Five Favorite Episodes of “STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE” Season Two (1993-1994)

Below is a list of my five favorite episodes from Season Two of “STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE”. Created by Rick Berman and Michael Piller; the series starred Avery Brooks as Commander Benjamin Siesko:

FIVE FAVORITE EPISODES OF “STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE” SEASON TWO (1993-1994)

1. (2.23) “Crossover” – First Officer Major Kira Nerys and Dr. Julian Bashir accidentally cross into an alternate world known as the Mirror Universe, where a Klingon-Cardassian alliance rules over the quadrant’s former rulers, Terrans (Humans), who are now the enslaved.

2. (2.24) “The Collaborator” – When a Bajoran collaborator named Kubus Oak announces his intentions to return home from exile and is denied passage by Kira Nerys; he contacts Vedek Winn, who is engaged in a power play to become Kai against Vedek Bareil, with evidence that the latter may have been partially responsible for a Cardassian massacre during the latter’s occupation of Bajor.

3. (2.10) “Sanctuary” – The Skrreea, displaced humanoid farmers and political refugees from the Gamma Quadrant, seek to make Bajor their new home, despite opposition from the Bajoran government.

4. (2.22) “The Wire” – Dr. Bashir fights to save the life of former Cardassian spy-turned-tailor when a device implanted in the latter’s brain, designed to alleviate pain in the event of torture, begins to malfunction and slowly kill him.

5. (2.08) “Necessary Evil” – When Deep Space Nine’s local bar owner Quark is shot, the station’s constable Odo relives memories of a five year-old investigation when he served under the Cardassians.

“Lover Man” [R] – 3/3

 

“LOVER MAN”

PART THREE

The Bridge’s turbolift doors slid open. Tom Paris emerged from the lift and strode toward the Conn Station to relieve Mariah Henley.

From the Engineering Station, B’Elanna watched the entire exchange from the corners of her eyes. She noticed that Mariah’s shoulders stiffened under contact from Paris’s hand. And the smirk that appeared on the Chief Helmsman’s lips. A red flush tinged Mariah’s face, as she walked toward the turbolift.

B’Elanna’s console beeped. She glanced down and found a message flashed across her screen. “Keep your eyes on the job, Maquis. Tuvok is watching.” B’Elanna’s eyes widened at Harry’s message. Then she looked up and found a pair of dark eyes that belonged to the Vulcan Tactical Chief. Observing her. The engineer coughed slightly and returned her attention to her work. However, not before she returned Harry’s message. “Thanks Starfleet.”

Since the day Harry had convinced her not to report Tom’s indiscretions to Chakotay, B’Elanna has found herself growing increasingly obsessed with the pilot. She tried to curb this obsession and convince herself that she was wasting her time. After all, she has failed to come across any signs of sexual activity in Cabin Nine-I since that second time. Unfortunately, B’Elanna also continued to be plagued with dreams of her and Paris. Much to her mortification.

There seemed to be one bright light in the horizon. Ever since Paris’s troubles on Banea, his circle of female admirers seem to have shrunken to almost non-existent. Like B’Elanna and other crewmen, they had heard about his affair with the wife of a murdered Banean scientist. And his conviction for murder by the Banean government. Paris ended up reliving the entire killing from the victim’s viewpoint, thanks to some implanted memory engrams. However, his punishment ended up short-lived. Lieutenant Tuvok managed to exonerate Paris after discovering a murder-and-espionage conspiracy that had allegedly framed the pilot.

Many believed that Tuvok had conjured up evidence to exonerate Paris at Captain Janeway’s behest. B’Elanna found that particular theory ludicrous. Tuvok may have been a traitorous spy, but not even he would go that far. She had to admit – most reluctantly – that Paris was innocent.

There still remained another matter regarding the blond helmsman. The identity of his secret lover from Cabin Nine-I. It was a mystery that B’Elanna felt determined to uncover. Who else, besides Paris, had kept her awake with sounds of passion on two separate occasions, during the past several weeks?

While B’Elanna contemplated the question, Paris’s combadge chirped, breaking the silence on the Bridge. “Janeway to Paris,” the Captain’s voice announced. “Have you forgotten about our appointment in my Ready Room?”

This time, B’Elanna openly stared at the pilot. Like everyone else on the Bridge. A crewman in Command Red relieved Paris at the Helm. And the latter made his way to the Captain’s Ready Room. The moment he disappeared inside, B’Elanna sent a second message to Harry’s station. “What was that about?”

Seconds later, Harry’s response flashed across her console. “Have no idea, Maquis. Will ask Tom later.”

B’Elanna eventually found herself forced to contemplate upon the meeting inside the Ready Room, between the pilot and the starship captain. She admitted to herself that the meeting could be innocent. But when Paris failed to reappear on the Bridge after ten minutes, B’Elanna became suspicious. Another five minutes passed and yet, Janeway and Paris remained inside the Ready Room. B’Elanna glanced at Harry, who shrugged. Then her eyes rested upon the First Officer. Who casted uneasy glances at the Ready Room’s door.

After twenty more minutes passed, those doors finally opened. Tom Paris strode onto the Bridge, wearing a satisfied smile. He tugged at his jacket and relieved the pilot at the Helm. The Captain emerged two minutes later, looking quite happy and unusually bright. One look at the pair and B’Elanna immediately rejected any idea of an innocent meeting. Something had just occurred between Paris and Janeway. Something that had nothing to do with the ship’s business or Starfleet protocols.

* * * *

“What?” Harry stared at B’Elanna with disbelief. So did Seska, Henley and Ensign Lang. The five crewman had gathered at a table inside the Mess Hall for dinner, that evening.

The Chief Engineer repeated her speculations about Janeway and Paris. That the two might be involved in an affair. “C’mon Harry! You saw what happened on the Bridge, today! Why would Paris remain in the Captain’s Ready Room together for over a half hour? Thirty-five minutes, Harry! And don’t tell me that it had something to do with what happened on Banea. That was nearly two weeks ago!”

“The real question should be,” Seska added, “why would you care?”

B’Elanna stared at the Bajoran. “What?”

Seska continued, “I can understand why Henley would be upset.” The pilot responded with a glare. “But why are you upset, B’Elanna? You don’t like Paris. You’ve barely given him a thought since we arrived in the Delta Quadrant. Why do you care whether or not he’s having an affair with Janeway?”

All eyes focused on the half-Klingon. B’Elanna squirmed under their scrutiny. What could she say? That the lovemaking in Cabin Nine-I was keeping her awake? Or that she was having erotic dreams about her and the chief pilot? “I don’t like the idea of us suffering, due to some illicit affair between those two,” she finally answered.

A brittle laugh escaped the Bajoran’s mouth. “Oh B’Elanna! You are so naïve!” The Chief Engineer winced under the latter’s derision. “I doubt that 150 crewmen are going to suffer over some tawdry affair Janeway might be having with Paris! Unless she becomes pregnant or something. I may not like the woman very much, but I can’t blame her for wanting a little comfort to ease her loneliness.”

“Seska’s right,” Henley added. “After all, Chakotay’s romance with her didn’t hurt us.” She remained stoic under the Bajoran’s dark glare. “Of course in the Captain’s case, I cannot see why she would even have . . .” Her voice dimmed to a whisper. B’Elanna noticed the slight jealousy in her voice. Obviously, Mariah also became aware of it.

Seska smiled. “What were you about to say, Mariah?”

Fortunately for the ex-Maquis pilot, Harry and Deborah Lang seemed more interested in defending Janeway’s honor than in any jealousy on Henley’s part. Lang stoutly declared that Captain Janeway would never break Starfleet protocols by fraternizing with someone under her command. “It’s against regulations,” she added.

“Actually, it’s not,” Harry corrected. “But it’s not encouraged. An intimate relationship between a starship commander and a subordinate might lead to . . . well, certain problems. Problems that might have a bearing on the conduct of any starship.”

Seska snorted. “And knowing Janeway, she’d rather die with her ideals intact than enjoy a little pleasure. So much for your theory, B’Elanna.”

“Oh yeah?” the Chief Engineer shot back. “Then can someone explain why the Captain and Paris were in the Ready Room for at least a half hour? And why they were smiling, when they left?”

* * * *

“We had tea,” Tom explained to his lover, the following afternoon. They laid stretched on the bed, inside Cabin Nine-I, with their naked bodies pressed against each other’s. “The Captain had invited me for tea.” He leaned toward her and nipped the side of her long neck.

She managed to scoff and moan at the same time, while Tom continued to nuzzle her neck. “You’ve got to be kidding! Why would . . . ah!” He bit into that sensitive junction where the shoulder and neck met.

