Story takes place approximately five years after Voyager‘s entry into the Delta Quadrant and assumes that P&T have been engaged for a few months.
Summary: Tom is abducted and forced to become part of a corrupt government‘s plan to control is populace. Disclaimer: Paramount owns Voyager and its characters. I‘ve only borrowed the characters to satisfy my own creative urges. Archiving is okay, just e-mail me. Please keep disclaimer and my name attached.
DECEPTION, rated PG-13, 3/98
by PJ in NH
E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapter 1 - Prytolus
"...and so we knew there had to be someway to get Professor Mofek‘s face to crack. I mean, Tuvok‘s animated compared to Mofek. This Vulcan didn‘t even raise an eyebrow and every lecture was delivered strictly monotone, and I don‘t need to tell you that temporal mechanics is boring enough to begin with. Vulcan or no Vulcan, we had determined that before the end of the semester we would get him to show some kind of emotion."
"You not talking about Morose Mofek?" said Harry in disbelief as he approached the table and sat down.
"The very same," confirmed Tom.
"So what did you do?" asked B‘Elanna.
"Well I don‘t know if I should tell you," baited the pilot as he reached over to touch her left ear lobe. "After all this material is really not suitable for a lady‘s delicate ears." "Since when am I a lady," she growled.
"I‘ve always thought of you as a lady my dear." he said smoothly. "But, you can‘t say I didn‘t warn you...Seven, I‘m sorry, you‘ll have to forgive me they‘re forcing me."
"Come on Tom out with it, don‘t keep us waiting," pleaded Kim.
"What did you do?"
"All right, but if you ever try this on Tuvok, I‘ll disavow any knowledge of the event."
"Tom commence your story," order Seven in a strong voice. Even the ex-Borg had been captivated by the introduction. "I‘m getting to it Seven, just wanted to create the mood," he said a conceited smile on his face. "It was a dark and stormy night—no wait a minute, that‘s another story." He cleared his voice and began again obviously relishing the anticipation. "It started..." "Senior officers report to the ready room." "Aargh!" they collectively groaned as they all marched out of the Mess Hall.
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As her senior staff reluctantly filed into the Captain‘s ready room, the Janeway was already seated at the head of the table. "I hope I wasn‘t interrupting something?" she asked as she looked at all the sad faces save for her pilot.
"Nothing that we can‘t continue at another time," chimed in Tom gracing her with his trademark grin.
"Good, well it‘s time to get down to business," she stated as she got up out of her chair to start her customary pacing around the table. "We have just come across a message beacon inviting us to come and partake of a neighboring planet‘s hospitality. The planet is called Prytolus. Hopefully, we can use this opportunity to at least replenish our food stores and purchase other necessary supplies and, maybe, if things work out, we can even arrange for a short shore leave." Looking around the room, she noticed that she had everyone‘s undivided attention. "We have been instructed to contact the officials when we achieve orbit to make the necessary arrangements. Any questions? Then everyone please return to your stations."
A couple of hours later Prytolus appeared on the view screen, it was a planet very similar to Earth with an abundance of water and varied land surfaces. It looked very inviting, very reminiscent of home.
"Mr. Paris when should we arrive?"
"At our present speed, about fifty minutes, Captain."
Fifty minutes later, they achieved orbit around Prytolus. "Mr. Kim, please contact the officials using the communication band width identified by the beacon," instructed Janeway. "Aye, aye, Captain. Ready to transmit."
"Officials of Prytolus, this is Captain Katherine Janeway of the U.S.S. Federation Starship Voyager, please respond." "At your service Captain Janeway, I see that you found our beacon. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Representative Ryola to the First Prime Minister of Prytolus. Welcome." The figure that appeared on the view screen resembled a human except for the fact that there were numerous blue splotches or spots all over his forehead.
The Captain smiled. "Yes, we were hoping to avail ourselves of your hospitality. We are in need of restocking our food stores. Do you think you could help us?"
"Certainly, but first we would like to invite you and a few members of your crew of your choosing to meet with us at the First Prime Minister‘s residence here in the capital to attend a reception in your honor at sundown tomorrow," he explained. "We would be honored."
"Before you beam down, security dictates that you provide us with some routine information regarding the members of your crew that will be attending the reception, like name, visual I.D., rank, etc. "Very well, we will send that information down first thing tomorrow morning." she replied with a smile. "I look forward to the reception, Voyager out."
Janeway turned to her crew. "Commander, Ms. Torres, Mr. Paris, and Mr. Tuvok please plan to attend the reception, dress uniforms." "Yes, Captain," they replied in unison.
The rest of the day passed by rather quickly as many of the crew were called upon to assemble lists and to provide space in the ship‘s cargo bays for the anticipated acquisitions. That evening a very tired pilot and engineer prepared for bed, using B‘Elanna‘s quarters for the night. "You know, eventually, we are going to have to decide which cabin to use," complained Tom, obviously it was a familiar argument.
"Tom, we‘ve talked about this before, but I am just too tired to talk about it tonight."
"That‘s fine, just promise me you‘ll think about it Bea, it won‘t be long before we‘ll be husband and wife and it doesn‘t look good for married couples to be living apart," he said with a smile and he tweaked her pert nose. "Okay?"
"I promise, I‘ll think about it. I‘ll let you know before we leave Prytolus."
"Okay. Now let‘s turn in love of my life, I‘m exhausted." They cuddled against each other as was their custom, anything more than that would have to wait for the morning, and before long they were both sound asleep.
During the night, B‘Elanna received an emergency message from the Delta Shift. They had experienced a critical problem when they had tested the transporter pad and needed both B‘Elanna and Carey to help make corrections so the transporters would be ready for their important tasks scheduled for the next couple of days. It was a couple of hours before she was able to return to her quarters. When she entered her cabin she didn‘t even call for illumination, not wanting to wake Tom. As she quietly took off her uniform she heard muffled noises from the sleeping area. Nearing the bed, she could see that the pilot was having another nightmare. They had been less frequent lately, coinciding with their new sleeping arrangement, but when he did experience one it was just a troubling as then ones he had had in the past. "No stay away," he mumbled. "I don‘t want...it hurts..."
B‘Elanna crawled in beside him and hugged his shaking body to hers.
"Ssssh, Tom, it‘s alright I‘m here."
"Not again...leave me alone..."
<Wouldn‘t those memories from the Rehab Colony ever leave him alone? She shook him gently. "Tom, wake up your on Voyager, your safe."
The blue, troubled eyes opened. Realizing that he had had a nightmare his arms sought out his love and he nestled his cheek against hers. "B‘Elanna, I don‘t know what I‘d do without you, all you have to do is touch me, talk to me, and everything is right again. I love you so much."
"Then hold on to me," she offered as she kissed him tenderly on the lips and turned in his arms so he could spoon his body against hers. "Just hold me and try to go back to sleep, tomorrow‘s a busy day." It took a while, but eventually his breathing evened out and his arms relaxed and she knew and he had finally achieved a restful sleep. She followed his example and soon she was back to sleep herself.
Chapter 2 - Misconception
The requested information was transmitted to the surface for Representative Ryola‘s perusal. There was one piece of information sent that intrigued him and he went to share this with the Prime Minister. The day had all of a sudden had gotten very interesting.
"You‘ll double check the invitees to this ‚reception,‘ ordered the Prime Minister, as he reviewed the information he had been presented "Cross any names off the list who are not familiar with the situation."
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The four crewmembers and their Captain assembled in the transporter room at 1800 hours, all looking slightly uncomfortable in the seldom warn dress uniforms. Paris tugged on his collar demonstrating obvious discomfort as the edge of the collar happened to coincide with the love bite B‘Elanna had bestowed on him that morning. <I should have found the time to go that Sickbay to get it taken care.
"Nervous, Tom," as B‘Elanna.
"No but why do these affairs always have to be formal? he complained. "Can‘t they ever arrange for an informal reception? Like a picnic?"
Chakotay slapped the pilot on the back. "I‘m sure the Captain requested a dress uniforms just to annoy you Tom." "I figured it was either that or maybe you talked here into it," he grumbled.
The rest of the group chuckled, except for Tuvok, and proceeded to the transporter pads.
"Well is everyone ready? Good. Mr. Wilson please beam us down to the appropriate coordinates," requested the Captain. Within moments the beam shimmered around all the five and they were transported to the reception area at the First Prime Minister‘s Palace. The reception area was a large white room accented by blue trim with high ceilings and oval-shaped windows, brightly illuminated by hidden light sources and decorated with numerous plants and paintings. Several Prytolians, came over to the Voyager crew to greet them.
"Ahh, Captain Janeway I believe," said the familiar voice from the previous transmission. "Let me introduce you our First Prime Minister, Curielan.
