Disclaimer : The usual stuff...yatta yatta...Paramount/Viacom own everything, I own nothing...yatta yatta ya...no financial things intended..no infrictions...only fun

Background : This story is partly based on the DS9 episode 'Sacrifice of Angels'. Once again it plays (surprise surprise !) in an alternate timeline and reality, after 'Day of Honour'. But  in THIS reality the 'Day of Honour' incident never happened.

Author's Note : I know ! This story started as a short P/T story. In a way, it still is. There's some P/T in Part 4. I know it's not enough, but when writing this, I had this idea that I wanted to change the whole thing. Unsatisfied with the development of it. And don't worry, you'll get your P/T ! :)

Feedback will be appreciated, enshrined, and carefully read! Feel free to write. You liked it? You hated it?  You survived it?  Tell me about it :) Everything, from praise to scorn, goes to: rollic@internet.lu

Dedicated to Gene Roddenberry, for having invented Star Trek and making us believe in a better future.

Sacrifice of Angels
 By ChrisTR


"O for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention !
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene !
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the ports of Mars ; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employment !
But, pardon, gentles all,
The flat, unraised spirit that hath dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object. [...]
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoof i' the receiving earth
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there ; jumping o'er times,
Turning the accomplishment of many years,
Into an hourglass : for the wich supply,
Admit me, Chorus to this history ;
Who, prologue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge our play."
                                  -William Shakespeare, Henry V.


Part 1 - Home

While there were repairs being made, and they were, as always, short-handed, there was no life-threatening emergencies at the moment. The engines were working well, life-support was functioning, the mess-hall and holo-decks were almost constantly in use a

Thomas Eugene Paris was sitting at the conn, his thoughts wandering
back to what happened last evening. It has been 4 days now, since the incident with the Cataati, and Tom and B'Elanna hadn't said a word to each other ever since. He remembered the talk they had in the shuttle-craft after they had found the dumped Warp-Co
He reached out to check the sensor readings again, hoping for something that would disctract him, something new...anything new ! But no, everything was still as quiet as is had been. He let out a sad sigh and turned to the view-screen, watching the stars

Captain Katherine Janeway noticed the deep sigh of her navigator and was just about to ask what was wrong, when Ensign Kim interrupted her.

'Sir, I'm picking up some strange energy readings, half a lightyear to port.'

Now fully awake, Tom sat up to check his sensor logs.
'Harry's right captain. I'm picking up elevated tetryon radiation.'

'Any idea what it is Harry ?'

'No sir. We're still too far away to determine what it is yet.'

'Allright then. Mr Paris, take us in, half impulse'

'Yes ma´am.' Tom replied, relieved that at last something was about to happen.

Janeway smiled lightly, noticing the relieved look on  Paris' face.

'Captain, I'm detecting some unusual readings here.' she heard Harry's voice.

'I'd appreciate some more detailed information, Ensign'
She had to fight hard to hold back a grin as she saw Harry's stiffening body. *He's going to get a cramp if he keeps doing that* She could not help it but smile, when she imagined the sickbay-scene if such a thing would really happen, the un-evitable sarc
Kim saw the Captain's smile and immediately turned a dark shade of pink.
Chakotay looked up at his Captain, and gave her a warm smile. *Poor Harry* he thought. *I hope he doesn't take it too hard*.
When Janeway finally managed to regain control of her facial expression, she turned to Harry, who blushed instantly as he saw his Captain's barely supressed grin. Janeway smiled at him and said
'It's okay, Harry. Next time just remember the details.'

'Yes, ma'am'

Janeway nodded and changed the subject.
'So, what's the origin of these 'unusual readings'? '

'I don't know, Captain, they seem to be coming from...'
Harry's voice trailed off, and he stared at his reading.

'You were saying, Ensign ?' she said calmly, and put the emphasis on his rank, reminding him where and who he was. *Now what?* she thought.

Harry gulped and nodded.
'I'm detecting a large displacement wave heading towards us'

Janeway almost gasped for air 'What ?' she recovered quickly and added 'Do you detect any form of coherent tetryon beam scanning us ?' Hope flared in her voice.

Once before, Voyager had been hit by a displacement wave, after being scanned by a coherent tetryon beam, emitted by a huge space array, the Caretaker. The wave had hurled them across space, leaving the crew scattered and the ship badly damaged. It had be
*A 60-year journey still ahead of us* she thought *This wave could either be a blessing or a curse.*
*Stop it Katherine ! Keep focused on your work* she heard a small  voice say in her mind. *Now what ? I am focused ! Be quiet and let me do my work, OK ?* she replied, angrily

Harry's reply interrupted her thoughts, and she was at least a bit grateful for it.
'Negative, Captain,' Kim said after having scanned several panels 'No sign of other unusual phenomena. Apart from the fact of course, that this wave is heading directly at us at an incredible speed. We better get out of here sir !'

'Lt. Paris, full stop! Bring us about and go to full impulse! Quickly !' she added, practically yelling at him, unable to control her voice.

'Yes, ma'am !' Tom replied. But soon after he cursed under his breath and after a few more seconds of silence he had to add 'Sir, the wave is simply too big. And too fast!  I can't clear away...

'Captain ! The wave is closing up. 45 seconds to impact.' Harry yelled, the anguish in his voice evident to the entire bridge.

'Janeway to Engineering. B'Elanna, transfer all available energy to the shields.'

'Aye Captain !' In the background, Tom could hear the muffled voices in Engineering, as B'Elanna yelled at her staff who already fought to accomply the order. For one moment, he thought he heard an angry groan. *She's probably giving them a hell of a terr

Opening a comm-channel, Janeway thought *What the hell is so funny about all this, Paris ?* Her pilot didn't seem quite focused on work lately. She let out a small sigh. She would have to have a little talk with her Lieutenant after all this. *Provided th

'Janeway to all hands : Brace for impact !'

Only seconds later, Voyager was struck by the wave, being hurled across space. The floor was trembling, and Tom had to cling to his station. He could hear the sound of exploding displays and muffled screams. He saw Janeway fall to ground, and was horrifie


Down in Engineering, B'Elanna Torres was far from being allright.  *Dammit Paris, you're going to pay for this!*  She was infuriated ! Why hadn't he avoided that bloody wave ? Certainly that wouldn't have been that difficult ! If only Paris had...*oh hell
'Pig !' she said, the word directed to a certain fair-haired, blue-eyed conn-officer *Pig...* she repeated *a big, hairy, arrogant, self-absorbed pig with...wonderful blue-eys, exactly the same colour as the...*

'Whoa ! Stop it Torres !' she muttered to herself 'There are more serious problem right now than your love life...'

The nasty little voice in her head turned up once more *Love life ? And exactly what love life would that be, Lieutenant ?* it said.

Torres just growled in response. 'Stuff it!' she said.

'Sir ?' Joe Carey's head jerked up in surprise. Had he just heard something like 'love life' ?...from Lieutenant *Torres* ?
'Sorry, I didn't quite catch that Lt. Torres' he repeated

B'Elanna blushed, but recovered quickly 'I said : Why don't you try to get some energy to those shields Lt. Carey ?'

Maybe Carey was not as talented as B'Elanna when it came to engineering and Warp-Technology, but he was no fool. And he was bright enough to get a hint...especially when it was snarled out in such a tone, and accompanied by a death-glare, wich would even

'Aye sir !' he said, turned away and beat a hasty retreat.

That was exactly the time when all hell broke loose, down there in engineeering


A blinding white light flashed to the bridge, making everyone lift their hands to their eyes for protection. Tom was hunched over his station and suddenly found himself lying on the floor, in front of the view-screen. He fought to control his anguish, and
*I never got to tell B'Elanna I love her* was his last thought
before he was overwhelmed by his pain and slid into darkness.


A violent explosion shook Engineering. Totally without warning, the ship jerked to the right, and Torres could feel the deck slipping away under her feet. The last thing she saw was the explosion of the display she had just been working at. She was slamme
Her head hit something hard, and the pain was simply too big for her.
The last thing she saw before she fainted was Joe Carey, grabbing an emergency-kit and scanning her with his tricorder.
*It must have hit me harder than I thought. I never saw Carey this worried before.*
The pain overwhelmed her, and she let herself slide into comforting darkness. *No! I can't die now! There's still something I have to...* Then she fainted.


When he saw the explosion, out of the corner of his eye, Joe Carey jumped up from his seat, and lept to the motionless figure of B'Elanna Torres. The display had exploded right in front of her face. *She was far too close. She can't possibly have surv...*

He slapped his comm-badge 'Carey to sickbay'

No response. 'Doctor can you hear me ?' he inquired. Still, no response. He began worrying bit, but, pushing is pessimistic thougths aside, he started to treat B'Elanna with the Med-Kit.
The engines could wait a bit.


Some minutes later, Carey absent-mindly noticed the EMH kneeling besides Torres.

Doc slapped his comm-badge 'Beam Lt. Torres and me directly to the sickbay' Seconds later, the two of them were gone.
Carey sighed. He grabbed his tool-kit and walked towards the plasma relays.
*This is going to be a long day Joe* he thought.


'TOM ! Tom, wake up !' The urge in the familiar voice brought him back to reality. It took him some time to realize that he was lying face-first in front of the view-screen. He turned over and saw Harry's concerned face hovering above him.
'I'm fine, Harry, I'm fine. How's the captain ?' he asked

'The captain, Chakotay and Tuvok are unconscious but they're not seriously injured. They'll make it. Now, come on, get up. You have to do something !'

'Me ?' Tom asked, confused *Why me? Why does this always happen to me?*

'Yes you ! You're the highest-ranking officer right now, so get up and do something !' The ensign's voice was trembling with nervousity.

*Yeah. Sure. Nothing easier then that* Tom thought. *This is ridiculous ! One moment I wish for some action to happen, the next moment I'm in command of Voyager ! And I don't even know what happened*

'Allright, allright.' He finally managed to say 'Find out what happened, will you ?'

Harry got up, and returned to his now-demolished station, trying to get it operational again.

'Paris to sickbay. Doctor, would you mind coming up here ? The captain and Chakotay have been wounded.'

'I'm on my way, Lieutenant.' The doc's voice sounded as neutral as always, showing no sign of nervousity what so ever.

'You !' Tom pointed at a Security officer, Lt.Cooper 'Take over tactical ! You !' Tom pointed at another Ensign, unhappy enough to cross Tom's field of vision at that specific moment 'Make yourself useful and take the conn !'
The young man, Ensign Hawkes, sat down at the conn and began working. Tom knew the man; a former Maquis.  *He's gonna be fine Tom. He can handle the ship.*  Letting someone else fly Voyager right now wasn't exactly a very comforting idea to him.

'Harry, Status report.'

'Shields are off-line, as well as the weapons and the warp-engines. Sensors working at 35% of usual. We've had some heavy injuries in Engineering. . .'

A terrible thought flashed through Tom's mind  *B'Elanna...*

'. . . and a hull-breach on deck 11 ; the repair-teams are on it. So far no deaths.' Tom sighed 'We're in a pretty bad shape, but at least we're alive'

'I couldn't agree more Harry' he said 'Paris to Engineering.'
No reponse. 'B'Elanna, you hear me?' *B'Elanna ! Answer me, please!*

Finally there was a weak, muffled voice.
'Carey here, sir. A panel exploded right in front of Lt. Torres. She's unconcious and we treated her with an Emergency-MedKit, but I think the doc should have a look at her.'

Tom heard the *woosh* of the turbolift doors and he saw the Doctor stepping out of it. Absent-mindly he nodded to the hologramme. Doc saw the captain lying on the floor and began treating her, moving a tricorder across her motionless body.

'Understood ' Tom said, trying to keep his tone neutral, in spite of the knot forming in his stomach *B'Elanna. . .* 'Lt. Carey, what's our status? When can you get the Warp-drive back online ? We could need them soon.'

'We're working on it sir. But it looks pretty bad; nearly all the energy-relais are fried, and we have a leak in the plasma-coolant systems.'

'Acknowledged. I'll send the doc to you to look after B'El...after Lt.Torres as soon as he's finished here, Try and get these engines on-line as soon as possible.'

'Aye sir !'

Forcing down the urge of looking after B'Elanna, he simply turned to the doc and told him to go down to engineering when he'd be finished here. The doctor only nodded, acknowledgind the order. Paris sighed, then turned to the tactical station.

'Lt.Cooper, status ? Any ships in sensor range?'

'No sir. We seem to be alone' came the reply

Tom nodded 'Allright. Harry, where the hell are we ? and get the view-screen working again, will you ?'

'Aye sir' Harry acknowledged in a purely profesional tone.

Tom allowed himself a weak smile. His best friend was no longer the naïve Ensign he was when he boarded Voyager. When he first met him, on Deep Space Nine, Tom had to rescue him from a Ferengi who was trying to sell him some 'souvenirs'. Tom grinned when

Static cracked when the viewscreen flared into life again. It showed only empty space, no trace of a planet or a ship. *The Nebula..*the Nebula they had been flying through just a few minutes ago,...it's gone* Tom swallowed hard, trying to keep his expres

'Primary systems coming back on-line' Harry reported 'apart from the warp-drive that is. But. . .I think I got the sensors finally working normally again. According to these datas we. . . '  His voice trailed of and he gazed at Tom, unable to finish the s

Tom was starting to loose patience 'You were saying, Ensign ?'

Harry blushed and finally found his voice again '..according to sensors we...we're deep inside Cardassian space...'

Tom gazed at him in disbelief. That couldn't be true...

'What? We're where ?' Even Tom could hear his voice tremble.

'...we're in the Alpha Quadrant' Harry stuttered

For a few moment there was a shocked silence. Even the doctor temporarily stopped working. Barely audible, Harry whispered 'We're back home'
Eventually some of the younger crew-members began cheering, Soon everybody on the bridge was yelling in pleasure...everybody but LT. Thomas Paris, who had an odd feeling about this, which neither he could deny nor explain.


The joyride on the bridge was interrupted by Cooper's alerted voice

'Sir, I detect a vessel closing in on us, bearing three-point-five mark zero. It's...Cardassian sir. Galor-class. Weapons are powered up, target locks are engaged.'

Tom gasped for air *OH great ! just great !*

'Open a channel' he ordered

'They're not responding to our hails'

'Go to Red Alert' Instantly the Alert-Klaxon sounded and the crew was called to battle stations.

'Keep on hailing them. Paris to Engineering. What's the status of our shields ? and weapons ?'

'Shield are at 43%. The phaser's are still off-line, as is the warp-core. The torpedoe-launchers are malfunctioning. I can get you one or two torpedoes, not more. '

'Damn !' he muttered under his breath 'What about the Impulse-Engines ?'

'Running, but only at 75%. We got the problems here under control...so far...we're working on the warp-engines'

'Keep it up Carey, we need Warp-capability !'