“I think the Captain considers me her little reclamation project. We were suppose to have tea after the shift, but the Captain had another matter to deal with. So,” Tom’s hot tongue flickered across the hollow of her neck, “she rescheduled it for a little earlier.” He sat up and lavisciously eyed the stunning body beside him. “If you think something is going on between us, you’re mistaken. Captain Janeway is not the type to make out with a subordinate, just several feet away from the Bridge. That’s just plain idiocy.”

Slender hands trailed up Tom’s chest. Her fingers slide through the chest hair. “You seem very defensive about her.”

A malicious smile touched Tom’s lips. “What’s the matter? Jealous?”

Her hands grabbed a handful of chest hair and pulled, causing Tom to wince. “Don’t insult me, Paris. I don’t take kindly to any disrespect.”

Tom jerked her hand away and gave it a hard squeeze. This time, it was her turn to wince. “Let’s get something straight,” he murmured. “Unless I’m on duty, I am not in the habit of jumping through hoops for anyone. At least of all, for you. I’ve had enough of that in my life.”

“Then why are you here?”

“For a good, fuck. What did you think? Because I’m madly in love with you?” Tom retorted.

She threw back her head and laughed. Out loud. Her laugh immediately died as Tom covered the mound between her legs. He inserted two fingers into her hot flesh. She let out a gasp, as her body jerked automatically. “Gods! I hope you’re not in love,” she said breathlessly. “What would be the fun in that?”

Smiling, Tom removed his fingers and gently forced her legs apart. Then he took her by surprise by ramming his member into her. She let out a cry and her body arched upward. Tom’s thrusts became deeper. Harder. He leaned forward and covered one tantalizing breast with his mouth and began to suckle. And her cries grew louder.

* * * *

Unbeknownst to the occupants inside Cabin Nine-I, a certain chief engineer had slowly made her way to her quarters, two hours earlier than usual. She would have remained in Engineering a bit longer, but a shortage in one of the EPS relay circuits led to a slight electrocution and minor burns.

One of B’Elanna’s engineers had beamed her into Sick Bay. There, the Doctor treated her injuries and gave her an anaglesiac for the pain. He also ordered her to return to her quarters for a long rest. B’Elanna’s first instinct was to ignore the EMH’s order. Unfortunately, he threatened to inform both the Captain and Chakotay if she did not obey.

Feeling slightly dazed from the medication in her bloodstream, B’Elanna eventually stumbled into her quarters. She peeled off her uniform and headed for the bedroom. Just as she was about to sink onto her bed, voices drifted from next door.

“Oh! Oh yes! Oh spirits! Don’t . . . don’t stop! Don’t . . . oooh! Oh yes! Aaa . . . aaah! Yes! Don’t . . . oh! Oh To-ooo-omm!” The orgasmic cry snapped B’Elanna out of her fog. She had not heard such a cry in over two weeks. Before Paris’s murder conviction on the Banean homeworld. Her eyes closed and she sighed.

Muted laughter reached B’Elanna’s ears. Apparently, Paris and his . . . “mate” had finished. She had hoped that news of Paris’s affair with that Banean woman would end the illicit trysts in Cabin Nine-I. Harry must have informed Paris about her knowledge of the affair, leading the pilot to use the cabin a few hours earlier. No matter. B’Elanna had finally figured out a way to kill two birds with one stone – learn the identity of Paris’s lover and get even with both for keeping her up at nights. Just before Paris and Harry’s mission to Banea, she had installed a holovideo monitor in Cabin 9-I.

B’Elanna had forgotten about the monitor – until now. She planned to upload a recording of this afternoon’s activity into the ship’s computer. Or better yet, transform it into a holoprogram. And finally allow the crew an intimate look of Lover Boy Paris in action. It should be the talk of the ship for months to come.

* * * *

Like many of her plans in life, the one to expose Tom Paris and his lover did not proceed as B’Elanna had expected. The following morning saw more problems in Engineering. More malfunctions with the EPS conduits led to repairs that lasted nearly an entire day. By the time B’Elanna and her staff finished the repairs, she was too exhausted to even think about the video recording.

The following day, Voyager came across an M-class planet that provided the crew an opportunity to stock up on foodstuffs and other supplies. Also, both Chakotay and Seska had a near-fatal encounter with a group of Kazons. The latter continued to weigh on the crew’s mind, when Voyager responded to a distress signal from one of their ships. B’Elanna made up part of the Away team that discovered not only a ship filled with dead Kazons, but also Federation technology that was not properly integrated into their system. Someone aboard Voyager had given Federation technology to the Kazon without Janeway’s knowledge.

No one had been more surprised than B’Elanna when Tuvok and Chakotay revealed the culprit, the following day. Like many of the other former Maquis, B’Elanna assumed Joe Carey to be guilty. They believed he wanted revenge for being passed over for the position of Chief Engineer. Instead, Seska – one of her closest friends – turned out to be guilty. Even worse, the latter was revealed to be a Cardassian, surgically altered as a Bajoran, in order to infiltrate Chakotay’s Maquis cell.

B’Elanna felt humiliated and betrayed. Chakotay might feel even worse, but that knowledge did not lessen her feelings. She tried to alleviate her mood with an evening trip to Sandrine’s. But the idea of listening to smug ‘Fleeters berate the Maquis for allowing a Cardassian spy in their midst did not appeal to her. She needed something else to relieve her anger.

Then she remembered. Tom and Cabin 9-I. At first, B’Elanna wondered if she wanted to watch a vid of Paris having sex with a crewmember. Witnessing his little bout with Mallory Aiwa had been bad enough. But, dammit! She had to do something! Brooding over Seska’s betrayal did not help her mood. So, B’Elanna switched on her computer console, entered a few codes and uploaded the recorded images from the monitor next door. Satisfied that she had completed her task, she played back the images. What she saw nearly sent her into a state of shock. How could Tom Paris end up in an affair with her?

The plans to reveal the recording to the crew became null and void. B’Elanna did not kill her plans out of any feelings toward the lovers on the screen. She simply did not want to embarrass or hurt a friend. And revealing this to the crew would do just that.

* * * *

Tom bent over the pool table and sunk his last ball into a pocket with ease. His opponent groaned. “Your game is really improving, Tommy,” Gaunt Gary commented with a sigh. “Maybe just a little too much. When did you learn that maneuver?”

“From watching you,” Tom replied. “I only learn from the best.” The hologram grimaced.

With the exception of a handful, only holographic characters like Gaunt Gary and Sandrine filled the Marsaille tavern that evening. Although Tom had left the program opened to the entire crew, three crewmen other than himself, had bothered to show up. Ensigns Lang and Ashmore only hung around for an hour, before leaving. Crewman Henley sat in a corner table with a few of the program’s characters. It seemed the ex-Maquis preferred their company to his.

Henley and the other Maquis must still be in a state of shock over the revelations about Seska. Tom did not blame them. He felt the same. That she would hand over Federation technology behind Janeway’s back did not really surprise him. The shock came from news that Seska had been a Cardassian in disguise. A Cardassian with the Obsidian Order. That meant . . .

The tavern doors opened. B’Elanna Torres strode inside, causing Tom to groan inwardly. She waved at Henley, glanced at Tom and headed toward the pool table. Much to the pilot’s dismay.

“We-ell!” Gary proclaimed. “Look who’s here! Wanna game with me, honey?” He oogled at the Chief Engineer, who fixed him with a deadly stare. If looks could kill, B’Elanna’s glare would have destabilized Gary’s matrix by now. “On second thought,” the pool player added in a shaky voice, “maybe I had enough for this evening. See you, Tommy.” He gave a quick wave and headed for Henley’s table.

Torres stared coolly at Tom. “Up for another game, Paris?”

Tom frowned. “You want to play? Against me?” he asked.

“Why not? It’s not like you’ve been beaten before.”

A tart smile curled Tom’s lips. “Yeah, but I don’t see the Captain around, anywhere. And you’re not exactly in her league.”

“Rack ’em, Flyboy!” Torres snapped back. “And be prepared to have your ass kicked!”

Again, Tom smiled as he set up the balls for another game. Granted, he was not particularly fond of the half-Klingon. However, he had to admit that he found her to be a fascinating personality. And a very beautiful woman. His eyes roamed appreciatively over her slim body. But even better, she was, at best, a mediocre pool player.

Sure enough, the pilot proved to be more than a match for the engineer. The latter managed to sink in a ball or two during the game. But in the end, Tom emerged victorious. “Another game,” Torres imperiously demanded.

“Look Torres, why don’t we end this evening on a good note? If we play another game, it will only end embarrassingly for you. Trust me.”

Dark eyes challenged Tom. “Don’t count on it, Paris. I plan to make this next game unpleasant for you. C’mon, rack ’em up!”

Tom gave the engineer a long, cool look. “What’s going on, Torres? You usually try to avoid my company. And now you want to shoot pool with me?” He paused, as an idea came to him. An unpleasant one, at that. “Has this something to do with Cabin 9-I?” he asked.

