Title:  The Search for Chak
Author:  Cheryl Forbes
Fandom:  Star Trek:  Voyager
Pairing:  Chakotay/Tom Paris
Rating: R
Series:  Sequel to The Last Cell
Email for feedback:  forbesc@skyia.com
Disclaimer:  Voyager and her crew are the property of Paramount and
not me.  Whatever.

Summary:  Tom accesses the Maquis network on Earth to get back to

He was officially a Maquis sympathizer and he wasn't alone.

If you looked, they were everywhere. Running bars, tending gardens
and even captaining freighters.  It was the last occupation that
interested Tom and it was why he was in New Orleans.  Acting on a tip
from Sandrine, he had heard that Kasidy Yates, the former maquis
smuggler was visiting her fiancé's father who owned a Creole
restaurant here.

He wasn't so interested in freighter captain's sympathies as he was
her ship the Xhosa.

Since his hurried departure and subsequent rescue from the Crazy
Horse, Tom had been grounded to Earth.  While he was grateful for not
being sent to the Auckland Penal Colony, he still felt caged.  His
home planet had lost the appeal it once held and had become its own
type of prison because what he wanted and needed was no longer here.
It was somewhere in the Badlands and he was fiercely determined to
find it.

The first step back to happiness would be finding a ship to take him
off planet and that wasn't going to be easy.  With the advent of the
Dominion war, Federation Customs now demanded every vessel leaving
Earth space log a crew and passenger manifest.  So that meant stowing
away or finding a ship that was exempt from customs protocols.  The
Xhosa was one such ship.

Under the auspicious of the Bajoran Ministry of Commerce, Kasidy's
vessel was free to travel from Earth to Deep Space Nine without
having to deal with the Federation's bureaucracy.  Granting special
status to a former gunrunner wasn't, in Tom's opinion, the smartest
move the Fleet Brass had made lately but who was he to argue?  The
Xhosa could get him that much closer to Chakotay.  All he needed now
was to find its captain and convince her to take him aboard.

Sitting alone at a table in Sisko's, Tom scanned the crowd for the
notorious Captain Yates and hoped he hadn't missed her.  Sandrine,
after hearing his story had assured him she'd be here one more night
before shipping out.  How the beautiful barkeep knew that, he didn't
question, allowing her to keep the air of mystery she so enjoyed.

"Tom Paris?"

He looked up at a distinguished older gentleman with skin the colour
of ebony.


"Joseph Sisko." He held his big meaty palm out and Tom shook
it.  "Could you come with me please?  I have a friend that wishes to
speak to you in private."

Nodding he rose from his table and followed the proprietor of the
establishment through a door curtained with coloured glass beads.
The small room held a single table and a single occupant.  Tom sat
down silently across from an attractive woman with long dark hair and
waited for her to speak.  After appraising him with her brown eyes,
she did.

"I hear you're pretty special and that you're in need a ride."

"You did?  From whom?"

"A mutual friend."

Ah Sandrine.  In his mind he thanked the gods that had deemed fit to
bring the feisty barkeep into this world.

"Are you offering?"

"I could be."  She folded her arms over her chest and tilted her
head.  "But first you'll have to tell me why you want to go."


"Because you're not only special Tom Paris, you're dangerous.  Not
that it bothers me, I've done dangerous before but if I'm caught I
want to at least know you were worth it."

He could lie and he very nearly did, but something about the
freighter captain told him she'd know he wasn't telling the truth and
that she wouldn't be very pleased about it.  So not wanting to blow
his chance of getting off Earth, Tom prepared to tell her something
close to reality.

"I met a Maquis called. . ."

Her hand came up quickly.  "Please no names."  Kasidy's arm curled
back around her torso and she nodded.  "Continue."

"Anyways he's the special one, not me and I need to get back to him."


"To help him."

"You're a felon, a washed out Fleet operative, yes I know about that,
and the son of the man who would like nothing better to eradicate the
Maquis out of existence.  What can you do for him except get him

"I know things."

It wasn't necessary to explain to this perceptive woman what `things'
he was talking about.  Tom could see she understood from the
intelligent gleam in her dark eyes.

"Yes with your history, I suppose you do.  However that isn't enough
for me to take you on."  She dismissed him with a frown and got up
from her chair.  "Now if you'll excuse me Paris, I have a ship to get

Oh shit she was leaving.


Frantic, Tom blocked her exit. Kasidy frowned and her hand hovered
over the phaser strapped to her thigh. "Please." He pleaded.

"What is it?"

As the Vulcans say, it was time for total truth.