'Aye sir'

'Cooper' Tom turned to look at him 'prepare the photon torpedoes and target their warp-core' Without waiting for an acknowledgement, he turned to Harry 'Have they responded yet ?'

'No. They are still heading towards us at warp...'

He was interrupted as the face of an angry-looking Cardassian showed itself on the view-screen.

'This is Gul Lemor, from the Cardassian Warship Natek. Surrender your vessel to the Dominion or be destroyed.'

'What ?' Tom asked, unable to stop himself, with a puzzled look on his face 'What are you talking about ? What's the Dominion ? anyway there still is a treaty between our governements...' seeing the expression on the Gul's face, he slowly added '...is the

'Where have you been for the last year ? On the other side of the Galaxy ?'

*Well, actually. . .* Tom thought, biting his lip in an attempt not to smile wryly. It failed. *Paris ! Stop it ! That's not at all funny !*

'If you do not surrender, you will be destroyed. You have 60 seconds to comply !'

'Hang on!' Tom shrieked ' Why would you want to destroy us ?'

The Gul looked at him with an odd expression on his face
'A strange question to ask in a war don't you think ? Yield or be destroyed ! This is your last warning ; you have 45 seconds to comply !' With that he terminated the communication.

'Oh gods ! Perfect ! just perfect' he kept muttering
Once again he turned to Kim  'Shields ?'

'65%. We won't be able to hold up long if it comes to a fight. Phasers are still down.'

Tom grimaced in disgust and slapped his comm-badge 'Paris to Carey'

'Carey here'

'You better get moving on those engines...we need them..NOW ! !'

'Lt., you must give me at least half an hour...'

'We don't have that much time. I need the engines and I n...'

Lt. Cooper interrupted him suddenly 'Sir, I detect elevated tachyon emissions. Probably a de-cloaking ship, 500000 km starboard of the Cardassian vessel. I read one..no, two vessels.. '

*Great! My first command and I screw it up totally.. as usual*

*No time for self-pity Paris! Do something*

'Sir!' Cooper's voice sounded shocked 'Those are Federation ships..'

'WHAT?'  *Federation ships with cloaking devices..what's going on here ?*

'Powering up their weapons'

'Harry, open a...'  He didn't have time to finish the sentence. Bursts of yellow energy rocked through space, hitting the Cardassian vessel's right side. A weak flicker appeared on the view-screen as the Cardassian shields tried to deflect the phaser ener
The two unknown ships were now fully engaged in a fire-fight with the much bigger Cardassian Destroyer. He wondered wether he should join them in attacking the Cardassians or not. *I don't know whats going on her. Are we in war? Well, it certainly seems s
*But what if tose ships are not really Starfleet? StarFleet hasn't got any cloakable ships.*

Then it happened. It was so fast, Tom couldn't quite catch it. All he saw, were two photon torpedoes racing towards the Natek. They hit, exactly were the bridge of the ship would be. There was a flash of light, and Voyager started vibrating again. The vie

*Those photon torpedoes..they appeared *blue* !* he thought *A new kind of weapon ? Besides, I haven't seen this type of ship before, either.*

'Harry, what the hell happened now ?' he demanded 'Are they firing on us too?'

'No sir, but the Cardassian ship..it's been destroyed !'

For a few seconds, there was a shocked silence on the bridge. Then Tom decided he was ought to do something.

'Hail our benefactors' he commanded, unable to keep a certain bitterness out of his tone.

'Channel open.'

'Voyager to unknown ship. Do you read me ?'

An expressionless face appeared on the view-screen. Tom noticed they did not wear the same uniform. Even though it looked StarFleet-like, the coulours had changed. The new model was black and blue, with a turtleneck bearing the colours of the respective c

*This is typical. You are away for a few years, and they change everything.* he thought cynically.

'This is Captain Jonathan Lorca, from the Federation Starship 'Agammemnon'. Who the hell are you and what are you doing here ?'

Tom's face clearly showed his confusion.

'I am Lt. Thomas Paris, acting commander of the Federation ship Voyager.'

Captain Lorca's face darkened with anger and disbelief. Tom hesitated, but decided to continue.

'And I could ask you the same, Captain. Why are you that deep inside Cardassian space ? And why did they try to destroy us ?'

To Tom's surprise, Captain Lorca got even angrier.

'Your deception will fail. Voyager has been destroyed 4 years ago.
Who are you ?'

'As I said, this is the Voyager. We were not destroyed, and it's a long story. An alien device transported us against our will to the Delta-Quadrant. We've been trying to get home for 4 years now.'  Tom's voice was trembling. This was not going the way he

'That is an highly un-likely story. Do you really believe me that stupid ? Why should I believe this..nonsense?'

Tom could hardly control his temper. 'Why should you not? Why would I want to deceive you ? Our ship hardly is a match for yours.' he said, in a tone that could have melten through the ships hull.

Lorca was taken aback by his opponents infuriating reply.
His eyes narrowed dangerously. Finally he took his decision.

'Allright, *Lieutenant* Paris, if that's really your name, you will surrender your weapons and accompany us back to StarBase 89. Admiral Haze will be eager to learn what *really* happened to Voyager.' He said, his voice dripping with sarcasm and distrust.

Tom put on his most innocent smile and said 'I'm afraid I can't do that sir.'

'WHAT !'

Inwardly, Tom grinned.

'We are experiencing some problems with our warp core. If you could spare any of your men, we could use some help here. And I'm certain it would greatly speed the repairs. You don't want to stay too long here neither, I suppose.'

Lorca's eyes narrowed even further, and examined the picture on his view-screen. Finally he said 'I'll see what I can do. Lorca out.'

Tom sighed and glanced at Harry. He only shrugged. *This is going to be a long day..* he thought.

To be continued...

End of Part 1

Sacrifice of Angels
By ChrisTR


I am - yet what I am none cares or knows ;
 My friends forsake me like a memory lost :
I am the self-consumer of my woes-
 They rise and vanish in oblivions host,
Like shadows in love's frenzied, stifled throes :
And yet I am, and live - like vapours tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise
 Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of live or joys,
 But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems ;
Even the dearest that I love the best
Are strange - nay, rather, stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man hath never trod,
A place where woman never smiled or wept -
There to abide with my Creator God,
 And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below, above, the vaulted sky.
                               -John Clare, I am


Part 2 - Revelations

Outside, in the void, the duranium-white hull of a Federation vessel moved slowly. The black letters etched into the ship's saucer section read U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E. Then, the warp nacelles gloomed slightly and, seconds after, StarFleet's flagship
The Enterprise-E, StarFleet's newest technical succes, was the most advanced and powerful ship of the fleet, outpowering even the latest Defiant-class spaceships, designed to win an all-out war between the Federation and the Borg Collective.
Now that the Collective posed no longer an actual threat to the Federation, the Defiant-class was StarFleet's best hope in the recent, all-out war with the Dominion.
Three years after the discovery of the Bajoran Wormhole leading into the Gamma-Quadrant, Captain Sisko and his crew first encountered the Dominion, the leading power in the Gamma-Quadrant. Relation had never been what one could call cordial, but, almost h
But now, even that had changed.

Inside the new Ready-Room, Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the Enterprise, paced nervously. His mind wandering, he did not hear the door bell until it chimed for the second time.

'Come in.' he said

The door opened, and Commander William T. Riker, First Officer entered the room.

'You wanted to speak to me sir ?' he asked

'Yes Will, please, sit down.' Picard said, looking out at the stars flushing past.

Will sat down in front of the Captain's desk. *This is strange. I've barely seen him like this before. Has his behavior something to do with the reason why we were ordered to StarBase 89 ?'
Finally Jean-Luc turned around and faced his First Officer.

'Will, I know I haven't exactly been very communicative lately, and I apologize for that.' He took a deep breath, and once again Will wondered just what was going on. After a few seconds, Jean-Luc spoke again.

'You are probably wondering why we were ordered to StarBase 89.'

Silently, Will nodded. Jean-Luc sighed. There was no other way to this, but the direct approach.

'Well, the reason is quite simple. We're going to retake Deep Space Nine.'

Will smiled grimly. 'It's about time. Morale in the fleet has reached a record low. We need a victory, and Deep Space Nine is the obvious choice.'

'Agreed. Admiral Haze is assembling a large attack fleet at StarBase 89. 600 ships so far, plus the 3rd fleet and the Klingon Defense Force, as soon as they arrive. As the flagship of the Fleet, Haze rightly thinks it is our duty to assist in the war-effo

Will smiled wryly. 'So, we're not chasing comets this time, are we ?' he asked.

A weak smile appeared on Picard's lips.

'No, this time StarFleet Command lets us see the action right from the start.' Turning serious again, he added 'Captain Sisko has developped an attack plan. The odds are as good as they will ever be.'

Will noticed the change in the Captains expression as he mentioned Sisko's name. He knew that the two captains didn't get on well, but he didn't know why. *Just what happened between the two of them ?*

'Well, Sisko is the logical choice. It's his station after all. He know all the weak spots.' He said, then, after a brief pause, he added 'When are we going to strike ?'

'We are not.' Picard ignored the shocked expression on Will's face. 'At least not in the way you think. Will, Intelligence believes Dukat has finally found a way to take down the mine-field. We cannot let that happen. If the mine-field goes down, the Alph

Before Will could say anything in response, Jean-Luc went on.

'I will attend a staff meeting at SB89, tomorrow at 0800. After we have been fully briefed at, I will tell the crew. There's no need to make them nervous yet.'

'I understand.'

Will did not know what to say next. An uncomfortable silence reigned for a while. Will felt the urge to say something, well, soothing. Eventually, he did so.

'We'll make it.The Enterprise is a good ship'

*What ? Why did I say that ?*
To his surprise, the Captain smiled.

'Yes, she's a...tough little ship.' he muttered.


'I said : tough little ship.' *I miss my old chair though.* he added mentally, smiling.

'Sir, what is it ?'

No response.


Finally, Jean-Luc seemed to notice he wasn't alone.

'I'm sorry, what did you say ?'

Will began to get worried. He had never seen the Captain this disctracted before.

'You seem to be a little bit...' Will hesitated. '..unfocused lately ?' he said, making it sound more like a question than a statement.

'It's nothing Will. It's just...' he sighed 'Do you know Admiral Paris ?'

'Owen Paris ? Certainly. One of the best.'

'Yes, one of the best. I suppose you know that he has a son?'

'I do. Thomas isn't it ?'

'Thomas Eugene Paris. A rather good pilot as I hear.' He added, an odd tone in his voice.

'You think so ? Wasn't Paris involved into the Caldik Prime incident?'

'He was.' Picard said, bitterness in his voice.

'I heard he caused the accident. Three people died. Not exactly what I would call a good pilot, Jean-Luc.' Riker said, confused. Then he stiffened, when he noticed how he had addressed his Captain.
*Neat. Really Neat. And what a discreet way to put it.*
'I mean...I didn't want to..' His voice trailed off. *Oh hell!*

Jean-Luc smiled knowingly and nodded.

'One gets this impression.' He replied, ignoring Will's casuality.  'But if any other would have piloted the shuttle at Caldik, no-one would have survived.'

'If any other would have piloted the shuttle, they would not have attempted to land anywhere near those storms, in the first place.' Riker retorted.

Jean-Luc smiled, but there was no humour in the smile.

'Touché.' He paused to look at the stars again. Without looking at Will, he continued talking. 'I remember, some years ago, before Caldik, I met Thomas. I was on my way to an Archeological show at Salusa Secundus, and StarFleet ordered Lt.Paris to fly me
'Anyway, during the final approach to Salusa Secundus, suddenly all hell broke loose. The impulse engines went off-line, sensors went black, and we had grave difficulties with the integral-field. Tom managed to regain control over the shuttle at about 500
'Well, we were rescued, obviously, but the point is ; I was stranded alone with Thomas Paris for some days, not knowing wether we would live or not.
Even at this point, his reputation was..' He smiled 'not very comforting. After the Caldik-incident, of course, it became even worse.'

Jean-Luc took a deep breath, as if uncertain what to say next.

'Will, in those few days, I learned that Tom Paris was not the man I thought him to be. Of course, at first he was every bit the rebel anyone thought him. But, that's not *him*. It's as if he's wearing..a mask. I don't know what he's been through in his c

'Sir, what are you trying to tell me?' Will simply didn't know what was going on.

'Just a minute Will. Of course you know about Voyager's fate ?'

'I believe so. She was last seen four years ago, in the Badlands. Last year she has been officially declared lost ; presumably destroyed.'

Jean-Luc nodded. 'Tom was on board.' he said.

'What? What was he doing there? He's been sentenced to 5 years of prison hasn't he ?' Will's voice clearly showed his confusion.

'Yes, but Captain Janeway decided to take him along, as an 'observer'.' Picard grunted. 'He was supposed to lead them to the missing Maquis ship.'

'Well, it doesn't seem to have worked..' Will replied.

Jean-Luc ignored the remark. 'I talked to Adm. Paris after the loss of Voyager, I wanted to tell him that I was sorry for him, and I wanted to tell him what I had learned about his son.' He hesitated.
'Let's just say, his reaction was..odd. He didn't seem to care too much about his son's fate, and he practically hurled me out of his house.' He sighed.
'To cut a long story short, he will attend the meeting at StarBase 89, and I'm not looking forward to meeting him again.'

Will just didn't know what to say. He *had* heard the rumours about Lt. Paris, and *he* had believed them. *But if what the Captain says is true, I may have made a mistake.*

Fortunately, he was saved by Data's voice coming over the intercomm.

'Data to Captain Picard. We will arrive at StarBase89 in about 10 minutes,' the speakers announced.

'Acknowledged.' He glanced at Will. 'You'll be asking yourself why I'm thinking about Tom Paris that much ?'
'Well, yes, actually I am.'
'The reason is quite simple. Voyager has returned.' Before Will could say anything, Jean-Luc continued. 'Just now, I have received a message by Adm.Paris. The reason we are heading for SB89 is that we will pick up some Voyager's crew to accompany us on ou

Will opened his mouth to speak, but Jean-Luc interrupted him once again.

'I haven't yet been fully briefed myself. After the meeting tomorrow we and the senior staff of the Enterprise, will reconveine to discuss the matter.'

'Aye sir' Riker said with a sigh.
'Good. I think we should return to the bridge now.'
Will glanced at Picard and left the room. Jean-Luc followed little after.

To be continued...

End of Part 2
               By ChrisTR

Perchance our greatness will increase ;
 Perchance a darkening future yields
Some reverse from worse to worse
 The blood of men in quiet fields,
And sprinkled on the sheaves of peace.
                          -Alfred Tennyson, Hail Briton


Part 3 - Investigations

'Doctor, please report.'

