Disclaimer - Paramount and Viacom own the characters from Voyager, although they didnít often treat them right. The story line belongs to me. 

A special thanks to: My friend and editor of all my stories, Mill3rs.


Chapter 17

As the Captain and Tuvok entered the brig, Mike Ayala stood up from his station. Although he had been on the Maquis ship, he and Tom had become close friends in their time together on Voyager. "Captain, Lieutenant, how is Tom doing?"

"Ensign Paris is doing well, Lieutenant. The Doctor stated that he should be released from sickbay tomorrow." Tuvok answered his officer. "Please lower the force field."

The energy crackled as the force field in front of the small cell was lowered. Captain Janeway and Tuvok entered and Morrow stood to meet them. He stood at attention but did not speak. Janeway looked closely at him and wondered again how he could have taken part in the brutal attacks on Tom Paris. ĎTom is right. Heís so young, as are so many of the former Maquis crewmembers. To be so far from their homes and families at such a young age is hard on them all.í "Crewman, how are you? Your injuries are thoroughly healed?" she asked.

"Yes, Captain, Iím fine now." He answered quickly and glanced away in embarrassment.

"Crewman Morrow, you have been accused of assault with a deadly weapon on a superior officer. What do you have to say for yourself?" Janeway asked.

"Captain, I have no d..defense for my actions. I believed Darwin without determining if what he was saying was true. I aided him in several attacks on Ensign Paris and c..cracked the entry codes to his quarters so Darwin could go in and trash them." Morrow answered in a low, shaky voice but stood tall and looked directly at the Captain.

"Crewman, Ensign Paris has spoken on your behalf and requested leniency for you." Tuvok stated.

"Lieutenant Tuvok has also put in a good word for you. He told me how you protected Ensign Paris in the cave and cared for him until the away team arrived. Your offenses are quite serious and you must still face the consequences of your actions." Janeway stated in a steady voice with a sympathetic look on her face.

Morrow stood at attention and looked straight at the Captain. "Iím prepared for my sentence, Captain."

"Crewman James Morrow, you are guilty of numerous assaults on a superior officer. It is has been recommended that I be lenient in handing down your sentence. I have listened to both Lieutenant Tuvok and Ensign Paris and have taken these recommendations into account. I hereby sentence you to 60 days in the brig to be followed by 60 days confinement to quarters when not on duty. In addition, you will lose your replicator rations for the 120 days of your sentence. These rations will be placed in Ensign Parisís account. Is that clear?" Janeway stood looking up at the young man before her.

"Yes, Captain, very clear." Morrow let out his breath but continued to stand at attention as Janeway and Tuvok left his cell. "Captain, thank you."

Janeway glanced back at Morrow. "Lieutenant Ayala, please raise the force field." Janeway ordered as she turned to leave.

"Captain." Morrow called out to her and she turned back to his cell. "Please give Tom, er, Ensign Paris my thanks."

"I will, Crewman." She stated as she gave him a slight smile, turned, and walked out the door with Tuvok at her side.



The next afternoon BíElanna entered sickbay and smiled as she saw Tom sitting up on biobed one. She could hear his soft voice as he argued with the Doctor about getting out of sickbay. He was not making any progress as she could see the EMH shaking his head.

"Mr. Paris, 72 hours means exactly that, 72 hours and not a minute less." The Doctor stated.

BíElanna noted that the Doctorís sharp tone of voice was tempered by the caring look he gave his most frequent patient. She strode over to the biobed and nodded at the Doctor as he busied himself at the nearest console. "Hi." She said softly to Tom and gave him a small smile. "Do you want anything?"

"Yeah, I want to get out of here." Tom answered quietly. The Doctor glared at him and he knew he would not be going anywhere soon. He looked back at B'Elanna and then at the Doctor and asked. "How about a chocolate milkshake?" When the Doctor nodded his approval, B'Elanna walked over to the replicator. She returned to the biobed with a large glass with two straws in it. 

"Uh, B'Elanna, why 2 straws?" Tom asked in a confused voice.

With a small smile, BíElanna answered. "You don't think you could drink this whole thing by yourself in your weakened state do you?" 

Tom returned her smile as she held the glass up to him and he took a sip through the straw. He winced slightly when he swallowed but gave her a grin as she leaned forward to take a drink. "That tastes great, cold and very rich. Thanks." Tom said.