"I love him."  Tom said quietly and then watched for her reaction
before proceeding.  The hand dropped and he took it as a good
sign.  "Before him, I didn't know what the word love meant but now
that I do, it rules my very existence.  I have to get back to him
Captain or die trying."  He chanced a laugh.  "So if you're not going
to take me you might as well shoot me.  I'm dead without him so it's
not going to matter a fuck of a lot anyway."

Something changed in her ebony eyes and it was reflected in her
stance.  She softened, becoming less of a hard-edged freighter
captain and more of a woman who knew was it was like to be in love.

"I can only take you as far as Terok Nor."  Tom smiled at her use of
the Cardassian term for DS9.   Only Cardies and rebels used the now
defunct name.  "After that you'll be on your own."

"Thank you."

"Yes well we're not there yet so don't thank me yet.  A fleet brat
and a maquis, if ever there was a couple that shouldn't be," She
shook her head.  "But that's not any my business.  I sincerely hope
both you and Chakotay know what you're getting into."

Chakotay?  Tom was starting to doubt his earlier assumption that
Sandrine was the one responsible for this meeting.

"We don't."  He offered her a smile.  She took it and gave back one
of her own.

"I didn't think so."


"What the hell is that?"

Her passenger cum pilot this last leg of their journey, pointed to a
ship docked at one of DS9's pylons.

"That my dangerous friend is the USS Voyager."

"She's beautiful."  The young man said with something a kin to awe.

"And she shouldn't be here."  Kasidy checked the command panel in her
chair for the usual welcome home message from Ben.  There was
nothing.  "Something's up."

"Oh fuck."

"Don't worry blondie, I don't think Starfleet's called out its best
ship to round you up."

"Me neither."  Tom swung around in his seat at the helm.  "It has
something to with the Maquis."

"What makes you say that?  Maybe they're here because of the
Dominion.  Voyager has advanced shields and weaponry. She'd be great
in a fight."

"No they have the Klingons and the Romulans for that battle."  The
pilot faced the port screen again.  "Look at her Kasidy, she's has
the sleek lines and stealth of a hunter, not a warrior."

Following his troubled gaze, she noted the way his imagination
morphed the silver white tritanium vessel into a living breathing
creature.  Was this passionate response part of what had led Chakotay
to risk capture and contact her?  She transferred her gaze from
Voyager to the man at her helm.

Tom Paris was nothing if not passionate.  On their journey she'd also
discovered his intelligent wit, his almost self-destructive disregard
for authority and the tantalizing way his face lit up when he
laughed.  More than once she had to remind herself that she was
almost a married woman.

"I have to warn him."

"Of what exactly?  Odds are he already knows about Voyager and is
hiding out in the Badlands."

"She'll find him." Tom said with such certainty, it sent chills down
her spine.  "I have to get on that ship.  Who's her captain?"

"Janeway.  Kathryn Janeway."

"I know that name and what's more, she knows mine."

"What are you thinking blondie?"

Flashing her with his famous smile, Tom rose from the conn.

"I don't think you want to know Kasidy.  Can you beam me over to the
bar undetected?  What's it called again?"


"Yeah that's right.  A fellow barfly of mine hangs out there.  He
might be able to help me."

"You got it blondie but do me a favour and watch your ass over
there.  Remember you did break parole."

"I will and thanks."  The pilot's cocky veneer faded. "What you've

She stopped him before he went all wishy washy on her.  Kasidy didn't
think she'd be able to stand seeing those beautiful eyes well up with
tears without pulling the young blond to her chest to comfort him and
embarrassing them both.

"What I've done is release myself from a life debt.  When you see
your lover tell him we're even, OK?"

"OK."  Tom smiled again and she sighed in relief.

As she made the arrangements to send the bombshell that was Tom Paris
over to Quarks, she almost felt sorry for Voyager's captain.

Poor Janeway wasn't going to know what hit her.


"Didn't they warn you about Ferengi at the Academy?"

God but they were turning them out young these days.  If Morn was to
be believed, this naïve man was actually Ensign Harry Kim, Voyager's
operations officer.

"Do I know you?"

Tom sidled up to young Ensign Kim at the bar and gave him his best

"Not yet but I predict soon we'll be fast friends."

"I'm, ah, engaged."

Oh fuck, the rookie thought he was coming on to him.  If other
matters weren't so pressing he would have had a field day at his new
friend's expense.

"Congratulations."  He stuck his hand out. "The name's Tom.  What's
yours?"  The ensign looked at the proffered hand like it was on fire
and shook it gingerly as if it burned.

"Harry, Harry Kim."

"And what ship are you from?  Harry, Harry Kim?"

"The USS Voyager."

"Your first assignment Har?"

