Title: Lost and Found
Disclaimer: Paramount's, not mine!
Summary: Chakotay and Tom try to retrieve items stolen from Voyager, and
find something else along the way.
"Commander. All ready for our foray into the world of crime and intrigue?"
Tom asked as he caught up with Voyager's First Officer just outside the
The Commander glanced at him and raised an eyebrow. "As ready as I'll ever
be," he answered, continuing into the room as Tom followed him.
Tom grinned. "That's usually my line," he commented. He stepped up onto the
transporter pad beside the other man, then placed the holdall he'd been
carrying at his feet. "I know *I'm* not really looking forward to risking
life and limb, but usually, it doesn't seem to bother you," Tom continued,
looking across at Chakotay. "Is it my company that's dampening your
enthusiasm? Because, I promise you, it *can* be good."
"So I've heard, Paris. But without firsthand experience, I wouldn't know for
sure," Chakotay remarked, pulling at the hem of the dark green,
loose-fitting shirt he was wearing.
Tom gave an amused snort and went to reply but, as he did, Chakotay nodded
at the Ensign in charge of the transporter and they were beamed down to the
"So, what now, Chakotay?" Tom asked as he looked around the room that they'd
materialised in. It was gloomy, just occasional flashes of red or yellow
light coming through the high windows, from tiny transport craft that flew
silently past outside.
"We keep our voices down and we wait," Chakotay said, gesturing for Tom to
follow him across the large, empty room and into one of the corners.
"D'you think Telsesh will show? I mean, he didn't look the sort that could
handle the amount of trouble he might find himself in," Tom said, sitting on
the wooden floor next to the Commander.
"Looks can be deceiving, Paris. I can vouch for that," Chakotay replied
quietly. "And as you know, personal gain often takes precedence over
loyalty. Telsesh is obviously more concerned with living the high life that
Voyager's generosity will allow, rather than his colleagues' wrath when they
find out that he's returned our stolen equipment."
"Yeah, but I'm still surprised," Tom remarked. "He just didn't come across
as the type that would double-cross someone like Kenthah."
"Maybe not, but that's what he's agreed to do. And like I said, you can't go
on looks. After all, the Captain and Tuvok never suspected, until it was too
late, that Kenthah was anything other than the planetary official he
purported to be."
"Yeah, I know," Tom stated. "The Captain described him as the most charming
villain she's ever met."
"He's probably the most dangerous as well," Chakotay commented, shifting
into a more comfortable position on the dusty floor. "He not only has a
large following and the most sophisticated weapons, he also possesses almost
limitless funds to finance his operations."
"Yeah, no wonder this planet's ruling body refused to intervene. I'm just
amazed Kenthah hasn't overthrown them yet."
"I'm sure he would if it would serve his purpose. There must be some
advantageous reason for him to leave things as they are."
"You're probably right," Tom said, leaning his head against the rough wall
behind him. "And Telsesh must really have some balls to go against a
formidable man like that."
"Definitely," Chakotay agreed.
"Which, yet again, makes me wonder just why the hell *we're* expected to
take Kenthah on," Tom said, facing the Commander. "I mean, after tonight
we're on our own, no back-up. What if we get into trouble? From daybreak
tomorrow there'll be no way of leaving this planet or contacting Voyager for
the next four days because of the Nahldarians' strange census ideas."
"Strange ideas to us, maybe, but they obviously deem the planet-wide barrier
to be necessary while they conduct their population count. Nobody enters and
nobody leaves for the duration of the census; at least that means our
missing components won't be spirited away without us having the chance to
"Yeah, but God only knows why the Nahldarians need an exact population
figure," Tom muttered as another flash of red light briefly illuminated the
room. "And what happens when we get asked by some census official to explain
our presence? We're not supposed to be here."
"Weren't you paying attention during the briefing, Paris? The Nahldarians
know about us; we've already been accounted for. I have all our required
documentation. At least the governing body gave us that much help."
"Oh yeah, of course. I'd forgotten about that."
"Well, try not to forget anything else, Lieutenant. We'll need our wits
about us if Kenthah gets wind of what we're up to."
"Yeah, sorry. I guess I'm just a bit nervous," Tom apologised. "Telsesh
should've been here by now, shouldn't he?"
