Title: When The Sun Rises, I Will Not See
Author: Michael Roy Hollihan (email@example.com)
Rating: [NC-17] (Graphic sex, general ugliness)
Codes: (P/T, P/K, Tom-angst)
Archivist: I'm sending a single file to the ASC/EM archives. @}-------- A rose for your hard work. No other archiving allowed.
Disclaimer: Star Trek: Voyager and its characters are the property of Paramount. This story is mine and is not intended for profit. All rights not Paramount's are the author's. No archiving, reposting, publishing, or other distribution without prior consent.
Summary: The events of "30 Days" and their aftermath, on a harsher, bleaker USS Voyager. This is an alternate universe story. YOU ARE WARNED: Tom Paris goes through the wringer in this one.
This story began from a remark--that "30 Days" would generate almost as much fanfic as "Resolutions." Because I feel what Janeway did was (typically) heavy-handed, I was disappointed by a lack of outrage on the part of the rest of the crew. Tinkering with that, I wondered how the crew of Voyager would have reacted to Tom' imprisonment if the ship's crew had never gotten along in the first place--and so this story was born.
This story was originally going to be called "Innocence Drowned," from the William Butler Yeats poem that is its epigraph. At the last minute, I somehow got the song "Traitor," by the Sugarcubes, stuck in my head and the last line of the song seemed appropriate. So it became the title. A great, powerful, swirling, drowning vortex of a song that seems to fit the mood here; highly recommended.
This story is SERIOUS Tom-angst. Those of you who can't handle heavy-duty should not proceed. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Special thanks go to Bridget Cochran, who played a major part in shaping this and whose unstinting support is always appreciated.
Special mentions to Steve McKinnon's Roll Call and Jim Wright's Delta Blues websites for research assistance.
As always, comments, criticisms, and observations are welcomed--either public or private. Really! I'll even accept praise, if I must.
Mike Hollihan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
(Remove the NOT when hitting REPLY)
When The Sun Rises, I Will Not See
Michael Roy Hollihan
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand....
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
(Excerpted from 'The Second Coming' by William Butler Yeats)
The soon-to-be-former-Lt. Tom Paris stood stonily in front of Captain Janeway. There was steel in his spine, ice in his guts and a fire burning his skin, but he'd be damned before he'd let anyone see it. As she removed the pips, all of them, from his uniform collar, she said, "Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris...I hereby reduce you to the rank of crewman."
He couldn't believe this was happening. He was nearly delirious with shame and fear. But he stood, as he had stood so many times before the Admiral, and took his medicine. No one would see him do any less.
She looked at him with a mixture of sorrow, disappointment, and resignation. "And I sentence you to 30 days solitary confinement. No visitors, and basic rations." A horrified amazement blossomed in his heart.
She shook her head as she turned away. "I always suspected this day would come, Tom. Dismissed." As he backed away to leave her ready room, she fingered each pip before letting it drop into the recycler. "Let this serve as a lesson to the rest of them," she murmured, anger coloring her voice.
One of the Fed guards tried to take Tom's arm as they escorted him out, and he shook him off. "I know the way," he said bleakly. "Neither one of you better try to touch me again," he muttered through clenched teeth. The other guard just smirked.
As they marched down the corridor, no one bothered to give Tom a second glance. Even this indignity couldn't get their sympathy. "At least I won't have to look at your ugly mug for a while," he said to one of the guards, Berman.
They came to an empty stretch of corridor and Berman jabbed his rifle into Tom's kidney. The pain jack-knifed him to the floor as the other guard kicked him in the back. He reflexively waited to see what else would come, fighting through the pain.
"Get up, punk," Berman said, trying again to take Tom's arm. Tom shot a fist into Berman's kidney. The pained grunt was Tom's sole satisfaction.
Berman glowered at him. Tom could tell he wanted to do more, but Tom also knew he didn't dare risk it. Captain Janeway would nail him if he was caught fighting. Fights on her ship always earned both people a day in the brig. They roughly dragged him up and continued on their way.