Voyager's Conference Lounge was crowded with people. Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok were still in sickbay, as well as B'Elanna Torres. The current command crew, Tom, Harry,and the Lts. Cooper and Carey were there, Captain Lorca, and some officers from his sh
Tom still couldn't believe all of what Lorca had told them. *War with the Dominion? And we're losing it? DS9 under Cardassian control?*

But, even though Lorca too had troubles believing everything he learned, Tom had finally managed to convince him that they really were Voyager, and not a Cardasssian deception. The sensor logs proved his statement.

The Doctor, who was participating in the meeting via monitor, unwilling to let his patients alone, responded.
'I have managed to stabilize Cmdr.Chakotay, but he still is in coma. There is nothing I can do for him. I'm afraid we will simply have to wait until he regains consciencness. On the contrary, Lt. Tuvok and Cpt. Janeway are both well, and I am relieved to
Tom's eyes narrowed. *Uh-oh..that doesn't sound good*  His hands formed two fists and he held his breath.
The EMH continued : 'I managed to save her live once more. She still needs rest, but as I know her, she will insist that she's fine and should be working again. Lt.Paris, consider this a direct order from the leading medical officer on board; Lt. Torres i

'Certainly,' Tom said 'whatever you say, Doc.'

'Very good. Under normal circustances I would run a few more tests on her, but, quite frankly, with Lt. Torres in Sickbay, circumstances are hardly normal. She's giving me my first head-ache ever. So, I'd be grateful if anyone could show up here to take h
There were some chuckles coming from around the table. Tom laughed silently, shaking his head.

'Thank you Doctor. I'll see to it.'

The Doctor nodded, 'If you'll excuse me now, I have other duties.' ...and the monitor went black.

Tom looked around the table. 'Lt. Carey ? Harry ? What's our status ?'

Carey coughed before starting to talk.

'Sir, thanks to..' He gestured to the other end of the table 'Cpt. Lorca's men here, we were able to get most primary systems on-line. Shields and weapons should be alright by now, and the hull-breach has been sealed. No permanent damage to the Warp Core.

Tom nodded, satisfied. 'Well done Lieutenant. Harry ?'

His friend looked at him. 'All sensors are working normaly again. Thanks to the spare parts we just got, we even managed to increase their effectivity.' Harry paused 'But, nevertheless, Voyager needs a proper revision at the nearest starbase. It's been a

Tom nodded. 'Understood. Anything else? Have you figured out yet what hit us in the Delta-Quadrant?'

'No, sir. All we know is that the wave was similar to the Caretaker's one. It may just be...'

'Suspiria? Could it have been her ?'

'It is a possibility. A distant one but, it's a possibility...'

'Last time we saw her, she was not exactly very helpful. Why should she help us now ?'

Harry shook his head and was about to say something, but Cpt.Lorca beat him to it.

'Suspiria ?' he asked. He had followed the discussion with ever-growing confusion.

Tom sighed. 'It's a long story, Captain. Let's just say, she was something like the Caretakers companion.'

Lorca was slowly beginning to get annoyed.

'Listen,' he said 'I know it is a bit sudden for you. But, fact is, you are back home, and you have to face it. Right now I don't know *why* you are here, and quite frankly, I don't give a damm. But the point is, you *are* here, and right now, StarFleet c

Tom looked at him, not knowing what to say. 'You made your point quite clearly.'

Lorca nodded grimly, apparently satisfied.

'Good. You'll have to excuse me now, but I have to get back to my ship.'

With that, he stood up and left the room, his men following him.
There was an uncomfortably silence.

'Allright, you heard the man,' Tom said 'let's get back to work.
We'll arrive at SB 89 in less than 2 hours. Until then, I want this ship working as on it's first day. I'll go to sickbay now and report to the captain. Dismissed.'

Jadzia Dax, who had said nothing during the entire conversation stayed. She studied the young Lieutenant's face. Something fascinated her about him. She saw the mask he was wearing all the time, and she knew it was not him. *Not really him, anyway.*  Jadz

Tom noticed her smile and wondered why she had stayed here. He looked at her. She certainly attractve, in a way. The leopard-like Trill marks gave her an exotic look. Tom smiled wryly. *The old Tom Paris would certainly have tried to seduce her.* He sighe

Jadzia looked down at her hands. 'I have to apologize for Cpt.Lorca's lack of decency, but he's got a point. The war is running very badly indeed. We are on the edge of being defeated.'

Tom only grunted in response and turned to the windows, his thougths on Deck 11, Sickbay.

'Tom, what is it ?'

Tom was not really surprised at her calling him by his first name. Jadzia was extroverted and likeable. But he hadn't expected that question.

'I'm sorry ?'

She smiled. 'Your mind seems to be wandering. I want to know why.' she said calmly, looking into his eyes. *Even if I think I already know why.*

Tom could not stand the stare, and looked at his hand, tightly clasped under the table, instead. 'It's nothing. I...'

*You don't know her. You don't know her but you just want to tell her what you feel. How is she doing it ?* Jadzia Dax seemed to be even more likeable than Kes. He reached a decision. *I may as well tell her as anyone else.* he thought with a sigh.

'...I'm just worried about...B'Elanna. And the others.' He added quickly.

Jadzia smiled knowingly. 'I see. You care a great deal about her don't you ?'

'That obvious is it ?'

'I'm afraid so.' She admitted 'And I believe Harry too has noticed it.' *As has half of the rest of the crew*

Tom laughed. 'Harry! He has been trying to get us two together ever since...' His voice trailed off, and images of the past 4 years came to his mind. Jadzia waited patiently.

After a few seconds, Tom spoke again.

'Yeah. Yes, I guess I do care about her. A great deal.'

'Then, why don't you tell her ?' she replied.

*Good question Thomas* he thought *Why?*

To her surprise, Tom started laughing bitterly. 'Oh, Lt Cmdr Dax...'

'Jadzia' she interrupted.

'..Jadzia. You don't know B'Elanna.'

Jadzia could hear in his voice that he no longer wanted to discuss this subject. She quickly changed it.

'Julian --Doctor Bashir-- has expressed his wish to visit Voyager. If you don't mind. He could help out in SickBay. He's a very good doctor actually.' Tom thought he heard something like pride in her voice.

'I don't mind. If any of your people want to visit Voyager, they're welcome. After 4 years, our crew certainly won't object to seeing other humans again.' He smiled, then suddenly turned all serious again.

'Now what?' Jadzia asked uncertainly

'Um..I'm not sure if Harry told you this before...but..uh..we actually have a Borg on board.'

Jadzia nodded. 'Harry told me about Seven of Nine. But after what I've heard, she no longer Borg.'

'No,' he replied 'no, she's not. We removed all but three of the Borg implants, and we tried to teach her how to be human again. It was very difficult in the beginning, but she is now part of this crew...our crew..'

*'My crew'..until Janeway is back on duty..* Tom felt he liked commanding a ship.

'..and I expect that your people treat her with the same respect as they treat other humans. I heard the Borg have attacked Earth again, while we were away, and I know many people have very..hostile feelings towards them. The same feelings were present on
'I won't allow anyone to hurt her.' he concluded, astonished himself by the harshness of his voice.

Jadzia just sat there, waiting for him to say something. Tom finally noticed her look.

'Listen, Jadzia, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude...'

She smiled. 'It's okay Tom.' She mustered him again. 'She seems to have found some good friends here.' she said warmly.

'Yes. Yes she does.' He said, his tone completely sincere. 'And friends means a lot to me, no matter what you've heard else.'

She nodded. 'I guarantee for the behavior of my crew. Don't worry Tom. They are good people.'


Jadzia smiled and patted his arm. Then she stood up.

'Well, I I'll have to be going too. The entire crew of the Defiant wants to know what happened to Voyager.' She smiled. 'I guess I'll have to tell them. I'll talk to you later Tom.'

Tom nodded. 'Tell your Doctor Bashir I'm looking forward to meet him.'

She grinned. 'Will do.' Then she left for the transporter room.

Tom sighed. He felt like he had to do something special. Then, an idea came to him. He touched his comm-badge.

'Lt. Paris to all hands. As acting commander of the U.S.S Voyager, it is my pleasure to announce that, as from this moment, all restriction on the use of replicators are raised.' He paused briefly, then, grinning, added 'Bon appétit. Paris out.'

For the first time in days, Paris felt a little better.


During the next 5 hours, 231 bottles of Champagne and some 200 chocolate ices were replicated onboard Voyager.


'COMPUTER ! Deactivate EMH program'

The Doctor looked shocked and opened his mouth to protest but before he could say anything he vanished. B'Elanna Torres grunted,satisfied. She sat on the side of her Boiobed, in full uniform. The Doctor had been constantly warning her about going back to

Katherine Janeway, sitting on a chair next to Chakotays bed, smiled, but gave her Chief Engineer a disapproving look, even though she had to admit that the sudden silence pleased her. Janeway still felt miserably from her own injuries, but what was worse

*Katherine Janeway, are you falling in love ?* She sighed. *I guess so..*

She had heard somewhere that people in coma could here it if loved ones talked to them. Katherine had tried to  say something, but she couldn't find the words. Besides, it didn't feel right with B'Elanna and the Doctor witnessing it.

When she heard Tom's announcement over the inter-comm she had to smile. After all she had heard from the Doctor and Harry, Tom was doing remarkably well as acting commander. When Harry had dropped in earlier, he had told her how Tom was doing. He also had

When she heard the door open, she turned around to see who had entered and was not surprised to see Tom Paris step in. He began walking towards B'Elanna, but seeing the Captain, and B'Elannas mood, he decided otherwise and went over to Janeway.

He stopped in front of her and looked at Chakotay.

'How is he ?'

Janeway looked at her First officer as well.

'Not well. He's still in coma.' She glanced at her helmsman. 'Tell me, how are things on the bridge without me ?'

Tom smiled. 'Well, I managed to get us back to the Alpha Quadrant in one piece, and I avoided us being destroyed by a Cardassian warship. Not so bad for my first day.' he joked. 'Besides, I raised the replicator rationing. It..didn't seem adequate anymore.

Katherine smiled. 'It was a good thing to do. I suppose it raised the crew's morale even furhter.'

'It certainly did Captain. Only Neelix complained a bit. I hope he's not going to program leota root into the replicators.' He saw his captain smirk. Tom hesitated 'I suppose you have been briefed at our current situation ?'

Janeway only nodded.

'When we are have arrived at SB 89, Admiral Haze will probably assign us to the Attack Fleet for the recapturing of DS9.'

'I know.'

There was an uncomfortable silence between them.
Finally Tom decided to change the subject.

'Where's Doc anyway ?'

Janeway smiled. 'B'Elanna deactivated him.'

Tom moaned amusedly. 'I suppose I should have known.' He looked briefly across the room, to where B'Elanna was sitting.
Janeway noticed the look on his face, and smiled.

'Tom ? Tom.' Puzzled he turned to look at her, saw her knowing smile and blushed. Katherine's smile grew even farther. 'You really do care about her, don't you ?'

Tom chuckled. *Why has everyone have to ask me that today ?*

'Yes. Yes I do.' he answered, slightly unnerved 'In fact I came here because of her.'

He smiled when he saw Janeways questioning look, but ingnored it.

'Computer, activate EMH program.'

The doc blurred into existence again, looking extremely annoyed.
'I really must protest against this treatment. I cannot fulfill my duties if you keep deactivating my program again and again. This is outragious. Just deactive the Hologramme when it annoys you. I'm a doctor, not a children toy. If you kee..' He came no

'Doctor,' Tom interrupted 'I have some news for you. I expect you are informed of our current situation ?'

'I was present when Ensign Kim reported to the Captain.' he admitted, reluctantly changing the subject.

'Good. If you don't mind, Dr.Bashir from the Defiant has expressed the wish to beam over here.' He paused, and let a smile appear on his face. 'He wants to get to know you.'

'Really ? Well...I don't see any reason why I should disappoint the young man. I'll meet him in the transporter room if that's allright with you.'

'Sure doc, no problem. Now, remember what you told me before ? about getting Lt. Torres out of here as soon as possible ?'

'Of course I remember,' the EMH exclaimed 'and, if you are here to collect her, then I must ask her to do so, and then leave. Quickly.'

Janeway chuckled slightly. Tom on the other hand was grinning all over his face.

'Whatever you say doc !' Tom replied, with the typical Paris-the-Pig-smile. 'Captain, I'll see you later on the bridge.'
Janeway nodded, and Tom walked over to B'Elanna.
When she saw him, B'Elanna, grunted. 'What do you want Paris ?'

He gave her a radiant smile. 'I'm here to get you to your quarters LT. , the doctor asked me to do him this favor.'

'I know the way to my quarters and I sure as hell can take care of myself.' she said as she stood up. Immediately, she felt dizzy and had to steady herself on the biobed.

'No you can't and you know that.'

Tom rushed to her side and put his arm around her waist. When she felt his touch, B'Elanna jerked away.

'I don't need any help !' she exclaimed 'especially from you !'

He backed off again quickly, looking a bit hurt.

'Please. 'Lanna, please, let me help you.'

She spun around, ready to break his nose, but stopped when she saw the look in his eyes.

'Please,' he whispered 'trust me.'

She looked up in his eyes, she saw nothing but genuine concern for her. She forced herself to relax.

*He really seems concerned about me. If I only knew if..*
She interrupted her thoughts briskly and nodded slowly.
Tom gave her an encouraging smile. He put her arm around his shoulder, waved at the Captain and the doc, and they left.

To be continued...

End Part 3

Sacrifice of Angels
      By ChrisTR


>From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decrease,
His tender heir might bear his memory :
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou art now the world's fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender curl, mak'st waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.
                            -William Shakespeare, Sonnettes


Part 4 - Secrets

As they walked down the corridors to her quarters, B'Elanna Torres tried to figure out what had happened to Tom. When he had come to SickBay to pick her up, she expected the usual cocky remarks. But, on the contrary, Tom had showed nothing but genuine con
When they arrived at her quarters, B'Elanna tapped in her authorisation code, and the door opened. She stepped through it and when she heard Tom enter, she turned and looked at him.

'Okay, Tom, I'm gonna be fine. You don't have to waste your time on me. Thanks for your help.'

'You're not a waste of time for me, B'Elanna. Besides, I'm not going to leave until I have you in bed.'

B'Elanna could feel the blood rushing through her temples.

Tom winced when he finally noticed how...supspicious that must have sound.

'I mean..oh, hell, you know what I meant. It's not that...' *Yes it is* **Shut up** 'I didn't mean it that way, I just..I'm worried about you...and...'
Tom could feel her uneasyness, or at least, his own. He turned half-way around. 'I'll come to see after you tomorrow. Goodnight B'Elanna.' he said briskly.
He quickly turned and started walking, but was rather startled when he felt her holding him back.

'Tom, I..' He turned to face her and looked at his feet. After a few seconds he finally had enough courage to look straight into her eyes.

'I..I want..to..Tom ! stop it! I can't concentrate when you look at me like that!' she exclaimed.

'B'Elanna,...' Tom began, but she softly put a finger over his lips.

