Title: Lost and Found
Disclaimer: Paramount's, not mine!
"So, Commander, where should we start?" Tom asked quietly. He looked around
the breakfast room, noting that all the other occupants were seated in pairs
at small round tables, just as he and Chakotay were.
"We have to find Telsesh. Find out what happened to him last night,"
Chakotay replied, pondering their course of action. "Let's try to locate
that club he mentioned; the one he said he worked in occasionally."
"We'll have to be discreet, or Kenthah might get to hear about us. If he
"There's a good chance that he has, Tom. He's an intelligent man, he'll know
that someone from our ship will have been sent to recover the stolen parts.
But one advantage we have is that you and I weren't involved with Kenthah
when he was onboard Voyager; he knows nothing about us. Admittedly, he would
still recognise a human if he saw one, but hopefully, the temporary facial
changes the Doctor made to us will keep anyone from discovering our true
"Well, we've blended in okay so far," Tom commented, placing his fingers on
the prominent ridges that ran across his forehead. The implants curved
around his eye sockets before continuing down, framing his face and joining
at his chin. "We look just like any other Nahldarian," he added.
"Yes, we do," Chakotay agreed. "Especially with the new hair length and
colour. Long, auburn locks really suit you, Paris."
Tom snorted and smiled. "You too, Commander," he said, looking appraisingly
at the grinning man next to him.
Chakotay pushed his empty plate to one side and laughed. "Come on, Tom,
that's enough mutual admiration. Let's go. We have work to do."
"Yes, Sir," Tom replied, rising. He followed Chakotay across the breakfast
room to a door that opened directly onto the street, and they stepped
It was bright and warm with hardly a cloud in sight as the two men gazed up
at the sky, both looking for the same thing; some indication that the
Nahldarian barrier was now in place. There was nothing to be seen though,
the planet-wide shield invisible to the naked eye, so they returned their
attention to the area around them.
The street was still teeming with life. Exuberant couples, some looking as
though they'd been up all night, were filling the pavement and the outdoor
restaurants. Others were standing in long queues, waiting patiently for
transport to the tiny shuttles that would take them on pleasure flights and
sight-seeing tours of Velator. Music and laughter came from all directions.
Chakotay tapped Tom on the arm and gestured towards one of the ever-open
clubs nearby. "Let's start in there," he said, then started walking towards
Tom followed and they entered through a low doorway to find two Nahldarians
sitting at a desk, a large, white room visible behind them. Quiet music was
playing, and pairs of Nahldarians sat on fragile-looking white chairs,
staring only at their own partner and seemingly unaware of the others around
them; a stark contrast to most of the other establishments that Chakotay and
Tom had passed the night before. Chakotay frowned, looking from the silent
couples in the room beyond, then back to Tom. "I don't think we'll get any
leads here," he whispered.
"I think you're right," Tom agreed as they turned, smiled at the men at the
desk, then made their way back outside. "I wonder what they were doing?" Tom
mused as they found themselves back in the noisy street.
"I have no idea," Chakotay stated with a shake of his head. "But it didn't
look like the sort of place that Telsesh said he worked in."
"No, it didn't. From the comments he made, I got the impression he was
employed somewhere a little livelier than that," Tom remarked as they
wandered further down the busy road. "And what was that word he used in
connection with the place? You know, the one the translator couldn't
"It was 'Vlenkla'," Chakotay answered, stopping to let two women pass. They
turned and gave him a strange look, glancing at each other before moving
away quickly. Chakotay watched them go, puzzled by their actions. "I wonder
what that word means?" he said, suddenly realising that the women had
"I don't know," Tom replied, turning to face Chakotay. "Perhaps it's some
sort of swear word."
"Maybe," Chakotay said, nodding. "But whatever it is, I don't think I ought
to repeat it. If those women are anything to go by, it could draw more
unnecessary attention to us."
"Yeah, it could," Tom agreed. He looked over Chakotay's shoulder, watching a
group of people enter the premises behind him. "So, Commander, another
club?" he asked.
"Yes, Lieutenant. Another club," Chakotay replied, turning to follow Tom's
They walked over to join the group of Nahldarians who were queuing up to pay
the admission charge before they could enter the building. When they reached
the cashier, Chakotay handed over another disk. This one contained no
personal details, only the number of the account to be debited, and he and
Tom were then allowed to proceed to the club's main hall.
"This looks a bit more promising," Tom said loudly, almost shouting to be
heard over the blaring music, and the Nahldarian voices that tried to
accompany it. Chakotay nodded, unwilling to shout back, then pointed to the
bar situated at the rear of the hall. Tom got the message, and they crossed
the dark, crowded room to order a couple of the local drinks.