Anger replaced the challenging look in Torres’s eyes. “Cabin 9-I?”

“Come off it, Torres! You know what I’m talking about!” Tom retorted. “Harry told me everything. Look, I had no idea that your cabin was next door. Nor did I realize you would hear everything . . .” Neither Tom nor Torres heard the tavern doors creak open. Or see the tall figure that entered, since they were facing the opposite direction.

“Believe me, Paris,” Torres shot back, “I heard everything. Just tell me this. When you fucked Seska, did you ever realize that she was a Cardassian?”

A gust of breath left Tom’s mouth. He stared at the half-Klingon in total shock. “Gods! How did . . .?” Tom finally recovered his voice. “How did you find out about Seska and me?” He tried his best to sound calm. “What did I do? Scream her name out loud?”

“No, she screamed your name,” Torres responded. Tom almost blushed. “However, I didn’t find out about Seska until I saw this.” She removed a data chip from her pocket. “I had placed a video monitor in the cabin, nearly two weeks ago. And captured both of you in action.”

Tom stared at the data chip. He wondered if the Chief Engineer planned to use it for some blackmail scheme. “By the way, I’m not in the business of blackmail,” she added, as if reading his mind. “I don’t stoop that low.”

“Really? And what do you call placing that monitor in the cabin?” Tom shot back. “Why did you do it?”

Torres’s stare became accusing. “Why did you sleep with Seska? Why her, Paris? It’s bad enough she turned out to be a Cardassian. But you fucked her, even though she was suppose . . .”

“Suppose to what? Be Chakotay’s lady love? As I recall, they broke up not long after he became First Officer. Something tells me that Seska didn’t take the change in their relationship very well.”

Disgust tinged Torres’s voice. “And you just decided to screw her, so you could add one more notch on your belt. Is that it? Or was this your way of getting back at Chakotay?”

Tom smiled. He might as tell her everything. It would be interesting to see how she would react. “Actually, Seska caught me off guard, one night. When I was on Deck Nine. After that, she wanted to meet there, because it was convenient and she didn’t have to worry about someone spotting me enter her quarters. Can’t have a former Maquis be seen with Tom Paris. Granted, both of us could barely stand each other, but . . . I must say, she was great in bed. Something I had recalled from our time together in the Maquis.”

A gasp left Torres’s mouth, much to Tom’s amusement. Bullseye. Her dark eyes grew wide with disbelief. “You mean to say that you and Seska were . . .?”

“That’s right, Lieutenant. Lovers. Only, I wasn’t the only one. Both here on Voyager and back in the Maquis,” Tom added softly. “Seska had her little circle of lovers available, whenever she and Chakotay . . .” Suddenly aware of a third figure standing nearby, Tom glanced to his left and the words died on his lips. Trembling in rage, stood Voyager’s First Officer. Torres’s eyes followed Tom’s and she gasped for the second time.

Chakotay stepped forward, rage reflecting his his black eyes. For a few seconds, Tom experienced genuine fear. Would he find himself in Sick Bay, covered in bruises and blood? He hoped not. Then again, he had endured beatings before.

“What others?” the older man demanded softly. “Who were the others, Paris?”

Torres stepped forward. “Chakotay . . .”

Tom took a deep breath. Squelched the fear within him. “I don’t know,” he curtly replied. “Why do you care anyway, Chakotay? You were never in love with Seska. Hell, you proved that when you dumped . . .” A bronze fist cut him off and sank into his gut. Another clipped him on the jaw and Tom fell back onto the floor.

Blood trickled from the corner of the pilot’s mouth, as he remained sprawled on the floor. He could see the other figures, including Henley, drifting toward the pool table. Tom struggled to his feet and wiped the blood from his mouth.

“Thomas, are you hurt?” a concerned Sandrine asked.

Laughter, soft and bitter, rose from Tom’s throat. “I’m fine, Sandrine. Just caught off guard, that’s all.” He faced the First Officer. “Good punch, Chakotay. I see that you haven’t lost your touch.”

“That was nothing, Paris,” Chakotay growled. “I’m not through with you, yet.”

Tom smirked, despite the pain from his bruised jaw. “If I were you, Commander, I’d drop the whole matter. Or else the Captain is going to start wondering why I have extra duty assignments. Or why I have to show up at Sick Bay for unexplained bruises. I am curious as to how you’re going to explain this.”

Chakotay retorted, “Explain all you want, Paris. It will be your word against mine. And I don’t think B’Elanna or Mariah will be willing to testify on your behalf.”

“Oh, I don’t I’ll need them. Don’t forget the video monitors inside the holodeck. I’m sure they’ve recorded the whole thing. Unless you plan to tamper with them. Then again,” another painful smirk touched Tom’s lips, “knowing your penchant for truth and justice, you just might march up to the Captain’s quarters and tell her everything.” Tom paused. “Do you really want to do that?”

A long silence followed. Tom met Chakotay’s stare with his own cool one. Finally, the First Officer let out something like a cross between a grunt and a snort. “You’re not worth the effort,” he said with disgust. Then he turned on his heels and stalked out of the holodeck.

* * * *

B’Elanna cried after the older man. “Chakotay!” But he did not hear. She whirled upon Paris and found him staring at her, coldly. “What? What is it?”

“Congratulations, Torres,” he said softly. “Looks like you got what you wanted, after all. My humiliation. Only you got a friend humiliated as well. Tell me, why did you put that monitor in that cabin? Because we interrupted your sleep for a few nights? Why in the hell didn’t you just let it go?” He walked out of Sandrine’s, rubbing his jaw.

Henley walked up to B’Elanna. Her gray-blue eyes expressed concern. Curiosity. B’Elanna, are you okay?”

“Yeah,” the other woman murmured.

“What was that about?”

Revenge gone wrong, B’Elanna silently replied. She kept the response to herself. Along with the memory of Chakotay’s humiliation . . . and Paris’s contempt. Then she took a deep breath. “Nothing. Nothing at all.”

THE END

“DOCTOR THORNE” (2016) Review

 

“DOCTOR THORNE” (2016) Review

Two years ago, the ITV aired “DOCTOR THORNE”, Julian Fellowes’ four-part television adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s 1858 novel. As it turned out, the latter was the third novel in Trollope’s literary series known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

From what I know, the 1858 novel seemed to have little in common to the rest of Trollope’s Barstshire series. Dr. Thomas Thorne, the main character in “DOCTOR THORNE”, was a distant cousin of Mr Wilfred Thorne, a minor character in “Barchester Towers”. Aside from that, the rest of the characters in “DOCTOR THORNE” seemed to have very little or no connections to the remaining Barstshire series.

The plot for “DOCTOR THORNE” seemed pretty straightforward. Our main protagonist is a respected doctor who has been raising his niece, Mary Thorne, on his own. Years earlier, Doctor Thorne’s ne’er-do-well older brother Henry had seduced one Mary Scatcherd. When her stonemason brother Roger Scatcherd had learned about his sister’s pregnancy, he engaged in a fight with Henry and killed him. Scatcherd ended in prison for several years, his sister gave birth to a daughter before moving to Australia with a new husband, and Doctor Thorne ended up raising his niece and keeping her parents’ identities a secret.

Following his release from prison, Roger Scatcherd becomes wealthy as railway project undertaker, got married, became a father and acquired a baronet. He also becomes a chronic alcoholic. Thorne becomes the family doctor to the Greshams, a local family of the landed gentry. He he persuades Scatcherd to lend money Mr. Francis Greshams, the local squire, who has troubles managing his finances. Within time, much of the Gresham estate is put up as collateral. Meanwhile, Mary forms a close friendship with the Gresham children and falls in love with Frank Gresham, Squire Gresham’s only son and heir of the squire, and he with her. But due to the family’s finances, Squire Gresham’s wife, Lady Arabella, plots to end Mary and Frank’s romance and find a wealthy wife for her son. However, Sir Roger’s only son and heir, Louis Scatcherd, also falls in love with Mary. And like his father, Louis has also acquired a drinking habit. Dr. Thorne is forced to struggle to help his niece find happiness, while at the same time, deal with Lady Arabella’s scheming for her son, and the tenuous financial situation between the Scatcherds and the Greshams.

“DOCTOR THORNE” received mixed reviews when it aired on both British and American television. I suspect that many critics believed that the production seemed to lack the bite of previous Trollope adaptations. And if I must be honest, I agree with them. Overall, “DOCTOR THORNE” struck me as a fluff piece into the life of Victorian society, despite the social snobbery portrayed in the miniseries, along with the fact that two of the characters were alcoholics. I believe it had something to do with the production’s tone. Thanks to Julian Fellowes’ writing, the miniseries felt more like a light comedy with flashes of melodrama. Especially for a story that featured social bigotry, family secrets and alcoholism.

