Life With a Paris: The Rescue
Delta ran for what seemed like forever, stopping now and then to sniff the ground, making sure that this was indeed the direction from which he and his daddy had come earlier. He finally reached the clearing from where the others had left Delta to go their own ways, and he sat down, howling at the sky, trying desperately to call for attention.
When no one came, Delta whined deeply. He cocked his head to the side, whimpering as he listened to see if Tuvok or the friend were coming for him at all, but there was no sound other than the usual forest noises. He thought hard, wondering how he was going to call Tuvok and the friend to him, and time passed slowly.
After a few minutes, Delta recalled the pin on his collar from where his
daddy's voice had caused him to jump. He tried to paw at it, but succeeded only in twisting his collar to the side. He whimpered and shook his head, forcing his collar back to its original position before trying to paw it once more. Again the collar shifted, and Delta sat back, stumped once more.
He looked left to right, seeing an old fallen tree nearby and he walked over towards it, rubbing against it, trying to get the tree to press the pin. With a growl, he rubbed harder, issuing a soft bark of surprise and triumph as the pin beeped quietly.
Delta barked. He barked several times in rapid succession before throwing back his head and howling once more. When there came no reply, he barked again, howling again. He made all sorts of noises, trying anything to call attention to himself.
Aboard Voyager, the ensign monitoring communications frowned.
"Captain Janeway? There's something going on planetside that I think you should take a look at."
Janeway raised an eyebrow and turned around, heading towards the communications console.
Tuvok and Harry moved slowly back towards the rendez-vous point. Somehow Harry had wandered off course, and ended up crossing paths with Tuvok thirty minutes earlier. He blushed deeply as the Vulcan raised an eyebrow and shook his head silently before suggesting they return early to where they were to meet back up with Tom and Delta.
They were approximately an hour away from the clearing when Tuvok's comm badge went off.
"Janeway to Tuvok."
"I am here, Captain."
"Tuvok, I think something has happened to Tom. Delta's comm badge is activated and he is being rather vocal."
Tuvok frowned. "Lieutenant Paris and the dog did go off in an opposite
direction from us, Captain. Where exactly is Delta now?"
"His communicator is registering within four meters of the clearing we
originally transported you to."
"Captain, would you transport us to that clearing now? If something has happened to Lieutenant Paris, time, as they say, would be of the essence."
Tuvok and Harry felt the lift of the transporter and when they blinked they were in the clearing, Delta's pitiful howling causing them to take a step backwards.
"Delta." Tuvok spoke sternly, and the dog turned to look at him, wagging his tail slightly as he bolted over to where they stood.
Harry looked down at the dirt, branch bits, and leaves trapped in the dog's now tangled fur and shrugged. "Whatever happened to Tom didn't happen here, by the looks of it."
"Tuvok to Voyager. Can you locate Lieutenant Paris by his comm badge signal?"
"We can't seem to get any readings on his communicator at all. We've scanned for human lifeforms, but whatever this planet's inhabitants are, they must be extremely close to human physiology. We can't get a solid reading."
"Captain, by the look of the dog, he has run quite a distance. I am not sure we are going to be able to locate Lieutenant Paris on foot. We will require some additional assistance."
There was a short pause, and a sigh. "Why not ask Delta to show you what happened?"
"He's a dog, Tuvok. Dogs can track things for kilometers. He may be able to find Tom."
Tuvok gave the dog an appraising look and his eyebrow curved upwards. "I will ask the dog now." He sighed and looked at Delta once more. "Delta, locate Lieutenant Paris."
Delta looked at Tuvok in confusion, looking back and forth between him and Harry, wondering why they weren't running after the people that took his daddy.
"Captain, the dog is not responding."
Tuvok heard a shuffle of voices in the background of his comm badge, and then Delta's communicator beeped. "Delta, it's Mommy. Can you hear me?"
The dog barked excitedly, turning in a rapid circle.
"I believe he can hear you, Lieutenant Torres."
B'Elanna ignored Tuvok's statement of the rather obvious. "Delta, listen to me. Find Daddy. Take Tuvok and Harry and find Daddy. Now!"
The dog gave a short bark of approval and took off running. Tuvok and Harry blinked in surprise and began running after him. Delta disappeared into the brush before reappearing a half dozen meters ahead of them, so Tuvok redoubled his speed, leaving Harry to lag behind as the Vulcan struggled not to lose sight of the dog.
