Disclaimer - Paramount and Viacom own the characters from Voyager, although they didnít often treat them right. The story line belongs to me.
"Ensign Kim to Tom Paris." Harry's voice suddenly came through his com badge, startling Tom. "Paris here."
"I'm in the mess hall, arenít you coming to lunch?"
"Yeah, sure. I'll be right there." Tom answered, as he closed the cabinet door and walked out of his bathroom. He looked around his cabin and noted that everything looked normal. He then left and headed for the mess hall.
Tom joined the line at the counter while looking around the room for Harry. He spotted him at a corner table, sitting with B'Elanna. Several crewmen came bustling into the mess hall and walked up close to Tom.
"Ever notice how even a traitor gets off easy with the Captain." One of the men muttered, to his companions, just loud enough for Tom to hear. Tom quickly picked out something that looked fairly edible and went to join Harry and B'Elanna at their table.
"B'Elanna, I was so glad to find out that you were not hurt. What exactly happened in engineering this morning?" Tom gave B'Elanna a smile as he sat down across from her.
"That phaser blast, from the Kazon ship, blew out several banks of EPS conduits. The panels ignited and caused the burns. Sue Nicoletti was standing right in front of the main console. I'm glad the doctor says she will fully recover."
"Yes, I saw her in sickbay. She should be out for at least another 10 hours. Doc has her on respiratory support until her lungs are completely healed."
"Where the hell did a Kazon ship come from? And why didn't sensors pick them up before they were in firing range?" BíElanna asked of her two companions.
"Tuvok thinks they may have some sort of cloaking device." Harry answered
"Where would the Kazon get a cloaking device?" B'Elanna asked.
"We havenít run into anyone here in the Delta Quadrant with that kind of technology." Tom commented.
The three friends continued their discussion about the attack, that morning, while finishing their lunch.
"Well, Harry. We're due back on the bridge in about 10 minutes. Better get going." Tom remarked as he stood and took his tray to the recycler. One of the crewmen from telemetry was standing at the recycler and turned into Tom, just as he began to put his tray inside, knocking it from his hands onto the floor.
"Sorry, Ensign. Guess I'm getting clumsy. You need to watch where your going, accidents are highly likely on a ship like this." the man muttered under his breath with a smirk on his face.
Tom bent down and picked up the remains of his lunch and placed them in the recycler. He then headed off to the bridge with Harry. When they reached the turbolift, Tuvok was already inside.
'Now wouldnít be a good time to ask Tom what's wrong.' Harry thought. 'I'll have to catch him tonight.'
They returned to the bridge and Tom quietly resumed his post at the helm. Chakotay noted that Tom was moving faster and more easily than he had that morning. 'Something's going on with Paris. I need to speak with him later.'
"Commander, I'd like to see you in my ready room." the Captain's voice interrupted his thoughts.
"On my way." Chakotay stood and headed for the ready room. "You have the bridge, Tuvok."
As Chakotay entered the ready room, he noted the Captain was sitting at her desk, absorbed in the information on her monitor.
"You wanted to see me?"
"Yes, Chakotay." She answered as she stood and went to her replicator. "Coffee, black. Would you care for anything?"
"Tea would be fine, Captain."
Janeway retrieved the two mugs and moved to the couch. "Sit, please. Iíve reviewed our sensor logs for the past 24 hours. Tell me why a Kazon ship was in this sector and why our sensors didnít pick it up?"
"Iím more curious as to why they didnít pursue us. They fired that one phaser blast and then basically let us go."
"As soon as repairs are done in engineering, I want to return to those coordinates and survey the area. I also want Ensign Kim and Seven to try to boost our scanner arrays to look for any trace of Kazon activity."
"Iíll have them get on it right away." Chakotay finished his tea as the Captain stood and returned to her desk.
"Captain, have you noticed a change in Tom Paris over the past week?"
"Yes, heís much quieter than usual but that stands to reason, especially around me. Itís going to take a while until heís comfortable with his new rank and being back on duty. I understand that he had some rough nights in the brig." Her expression softened. "I was unaware how claustrophobic he is."
"Yes, Lt. Ayala reported several nights where Tom seemed quite distressed. Maybe youíre right. After he settles down, his behavior and attitude should improve." Chakotay replied as he moved towards the door. ĎI still intend to keep a close eye on Mr. Paris.í he thought to himself. ĎSomething more is going on with him.í "Captain, Iíll go down to Astrometrics and speak with Seven regarding the sensor arrays."
"Very well, Commander." Janeway replied as she returned to her monitor and Chakotay left the ready room.
The rest of Alpha shift went smoothly
and Tom turned over the helm controls to the Beta shift pilot. He stood
and headed immediately for the turbolift.
"Hey, Tom. How about a game of pool after dinner?" Harry asked as he rushed into the lift before the doors slid closed.
"Oh, sure, Harry. I'd love to relieve you of more replicator rations." Tom replied with a sly grin on his face. "See you about 1900 hours?"
"What about dinner?"
"I'll just grab something in my quarters.
I have to finish up some con reports for Chakotay."
"OK, see you at Sandrineís." Harry remarked as he headed for the mess hall.
Tom keyed in his entry code and walked
into his cabin. At first glance, it looked exactly as he had left it before
lunch. He pulled off his jacket as he entered his bedroom. There, in the
middle of the bed, lay a PADD. A chill went down his spine as he picked
it up. He turned it on and a single word was displayed - TRAITOR.
ĎNot again. How did they get past
my new security lock out?" Tom shivered slightly as he continued to change
out of his uniform. ĎI think Iíll join Harry for dinner in the mess hall
after all.í Tom decided. He pulled on a pair of jeans and a royal blue
T-shirt. Taking another look around his quarters he went into the hall
and headed for the turbolift.
"Deck 2. Mess hall." he instructed