'No.' she said gently, but firmly. She took a deep breath. 'I'd like to apologize, Tom. I wasn't fair to you, I didn't even give you a chance after..' Her voice trailed off.

'It's okay B'Elanna. I understand your reaction. I mean, you were heavily injured after all, and that *did* sound a bit..'

'Tom, I'm not talking about what happened in SickBay or right now.' She sighed.
'After the incident with the Cataati and our little..talk, well, I have avoided you, and I have been a bit..rude. I just wanted to..' she stopped suddenly when she saw Ensigns Wildman and Kim walking past. When they were past them, Harry looked over his s
When Harry and Samantha were around the corner, B'Elanna started talking again.

'Um..would you mind if we discussed this somewhere more private?'

'Allright. Your quarters or mine ?' he said with a boyish grin, immediately switching to Paris-the-Pig mode.

B'Elanna grunted in disgust, but Tom could see the humour in her eyes.
'Pig.' she snorted entering her room, but nevertheless invited him to join her.

'Yes, ma'am. I'm all yours.' he retorted and followed her.

Inside her quarters, B'Elanna gestured to a couch, told him to sit, and headed to the replicator.

'Want something ?'

'A RakhT'hagino ?'

She turned to the replicator and activated it.

'Two RakhT'haginos, charge on account Torres-Beta-1.'

'Computer, cancel that.' She heard Tom's voice and looked at him in surprise.  He shrugged. 'Your quarters, I pay the drinks.' he said with a smirk. 'Computer, charge on account Paris-Charlie-3.'
Seconds later, two cups materialized on the pad. B'Elanna took them and went over to the couch. She passed Tom one of the cups and sat on the other end of the couch.

For the moment, there was silence. B'Elanna looked a out of the windows, watching the stars flash past them. *The stars...*
She still couldn't believe it. They actually were back in the Alpha-Quadrant at last, and she didn't really care. She had accepted the fact that they were never going to return home, and now here they were. *Home..* she thought bitterly *for the past 4 ye

Inside Tom's head reigned utter confusion. He wondered what it was what B'Elanna had wanted to tell him. He loked over at her, and saw her watching the stars, an odd expression on her face. He shuddered. It was more comforting to look at his cup.
When after a while, she still hadn't said anything, his mind started wandering. So, they at last made it back home. The whole crew was on a joyride. Well, not the whole crew, anyway. *She doesn't seem too happy to have returned neither. I wonder why ; at

He turned to look at B'Elanna, and when their eyes locked, she quickly turned away. Tom reached over and put a hand on B'Elanna's arm. He felt her shudder. 'What is it ?' he asked softly.
She turned to look at him, and her brown chocolate eyes met his.
She shrugged.

'I..was thinking of my mother.' She tried to keep her voice casual, and failed miserably. Tom could hear the anguish in it. He shifted nervously. Knowing about her somewhat unusual relationship with her mother, he didn't quite know how to react. Finally,

When Tom noticed her smile, he blushed slightly and looked into her deep eyes. He felt a wave of joy and contention crush over him. At last, it seemed that she was willing to let down her walls a bit. The fact that she did it in *his* presence made him ha
After some long minutes, he spoke again. 'What about your mother, B'Elanna ?' he asked softly.

'I...don't know how she will react when -- if -- I return to her.' She surprised herself by saying, 'I don't know if I should return to her. I'm not really sure if I'm that happy that we have returned.' Tom was surprised to hear this. *Now, this is someth

' 'Lanna, she's your mother! She still loves you, and you know that too.'

Suddenly, B'Elanna was filled with anger. 'Who are you to tell me this?' she raged. 'It's easy for you! You have a family, a life to return to. Your father's an admiral. He'll look after it that StarFleet promotes you to Commander before the end of the ye

Now, Tom was enraged too. *How dare she do this ?* 'Oh, you think so ? Well, in case you forgot, the *Admiral*, my father, disowned me after I was sentenced to New Zealand Prison. We haven't talked a word to each other for years. He will hardly support my
*Fool !* a surprisingly soft voice sounded in his head. *What have you done ? You just yelled at the only person who you care about more than about anyone else.*
He felt the tears in his eyes, and fought hard to hold them back. Apparently, it was of no use, for he heard the sobbing only seconds after. It took him a while to realize that it was not him. B'Elanna sat on the couch, her face covered in her hands. *Par
'Don't...leave me..please...'
'I won't. I promise I won't ; I'll be here whenever you need me.' It was a promise he intended to keep. 'It's allright. Let it out. It's allright...'
He cradled her in his arms until he didn't hear her cry anymore. Then, he reluctantly released her out of his embrace. He could see her tear-stroken face, the pain in her red eyes, and it almost broke his heart. His hand reached under her chin, and gently

Tom shushed her. 'There's nothing you need to be sorry about, 'Lanna. It's me who should apologize. I shouldn't have yelled at you like that, I'm sorry. I really am.' He caressed her cheek with one head and wiped the tears and hair out of her face. He cou

'Oh, Tom...I...'

'...and I never wanted to hurt you. It's just when you mentioned my father and my family, I just..snapped out' He could feel a single tear running down his face. 'Please, 'Lanna, please forgive me. It was wrong, and I didn't want to do that, I really didn
*Tell her! Now's the time. Tell her that you love her. Tell her, you fool!*  But B'Elanna beat him to it.
She wiped the tear of his face and he let her caress it slowly. He took her hand and kissed it gently.
'It's allright Tom, it was not your fault..I..didn't want to hurt you. You have always been there for me. In that Vidiian Prison, in the caves on Sakari..please, I really didn't want this to happen.'
'I know, B'Elanna, I know.' He murmures softly.
She put her arms around him, and held him tightly. Tom was grateful for it, for he could feel the tears in his eyes. He could feel her running her hand through his blonde hair. When he felt he could trust his eyes again, he softly pulled away and looked i

Instead he leaned his forhead on hers, and looked in her dark eyes, their faces nearly touching each other. B'Elanna closed her eyes, enjoying this special moment. A comfortable silence embraced them.

Tom looked at her, a dreaming look in his eyes, and a genuine smile on his lips. *She looks so peaceful..* he thought dreamily. He could feel her warm breath against his face, and he sensed the smell of her shampoo. *Gods...*
The little voice in Tom's head came to life again. *Tell her. Tell her, now.* **I can't** *What do you mean you can't ? You love her don't you ?* **Why, yes I do** *Then tell her you jerk !* **Now, don't get personal. I warn you** *What you mean don't get

'You are the most beautiful woman I ever met, B'Elanna.' he whispered, so low that B'Elanna couldn't possibly hear it. She opened her eyes slowly and looked at him. 'Sorry, did you just say anything ?'
He gazed at her dark, brown eyes, and he thought he looked right at her soul. 'I said you are the most beautiful woman I've ever met.' he said softly.
For a moment she looked at him, in amazement. But quickly the joy he could see on her face turned into shock, and an hurt look came to her eyes. Suddenly, she stood up. Tom noticed the change in her tone when she spoke after a few seconds. 'Don't.' she sa
Tom was scared by the bitterness in her voice. He didn't understand what had gone so wrong.

'Don't what ?' he asked, totally confused.

B'Elanna looked at him in a strange way, before she turned her head and stared at the floor.
'Don..' she gulped nervously. 'Please, don't...lie to me.' Her voice sounded hurt and pleaful. When she heard no reply, she gathered all her klingon courage, and looked at him. She saw the confused look he had on his face.
Tom was utterly at a loss of words. He tried to figure out when he supposedly lied to her. He shot a quick glance at B'Elanna, and he saw the tears in her eyes. When the meaning of her words slowly dawned to him, he felt as if someone had punched him righ
He felt the urge to wrap his arms around her and to comfort her, but he decided he would regret it, if he did it right now. Instead he just stood up.

When B'Elanna noticed Tom's painful look, she couldn't stand it anymore. She turned to the window and looked at the stars again, a single tear running down her cheek. Through the tears she saw Tom's reflection in the window, coming nearer.

He made his way slowly, until he stood behind B'Elanna. Uncertain of what to do next, he put his hands on her shoulders and played with a single curl of her dark hair. Tom could feel her tensen at his touch and stopped himself. 'B'Elanna, I did not lie to
Apparently that did not convince her at all. She jerked away and positioned herself in front of him.
'You are not saying you find these beautiful, are you !' she challenged, vaguely gesturing towards her klingon ridges. Tom hardly heard the next words at all. 'No-one does...no-one.' she whispered bitterly.
The pain in her voice almost broke Tom's heart. Slowly he walked closer to B'Elanna, who kept avoiding any physical contact with him, until she could feel the wall behind her back. Ignoring her frightful expression, Tom gently cupped her face with his han
Their faces merely inches apart, he could see her scared look. He slowly leant over to her, and placed a soft, loving kiss on her forehead. Then he looked into her wonderful eyes, and waited for a reaction. When none did come, he wiped the tear from her f

B'Elanna could not speak. She could not think coherently. All she could do was to stare at this man, who was telling her she was the most beautiful thing in the universe. She wanted to say something, but all she could do was to stutter.
'Shhh.' Tom said softly, 'it's allright. I really mean it.'
'Oh Tom...' B'Elanna put her hands on his chest, and rested her head against it.
Tom felt as if a heavy burden had been taken away from him. He had some doubts that she fully believed him, but for now, it was enough being able to hold her, to comfort her. He put the nagging doubts in his head aside, and fully concentrated on the here
'B'Elanna Torres, did you just purr at me ?' he asked silently, unable to stop himself from smiling softly.
The only response were some other approving noises from her throat.
*Gods, this is heaven !* he told himself.
'There's something I have to tell you..' he said after a while.
'Hm ?'
'I..I have to tell you the truth...'
'The truth about what ?'she asked confusedly, her voice nothing more than a soft whisper.

*Christ,  I thought this was getting easier in time*

Unfortunately, he was saved.


'Bridge to Lt. Paris'

*Captain, you have the worst sense of timing!* Tom thought angrily, then the full impact of her voice speaking to him became evident *So, she's in command again.* He sighed. He would miss the Boss' chair.

'Go ahead' he said, never stopping looking at B'Elanna's eyes.
'We have just arrived at StarBase 89. Please report to the Conference lounge, we have some guests here who want to talk to you.' Janeway's voice had a strange tone. 'Acknowledged. I'm on my way. Paris out.'
Tom sighed. He looked intensively at B'Elanna, and then decided that she could only kill him once. He leaned over, lifted her chin and lightly brushed over her lips with his own, carefully, as if to see how she would react. When he pulled away, she gently
Reluctantly he freed B'Elanna from his embrace and walked to the door.'We'll talk later, B'Ela.' And then he stepped through the doorway and left.

When he was gone, B'Elanna Torres' smile grew. He had called her B'Ela. Only her father had called her this way before, and she loved it.
Her lips still tinkled from that soft kiss Tom had given her
She went back ton the couch, and sat on it, turned to the stars, and watched them. They seemed so beautiful now. After only a few minutes, she fell asleep. Eventually, SB89 came into sight, slowly drifting accros space, when Voyager docked. They were home


Thy voice is on the rolling air ;
I hear thee where the waters run ;
Thou standest in the rising sun,
And in the setting thou art fair.

What art thou then ? I cannot guess :
But tho' I seem in star and flower
To feel thee some diffusive power
I do not therefore love thee less

My love involves the love before ;
My love is vaster passion now ;
Tho' mix'd with God and Nature now ;
I seem to love thee more and more.

Far off thou art, but ever nigh ;
I have thee still, and I rejoice ;
I prosper, circled with thy voice ;
I shall not lose thee tho' I die.
                  Alfred Tennyson, In Memorian A.H.H


To be continued...

End Part 4

Sacrifice of Angels
           By ChrisTR


Creep into thy narrow bed,
Creep and let no more be said !
Vain thy onset ! all stands fast ;
Thou thyself must break at last.

Let the long contention cease !
Geese are swans, and swans are geese.
Let them have it how they will !
Thou art tired ; best be still.

They out-talk'd thee, hiss'd thee, tore thee ?
Better men fared thus before thee ;
Fired their ringing shot and pass'd,
Hotly charged-and broke at last.

Charge once more, then, be dumb !
Let the victors, when they come.
When the forts of folly fall,
Find thy body by the wall.
                      Matthew Arnold - The Last Word


Part 5 - Shore Leave

Z minus 7 days

Thomas Eugene Paris entered the Conference Lounge with a huge grin on his face. His little 'talk' with B'Elanna had turned out to be far better than he thought. *Eventually, I'm going to tell her the truth*
He just needed a bit more time. Nearly everyone onboard Voyager still had trouble of getting accostumated to the idea that they were actually at home. Himself included.
He made his way around the table, noticing the men sitting at the table. *What is he doing here ?* When he at last went to take his usual place, left to the Captain, he stopped dead. The pair of eyes that looked at him across the table were all too well k
For a moment, he just stood there, oblivious to all but Admiral Owen Paris, the Admiral, his father, who sat on the other side of the table, his eyes fixed on his son. 'Hello Thomas' he said in his buiseness-as-usual voice.
Tom gulped nervously. 'Hi, dad. Good to see you again. It has been a long time.' 'Yes. Yes it has.' replied his father. An odd look came to his eyes. 'Please, sit down, son.' he said after a while, quickly changing the subject. Tom took his usual position

'Son, this is Admiral Haze. I'm sure you've heard about him.' Tom nodded friendly at the Admiral. 'Over here we have Captain Sisko, former commander of DS9 I believe you have heard about him too. And this is Jean-Luc Picard , Captain of the Enterprise.'

Jean-Luc smiled at Tom. 'Admiral, we have met before as you know.' And, turning to Tom he whispered, 'Please do call me Jean-Luc.'
Tom smiled. 'Certainly Captain.' he replied in his typical cocky voice. Jean-Luc snorted amusedly.

Then, Tom turned to Janeway and Chakotay. 'Ma'am, why have I been summoned here ?'

It was not Janeway who answered him, but Admiral Haze. 'As Cpt.Lorca already told you, we are preparing to counter-strike at the Dominion. Our aim, of course, is to re-capture DS9. Captain Sisko here has developed a detailed attack plan. We are positive t
'But before we let you know anything classified, I have to know if you accept the mission. Beware, it is dangerous, and there is a slim chance of survival. But, this operation, if it succeeds could turn the way of the war in our favor.' The Admiral stared
Tom only needed to look at is father's face. 'I'm in,' he said, 'what do you want me to do ?'


Z minus 3 days

Tom was racing towards the surface of the planet at more than  95km/h. The unusual thing was that he was not in a shuttle or a ship. The only protection he had was his armor suit and the parachute in it. *Gods, what have I gotten myself into now ?*
When the surface was only 200 metres away, Tom opened his parachute. As he slowly slid down, he saw a figure move below him. Although it was totally dark ; thanks to the IR sensors in his suit, he clearly saw someone running across the plains below him. *
He directed his parachute slightly to the left, trying to get as much distance as possible between him and the unkown humanoid. When his feet finally touched the ground, he quickly rolled himself off and detached his parachute. After a quick scan of the a

'OUCH !'

