Disclaimer - Paramount and Viacom
own the characters from Voyager, although they didnít often treat them
right. The story line belongs to me.
Tom entered the mess hall and noticed
Harry sitting alone at a small table in the corner of the room. He went
down the serving line and took a double helping of Neelixís Dinner Surprise.
It was bright orange and looked like some sort of stew. ĎI hope this is
edible. Iím starving since I didnít have time for lunch today.í he thought
as he went to join Harry,.
"Hey, Tom. I thought you were working
on conn reports."
"Iím sort of out of replicator rations
so I thought Iíd join you. Iíll get to the reports tonight." Tom answered
with a distracted look on his face.
"So, are you really coming to Sandrineís
tonight? You havenít been there for the past week."
"Like I said, Harry. I could use
the rations." Tom began to pick at his food. "This stuff is pretty spicy."
Tom looked like his thoughts were
light years away. ĎSomething is going on with Tom.í Harry was worried about
his friend. He still thought that the Captain had been rather harsh with
Tom, especially after he had gotten permission to see him in the brig.
Tom did not handle solitary confinement well and had been having nightmares.
"Tom, is everything OK? Youíve been
too quiet and no oneís seen you after your duty shifts lately."
"Oh, Iím fine, Har. Just catching
up on reports. Chakotayís having me run diagnostics on the helm and the
shuttles. I suspect he thinks that Iíve forgotten how to fly after 30 days
off the conn. Iím also overseeing the final repairs to the Delta Flyer."
"Before you know it, youíll be Lieutenant
"Harry, do you really think I care
all that much about rank? I disobeyed a direct order from the Captain herself.
I got what I deserved. Now, eat up and letís hit that pool table."
They finished their meal in relative
silence and headed for Holodeck two. They didnít notice that their conversation,
as well as their exit from the mess hall, were closely observed.
Tom and Harry entered Sandrineís
and went to a table near the bar. Several crewmembers were engaged in an
impromptu pool tournament.
"Well, I guess weíll have to wait
for the table to be free. Iíll get us a couple of drinks while weíre waiting."
Tom walked off to the bar and spoke softly to Sandrine. He returned with
two glasses and a bottle of scotch. "Drink up, Harry." he declared as he
poured two drinks.
"Tom, scotch?" Harry looked at the
bottle in astonishment.
Tom quickly downed his glass and
poured another. "Sure, Har, scotch. Itís a manís drink."
"Tom, Iím not sure about this. We
both have the Alpha shift tomorrow."
"So, we leave early and get a good
nightís sleep. No problem." Tom answered as he glanced at the pool table.
"Looks like weíre up next." he grabbed his glass and the bottle of scotch
and wandered over to the cue rack. Harry followed slowly but left his glass
on the table.
Tom racked up the balls, grabbed
the chalk, and started to put it on the end of his cue. Harry selected
a cue from the rack and walked over to the table. Suddenly Chakotayís voice
came over his com badge. "Ensign Kim, this is Commander Chakotay. Could
you please report to Astrometrics. The Captain wants you to begin working
on the sensor arrays."
"Yes, Sir. Iím on my way." Harry
answered and put his cue back in the rack.
"Damn! We finally get the table and
Chakotay assigns you to an extra shift in Astrometrics!" Tom griped.
"Sorry, Tom. Weíll do this tomorrow
night, OK?" Harry turned and left Sandrineís.
"Sure, Har, tomorrow." Tom mumbled
at Harryís back. He went to the bar bringing the scotch with him.
When Harry entered Astrometrics,
he found Seven and Captain Janeway working at the main console. "Ensign
Kim, please assist me with adjusting this scanner array." Seven motioned
Harry over to the panel on the side of the console.
"Ensign, thank you for arriving so
promptly. I know youíre off duty now but I want our scanners modified as
soon as possible." The Captain smiled at Harry.
"No problem, Captain. Iím sure that
Seven and I can get the scanners boosted to find any evidence of Kazon
activity." Harry replied to the Captain and went to work.
