Title:  Too Much to Take (17/?)
Author:  CatHeights
Pairing:  C/P
Rating:   PG-13 (R, overall)--This is a slash story.  If reading
about a relationship between two men disturbs you, read no
Feedback:  CatHeights@yahoo.com
Archive:  Cha_Club, ATPS, Paris Nights, TPD. Anywhere else, just
ask first.
Spoiler Warning: Barge of the Dead; Extreme Risk; Nothing Human;
One Small Step
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all rights to Star Trek Voyager, its
characters, and the Voyager episodes referred to in this story.
The story idea is mine, but I am doing this just for fun, no
money to be made.

The episode One Small Step belongs to Paramount.  I'm just
expanding it a bit to give a look inside the character's minds,
and maybe altering things just a little. I promise to put it back
together when I'm done.
If you're missing a part, you can find it on my website,

End of Part 16:

As they exited the room, Tom picked up his pace so that he was
walking beside the Commander.  He grinned and glanced sideways at
Chakotay, "When we return, the celebration is at my place--I say
we keep it private."

Chakotay's eyes widened, but Tom was just looking ahead that same
smile on his face.   Chakotay chuckled.  It looked like he was
right; he wasn't waiting much longer.  Everything was going his
way.  Sometimes things just fell into place.

And now...

Part 17

Damn, why did Seven have to be right?   Communications, shields,
propulsion, and engines were all off-line, just as she had said.
"Shit," Tom muttered as he pulled off an access panel.  He had
been trying to reinforce the structural integrity field, but he
wasn't having much luck.

Outside the Delta Flyer, remnants of various civilizations
floated calmly inside the eye of the ellipse.  If they didn't get
the Flyer back on-line in less than two hours, they would be
joining the Ares Four and the other bits of history captured by
this anomaly in the return to subspace.  Leaning back on his
heels as he closed the panel, Tom thought about how quickly
things had gone wrong.

He had had a bad feeling from the moment they found the command
module, basically intact.  Before that find, though, he had been
having the time of his life.  The ellipse was alive with a
natural luminescence that enthralled him.  It was a beautiful
sight, and he, Tom Paris, was getting to pilot his way through

He had smiled as Chakotay had eagerly gone to the aft section to
analyze objects that had been transported aboard from the
anomaly--dragging an annoyed Seven with him.  Tom had chuckled
once they had left the cockpit.  In his opinion, Chakotay had no
shot of convincing Seven that this exploration was worthwhile.
Looking out at the wonder before him, he had thought it was her
loss; he and Chakotay were going to enjoy every minute out here.

Still having no luck, Tom continued to work on the field. He
remembered how thrilled he had been when his sensor sweeps had
indicated they were close to the module.  Then, he had seen it,
floating there, pretty much whole.  What the hell were they going
to do with something that big?  He had wondered at the time why
finding such a large piece had made him feel very uneasy.  He had
tossed it off to surprise, now though he wished he had taken that
feeling a bit more seriously.

When Chakotay had suggested using a tractor beam to tow the
module back to Voyager, Tom had thought he was nuts.  After a few
moments thought, however, he had warmed to the idea.  He knew how
much Chakotay was enjoying all of this.  It was a dream come
true, and if they could pull the module out of the anomaly,
Chakotay would get the chance to truly study it.  Plus, he
couldn't deny that he would love to go through it himself.
Chakotay and he could excavate the module together, and he was
sure the rest of the senior staff would want to see the inside
just as much as he did.

All he had to do was adapt a tractor beam, lock onto the module,
and they could drag it out of the ellipse, but it wasn't to be.
The Captain's voice had come over the comm system informing them
that the anomaly was on a collision course with a dark matter
asteroid; they had to get out of there immediately.   Tom had
been devastated, and he had bet Chakotay felt even worse, but
there was nothing to be done.  He had been about to lay in a
course out of the ellipse when Chakotay told him to lock a
tractor beam onto the module.   That uneasy feeling had become a
rock in his stomach.

He knew Seven was right that they didn't have the time, but he
hadn't spoken out to support her.  He was torn between agreeing
with her, and wanting to help Chakotay.  He knew how badly the
man wanted that module.  In the end it hadn't been much of a
battle, and he locked on the tractor beam.  After all, Chakotay
was in charge of the mission.

He should have refused, agreed with Seven and taken Chakotay's
wrath.  If he had done that, Chakotay wouldn't be lying on a
biobed with a severe concussion and internal injuries.

They had been so close to clearing the anomaly, so close that
they caught the wave from the asteroid impacting.  It tossed the
Flyer back into the storm.  With terror filling his heart, he had
heard the sound of energy sizzling behind him and Chakotay flying
from his chair.  Too busy trying to bring the spiraling ship
under control, Tom hadn't even been able to turn around to see if
the Commander was okay.  He had had to hope Seven was seeing to

When the ship had stopped careening, Tom had hurried over to
Chakotay.  He and Seven had gotten the Commander into the back,
and while Seven went to check on the ship's systems, he had
treated Chakotay.  The plasma discharge had done some serious
damage.  The concussion was bad enough, but it was the internal
injuries that really worried him.  They needed to get Chakotay
back to Voyager right away.  Seven, the voice of doom, had told
him getting back to Voyager was not going to be easy.  The ship
had suffered severe damage, and the anomaly would vanish into
subspace in under two hours.