As they entered the brig, the guard on duty, a Maquis named Chell, looked up, surprised. "What the fuck's goin' on? I wasn't told about this," he said.
"Shut yer fuckin' yap, Maquis," Berman spit. "Just keep him in a cell--no visitors, basic rations. Cap'n's orders." They tossed Tom into one of the empty cells, and the field went up.
Chell started to argue, then decided not to, sensing, as Tom knew, that it would get back to the Captain. Berman and the other guard left without another word.
"So what happened, Paris?" Chell asked, a gimlet eye on the closing door.
Tom was massaging his sore sides as he sat down on the bench. "She busted me. All the way down to crewman. Then gave me thirty days." He said it quietly, the humiliation settling in on him as he had to say the words.
Chell was astounded. "She what?! Thirty days? What the fuck's up with that?"
Tom leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. "You'd have to ask her. I can't believe it either. It's not like I was the first to disobey one of her orders."
Chell wasn't paying any more attention to Tom. Thinking aloud, he said, "Goddamn, she's puttin' out the word to us Maquis."
"What are you talking about?" Tom asked.
Chell still ignored him. Instead, he popped his comm badge. "Hey, B'Elanna, check this. Janeway gave Tom thirty days in the brig. On top of bustin' him! Can you believe it?"
"What?!" she growled. "That bitch! Goddamnit, she's gonna start in on us next."
"That's what I'm thinkin'," Chell replied. "You gonna tell the Commander?"
"Yeah. She probably hasn't told him what she was gonna do," B'Elanna said.
Tom stood and walked up to the forcefield. "Hey, why not just use the intercom and tell everyone?"
Chell pointed a stern finger at him. "You shut the fuck up, traitor. Just remember, your rations have to get past me first." He turned his back on Tom.
Tom went and laid down on the bench, face to the wall. B'Elanna hadn't even asked how he was. Some girlfriend.
How could it have come to this?
Tom was awakened by someone calling his name. He rolled over to see Harry standing outside his cell, a sad, sympathetic look on his face.
"Hey, Harry," Tom said. "How did you get in here?"
"I bribed Chell with some replicator credits," he replied. Standard operating procedure on this ship. Tom walked over to stand face-to-face with Harry.
"I have something for you," Harry said, holding out a data padd. Harry dropped the forcefield long enough to hand it to him. With luck, Tuvok wouldn't have noticed it from Security.
"Thanks, Harry." Tom quickly clutched the padd to his chest.
"So, how are you holding up?" Harry asked. His sad expression hadn't changed.
Tom snorted. "Well, I only have to take abuse from one person now, instead of the whole crew. Everyone's favorite whipping boy is out of circulation for a while."
Harry shook his head. "You have friends, Tom."
"You and B'Elanna." Tom's shoulders slumped. "The Feds still hate me for Caldik Prime, and that I won't kiss their asses to get back in their good graces. The Maquis hate me for being a traitor several times over. Hell, I think Tuvok spends his spare time keeping tabs on me just for spite."
A sad, wistful breeze crossed his heart. "Even Captain Janeway seems to have given up." Tom realized how tired he was and leaned against the wall. "I never did find out, but how's the Delta Flyer? They hauled my ass before the Captain as soon as I was in the Hangar."
"Carey had it moved to a corner of the Hangar Bay. It's still there."
"No one's checking it over? Doing maintenance?" He was heart-broken. That shit Carey was always looking for little ways to let you know that he was Chief Engineer. Tom hated these reminders of his status on this ship.
The Delta Flyer was Tom's brainchild. He'd dreamed it up as an improved shuttle. God knows Chakotay crashed enough of the old design. The Flyer was intended to be stronger, faster, more powerful and more versatile. He'd worked on its design during his off times--he had little else to do. When he presented it to the Captain, she'd been impressed and taken it to the senior staff meeting.