"Yes, he should have," Chakotay confirmed, checking the time. "He's not very
late, though. We'll wait a little longer before we give up on him."
"And then what? We really need to get those parts back or B'Elanna'll kill
us," Tom said, running his fingers through his hair.
"That's the least of our problems," Chakotay remarked. "Those components are
vital to the ship's ability to travel at warp for sustained periods of time.
If we don't get them back it will take us forever to get back to the Alpha
"And, as B'Elanna pointed out at the briefing, we can't replicate the parts
very easily," Chakotay continued. "They're too intricate. It would take too
long and use up too much power. We either get them back or we have to find
the resources to construct replacements by hand."
"Yeah, I know. Neither option'll be easy," Tom commented with a sigh. "But
it's too bad we couldn't leave all this cloak and dagger stuff to Tuvok."
"He's got enough on his plate at the moment, initiating new security
Tom snorted softly and shook his head. "Kenthah certainly circumvented the
old ones pretty easily," he stated, his voice containing a slight amount of
"Yes, unfortunately he did," Chakotay replied, rising and walking to stand
to one side of the nearby window. The broken ledge that ran beneath it came
just below his chin and Chakotay cautiously moved his head to peer through
the grimy glass to the dark street outside. It was quiet, not even any
airborne craft passing by now. Only the appearance of Nahldar's large moon,
hanging like a softly glowing light bulb in the deep mauve sky, prevented
total darkness. Chakotay sighed and rubbed his hand across his face as he
considered what to do.
Telsesh was overdue; either the man had reconsidered his plans or something
had happened to him, he decided, but he had no way of knowing which. No
matter what the correct scenario was, however, he and Tom couldn't afford to
stay where they were for much longer; there was always the chance that
Kenthah had found out about the meeting. Chakotay had no doubts that the
unscrupulous alien would be expecting some kind of attempt to recover the
stolen parts, but if they could keep just a small element of surprise, then
maybe they could succeed in their mission. With another soft sigh he turned
back towards his companion. "I don't think Telsesh is coming, Tom. We'd
"Where will we go? The accommodation that Telsesh arranged for us?" Tom
queried as he stood up.
"No, I don't think that's a good idea," Chakotay replied, walking away from
the window. "If Telsesh has changed his mind, or something untoward has
happened to him, Kenthah might know where we were supposed to stay. We'll
have to find somewhere else."
"Yeah, you're right. But where? According to the Nahldarian diplomat Captain
Janeway spoke to, Kenthah controls most of this area."
"Yes, I know. We'll have to find an out of the way place and hope that none
of his minions are there. Or, if they are, that they don't recognise us as
coming from Voyager. As to everyone else, we should be okay. As long as we
conform to what the Nahldarians regard as normal behaviour we shouldn't draw
attention to ourselves."
"Let's hope you're right, Commander, because I don't relish the idea of
becoming part of the foundations for Kenthah's next building project."
"That's a bit dramatic, Paris. More of your Twentieth Century way of
"It used to happen and I wouldn't put it past Kenthah to follow the Delta
Quadrant equivalent," Tom said, brushing the dust from the billowing brown
pants that he was wearing and the loose, black tunic that hung over them,
almost to his knees.
"Then we'd better keep out of his way," Chakotay remarked.
Following Tom's lead, Chakotay removed the dirt from his own clothes, then
headed towards the old, wooden door on the opposite side of the room. He
paused, waiting for Tom to join him before he carefully opened it, and after
assuring themselves that there was no apparent threats to their safety, they
stepped out into the warm night air of Velator, the region's principal
tourist and entertainment centre. The two men looked around them, taking in
their surroundings before setting off down the deserted road towards the
bright, multicoloured lights in the distance.
The sector they were in had been abandoned after suffering a series of
devastating fires and was awaiting redevelopment, the catastrophe clearly
evident as they walked in the shadows of burnt-out, but still impressive,
buildings towards the densely populated area ahead.
It took almost fifteen minutes for them to reach the first noisy bar in a
street lined on either side by similar establishments. Having already
stopped to contact Voyager and inform the Captain of their situation, the
two officers set about the task of determining where they would spend the
"Obviously, the larger places are out," Tom commented as they stood
surveying the bustling area around them. The noise coming from some of the
clubs was almost deafening, loud pounding music combined with squeals of
laughter and shouts from their raucous clientele spilling out into the road.
