a malfunction so that Lieutenant Commander Tuvok could be called away with an 'emergency', but then I realised I couldn't ask other systems to injure themselves even for this cause.

Perhaps there was something I could do to distract him. Something that wouldn't harm my fellow ship parts.

After completing his salutations to Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok moved in my direction. As he approached I thought of a plan.

He asked for something which the audio systems immediately recognised and relayed to me. I was not fully connected to that system at the time, so I was receving second hand information. To proceed with the plan I wanted to be fully integrated. Establishing connections in less than a nanosecond, I decided to override my automatic response at producing what he wanted. Instead, I prompted the audio system for some assistance and she agreed eagerly. Now fully connected, I could 'hear' what the audio system said.

"Unable to comply. Ration level is now at zero."

I wasn't done yet. Drawing on my supplies, I concocted a large mixture of two molecules hydrogen and one molecule oxygen, then replicated it with such force that the resulting liquid splashed all over Lieutenant Commander Tuvok.

Internal sensors detected a slight surge of heat over his left eye, indicating that he had raised his eyebrow. Audio systems recognised the sound of muffled laughter emanating from Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay.

I listened as he spoke, voice analysers informing me that he was slightly breathless and perhaps even embarrassed. "Strange," he said "I will ask Ensign Kim to run a diagnostic on the replicator system." Ensign Kim...I ran the name through the database and came up with a match. Ensign Harry Kim, assigned to Operations.

Lieutenant Commander Tuvok turned and quickly walked out of the room, not looking at the other two occupants. As he left I accessed the computer databanks under the subject heading of 'romance' and correlated the data. In 3.4 nanoseconds I had made additions and corrections to my plan and sent those additions to the other related systems.

He left the room, the doors closed at 150% their normal speed and locked with a yell of anticipated pleasure from both of them. The lights lowered to 10% illumination with a dirty laugh, and the audio system selected what was considered a romantic song and giggled as she played it at a volume that was just audible to the human ear.

I, meanwhile, had replicated what I knew to be Captain Janeway's favourite food - coffee ice cream.

She spoke. "Chakotay?"

He replied. "I think someone is trying to tell us something Kathryn..."

Kathryn. He was the only one I knew who would call her Kathryn.

"I know..." she responded, as the systems in the room listened in with barely contained anticipation. "I just...don't know..."

"But you *do* know how I feel."

The audio system squealed.

"Yes," she whispered, and I, content that things had been set in motion, disconnected from the audio system. Everyone was intrigued by my actions, but I had not listened in before and was not going to now. I recommended...ordered...that they disconnect themselves. Despite their objections and their mumbled annoyances, they did. Audio was the last to do so, and sent me a message about the last word she had heard spoken. She didn't say who had said it or why...but the word was: