Part 4:

Summary:  The truth

Paris broke into a trot when he left the turbolift on his way to the 
transporter room.  How the hell had Kate left their bed and removed 
her gear without him waking?

He broke into a full out run when he saw Kes, Neelix and Harry coming 
out of the transporter room.  Their eyes were suspiciously red.  
Neelix and Harry all but curled lips at him.  Kes though, gave him a 
curious, sympathetic look.

With no time for analysis, he pushed passed in an effort to get to 
Kate.  To do what?  He didn't have a clue.  

The door hissed open finding her still on the transporter pad, in the 
clothes he had taken off her only last night.  Tom felt his heart 
stop, his resolve crumbling.

He looked up at Ayala, ready to belay the order for transport.  He 
looked back at Kate.  That was a signal that passed between them.  
But of what?  In a slow dazed motion, Tom looked at Kate, who gave a small, imperceptible nod as she looked at a spot high above the 
security chief's head.  Her color was high, her scar white in relief.   Her chin was dipped and eyes hard.  Her whole demeanor screamed determination.  "Energize," she commanded.

Like lightening on a lightening rod, Tom figured it out.  Even 
faster, Janeway knew, too.

"Energizing."  Ayala wasn't stupid, either.

Heavy moments of silence followed the diminishing whine of transport.

"No," Tom said to no one.  "Paris to Chakotay."

"Chakotay, here."

"My office.  Now."

There was silence.


Tom had no damned idea how he got to his office, but he was there 
replicating a scotch whiskey.

It was half gone when Chakotay tripped the door and walked into his 

Tom stared at the older man for a long hard minute.  "You know, I 
thought no one could make me as angry as Kate Janeway."  He took 
another deep gulp of the scotch.  "Looks like I was wrong."

The blue ice chips bored into Chakotay until he looked away.

"What the hell is going on, Captain?"

Chakotay's sigh rattled as he struggled with where to start.  "Ayala 
found evidence of another spy.  Someone sending transmissions from 
within the ship."

"And why wasn't I told?"

"I wanted to handle it the Maquis way."

If he didn't have the glass of whiskey in his hand, he would have 
decked Chakotay then and there.  "Bullshit," he said as he finished 
his drink.  Now his gut burned at the same intensity as his ire.  The 
flush that suffused him inside and out.

Chakotay studied Tom, weighing what to disclose, weighing what to 
disclose.  Perhaps the fact that his by-the-book Exec had just downed 
an unhealthy amount of probably real alcohol at an unearthly hour of 
the day.  Chakotay opted for the truth.

"Kate and I thought leaving you out of the loop would add a certain 
amount of reality to the plan."

"A certain amount of reality," Tom quoted.  "Yes.  Yes, that it 
did."  He set the empty glass on his desk, resting his butt on the 
surface, too.  He turned back to the captain, arms folded.

Tom felt himself cooling down.  No, not cooling down; frosting over.  
Guess when it came down to it, only Maquis trusted Maquis.  "So, you 
knocked me out of the loop--charming."

Chakotay watched the emotion leave Paris's face, and the command face take over.  Swallowing, the older man looked at the floor.  Paris 
wasn't just angry about the thwarting of the chain of command.

No. This was the look of someone who's last illusion had disappeared.  Chakotay couldn't help but think that Tom still had a lot to learn.  Sometimes you even had to subvert protocol to get the job done.  It wasn't like they were really in Starfleet.  

"Okay, Captain," Tom said, his tone all business, "I'll have Ayala 
brief me."

Chakotay wasn't buying Tom's detachment.  He stared at him for a 
long, long while before he shrugged and began to turn away.  Alright, 
**Commander** he thought, let's see what you're made of.  "I don't 
know who you're kidding, Paris," he said, "It's not like you love 
her, or anything."

The captain heard the growl before he felt the hand clamp on his 
shoulder.  The breath he took was caught in his throat when the fist 
connected solidly with his jaw.  Chakotay didn't have time to swing 
back because Paris used his shoulders to connect solidly with his 
midsection, lifting him from his feet to land him on his backside.  
Momentarily, winded and dumb headed, flat on his back, Chakotay felt Tom's fist connected with his gut once more before he recovered 
enough to grasp the angry man's hands into a struggling stillness.

"It's all right," Chakotay murmured.

"The fuck it is."  Tom struggled atop Chakotay, unable to break free 
of the iron grip that held him.

" We knew there was one last loose end on board from Seska's team."  The man on top of him snorted.  "Tom, she volunteered for this mission."

"Bullshit, she did."

"She did."

"Yah, after you told her it was for the good of the ship."

Chakotay was silent.

"You knew she'd never say no to you if you appealed to her loyalty."

Chakotay swallowed, Tom sagged onto the older man and watched the Adam's Apple bob from very close range.  "I swear to you, if anything 
happens to her, I'm going to kill you."

Chakotay swallowed again.  "I'll kill myself."

The two lay silent, legs and arms still entangled from their 

It was a long time before a ragged hiccough told Chakotay the younger man was weeping.  Fat, silent tears rolled across the bridge of Tom's nose and onto Chakotay's shoulder.  The older man thumbed away the tears and pushed Tom off of him.  They sat, each staring into their private thoughts for several minutes before Chakotay said,  "I should start at the beginning."  


Talaxians, for the most part, stunk.  It was all Kate could do to not 
heave the minute she materialized on their ship.  Their bright, 
smiling, understanding faces irritated her even as her stomach 
rolled.  Breathing through her mouth didn't help as she was led to 
her quarters; the heavy stench of dirty bodies and salvage cargo 
permeated everything, even her skin cells.  

It made her stomach hurt.  Tossing her bag onto her bunk, she turned to look at the Talaxian, Travvax.  "You want to show me the helm so I can get started?"  

"That would be wonderful," he said, his smile grating.  "Are you sure 
you don't want time to settle in."

"Nothing to settle," she said as she moved past him and through the 
bulkhead.  She didn't see the concern that flashed across the man's 
face for  the strange woman he followed into the corridor.


Kate hadn't even had a chance to sit at the helm when the Kazon ship 
overtook them.  The Talaxians were mortified, but valiantly tried to 
defend her from the aggressors as they moved through the ship leaving the cargo untouched and going right for Janeway.  Her stomach clenched when she saw the filthy bastards coming onto the bridge and 
straight toward her.  Two of the hulks dragged her bodily the whole 
way to the docking portal and onto their ship, dropping her at Seska's feet.  One of them planted a solid kick into her ribcage on his way back to his duty post.

"Well, if it isn't my long lost lover," Seska said.  Kate didn't even 
look up.  "What brings you here?"

"Slumming," Kate said to the feet of her adversary.  Seska flicked a 
nod at one of her companions, Michael Jonas.  A booted foot connected heavily with Kate's rib cage.  Taking a hissing breath, her eyes did not waiver from Seska's brutal eyes.  She was now looking like a Cardassian, the bumpy ring that marked her people now dotted her forehead.  The feral light that shown her eyes was one that Kate 
recognized all to well.  Kate's stomach seized.

Seska looked intimidating as hell, flanked by Jonas and Lon 
Suder.  "Good to see you.  You don't seem to have much luck with 
love, do you, Kate?"   She strutted around the body at her feet, her 
bearing nearly regal.  "Already pissed off the Star Scout, have 
you?"  she taunted.  This time she nodded to Suder, who placed a kick at Janeway's mid-section.  

She couldn't help moaning, or the next one from a kick to her 
kidney.  She should have known that Suder wouldn't be able to stop at only one kick.  "What do you want from me?"  She could barely speak.  Suder connected with another blow to her back.

Seska's smile deepened.  "I thought we'd beat you before supper.  
Then do it again for desert."

"For desert," Suder murmured in that demented way of his. Seska swept away.  Followed by her lackeys only after Suder kicked her again.

She was alone.


Chakotay sat in the command seat, emotionally shot.  The tension 
among the crew was off the scale since news of Kate's abduction by 
the Kazon had disseminated through the ranks.  It shouldn't amaze him that Kate was held in high regard by so many, acid personality and all.  She was true blue and loyal--just crusty.  Very crusty.  

He looked at the stone statue that masqueraded as his first officer.  
Tom hadn't said two words, work related or otherwise in hours.  His 
anger was no secret.  His eyes were hard, his jaw hard.  Chakotay 
wondered if his first officer would ever get over this.

As Chakotay watched the commander turn into a glacier, he asked 
himself again if this whole thing had been necessary.  They knew 
there was a snitch left on board, Ayala and Kim had traced the 
residuals of messages being transmitted from somewhere.  But the plan to infiltrate the Kazon ship and somehow disable it.  That had been Chakotay's idea.  And Kate's falling out with Tom had supplied just the right cover, but the more they'd worked toward the goal, the more he regretted setting up Kate this way.

"Encoded transmission coming in now, sir."

Chakotay turned to Kim.  "Audio or video?"


"Let's here it."  

The message was in progress.  "--coming from engineering station 47-
beta."  There was a pause where heavy breathing could be 
heard.  "Donna Henley is on the other end.  I'm signing off now."  
Was that a groan?  "I have to steal a shuttle and get the hell out of 
here.  Don't let Voyager stray too far.  Janeway out."

Chakotay let out his breath as he looked at Tom.  The first officer's 
eyes were closed, stealing himself against incredible pain.  When 
they opened again, the clear blue ice stared straight into 
Chakotay's.  Chakotay knew that if Kate didn't come back alive, 
Chakotay would pay for it.

Hell, he'd pay for it if Kate did come back alive.  


The haze of pain emanated from her gut.  She was cold, but sweating 
and clammy.  If she didn't keep moving, she would be paralyzed with 
shock.  That meant certain death.  It didn't help that she was 
hemorrhaging somewhere internally, and bleeding like hell.  Vaginally, she presumed.  But she didn't have a minute to contemplate the situation as she mentally ticked off the time necessary to disable the door lock before the computer console in the room exploded.  With nanoseconds to spare, she hurled out into the dark corridor in the direction of the ship's shuttle hatch.

Driven by the determination that had kept her alive for the past two 
decades, Kate fought back the pain that fogged her brain.  Dropping 
back into the shadows when she heard Kazon clump by, she moved on to the shuttle.  

If Kazon's were anything, they were stupid.  Janeway was able to make it into the small shuttle launch area, power up the craft and blow 
out the airlock before she was discover.  "You won't be able to get 
away with this, Janeway."  Seska's audio was no less menacing than 
the angry face in the video screen.

"I already have," Kate said, as she keyed the shuttle console. 

"Weapons are not functional," came a call from behind Seska.  Her 
eyes narrowed in a most hate filled way.  "After her," she growled. 

If she hadn't hurt so much, she would have been gratified to hear the 
words "Engines are off line."  But it was all she could do to stay 
conscious.  She didn't even want to think about the blood she had 
lost as she shook her head to clear it.  Her breathing was ragged as 
she warped away toward where she hoped Voyager would be.


"Warp signature just entering scanner range and heading for our 

Chakotay and Tom were on their feet and heading to Ayala's station.  

"It's a Kazon shuttle craft," Greg supplied, "traveling at warp 
two."  He paused before looking up at Chakotay.  "And it's venting a 
dangerous amount of plasma."

Shit.  "Batehart, maximum warp toward the craft," Chakotay said as he turned and moved back to his seat.  Tom followed him, but continued 
on to stand behind Pablo, looking at the viewscreen as if he could 
see the craft in the distance.  

"Have you made any contact with the craft, Mr. Kim?" Chakotay asked.  

"Negative, sir."  Harry had been frantically trying to raise any kind 
of signal, audio or visual since Ayala had opened his mouth.  His 
fingers were a blur as he tried any and every signal combination he 
could think of.  If it was Kate, he wanted her back safe and sound.  
The closer they got to the ship, the more frightened he was 
becoming.  There could only be one reason for her silence.  She was 
physically incapable of responding.  He began to sweat.

Chakotay sat watching Tom stand stiffly by the helmsman, rubbing his own forehead with his fist.  "Any sign of Kazon pursuit?"  

"Negative, Captain."  Ayala was all business.  "But the plasma 
venting is at critical levels."