He lost his balance under the shock, and hit the ground hard.

'Computer, terminate program.'

The total darkness of EpsilonIII was replaced by the familiar yellow-black grids of Voyager's HoloDeck. Tom Paris collapsed noisily in a far corner of it.

'Congratulations, you're dead.' Jadzia Dax' voice cut through the silence, dripping with sarcasm.

'What the hell happened ?' he demanded.
'You hesitated, you were day-dreaming.' She shook her head sadly. 'A damn stupid thing to do in such a situation.'
Tom's only response was a grunt. 'I don't believe I actually volunteered for this !'

'Well, you did, and if you don't take it a bit more serious, you will have a hard time out there. I won't be there to watch your back, you know.' She added reproachfully.

'Yes, ma'am' he replied with a mock salute.

'Tom, I'm serious. I don't want you to get killed.' Tom's smile faded when he heard the urge in his new friend's voice. 'I know. I'm sorry. I'm going to be just fine.' 'Yea, sure.' Jadzia grunted. Tom could not help but grin at her. 'I mean it.' she conti
'I guess I have no choice bnut to listent you.' Tom said with a resigning sigh. 'No, absolutely not.' Jadzia paused 'Allright, that's enough for today' and after a quick look at her chrono, 'It's almost 2200 hours. Care to join me for dinner ?'

'Sure. And I may just know the right place to go.' Tom said with a smirk. 'But first I'm going to get a shower. Meet me at Holodeck 2 in, say, 30 minutes ?'

'No problem. See you then.' She said, but Tom already had exited the holodeck.

Hearing the familiar creak of Sandrine's door, Tom looked up from the pool game he ws just playing and saw Jadzia entering. She was wearing her Starfleet uniform, and looked around with a surprised look on her face. Tom dropped his cue and walked over to

'You like it ?' he asked.

'It's..realistic. It does look every inch like Sandrine's, back on Earth.'

Now it was Tom's turn to look surprised. 'You know Sandrine's ?' he enquiered, incredously.

'One of my former hosts used to come here quite often.' She said with a smile.
'Care for a game of pool ? If you're up to be beaten by the ship's champion, that is.' he said in his typical cocky voice.

'Strange. I don't see the captain anywhere around.' She teased in a sweet voice.
The remark made Tom stop dead. After a moment he shook his head and sighed theatratically. 'I guess I'll have a talk with Harry later.'

Jadzia couldn't help but laugh. 'Allright champion. Let's get started.'

They played a couple of games, and for the rest of the time, simply enjoyed themselves. After several games and several glasses of synthehol, Tom put the cue down again and looked at Jadzia.
'I think wes chould call it a night now. I'm exhausted, and tomorrow we are supposed to be training again.

'I think you are right. I'm a bit tired myself.

'Allright. So I'll see you tomorrow ?'

'Sure. And Tom ? Thanks for the wonderful evening.'
He smiled back at her, 'Everything part of the job my dear.'

With that he left.


Z minus 1 day

Tom entered the Conference lounge last, when all the other senior officers were already there, including Chakotay. After waking up from is coma, three days ago, the doctor declared him fit for duty earlier today. He had said something about 'a voice calli
When everybody was quiet and waiting, Katherine started talking.

'Gentlemen, we have received our marching orders. I know, you hadn't had time to contact your families or friends, and I'm sorry, but this has priority. As you know, Captain Sisko is in charge of the Fleet for the attack on DS9. StarFleet has just learned

B'Elanna looked at her 'We have finished all the necessary repairs. We're as ready as we'll ever be.'

'Good. Now, there is a second part to this.'

Harry looked at his captain, puzzled. 'Sir ?'

'The Lieutenants Tuvok and Paris will leave Voyager.' Katherine raised a hand to stop eventual comments. 'I know this is a surprise to all of you. I assure you, I would have told you before, but Admiral Haze has specifically ordered me to retain the infor

Everybody stared at Tuvok. He, very vulcan-like, raised an eyebrow and said calmly 'It was the..logical thing to do. I have come to the conclusion that, due to his excpetional capanbility of getting himself into trouble, Lt.Paris would benefit from my ass

'The both of them will leave on the Enterprise, in about 8 hours, at 0000. I suggest you all get some sleep now. Tomorrow we will need it. Lieutenants Paris and Tuvok, please stay. The rest is dismissed.'

Slowly, the command staff left the room and returned to their quarters, all the while wondering what special mission would need Lt. Paris.


Z minus 1 day - 2125 h

In his quarters, Tom Paris was experienceing some minor problems. He had tried to get some sleep before he went off Voyager, but it didn't work. He could not get his mind of this mission, of his father, of his future, and of B'Elanna Torres. He rolled in

'The time is 21:25 hours.'

'Oh gods...why on earth have I volunteered ?'

'Please rephrase request.'

'Oh, leave me alone.'

'Unable to comply. Please rephrase.'

'Oh just...' he sighed 'Computer, is HoloDeck2 still active ?'

'Affirmative. Current Program, Paris-Alpha-3.'
*Sandrine's..that could be just the thing I need right now.'

'Computer, lights.'

The lights went on, and Tom got out of his bed. He went to the closet and put on some civis. Then he quickly left his quarters, and headed for the nearest turbolift. 'Deck 12, no wait! Computer, location of Lt. Torres ?'

'Lt. Torres is in Holodeck2, Deck 12.'

'Perfect.' An idea came to his mind. 'Computer, resume. Deck 7'


Inside her quarters, B'Elanna Torres was experiencing some major difficulties. She had tried to go to bed early, in order to be fir for the next day, but she simply was in no mood for sleep. She could not get her mind away from this mission, and from Tom
She rolled across her bed, trying to find some rest. To no avail. 'Computer, time ?'

'The time is 20:45 hours.'

'Damn...Computer, lights.'
The lights went online and the whole room was iluminated. B'Elanna got out off bed and went over to the replicator. 'Computer, Akrylian Tea, hot.'

'Unable to comply. You have used all of your replicator rations for this week.'

'What?! Oh, damn..' *Terrific. What am I going to do now ?*
That very moment, an idea struck her.

'Computer, is HoloDeck2 occupied ?'


'When is the next reservation ?'

'Commander Chakotay has reserved the HoloDeck for 2 hours, starting at 2200.'

She went over to her closet and put on some civis, then headed out of her quarters and towards the next turbolift. 'Deck 12.'


Hearing that familiar creak of Sandrine's door made B'Elanna's head jerk up in surprise. *The privacy locks! I knew I forgot something.*
When turned to see the new visitor, she saw Tom Paris entering. When he saw her, he hesitated, as if uncertain what to do now. Finally he seemed to have reached a conclusion. He walked towards the table where she sat and stopped right in front of her. 'Mi

'Sure.' she said after only a short hesitation, gesturing to the opposing chair. 'So,' she began as soon as he was sitting 'what are you doing down here ?'

'I couldn't sleep.'
He looked at her.

'Me too.' She admitted. 'Listen Tom, I have been thinking a lot, about what you said in my quarters...'

'Yes ?'

She sighed sadly. 'I'd like you to be honest. You don't really think I'm...beautiful, do you ?'she blurted the words out, afraid that otherwise, she wouldn't get them out at all.
Tom stared at her in disbelief. 'What ?' he managed to say.
'Look, Tom, I think I know why you did it, and I appreciate it,
really, I do, but...'
'You think I just said that, to comfort you ?' he interrupted her.  'No, you think I said it, because I want to have you in my bed don't you ? You think I say all those things to all the girls I meet, don't you ? Tom Paris, the womanizer !' His voice was
'I'd like us to be something more than friends, Tom, but I don't know if  I can trust you...with my heart. When you say I'm beautiful, or that you care about me, I just keep thinking that you must have said that to a lot of women over the years.'

'B'Elanna, my reputation is...dubious, I know, and for the greatest part it's pretty much well earned, but when I say I care about you, I mean it. I really do.'

'Then why are you going away on that stupid mission ?'

'What, Lieutenant Torres, are you concerned about me ?' he said in his typical cocky tone, a mocking grin on his face. He immediately regretted those words, as soon as he saw B'Elanna's reaction.

'That's not funny Mister! Yes I am worried about you! Why did you volunteer for this suicide mission, anyway ?'

'It's no suicide mission. When my father asked me to participate, I couldn't..'  He was interrupted in mid-sentence by B'Elanna's angry voice.

'Your father ? You didn't tell me your father was here ' she sounded astonished and a bit hurt.

'Yeah, well, he is.'

'Why didn't you tell me ?'

'What? I just didn't realize...Listen, do you mind if we talked about something else ?' he complained.

'Well, actually I would. You can't just keep it to yourself, you have to talk to someone. You just can't run away from it your whole life!'

'Run away from what ?' This was not going the way he intended it to.

'Your relationship with your father! You have to talk to someone, you have to...'

'Funny that coming from you.' He remarked silently, but B'Elanna could hear him. He regretted the words the very instant he spoke them out.

'What ?' She asked, terrified, not believing what she just had heard.

'I shouldn't have...I'm sorry, B'Elanna, it just happened. I didn't mean...'

'Listen to me, Lieutenant. I know, I don't have a relationship with my father, and I felt miserable enough for a long while. You don't need to remind me of that.' She said, her eyes full of tears.
Tom looked helplessly as she turned briskly and rushed out of the room.

When she was gone, Tom angrily slammed his fist on the table. *Dammit Tom Paris. This really wasn't necessary. What a fool I am. She only tried to help me, and I...Oh Damn !*
His plan had failed. When he left the holo-deck, terminating the program, he felt even more miserable than before.


Outside her quarters, B'Elanna Torres fumed. She hadn't wanted to fight with Tom, ans she regretted most of what she said just before, but her anger was far bigger that her regret. How could he do this to her ? She saw all her worst fears proven right. To
She entered the room, and directly headed to her bed. All she wanted to do now was to sleep and to forget about it all. When she approached the bed, she saw something lying on it. A single, red rose. Not a replicated one, but one from the hydroponics gard
This rose, beautiful and unapproachable as you are ;
Until you take away the thorns,
It will give you a hard time,
It will create a mess.
A complicated flower, ignore her scorns,
A flower, saying 'You're mine,
A beautiful flower, nevertheless.
Some day, I will get your thorns ;
I will miss you.

B'Elanna smiled at the awkward rimes. Clumsy, but sweet, in a way.
A wave of regret crushed over her body. Regret for what she had said, just a few minutes ago. Regret for every time she had treated Tom badly. Regret for doubting him. But it didn't last long ; only until she remembered that those words were not genuine.

To be continued...

End Part 5

Sacrifice of Angels
           By ChrisTR


Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Ris in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
On lips that are for others ; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret ;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.
                       -Alfred Tennyson, Tears, Idle Tears


Part 6 - Friends

Z + 09 : 30

'Bridge to Lt.Paris.'

'Paris here. Go ahead Captain.'

'We will arrive at the Menkalinan in approximately 30 minutes. Please report to my ready-room in half an hour.' Jean-Luc Picard's voice sounded as calm as always.

'Understood. Paris out.'

Tom sipped at his drink and stared out of the window. He was sitting in Enterprise's mess-hall, ShuttleBay 4, as the crew referred to it. This was due to the fact that Enterprise only had 3 shuttle bays. He didn't notice someone approaching his table.

'Mind if I join you ?'

When he heard the unfamiliar voice, Tom turned and saw a black woman standing beside him.

'No offense, but I think I'd rather be alone right now.' He said, trying to sound, and look, as normal as he could. Ignoring his remark, the woman went to the other side of the table and sat down.

'Really, I'd prefer to...' The woman raised a hand, and something made Tom stop. It was an odd feeling.

'My name is Guinan. I am the..barman here. I serve the drinks, and I listen.'

'Listen to what ?'

'I listen. To jokes, stories, to everything the people tell me.' She mustered him intensively. 'I saw you here, niping at your drink, and looking as if you had just lost your best friend. I suppose you did ?'

Tom snorted. 'I..may have.'

'You want to talk about it.' It was not a question, it was a statement of facts.

'Listen, I don't even know you, and you don't know me. Why should I..'

'You are Thomas Eugene Paris, son of the 'Admiral', and you will leave this ship soon, on some kind of away mission to save the Federation.' She noticed his puzzled look. She shrugged.

'How did you know that ?'

'Let's just say, I know the captain of this vessel.' She said in a mysterious voice.
'So, what is your friends name ?'

'B'Elanna. B'Elanna Torres. I had a fight with her before I boarded this ship. I said things that must have hurt her...terribly. I didn't mean them, but...'

'That is nothing that unusual. If you are friends, you'll make it up. And now, tell me, what is your real problem ?'

'I..I love her.'

'I don't see why that should be a problem.'

'I don't know if she loves me too. My reputation is..dubious. I'm afraid she might believe the rumours, and decide not to trust me.'

'I know your reputation. I don't think it fits you.'

Tom raised an eyebrow and looked at her. 'How would you know ?'
She shrugged.
'As I said, I listen to people. You are famous, even aboard this vessel.' Guninan said in her typical mysterious voiced.
Tom's response was a slightly puzzled and annoyed grunt.
Guinan looked at him. 'Tell her. Tell her you love her.' She said warmly.
'Everyone says that I should do so.' he snorted.
'Well, everyone cannot be wrong, can they ?'
'I don't know how to tell her...I mean, I do want to get...involved with her, but I really don't want to risk our friendship. It's not as if I had that many friends, so the ones I have, they mean a lot to me.' He grunted. 'It seems I usually don't stay an
'Well, wether you like it or not, you just made one.' She said warmly, smiling. Then she stood up and left, leaving behind a very puzzzled Tom Paris.

Cannon to the right of them,
Cannon to the left of them.
Cannon in front of them,
Volleyed and thundered.

Stormed at with shot and shell.
Boldly they rode, and well
Into the jaws of death,
Into the mouth of hell,
Rode the six hundred.
                 -Alfred Tennyson, The Light Brigade


Z + 08 : 30

'Sir, incoming message from the Cortez. They're still having troubles stabilizing the guidance thrusters.' Chief Miles O'Briens voice did not indicate any emotions. *Buiseness as usual..* he thought.

'Tell them to drop back and make repairs. Bring up the Sarik to take it's place.'  Sisko was concerned. This was only one ship among many who already had to drop out.

'Will do.'

'That's the eleventh ship to fall out of formation.' Garak sounded at least a bit disconcerted.

'Nice of you to keep track, Garak.' Jadzia Dax, sitting at Defiant's Conn station, did not like the sinister tone of his voice.

'He can't help being negative. It's in his nature.' Julian remarked.