The Captain approached the Prime Minister. "Minister Curielan, its an honor to make your acquaintance, I hope we can do business together."
"The pleasure is all mine, but please call me Curielan," he offered, "and I‘m sure we can come to a suitable arrangement regarding your food requirements." Though he was talking to the Captain, his gaze kept traveling to the pilot that was standing behind her. Behind the Minister, Representative Ryola and a colleague were conferring amongst themselves in obvious interest, and every time they looked up their eyes fell on Paris as well. "Let me introduce you to some of my crewmembers," the captain offered. "Curielan, this is Commander Chakotay my first officer." The Indian shook hands with the Minister and then Janeway turned to Tuvok. "And this is Lt. Commander Tuvok, our Chief of Security." The Vulcan also greeted the minister. "This is our Chief of Engineering, Lt. B‘Elanna Torres, and our Chief Pilot, Lt. Tom Paris." Curielan shook hands with B‘Elanna as well as Tom, but lingered as he shook the pilot‘s hand blatantly observing his facial features, which caused Paris to blush." "You are not all of the same race," stated Curielan. "No, Mr. Tuvok is Vulcan, Ms. Torres is half-human/half-Klingon, and Commander Chakotay, Lt. Paris, and myself are humans." she explained.
"Interesting, now I have to make a formal announcement, it‘s one of the things that I‘m expected to do." he said to her in a low voice. The captain lightly laughed at the joke. "Visitors from Voyager," he addressed his guests, "on behalf of the Prytolian government I welcome you to our fair planet. I hope that you will enjoy your brief stay. Please help yourself to the refreshments."
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"Bea this could be worse," he said later as he removed two glasses of Prytolian wine from a tray held by an attendant. The food‘s good, the wine is" as he took a sip from the glass "ah. . . acceptable, and the atmosphere is . . . well it isn‘t Voyager." "I have to agree the food isn‘t bad, it certainly beats some of Neelix‘s concoctions."
"It wouldn‘t take much to accomplish that," he laughed as he looked around . "You know, Bea, call me paranoid but I keep having this feeling that I‘m being watched."
"Okay, your paranoid."
"No really, I‘m serious, I haven‘t felt this way since, well... since the Admiral used to drag me along to some of his Starfleet parties. I was the only child there so everyone kept their eye on me. I guess they were afraid I‘d run off with the family silver." "I‘m sure it‘s just your imagination Tom, maybe the Pytolians aren‘t used to seeing someone as tall and handsome as you are?" she teased.
"You know, your probably right, I am one unique specimen." he joked as puffed out his chest in a proud pose. They then proceeded to circulate around the room, pausing every so often to answer and ask questions.
Representative Ryola approached the two lieutenants, carrying two full glasses of Prytolian wine, he offered one to each of them. "It appears that you need a refill. Lt. Torres and Lt. Paris isn‘t it?" The two lieutenants nodded and accepted the refreshments. "Perhaps I could interest you in a tour of our Hall of Appreciation? I think you might be interested in some Prytolian‘s finest works of art."
"We‘d be delighted." responded the pilot graciously for the both of them.
"Then please follow me, its right through these doors."
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"...and if you look over here you‘ll see a painting by one of our finest artists of our great victory on the Tyleen Ocean." Their eyes focused on a large painting obviously depicting an important maritime conflict that contained many vessels and a generous display of fire power.
<<Representative Ryola please report to the atrium. came the message over the intercom system.
"I‘m sorry, duty calls, you‘ll have to excuse me. Please continue the tour, if either of you needs to use the ‚comfort area‘ it‘s at the end of the far hall."
B‘Elanna shook his hand. "I‘m sure we will be fine, thank you for taking the trouble to show us your lovely art collection." Tom nodded in agreement.
The engineer and pilot resumed their tour. B‘Elanna finished her beverage but noticed that Tom had only drunk about half of his glass. "What‘s the matter," she said pointing to the glass "the wine‘s not up to your standards?"
"Well, I didn‘t want to say anything to our host, but I think it tastes sour," holding the glass up to the light to inspect the contents. "Perhaps my glass was poured from a different bottle than yours."
"You know," she said worriedly as she reached up to touch his cheek and sweaty forehead, "you look even more pale that usual and your running a fever, are you feeling all right?" "To be honest, Bea, I‘ve felt better, in fact I‘m feeling a bit nauseous. Maybe I‘ll check out that ‚comfort area‘." He handed her his half-filled glass and headed down the hall that Ryola pointed out earlier.
Chapter 3 - Seclusion
A half an hour had passed and B‘Elanna was still waiting for Tom to return. She had walked around the room twice and looked at all of the paintings and sculptures again and had returned to the space she had occupied when he first left the room. Just as she was about to go and investigate, a sound from behind her startled her. She immediately turned around only to bump into Chakotay and spilled the remaining contents of Tom‘s glass down the front of her uniform.
"Sorry B‘Elanna, I didn‘t mean to startle you." "That‘s okay," she said distractedly as she tried to brush away the wetness.
"He wasn‘t feeling well and went to use the rest room, but that was about a half an hour ago. To tell you the truth, I‘m starting to get worried. Would you mind coming with me to check it out, I‘d hate to walk in on anybody besides Tom?" "Sure, just point me in the right direction." She lead him over to the hallway and accompanied him down the corridor until they came to the end. "You go on in, I‘ll just wait out here."
The Commander entered the room and after a brief inspection, quickly rejoined B‘Elanna in the Hall. "He‘s not in there B‘Elanna, maybe he took a wrong turn on his way back to join you?" The half-Klingon activated her commbadge in response. "Torres to Paris."
"Chakotay to Paris."
Again, no answer.
"Chakotay to Voyager."
"Kim here, Commander."
"Mr. Kim did Lt. Paris return to the ship?"
"No one has returned sir."
"It appears that our pilot is missing, maybe he‘s getting cold feet about the wedding already," he said with a grin for B‘Elanna‘s benefit. "Please institute a scan of the immediate area." "Aye, aye sir, I‘ll get right back to you."
"Very good Harry. B‘Elanna let‘s go back and inform the Captain."
Chakotay guided B‘Elanna out of the Hall of Appreciation back to the reception area. It took a little while but they finally found the Captain talking with Curielan on the other side of the room. "Captain?"
"Yes, what is it Commander?"
"I thought that you should know that Mr. Paris is missing and is not answering his commbadge."
"Did he return to Voyager?"
"No, I‘ve already checked on that."
"Kim to Commander Chakotay."
"Go ahead Mr. Kim."
"I‘ve had located Tom‘s commbadge, it appears to be about a half a kilometer to the west of your present location." "Very good Mr. Kim, we‘ll check it out." "You might need some assistance, I‘ll send Representative Ryola with you," offered Curielan.
After about forty minutes, Chakotay and Representative Ryola made the gruesome discovery. Underneath a grove of trees they found what was left of the pilot‘s torn and bloody dress uniform. Ryola explained to the Commander that by the looks of what remained, it was quite apparent that a pack of kyenkas, Prytolian wolves, had attacked and killed the lieutenant. The Indian reached up and reluctantly activated his commbadge. "Captain, it looks like we found something, I‘m over by the tall group of trees not far from the fountain." This was going to be very difficult. Hoping to protect B‘Elanna, Chakotay quickly left the area in an effort to prevent her from seeing her fianc‚‘s remains, what there was of them.
The engineer and captain approached. Chakotay grabbed B‘Elanna by her upper arms. <How can I say these words to her? How can I tell her that her fiance has been killed?
Noticing the look on the commander‘s face which said it all, B‘Elanna shook her head in disbelief. "Noooo! Noooo!" He was unable to stop her as she broke free of him and ran past him into the grove of trees. Seeing the bloody uniform on the ground, she crumbled to the ground and clutched the torn clothing to her chest and emitted a pitiful wail.
Janeway started to walk past Chakotay to go to B‘Elanna‘s aid but was stopped by her First Officer. "Let her be Katherine," his voice thick with emotion. "She needs to be alone right now, Klingons prefer to grieve in isolation. If we go in, we‘ll only embarrass her."
"So he‘s gone?" she questioned looking at the man in front of her, she couldn‘t bring herself to say ‚dead.‘ "I don‘t see how he could have survived, his uniform, what‘s left of it is torn and bloody, he lost a great deal of blood. According to Ryola, an animal called a kyenka, it apparently resembles some type of wolf," he explained "attacked and killed him. I‘m afraid we will never see Tom again."
"My heart just breaks for her," the captain said softly, "they had so much to look forward to and now it‘s all gone. They had finally found their happiness."
She collapsed into his waiting arms and cried. After a while, she lifted her tear-stained face up to him. "I‘m sorry, this is not very becoming for a Starfleet captain."