Why hadn't he warned Chakotay that it was dangerous to want
something so badly?  Told him that the fates seemed to delight in
dangling the object of one's desire just out of reach.  Hell, he
had plenty of experience with hopes being smashed to the ground.
Why it looked like it was about to happen to him again.  Were
they going to be trapped by this anomaly just as the Ares Four
had been?  Would he have to watch as Chakotay died from those

No, he'd be damned if that was going to happen.  They were all
getting out of this alive.  He and Seven were going to fix the
ship, and Chakotay was going to stay still if Tom had to tie him
down.  Moving about would only add to his injuries, so he was
just going to have to lie there quietly.  Tom would see to it
that he did.

He smiled grimly, hoping that what he had done would at least
temporarily reinforce the integrity field.  He should check with
Seven to see if she had come up with any ideas, and to make sure
she hadn't tried to kill the Commander.  There was no mistaking
her animosity.  A good part of him couldn't blame her.  Even he
had had a brief moment of wanting to shake the Commander, when
upon regaining consciousness his first thoughts were of trying to
salvage that cursed module.  Right now, he just about wished they
had never come across this ellipse.

As he neared the aft section, he could hear Seven's voice raise,
the anger in it clearly coming across to him even if he couldn't
make out the words.  Chakotay's voice was much lower, but Tom
recognized that tone as one of extreme annoyance.  Damn, he knew
Seven was frustrated, but couldn't she refrain from antagonizing
Chakotay.  He was injured after all. Tom knew he was going to
have a hard enough time getting the Comamnder to lie still
without Seven getting into an argument with him.

As he walked into the room, the conversation ceased.  Chakotay
was sitting up, leaning on one elbow and staring at Seven who had
her back to him.  Picking up a medical tricorder, Tom walked over
to Chakotay, frowning.

"You're supposed to be lying down," Tom said as he ran the
tricorder over Chakotay.

"I've read the inventory of the damaged systems, you can use my
help," the Commander insisted stubbornly.

"We went over this. You are in worse shape then the ship.  The
best way for you to help is to lie here and rest.  Moving around
is only going to make the injuries worse."

Seven walked passed them.  Her gaze only including Tom, she said,
"I shall return shortly," and left the area.  Tom almost sighed.
He'd talk to her in a moment.  Right now he needed to get
Chakotay to focus just on resting, probably an impossible task.

He looked down to see Chakotay looking at him thoughtfully, still
not lying down of course.  "So are you with her, do you blame me
too for being stuck here?"

Oh no, there was no way he was getting pulled into a discussion
of whose side he was on. They didn't have time for that.

"What kind of question is that?  You and Seven both need to get
your perspectives straight.  What's important now is getting out
of here by working together.   And right now for you that means
lying still.  Damn it Chakotay, I'm serious.  You have internal
injuries that require surgery.  You need to lie there in the bed,
and let Seven and I take care of the ship.  I designed this ship,
don't you trust me to be able to find a way to fix it?"

Chakotay could see the concern on Tom's face, and he immediately
felt guilty.  What the hell was he thinking asking Tom to take
sides?  Besides he had admitted to Seven that he had put the
mission at risk, so why put Tom on the spot?  Because he knew Tom
had a right to blame him, but hoped that he didn't.  He winced as
another wave of pain tore through his burning body.  He felt Tom
place a hand lightly on his chest, and he gave in and laid back

Tom took his hand, and Chakotay looked into blue eyes that were
very serious.  "Please, Chakotay, just lie here, okay," Tom said

"All right, I will.  I promise," Chakotay said with a smile. Tom
had enough to think about without his being difficult and
worrying the younger man.  "Sorry for being a pain.  Of course I
trust you to figure things out."

Tom smiled back.  "Finally you've come to your senses.  I'm going
to get back to work.  Be good," he said and released Chakotay's

Stepping into the cockpit, Tom said, "I think I managed to
reinforce the structural integrity field."

"It won't last, nor will it help us much.  All our energy
conduits are fused, we can't access any primary systems," Seven
said, her jaw tightening.

"Then we'll have to figure out another way," Tom said trying to
keep his voice even.  It wouldn't help matters, if he and Seven
got into a fight.  "Seven we have to keep trying, and your
attitude isn't helping any."

Seven's head shot up and she glared at him.

"You have to stop antagonizing Chakotay."

"His obsession has cost us our lives," she hissed.

"I don't know about you, but I'm not dead yet.  And I don't plan
to die," Tom said.

Seven opened her mouth to reply, but closed it when they heard
faintly, "Voyager to the Delta Flyer."   Tom and Seven hurried to
the aft section.  Upon entering it, they heard Chakotay say,
"Captain, we can hear you."

Darting for the communications panel, Seven quickly ascertained
what was happening. "Voyager is using a probe as a transmission

Tom glared at Chakotay who had pushed himself partly up.
Responding to the glare with a slightly apologetic look, Chakotay
laid back down as Seven said, "I'm matching their frequency.
This is the Delta Flyer, please respond."

Tom breathed a sigh of relief as he heard the Captain respond.
Together with Voyager they would figure out a solution.  They
were going to get back; all they had to do now was figure out