As they sat and sipped at the spicy and intoxicating dark blue liquor they'd
been served with, they found that it was very easy to strike up
conversations with the friendly bar staff. A few of the club's patrons
joined them as well, keen to chat about their own experiences in Velator and
to give the two officers tips about the best places to visit. But, despite
the wealth of information they imparted, no-one had any knowledge of
Telsesh. So, after an hour of nursing the same drink, and coming to the
conclusion that they weren't going to learn anything more than they had
already, Chakotay and Tom said their goodbyes and left.
The scene was repeated in each subsequent club they visited; everyone was
friendly, but no-one could tell them anything about Telsesh. They ploughed
on though, despite their growing frustration, and, in the early evening,
having consumed more alcohol than was really prudent, their luck finally
They had entered one of the large clubs on the main street and were standing
apart from each other at the edge of the dance floor, when Tom noticed that
someone was watching them. A tall, slim Nahldarian dressed in varying shades
of red stood nearby, his gaze firmly fixed on Chakotay. Tom moved closer to
the Commander and spoke quietly, keeping one eye on his observer. "You seem
to have an admirer," he whispered, gesturing with his eyes to where the man
stood watching. Chakotay turned slightly, hoping to catch a covert glimpse
of whoever Tom was indicating, but as he moved, the Nahldarian walked
"Friend," the man said, holding out his hand to Chakotay. "I believe you are
looking for someone."
Chakotay took the man's proffered hand and the Nahldarian smiled. "What
exactly have you heard?" Chakotay asked as the man stepped closer, still
holding Chakotay's hand in his.
"Not here," the Nahldarian said quietly. He let go of Chakotay's hand, then
inclined his head towards a door near the bar. "Come with me."
Chakotay glanced at Tom as the man walked off, then they followed him,
stepping through the door into a dimly lit passageway. It sloped downwards,
taking them beneath the building, and eventually brought them to another
room filled with people and music.
"Let me get you a drink," the Nahldarian said, moving across to the bar. He
moved behind it and brought out three glasses, filling them with familiar
blue liquid and handing one each to Chakotay and Tom. He raised his own
glass to his lips and swallowed the contents in one gulp, encouraging the
others to do the same.
"Now," he said, addressing Chakotay. "We dance."
Before Chakotay had a chance to even think of protesting, the man was at his
side. He slipped his arm around Chakotay's waist and led him out onto the
Tom leaned back against the bar, amusement showing on his face at first as
he watched Chakotay attempt to imitate the dance style that, up until now,
the older man had only observed. Tom's amusement began to falter though, as
the music changed from very lively and loud to extremely slow and seductive.
Out on the dance floor, Chakotay found himself in a tight embrace. The
Nahldarian, who had revealed to Chakotay that his name was Amshev, pressed
against him, his hands gently caressing Chakotay's back as both men swayed
to the music. At the stranger's advances, Chakotay closed his eyes and
rested his head on the man's shoulder, the liquor he'd consumed, and the
frustrations of the day, suddenly catching up with him.
Considering the area they were in was a 'couples only' zone, Chakotay had
found it unsurprising that everywhere he and Tom had visited they had been
treated as though they were a couple. However, he had found the situation
almost impossible to handle. For most of the morning he'd enjoyed Tom's
company immensely, as he always did, but, as the day had wore on, his
attraction to the younger man had become more difficult for him to control,
and he'd wished again and again that their 'relationship' was real, that it
wasn't just a necessary pretence to aid them in their mission.
All day, he'd fought the arousal that Tom's close proximity had caused,
somehow managing to resist the urge to copy the happy couples around them.
He had desperately wanted to take the younger man into his arms again, the
way they had been in bed that morning. He'd seen other couples kissing and
would have loved to emulate them, but Tom's reactions had convinced Chakotay
that it would be best to limit their physical contact. He'd arrived at that
decision early on, because, on the odd occasion when Chakotay had deemed it
necessary that they hold hands, in an attempt to blend in more, Tom had
tensed and looked uncomfortable.
Chakotay knew, realistically, that he shouldn't have taken Tom's reaction
personally, believing as he did that Tom was just unused to sharing even the
slightest hint of intimacy with a man, but it had hurt, and Chakotay had
found himself getting more upset and frustrated as the day had progressed.