But the Flyer had failed in its real mission. Tom had hoped that it might serve as a bridge between the Fed and Maquis factions of the crew. The Captain had agreed. He'd deliberately asked for help in construction from both sides. What he got was a lot of grumbling and bad feelings from people who'd had to give up free time to help him.
And its secret mission had been a miserable failure. Tom had hoped that the Flyer might give him new status in the eyes of the crew. He'd wanted more than anything to be accepted by at least one side, if not both. But what had happened? He was now sent out on all sorts of bullshit missions, in the Flyer, just to get him off the ship and out of their eyesight. He was cast out. Again.
"Tom." Harry's voice snapped him from his reverie. "I've got to go. Chell only gave me 10 minutes." His eyes pleaded with Tom. "Take care, OK? It's only thirty days. You can do it."
Tom waved his hand dismissively and said, "Thanks, buddy. And tell B'Elanna I'm doing fine, will you? Somehow I don't think she'll be coming to visit me." Harry's awkward silence told him all he needed to know.
Tom took the padd and began to play with it, seeing what Harry might have already stored on it. He found a handful of programs, some games, and a lot of novels. He scrolled down the list of books and saw that Harry had chosen several he'd mentioned in the past, as well as several porn books, some technical manuals, and--God only knew why--"Warrior Women at the River of Blood." Harry had one strange sense of humor.
The hissing of the brig door made him look up. He stuck the padd under his mattress before it could be noticed. Commander Chakotay came in, with Chell worriedly tagging along behind.
Chakotay waited for Chell to drop the field then strode right in to loom over Tom, menace incarnate. His face was set in cold anger as his eyes studied Tom minutely. "What happened?"
"Good news travels fast, eh, Commander?"
Chakotay gave him a stinging backhand that knocked his head against the wall. "Save the smart-ass shit for the Captain. Answer the question."
The slap stunned him. It had been a long time since the Commander had last hit him, which told Tom a lot about how upset he must be. Chastened, he said, "For violating a direct order and the Prime Directive, she demoted me to crewman and gave me thirty days in the brig. Sir."
With his black laser eyes still cutting Tom, he asked, "Did she say anything else?"
"Yeah. 'Let this be a message to them.'"
Chakotay spun away and slapped a wall with his open hand. "Son of a bitch! I warned her about this." He started pacing across Tom's cell. "Why is she always so pig-headed?"
Tom didn't dare answer, and just kept rubbing his red, burning jaw.
"Great Spirit, she just loves making my job more difficult," Chakotay said. Although he was nominally her second-in-command, she acted as though she alone ran the ship. Tuvok was still her confidant; Chakotay just executed orders. There was never any question who was in charge.
The Captain and the Commander's relationship had been testy from the first, but it was Seska's failed mutiny that killed any chance they had to get along. Janeway had put Seska off the ship, and she had run straight to the Kazon. Armed with her knowledge, they had made Voyager's trip a living hell for months.
Then Seska fooled Chakotay with the story about having his baby, and he had stolen a shuttle to go to her. That forced Janeway to risk Voyager to get him back, since the Maquis wouldn't follow her without him. Voyager had nearly been destroyed and that had ended any more efforts by the Captain to work alongside, as opposed to over, the Commander.
From then on, she ran the ship and he kept the Maquis in line. The Captain made it clear that this was *her* ship and *her* crew, and the Maquis could like it or stay behind.
Chakotay was seething now, angry at her usual heavy-handedness. Tom kept very still, waiting for the Commander to leave. No sense risking another backhand. Or worse, to judge from the dark color of his face.
As Chakotay was leaving his cell, he turned back to Tom. With a voice like molten rock flowing over the landscape, he said, "This is your fault, Paris. You and your flyboy attitude. You do something stupid and the rest of us get to pay for it. I won't forget it, I promise you." He left the brig and Tom was alone once more.
Tom hadn't seen the Commander this angry since the first few weeks of their trip back home. No, since that day in the caves of Ocampa, when Chakotay had almost fallen to his death. Tom had hesitated before staying to save the Maquis, and Chakotay had seen it. That breach had never been healed, over the years had only grown wider and deeper.
He picked up the padd, eager to get the Commander's blood-red face out of his mind, and looked through the programs on it. He found a word processor and suddenly had a weird idea. Tapping quickly, he opened the program, calling up a secure log file.
"Dear Father." Nah, he'd never called the Admiral Father. "To Admiral Paris," he said. That sounded *too* formal. Tom thought a moment more and then he had it.
"Hey, Dad. Long time, no see. Um, I'm in jail again. Thirty days for violating a direct order and the Prime Directive. Not bad, huh?" The false cheer faded away. "Well, it seems you were right about me all along." He paused the log while he organized his thoughts. This was going to the Admiral, after all, so it had to be as perfect as he could make it. That still wouldn't be enough, but the Admiral would be looking for the effort.
"I can't win for losing. The Moneans were destroying their world--well, their government was, and I helped out some of the people. They *asked* me, Dad. If they'd asked the Captain, *she'd* have done it, if she'd been in the mood to. But because it was me, Mr. Starfleet-Fuckup, she couldn't just let it pass.
"I still can't believe she fired on me, Dad. If I hadn't swerved, she'd have destroyed the Delta Flyer for sure, and me with it. I can't believe how cold she is." Tom sat back on the bench, using the small pillow as a headrest. He drew up his legs and rested his arms, still holding the padd, on his knees. A deep breath escaped him, then he continued. "You wouldn't recognize her now.
"Ever since we got here, in the Delta Quadrant, things have gone from bad to worse to the edge of disaster. No one wants to be here or be with each other, and no one wants to work together. It's like two armed camps facing each other just before the big battle."
He squeezed his eyes tight, shutting out the tears that wanted to come. "And I'm like a dog running around the battlefield. Dad, I wasn't this alone even in New Zealand. The Maquis never liked me, not from the first and certainly not after they found out that the Cardassians had massacred all their buddies back home. They blame me. I guess so they can have someone to hate.
"The Federation members of the crew won't forgive me for Caldik Prime." His anger was boiling up so much he almost threw the padd against the wall. "Shit, I came forward!" Every muscle in his body ached with the effort to control himself. His eyes were pulled so tightly shut that he was getting a headache from the strain. The tears leaked through regardless.
"Goddamn it, Dad," he said, forcing the words through the knot in his throat. "I can't take it, Dad. I can't."
His breath came in shuddering gasps for a moment before turning into deep sobs. He gave up his control and wept. Fuck it, if Chell saw him.
Fuck 'em all.
Tom was taking his daily walk. Three hundred sets of five paces across his cell. Chell was nowhere to be seen this morning. He was usually late, but this was later than his insubordinate usual. "Four, five. Forty--"
The door hissed open and Tom looked up in mid-count. Harry smiled when he saw Tom counting to himself. "Four hundred. One, two, three...."
"Your morning constitutional, Tom?" Harry said brightly.
"Yep. I'm halfway across the quad at Starfleet Academy. Care to join me?" Tom veered off to the edge of his cell.
Harry drew up a chair and sat down backward, with his arms on the chair back. He rested his chin on his arms and studied Tom. "How are you holding up?"
Tom, exasperated, threw his arms up. "How do you think? I'm going nuts in here." He looked at Harry in amazement. "I thought it would be nice to get out from under the pressure out there. But you know what?"
Harry looked at him like a child watching an angry parent, wide-eyed and worried. "What?" he said in a small voice.
"I feel like-- I feel like some kid's broken toy, you know, that's been thrown back in the box and forgotten." He rubbed a hand across his face. "How long's it been anyway?"
Still with that little-boy look, Harry said, "Ten days."
Tom spun around and looked to the too-familiar ceiling. A manic edge eased into his voice. "I can't take it, Harry. I'm gonna make myself go through that forcefield pretty soon."
Harry stood up, straddling the chair. "Don't," he pleaded. Harry got as close as he could to the forcefield. "Tom, you have to hang on."