It did not help that the only characters in this story who truly suffered in the end were the members of the Scatcherd family. Personally, I wish that Lady Arabella Gresham had suffered a lot more than a slight embarrassment over the discovery of Mary Thorne’s newly inherited wealth by the end of the story. I found the aristocratic matriarch’s efforts to break up Frank Jr.’s romance with Mary a lot more perfidious than the Scatcherds’ financial hold over the Greshams or even the malice and hostility that Sir Roger’s son Louis had harbored toward the high-born family. After all, the Greshams had found themselves in financial difficulties, thanks to Squire Gresham’s mishandling of the family’s income and the family’s spending habits.

But despite my qualms over the production, I still managed to enjoy it. “DOCTOR THORNE” proved to be a humorous and romantic story about Mary Thorne’s relationship with Frank Gresham Jr. and the obstacles – both socially and emotionally – they were forced to overcome. I also enjoyed the humorous subplot involving the political going-ons in Barsetshire and the upcoming election between Sir Roger Scatcherd and Mr. Moffat, another self-made man who had managed to gain support from the Gresham family. The miniseries also proved to be a poignant family drama involving the Thorne and Scatcherd families, with a big emotional payoff. And all of this romance and family drama was witnessed by the always dependable Doctor Thorne, who seemed to serve as the story’s backbone.

The production values for “DOCTOR THORNE” proved to be top-notch. Production designer Kristian Milsted did a solid job in re-creating Barsetshire, the fictional mid-19th century community (for its middle-class and upper-class citizens) featured in this story. Her efforts were ably assisted by Caroline Story’s art direction and Jan Jonaeus’s sharp and colorful photography, which did justice to various locations utilized in various counties in Southern England. I especially enjoyed the costumes created by Colleen Kelsall as shown below:

However, I felt a bit disturbed when I noticed that the day dresses worn by some of the women characters exposed a bit of cleavage:

Unless I happened to be wrong, 19th century women did not reveal any cleavage during the daytime. It was considered appropriate to do so in the evening for formal dinners and parties. I also noticed in the image above that actress Gwyneth Keyworth is also wearing a flower crown. A flower crown with daytime casual wear? I do not think so. Flower crowns – popularized by Queen Victoria during her wedding to Prince Albert – were usually worn by brides and bridemaids during wedding ceremonies, formal dinners and parties. I have one last complaint. The mid 19th century hairstyles worn by the women cast members seemed spot on to me . . . with one exception:

What on earth was the production’s hairstylist thinking by allowing this modern touch to actress Stefanie Martini’s hairstyle? Or was the hairstylist trying to copy the following look?

The problem is that the above style was prevalent in the 1840s, a decade before the setting for “DOCTOR THORNE”. And Ms. Martini’s “curls” are a tad too short.

The miniseries featured a mixture of solid and excellent acting. I can honestly say that there was not a bad performance in the production. Performers such as Nicholas Rowe, Alex Price, Cressida Bones, Janine Duvitski, Danny Kirrane, Tim McMullan, Nell Barlow all provided solid performances. More solid performances came from Edward Franklin, who seemed a tad over-the-top as the hostile and alcoholic Sir Louis Scatcherd; Harry Richardson, whose portrayal of Frank Gresham Jr. struck me as a bit bland; and Stefanie Martini’s performance as Mary Thorne struck me as charming, but not quite interesting. The real problem proved to be the character, who seemed to lack any interesting personality traits.

One of the more interesting performances came from Rebecca Front, who did an excellent job in conveying Lady Arabella Gresham’s snobbish and ruthless nature. Phoebe Nicholls’ Countess de Courcy (Lady Arabella’s sister-in-law) proved to be equally snobbish and ruthless. However, Nicholls skillfully conveyed how Lady de Courcy’s ruthlessness proved to be more subtle. Richard McCabe did an excellent job of portraying Francis Gresham’s likable, yet slightly weak nature. Gwyneth Keyworth gave an excellent performance as Frank Jr.’s complex and slightly mercenary sister, Augusta Gresham. Kate O’Flynn gave a skillful performance as Augusta’s equally mercenary cousin, Lady Alexandrina de Courcy, who proved to be a lot more manipulative. Alison Brie gave a very charming, yet sly performance as the wealthy American heiress Miss Dunstable, who proved to be a very sensible and wise woman. One of two best performances in the miniseries came from Ian McShane, who gave a superb performance as the alcoholic, yet proud and loyal Sir Roger Scatcherd. The other best performance came from Tom Hollander, who did a superb job as the leading character, Doctor Thomas Thorne, a sensible and put upon man, who constantly struggles to look after his niece from the likes of Lady Arabella and keep Squire Gresham from folding under the weight of debts.

What else can I say about “DOCTOR THORNE”? It is not one of the best television productions I have seen. It is probably the least impressive Anthony Trollope I have ever come across. But despite its flaws, I rather enjoyed it. I found it rather charming and likable, thanks to Julian Fellowes’ screenplay and the excellent cast led by Tom Hollander.

 

Favorite Movies Set in BOSTON

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a list of my favorite movies set or partially set in Boston, Massachusetts:

 

FAVORITE MOVIES SET IN BOSTON

1. “The Town” (2010) – Ben Affleck directed and starred in this tight and emotional crime thriller about a professional thief torn between his feelings for a bank manager from an earlier heist and his fellow thieves as they prepare to score one last major heist. Rebecca Hall and Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner co-starred.

2. “The Departed” (2006) – Oscar winner Martin Scorcese directed this Best Picture winner and remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs” about an undercover cop and a police mole for an Irish gang in South Boston attempts to identify each other. Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon starred.

3. “Spotlight” (2015) – Oscar nominee Tom Mcarthy co-wrote and directed this Oscar winning movie about The Boston Globe‘s investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests. Michael Keaton, Oscar nominees Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams starred.

4. “Glory” (1989) – Edward Zwick directed this movie about the first year of the all black 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the U.S. Civil War. Matthew Broderick, Oscar winner Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman starred.

5. “Good Will Hunting” (1997) – Gus Van Sant directed this tale about a young janitor at M.I.T. with a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life. The movie starred Matt Damon, Minnie Driver, Ben Affleck and Oscar winner Robin Williams. Both Affleck and Damon won Oscars for their screenplay.

6. “Now Voyager” (1942) – Bette Davis starred in this adaptation of Olive Higgins Prouty’s novel about a spinster who turns to therapy to overcome her tyrannical mother’s control over her. Directed by Irving Rapper, the movie co-starred Paul Henreid and Claude Rains.

7. “R.I.P.D.” (2013) – Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds starred in this silly, yet fun adaptation of Peter M. Lenkov’s comic book, “Rest in Peace Department” about a recently slain cop who joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest in Peace Department, an organization that finds and returns souls who refuse to move on to the afterlife. Robert Schwentke directed.

8. “Johnny Tremain” (1957) – Robert Stevenson directed this Disney adaptation of Esther Forbes’ 1944 novel about an apprentice in colonial Boston, who witnesses and experiences the events leading up to the American Revolution. Hal Stalmaster, Luana Patten and Richard Beymer starred.

9. “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968) – Norman Jewison produced and directed this stylized movie about a wealthy Boston banker-sportsman who attracts the attention of a sharp insurance investigator following his successful heist of a local bank. The movie starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.

10. “Gone Baby Gone” (2007) – Ben Affleck directed this adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 1998 novel about two private investigators hired to find a missing toddler. Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan starred.

“THE WINDS OF WAR” (1983) Review

“THE WINDS OF WAR” (1983) Review

Nearly forty years ago, author Herman Wouk wrote “The Winds of War”, a bestselling novel about the experiences of a middle-aged U.S. Navy officer and his family during the early years of World War II. A decade later, ABC Television and producer David Wolper brought his story to the television screen with a seven-part, fourteen-and-a-half hour miniseries that became a ratings hit and a major Emmy and Golden Globe nominee.

Produced by Dan Curtis and Barbara Steele, and directed by Curtis; “THE WINDS OF WAR” was a sprawling saga that told the story of Naval officer, Victor “Pug” Henry (Robert Mitchum), his wife Rhoda (Polly Bergen), and their three children – Naval aviator Warren (Ben Murphy), Byron (Jan-Michael Vincent) and Madeline (Lisa Eilbacher), who ended up as an assistant to a radio personality – and their experiences during the five months before Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 and the first two years of the war, right up to the attack upon Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Most of the miniseries focused upon Henry’s experiences as a Naval attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, his role as a confidant to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his position at the War Department in Washington D.C. During this time, he experiences Germany’s reaction to the Poland invasion, the Battle of Britain and the early months of the Blitz, the Lend-Lease Program, and the Soviet defense against the German invasion of their country.