"I think everywhere on this street is out, Tom," Chakotay replied, looking
from one rowdy multipurpose premise to another. "We need somewhere a little
"Not too low-key though, or we could stick out like sore thumbs," Tom
remarked as a pair of seemingly drunk individuals staggered past them and
entered a nearby club. "Maybe we should check out the places down the side
"I was thinking the same thing. Come on, we'll start over there," Chakotay
said, pointing across the road to the corner of a brightly-lit thoroughfare.
Tom nodded, and together they picked their way through the throng of diverse
revellers that crowded their path, to begin the search for suitable
It took almost an hour of strolling along, weighing up the pros and cons of
various large hotels and smaller guest-houses, before they finally decided
on a place that was fairly quiet in comparison to many of the others that
they'd seen. It was a modest-sized building set back from the road, a paved
area in front filled with tables and chairs where an interesting assortment
of customers sat drinking and eating as they listened to music from the
resident band. A few of the guests were singing along, their voices sweet
and melodic despite the fact that they were clearly intoxicated. Tom smiled
at them, then followed Chakotay through the main door and up to the
"Good evening, friends. Do you require a room?" the tall Nahldarian there
asked as the two men approached him.
"Yes, we do," Chakotay replied, nodding. "Do you have a vacancy?"
"For how many nights?" the receptionist queried as he accessed the hotel's
accommodation data on the computer terminal in front of him.
"At least five, possibly more," Chakotay answered, leaning on the
polished-wood desk, while Tom stood beside him, looking on.
The Nahldarian smiled. "We have a room available," he said. "But I will need
your documentation. The census requires that I keep a complete record of all
"I understand," Chakotay replied, removing a small disk from his pocket and
handing it to the man. "Do you need anything else?"
"No, everything I require should be here. I will transfer the necessary
amount of credits from your funds, then, when you have verified it, you will
sign the register and I will return the disk."
Chakotay nodded and, just a few minutes later, the formalities complete, the
officers were shown to a bright, airy room on the second floor.
"Well, this is pretty nice," Tom remarked as he put his bag on the floor and
gazed around at the lavish furnishings. "Although there is one problem.
There's only one bed."
"What did you expect, Paris? Did you forget that this whole area is
designated for couples only?" Chakotay asked as he crossed to the window and
looked out. "And the Nahldarians expect couples to sleep in the same bed,
nothing else is acceptable to them," he added, watching the happy people in
the street below.
"Right," Tom muttered. "So who gets the couch?"
Chakotay turned around and smiled. "You do, if you don't trust me to behave
myself," he said with a laugh.
Tom snorted, then frowned. "Can't we just take turns? Or are you pulling
rank on me?"
"No, I'm not pulling rank. But I do intend to sleep in that bed. I have no
problems with the arrangement. If you do, and want to spend the night on the
couch, that's up to you. Go right ahead. But don't expect me to give up my
comfort just because you don't want to share."
"It's not that," Tom stated quietly. "I don't mind sleeping in the same bed
as you, but after tonight you'll be the one wanting the couch."
"Why? What's the problem? Do you snore or something?" Chakotay asked,
"I don't snore. At least I don't think I do," Tom said, walking over to the
bed and sitting down. "It's worse than that."
"What could be worse than that?" Chakotay enquired, staring at the obviously
Tom sighed, then reluctantly admitted, "I cuddle."
"You cuddle?" Chakotay laughed. "Involuntarily? In your sleep?"
"Yeah," Tom replied sheepishly. "I can't help it. When I was dating B'Elanna
it used to really piss her off. She hated waking up to find me hanging on to
her like she was some kind of giant teddy bear. But at least she was my
girlfriend, physical contact was expected. The trouble is, I can't control
it. And if *you* woke up to find me wrapped around you, you'd probably kill
Chakotay laughed again, then sat down on the bed next to Tom. "I wouldn't
kill you, Tom," he said, still chuckling. "I admit, if you hadn't told me
about this I would have been surprised, but I don't see cuddling as a valid
reason to kill someone. Even you."