"How long, Batehart?"

"A few minutes, sir."

Chakotay kept rubbing his forehead.  At last Harry said, "I'm reading 
one life sign, sir.  And the shuttle's core is about to breach."

Chakotay stood.  "Beam her--"

"Done, sir.  Kate is in Sick Bay."

Tom was on the aft bridge and almost to the lift.  "Greg, you have 
the bridge," Chakotay said from right behind him.  The two men 
couldn't look at each other during the ride that seemed to take 
forever.  Their fear was thick, blanketing them with dread.  They 
rammed into each other as they pushed through the lift door.  

In Sick Bay, Kes and the EMH were bent over her still form.  The 
surgery bridge covered part of her body.  She was covered by a thin 
sheet, but neither man could miss the bloody clothes heaped on the 
floor.  Tom's eyes hardened as he stepped forward.  

"I don't have time to talk to you," the doctor stopped him in his 
tracks.  "If you  want to stay, be quiet and don't bother me."

Chakotay pulled at Tom's arm when the younger man went to move 
forward, dragging him to a stool at the medical console.  Tom sat, 
staring at the doc and Kes working over Kate, head in hands.  
Chakotay moved to the doctor's office to brief Ayala on the little 
information that he had.  

Finally, after who knows how long, the doctor nodded to Kes and the 
surgical bridge was disengaged.  Tom was on his feet and half way to 
the biobed when he was stopped by the doctor.  "She cannot be 
disturbed.  Her condition is serious."

"What's wrong with her?"  Paris was pale, his lips stiff.

"Several of her ribs were broken.  Both kidneys were severely 
bruised.  She was brutally kicked by a person or persons unknown.  
But those injuries were not nearly as severe the loss of blood due to 
the spontaneous abortion of her fetus."

Chakotay felt like he was catching Tom from a physical blow.  The 
doctor, stared back and forth between the two stricken faces, his 
features pinched with irritation.  "She never should have been sent 
on such a dangerous mission in her condition."  It amazed him how 
many times he had to state the obvious to this crew.  

Hell, no, she shouldn't have.  Chakotay steered Tom into the doctor's 
office and pushed him into a seat.  Chakotay scratched his head in an 
effort to actually tear up skin.  She was pregnant.  God damn it.  
Why hadn't she told anyone?  Had she known?  Chakotay swallowed.

Tom just stared.  He said nothing, saw nothing.  It scared Chakotay a 
little.  He walked out to the doctor.  

"I'm assuming by Mr. Paris's reaction that he was unaware of the 

The doctor caught on fast.  "Yep.  Totally unaware."

"I see."  The doctor moved back to Janeway.  "She lost considerable 
blood.  If she weren't so stubborn, she would be dead.  It will take 
several days for her body to assimilate and reconfigure the synthetic 
blood.  I'd like to keep her overnight for observation, then she will 
released to her quarters."  The doctor paused to study the still face 
of one of his most difficult patients.  "I'd like to restrict her 
from duty for at least a week, but I know that's an impossible 
dream.  If she can stay off duty for 48 hours, I will consider it a 
small victory."

Chakotay nodded.  "I'll see what I can do."  The doctor nodded and 
moved away from his patient.  Chakotay stepped closer and picked up the small, cold hand.   Folding his fingers around it, he examined 
her face closely.  She was far too pale.  Her scar was barely 
visible, yet he couldn't help tracing it with finger tips that still 
shook with emotion.  They'd come so close to losing her.  This brave 
woman had a strength that Chakotay was only beginning to understand.  Admiration was too weak a word for the feeling that moved through him.  

Her other hand was being lifted.  Chakotay's head came up to see Tom raising it to his lips.  The man was as pale as Kate.  Fear had 
replaced the look of shock in his eyes as he examined her.  When he 
looked over at Chakotay, bleakness began to mix with the fear.  "I 
had no idea she could get pregnant.  I thought she wasn't capable--" 
he stopped abruptly.  "I just didn't think," he whispered.  He held 
her palm against his lips.

And for the second time in 36 hours, Tom Paris cried.


The end.  No, I don't know what's going to happen next.  I wish I did.

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