However, a good deal of the miniseries also focused upon Byron’s romance with one Natalie Jastrow (Ali McGraw), the niece of a Jewish author and scholar named Dr. Aaron Jastrow (John Houseman) in Italy. Byron and Natalie also experience the German invasion of Poland, after attending a wedding held by her Jastrow cousins in Medzice. Their romance is later hampered by Natalie’s relationship with her former fiancé, a State Department diplomat named Leslie Slote (David Dukes) and her decision to remain in Europe in order to ensure that a very reluctant Aaron will get safely out of Europe.

Two other plotlines featured forbidden romances for both Pug and Rhoda. Pug becomes romantically involved with Pamela Tudsbury (Victoria Tennant), the daughter of a British journalist and radio personality. However, their romance remains platonic. That did not seemed to be the case for Rhoda’s affair with a widowed government engineer named Palmer Kirby (Peter Graves), who will become involved in the first phase of the Manhattan project. By the end of the miniseries, Rhoda will ask Pug for a divorce.

One has to possess a great deal of patience and love of early-to-mid 20th century history to really enjoy “THE WINDS OF WAR”. This is not my way of saying that it is a terrible production. But it is rather long at fourteen-and-a-half hours. At least four of the episodes are two-and-a-half hours long. And if I must be frank, there are sequences in the miniseries that I found rather ponderous. Sequences that usually featured Pug Henry’s meetings with famous world leaders such as Franklin Roosevelt, Adolph Hitler, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin turned out to be exercises in sheer patience for me. And the sequences featuring the Lend-Lease Program, in which the U.S. government lent warships and planes to Great Britain also struck me as ponderous, although interesting. I found some of the dialogue wince-inducing, silly, pretentious and long winded, thanks to Herman Wouk’s screenplay. Lesson – never allow an author to write the screen adaptation of his own work.

Many of the characters featured in the miniseries are portrayed by actors that struck me as too old for their roles. I can even say the same about the three leads – Mitchum, McGraw and Vincent. Well . . . almost. Somehow, these three managed to get away with it. The scenes that I found most unbearable featured Hitler’s conferences with his generals. Many of these scenes featured actor Günter Meisner as Hitler, engaging in a good deal of histrionic acting – at least in the miniseries’ first three episodes. Fortunately, he seemed to have found his stride by the fourth episode and portrayed the German chancellor without the usual clichés. Like I said, one needs a great deal of patience to face something like “WINDS OF WAR”.

But in the end, the miniseries proved to be worth viewing. Despite its flaws, I believe it is one of the better miniseries that have appeared on television during the past forty odd years. The historic scope of the production is wide and magnificent. Director/producer Dan Curtis did a superb job in transporting viewers back to those early years of World War II – between 1939 and 1941, especially with a crew that included cinematographers Charles Correll and Stevan Larner, costume designer Heidi Wujek, matte cameraman Bruce A. Block, and production designer Jackson De Govia. I do have a quibble about Ali McGraw’s wardrobe and hairstyle. It almost seemed as if the actress seemed reluctant to utilize late 30s/early 40s costumes and hairstyles. And this made her look a little too modern for a series set during the early years of World War II.

Curtis and his crew did an excellent job in scouting locations for the miniseries. Being an epic set in the United States and Europe, he had to find locations that stood in for Berlin, Washington D.C., London, Siena and Rome, Moscow, Honolulu, Manila, along with Warsaw and Medzice. I also have to commend Marijan Karoglan for his supervision of the special effects featured in the miniseries – especially in battle sequences that focused upon the invasion of Poland, Pug’s ride aboard a British bomber over Germany, the battle outside Stalingrad, and the attacks upon Pearl Harbor and the Cavite Naval Yard in the Philippines.

One of the best things about “THE WINDS OF WAR” is that despite being somewhat ponderous and long, it did feature some well written and interesting sequences. The best – as far as I am concerned – centered on Byron Henry and Natalie Jastrow getting caught up in the Nazi invasion of Poland near the end of “Episode 1 – The Winds Rise” and the first half of “Episode 2 – The Storm Breaks”. What started out as a charming visit to Poland for a family wedding, ended up as a harrowing series of events in which the pair encountered hostile Polish soldiers, aerial bombings in Warsaw, a harrowing journey across the Polish-German battle line, and a tense encounter with a Gestapo officer demanding the names of all Jews in the American party. Another favorite sequence of mine featured Pug’s experiences in Britain, during the Battle of Britain and around the beginning of the Blitz. This segment featured the beginning of his platonic romance with Pamela Tudsbury and a scary ride aboard a British bomber on a mission over Germany. I also enjoyed the segment at the end of “Episode 3 – Cataclysm” that featured the Henry family and Natalie Jastrow’s reunion for Warren Henry’s wedding to Janice Lacouture (Deborah Winters), the daughter of an isolationist senator in Pensacola. The sequences featuring Byron and Natalie’s wedding in Lisbon, near the end of “Episode 5 – Of Love and War” and Pug’s reunion with Pamela in the Soviet Union in the last two episodes are also favorites.

Earlier I had commented that the miniseries’ three leads – Robert Mitchum, Ali McGraw and Jan-Michael Vincent – seemed rather old for their roles. Mitchum, who was 65 years old at the time, portrayed a Pug Henry in his late 40s. McGraw was 43 years old, when she portrayed the 27-29 years old Natalie Jastrow. And Vincent was a 38 year-old actor portraying the 24-26 years old Byron Henry. But they were not the only ones. Ben Murphy, who portrayed the 27-29 years old Warren Henry, was at least 40 at the time of the miniseries’ production. Ralph Bellamy was at least 78 years old when he portrayed President Roosevelt, who had aged from 57 to 59 years during the story’s setting. There seemed to be a score of many old Hollywood character actors who struck me as too old for their roles. Many of them did not get away with portraying characters a lot younger than themselves. But Mitchum, McGraw, Vincent, Murphy and Bellamy did get away with it; due to their strong screen presence, good solid acting and looks.

Being the experienced Hollywood veteran, Mitchum did an excellent job of holding the series together in the lead role. He also did a first rate job in portraying a very reserved man who usually kept his emotions to himself, without turning the role into an automaton. McGraw seemed to have some difficulty in dealing with an exaggerated and at times, irritating character like Natalie Jastrow. I suspect that most of the blame should go to Wouk for creating such an overblown character and the bad dialogue that McGraw was forced to speak. However, I have to commend the actress for ably capturing Natalie’s extroverted personality and conveying the character’s moments of being intimidated in the presence of Nazis or in situations in which she felt like a fish out of water (think of Warren and Janice’s wedding). Both Ben Murphy and Lisa Eilbacher gave solid performances at the charismatic, yet likeable Warren Henry and the All-American Madeline Henry, who seemed to have a slight undercurrent of darkness in her personality. Jeremy Kemp gave a memorable performance as Brigadier General Armin von Roon, the stoic and very professional German Army staff officer that Pug had befriended. Ralph Bellamy, who had originally portrayed Franklin D. Roosevelt in both the stage and film versions of “SUNRISE AT CAMPBOBELLO” was in his element as the four-term president. I also enjoyed Topol’s warm portrayal of the Jastrow cousin from the Polish branch of the family, Berel Jastrow. John Houseman did a solid job in portraying Natalie’s scholarly uncle, Dr. Aaron Jastrow. However, there were times when his dialogue delivery seemed slow and slightly long-winded. As for Peter Graves, he must have been the only actor I can recall who can make an extramarital affair seem almost dignified.

But there were performances that stood out for me. One of them came from Jan-Michael Vincent, who portrayed the Henry family’s dark horse, Byron. Vincent did an excellent job in portraying Byron’s complex and sometimes difficult nature. He proved that Pug’s middle child could be just as reserved and intimidating as his father, and also very intense. Yet, at the same time, Vincent’s Byron seemed very relaxed and almost lackadaisical. Another first-rate performance came from Polly Bergen, who portrayed Pug’s flamboyant wife, Rhoda. In many ways, Bergen’s Rhoda could be just as complex as Byron. At times, she seemed like a cheerful and extroverted personality. At other times, she came off as flaky and somewhat rather unpleasant. And Bergen managed to convey Rhoda’s contradicting traits seamlessly. I am not surprised that she ended up earning an Emmy nomination for her performance. I was also impressed by Victoria Tennant’s performance as the young Englishwoman that ended up falling in love with Pug, Pamela Tudsbury. Tennant skillfully conveyed Pamela’s passionate nature and sardonic sense of humor beneath an exterior of English reserve. I have always been a fan of the late actor David Dukes, ever since I saw him in a miniseries called “79 PARK AVENUE”. But I do believe that the role of Leslie Slote, Natalie’s former fiancé was probably one of his best. Dukes had the difficult job of developing his character from a sarcastic and slightly pompous man, reluctant to marry a Jewish woman to a loyal friend that ended up regretting that his fiancée had fallen in love with another man before he could marry her.

