Disclaimer: Paramount may keep Chucky!
All was somewhat back to normal after our Transwarp experiments. Everything seemed to be fine. No problems amongst the crew, no bickering, no fighting. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Then I was called into Kathryn's ready room.
Crewman Darwin had been murdered. I sat across from Kathryn as Tuvok began his theorizing.
"At first glance, there is no obvious motive. Crewman Darwin didn't have any known enemies on board." Kathryn looked over a PADD as Tuvok finished his statement.
"I've been looking over his Star Fleet record. His training instructor recommended him as an officers candidate. He turned it down to come with us. He has three sisters back home." B'Elanna came in, apologizing for being late. According to B'Elanna, Lon Suder, a former member of my crew, was the only one on duty in engineering when Darwin came on duty.
"Something wrong?" Kathryn asked.
"No, not really." I said, dropping back to reality. "I've just never been comfortable with Suder, that's all. It's not like he ever did anything wrong, it's just. . ." B'Elanna finished for me.
". . .as a Maquis, he did what he had to do, a little too well."
"As in?" Kathryn wanted the facts.
"As in killing Cardassians." I supplied.
"I don't recall observing anything unusual about Mr. Suder's behavior while I was on your ship." Tuvok observed.
"You weren't with him in battle," I said, rising from my chair. This conversations was getting a little uncomfortable around the collar. "Around us, he was the quietest, most unassuming guy you'll ever meet. Typical Betazoid. Kept to himself. I never knew much about him."
"In the Maquis, we didn't ask for resumes. We needed all the help we could get." Kathryn nodded her head in understanding at B'Elanna's words.
"A lot of us were doing what we were doing to protect our families. But Suder had his own reasons. I wish I could tell you what they were. In combat, there was something in his eyes."
Maybe he had something personal against Cardassians." Kathryn offered. Cardassians weren't even held in esteem by the Federation.
"Sometimes I had to pull him back, stop him from going too far. And once or twice when I did, he looked at me with those cold eyes and I just knew, he was this far from killing me."
"I find it curious that none of this was included in your initial crew evaluation, Commander."
"I don't put down hunches or bad feeling in my crew evaluations, Lieutenant. A Vulcan should appreciate that."
"Considering the fact that your Maquis crew included malcontent, outlaws, and mercenaries, I believe it would have been appropriate." Tuvok stated.
"I wasn't going to make it harder for any of them here. Suder did his job when he was serving with me and he's done his job since he's been on this ship."
"It seems clear where your investigation should begin, Lieutenant." Kathryn said. First Seska, now Suder. Why is it always members of my former crew. Kathryn dismissed us.
The doctors DNA analysis clearly pointed the finger at Suder. We had verified that he was the killer of Darwin. Now what? My feeling about him had been right on the money. He liked killing just a little too much.
While Tuvok was conducting his investigations as to why Suder murdered Darwin, I found another incident to investigate. It seems that Tom Paris was running, of all things, a betting pool. For replicator rations. Perhaps he thought no one would catch on. Wrong. I found out he was in the Sandrine's simulation.
"Computer? Computer?" I had taken the liberty of fixing that area of his betting pool.
"There won't be anymore winners." I said, strolling into Sandrine's. Sounds of disappointment came from the crew members assembled there. There was no way Paris was weaseling out of this.
"Come on, Chakotay. We're just having a little fun. The recreational facilities in the Delta Quadrant being what they are." I wanted nothing more then to wipe that smile from his face.
"I've heard you're responsible for this, Lieutenant."
"I didn't think Star Fleet would have a problem with it." He said. He, of all people, should know what Star Fleet thinks.
"With a senior officer running a gambling operation and skimming profits from each days proceeds, now why would Star Fleet have a problem with that?" I said. "Since you all seem to have extra replicator rations, you won't be needing these." I took Paris' entry PADD.
Just when I thought he was shaping up. "Today's pot is hereby confiscated." Oh, the crew loved that. I was on their shit list. I turned back to Paris before leaving.
"The Captain's put a lot of faith in you, Mr. Paris. She'll be disappointed." I knew Kathryn would be, considering Paris was her pet project. "You're on report." I turned to leave. As I reached the door, his voice rang out behind me.
"Now, there's a tough job. Filling out reports. But somebodies gotta do it." I looked back for a moment, then left. Not trusting myself to leave him in one piece.
Was Kathryn ever in for a let down.
Kathryn had her own worries. Tuvok mind melded with Suder, a Betazoid. Incompatible. He utterly destroyed his quarters. He was undergoing therapy in sickbay. Who'd want to put themselves through that? Sharing thoughts? I hope I'll never be on the receiving end of one of those.
A while later on the bridge, I got a hail from an unlikely source
"Crewman Suder to the bridge."
"Suder, what are you doing with a comm badge?" I knew it had been removed.
"You better get down here, Chakotay. Lieutenant Tuvok needs help." Help? I hoped it was exactly that. Not another body bag.
In the end, we decided to confine Suder to his quarters for the rest of the trip. Tuvok was recovering in sickbay. Kathryn told me that she had told him no more mind melds without her permission. Stubborn Vulcan. Hope he listens.