"Please let me know as soon as the
scanners are up and running." The Captain said as she left Astrometrics.
Commander Chakotay entered Holodeck
2 and spotted Tom sitting at the bar, quietly talking with Sandrine. ĎMaybe
now, I can find out whatís up with Paris.í Chakotay thought as he crossed
the room and sat down next to Tom. "Ensign, drinking alone?"
"Well Commander, I was drinking with
Ensign Kim until you called him to Astrometrics. The scanners couldnít
wait until Alpha shift?"
"No, Paris. The Captain was working
with Seven and she wants those new scanner arrays up and running now. She
wants to return to where we ran into the Kazon ship and look for any signs
of further activity." Chakotay glared at the glass in Tomís hand. "Donít
you think youíve had enough for one night?"
"Iím off duty, Commander. You canít
tell me what or how much to drink. As long as I report for my duty shift
on time, my life is my own." Tom snapped at Chakotay.
"Paris, you donít want me to report
you for insubordination. I think itís time you retire for the night." Chakotay
took the bottle from Tomís hand and set it on the bar.
"No, Commander, the last thing I
need is to be brought up on charges of insubordination. Have a good night."
Tom responded, his words slightly slurred. He finished off what was still
in his glass, turned and drifted unsteadily out of Sandrineís.
ĎI havenít seen Tom drink to excess
in quite awhile.í Chakotay thought as he remembered meeting up with the
brash young pilot back in France, over six years ago.............
Captain Chakotay, of the Liberty
ship, strode into the dusky bar on the back street of Marseille, France.
Heíd been told an extremely talented pilot could be found there. The captain,
a tall man, with dark hair, and a distinctive tattoo over his left eye,
scanned the room. There were several tables filled with Frenchmen and their
female companions, several Bolians, and a group of Bajorans surrounding
the pool table.
Chakotay wandered over, at the sound
of the crowd loudly encouraging one of the players. He saw a rather large
Klingon watching in amazement as a young man with dirty blond hair, hanging
in his eyes, appeared to be running the table. The young man, gracefully
sank the last of the solid balls, announced that he would sink the 8 ball
in the far corner pocket, and proceeded to do just that. The crowd applauded
while the Klingon grudgingly handed over five silver credits.
"Sandrine, my love. Hereís enough
to pay last nightís tab and buy a bottle of scotch for tonight." The blond
haired man handed over the credits to the bartender. He was given a bottle
of house brand scotch and a glass. He sank into a chair at the closest
table and poured himself a drink.
Chakotay approached the table and
pulled out a chair. "I hate to see a pool shark drink alone."
"I rather prefer my own company."
The young man looked up with bloodshot eyes. "What are you looking for?"
"I understand that you have some
large tabs in half the bars in France. I might be able to help you out."
"And what would it cost me." was
the reply. "Iím afraid youíre not exactly my type."
"Iím not looking for sex but I do
have a proposition for you. I hear youíre an outstanding pilot."
Surprised blue eyes looked at Chakotay.
"Where did you hear that?"
"I have my sources. ........ Well,
can you fly an Orion-class ship?" he noted, with a small grin, that he
had his companionís full attention.
"I can fly anything you put me in."
the voice confident, not at all boastful.
"What do you know about the Maquis?"
Chakotay asked as he motioned to the bartender to send over another bottle.
"Iíll give you the chance to pilot my ship but youíll have to report sober
to the transport site."
"You offer me a seat at the helm
of your ship and Iíll be as sober as a judge." Tom flashed a grin while
he put out his hand. "Tom Paris at your service......Captain?"
"Chakotay. Pleased to meet you Tom
Paris." Chakotay poured two more glasses of scotch and shook Tomís hand.
He noted how thin the pilot was and how anxious he appeared under the bravado
he put forth. ĎSpirits, heís just a kid! But if heís as good as Iíve
heard, we need him.í