"You don‘t need to apologize. We‘ll all miss him," he choked and cradled her in his strong arms. In the background, they could still hear B‘Elanna‘s cries.
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Oh gods, if he could just get to the rest room before he lost it in the hallway. It was bad enough to be sick, but when you were trying to make a good impression, it was worse. He finally found the comfort area as promised at the end of the hall and gratefully pushed open the door and stumbled inside. When the lights didn‘t automatically turn on, he searched the wall near the door for an activation switch, but before he could locate it, his arms were grabbed from behind, a hand was clasped over his mouth. He could feel someone administering a syringe into the side of his neck. Before the drug took affect and he lost consciousness, he could feel his uniform being brutally torn from his body and what felt like needles being inserted in both arms.
Chapter 4 - Re-education
He awoke to darkness, something was covering his eyes and he was being restrained. He tried to speak, but all he could do was moan as his mouth was taped shut. As he became more aware of the circumstances, he could feel a pair hands repeatedly touching his forehead.
"There, about done and just in time it seems, he‘s waking up. He‘s still a very pale, we may have taken too much blood from him, but I confident he‘ll recover. It‘s time for the next phase of the plan, take him into the next room, I‘ll inform Doctor Warlek that he‘s ready," he ordered the assistant.
The pilot uselessly struggled on the bed as the assistant did as bade and moved him into another room. <What is going on? Where am I? What are they doing to me? After few minutes the movement stopped, apparently they had reached their destination. "Ah, I see you have brought our visitor," the new voice said as he nodded to the assistant to leave. "My name is Doctor Warlek. With a flourish he brutally ripped off the tape that covered the pilot‘s mouth and eyes.
"Let me welcome you to my humble laboratory, Mr. Paris, it‘s time for your re-education."
Squinting his eyes against the glare of the harsh light, the tired pilot attempted to clear his dry throat. "What are you talking about? Where are my crewmates? Why am I here?" He looked down at the restraints and noticed that they had dressed him in a grey jumpsuit, reminiscent of similar clothes he had worn at the Rehab Colony. "Where is my uniform?"
"Your here to perform an important service for the people of Prytolus, you should be honored," he explained as he approached within a hand‘s breadth of the patient‘s face, "and your crewmates are long gone, they think your dead." Tom looked back at Warlek, a look that conveyed his disbelief.
"No? You don‘t believe me? Maybe you‘ll believe this." With a push of a button, a screen descended from the ceiling and a vid tape began to play. Tom could hear and see everything that had happened yesterday in the grove of trees, Chakotay and Representative Ryola finding the remains, B‘Elanna sobbing and clutching his bloody uniform, Chakotay holding Janeway while she cried—everything. These Pytolians had done their job well, it certainly looked like B‘Elanna and his friends thought he was dead. Seeing B‘Elanna so distraught tore at his heart, how dare they make the woman he loved so heartbroken. "You bastards!" he screamed as he struggled against the restraints, but his words meant nothing to the doctor.
"Before your done human your not even going to remember your friends, you‘ll be firmly convinced that you are a Prytolian of the worker caste." he spoke with confidence. "I think you might be underestimating this guinea pig," spat Paris. "We‘ll see, or maybe you should see?" The interrogator turned to the table behind him and grabbed a mirror and shoved it in front of his patient‘s face.
The reflection that greeted the pilot was not what he expected. His forehead was covered with green splotches, not as many or the same color as the Pytolians he had already seen, but obviously they wanted him to look like one of them. The pilot‘s eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What are you planning?"
The overconfident Doctor silently turned back to the screen and pushed another button on the console and another series of images appeared. This vid had been shot from a distance, Tom could see many Prytolians gathered attending a meeting of some sort. Most of the people he saw were ill-dressed and had green spots on their foreheads, but there were also some in attendance with blue and red spots. In the background, he could see the person that was addressing the crowd with a raised fist in the air. He was speaking to the assembled crowd extolling them with passion to continue their fight in the name of freedom and equality for all sectors of the population, ruling caste, religious caste, and particularly the worker caste. The crowd shouted in unison repeating the same words over and over "Madeel! Madeel! Freedom for the Workers, Equality for Prytolus!"
As the picture ultimately zoomed in and focused solely on the leader, Paris could see that it was the same image that he had just seen in the mirror. He was shocked, his mouth agape and looked at the smiling, conceited face of the doctor and then back to the screen. The next image to be seen was taken in a room very much like the one he was in, they were cruelly interrogating the man, asking him over and over again to denounce his cause. Every question was responded to in the same manner, total silence. The final set of images showed his ‚twin‘ painfully dying as he no longer could withstand the torture he had been forced to endure. Then the screen went black. Paris had watched this all in a similar silence and when it was over he looked up with a questioning look at the doctor.
"You still don‘t get it you simple human? Do I have to spell it out for you?" Warlek said condescendingly. "Your going to become Madeel, your going to speak to the people of Prytolus, and in particular the worker caste, and tell them that you were wrong and denounce the rebellion and claim that the religious caste and especially the elite caste deserve all the power that they have achieved and earned over the years. Your going to tell them that the worker caste should humble themselves again and be proud to serve the more enlightened Pytolians."
"Your insane! I won‘t do it! You can‘t make me! Besides Madeel is dead, it won‘t work."
"Only a few people know that Madeel is dead and believe me by the time we‘re done, even you are going to believe that you are this Madeel." Warlek picked up a large syringe and completely injected the substance it contained in into Paris‘ arm. "Trust me, you‘ll believe, this wonderful drug will work its miracle, you‘ll see." It wasn‘t long before the room began to spin and swirl and Paris started to feel the effects of the drug the Doctor had injected into his system. Warlek proceeded to secure conditioning straps to Paris‘ wrists and ankles and then he left the room. He returned a short while later with an assistant, checked on his reluctant patient again and determined that it was time to begin and picked up an activation device, a small black box with a red button in the center. Clasping his hands around his back he walked over the Paris.
"It‘s time for your re-education," he announced calmly "I should warn you, this is all up to you. You can make it easy or difficult and believe me," he threatened "I can make it very difficult." Warlek sat down and made himself comfortable. "Let‘s begin.
What‘s your name?"
"Lieutenant Tom Paris of the Star. . ." Warlek pushed the red button and an electrical charge surged through the pilot‘s body causing him to scream in agony and gasp for breath. "Wrong answer," he said calmly, your name is Madeel. Shall we try again? What is your name?"
Paris repeated his original answer and again received the same response and electrical jolt. This continued several more times, occasionally the jolts in combination with his dizziness resulted in the pilot retching painfully until after a while there was nothing left to vomit. Each time he spoke, his voice sounded weaker and more unsure, until late in the afternoon he ultimately lapsed into unconsciousness.
The doctor turned to his assistant. "This is enough for today, I am surprised though, this human‘s more resistant than I thought. We‘ll continue tomorrow. Remember, he is to receive no water or food until he cooperates."
Tom awoke a while later in a dark cell, having apparently been deposited there sometime after he had passed out. It was all he could do to pull himself up off the cold floor and onto the small cot that occupied the cell. Whatever was in that drug, he mused, certainly packed a punch. His vision was still wavering and the exertion that he expended to get on the cot caused him to become nauseous again. He attempted to ward off the inevitable by taking a series of deep breaths, but in the end he doubled over and started dry heaving again. <Someone help me, please.. Eventually, tired and sore, he just closed his eyes and was thankful when he finally fell to sleep.
He was still asleep the next morning when he was dragged from the cot back to the interrogation room and again was strapped to the bed. A short while later, the door to the room loudly slammed open which made him jerk against the restraints. The doctor entered carrying a tall glass of water, his assistant was close behind him. "Good morning, are you ready for your second session?" He was greeted with silence. "Let‘s begin." Warlek brought out the syringe again and again injected the contents into the pilot‘s arm and waited patiently for the drug to take effect. He then motioned for his assistant to hand him the activation device, and he asked the pilot again. "Who are you, what his your name?" "Lieutenant Tom . . AARGH!"
"You‘d think you would learn. I told you your name is Madeel.
Didn‘t yesterday mean anything?"
The question was only answered by a look of defiance on Tom‘s face. Warlek picked up the glass of water and walked over to his victim and took a long drink and licked his lips relishing his refreshment. "I would imagine that you must be thirsty? I know that most patients that receive the injections become very dry, it‘s one of the side effects, along with the nausea—rather an odd combination. Are you sure you don‘t want some?" and he took another slurp from the glass.
He was right, he was dizzy, nauseous, but very thirsty, his mouth tasted like dust, he could barely swallow, but he vowed that he wouldn‘t give in. The pilot tried to spit at Warlek, but because his mouth was so dry nothing came out.