'On the contrary.' Garak defended himself, 'I always hope for the best. However, experience, *unfortunately* has taught me to expect the worst.' Slightly annoyed, the Cardassian turned his attention back to his staion.
Suddenly, the Chief's voice cut through the unusual silence following Julian's and Garak's verbal sabre-rattling.

'I'm picking something up. It's a large Dominion fleet, bearing zero-zero-four mark zero-zero-nine.'

'How large ?' Sisko demanded

'1254 ships.'

'They outnumber us 2 to 1.' Julian remarked almost non-chalantly. For a moment there was a shocked silence on the bridge.

'Now, who's being negative ?' Garak asked sarcastically.

'On screen. Maximum magnification.' Sisko ordered. The viewscreen was all of sudden filled with Dominion and Cardassian vessels against the background of a large red nebula.

The entire bridge crew's looks were locked onto the enemy fleet. For a while, nobody was able to speak. Finally, Sisko regained control of himself and opened a comm-channel to the fleet.

'To all ships. This is Captain Sisko. Assume attack formation Delta 2.' The lights on the bridge dimmed and the red-alert klaxon sounded. On every ship in the entire fleet, crewmen were called to battlestations.

*Benjamin, you're ought to say something inspiring now.* he thought.
'There's an old saying : « Fortune favors the bold. » Well, I guess we're about to find out.' Sisko's voice rang over the comm-system. The entire fleet could hear him, as the roughly 600 ships of the Federation fleet slowly moved towards the enemy.

'Sisko to all ships. Galaxy class destroyers slow down to half impulse. You too commander.' he added, turning to Dax.
'Attack fighters. Engage in waves, concentrate your fire on the Cardassian ships, then split into squadrons and run like hell.'

'I pity the Klingons. I have a feeling they are going to miss a very intersting fight.' Garak commented.

'I have a feeling we are going to miss them.' O'Brien replied.

'Forget the Klingons. Our job is to get to DS9 and prevent the Dominion reenforcements from coming through the worm-hole, and that's what we're going to do.' He took a deep breath. 'Sisko to all ships. Prepare to engage enemy.'

O'Brien noticed Nog's excitement. 'Steady Ensign. Focus on your work. That's what I do.'

Julian could not resist. 'You should listem to him Ensign. He's a profesional.' he said in a mock voice.
O'Brien could not help but laugh silently.

'Attack fighters. Full impulse. Fire at will.'

The first wave of the small vessels raced across the empty space, and fired their weapons at the much larger Cardassian battleships.
The fighting had begun.


Z + 10 : 00

When Tom entered the Captain's Ready room, he still had a puzzled look on his face. *What a strange ship...*
He noticed all of Enterprise's were present. Most of them, he didn't know. Only Commander Riker's face was familiar. As was Tuvok's. He wondered what was going on.
He turned to Jean-Luc. 'Sir, you wanted to speak to me ?'

'Yes, Lieutenant. But before, I'd like you to meet my crew. You already know Commander Riker here, I suppose.' When Tom nodded, Jean-Luc went on.
'This is Lt.Cmdr.Data, my 2nd officer.' Tom saw the android smile. It was an unusual sight. 'Pleased to meet you sir.' Data nodded.
Picard gestured to the couch where two women were sitting.
'And over here we have Commander Deanna Troi, the ships counselor, and Dr. Beverly Crusher, Head of our medical staff.' Troi reached out to shake his hand. 'Nice to meet you Lt.' She said. 'The pleasure is all mine, commander. And, Dr.Crusher, of course.'
Next, the captain pointed at the only crewmember left. 'And this is our Chief Engineer, Lt.Cmdr. Geordi LaForge.' The two men shook hands.

When the introductions were finished, Tom sat on the couch, to the left of Tuvok.

Picard turned, and sat behind his desk.
'I have just received word form Admiral Haze. Our Fleet has made contact with a large Dominion force. Hostilities-the battle-has begun, approximately one and a half hour ago. The diversion the battle has created, will certainly help us in achieving our mi
When all the officers nodded, Picard tapped a control on his Personal Display. An shematic image of a star system appeared. The writing on top of it read 'Corvus'.
'This is our real mission objective, Corvus II. It is situated deep inside Cardassian territory, only 45 lightyears away from Cardassia Prime. We have come to the Menkalinan system to rendez-vous with the vessel that will transport the Away-Team to Corvus

'Sir, I thought the Enterprise would do this.' Riker interrupted.
Jean-Luc shook his head.

'Since we are not equiped with a cloaking-device, the Enterprise would be a bad choice. No, in 30 minutes, we will meet a Cardassian ship, the Ketarra.' Before anyone could utter a word, Jean-Luc raised a hand. 'I know this is hard to believe for you, and
StarFleetCommand begun planning this operation several weeks ago, and this renegade Cardassian ship came in quite handy. It has been in EarthStation McKinsley for the last two weeks, where our best engineers worked on it, in an attempt to modify Cardassia
'Now, about your mission. It will take you about four hours to get to Corvus II. Once you have arrived there, Mr. Paris here will take the runabout and set you off, 10 miles away from your primary objective. He will pick you up again, 2 miles north of you

'In theory.' Tom remarked solemnly.

Tuvok and Riker both gave him a look that could easily concurrate with Janeway's. But Picard just nodded slowly.

'The odds are against you. You'll have to rely on the Ketarra to get you back, since we will be joining the battle, once we delivered you. I would be lying if I said that the chances of succes are anything but slim. Blowing up the Facility is possible, an
For some moments, there was nothing but silence before Data spoke. 'Sir, I think I speak for us all when I say : 'To hell with the Dominion'..' Everyone smiled, and Jean-Luc felt an almost absurd feeling of pride. Data's words were echoed by everyone pres
'To hell with the Dominion !'  'And to hell with that patak Storage Facility !'
While some chuckles emerged from all around the table, Jean-Luc moaned and turned to his 2nd officer. 'Data, who has taught you to curse like this ?' he asked mockingly.
'Well, actually, Dr.Crusher and Counselor Troi here told me that cursing was an adequate way - sometimes - to release aggression...a sort of pressure valve. In fact, I do have to admit that...' Jean-Luc rolled his eyes and sighed silently, poilitely tryin

To be continued....

End of Part 6

Sacrifice of Angels
           By ChrisTR


Say not the struggle nought availeth,
 The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
 And as things have been, things remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars ;
 It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
 And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
 Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and intlets making,
 Came, silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern window only,
 When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
 But westward, look, the land is bright.
            -Arthur Hugh Clough, Say not the struggle nought availeth


Part 7 - Battle Stations

Z + 11 : 57

A mighty roar went through all of Voyager's decks.

'Captain, the structural integrity has been compromised!' Harry Kim's voice sounded from his station.

'Shields are at 47%. Phasers off-line.' Chakotay looked up from the helm-console. 'We just lost the Seatag and the Majestic. We're on our own.'

After a brief consultation, Janeway looked up from the displays next to her chair. 'Tell the Konolwaljow and the Agamemmnon to take their place, quickly. Our flanks are wide open. And tell Cpt. Lorca to bring more distance between our ships. He's too clos

'Aye sir.'

'Sir, four enemy ships, dead ahead.' Lieutenant O'Shea, Tuvok's replacement, yelled.

'Evasive manoeuvres. Pattern Omega. We're-' Janeway was interrupted by the sound of an exploding display. Shock waves went through the whole ship. Boiling hot steam emerged from broken conduits, all over the bridge. An ensign cried out in pain, as he was

'Hold on. We're going through.' she hurled.


Down in Engineering, B'Elanna Torres was, again, experiencing major troubles.

'Carey,' she yelled, 'stabilize the plasma coolants. And get an Emergency Team to Deck5, the aft Torpedoe launcher is jammed. I'm going for the phasers.' And, turning to Ensign Vorik, 'Get someone to monitor the antimatter chamber. That last hit damaged t
Without waiting for an acknowledgement, she quickly grabbed a near toolkit and left for the phaser-relais.


Z + 14 : 35

Most StarFleet vessels were duranium white, proudly bearing the colours of the Federation, like a coat of arms. Boldly lit by running lights, so all would recognize them on their mission of exploration.
The Enterprise, for instance, was such a ship.
The Ketarra wasn't.
But then, the Ketarra wasn't a StarFleet ship either.
Intentionally coated in microdiffracted carbon, it was dark as the void between the stars, absorbing all the visible light that fell upon it.
Having deactivated their cloaking device when entering the system, to avoid random radiation, the Ketarra now eased into a deep non-standard polar orbit over Corvus II. The only sign of its presence was the blinking-out, then reappearance of the stars it
Its modified hangar door opened.
A runabout, equally dark as its mothership, emerged from it.
Its mission was not exploration, either.
Its impulse engines glowing faintly, the runabout set its course, moving away from the Ketarra, and dropping for Corvus II. In less than 3 minutes, the runabout met the atmosphere and begann to leave its feary trail in the sky.
Inside, the shuttle shuddered heavily. Inertial dampeners had been turned off, to avoid any stray radiation being detected from the surface.
The pilot, tightly strapped into his seat, maintained his calm expression as his fingers, expertly ran over the controls, trying to stabilize the flight. Behind him, 5 passengers held on tighly to the benches they sat on.
Their faces were unknow, for the opaque blast-shields, integrated in their carbon-black helmets and capable of deflecting a type 3 paser beam, made it impossible to determinate any facial expression.
Two of the passengers held on to their phaser rifles, wedging the stocks against the deck. The only ID marks they wore were the MilitaryInsignias, the StarFleet Delta slashed by a bolt of red lightning ; the unit crest of StarFleets Intelligence and Cover
The other passengers and the pilot also wore carbon-black commando armor, though not the Red Bolt insignia. But they also wore nametags : CRUSHER, DATA, TUVOK and the pilot, PARIS.


Z + 14 : 40

An abrupt manoeuvre to starboard brought Defiant out of the way of a Cardassian destroyer, and right into the phaser fire of two
Jem H'Adar ships.
Panels exploded, the lights flackered and crewmembers on all decks lost balance and hit the deck.
Then the riposte. Defiant's phasers spat flashes of bundled energy across the empty space and found their target. The unfortunate
Jem H'Adar vessel exploded in a giant fire-ball.

'That's one down,' shouted Jadzia Dax from the Conn, '978 still to go.'

'I worry more about those pursuing us. Can we shake the other three ?' Sisko demanded, tightening his grip at the Conn.

'I'll try.'

A blinding flash struck the bridge. Julian rushed over to one of the few functional displays left. 'We lost aft shields. Forward shields are at 15 percent.'

'Wouldn't this be a good time to cloak ?' demanded Garak.

'The cloaking system's fried.' O'Briens voice could harldy be heard through the noise of battle.

Sisko was almost jerked to the ground.
'Auxiliary power to weapons. We're going to fight our way out of this.'


'B'Elanna ! We need the phasers back online.' Janeway shouted across the com-system.

'I'm trying Captain.'

'Sir, Jem H'Adar capital ship, dead ahead. They're target...' Lieutenant O'Shea could not finish the sentence. A full torpedoe salvo from the enemy vessel struck Voyager, riping away the remains of its shields, and hit the hull of the already badly damage

'O'Shea, launch a full torpedoe broadside. Lieutenant ?' When she heard no response, she turned in her chair and saw the blood-stained face of the Lt., saw his lifeless body, lying on the floor, and saw the gaping injury to his throat. She noticed immedia
Cursing the Dominion loudly, she made her way to the tactical station and used what was left of it to prepare an array of 5 torpedoes to be fired. When she pushed the trigger, nothing happened.
'Damn. Harry, the torpedoe tubes are jammed. Try and...'
She interrupted herself when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw multiple green flashes of light crossing the view-screen and hitting the Jem H'Adar vessel's warp-core.
The view-screen went blank for a second, and when she looked at it again, Janeway only saw myriads of small debris floating through space. At least four enemy ships were gone.
'What the *Hell* was that ?' she asked.

'It's the Klingons sir,' Nog reported 'They're here.'

Garak could not contain his excitement. 'Ahhh...' he made.

'Sir, we're being hailed by Commander Worf.'

'On screen.'

Worf's serious face appeared on the view-screen.
'Captain. I'm sorry we're late. It was not easy to convince Chancellor Gowron to spare us any ships.'

'I'm just glad you could make it Commander.'

'Sir,' Nogs excited voice sounded over the bridge, 'the Klingons have punched a hole in the enemy lines.'

Turning to Dax, Sisko's voice was all serious.
'Dax, can you get us through ?'

'I'd love to try.'


'Captain, the Klingons have broken a hole in the enemy lines.'

Janeway tapped her com-badge. 'B'Elanna, transfer all energy to the shields.' Turning to Chakotay, she shouted 'Chakotay, can you get us through.' It was not really a question.

'I'd love to try. Hold on, everybody.'


Z + 14 : 47

The pilot's voice sounded through the lone runabout. 'You better hold on to something now.'

The hum of the engines shut off, making the hold eerily free of sound. The runabout was in glide mode now, covertly traveling where a transporter beam couldn't be risked.
Through the heavily filtered blast shield he wore, Tom Paris saw the subdued overhead lighting switch from full-spectrum to red.
It was almost time.
He opened his helmet, to gain a better view of his controls.
'How much longer ?' Lieutenant Renton, effectively the commander of this mission, asked.
Tom checked the displays.
'We will be over the drop zone in 300 seconds.'
'Allright,' Renton said, 'everybody knows what to do ? Good. If anyone wants to say anything, now is the time.'
Tom had something to say. He turned to Tuvok.
'If you make it home and I don't, thank Cpt. Janeway..for everything.
And...tell B'Elanna I loved her.' he whispered.
Tuvok gave him an odd look, then he spoke. 'If you get home, and I don't, would you tell Captain Janeway...that our friendship meant a lot to me ?'
'Of course.' He hesitated. 'But we will make it home, all of us.'

'That is hardly a logical comment.'
Tom grunted.
'200 seconds to drop zone.' he said.


Flanked by three Klingon Birds-of-Prey, Fighter Squadron No.3, Defiant, Voyager, Konolwaljow and the Galaxy-class starship HitchHiker raced across space, dodging torpedoes, enemy ships, explosions, debris, and each other. Phaser beams, disruptors and torp
When they passed a groupement of Cardassian vessels, HitchHiker was caught in the cross fire of a Galor-class Destroyer and some smaller Jem H'Adar ships. Its shields collapsed with a faint, blueish flicker, and when the hull breaches became too important
The once-proud vessel totally lost structural integrity, and crashed into an enemy ship. The resulting explosion destroyed both vessles.

When the rest of the ships made their final run for the space behind the enemy lines, one of the large Jem H'Adar Capital ships blocked their way. The Klingons opened fire, while the StarFleet vessels tried to pass the enemy as quickly as possible.
Disruptor beams struck the giant ship, tearing gaping holes into its outer hull. When after all the efforts, the giant ship still refused to explode, one of the Klingon ships changed course and accelerated to ramming speed. It hit the Jem H'Adar warship a

Today was indeed a good day to die.