"Why? Running out of friends?" He could feel that edge in his voice.
"No. But you may be making some."
Tom lunged at the tiny reed. "What are you talking about?"
Harry pitched his voice low, although Tuvok, if he was listening, would be able to analyse it anyway. "A lot of the Feds are angry at what the Captain did to you."
"They think she wasn't fair to me?" Hope was in his reach, he thought.
"Well...." Harry suddenly wouldn't look into his eyes. His stomach went into freefall as he missed his grab at the straw of hope, falling over the edge into despair.
Harry spoke quickly, seeing Tom's crestfallen expression. "There are a lot of us who are surprised that she punished anyone so harshly for standing up for principle, just to make a point with the Maquis. Even Seven's never been in the brig, Tom, and she's done a hell of a lot worse than you."
"Insuborginate." Tom laughed at Seven's old nickname.
Harry kicked the chair aside and crossed his arms over his chest. "Right. She shouldn't have picked on you like this. It's pretty clear she wanted to use you--" He stopped before he completed the sentence.
"--Since no one would care, but everyone would get the point," Tom finished. He hated hearing the words, no matter how true they were. It was like a knife in his heart.
Tom needed to get away from that pain. "So, how's B'Elanna? Got a new boyfriend yet?" he asked with his best sarcastic voice.
Harry and B'Elanna had been an item back at the start. But when the Vidiian scientist had separated her, she'd been impressed by the strength and no-shit attitude of her Klingon half. After they reintegrated her, her Klingon side became dominant. Harry grew tired of his bruises and broken bones very quickly.
"She's even more pissed than Chakotay. Every time I pass her in the corridors, she's talking to one of the Maquis and they both shoot me looks that could kill." Harry laughed.
"She still hasn't asked about me?" Harry's laugh died nervously. Shit. He should have known better than to ask.
"Ah, anyway," Harry said, "I gotta go. I've got enough replicator credits to come see you a couple more times before you get out. Be strong, OK. You can do it." He started to reach out with his arms, before remembering the forcefield.
Tom watched Harry's back as he left, and wished he believed his only friend.
Chell stood in front of his cell with an evil grin on his face. His hand was poised over the release key, fingers waving in a taunting dance. "Should I let you out now, or keep you for a while longer?"
"Aw, Chell," Tom said with forced lightness, "Seeing how much time we've been spending together, I was gonna ask the Captain to marry us."
The smile disappeared. "Fuck you, flyboy." He stabbed the keys and the forcefield fell. But he didn't step aside.
Tom pushed his way past him, seeing how Chell puffed out his chest just to make it a bit harder. He was gonna miss this stupid thug.
The first thing he saw in the corridor, after drinking in a precious moment of freedom, was the disgusted looks of the crew that passed him. He fought to keep his happy mood, but lost. Despair crashed on him, smothering his brief joy.
"Torres to Paris." It hadn't taken long for Chell to let her know. He tapped his comm badge.
"Come to my quarters." There was no joy in her voice.
"I was gonna go by my quarters and change--"
She cut him off brusquely. "My quarters. Now."
His master's voice. "On my way." His head hung down to avoid the faces of the others he passed, he made his way to her.
He was only halfway into her quarters when she grabbed him and threw him across the room. He fell over a corner of her table and crashed to the floor, banging his head on her dresser. In the haze of pain, he saw her come flying at him.
She landed roughly, knocking the air out of him forcefully. Before he could draw another breath, her mouth was on his, tongue forcing its way in, teeth clicking teeth. He pushed her shoulders to get some breathing room, but she fought him back hard. Loving it. He just hoped that while he was in the brig no one had stolen the regenerator he'd stolen from her last month.
Her smile was its lop-sided, feral usual, but the glint in her dark brown eyes was pure lust. "You owe me," was all she could growl before her mouth and teeth were on his neck.
She hadn't done the branding at first, but as they had gone along she had started to mark him every time. Ever since they had gotten back from the shuttle accident, when they had been stranded in spacesuits for hours and almost died, she had treated him as hers. Not as her lover, but as hers.
While they had been breathing what they thought were their last gasps of air, B'Elanna had struggled to say something. Tom had been lost in his own misery, galled that he would die left behind by Voyager. But through that final swirling delirium, he could just hear B'Elanna huskily whisper, "Tom, I just want you to know--" Voyager had beamed them in at that moment.
When the EMH Doctor revived them and left them on the biobeds to recuperate, Tom lay there still and frightened. He suspected what B'Elanna was trying to say and was afraid she might try to finish that thought in the Sickbay. Instead, she had been as quiet and aloof as him.
In the days after, they danced around that issue. It resolved itself one night when B'Elanna happened to catch him talking to Nicoletti. They were in Sandrine's and he was futilely trying to hit on Nicoletti when B'Elanna walked in. The waves of anger coming off her were like desert siroccos, they were so palpable. Nicoletti left her drink on the bar, in a hurry to try to escape B'Elanna's fury.
B'Elanna said, "You leave him alone, Fed." She leaned in close to Nicoletti and purred, "He's mine. Anyone else touches what's mine, and I'll kill 'em." Nicoletti blanched and skittered away. Tom, sick to his stomach, had also retreated. It wasn't about love with her, but property rights. That night, when he came to B'Elanna's quarters, he had surrendered to her. She didn't notice then, and hadn't noticed since.
A sharp pain in his clavicle snapped him back to the present. He could feel blood on his chest; B'Elanna was lapping it up sensuously. He waited for his cue as she tore his shirt open.
She began to tongue the bloody nipple. He slid a hand down her flat stomach to the inside of her burning thigh. She purred like a lioness. He grabbed the flesh of her thigh, along with the opposing shoulder and flipped her off him, sending her into the side of her bed. She peeled her lips back from her teeth, making a sound like a cry of triumph and the low warning rumble of a wolf. Tom tensed up.
She sprang, wrapping her limbs around him like a boa constrictor, and rolled him across the floor. She began to strip off his clothes, and hers as well. Soon, the floor of her quarters was a close nest of clothes and bedsheets.
Tom, breathing deeply of her sharp, acrid musk, had her arms pinned over her head, the weight of him pressing down on her hips. Her chest was rising and falling like ocean waves; her nipples were painfully tight. B'Elanna's endlessly deep, brown eyes glowed with anticipation. With a strength that still surprised him, sometimes painfully so, she threw her thighs up on his waist, drawing him closer still, his priapic erection bearing down hard on her pubis. With a slight wiggle the head of his penis was in. And with a shove, powered by thirty days of clenched anger, he went all the way in.
Her high-pitched grunt became the deep purr of a satisfied cat. She grabbed his penis with her own muscles, pushing back down with hot passion. They went back and forth, in a well-practiced rhythm. She was oblivious to anything but her own building climax; he pounded her with all the frustration he could find.
He dropped to his elbows, bringing his arms under her back and cupping her shoulders, trapping her under his raging pumping. She opened her eyes and he saw that evil gleam, swimming under a film of animal lust. She lunged at him and bit his chin, her hands grabbing his hair and keeping him from moving away.
He butted her forehead with his, no easy feat given her thick foreskull, never breaking rhythm. When she released him, he threw his head back and let out a cry from deep in his chest. He spewed into her like a firehose; his testicles ached from the force.
B'Elanna brought her hips into the air, carrying him with her, giving the scariest lion-like roar he'd ever heard from her. Her vaginal canal clamped on his softening penis with ferocious heat; her fingers dug into his ass so deeply he knew he'd have bruises there tomorrow.
Exhausted, breathing huge gulps of rank air and lying on their sides, B'Elanna said, with a husky, rasping voice, "You need to spend time in the brig more often, Paris."
Beaten and drained, in every sense of the words, Tom closed his eyes and surrendered to sleep.
When he woke up, he was still on the floor, wrapped in tangled, cold sheets. Alone.
He raised his head and saw that she had otherwise cleaned up, chairs righted and bed made, leaving him where he was. Like a pet on his sleeping pad. No intimate lover's reunion, this.
Tom untangled himself and threw everything into the 'fresher, except his now stale uniform. Taking a deep breath, his nose told him that even all the sweat and musk of their sex last night had vanished from the room. Gingerly testing sore and bruised muscles, he decided to take advantage of one thing.
Her shower was water, not sonics. She had wrangled that out of the Commander and then the Captain, somehow. Probably tacit recognition of her importance to the ship.
Tom turned the spray up full and steaming hot, enjoying the feel of the water beating his skin and ministering to his tired, battered body. He soaped himself, careful of her many small cuts and the large one on his shoulder. He also tenderly washed his raw, red penis. Touching it too much still hurt.
Knowing how she'd react if he used some of her replicator credits to get a fresh uniform, he put the old one back on, doing his best with the ragged undershirt. Tom needed to get back to his quarters and use the regenerator he's secreted.
He was glad to be able to avoid the Sickbay as much as possible. He'd pulled many shifts assisting the holodoc, and found his abrupt, officious, unconcerned manner as irritating as anything else on Voyager. Tom was a little embarrassed at having to show up on a regular basis to have B'Elanna's affections repaired, and a little fed up with the EMH Doctor's leering jokes.
Being trapped in parts of the ship had made the EMH Doctor surly. The Captain had grudgingly allowed holoemitters to be installed around the ship, so he could get to emergencies, but had never let him use the 29th century portable emitter. Too dangerous, she'd said.
Feeling slightly human at last, Tom decided to enjoy a bit of his liberty. He left B'Elanna's and made for the Holodeck.
Around the corner, he saw a young, red-headed girl come barreling at him at warp speed. She slammed into him so hard he had to steady her. Naomi punched his hip, looked up, and screamed, "Watch out! Fuck!" She said that last with the glee that only children could have with forbidden words. Naomi stuck her tongue out at him and ran away. 'Brat,' he thought absently as he continued on his way.
Tom stood outside the door to the Holodeck, dreading going inside. Not only expecting the ugly reception he'd get, but also bitter over what had become of his beloved Sandrine's. What had been a lovely, atmospheric French tavern was now a run-down, dangerous dive.
It was another of his failed attempts to bridge the chasm between the ship's two factions. He'd shown it to Harry, who'd shown it to others and it had swiftly been taken over and taken from him. The program ran 24 hours a day now.
When the Maquis heard about it, they had muscled their way in. There had been tension at first, and a few bar fights, before an invisible line had been drawn down the middle. The pool table was a DMZ, as was the bar. Only officers could sit at the bar, everyone else got their drinks and left. Each side kept its territory and, just like the ship itself, an uneasy, tense cease-fire reigned.
Tom pushed his way through the arch--and the glares of a few crewmembers. Someone unseen elbowed him in the ribs. He allowed himself a moment to adjust his eyes to the dim, smoky light.
Again, his heart sank when he looked around. He had put a small interactive subroutine into the program, intended to make Sandrine's reflect some of the crew's character, to make it *their* Sandrine's. Over the years, his fondly remembered haunt had degenerated under the constant tensions of the ship.
It was now an ugly, rowdy place. The floors were always dirty, as was the peeling paper on the walls. Tables were rickety, chairs were wobbly. Lamps glowed weakly, giving the place a shadowy feel. Tom made his way to the bar, ignoring the nasty looks sent his way by both Fed and Maquis alike.
A couple of Feds were playing the pool table. The Pool Hustler hovered over them. He had been a hang-dog figure originally. Now, he was pure shark. He always wagered and often won.
What use a holoprogram had for replicator credits was beyond Tom, but he noticed how much more generous and high-living Ayala had been for a couple of months. Tom had heard that Ayala was finally called before Tuvok and Chakotay. No one knew what happened to the credits now, but there were always rumors.