"I know you want some water and you can have some, but not now, not until you cooperate."
"Let‘s try again. What‘s your name..."
The lesson continued for most of the second day with the same results. Finally the pilot, as had happened the previous day, eventually passed out from exhaustion.
"Tomorrow Doctor?" queried the assistant. "Tomorrow. I‘m sure the results will be better tomorrow. All we need is for him to admit that he is Madeel once, for him to want the water badly enough, and the rest of his defenses will all come down."
Again Paris was thrown in the cell, but this time he did not wake as he had the previous night. He was still on the cold floor when the guards came to wake him to move him back to the interrogation room the next morning.
The third day started out much like the other two, only this time the doctor injected an even larger dose of the drug into his patient. And again the doctor brought in a large glass of water in which to tempt him. By mid-afternoon, the scale started to tip in the Warlek‘s favor.
The doctor paced back and forth, obviously getting more annoyed. "I know your thirsty, you want the water. If you cooperate you can have the whole glass, I can even give you something for the nausea. So again I ask you, WHAT—IS—YOUR—NAME!?" he asked for the eighteenth time that day.
There was no response, but Tom‘s eyes never left the glass of water sitting next to him on the table, it was the only thing he could see, the rest of his world spun all around him, pitching first one way and then the other—and he was so thirsty. He wanted the water, he needed the water, he wanted to feel the cool wetness of it flow down his dry arid throat.
Warlek moved closer to the dazed pilot sensing victory. "I said, WHAT—IS—YOUR—NAME!?"
"Um, um . . . ah . . . ," he murmured almost inaudibly, his lips cracked and the tongue swollen, he looked at the doctor, then back to the water, "It‘s . . . it‘s . . .Madeel." "I don‘t think I heard you, what did you say?" he teased and he lightly pushed the button which gave the pilot a minor, but in his condition, painful jolt.
"It‘s Madeel." he responded a little bit stronger through a fog- filled daze, his world tilted on a shaky axis. "Very good Madeel" and he reached over and brought the glass to the pilot‘s lips and let him drink.
Madeel/Tom drank the entire contents of the glass, though in his haste to drink a lot spilled down his chin, but it tasted so good, so good.
Chapter 5 - Re-examination
It has been three days since Voyager left orbit around Prytolus.
Since our departure, Voyager has been cloaked in a cloud of gloom. B‘Elanna and Harry are so depressed I doubt if either is eating or sleeping. B‘Elanna is obviously blaming herself for what happened to Tom. I must send them down to the doctor to see if he can help them before they become seriously ill.
Life on Voyager is no longer the same. How can one person‘s absence affect the quality of life on this ship so much. I don‘t know, but it has. I no longer hear any laughter from the crew. Tom‘s one-liners and gentle, and not-so-gentle, ribbing of the First Officer and Chief of Security are going to be missed by all, even by Chakotay and Tuvok. I‘ll miss the way he could reduce a complicated problem down to its bare essentials. Tuvok would describe a problem down to the most minute detail, then Tom in just a few raw words could reduce it to its bare essentials while still retaining all its crucial elements. There‘s another thing I‘m going to miss, the way he had of saying "yes, ma‘am," it just rolled off his tongue so naturally. I never even cared if it wasn‘t ‚crunch time,‘ though I never told him. Yes, I think I‘m going to miss hearing him speak those words maybe most of all. The ship is now dull and solemn, devoid of life, its spark has been extinguished.
In engineering things were in a whirlwind. Where B‘Elanna led, her staff followed, not always willingly, but they followed. Every system was checked and rechecked, every trivial maintenance task that could be accomplished was being performed. If they were busy, she was busy. It was the only way she could think of to survive. In the past, she had taken them along on these involuntary wild rides but this time it was different. In the past, if you had come across one of the engineering staff during one of these escapades they could be heard loudly complaining about the excess, and what was often deemed unnecessary, work. They would complain that the B‘Elanna was being unreasonable and unfair. This time, however, all that could be heard was that, while they admitted that they were being worked hard and were tired, they all sympathized with the Chief Engineer. All knew of her feelings toward Voyager‘s former pilot and could see how deeply his death affected her. So her crew followed her, knowing that eventually, even the half- Klingon would either slow down or drop.
The fourth morning since their departure from Prytolus started out like the other three had. After a few hours of restless sleep, the alarm rang and B‘Elanna arose from the sofa she had been sleeping on still fresh with the memories of a dream, no a nightmare. She had been plagued with the same nightmare since the visit to Prytolus. Mostly, it just consisted of a jumble of images, the most disturbing was the image of the remains of his bloody uniform, she just couldn‘t get it out of her mind. Maybe she should go back to sleeping in her bed, she mused, maybe she would sleep better. Since his death though she couldn‘t bear to sleep there, it still smelt like Tom and it brought back too many memories, happy memories, but painful in their own way. She stumbled into the bathroom tired from lack of sleep and took her shower. Afterwards, she took the time to finally pick up her quarters for the first time since they had returned from the planet. There on the floor she spotted her dress uniform where she had thrown it in frustration. She picked it up and hung it in her closet, forgetting that Tom‘s drink had spilled on it and it should have gone in the refresher. She quickly tidied up the rest of her quarters and hurried out the door on the way to engineering—her refuge.
Entering the turbolift she ran into Chakotay.
"B‘Elanna how are you feeling?
"How do you think I‘m feeling?" she snapped. "I can‘t sleep. I can‘t eat. All I do is think of him."
"I know this isn‘t a good time, but I promised the Captain. Have you given any more thought regarding a memorial service for Tom?" he asked carefully steeling himself for her backlash. "I have."
"Not yet Chakotay, not yet.. . . I‘ll tell you when, but I can‘t do it yet." she said firmly not even looking back at him as she exited the lift.
By the tone in her voice he knew that he had picked a poor time to ask her. "Fine," he called after her "I‘ll tell the Captain, you just let me know when your ready. Okay?" She nodded.
Engineering was full of activity when she stormed in that morning and she immediately went to work issuing orders to various engineers and technicians. "Carey please check out turbolift 4, I was just in it and I think it . . . well just look at it." "Aye, aye." responded Carey crisply, knowing that he would probably find nothing.
"Nicoletti, go down to the Mess Hall and help Neelix with his steamer, he says its acting up again, and don‘t come back until he is satisfied."
"Seven of Nine," she called.
"Seven, you can help me in jeffries tube 12." "Acknowledged." Seven picked up her maintenance kit and followed B‘Elanna back out into the hall and into the nearest turbolift. They got off at level 5 and proceeded to the closest access point to JT 12. After crawling in quite a ways, they reached the juncture of another tube and the Chief Engineer put down her tool kit and started disassembling a control panel. The half-Klingon hadn‘t said a single word to the former Borg since they left engineering, the nightmare was still playing through her mind as if on continuous replay.
"I worked on that control panel yesterday, it‘s in perfect working order." she observed.
"Well just because it‘s the one your worked on yesterday, doesn‘t mean that it doesn‘t require service today. Tom," she choked, "always told me you can‘t judge a book by its cover." "Judge a book by its cover? Explain."
B‘Elanna continued to pull apart the control panel. "Well it means that just because something looks a certain way on the outside," she explained as she removed a faulty conductor, "that that‘s not necessarily what it looks on...um...the...inside..." She suddenly stopped working, her hands still holding the defective item, her eyes focused on something thousands of miles away. "Lieutenant are you all right? Seven asked after several seconds had passed. "Lieutenant?"
"Seven, what was the question?"
"Are you functioning adequately?"
"Ah... yes, I think so, maybe for the first time in...ah...finish this up Seven, if anyone comes looking for me, tell them I‘m in Sickbay."
The Chief Engineer nodded and headed out the tubes on the way to see the Doctor, leaving the blond alone obviously puzzled.
She entered the Sickbay a short time later carrying a parcel. "Activate EMH." she ordered as soon as the doors slid shut behind her.
"Ah, Lt. Torres, what can I do for you?" "I was wondering, do you still have the remains of Tom‘s dress uniform?"
"Tell me you didn‘t have it cleaned yet."
"I didn‘t have it cleaned yet."
"I mean it, this isn‘t a joke, did have you refreshed it?" "No, not yet I‘ve been rather busy training my new assistant." he said shaking his head. He never would have thought he would have admitted it, but he missed Tom, even though at times he had been a little unorthodox.
"Would you do me a favor and get it and check something out for me?" "Of course, Lieutenant." he replied confusedly, and he turned to collect what remained of the still bloody uniform from this office. "You checked the blood and its Tom‘s right?" she asked when he returned.
"Yes, you were here when I did it."
"Did you check for anything else?"
"No, what else did I need to check for?" "Can you go over the uniform again and tell me if there are any signs of other significant traces of DNA on the uniform?" she asked.
