Disclaimer - Paramount and Viacom own the characters from Voyager, although they didn't often treat them right. The story line belongs to me.
A special thanks to: My friend and editor of all my stories, Mill3rs.
"Seven to the Captain. Long range scans are picking up signs of the shuttle on the moon's surface." Seven's voice broke the silence on the bridge.
The Captain turned to Tuvok. "Lieutenant, please join me in Astrometrics." The two officers headed for the turbolift. "Chakotay, you have the bridge."
Chakotay settled back in his seat and stared out the viewport. The bridge returned to its silent state as each person quietly manned his or her station. The ship continued on the heading towards the moon where they hoped to find the shuttle and their missing crewmen.
"Commander, I'm picking up signs of the Romulan Warbird." Harry interrupted Chakotay's thoughts. "Their ion trail leads to the moon but disappears in the upper atmosphere."
"Ensign Baytart, how long until we are within range of the moon?" Chakotay asked, turning to the helmsman.
"We should be within range in one hour, Sir." Baytart answered.
The Captain and Tuvok entered Astrometrics to find Seven at the main console. Her face showed the strain the entire crew had been under since the Kazon ship had first appeared. She punched in some numbers again and a frown crossed her face. "Captain, Lieutenant, I have found the shuttle on the moon's surface but the sensors are not picking up any life signs of the crew."
"Are there any signs elsewhere on the planet?" Tuvok asked.
Seven again checked the console's screen then turned to the two officers. "There are signs of Romulans near the hills but no human life signs." she replied quietly, looking towards Janeway. "I'm sorry Captain."
Janeway's face showed no emotion as she turned to the exit doors. "I'll be on the bridge." she whispered as she walked out of the room.
Tuvok joined Seven at the console as she continued to monitor the sensor readings.
In the turbolift, the Captain massaged her temples as she slumped against the far wall. She tried to make sense of the events of the past few hours. Her ship attacked yet again by Kazon and Romulan weapons. The shuttle with three crewmen missing and now found on the surface of an alien moon with no life signs of her crewmen. She pushed herself to her full height, as the doors opened, took a deep breath and walked forward.
Janeway crossed the bridge and quietly took her seat. Chakotay looked at her grave expression and knew that there was bad news. He reached out and gently placed his hand on her shoulder. Her mouth trembled slightly and tears filled her eyes. She shook her head and sat up straighter in her seat. "Seven found the shuttle but there are no human life signs in the area."
The rest of the bridge crew stiffened at her announcement. Harry's face turned ashen as he realized the implications. ‘Tom and the others were dead.'
"Captain, we're being hailed." Harry's voice wavered.
"On screen." Janeway ordered as she stood up and approached the view screen.
A Romulan officer appeared before the bridge crew. He sat at the helm of the Warbird. Three other Romulans stood behind him. "I am Subcommander Karsis, I order you to leave this area before you are fired upon."
Janeway stood tall and crossed her arms across her chest. Taking a breath, she cleared her throat and spoke to the view screen. "This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager and we are trying to retrieve our shuttle and our crewmen."
The Romulan sat back in his chair and gave Janeway a faint smile. "We are holding two of your crewmen prisoner, Captain. They will serve us well on our ship."
Janeway steeled herself before she responded. "There were three crewmen on that shuttle. Where is the third man?"
"Dead, on the shuttle. He apparently did not care to join us." Karsis replied.
The bridge crew silently observed the Captain.
The Captain did not reveal that they could not locate any life signs of the crewmen. "How do I know you are really holding my men. I want to see them to know that they are all right." Janeway's voice was strong as she stood back from the screen and placed her hands on her hips.
Karsis turned to one of the other officers and motioned him forward. The man came into view and held up two Starfleet jackets. One was gold trimmed. The other, with red trim on the shoulders, showed evidence of burn marks across the front with the most severe at the neck and sleeves.
B'Elanna let out a small gasp as she realized that Tom must still be alive but badly injured. She looked across the bridge to meet Harry's stunned face. "Captain," she whispered. "We have to get them out of there. They need medical assistance."
Janeway silenced B'Elanna with a sharp look and turned back to Karsis. "My men need medical attention. Please allow our doctor to come to the surface and take care of them."
"Any attempt to land will be seen as an act of aggression and you will be fired upon. I order you once again to leave this area." Karsis signaled one of his men and the transmission was terminated.
"Captain, we can't leave them there. Tom's been hurt and we don't know about Darwin or Morrow." B'Elanna spoke up as she looked at Chakotay for support.
"I don't intend to leave anyone on the surface, Lieutenant. Are transporters still off-line?" Janeway turned to B'Elanna.
"Yes, Captain. It will take at least two hours until they are functional. They may not have that long." ‘Tom may not have that long.' she thought. B'Elanna did not realize how deep her feelings were for the helmsman until he was in trouble.
Janeway turned to Chakotay. "Commander, I want the Delta Flyer taken to the surface with an away team to include the Doctor. We'll provide cover for you. I want our crewmen recovered."
"Yes, Captain." Chakotay rose from his seat. "Tuvok, Harry, you're with me." he strode toward the turbolift with the two officers joining him. "Lieutenants Ayala and Baxter, please report to shuttle bay two." Chakotay spoke to the comm system as he entered the turbolift.
Janeway sank into her command chair and turned to B'Elanna. "Lieutenant, I want you to assistant Seven in Astrometrics to increase the scanner sensitivity. They must be holding our men in the caves. The atmospheric conditions might be blocking our sensors from picking up their life signs."
"Yes, Captain." B'Elanna replied, with relief in her voice, as she realized that Tom was not dead. She hurried to the turbolift eager to do something to help bring him back on board Voyager.