"Gee, thanks for your tolerance, Chakotay," Tom replied sarcastically.
"You're welcome, Tom. Now if that's settled, I'm going to bed. You do what
you want, but bear in mind that we'll need to be alert tomorrow when we
start our search for Telsesh. A night on the couch might not be the best
idea in the circumstances, I doubt you'll sleep too well there."
"Yeah, you're right," Tom conceded. "I'll share the bed. But just remember
that you've been warned. I won't accept any responsibility or punishment for
whatever position we wake up in tomorrow morning."
"Very well, Lieutenant, your right to impunity is duly noted. Now let's get
to sleep. We're going to need our rest, we'll probably have a lot of walking
to do tomorrow."
"Yes, Sir," Tom replied, then picked up his bag and strolled to the
Sunlight streaming through the large window, along with bursts of laughter
from the street below, woke Tom the next day. He lay still, listening to the
cheerful sounds of a Nahldarian morning, awareness of his waking position
gradually creeping over him.
He was being held, strong arms enveloping him as he lay on his right side,
his head pressing against Chakotay's neck. His left arm was draped over the
other man's warm body, their legs entangled and their morning erections
touching lightly through the thin material of their sleep pants.
The Commander slept on, his soft breath tickling Tom's skin and sending a
small shiver down Tom's spine, but the younger man was in no hurry to move.
He felt relaxed and content in their embrace, savouring the smoothness of
Chakotay's skin as he gently caressed the older man's back. Tom closed his
eyes and snuggled in closer and it wasn't until many minutes later that he
reluctantly decided he could no longer stay where he was. He'd warned
Chakotay about his tendency to cuddle and, no matter how much he really
wanted to stay in Chakotay's arms, he wasn't going to risk embarrassing the
man by letting him wake that way,
He ran his hand over Chakotay's back one last time, then, after leaving a
gentle kiss on the soft skin beneath his lips, Tom carefully pulled away
from the Commander and slipped out of bed. He stretched, feeling the warmth
of the Nahldarian sun as it poured into the room, bathing his bare chest,
before he quietly headed for the bathroom.
Chakotay waited until he heard the click of the bathroom door before he
opened his eyes. It had taken all his self-control to stay still, the
temptation to return what he believed were Tom's unconscious attentions had
been almost impossible to resist. But, with the exception of the embrace
that had started while he'd been asleep and continued after he'd woken, he
*had* resisted. Just.
He was glad Tom had explained to him what might happen, otherwise he was
sure he would have made a fool of himself, believing Tom's longed for
touches were not involuntary but had been meant. But, having been
forewarned, and deciding his feigned ignorance of Tom's actions would
prevent embarrassment for the younger man, Chakotay had kept his eyes closed
and waited for Tom to move away.
Now, Chakotay lay still, trying to push away the thought of how good it had
felt to have Tom in his arms, even for such a short time, and he wondered if
every morning on this planet would start the same way. Sighing, he sat up,
determined to get his mind back on the mission and away from the one person
he'd always wanted, but believed he could never have.
Tom stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel from the nearby rail, his
thoughts again centred on the man in the other room.
He hadn't lied to Chakotay the night before, but he hadn't told the
Commander the complete truth either. He *did* unknowingly cuddle in his
sleep, although it hadn't just been Chakotay's reaction to that fact that
had concerned him. He'd been worried about his own reaction, too. And now,
after this morning, Tom was more worried than ever.
It had felt too good, waking up with the man that had lived in his dreams
since the first time they'd met. Tom wasn't sure if he'd be able to control
himself if they woke up like that again. He'd almost gone too far *this*
time, touching and stroking Chakotay as the older man slept, unable to
resist the allure of his soft skin.
Tom rubbed at his hair with the thick towel and gazed into the large, oval
mirror that was on the wall above the wash-basin. He decided that he would
have to show more restraint in future. He couldn't afford to let Chakotay
know how he felt about him, especially as he was certain there was no chance
of those feelings being reciprocated.
After wrapping another towel around his waist, Tom took a deep breath and
opened the door to the bedroom. He was determined he would hide his desire
for Chakotay, and keep everything between them as professional as possible.