"If you insist."
After a few tense minutes, the Doctor finished his examination.
"No, there are no other significant traces of DNA on the uniform."
"Nothing that might account for...say...animal saliva?"
<One down and two to go but don‘t get your hopes up yet Torres, not yet.
B‘Elanna opened the package she was carrying and removed her own dress uniform. "Could you check this uniform and tell me what you find?"
"Of course, but I still don‘t understand."
"Please, just do it," she asked.
After another anxious wait, longer that the first, the Doctor read off the tricorder results. "Other than what remains of your own DNA signature, there appears to be traces of a variety of chemicals, namely on the front of your uniform in the area of the stain, there‘s sodium, iridium, copper, ditholian, . . ." "I don‘t have time to hear the complete list, just extrapolate the results," she interrupted.
"I would say, judging from the chemical makeup, that what‘s on your uniform would relate to possibly the ingredients of an alcoholic beverage, and" he stopped, suddenly it dawned on him why she had come to Sickbay.
"If I were to hazard a guess, I‘d say some type of narcotic."
"Could this narcotic produce nausea and a fever, Doctor?"
"Oh, yes, most definitely."
<Two down. "Thank you!" The half-Klingon kissed the surprised EMH and tapped her commbadge. "Lt. Torres to Captain Janeway!" "Yes, B‘Elanna." replied the Captain obviously surprised by the exuberant tone of her Chief Engineer‘s voice. "Could you come to Sickbay, I have something to show you."
"What was that all about?" asked her First Officer turning towards the Captain also obviously questioning the half-Klingon‘s tone of voice.
"I have no idea, want to come along and find out?"
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B‘Elanna was furiously pacing and in deep concentration when the Captain and Commanding Officer entered the Sickbay. "B‘Elanna I hope you don‘t mind, but I‘ve brought Chakotay along." "Not at all, he should hear this too." and she related what she had suspected and the Doctor had confirmed. "So Captain, taking into account the total lack of animal saliva and the presence of a drug/narcotic that was in his drink," she concluded "Tom might still be alive. At the very least though, we certainly don‘t have the whole story."
"Your right." agreed the Captain, the Commander nodded his head in agreement.
"Captain to Commander Tuvok."
"Tuvok take us back to Prytolus, fastest speed possible."
"Aye, aye, Captain."
That night as a demonstration of her faith that her mate was still alive, she slept again in her bed, deeply breathing in his scent that had remained on the sheets and pillows, and for the first time since that fateful night she slept undisturbed.
Chapter 6 - Deception and Discovery
"So are we ready to implement out plan?" Curielan asked Warlek. "Soon, I just want to make sure that the drugs I‘m pumping into his system are at satisfactory levels. I still can‘t believe how much it took before we achieved our goals. These humans are more resilient than we thought."
"Just make sure he doesn‘t look like he is under the influence of your drugs when it comes time for his speech." Madeel/Paris was sitting up in bed eating breakfast when Warlek entered the interrogation room the next morning and drew another syringe, this time not as full as the others had been. "So Madeel how are you this morning, are you ready for your medicine?" "I don‘t want another shot," he snapped, obviously irritated. "It makes me feel like I‘ve got insects crawling around inside my head."
"Now you know that the medicine is helping. Your not having those bad dreams anymore are you."
Reluctantly, he admitted that the dreams had stopped. The dreams were always of a tanned, dark haired woman with an odd forehead, they weren‘t exactly bad dreams, but they disturbed his sleep, so he allowed the doctor to pull up the sleeve of his grey jumpsuit. "There," the doctor replied in a soothing voice as he finished giving him the shot, "that‘s better. Have you been reviewing the information I left you yesterday? Good, let‘s go over it together."
Four hours later.
"Now repeat after me: ‚I have taken the time..." "I have taken the time," Madeel/Paris repeated in a monotone voice, his face devoid of all emotion with the drug in his system. "over the past several months..."
"over the past several months."
"Your doing wonderfully," the doctor motioned for his assistant to take his place. "Now, keep on going over this information with our patient, if you have any problems just call for me." "Very good Doctor."
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"Dr. Warlek, please come in," Curielan asked the doctor. "So tell me how is our little project coming along?" "Very good sir, I think you should be able to schedule the press conference in two days. He‘ll be ready then." "Wonderful!" beamed the Prime Minister. "The sooner we put this behind us the better. Just remember Doctor, he had better be convincing, I don‘t want a drugged-up, half-asleep man giving this speech, it has to look real, it has to be ‚Madeel‘ on the podium." "It will, you can trust me, they‘ll all believe it‘s him. After all have I ever failed you?"
Chapter 6 - Deception and Discovery
Mr. Perkins don‘t bring us too close to Prytolus, I don‘t want them knowing that Voyager has returned.
"Mr. Kim, are you detecting any audio or visual transmission?"
"Not at this moment Captain, but I‘ll keep you informed."
"Very good keep on it."
Janeway tapped her commbadge. "Senior staff please report to my ready room in twenty minutes." "All except you Harry, I need you at communications." <Tom needs you at communications. Harry nodded his head unknowingly echoing the same thought.
Twenty minutes later, the Captain, Chakotay, B‘Elanna, Tuvok, Seven, and the Doctor had assembled in the Ready Room. "We are now in range of the planet, it is my plan to send a shuttle within transporter range of the capital of Prytolus. Mr. Tuvok you will pilot that shuttle." The Vulcan gave a brief nod. "The Prytolian‘s lack of a sophisticated sensing equipment shouldn‘t be able to detect a small shuttlecraft, I hope. Then Chakotay, B‘Elanna, and myself will transport down to the planet, just outside of the capital. Doctor, I would like you to come to, you will stay with Tuvok while we are on the planet, unfortunately I would imagine that if we find Lt. Paris, he will require your services."
"Captain, I have intercepted a signal from the capital city that you might find interesting." Harry interrupted. "Please patch it through to the Ready Room, Mr. Kim."
"Aye, aye ma‘am."
The meeting attendees focused their attention on the view screen immediately behind the Captain. There on the screen was an apparent news broadcast already in progress. <<SO AFTER NOT HEARING FROM REVOLUTIONARY LEADER MADEEL IN OVER SIX MONTHS, HE WILL APPEAR AT A NEWS CONFERENCE TOMORROW AT HIGH SUN IN THE PRISON CONFERENCE ROOM.
An obviously older televid of the man in question was being shown to the viewers, in fact it was the same one that Warlek had shown Tom. The crew noticed that while the people in the demonstration looked like the Pytolians they had met at the party, accept their splotches weren‘t all blue, most were green and some were red. <<A SOURCE FROM THE PRISON INFORMS US THAT HE WILL BE READING A SPEECH HE HAS PREPARED ADDRESSED TO HIS FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE WORKER CASTE. NEWSVID WILL KEEP YOU APPRAISED OF THE LATEST DETAILS AND WILL BRING YOU LIVE COVERAGE TOMORROW...NEXT ON... Just before the news segment ended, a much clearer picture of Madeel was shown. A collective gasp in the room was heard. "If this Madeel were human," concluded the Captain as she sat down, obviously stunned by what she had just witnessed, "he could be our Mr. Paris, this is just too much of a coincidence. We may have found a reason for what occurred that night on Prytolus. It also appears that the local government is being challenged by a potential violent group of workers. It all maybe tied in together. Mr. Kim, please come to the Ready Room."
Harry entered the room almost immediately, anxious to be of any assistance. "Mr. Kim, please call up and review your activities during the night of Tom‘s disappearance <I refuse to say death." "Yes, Captain." Using the console in the Ready Room he called up a listing of all his activities for that evening. "Harry, I assume the evening of the reception that you performed a search for Tom in the general area of his last known siting." "I did."
With hands on the table she leaned toward the ensign. "By chance do your records show any type of interference in any of the buildings or areas that might have interfered with your attempts to locate the lieutenant?"
"I‘ll check." After several moments a bewildered Kim looked up. "I didn‘t see this that evening, but there is one location in the immediate vicinity that might have caused some interference. It is a building about ten kilometers away from the Prime Minister‘s residence, it appears to have some type of force field around it. The energy it emits is low, but it could cause a disruption or false reading, especially if someone were inside and say lower than ground level."
"Can you zoom in on that building and determine its function?" Harry worked the controls and after a few minutes looked up from the screen again, this time with a sly grin on his face. "There is a great deal of security surrounding the building along with thick walls and the like, that type of configuration would typically be used to either keep people out, let‘s say if you were guarding someone or something, or to keep people in, like if was a prison." Turning to address them all Janeway concluded "Interesting, another coincidence," and she sat back in her chair in obvious deep thought.