“THE WINDS OF WAR” has its shares of flaws – a ponderous dramatic style, too many scenes featuring the top statesmen of World War II, stilted dialogue and a questionable wardrobe for actress Ali McGraw. But its virtues – its in-depth look into the early years of World War II, its epic scope, interesting subplots and characters – make it all worth while. More importantly, I still believe it is one of the better miniseries from the last 40 years. In the end, I believe that newcomers to the saga will not regret it.

Uniforms for Female S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents

 

UNIFORMS FOR FEMALE S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENTS

 

I have noticed something over the years, while watching various MCU films and “AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.”.  Namely the clothes worn by female S.H.I.E.L.D. field agents.  Why do all or most of them wear these tight-fitting uniforms, usually made or partially made of leather?  For example:

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Natasha Romanoff aka the Black Widow

 

 

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Maria Hill

 

 

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Melinda May aka “the Calvary”

 

 

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Daisy Johnson aka Skye aka Quake

 

 

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Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird

 

 

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Elena Rodriguez aka Yo-Yo

 

 

There were two male S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel who had constantly wore tight-fitting outfits:

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Steve Rogers aka Captain America

 

 

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Jeffrey Mace aka the Patriot

 

 

Otherwise, other male S.H.I.E.L.D. field operatives usually wore what the situation called for.  I can only think of three female field agent who did not wear any leathery unitard:

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S.S.R. Agent (future S.H.I.E.L.D. Director) Peggy Carter – She never wore any kind of uniform during her years as a S.S.R. (forerunner of S.H.I.E.L.D. agency) agent, aside from the Army uniform she wore during World War II.

 

 

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Agent Sharon Carter – I have only seen her in pants, a blouse and a jacket in both “CAPTAIN AMERICA:  THE WINTER SOLDIER” and “CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR”.

 

 

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Agent Piper – She usually wore what the situation required … like the majority of male field agents.

Which leads me to this question … what is it about the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which female spies/costumed heroines have to dress like Cathy Gale and Emma Peel from the old “THE AVENGERS” television series?  And why is it that most of the S.H.I.E.L.D. characters that dressed this way were women?

“Lover Man” [R] – 2/3

 

“LOVER MAN”

PART TWO

TWO WEEKS LATER . . .

B’Elanna and Harry strode along the corridor of Deck Six, on their way to Jeffries Tube 69. There, they planned to work on a set of ESP conduits for repair.

“Poor Neelix,” Harry bemoaned. “It must have been hell getting his lungs ripped away like that.” He referred to a recent incident, in which the Talaxian had his lungs stolen by a pair of aliens, during an Away mission.

B’Elanna grunted. “If you ask me, I think Janeway let those monsters off too easily. Stealing other people’s organs, for Kahless’s sakes!”

Harry added, “I guess that what happens when a species has been crippled by a deadly disease. It takes away their compassion. Their morality. And it makes them dangerously desperate.”

“That’s no excuse!” B’Elanna angrily shot back.

“No, it isn’t. But understandable.”

B’Elanna bit back an exasperated sigh, as she tried not to feel irritated by Harry’s compassion. She had great affection for the young ensign, but sometimes his Federation ideals really got on her nerves. For once, she wished he could be a little more . . . ruthless.

The two friends finally reached Jeffries Tube 69. B’Elanna grabbed hold of the handle for the tube’s door, when Harry glanced down at his hand and let out an oath. “Dammit!” he cried.

“What’s wrong?” B’Elanna demanded.

“My PADD. It has the schematics we need on it. I must have dropped it on my way here. I’ll be right back.” Harry turned on his heels and quickly retraced their path from the turbolift.

Meanwhile, B’Elanna attempted to open the tube’s door. Only, it refused to budge. Someone had either jammed or locked the door. Muttering an oath, B’Elanna punched a few codes into the console nearby. The door finally opened on her second attempt. She grabbed her toolkit and proceeded to crawl inside the tube. The sight that greeted her inside, stopped her in her tracks.

Low moans filled the interior. Discarded uniforms were scattered about the floor. And just several yards ahead laid a completely nude Tom Paris, on his back. Straddling his waist was a female crewman – also nude – whom B’Elanna noticed was not Ensign Telac. Her breasts swung tantalizingly over Paris’s face. Her body bucked up and down above the pilot’s, like a rider on an unbroken horse. B’Elanna immediately recognized her. Crewman Mallory Aiwa from Security.

“Ooohh! Oh yes! Harder! Harder!” Aiwa cried. Both hers and Paris’s bodies continued to move in rhythm, as they made love. Aiwa leaned closer to Paris, situating the tips of her breasts above his face. He took the bait, leaned upward and covered one breast with his mouth. His hands maintained a firm grip on her hips.

Feeling hot and embarrassed at the same time, B’Elanna immediately crawled out of the tube. She shut the door and took a deep breath. “Something wrong, Maquis?” Harry had returned with his PADD.

Breathing heavily, B’Elanna shook her head. “No! I, uh . . . It’s nothing, Harry. Look, why don’t we do this later? Someone else is inside, right now.”

“Well, I’m sure he or she won’t mind if it gets a little crowded inside.” Harry knelt down on the deck and opened the door.

“Starfleet, no!”

Too late. Harry did not hear. He crawled inside the tube. B’Elanna heard a gasp. Along with Aiwa, screaming Paris’s name. Seconds later, the Ops officer re-emerged from the tube and closed the door. “Oh God!” he murmured. “I didn’t need to see that.”

Anger toward the pilot overwhelmed B’Elanna. She wondered aloud if they should report Paris and Aiwa to Chakotay. “Why?” Harry demanded. “I doubt that sex inside a Jeffries tube would constitute as an offense. Or a danger to the ship.”

“Isn’t fraternalization between Starfleet personnel, prohibited?” B’Elanna demanded.

Harry quickly replied, “No, it isn’t. Not as long as they are discreet.”

“I wouldn’t call sex in a Jeffries tube, discreet.”

A sigh left her friend’s mouth. “B’Elanna, let it go. They’re in a Jeffries tube, not in the corridor or anywhere else for the entire crew to see. Just let it go.”

B’Elanna remained silent. She and Harry could barely meet each other’s gaze. Sounds of giggling and someone opening the tube’s door filled their ears. Embarrassment immediately became anxiety. B’Elanna said to Harry, “I think we better get out of here.” The younger man quickly agreed and the two friends quickly scrambled away.

* * * *

Once again, Tom found himself strolling along Deck Nine. He had just left Telac Mara’s quarters, following a slightly difficult conversation. After two weeks of fun and great sex, the Bajoran woman had decided to end their romance.

Tom had foreseen the breakup. In fact, he helped set it in motion. Mara began expressing more than a passing interest in him. She wanted to know everything about Tom – his fears, his desires and most inner thoughts. Tom immediately realized that she wanted to move their relationship to a serious level. Only, he had no desire for such a relationship.

Rejection from a girlfriend at the Academy, a distant father and plenty of insincere friends had taught Tom to be wary of love and romance. He did not want or trust it any longer. Aside from Harry Kim as a close friend, he preferred mere acquaintances, brief sexual partners and nothing more.

To stave off the danger of Mara’s increasing interest, Tom began to hold her at arms’ length. Treat her in a cool manner when they were not engaged in sex. After a week of such treatment, it worked. Not only did Mara backed off, she began showing interest in other men. Just this morning, Tom had found her in the Mess Hall, sitting with Crewman Jarvin. Both seemed intensely interested in each other. Tom got the hint. Not that he really minded. He no longer had Mara in his hair. And compensation awaited him in a Jeffries tube on Deck Six. With Mallory Aiwa. Tom allowed himself a smile. A pleasant way to spend a few minutes. Now that Mara has officially ended their relationship, he was on his way to Aiwa’s quar . . .

The door to one of the cabins slid open. Tom gasped at the figure standing in the doorway – completely nude. “What the hell are you doing?” he growled, shoving her back inside the cabin. “Someone could have seen you!” The doors slid shut.

A satisfied smile curled her lips. “That was the point,” she said. “For you to see me. After I found out you were on this deck, I came here and ordered the computer to track you all the way from Telac’s quarters.”

“If you’re expecting a repeat performance of two weeks ago, don’t waste your time,” Tom retorted. “I have other plans.”

Her smile grew wider. “Certainly not with Ensign Telac, I assume. You were only in her quarters for ten minutes or less. Break up?”

Tom’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “How did you find out? I haven’t told anyone, yet.”

“I saw the good ensign with Jarvin during breakfast, this morning. It wasn’t hard to guess what was going on.” She reached out and stroked Tom’s cheek. “I thought you needed a little consolation.”

“I already have my own ideas about that. And it involves someone else.”