The Doctor walked off to his office with a small smile on his face, knowing that Tom was getting just the medicine he needed right now.


Two days later, Captain Janeway sat at the desk in her ready room reviewing one of the PADDís in the stack in front of her. She picked up her coffee mug and took a sip, grimacing slightly when she tasted the cold liquid inside. She stood up and turned towards the replicator when the chime announced someone at her door. "Come in." she said.

The door slid open and Tom Paris walked in, stopped at the desk, and stood at attention. "You wanted to see me before my shift, Captain?" he asked.

"Yes, Mr. Paris. Please have a seat." She motioned him towards the couch under her window. "I was just about to get myself a hot cup of coffee. Would you care for anything?"

"The Doc wants me to lay off the caffeine for a bit. Some Vulcan Spice tea would be good, thank you, Captain." Tom answered as he took a seat on the couch.

Janeway ordered the drinks from the replicator and brought them to the small table by the window. Placing the mugs down, she addressed the communication system. "Commander Chakotay, please join me in my ready room." She sat next to Tom and gave him a warm smile. "How are you feeling, Tom?"

Tom was a little surprised that she used his first name but gave her a tentative smile in return. "Iím fine, Captain. The Doc certified me ready to return to duty."

The Captain picked up her mug and took a long drink of the fresh coffee. She smiled as the hot liquid slid down her throat. "I donít mean what the Doctor reports, Tom. Youíve been through a lot in the past few months. How are Ďyouí?" Janeway asked again as she leaned towards Tom. 

Tom took a sip of tea, swallowed, and set the mug back down on the table. Taking a deep breath he looked at the Captain. "I guess Iím relieved that itís all over now and I can get on with my job."

As Tom was speaking, the door from the bridge slid open and Chakotay entered the room. Tomís face clouded over, sure that he was in some sort of trouble again. He relaxed back into the couch when Chakotay flashed him a slight grin.

"Commander, would you care for some coffee or tea?" Janeway asked.

"Tea would be alright, Captain." Chakotay answered as he walked to the replicator and ordered a cup. He then took a seat in the chair across from Tom and the Captain. He had heard the exchange between Janeway and Tom as he entered from the bridge. Chakotay took a drink of his tea and sat forward in his chair. "Why didnít you come to us when the attacks started, Paris?" He asked in his quiet voice.

Tomís face reddened slightly and he looked away from Chakotay. "I thought that the first time was an isolated incident. It was dark and I didnít know who was there. When it happened again, I guess I didnít realize it was the same crewmembers."

"But you took medical supplies from sickbay and were treating the injuries in your cabin. Morrow admitted that your quarters had been trashed. How long were you going to let it go on until you asked for help?" Chakotay persisted.

Tom looked down at the floor and slowly raised his head to look into the Commanderís eyes. "I...I thought I could handle it myself. I guess I thought it didnít matter." He paused and took a couple of shaky breaths and looked away again. "I thought that I didnít matter." he whispered.

Chakotay shook his head at the younger manís pronouncement. "Tom, I know we have not always gotten along but no one on this ship deserves the treatment you received. Yes, youíve made mistakes in your past, we all have, but you have paid the price for all of them."

Janeway leaned forward and put her hand on Tomís arm. "Tom, you arenít the same man who came on board at DS9, youíve grown. You are a very valuable member of this crew. I realize that the incident with the Moneans was hard on you, that I was hard on you. Tom, now you need to feel that you can trust us. You need to let other people get close to you."

"I..Iíll try, Captain." Tom answered with a hesitant smile as he looked up at her. He picked up the mug and finished off his tea.

Captain Janeway took another sip of her coffee and put the mug down on the table. Smiling at her two officers, she stood up from the couch. "Well, letís get this ship back on track for home." The two men joined her and the headed for the bridge.


Harry gave Tom a big grin as he passed the OPís station. "Meet you later for lunch?"

"Sure thing, Harry." Tom returned the grin as he stepped down towards the conn.

Tom relieved the Gamma shift pilot at the helm as Janeway and Chakotay took their seats.

"Mr. Paris, set a course for the Alpha Quadrant, Warp 6." Janeway ordered.

"Aye, Captain." Tom replied as his fingers punched in the coordinates.

Janeway sat back in her seat with a small sigh. "Engage."