When they finally passed the enemy lines, Sisko turned to Ensign Nog.
'Any other ships make it ?'

'Only Voyager and the Konolwaljow, sir.'

'What happened to the Klingons ?'

'They must have been caught in the explosion radius.'

Sisko took a deep breath.
'Allright, we have only one and a half hour, until Dukat will bring the mine-field down. Tell the other ships to lay in a course for Deep Space Nine. Maximum Warp.'


'We've made it. We're past enemy lines.' Harry Kim didn't bother to hide the excitement he felt.

'Sir,' Chakotay reported, 'the Defiant is ordering us to lay in a course for DS9.'

'You heard the man Chakotay. Set a course. Maximum Warp.'

'Aye ma'am.'


Z + 14 : 51

'60 seconds to drop zone. We're flying at an altitude of 300 feet. You better get yourself ready, you'll have to..' He was interrupted by a beeping sound, coming from his console.
'What the...'

He couldn't finish his sentence, as the runabout suddenly started to jerk from one side to the other, as a violent explosion shook it. Even through his helmet, Tom could her the strain on the outer hull. 'We've been hit by a Jem H'Adar phaser blast.' Tuvo

'Is that the logical conclusion, Tuvok ?' Tom remarked sarcastically. He just earned an almost cocky look from the Vulcan beside him.
'Anyway, we have to get out of here. I can't control the shuttle anymore.'
Both men stood up, and headed for the rear of the shuttle.
'We should be over the drop zone by now. How about getting out of here?'
Lieutenant Renton nodded. 'Agreed. I hope you remember your holodeck training.'
Tom rolled his eyes.
'Allright,' Renton said 'we need to get out of her, but disciplined.'
'That is an appropriate measure.' Tuvok remarked 'But I suggest we...'move it now', Lieutenant.'
Tom could not help but grin. Luckily the blast-shield protected him from being detected.
Renton stood up and pulled down three times on a side-mounted, manual release lever.
With a sudden roar of wind, the rear decking of the cargo hold dropped open onto darkness.
As they have been trained, the remaining members of the away-team sealed their helmets and got to their feet.
Renton checked her tricorder readings, and raised a finger, paused, brought it down, pointing to Strickler.
Without hesitation, the Lieutenant stepped over the open deck and dropped through it.
Renton was already pointing at Data. The android followed Strickler two seconds later.
The procedure repeated itself, until only Tom was left. Renton pointed at him, and when Tom briefly hesitated, he began to shout.
'Not to put too fine a point on it, Lt., but move it.'

*Geronimo !* was his last thought, before, as he had done a dozen times, in Voyager's holodecks, Thomas Eugene Paris stepped out into nothingness

To be continued...

End of Part 7

Sacrifice of Angels
           By ChrisTR


« How yet resolves the governor of the town ?
This is the latest parley we will admit :
Therefore, to our best mercy give yourselves ;
Or like to men proud of destruction,
Defy us to our worst : for as I am a soldier, -
A name that, in my thoughts, becomes me best, -
If I begin the battery once again,
I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur
Till in her ashes she lies buried.
The gates of mercy shall all be shut up ;
And the flesh'd soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand shall range,
With conscience wide as hell. »
                                     -William Shakespeare, Henry V.


Part 8 - The Sacrifice of Angels

DS9 SEC CAM #3 - Ops
* Dukat,Gul | Damarr,Glenn | Vorta,Weyoun | Alphashift


[The Defiant and 2 other vessels have broken through all our lines. They are heading right here. Shall I order pursuit ?]

[At once.]

[The Defiant is no match for this station. Sisko wants to commit suicide ? I say we let him.]


DS9 SEC CAM #6 - Station Security Office
* Darat, Glenn - Alphashift | Quark | Zyial


[Lunch for Major Kira.]

[Major Kira has already been fed.]

[And I only can imagine the slup you served her. But what I have here is Hasperat Soufflet.]

[This is a jail. Not a hotel. The Major will eat what the other prisoners eat.]

[Do you know who I am ?]

[Gul Dukat's daughter.]

[That's right. Now I suggest you allow us to deliver this food.]

[I can't do that. However I will take the tray to her. After I have examined it.]

[Is that really necessary ? It's very delicate. Stop poking it.]
[Now you ruined it.]


Trying not to dwell on the fact that he had never done this before in real time, Thomas Eugene Paris fell.


DS9 SEC CAM #5 - Brig
* Jem H'Adar | Jem H'Adar | Prisoners, 4


   [How much longer before they detonate the mine-field ?]

   [I wish you'd stop asking that !]

   [Allright. Noone moves !]

   [Brother, I knew you'd come.]

   [Hello Rom. It's a surprise to me. Now, stay calom, and where you      are. Don't move. You, deactivate the forcefields. Deactivate them !]

   [You just told them not to move.]

   [Allright. No-one moves, except you. Release the prisoners.


   [Quark. Take down the forcefields.]

   [What ? Oh, yes, forcefields.]


   [I'd kiss you Quark, but there's no time. We have to find a way to   shout down the Stations weapons. Without weapons, they won't be able to bring down the minefield.]

   [I can do that.]

   [Allright Rom, you're with me. The rest of you, find a place to hide and be silent.]

   [We'll do Major.]


For the first few seconds, Tom had no sense of movement or direction.
He flipped over, with still no sensation of fallind, tough he knew from the training simulations that the surface of Corvus II was rushing up at him at ninety kilometres an hour.
Then, he felt the abrupt tug of his parachute opening, pulling on his equipment harness. Now, slowly he descended towards the planet.
He looked up, saw the stars, and a dark figure moving against them.
One of his crewmates, no doubt.
He felt a gentle tugging to one side and wheeled slowly as he descended. Jadzia Dax had told him that landing with a parachute was like stepping of a curp. Tom recalled her grin as Jadzia had said it.
Beneath him, he saw something moving. He intensively hoped it was Strickler or Data.


DS9 SEC CAM #49 - Upper Pylon, Corridor, Section 34
* Kira, Major ESCAPED | Rom ESCAPED | Jem H'Adar Troop



   [Get out of here !]

DS9 SEC CAM #50 - Cargo Holding Bay 4, Upper Pylon, Sections 35-39
* Kira, Major ESCAPED | Rom ESCAPED | Jem H'Adar Troop



   [Take cover.]

   [You hear that ? That's bajoran phaser fire.]

   [Why would Dominion troops be using Bajoran weapons.]

* Jem H'Adar Troop - Lifesigns terminated.
  Entry - Bajoran security team | FOUNDER

   [Never underestimate the element of surprise.]


Z + 16 : 18

'Chakotay, ETA to DS9 ?'
Janeway did not even try to sound calm and controled. The anguish in her voice was clear to the entire bridge.

'11 minutes. It's going to be a pretty close thing.' Chakotay responded.
Katherine Janeway's worried look rested, fixed on the viewscreen.
*Soon,* she thought, *soon..*


Inside Weyoun's, the Vorta's, quarters, a monitor blinked alive.
It showes the inside of a Jeffreys Tube, two figures in it, one of them working on an opened panel.
The image on the monitor was the live-feed to one of the numerous cameras Weyoun had ordered to install, all over the station. No-one did know about them, not even the Founder, Glory to their name.
But with Weyoun on DS9's Ops, the activities inside Jeffreys Tube 44 went by, unnoticed by everyone.
As the camera slowly zoomed nearer, it became obvious who the figures were.

   [How's it going Rom ?]

   [I wish you'd stop asking that.]

   [Sorry, sorry.]

   [I think, we're not going to make it Major.]

   [Just keep wprking, and we will.]


DS9 SEC CAM #3 - Ops
* Dukat,Gul | Damarr,Glenn | Vorta,Weyoun | FOUNDER


   [Sir, the Klingons have outflanked us. Our lines are beginning to crumble.]

   [There's nothing to worry about. In exactly 4 minutes thousands of Dominion warships will be coming through the wormhole. I just hope the Dominion gets here in time for Sisko to see it.]


'Ben, if I were you, I'd start coming up with a Plan B.'
Sisko, standing behind Jadzia Dax, his arms crossed behind his back, looked at his Old Friend, but did not say a word. He had enough other things on his mind.
*Soon,* he thought, *soon..*


   [Almost there. I just need to neutralize the last ODN relays.]

   [Good work Rom]


DS9 SEC CAM #3 - Ops
* Dukat,Gul | Damarr,Glenn | Vorta,Weyoun | FOUNDER


   [The last mines have been neutralized. We're ready to detonate the minefield.]




   [Done !]
    A beeping noise emerged from the panel on which Rom was working.


On Voyager's bridge, everybody's eyes were turned towards the viewscreen. A series of small explosions rocketed hrough space.
The minefield was down.
The Alpha Quadrant lost.
A single tear ran over Katherine Janeway's cheek.


   [What is it Rom ?]

   [The computer is re-routing power, over the DSN relays.]

   [What ? !]

   [Somebody re-programmed the computer to reroute the power relays    to...]

   [Rom, no techno-babble. What's the problem ?]

   [I can't deactivate the Weapons system.]


On Defiant's bridge, there was a shocked silence. Nobody dared speak.
Nobody trusted his voice enough to speak.

Jadzia Dax almost collapsed in her chair.
'What do we do now Captain ?'

'Take us into the Wormhole, Old Man.'

'What the hell !' O'Brien muttered, 'It's just a couple of thousands Dominion warships.'


'Into the wormhole ?' Chakotay could not believe his ears. 'Captain, there are thousands of Dominion Warships, waiting for us.'

'I'm aware of that Commander.' Janeway replied calmly, coldly.

'That's a hell of a Plan B.' Kim remarked silently.

Janeway pretended not to have heard.


His harness dug into Tom with a sudden, sharp snap. His simulation training paid off, as he reflexively swung his legs together and bent his knees.
He slammed into dirt as if he had fallen from a 4 metre wall, not a curb.
But he rolled as he had been trained, absorbing the impact along the side of his body.
After detaching his parachute, he ot up, paser in hand.


DS9 SEC CAM #3 - Ops
* Dukat,Gul | Damarr,Glenn | Vorta,Weyoun | FOUNDER


   [Send a message to our listening posts in the Gamma Quadrant. Tell our reinforcements, the Alpha Quadrant awaits them.]

   [Sir, the Defiant and two other Federation vessels are heading to the wormhole.]

   [Destroy them.]

   [Wait !]

Voyager, Defiant and Konolwaljow slowed down to full impulse and headed the wormhole's opening.


DS9 SEC CAM #3 - Ops
* Dukat,Gul | Damarr,Glenn | Vorta,Weyoun | FOUNDER


[Over 2000 Jem H'Adar ships are waiting for them. Why waste the energy ?]

[I'm not sure I agree with you.]

[Let them enter the wormhole. Our ships will take care of them.]


The caracteristic blue glimmer surrounded the lone StarFleet vessels, as the wormhole opened.


'Take us in Dax.' Sisko said.


'Commander, take us in.' Janeway ordered.
Reluctantly, Chakotay carried out the order.


Turning to Dax, Sisko's face softened a bit.
'Full stop, old man. Chief, divert all power to forward shields and weapons.'

'Captain, I'm reading multiple Warp signatures ahead.'


'On screen, maximum magnification.'
'On screen, aye ma'am.' Harry Kim sounded surprisingly calm under these circumstances.

The typical bizarre environement of the Wormhole appeared, barely hiding the Dominion fleet.
'Heaven's sake...' Janeway whispered.


'Garak, lock phasers.'


'Divert all power to forward shields and weapons. Lock phasers.'



A bright flash of light enveloped Defiant's bridge.
When Sisko openedhis eyes again, he could not see at first. It took several minutes for him to realize that he was standing...nowhere. Everything was blindingly white. *The prophets...*

'Why have you brought me here ?'


'Show yourselves. What do you want ?'

Without any warning, Sisko found himself in DS9's Security office.
Odo approached him.

The Sisko has returned to us.

Suddenly they were in Quark's bar. Jake was there.

He arrives with questions.

Another scene switch. Ops. Kira talked to him.

There are always questions.

'I didn't ask to come here.' Sisko complained.

Gul Dukat's office.

You desire to end the Game.

'What Game ? I don't understand.'

Weyoun. Damarr.

You seek to end your corporal existence.

That cannot be allowed.


The Game must not end.

'The Game. You mean my life. Is that what this is about ? You don't wan't me to die ?'


The Game must continue.

You are the Sisko.

'Believe me. I don't want to die. But I have to do everything I can to prevent the Dominion from conquering the Alpha-Quadant. If that means, sacrifying my life, and the lifes of my crew, so be it.'


We do not agree.


We find your reason flawed.



'I'm sorry you feel that way, but it doesn't change anything. Now, return me to my ship.'

Another flash of light. When he opened his eyes, he found himself on the Defiant. But not his Defiant.
'This is not what I meant. I want to return to my reality.'


You are the Sisko.

'I am also a StarFleet Captain. I have to do my duty, and I intend to do it.'


The Sisko is beligerant. Aggressive. Adverserial.

'You're damn right, I'm adverserial.' Sisko raged, 'You have no right to interfere with my life.'

You are not right.

'Fine. You want to interfere ? Then do something about those Dominion ships out there.

That is a corporial matter. They do not concern us.

'You can't tell me Bajor doesn't concern you. You sent them Emissarys. You encouraged them to build their entire religion around you. You told me once you were from Bajor. So don't tell me you're not concerned with corporial matters. I don't want to see B

We are of Bajor.

The Sisko is intrusive. He tries to control the Game.

A pennance must be exacted.

It is agreed.

We will interfere.

We will help the Sisko.

The Sisko is of Bajor, but he will find no peace there.

Another flash of light blinded him.
He opened his eyes again, to find himself back on Defiant's bridge.
He looked around.

The Others will not interfere anymore. Leave.
Sisko heard the voice in his head, and he wondered. What others ? The Dominion Fleet ? Probably...
'Phasers and torpedoes armed. Forward shields at a 100%.' Nog reported.

'Here they come.'

'Phasers and torpedoes locked. Shields at full power.' Harry Kim said.
'Here they come.' Chakotay yelled.


'Fire on my command.'


When can their glory fade ?
O the wild charge they made !
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made !
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred !
Honour the brave and bold !
Long shall the tale be told,
Yay, when our babes are old,
How they rode onward,
Noble six hundred.
                -Alfred Tennyson, The Light Brigade



Tom Paris saw Renton gliding down on his parachute, and it was then that he noticed the rest of the away-team, some 100 metres away.
Tom pulled down his visor, and instantly the Combat-helmet switched to night-view.
Small projectors cast a green, three-dimensional image of his surroundings around him.
Tom started to jog towards his crew-mates.


Standing in front of the view-screen, Sisko could hear Nog and Garak talk.
'There must be thousands of them.' The ensign noted.