Slowly, she wrapped her arms around Tom’s neck. “I bet she can’t console you the way I can.” Her mouth hovered inches away from his.

Tom inhaled deeply. He could already feel his body reacting to her nearness. And the last thing he wanted was a repeat of their last time together. Seconds later, his hopes dissipated. As she leaned forward to plant a light kiss on the side of his mouth, the tips of her breasts brushed against Tom’s chest. His member automatically began to twitch. Much to his embarrassment.

“Okay, that’s it!” he roared and pushed her away. Laughter greeted his ears. “If you want to get laid so badly, find someone else.” Tom marched to the door, opened it and heard voices in the corridor. He immediately slid the door shut.

Her voice, smooth and taunting, said, “I thought you were leaving.”

“I will,” Tom coolly replied. “Just as soon as the hallway is cleared.”

A soft body pressed against his back. Tom struggled to ignore it. “In that case, why don’t you stay here, a little longer? Pass the time, until the corridor is cleared.”

“I doubt that mere seconds is enough time to do what you really want.”

Slender hands gently forced Tom to turn around. He found himself staring into a pair of eyes that brimmed with desire. “Maybe you want what I want. Can’t you stay longer than mere seconds?”

Tom blinked. He felt no love for this woman. Hell, he hardly felt any kind of affection toward her, whatsoever. Desire, however, was another matter. He had to admit that she was one of the most sexually satisfying women he had ever met. And unlike other partners, she demanded nothing more than sex. At least from him. Tom did not mind. Aside from his friendship with Harry, love and affection rarely played a part in Thomas Eugene Paris’s life.

She planted a kiss on his mouth. And another. And another. “Just stay a little longer,” she whispered between kisses. “Just a little . . .” Unable to ignore his desire any longer, Tom drew her into his arms and crushed his mouth against hers.

* * * *

The couple was inside the Jeffries tube, just as she had remembered. He lay stretched out on the floor. She straddled his waist. Neither wore a stitch of clothing.

She allowed her fingers to run through the red-gold hair on his chest. A pleasure-filled sigh escaped her mouth. So thick and luxuriant. She could do this all day. Then his member twitched against the crack of her backside. Then again, why bother? There were other parts of his anatomy she could also enjoy.

Sliding down his body, she raised her slightly and sat down, once more. His member impaled the wet folds of her flesh. A deep moan rose from her throat. His hands gripped her hips, forcing her to match the rhythm of his body.

Up and down, they moved. Faster and faster. She could feel him stab deeper and deeper inside her. One of his hands traveled up past her waist, until it cupped one tender breast. His thumb pressed against a taunt nipple and again, she moaned. Then it moved to another breast. Her moans grew louder.

Their bodies moved faster. His thrusts became harder. Deeper. Until his entire length filled her walls. Unable to hold back any longer, she climaxed and the muscles within her folds ruthlessly constricted his member. He called out her name and exploded inside her. As she finally fell over the edge, she threw back her head and called out his name. “Tom!”

* * * *

B’Elanna gasped out loud, as her eyes opened. Her body snapped into a sitting position. Had she just . . .? Once the fog cleared her brain, she realized that she was inside her quarters and not in a Jeffries tube. With Tom Paris. B’Elanna also realized that she had thrust her hand inside her pajama bottoms and they now rested on the damp mound between her legs. Embarrassed, she immediately withdrew it.

Then it came back to her. Every detail of her dream. It had been a replay of what she had witnessed inside Jeffries tube 69, this afternoon. Only, the woman having sex with Tom Paris had not been Mallory Aiwa, but her – B’Elanna Torres.

B’Elana’s cheeks grew hot. Erotic dreams were not new to her. She had them before. Only, they had usually consisted of her with a young man she once worshipped from afar, back on Kessik. And later, of her and a certain Maquis captain, turned first officer. B’Elanna never thought she would have dreams about a womanizing pig like Paris.

Slowly, she crawled out of bed and headed for the wash basin. B’Elanna washed her hands and splashed water on her face. The chronometer in her cabin read 01:37 hours. Duty awaited her in less than seven hours. B’Elanna groaned. She hoped it would not be difficult for her to return to sleep.

A heavy thump dashed any hopes of continued sleep. The thump came from next door. A loud moan followed. B’Elanna sighed. The phantom couple had returned.

“Oh yes! Oh . . . oh . . . ah! Faster! Faster . . . oh gods! Fas . . . aaaah!” The cries and moans, accompanied by more thumps followed.

B’Elanna took a deep breath. She tried to ignore the sounds from next door. Yet, it seemed very difficult, especially with them becoming increasingly loud. And her growing more aroused.

At last the noise subsided, but not before the female next door shouted a name that took B’Elanna aback. “Oh yes! Oh . . . oh yes! Oh . . . aaah! Oh Gods! To-ooo-omm!”

Tom? B’Elanna sat on her bed in deep shock. Did she just hear some woman cry out Tom Paris’s name?

* * * *

Harry stared at B’Elanna in disbelief. “Are you sure that was Tom’s name you heard?” he demanded.

“Of course I’m sure!” B’Elanna snapped back. The two friends shared a small breakfast table, in the Mess Hall, the following morning. “How many Toms do you think are on this ship?”

“Tom happens to be a common name,” Harry explained. “It could be someone else.”

B’Elanna rolled her eyes. “Starfleet, I checked the list of personnel on this ship. There is only one Tom aboard Voyager. And his name is Thomas Eugene Paris.” She scoffed with derision. “Eugene. What were his parents thinking with a name like that?”

Eventually, Harry conceded that B’Elanna was right. “Okay, so it was Tom in that cabin, next door to yours. So what? Maybe whomever he’s dating, lives there. What’s her name? Crewman Aiwa.”

“Crewman Aiwa’s quarters are located on Deck Seven,” B’Elanna coolly retorted. “I checked. And no one occupies the cabin next door to mine.”

Harry paused. “Oh. Well, even so . . .”

Exasperated, B’Elanna cried out, “Dammit, Starfleet! Don’t you get it? Paris and Aiwa weren’t supposed to be there. I’m going to report this to Chakotay.”

“Oh come on, Maquis! You’ve got to be kidding!”

B’Elanna gave her friend a pointed stare. “Do I look like I’m kidding? Paris has overstepped the line, this time.”

“Overstepped the . . .” Harry heaved an exasperated sigh. “C’mon B’Elanna! Listen to yourself! You sound like some by-the-book Starfleet officer! Not even the Captain or myself are that bad!”

“Paris is using an empty . . .” B’Elanna lowered her voice, after she noticed several pairs of eyes, staring at her. “Paris is fraternizing in an unauthorized area. No one is supposed to be in that cabin. And both he and Aiwa are keeping me awake with all that noise. I intend to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Harry’s face became hard. B’Elanna had never seen such an expression on his face, before. “I’m telling you, Maquis. You’re making a big mistake. Granted, Tom might find himself in trouble. But sooner or later, word will circulate that you were the one who snitched on him.”

“So what! Aside from you, Janeway and Kes, there isn’t a soul on this ship who wouldn’t like to see Paris get his comeuppance!”

“Perhaps,” Harry replied. “But they’ll also remember that you snitched on someone. Sooner or later, they’ll become wary of you and eventually, you’ll become ostracized on this ship. Like Tom.”

B’Elanna opened her mouth to protest, but Harry seemed to be on a roll. “Tom may not be popular right now. But if word gets around that your reported him for having sex in some empty cabin, he’ll be a hero in compare to you. No one likes a snitch, B’Elanna. Isn’t that why the Maquis dislike him in the first place? Because you all believe he had ratted on you to the Captain?”

In one of those rare moments in her life, B’Elanna found herself speechless. She could not believe the words coming out of Harry’s mouth. After several long seconds, her voice finally returned. “Tell me Harry, are you saying that you would tell Paris that I snitched on him?” B’Elanna tried to sound menacing, quiet. Unfortunately, wavering insecurity came out, instead.

“C’mon B’Elanna! I’m not a snitch!” Harry expressed outrage. “Besides, I wouldn’t have to. Tom is a pretty smart guy. He would have found out, eventually. And knowing him, he would have found some way to get even.” He leaned forward, his face radiating intensity. “Please, Maquis. Don’t do it!”

B’Elanna, most reluctantly, realized that it would be wise to heed Harry’s warning. She did not fear reprisal from Tom Paris. Yet, she had no desire to become an even bigger pariah on the ship. Her anger toward the pilot’s sexual escapades, however, remained. A new obsession sprung within her. An obsession to discover the identity of Paris’s paramour. Whom she suspected was Mallory Aiwa. And when she finally confirms Aiwa as Paris’s partner-in-crime, B’Elanna promised herself that she would get even with both.