After several minutes she had made up her mind. "This is what I propose we do. Commander Tuvok will pilot a shuttle and Chakotay, B‘Elanna, and myself will be dressed and made up to resemble Prytolian‘s elite caste and we three along with the doctor will accompany him. Tuvok will fly us just close enough to safely transport us into the city, but not so close to be detected by them and then wait for our signal on their second moon. Mr. Kim and Seven I need you to stay behind and monitor the communications equipment. Our mission will be to gain access into the prison and attempt to rescue Mr. Paris. Mr. Tuvok time until Voyager will be in position so that we can launch the shuttle?" The stoic Vulcan responded "5 hours, 32 minutes, 17 seconds, at our current speed."
"Very good, B‘Elanna and Commander please accompany me to Sickbay, the Doctor has some work to do."
Chapter 7 - Reintegration
The four members of the away team met the following morning in Shuttlebay One. Each member was dressed appropriately and each had had their foreheads altered with numerous blue splotches. B‘Elanna‘s transformation had taken longer than the others due to the fact that her forehead ridges had to be covered with a prosthetic substance before the blue dye would be applied. Unexpectedly, before they boarded the shuttlecraft Portsmouth, Ensign Garon approached them. The Bajoran requested that he bless the mission before they departed to which Janeway was glad to accommodate.
Garon donned the religious vestments of his family and faith and proceeded to walk around the shuttle and the away team before coming to a stop at the bow of the Portsmouth. He raised both hands above his head. "May the prophets bless this mission and return to us that which has been lost." Garon then dipped his hands into a bowl of scented oil and wiped his hands along the nose of the shuttlecraft and again raised his hands above his head. "Return to us all that depart on this vessel this day. Praise to the prophets." Garon then picked up the bowl walked once more around the ship and the crew, who had been visibly moved by his blessing, finally stopping in front of Janeway. "Thank you for letting me do this Captain, I hope it will help." "We can use all the help we can get, thank you Ensign." The away team then boarded the vessel and before long the Portsmouth departed the shuttlebay.
After about three hours of travel time they neared the location that had been designated to transport from and three of the crew prepared to beam down to the planet. "Mr. Tuvok we will signal you with three taps of my commbadge when we require you to beam us aboard."
"Then we are ready, please initiate transport."
"Well so far, so good," Chakotay observed as they neared the prison building a couple of hours later, "but how are we going to get inside?"
"I‘ve been thinking about that," the Captain responded with a raised eyebrow typical of the Vulcan waiting for them to return to the shuttlecraft. "How about the direct approach combined with a deliberate distraction?"
The crowd became heavier as they neared the prison. Members of all three sects were part of the crowd, but the division between the three were obvious, the workers to the right, the elite to the left, with the smaller religious caste in the middle. "Follow my lead," said the bespeckled Captain.
After several minutes, they reached the entrance to the prison and the security staff.
"Your identification badge?" asked the guard. "Oh, yes it‘s right here," said the Captain as she feigned a search for her identification. "Oh no," she pointed, "look at that, what are those workers doing in there!?" she yelled trying to sound concerned. "You‘ve got to help my friend they‘re attacking her!" she said urgently as she pushed him into the room in an obvious gesture of concern of an unknown friend. "Hurry!" she said to the rest of the team, "get in there and get as close to the front of the room as you can!"
"Katherine, I never knew you were such a good actress," Chakotay whispered in her ear.
In the preparation room, Warlek as making the final arrangements for the debut of the new Madeel. During the previous twelve hours, the decreased dosage of medicine was affecting the pilot, causing him to experience flashbacks to his life before Prytolus, and it had been necessary to administer small electrical charges to keep him in line.
"One more time Madeel, repeat the speech." "Go to hell!." Zap! Another jolt was given to the pilot and he commenced reciting the prepared statement. "Were ready Doctor."
"Someone‘s coming out," whispered Chakotay.
"Hurry, we have to get down front."
From behind the podium, a door opened several bodyguards and officials entered the room. Finally, Madeel/Tom appeared. "Remember," the Doctor threatened the pilot, "you cooperate out there or I‘ll just press this little button again, but this time I might forget to remove my finger." The victim only nodded. As Madeel stepped up to the podium a gasp was heard throughout the room. "B‘Elanna, is that Tom can you tell?" asked the Captain. B‘Elanna approached even closer to get a better view. It was difficult to determine, but then she saw it with the man in question turned his head slightly. They had overlooked one thing, they hadn‘t taken the time to cover up a half-faded, crescent- shaped bite mark on his left jaw. "Captain, it‘s Tom, there is no mistake about it."
The three former residents of the Alpha Quadrant‘s could hardly believe their eyes. There before them was their missing crewman, but he was obviously a shell of his former self. His eyes were glazed over and there was black circles around them from obvious lack of sleep, food, and stress.
<Kahless, what have they done to him, we need to get him out of here as soon as possible, back to the ship. thought B‘Elanna as she took in Tom‘s wooden expression.
The prime minister approached the podium "I would like to take a moment welcome everyone to our press conference, this is truly an important day in Prytolian history, and now I would like to introduce Madeel." he said as he motioned for Madeel/Tom to join him.
"Fellow citizens of Prytolus," Madeel/Tom began remembering the words that had been drummed into his mind, "today I come before you a changed man, enlightened to the traditions of our proud people."
As he had been coached at this moment, he looked into his audience. All eyes were on him. He started at the back of the room where people were still clamoring for entry to witness this important occasion. As his gaze focused on people nearer to him he noticed three people, a man and two women, trying to work their way through the crowd in an effort to get closer to him. And he returned to his speech.
"I have taken the time over the past several months to re-evaluate my position and . . ."
<That man, the one of the three moving forward, looked familiar?
No it couldn‘t be. Then suddenly a memory flashed in his brain. He could see this man, well he mostly looked like this man, except instead of the blue spots on his forehead there was a graphic marking over the left eyebrow. They were on a broken stairway together. The man was obviously hurt and he was trying to help him, stretching out his hand to him to help him span the breach of the broken stairway. Ah, he received a minor jolt, only perceptible to him. He shook his head to clear the memory and continued once more.
"to re-evaluate my position and I have come to a conclusion . . ."
<And that woman with the man, the one with the reddish, brown hair. There was something about her. In the memories that she conjured up, she was wearing different clothes, they were red and black and she also had no spots, no markings, but no spots. This wasn‘t making sense. Before he could be zapped a again he commenced the speech, still under the influence of the drug too much to notice the growing unrest in the back of the room. "He looks troubled, confused," Janeway whispered to B‘Elanna who shook in head in agreement as they had finally made their way to stand right in front of Paris.
"... come to the conclusion that what I have done in the past was a mistake, I should never have incited . . ." He looked at the second woman, the darker of the two, their eyes locked together, blue to brown, the memories were strong with this one. In his memories, she like the other two were missing the spots, but this one‘s forehead was ridged not smooth, she was the woman of his dreams. The memory he experience when he looked at her were of them floating alone in darkness. This particular memory, it strong. He could remember tender words spoken, she loved him? He was confused. Before Warlek could administer another warning jolt, violence erupted from the unruly crowd in the back.
"That‘s not Madeel, what have you done with Madeel!" shouted a member of the worker caste. The one voice was joined with many others, all demanding to know what was going on. Out of the melee, an arm was raised, a shot fired striking Paris in the abdomen and he went down.
"Quickly," Janeway urged her team. The three reached the podium. Chakotay had the Prime Minister in a bear lock with his phaser pointed at his head. The Captain and B‘Elanna bent over Tom and gently hoisted him to his feet, pulling his arms over their shoulders so they could move him.
With his phaser raised Chakotay motioned for everyone to back off.
"Move back or I‘ll kill your Prime Minister," the Maquis promised. "Get back everyone, please," pleaded a terrified Curielan as he was forcibly led off the stage and into the crowd followed by the other three.
As soon as they exited the building Janeway tapped her commbadge three times.
Pushing Curielan aside, the transporter beam locked on to the four and they were beamed aboard the shuttle. As soon as the beam released them, B‘Elanna and the Doctor placed Tom down on the bench in the rear of the shuttle. "Tuvok get us out of here and back to Voyager as soon as possible," the Captain ordered.
The Doctor ripped open the pilots jumpsuit to examine the recent wound. "It looks like his wound was inflicted by a driven projectile." he informed the Captain.
"Is it bad Doctor?"
"I won‘t lie to you, in his condition, anything like this is bad, but for the moment it doesn‘t appear life threatening," he informed her as attempted to stop the bleeding. "Commander hold this in place while I run a diagnostic on Mr. Paris. He got out the medical tricorder and ran a scan on the pilot, "In addition to his abdominal injury, it appears that he is suffering from some degree of malnutrition, exhaustion, and there appears to be some type of drug or chemical in his blood stream."