Now, as he felt Amshev's hands sliding slowly down his back to grasp his
cheeks, and the Nahldarian's erection rubbing tantalisingly against his own,
Chakotay decided to give in to the desire to vent some of his pent-up
'It's not as though Tom will care, anyway,' Chakotay thought, running his
hands over Amshev's hips and down the Nahldarian's thighs. 'Because Tom
isn't interested in me, and I know now that he's never likely to be. He's
made that pretty clear all day. All the hopes and dreams I've ever had have
gone. He's quashed them all.' And with that thought, Chakotay's mind shut
down. Moving his hands to Amshev's back, he let his feelings take over.
From the bar, Tom watched as Chakotay moved his head from Amshev's shoulder,
brushing his lips over the Nahldarian's neck and tracing a path to his
mouth. Tom saw Amshev's lips curve up in a satisfied smile just before
Chakotay's mouth touched his, and then, slowly and deeply, the two men began
In a state of shocked disbelief, Tom swallowed hard and watched them, a
feeling of intense jealousy rising up inside him and making him dizzy. He
grabbed a nearby chair and slumped into it, unable to tear his gaze away
from the men on the dance floor as they continued to kiss, their hands
roaming fervently over each other's bodies. Tom shook his head as he tried
hard to comprehend what he was seeing, and that's when it dawned on him;
this wasn't Chakotay's first encounter with a man. The realisation hit Tom
like a sledgehammer.
Ever since the day Tom had joined the Maquis, he'd been attracted to the
strong, quiet man who had become Voyager's First Officer. He'd never let
Chakotay know how he felt though, convinced that the older man was only
interested in women. He thought he would never stand a chance with the
handsome, dark-haired man, because he believed a relationship with another
male would be out of the question for Chakotay. Not once had Tom seen
Chakotay show even the remotest interest in any of the men on Voyager, and
that had served to further convince Tom that his assessment of the man had
With heartbreaking clarity, Tom realised now that all his assumptions had
been false. Chakotay clearly *was* interested in men. But, as he thought
back over the day, it became clear in Tom's mind that Chakotay had no
interest in *him* at all; that Chakotay had been reluctant to even touch
him. In his present state of confusion and all-consuming jealousy, Tom
convinced himself that Chakotay had purposefully gone out of his way to
avoid physical contact with him because of a lack of attraction.
'He only touched me because he had to,' Tom thought, as he saw Amshev's hand
slip almost unnoticed inside the front of Chakotay's pants. 'And it was
because of the mission, not because he wanted to,' Tom continued to himself,
completely unaware of the inaccuracy of his thoughts, and, therefore, the
real reason for Chakotay's perceived lack of interest. 'He's not being so
restrained now, though. Not now he's found someone who really turns him on.'
Although Tom had longed for physical contact, on those occasions when
Chakotay *had* touched him, Tom had steeled himself against the electrifying
effect of Chakotay's warm skin on his. He'd distanced himself from his
feelings, trying to keep his true passion for Chakotay hidden, as he'd
resolved to do that morning. It never occurred to him that Chakotay's
reactions to him might have been different if he'd given the older man any
reason to believe that he was interested in him.
'I'm obviously not his type,' Tom thought, watching Chakotay pull Amshev
even closer. 'And I bet if I *had* got the chance to kiss him, Chakotay
would never have kissed me the way he's kissing that Nahldarian. I'll never
Tom watched the Nahldarian's hand gently moving inside Chakotay's pants,
caressing and stroking him intimately, and he came to the depressing
conclusion that Chakotay would always be out of his reach, that Chakotay
would never be anything more to him than his superior officer. Tom sighed
heavily, turning away from the dance floor and resting his head on the bar.
Seeing Chakotay in the arms of another man hurt him more than he'd thought
possible, and tears stung his eyes. He closed them, unwilling to view any
more of Amshev's actions.
In the almost oppressive atmosphere of the dark room, Chakotay swayed in
time to the irresistible beat of the alien music, a feeling of warmth and
contentment flowing through him. Amshev's hands gently worked their way up
Chakotay's body, stroking his chest firmly before moving to his face. The
Nahldarian lightly brushed his fingers across the Commander's cheeks, and
Chakotay opened his eyes and smiled. Amshev grinned back happily, then
pulled Chakotay in for another long, deep kiss, before whispering in his
ear. "It is time," he said, dropping his hands to Chakotay's waist and
nodding towards a dark alcove to one side of the bar. "Over there. Come."
Chakotay looked where Amshev had indicated, and, as he did, he caught a
quick glimpse of Tom. He frowned slightly, wondering briefly why Tom was
sitting with his head resting on the counter, but before he could
contemplate the situation further, Amshev's arm slipped around his
shoulders and the Nahldarian led Chakotay to the alcove.
"Now, Chayelah," Amshev said, addressing Chakotay by his assumed Nahldarian
name. "Permit me to give you what you want and need."