‘Cold. So very cold.' Tom struggled to regain consciousness. He shivered as he tried to open his eyes. He felt a sharp burning pain in both eyes and squeezed them shut again. His right arm throbbed and both hands felt alternately like they were on fire and then freezing. He tried to remember what had happened and where he was.
He remembered being on the shuttle, surveying the damage to Voyager from the last Kazon attack. They were fired upon and then the tracking beam caught them. He remembered trying to prevent a crash landing on the moon's surface. Then, Darwin had hauled him away from Morrow and slammed him into the bulkhead. That explained the pain in his arm. It had broken again when he hit the bulkhead.
Darwin, the Romulans had fired at him. Was he OK? What about Morrow? "Is anyone else here?" Tom rasped out. So his throat hurt too. Where the hell were they and why was it so cold? He heard movement to his left and then a quiet voice near him.
"Sir, it's M..morrow. Don't try to sit up. You've b..been injured." the voice stammered out. Tom felt a hand on his left shoulder.
"Is Darwin here, too?" Tom asked as he tried to slowly open his eyes again. "Where are we? Why is it so cold?"
There was an uncomfortable silence, then Morrow's voice again. "Darwin's dead, Sir. They shot him on the shuttle. We're in some sort of cave system. They took our jackets and boots. They must figure we wouldn't try to escape and the cold would keep us in here."
"Are you OK?" Tom asked, concerned.
"I'm fine, Sir. Only cold." Morrow answered.
"I guess it's the middle of the night, too." Tom stated. "They don't even have a torch light down here?"
Again, the painful silence. "No, Sir. It's actually about 1600 hours and there are two small torch lights."
Tom slowly lifted his left hand and passed it in front of his eyes. He brought it towards his eyes but was grabbed by Morrow before he could touch his face. "W..what happened?" he croaked out, fear tingeing his voice.
"They shot out the communications c..console, Sir. You were right in front of it. You have some pretty b..bad electrical and chemical burns on your face and hands. They w..wouldn't let me bring a medkit." Morrow stammered out, regret evident in his reply.
Tom shivered again as he closed his eyes and brought his arms across his chest. "Voyager will find us. The Captain won't want to lose her best pilot and a member of the manifold repair crew." his quiet voice trying to reassure himself as well as his companion.
"Yeah, right. Janeway should be here any time now." Morrow's voice held no belief in what he was saying.
Silence descended on the cave as the two men retreated into their own thoughts.
"Lieutenant, fire phasers at them again." Janeway turned to Tuvok. The Delta Flyer was nearing the surface of the moon and she wanted them to land safely. Chakotay had reported that the Romulans had fired on them but he was able to maneuver clear of the weapons. The Warbird appeared to be on the surface of the moon and could not adequately track the Flyer's movements.
"Seven to the Captain. I believe Lieutenant Torres and I have located two of the life signs of the shuttle crew. They are inside one of the caves on the north side of a ravine approximately 200 meters from the shuttle. Neither crewman has their comm badges."
Janeway relayed Seven's message to Chakotay and he prepared to land the Delta Flyer as close to the downed shuttle as possible without being fired upon by the Romulans.
The sound of distant weapons fire roused the two men in the cave. Tom struggled to sit up but a shooting pain in his right arm caused him to collapse back down on the hard cave floor. He felt strong hands on his shoulders as he was helped up to lean against the wall. "Thanks." he whispered, his throat still raw from the chemical burns. "Did they at least leave us some water?"
Morrow stood and walked to the far side of the small cave and came back with a bucket and ladled out some water for Tom. "I'm not sure how clean this is but it's certainly cold." he held the ladle to Tom's lips, realizing that he would have difficulty holding it with his burned hands. "Do you think that's Voyager shooting at them?"
Tom drank gratefully from the ladle and wiped his mouth with his left sleeve. "That doesn't sound like any of Voyager's weapons. More like the Romulans shooting at someone else." Tom leaned his head back against the wall of the cave and shivered again. "It feels colder, is it night yet?"
"It looks darker outside, Sir. Sorry but there's nothing in here to keep us warm. Only the two small wall torches, this water, and lots of rocks." Morrow sounded lost as he sank down next to Tom.
"It's just Tom, not Sir, down here. Is there any more water?"
"Yes, S.ir...er...Tom." Morrow carefully held the ladle up so Tom could drink. "I'm sorry for what Darwin did...for what we did to you."
"So, you were with him outside the Jeffries tube. Why? I didn't even know you two before Voyager."
"We were with the Maquis, in the badlands. Frank said you betrayed us. Led the shuttle to the Federation ship. His brother, John, was on the shuttle and wound up in a penal colony. John was only 19 and was killed in an accident at the prison."
"I didn't know. I remember John. Nice kid. Darwin lied to you. I never betrayed the Maquis. I was set up. Someone told the Federation ship right where to find the shuttle. I tried to lead them away from the base and to try to get to one of the moons but the shuttle was too old and I c..couldn't outrun their ship." Tom's voice cracked from the effort of talking.
Morrow was quiet as Tom's answer sunk in. "But Frank said you were released from the penal colony to track the rest of us down for the Federation. He said that you were only sentenced to a few month to make it look legitimate to the Maquis. You were on the bridge when Chakotay beamed aboard." his voice betrayed the confusion in his mind.
"I was never released from the penal colony. It was to be a two-week furlough with a good word for my next outmate meeting. I wasn't in for a few months, Morrow. I was sentenced to 10 years. I guess Starfleet had it in for me ever since Caldik Prime." Tom whispered as the talking set him coughing.
Weapons fire sounded much louder than before. Morrow looked around for something to use to defend them with and picked up one of the larger rocks. He moved to crouch in front of Tom.