B‘Elanna gently picked up her fiance‘s wrist to examine the straps that were still in place. "Captain?"
"What do you think they are Lieutenant?
"Well, maybe if I can remove. ..uh . . .one . . . there it‘s off. From the looks of it," she turned the item over in her hands to examine the underside, "it‘s some type of electrical charge device." "For what purpose?" asked Chakotay.
"If I were to guess, I would say their purpose was to administer electrical shocks." she said solemnly. <Tom, you‘ve suffered so much.
The Captain noticing the Klingon‘s distress patted her on the shoulder. "B‘Elanna he is in good hands now, let‘s concentrate on getting him back to Voyager."
Chapter 7 - Reintegration
The Doctor and the Commander placed the pilot on a biobed. The rest of the away team hovered in the hallway awaiting the prognosis, the doctor activated the medical arch and proceeded to treat the pilot‘s injuries, including removing the object that was lodged in his abdomen. As he finished treating the abdominal injury with the dermal regenerator, the pilot stirred. "Mr. Paris can you hear me? Mr. Paris?"
"Ah . . . oh . . ." he moaned as he opened his near lifeless blue eyes. <Where was he now? Who was this man? "Take it easy your going to be all right," the Doctor promised and raised his hand holding the regenerator to begin using it on the other injuries.
Seeing the device in the doctor‘s hand and assuming that it was another pain administrator, the pilot visibly cowered bringing his arms up to cover his face and painfully pushing himself as far away from the doctor as was possible. "I‘ll be good, please don‘t, I‘ll say anything, just don‘t. . . ." he mumbled as he trembled in fear. To alleviate his distress, the EMH administered a hypospray to sedate his patient.
The Doctor after assuring himself that the pilot‘s wounds had been treated and he was resting comfortably he asked the others to join him in his office.
As they entered the Doctor‘s office, they all began speaking at once. "Calm down everyone. Mr. Paris is now resting, I‘ve given him a sedative. From tests I have performed on his blood, there is still a significant amount of an unknown drug in his system. Unfortunately, I have no idea how long it will take for his body to rid itself of this chemical. The lieutenant did awake briefly and became very distraught when he saw me. For the foreseeable future, I am forced to restrict any visits to Mr. Paris. My temporary assistant and myself will be the only ones to attend to him. When he is able to deal with us without getting upset, then we can increase his visitations."
"But Doctor, you can‘t mean me, surely I can see him?" asked B‘Elanna.
"I meant exactly what I said, we have to think what is best for Tom. You can call me anytime and I will let you know his condition. I‘m doing this because it is necessary, not to be cruel."
Four day later.
A concerned Harry Kim approached the Chief‘s office door and requested admittance. What he saw shook him, B‘Elanna was seated at her desk in the dark staring ahead as if in a trance. "B‘Elanna?...Maquis?...B‘Elanna?" he said each time louder and louder.
"I just spoke with the Doctor, he says there is still no change." "I know, I spoke with him myself not too long ago. I was hoping by now there would be some improvement. The Doctor says that whatever they gave Tom is taking a while to clear his system. I wish I could help him."
"Maybe you should."
"But the Doctor..."
"The Doctor sometimes is very ignorant," he bluntly explained.
"What do you mean." she said shocked by the tone of Harry‘s voice. "I understand that the Doctor has asked that you to stay away from Sickbay, is that right?" She nodded her head sadly. "Well, you know sometimes even Doctors don‘t know what is right for their patients. Sometimes only the ones who love them know that. Do you understand what I‘m trying to say?"
"I don‘t know."
"It‘s just this, as much as we respect and trust the Doctor, he is still only a holographic projection, he is not human. He cannot completely understand the connection that is formed between a man and woman, between you and Tom." She looked up at the young ensign sharply. "You may not be a doctor, B‘Elanna, but you may be able to help our pilot better than the EMH."
She recalled Tom‘s words the night before the Prytolian reception when he told her how much her touch meant to him, how much it comforted him. She knew what she had to do. "Thanks, I think I do understand. I don‘t know if I have ever told you, but Tom and I are very fortunate you have you as a friend."
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She was going to get in trouble but she didn‘t care. It had been four days since Tom had been rescued, and only the Doctor had been allowed to see him. She was going to do something about it regardless of the consequences.
The Doctor turned to her as she entered the Sickbay carrying a satchel. "Doctor, where is Tom?" she asked. "I put him in the private room, he seems to be more comfortable there, but he is still confused, still thinks he is back on Prytolus."
"I need to see him."
"I can‘t allow it."
"You don‘t understand, I‘m not asking you I‘m telling you. I know you are doing all you can for him, but what your doing isn‘t enough."
"I‘ve done all that anyone can do, I‘ve treated his wounds, seen that he has all the proper nutrition, sleep . . ." "I‘m not blaming you Doctor," she interrupted, "but you can‘t touch him and convey the love behind the touch, you can‘t do what I can do for him. That‘s why I have come, and no one is going to stop me. I‘m not leaving here until I‘ve had my chance to help him and if you try to stop me, well let‘s just say that I might forget how to work on your portable holographic projector." She defiantly marched into the isolation room, not looking back at the Doctor. There before her curled up in a ball facing the wall trying fretfully to sleep, lay her fianc‚. As she got closer. she could hear him mumbling words over and over, "don‘t . . . can‘t . . . stop."
"Oh Tom," she said as she placed her parcel on the floor and she sat down on the chair beside the bed. She continued to gently talk to him, telling him that he was safe and that she would take care of him. Finally, his breathing evened out and he quieted down.
"Doctor to the Captain."
"Yes Doctor, is everything all right? Is Tom okay?" "That‘s what I‘m calling you about. Lt. Torres burst into Sickbay a little while ago demanding to see Tom against my orders. She is in his private room and refuses to leave. From the looks of it, she is prepared to stay for quite a while." "I‘ll be down shortly, Captain out." She turned to her First Officer, "Commander would you please accompany me." "So Doctor what‘s going on?" asked the Captain as she and the Commander entered the EMH‘s office. The Doctor was observing his monitoring screens.
"Well for starters I‘m out here and she‘s in there," he accused as he appointed at the monitor that was recording the events in the private room.
"From the looks of it, everything seems to be under control. In fact, Lt. Paris actually appears to be resting rather comfortably," commented the Captain.
"Well yes," he reluctantly admitted and obviously flustered, "he is but . . ."
"But nothing, maybe Lt. Torres should have been allowed to see him a long time ago. In fact, I‘m going to have to override your previous orders. Come with me, I want speak to both you and B‘Elanna."
The Captain opened the door to the private room and she entered followed by the Commander and the Doctor. "Captain, I can explain . . ." began the Klingon. "You don‘t have to B‘Elanna, I haven‘t come in here to criticize your actions, in fact quite the opposite. Doctor, I expect the two of you to work together towards your common goal. I‘ll check back this evening. Come on Chakotay, let‘s leave them alone." At the sound of voices, Tom again started to become restless and she reached over and gently rubbed his back. At first he flinched at her touch, but gradually he relaxed. The rest of the day proceeded much the same way with the Doctor only coming in to inject nutrients into the patient. After her evening meal, the Captain returned.
"So how‘s it going Doctor?"
"Well, I have to admit he certainly is not as agitated, he has slept rather peacefully. I guess I‘ll never understand human feelings."
"It‘s okay Doctor, it is sometimes difficult for humans themselves to understand."
Laying on a cot that the Doctor had brought in, B‘Elanna had been able to sleep on and off during the night, awaking only to comfort Tom when he became restless.
The next morning, after she had her breakfast she opened her parcel and extracted two candles and placed on the end table next to the bed and requested that the computer softly play some of Tom‘s favorite songs. As she was lighting the candles, the Doctor came in to check on his patient.
"Why the candles and music Lieutenant?"
"Well to tell you the truth, I don‘t know if it is going to help but Tom loves the smell of vanilla and these candles will emit that scent. I thought maybe that as well as the music might bring back memories, happy memories."
"I see, well I suppose it couldn‘t hurt." At the sound of the outer door opening, he turned to leave the room, another crewmember required the Doctor‘s services.
B‘Elanna then proceeded to tidy up her appearance and brushed out her hair that had been tangled during the night in front of the mirror on the wall As she put down the brush, she glanced over the bed and noticed that she was being watched through half-opened blue eyes. "I know you," he said softly. It was more of a statement than a question."
"You do, my name is B‘Elanna, do remember I was here with you yesterday? Do you remember me rubbing your back?" she asked carefully as she walked over to sit down on the bed beside him. He nodded. <Who was this beautiful woman? Why was he so comfortable with her? He sniffed the air, smelling the scent being emitted from the candles and noticed that music was softly playing. <Why did the fragrance in this room and the music seem familiar?