"Yes and if I don't go now, it will also be my last, so if you'll
excuse me." The raw officer stepped nervously around him but Tom
caught his arm before he got too far away.  The young ensign yelped.

"What are you doing?"

"Starting your Fleet career off with a bang Harry Kim."

"By accosting me?"

"No, by coming with you back to Voyager."

"That's only going to get me in trouble Tom and I don't see how that
helps me."

"My last name is Paris and I know where Chakotay is."

"Holy fuck!" The ensign exclaimed and then blushed giving Tom the
impression that cussing wasn't something Harry Kim did often.  "I've
got to take you to the Captain!"

"Good idea Ensign Kim."


Captain's prerogative.

Or maybe it was folly.  Tom Paris `had' been awfully anxious to join
her crew as an observer and even though he was Owen's son, he wasn't
known for his commitment to Starfleet.  However, he was also one of
those people who wore their heart on their sleeve and Kathryn had
truly believed his desire to find the outlaw Maquis.  What she was
wrestling with now were his reasons behind it.

Did Tom want to help Chakotay or kill him?  Through secure channels,
Tuvok had reported to her that the young man's suspicious departure
from the Crazy Horse had conveniently prevented a scout ship from pin
pointing their location.    An inquiry into the incident had been
conducted but been unable to determine whether Tom had been trying to
save himself or the Maquis ship.  Apparently Starfleet's top brass
then, weren't able to determine his intentions any better that she
was now.

Anyway the point was mute.  For good or for bad, Tom Paris was here
and he was guiding Voyager into the Badlands.



"What is it Tuvok?"  Chakotay called over his shoulder as he adjusted
their course yet again to avoid the worst of the storms.  He'd been
forced to man the helm since Tom's departure two weeks ago.

Two weeks seemed like a long time but it would not be forever.
Chakotay had already taken steps to bring his lover to DS9 and just
as soon as he found an appropriate successor for the Crazy Horse, he
would rendezvous with him.

"Voyager is heading towards the system in the Terikof Belt."

"Away from us?  I think fabulous would be a better word Tuvok."

"Indeed.  However Voyager is a sophisticated craft Captain. Their
trajectory should not be so far off the mark."

"Let's not look a gift horse in the mouth Tuvok."

The ship rocked again and Chakotay attempted to compensate by
adjusting inertia dampeners but to no avail.  This time turbulence
was too great.  He yelled over at the Vulcan.

"What the hell's going on Tuvok?"

"A displacement wave Captain and I believe we're being scanned."

"By who?"  It couldn't be Voyager.  They were on the other side of
the Badlands.


"How much time do we have before it hit us?"

"Five seconds Captain."

Damn!  "OK everyone, brace for impact."

As the Crazy Horse began to break apart, his last thoughts were of
Tom and warm summer nights on Dorvan V.


Sometime later. . .

"I see you had help."

"It's good to see you too, Chakotay."

"At least the Vulcan was doing his duty as a Starfleet officer. But
you... You betrayed us for what?  Freedom from prison?  Latinum?
What was your price this time?"

"You're speaking to a member of my crew. I expect you to treat him
with the same respect as you would have me treat a member of yours."

Sometime later yet. . .

"Do you think she bought it?"

"Maybe but we'll have to lay low awhile to make sure.  I don't want
you ending up in Auckland when we get back."

"I don't want to go back."


"No really Chak.   In the alpha quadrant you're on one side and I'm
on another."

"And here we're on the same team?  It's not that simple Tom.  The
fleet crew still see you as one of their own and me as the enemy."

"A few more close scrapes to bring us together and that will change."

"So what, I hope for a disaster so I can walk down Voyager's
corridors holding your hand?  That's not very practical, Tom."

"Oh and this relationship is?  Look Chak, all I'm saying is that
here, in the Delta quadrant, we stand a chance.  It's a clean slate
with no rules."

"No rules?  Well I can see why that appeals to someone like you,
danger boy."

"Danger boy?  Yep that's it.  Talking's over, time for fucking!"

"We're expected on the bridge Tom.  We don't have time."

"But we're together again Chak and not light years apart.  Who knows,
we may get back to the Alpha quadrant tomorrow and they'll separate
us again."

"I won't let that happen Tom."

"Can you absolutely promise me it won't?"


"Then let's not waste what we know is sure and that's us, together,
right now.  Janeway can wait, I can't."

"All right. Come here danger boy."

"I'll `come' anywhere you want just as long as you do it with me."

"Always Tom and that I can promise you."

While Janeway, now captain to explosive mix of both Maquis and Fleet
stewed in her ready room fingering a set of Lieutenant's pips, her
future first officer and chief pilot made love.

It would be an auspicious start to an incredible voyage.