Coming back across the hidden clearing into which he had disappeared earlier, Delta came up short, glancing back over his shoulder, panting heavily as he waited for Tuvok and the friend to appear. Mercifully, it didn't take long before first Tuvok and then a few minutes later, Harry, arrived on the trail and walked up behind him.
"Delta, where is Lieutenant Paris?" Tuvok frowned as the dog, once more, didn't react. He glanced over at Harry, who was panting and drawing in heaving breaths, before looking back to the dog. "Delta, Lieutenant Torres told you to
find Lieutenant Paris, you have not done so."
"He *gasp* doesn't know *pant* what you're talking *gasp* about, Tuvok." Harry leaned against a tree, and fought to still his rapidly beating heart. Seven years on a starship could wreak havok on one's level of fitness in natural gravity.
"I have asked him to find Lieutenant Paris, and yet he does not seem to be willing to do so."
"Ensign Kim, now is not a time to be making a joke."
"No, he doesn't understand what you're saying. He knows Tom as Daddy. Tell him to find his Daddy and he will."
"Mr. Kim, analyze the vegetation in this area. Should Delta lead me to
Lieutenant Paris, we will return as quickly as possible. In the mean time, we still have a mission to complete."
"Yea, Tuvok, I get it."
Tuvok looked at Harry with a mask of disapproval, before he glanced down at the dog one more time, straightened his shoulders and mustered as much dignity about himself as he could. "Delta, find your... Daddy."
Delta's ears perked up and his tail began wagging fiercely.
"Yes, Delta, daddy. Find your daddy." Tuvok paused before remembering B'Elanna's last word. "Delta, find your daddy now!"
The dog pressed his nose to the ground, sniffing and snorting as he came across the scents of each of the people that had arrived so silently earlier. Locating the spot Tom had fell, Delta breathed in deeply the scent of his father, and turned in the direction the aliens had dragged his body. Daddy's smell was strong and familiar, and following it was a breeze.
Delta gained confidence as every step brought his daddy closer to him, and finally he gave a soft bark and burst into a clearing, a high field of grass, half hiding rows of huts and buildings not ten meters in front of him.
Thankfully, Tuvok was fast and grabbed onto Delta's collar, keeping him from bursting out of the grass and ruining their element of surprise.
Tuvok spoke quietly. "Quiet now, Delta. We will get him back, but you have to be quiet now."
Delta quieted his excitement, his eyes growing darker as he grew serious.
"Show me where Daddy is, slowly."
Keeping low in the grass, Delta led Tuvok towards the nearest hut, scratching at the wall closest to them, whining softly.
"He is in here?"
Delta whined again.
Tuvok frowned pulling out his tricorder and scanning the hut before them. True to Delta's nose, only one life form appeared to be in the room, and it was human. Voyager's Chief of Security pulled out his phaser, and setting it to its lowest setting he began to cut a fine line through the wood. Very soon they had a makeshift door.
Delta wasted no time before blasting through the now open wall, and launching himself upon Tom Paris, who groaned deeply. Tom would have cried out for the dog to get off him, but his mouth was bound shut, and his hands and legs tied behind him so he had no way to protect himself from the excited puppy.
Tuvok moved in, shooing Delta off to the side as he began to cut Tom loose.
"Are you all right, Lieutenant?"
"Why, were you worried?"
"Not hardly, I am merely ascertaining your physical condition before we attempt to hike back to our point of rendez-vous."
"You were worried." Tom grinned. "Hey, buddy, that's okay. I'm glad you consider us such close amigos."
"Lieutenant Paris, if you can get to your feet, I suggest that you do. Mr. Kim is awaiting our return in the clearing where you were attacked. He has found what appears to be an abundant supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, and since we do not wish to risk returning to the surface, he is collecting and sending to Voyager all that he can. I do not wish to have to rescue him should the natives return, therefore, we should meet up with him as quickly as possible."
Tuvok helped Tom to his feet, and Delta dropped himself immediately into heel beside Tom. They began their slow trek back to Harry and Voyager's latest supply of food.
The Vulcan sighed and turned to look back at Tom and Delta. "What is it, Lieutenant Paris?"
"I love you, too."
Tom blew Tuvok a mock air kiss and began to laugh, slapping the older man on the shoulder before taking off with Delta towards Harry.
After all, being knocked unconscious and taken hostage was just another day in the Delta Quadrant.