'And half of them have locked their phasers on us.' Garak remarked in his typical too-damn-calm voice.
Sisko briefly looked at them. Turning to Garak, he gave his last instruction before the coming battle.

'Make every shot count.'


*As if I had to tell them. They are a wonderful crew.*
Janeway's 'Make every shot count' was unnecessary, she knew.
'If we don't survive this,' she said, 'I'd like you to know that I am proud I had the occasion to serve with you. All of you.'


Far away, beyond the horizon, an unseen object flared in a silent explosion. Tom knew it was their shuttle.
They were in trouble now.


'Benjamin, something's happening, I don't know what...'

'Look,' Nog yelled, 'The Dominion ships...'

On the viewscreen, the wormhole's structure began to flitter.
The Dominion fleet sparkled blue for an instant, then, was gone.
Stunned, the bridge crew could do nothing but stare.


'They've cloaked.' Chakotay suggested.

Kim shook his head. 'I'm not picking up any neutrino emissions.'


'Then,' Garak asked 'where did they go ?'

'Wherever they went, I don't think they're coming back.'


DS9 SEC CAM #3 - Ops
* Dukat,Gul | Damarr,Glenn | Vorta,Weyoun | FOUNDER


   [Sir, the wormhole is opening.]

   [The Defiant.]

   [Our reinforcements must be right behind.]

   [No sir, no sign of them. The wormhole is closing again.]

   [They entered the wormhole. WHERE ARE THEY !?]

   [I don't know.]



While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
             -Alfred Tennyson, The Light Brigade


To be continued...

End of Part 8

Sacrifice of Angels
           By ChrisTR

« Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility :
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger ;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage ;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostrils wide ;
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height ! - On, on, you noble English [...] »
                         -William Shakespeare, Henry V.


Part 9 - The Mouth of Hell

'How the hell did they detect us ?' Tom Paris heard Data's voice over his helmet's speakers. It was strange to hear an android swear.

'I had to change course before we were hit.' Tom reported.

'If they spotted us, because of a course change, the sensor grids they're using must be far more sensitive than we thought.' Tuvok said.

'We don't have time for this,' Renton interjected 'We still have a mission to complete.'

'I concurr.' The androids voice sounded mecanical this time, without emotions.
*He must have deactivated this emotions-chip of his.* Tom thought *I envy him.*

'Allright, I suggest we complete this task as soon as ossible.' Renton said briskly. He pointed ahead. '10 kilometres, double time. Strickler on point.'
Tom watched the Lieutenant jogg away. Renton's combative approach was necessary, he knew. This was the part of the mission the commandos controlled.
Renton pointed at him, her features were ghostly in the soft glow of the firmament, overlaid by her night-vision goggle. Tom started after Strickler, keeping the Lieutenant's sensor silhouette centered in his visor. He could hear the rest of the team run
*I wonder how B'Elanna is doing right now...I hope she's allright.*


Standing in the centre of Terok Nor's Ops, Gul Dukat breathed heavily.
'Where ARE THEY, Damarr ?'

'I don't know.'

'How can you not know ? They entered the Wormhole! Where are they ?'
Before his subordinate could respond to his attack, the station shook heavily. The lights flickered, and the sound of the Red-Alert klaxon sounded.


'The StarFleet vessels have opened fire on us!' Damarr shouted.

'Obviously.' Gul Dukat wanted the Vorta to shut up. He shot Weyoun a deadly glance. Apparently the Vorta noticed it, even with his weak eyes. He shut up.

'Return fire !'


'Sir, our warp engines are down. The Defiant is being badly damaged.' Harry Kim's voice rang over Voyager's bridge.

'Come about.' Janeway responded 'Target DS9's weapons system, and launch a full salvoe of Photon Torpedoes.'

'Aye ma'am.'


'Shields are failing, sir. Hull integrity compromised.'

Sisko tightened his grip on the consol as he was almost jerked to the ground by the latest hit DS9's weapons scored.

'Bring us about,' he yelled 'Attack pattern Omega.'

'Sir, it's no use, our weapons are all down. We should leave.' Ensign Nog almost whined.
Defiant's bride was shook again by phaser fire.

'I can't just abandon the other ships !'

'Captain, I'm detecting 2 Jem H'Adar vessels closing in on us.'

'We need to get out of here Benjamin.' Dax whispered, in a demanding tone.
Sisko looked around the bridge, scanning its crew's faces.

'Allright, set course for StarBase 89. Maximum Warp.'

'Aye aye.'


The terrain of Corvus II was rough, strewn with boulders. It reminded Tom Paris a bit of the Moon. But the air was different there. The terraformed regions of the Moon were oxidrich, smelling of green soil and lush vegetation. Corvus smelled acrid and lif
As they ran, Paris' attention kept flicking ahead to their task, to the intelligence reports he had seen...and to B'Elanna Torres.


'Our shields are failing Captain. They are down.' Chakotay yelled from the conn-console.
'We could use some help here.' Janeway remarked 'Where's Defiant ?'
'Gone to warp. She was too badly damaged to stay.'
'The Konolwaljow ?'
'Damn !'

'Sir,' B'Elanna's voice sounded over the intercomm 'we can't take any more hits. The warp core is de-stabilized. It's gonna take at least half an hour until we have Warp again.'

'We don't have an hour B'Elanna ! You have 5 minutes.'
'Captain, I can't..' Torres didn't come any further, as Janeway interrupted the comm-link angrily.'
'Sir,' Kim cried out, 'a runabout has just started from DS9. It's headed towards us.'
'On screen.'

An image of Deep Space Nine appeared on the view-screen as Harry complied to the order. As it came closer, a moving point of light grew to become one of the Federation runabouts Sisko and his crew had to abandon, some months ago.
'They're hailing us.'
'Let's hear it Harry.'

The picture on the view-sceen was replaced by the face of an angry-looking Jem H'Adar soldier.
'Prepare your vessel to be boarded.' The soldier said, and right after that, he terminated the communication.
'Janeway to all hands. Intruder alert. Security teams to all sections. Janeway to security. Open the weapons locker, and make sure everyone's got a phaser.' Turning to the bridge-crew, she added
'We're not going to surrender this ship without a fight.'


'Ensign, have the Jem H'Adar ships broken up pursuit ?'
'No sir,' Nog replied 'They are still following us at Warp 8.'
'Benjamin,' Dax exclaimed 'I'm picking up elevated neutrino emissions. A ship, no two ships are coming out of cloak.'


'What ship ?' Janeway asked.
Before anyone could espond to her, on the view-screen the runabout heading towards them exploded silently. Green disruptor beams cut through space where the tiny ship had been, only seconds ago.

'What the hell ...'


55 minutes amd 7 kilometres later, Tom Paris came to a halt.
Thankful for the respite, he bent over, hand on his knees, gasping for breath. Running across broken terrain at night, carrying thirty kilos of equipment, armor, and supplies-that wasn't part of his job description. *Join StarFleet, see the Galaxy* he tho
The team leader stood before him, commanding their attention.
'This is it. All systems power down. Stay low.'
Tom followed Renton up the hill, dropping to his belly a few meters from the top, just as he did.
Then they looked over the rise, and Paris' throat suddenly felt as dry as the rocks he lay on.
Half a kilometre away, surrounded by fusion powered spotlights, lay their prime objective, ths Storage Facility.
To the side Paris saw an equally bright lit landing pad, safely away from the buildings inside the perimetre. A Jem H'Adar ship was parked on it.
But there was more.
On the far side of the field they looked upon, Tom saw several low building, looking like barracks.
He saw the glimmering of force-fields, lining a path leading from the barracks to a large, open place.
Tom saw figures moving between the force-field. Some of them slowly walked accros the place, others headed towards it, slowly moving, hesitating from time to time. When one of them hesitated too long, a phaser beam cut through the night. Tom could hear a

He was about to turn towards Renton, to ask what to do now, when he felt a cold metal object to his neck.

'Don't move, Federation.'

Tom didn't.
He found he couldn't.


Two all-too familiar shaped vessels shimmered into existence, and opened fire on the two Jem H'Adar ships. It all happened so quickly, no-one on Defiant's bridge could quite catch it.
All they saw was a green shimmer as several energy discharges struck the enemy vessels, quickkly transforming them into two orange-glowing wrecks.
When they had finished the Jem H'Adar, the two bird-like ships turned towards Defiant, it's weapons system glowing dreadfully.

'Hail them.' Sisko commanded, his voice cold as ice.


Z + 16 : 27

'Pull back !' Jean-Luc Picard yelled, 'Dive !'

Enterprise's impulse engines glowed brightly, as they tried to stop a giant like the NCC-1701-D abruptly. Then, guidance thrusters started working, plunging the starship in a quick dive, evitating collision with a Jem H'Adar capital ship by some hundreds
'Fire at will, target their Main Engineering.'

The battle was not going all too well.
After Sisko, the commander off the Federation Fleet had broken through all enemy lines, Picard had assumed command of the operation. As captain of StarFleet's flagship, he was the most qualified man to do so.
The heavily outnumbered Federation vessels had repelled each attack so far, holding their positions against an almost invincible enemy.
They had launched a few counter-attacks of their own, each of which was unsuccesful.
The Federation lines were crumbling.
But the lines of the enemy were weakening too.
Yet, the advantage tilted to the Dominion forces.
The battle already lasted for almost 8 hours.
It was time to make a change.
It was time to make history.


'Hail them.' Janeway commanded.
Even when the face appeared on the view-screen, she still could not believe it.
'Why are you here ?' she asked coldly.


'We want to help.'

'You do ? You will excuse me if I'm having problems believing that. Why would you want to help us ?'
An ice-cold threat sounded in Sisko's voice.

'We are concerned.'


'Open a channel to the fleet.'
'Opened.' Riker reported.
'This is Captain Picard. To the whole fleet : Prepare to engage at my command. Attack pattern Bravo 11. We have to break their lines !'
'The fleet is confirming the order.'
Jean-Luc nodded.


'Concerned about what ?'


'Balance ?' Sisko's voice contained a hint of confusion.



Picard was just about to give the command, when Lt.Haig reported from the Ops station.
'Sir, I'm detecting elevated neutrino emissions.'

'Where ?' Picard asked. The last thing he could use right now were some new unknown enemies.

'Behind enemy lines. Behind our lines. Sir, they're everywhere.'

'Can you identify them ?'
Before the Lieutenant could answer him, Picard's attention tilted back to the view-screen, when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a glimmer of green light.
Shortly after, one of the Cardassian vessels before them exploded, shattered its debris across space.
Then another one. And another one.
Picard saw one of the Cardassian vessels open fire, not on the Federation or Klingon ships, no, but on some unseen target, behind enemy lines. Instants after, the same vessel was hit by multiple green disruptor beams.
Picard did not know what was going on, but he instinctively knew that it was an opportunity which would never return.

'Tell the fleet to attack. We'll use the confusion to our best.'

What was left of the Federation fleet, left of six hundred ships, accelerated to full impulse and engaged the enemy.


Thomas Eugene Paris cried out in pain, when he was kicked by his torturers.
'Get up you scum !' a shadowy figure yelled. There were no lights. Tom could not determinate anything concrete.
Slowly, Tom stood.
He felt the barrel of a gun being slammed into his back, sending him to the ground again. He was to weak to stand up. His bruises and wounds ached too much.
When his guards realized that he was going nowhere, they simply dragged him further, pulling at the handcuffs he wore.
The cuffs cut into his wrists, and he cried out in pain and surprise again.


Enterprise fired a salvoe of torpedoes at an enemy ship, still thousands of kilometres away. He saw the green flash, as multiple disruptor beams hit the Cardassian simultaneously with Enterprise's torpedoes.
The Galor-class destroyer exploded silently in an enormous fireball.
Blinded by the flash, Picard looked away. When he turned to the view-screen again, he finally saw one of the unknown ships. It just emerged from the fireball caused by the destruction of the Cardassiann vessel, its shields sprinkling with energy as they d
The ship was glowing orangedly with the reflection of the explosion.
Yet, Jean-Luc Picard recognized its original colour.
It was green.
It remembered Picard of a bird of prey.


After the communication had been terminated, Janeway turned to her bridge crew.
'What do you think ?'
Chakotay shrugged. 'Perhaps they really want to help us this time.'
'Perhaps they do. It just may be...'


It was a Warbird.


The man backhanded Tom again, jerking his head to the right.
Blinded by the spot-lights directed at him, Tom could not see the man's face.
He was Cardassian, that he knew.
The dark figure started circling around the hump Tom was tied to.
'What are the Federation's Defensive plans for Earth ?' it said.
Tom gulped. He stared at the wall, unwilling to face his captor.
'Thomas Eugene Paris, Lieutenant, Senior Grade, Registration Alpha-Tango-five-seven-nine-one-Bravo.'
The Cardassian sighed sadly. 'This could get tidious, Im afraid. You know, we could make this extremely painful for you. We're good at that.'
He backhanded Tom again.


'Sir, the Dominion forces are in retreat. They're fleeing.'

Picard nodded. 'We're in no shape to pursuite. Let them go.' Nodding towards the view-screen, he added 'Hail our benefactors.', an odd tone to his voice.

When the image appeared on the view-screen, the image of a humanoid, wearing a silver uniform, Jean-Luc Picard could do nothing but stare at it in amazement.
He noticed the pointed ears.
He noticed the hair.
He noticed the colour of the hair.
He noticed the face, in general.
He almost gapsed for air. He didn't trust his eyes.

'Captain Picard,' a bitter-sweet female voice said, 'I told you we'd meet again.'

Picard was at a loss of words. He stared at the woman on the view-screen, and noticed most of the bridge crew was doing the same.

'Sela...' he whispered.

Sela smirked amusedly.


And his eyes have all the seeming
Of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming
Throws his shadow on the floor ;
And my soul from out that shadow
That lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore !
                    -Edgar A. Poe, The Raven



Yes ! The End ! No more !

Some last words : If everything is going as planned, you, dear reader, will now be standing a tip-toe, longing for a continuation.
It will come. I dunno when, but it will.

I know, some caracters have not been mentioned enough in here, like Neelix, 7of9 ; others were just superficially sketched. That's going to change one of the next times. But the main caracters in this Saga will be the same : Paris, Torres, Picard, Sisko,
I have a few statements to make, concerning our lives and societies, and I will make them. Therefore, I decided that, out of this book, I'll probably make a series. I want an alternative to the war-winning federation in its shining armor, showed on telly.
Anyone saw 'Measure of a Man' ? It was a highlight of StarTrek. It was deep, meaningful. I loved it. Anyone who saw it wil know what I mean by saying : The Federation is NOT paradise.
The Link may be, but not the fed.

Another thing : I live for feedback ! It's what keeps writers going on ! So, send some :) to :  rollic@internet.lu

Look out for some new stories :)
                           All yours,