"You like the smell and the music?"
"Would you like something to eat? Are you hungry?"
He nodded again.
"I‘ll be right back with something, I promise."
In a little while, she returned with a light breakfast consisting of fruit and toast, along with a glass of milk. Sitting down beside him again, she helped him with his breakfast. All the while his blue eyes never left her face. <Who is she? He should know. "B‘Elanna, how do I know you?" he asked as he reached up and touched her forehead, his fingers exploring the ridges. "We‘ve known each other for about five years, Tom. Do you know that your name is Tom?"
He shook his head, everything was so confusing. "They told me my name was Madeel, my name is Madeel," he persisted repeating the mantra while rubbing his wrists.
"No it‘s not, those people were trying to trick you, use you." She grabbed him by the hands and showed him that the straps had been removed from his wrists. "There gone Tom, those people, the ones with the spots on their foreheads, they can‘t hurt you any more. Your home, your safe," she explained as she reached up and smooth his sleep-tousled hair away from his forehead. She then got up and got the mirror that was hanging on the wall and her parcel and went back to him and placed the mirror in his hands. "Look Tom, this is really you." But he was reluctant to raise the mirror remembering the last time he had been forced to look into one and what he had discovered.
B‘Elanna rummaged in the satchel and extracted two holographic picture plates. "Maybe you‘ll remember this, it was taken about two years ago at Neelix holographic resort on this ship. See," she said pointing to each of the figures, "this is Harry, Joe Carey, me, and here you are wearing that, um, "Big Daddy" shirt you love so much. And this one, she handed him the other one, this was taken about three months at an engagement party <their engagement party."
<Who were these people, they seemed somewhat familiar. And that was him, no spots? He seemed so happy, especially in the second picture? Was he ever that happy? He finally tilted the mirror up and ran his hand over the bare forehead, no spots, and looked back at B‘Elanna, tears in his eyes, he was so confused. "There all gone Tom, the Doctor removed them." she explained.
"B‘Elanna? Who am I? I don‘t know anymore, I just don‘t know." The tears started to fall. He dropped the mirror and he began to tremble.
The half-Klingon took the disturbed man in her arms and hugged and comforted him by softly patting his back. "Your Lt. Thomas Eugene Paris," she explained to the confused man holding him close she hadn‘t held him like this for a long time, "your the ‚Best Damned Pilot of the Delta Quadrant,‘ your a friend to many people on board this ship, and your my ... my fiance. Tom, I love you, I want you to come back to me. I need you...I need you." They held each other rocking back and forth and cried for a long time. The Doctor had quietly watched this exchange from the doorway, he had learned a lot this day. You could move mountains with a lot of love, patience, music, and maybe a couple of candles.
*** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ ***
Five days later.
"So Doctor, how is Tom doing today?" Janeway asked that afternoon. "A lot better, Captain, the change since B‘Elanna has been here has been remarkable. That substance he was injected with has all but left his system. He‘s a changed man. He has even asked that Ensign Kim come by after his shift. It‘ll take a little bit longer, but after what he went through he has already made significant progress. In fact, I plan on releasing him to B‘Elanna‘s care tomorrow morning."
"How much has he remembered?"
"Most of it, there are still some minor memories he can‘t recall. I would imagine that by the end of next week even those will return and he will be the similar sometimes obnoxious Tom Paris we call know. There are other memories of his time with the Prytolian‘s though that I wish I could erase.
Harry stopped by shortly after leaving the bridge that afternoon and stuck his head in the private room. B‘Elanna and Tom where in there softly talking, with the pilot laughing every once in a while. "Hi, am I interrupting something?" he asked with a grin on his face. When they brought Tom on board he didn‘t think he would see him laugh again.
"No, not at all Harry, it‘s nothing we can‘t get back to," replied the half-Klingon her face light with relief. "Harry?"
"Yes Tom, it‘s good to see you. I brought you one of my data padds you‘ve been wanting to read."
"Thanks," he said as he reached for the padd. "It‘s good to see you. B‘Elanna tells me I need to thank you for her being here." "It was nothin‘," blushed Harry.
"No it wasn‘t and I‘ll never forget it."
*** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ *** ^^^ ***
Two weeks later.
"You know there are some things I wish I didn‘t remember," Tom said to B‘Elanna as he poked about the Leola Root Surprise. Before long he was joined by Harry and Seven.
"I‘m ready." she said out of the blue.
He was confused, "For what?"
"The rest of the story," demanded the blond.
It was Kim‘s turn now. "You know Professor Mofek?" "Oh, that story. Well you have been patient." All eyes were trained on him hanging on his every word. "Where did we leave off." "You didn‘t!" they chorused.
"Can anyone join this discussion?" asked the Commander as he approached with the Captain.
"Of course, Tom‘s about to tell us about Professor Mofek and how he got the Vulcan to show some emotion." explained Harry. "Morose Mofek, that was you?" said the Commander incredulously. "Well yeah," he sheepishly replied, "but I can‘t take all the credit, I did have some help."
"After this happened," the Captain explained, "the story made its way all through the fleet, Tom‘s class had accomplished the impossible. In fact," she said turning to the pilot, " I was with your father when he found out, he laughed so hard he was almost rolling on the floor."
"I find that hard to believe," he contradicted. "After the episode, he contacted me and I was informed that I would be attending Arctic Survival Camp for half of my summer vacation, he certainly wasn‘t laughing then."
"Well I can vouch for him, I‘d never seen him laugh so hard," she shook her head remembering.
The Commander was getting impatient this time. "So Tom, tell us what happened?"
"Okay, it started like this. About two-thirds of the way through the spring semester, a couple fellow students and yours truly came up with a plan to make that Vulcan facade crack, or at least wobble a bit. I don‘t know if you remember," he said looking at each former Starfleet cadet, "but Mofek was a creature of habit.‘ Those that had the misfortune to attend his class nodded their heads in agreement. "He always started each lecture with a cup of herbal tea. It was always the same, all the cadets would file in for the class, he would sit down, pour a cup of tea, spoon in one level teaspoon of honey, stir it exactly five times, drink it down, and then he would begin the lecture from hell. Exactly forty-five minutes into the lecture, he would stop talking, walk over the west wall and open all five windows exactly half-way—never two-thirds or one-third always exactly half-way, rain or shine. He would then turn his back to the class and observe that we were all vertical, you know awake, turn back again to the open windows deeply inhale the fresh air, and then go back to his desk, sit down, pour another cup of herbal tea, and the ritual would begin all over again." Tom at this moment, took a sip from his own cup of herbal tea and continued with the tale.
"That spring I was seeing this voluptuous red head. Linda was enrolled in a clerical program in the nearby community college. She was fun to be with, had a figure that wouldn‘t quit..." "Watch it helmboy, or you‘ll be sleeping alone wedding or no wedding." warned the half-Klingon.
"...but she wasn‘t the brightest thing to come out of the cabbage patch," he continued.
"Now, we found out from the custodian that some repair work was going to be done on the outside of the building the following week which would involve scaffolding, cranes, etc. So we met with the construction workers the beginning of the next week and devised our plan. That Thursday began just like any other, first the tea ceremony, then the first half of the lecture, then the windows where opened, and he turned back to the class. Not a sole was sleeping, in fact inside that Vulcan exterior he was probably wondering why we looked so alert for a change. Then came the moment that would go down into the annals of Starfleet Academy." he said savoring the anticipation.
"And" they all said to prompt him"
"And he turned around to take his customary breath of fresh air and his breath caught in his throat, his eyebrows shot up, and I thought his eyeballs were going to jump out of his head. There perched sexily on the scaffolding was Linda wearing the barest of black bikinis waving at the Professor and blowing him kisses, the whole classroom erupted in laughter." Telling this story had caused Tom to laugh until tears rolled down his cheeks and he was not alone. "Morose Mofek actually dismissed us all from class forty-five minutes early that day, probably it was probably the only time that had ever happened during his whole teaching career." "That‘s one class that I wish I had taken," replied the Commander who had laughed so hard he had to wipe away the tears that coursed down his cheeks. The rest of the audience had to concur, they would also have to concur that it was good to have Tom back.
Okay, this is the part where I request e-mail, so here it goes. Please send e-mail to "PJ in NH" email@example.com, if only just to tell me your read the story and survived. If you did manage to get to the end of it without having to resort to going to the Emergency Room, I would be interested in hearing from you regarding what part/chapter of the story you enjoyed the most. Thanks. I‘m desperate to know if all the time I‘ve been spending lately has been worth it.
And this is the part where I thank my husband and daughter for letting me indulge in this creative endeavor—I‘d thank my dog, but he just destroyed my gloves! Maybe next time.