* * * *

Dark eyes seemed to follow Tom Paris nearly everywhere. They scrutinized him whenever “she” was on the Bridge, at her station. Those same eyes observed him in the Mess Hall, during breakfast, lunch and dinner. And whenever he appeared in Engineering to deliver a report or work on the navigational array, the dark eyes observed him . . . closely. Tom could also recall seeing those same eyes along Voyager’s corridors, on occasion. After nearly two weeks of such scrutiny, Tom came to the conclusion that he was being stalked.

He had heard about Klingon women who stalked potential mates. Yet, the deep suspicion and dislike in B’Elanna Torres’ eyes led Tom to believe that she did not view him as a potential mate. Which led him to speculate on her sudden interest in him.

“Quite frankly, I don’t know what the hell is her problem,” Tom complained to his best friend. The two officers sat inside the shuttlecraft, Cochrane, as it sped toward the Banean homeworld.

Voyager had came across the M-class planet two days ago. After learning that its inhabitants possessed warp technology and promised to help Voyager with its damaged collimator. Captain Janeway ordered Harry to work with one of the Banean scientists. And ordered Tom to fly Harry to the planet’s surface. It seemed that Banea was at war with another race who occupied the planet, called the Numeri. Who had established a blockade around Banea.

Tom spared the younger man a quick glance. “Torres is your friend, Harry. Do you know why she’s suddenly so interested in me?”

Harry sighed. Which told Tom that he knew something. And was reluctant to reveal. “What? C’mon Harry. Spill it.”

“Okay.” Another gust of breath followed. Then, “Tom, have you been seeing anyone on Deck Nine, lately? Other than Telac Mara?”

It took all of Tom’s skills in dissembling to maintain his usual mask. How did Harry know about his trips to Deck Nine? Better yet, what did it have to do with Torres? “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Tom mumbled.

“Cabin Nine-I?” Harry continued. “It seems you’ve been using it for a little private down time with a certain someone, this past month. Only you haven’t been that private.”

Tom sighed in defeat. “Okay. I surrender. How did you find out?”

“I didn’t. B’Elanna did. She could hear you two.”

A hot flush crept up Tom’s neck. “How did she . . .?”

Harry added, “B’Elanna’s quarters are next door – Cabin Nine-H. She heard everything.”

“Great!” Tom pursed his lips in irritation.

The younger man continued, “She knows it’s you in there, but she doesn’t know who your friend is.”

“She isn’t exactly a friend,” Tom retorted.

Confusion filled Harry’s dark eyes. “Huh? What are you talking . . .?”

“So B’Elanna knows,” Tom said, interrupting the other man. “I suppose she plans to go running to Chakotay.”

According to Harry, the Chief Engineer almost did. Until he talked her out of it. “And it wasn’t the first time, Tom. We caught you and Mallory Aiwa inside Jeffries tube 69, around the same time B’Elanna found out about Cabin Nine-I.”

Tom sighed. “You two seem very familiar with my love life, lately. Anything else?”

“Well, you haven’t exactly been discreet,” Harry retorted.

“Who has? Do you think Mallory and I were the only ones using the Jeffries tubes? Hell, I’ll bet that half the crew are doing the same. I’ve caught at least four couples inside the Jeffries Tubes, since we blew up the Caretaker’s array.”

The disturbed expression on Harry’s face told Tom the extent of his friend’s innocence. Poor Harry. His mind jumped to the half-Klingon. Poor me. Tom realized that he had a hostile senior officer on his hands, just itching to get him into trouble. He would have to be more careful in the future.

“What I don’t understand,” Harry continued, “is why you and Aiwa would even bother using an empty cabin on Deck Nine in the first place?”

Might as well be truthful. Somewhat. “I’ve never been with Mallory on Deck Nine,” Tom explained. “I was with someone else.”

“Does Aiwa know?”

A curt laugh escaped Tom’s mouth. “Of course not, Harry. I doubt that she would really care, these days.” He paused. “We broke up just four days ago. Mallory began having delusions that she alone, could finally get to know the real Tom Paris. Naturally, I had to disappoint her.”

Harry shot Tom a sharp glance. The latter ignored it as he continued to guide the shuttle toward the Banean homeworld.

* * * *

“Hey!”

Tom’s cry startled the woman, bent over one of the consoles inside a junction that connected two of the Jeffries tubes on Deck Five. She glared at him. “Dammit Paris! What the hell is your problem?”

“I’ve been looking for you.” Tom jumped off the ladder and landed next to her.

She gave him a sniff and returned to her work. “You’ve found me. Now what do you want?”

Tom grabbed hold of her shoulder and forced her in an upward position. “I want to talk to you, not your ass.”

“That’s funny. You seemed to be in backsides, lately. Including one that belong to a certain Banean woman.”

Laughter bubbled up inside Tom at the absurdity of her jealousy. “What is this? Don’t tell me you’re jealous?”

“Of course not! Now what do you want?” she shot back in an acid voice.

Tom became sober. “Just to let you know. The next time you get any ideas about a quick roll in the hay, find someone else. It seems that a certain friend of yours has found out about our little activities in Cabin 9-I. And considering her volatile nature, I have no desire to find myself facing the Captain. Or Chakotay.”

“Are you saying that Torres is a snitch? B’Elanna?” Disbelief shone in her eyes.

Tom shrugged. “Normally, I’d say no. But this is me, we’re talking about. Just about ninety-eight percent of the crew would love to see me in trouble with the Captain. And guess what? I won’t be alone, this time.”

She sniffed. “Fine. If it makes you feel any better. Of course . . .”

Oh God, Tom thought. Trouble. “I’m getting out of here. See you around.”

“Wait!” She grabbed Tom’s arm. “Does B’Elanna know about me, as well?”

Tom stared at her uneasily. “No, just me. Why?”

A seductive smile appeared on her lips. “Well, since I don’t want to get into trouble, any more than you do, I promise I won’t ambush you on Deck Nine anymore. That is . . . if you don’t mind meeting me at my favorite cabin, later this evening. Say around 1630 hours? Torres usually likes to hang around Engineering a little longer than the usual eight-hour shift.”

Tom wandered if she had lost her mind. Why was she so interested in him? Was she that desperate for sex? “Are you crazy?” he exclaimed. “No! Didn’t you hear what I said?”

“Yes. But you obviously didn’t hear me. What’s wrong with a little afternoon sex? Trust me, B’Elanna won’t be there. Meet me at Cabin 9-I at 1630 hours. Unless,” a sneer crossed her face, “you’ve developed a taste for Delta Quadrant women.”

Coolly, Tom responded, “Maybe I have.”

“Oh.” She paused. “Well.” She reached up and brushed a finger across his lower lip. “Too bad. I had hoped to work up an appetite before dinner.”

Tom’s body immediately stiffened. He grabbed her hand and drew her against him. Damn that woman! She always had a talent for breaking his defenses. Or perhaps a year in prison had rekindled his sex drive. “I’ll see you in Cabin 9-I. Sixteen thirty hours.”

“I’ll be there.” She forced her mouth upon his for a brief, passionate kiss, ending it with a bite on his lip. “Just a reminder of our appointment. I’ll see you later.” Then she turned her back on him and resumed her work. Tom took a deep breath and started up the ladder toward Deck Four.

END OF PART TWO

Five Favorite Episodes of “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY” Season One (2017-2018)

Below is a list of my favorite episodes from Season One of the All Access CBS series, “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY”. Created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, the series stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham:

 

“FIVE FAVORITE EPISODES OF “STAR TREK: DISCOVERY” SEASON ONE (2017-2018)

1. (1.09) “Into the Forest I Go” – While ignoring Starfleet’s orders, U.S.S. Discovery’s commander, Captain Gabriel Lorca decides to use the ship’s new core drive in an effort to help end the Federation’s war against the Klingons.

 

2. (1.07) “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” – While the Discovery crew enjoy a party, an unwelcome visitor boards the ship to seek vengeance and bring about a series of bringing about a twisted sequence of events that involves a time loop. This episode was nominated for a Hugh Award for writing.

 

3. (1.02) “Battle at the Binary Stars” – Incarcerated in one of the U.S.S. Shenzhou’s brig for disobeying an order, First Officer Burham struggles to escape, while the ship is under attack by the Klingon Empire. Later, she joins her commanding officer, Captain Georgiou, in an audacious plan to prevent war.

 

4. (1.13) “What’s Past Is Prologue” – With the U.S.S. Discovery still stuck in the mirror universe, Captain Lorca plots a coup against the Terran Empire’s ruthless leader, the Emperor Philippa Georgiou. Meanwhile former Starfleet officer Michael Burnham struggles to find a way for the Discovery’s return to their universe.

 

5. (1.11) “The Wolf Inside” – As the crew continue its deception of being a part of the Terran Empire, Burnham undergoes a merciless mission in hopes of helping the ship return home.