The Gigolo was patterned after a real person Tom remembered from the original Sandrine's. He had been a young man--full of himself and his hormones, more comic than anything. This Gigolo was now a prostitute, pure and simple. He'd take his customers, men and women, to a small back room that had been added to Sandrine's. He stayed busy.
And Sandrine. More than any other thing, the change to her broke his heart. She had been radiant once, in the way that only mature Gallic women could be. Tom had loved her for months when he first started going to the real Sandrine's. But under her gentle ministrations, he came to see her as a surrogate mother and confidant. She became one of the few women around whom he'd ever felt truly comfortable just being himself. Captain Janeway had been on her way to that status, but then....
This Sandrine now was a slattern. She had dark circles under sharp eyes. She chain-smoked, and it had ruined her once-melodious voice. Like a hawk soaring over a field of rodents, she stood behind her bar. Where she would once kid around with you, now she had little patience.
He order a synthale. Sandrine handed it to him and said, "Ah, Tommie. I 'eard about the stay with the gendarmes. Too bad." She jerked her chin towards the crowds milling in her bar. "They are not 'appy, either. Everyone says they are angry with the Capitaine."
It was cold comfort to him. Their anger hadn't translated into any sympathy for him. He was more alone today than he'd ever been.
Before he could step away, a hand clapped him on his bitten shoulder, making him wince. He rounded on whoever it was, ready to give a verbal cutting.
It was a smiling Harry. "Tom! Welcome back!" he exclaimed, before turning to Sandrine. "His next ale is on me." He sidled up next to Tom, putting an arm on the bar behind Tom's back. He clicked glasses in salute. "Good to have you back, buddy."
"Out of the frying pan, into the fire," Tom laughed.
Harry leaned in closer, his hip pressing into Tom's, his lips almost brushing Tom's ear. A boozy warmth caressed Tom's face. "It's almost that bad. No one likes what she did. She knows it, too. Neelix makes sure of that."
Neelix was the ship's morale officer, but everyone widely assumed he also funneled everything he heard straight to her ears. 'Neelix the Hall-monitor' was his nickname, although Tom didn't get the joke. Conspiratorially, Harry stage-whispered, "She's taken to spending even more time in her quarters."
During their time in The Void, Janeway had an attack of depression, spending whole days in her darkened rooms, he'd heard. She'd never really recovered, and now it looked like she'd had a relapse. Tom wasn't sorry to hear it. Not tonight.
A finger jabbed his free shoulder. Tom turned to find Chell glowering at him. "You got some nerve, fuck, showing yer face here. What makes you think yer wanted?"
Tom slipped his arm around Harry's waist. "I'm here with my date. You got a problem with that?" Harry leaned his whole weight into Tom and tightened his arm around Tom's waist.
Chell's eyes switched back and forth between Tom and Harry. He licked his lips as he weighed his options. "I got a problem with *you*, traitor." Several other crew, both Maquis and Fed, crowded in, smelling blood. Tom started getting nervous now that he was outnumbered.
Chell, sensing both support and victory, said, "You need to get the fuck outta here, flyboy. This bar ain't for you no more." The murmurs of the crowd were as clear as a Greek chorus.
He thought he'd pounded all his anger into B'Elanna earlier, but a cold knot dropped into his stomach. Tom dropped all pretense of sincerity, all emotion draining from him as he said, "Fuck. You. Chell." He threw the last of his synthale in Chell's face, the glass hitting his teeth with a satisfying clunk.
Tom slithered his arm out from behind a shocked Harry and pushed out of Sandrine's before anyone else could react. He went back to his quarters, where he dimly saw that indeed someone had rifled through his things.
Stripping off his B'Elanna-scented clothes, he went to his small bathroom and took a long sonic shower, scrubbing hard on his filthy skin. He scrubbed and scraped himself raw trying to remove the slimy feeling covering him. He dropped into a ball in a corner of the shower, drew himself in and wished there was anywhere he could crawl away to.
The turbolift door hissed open and Tom walked onto the bridge for his shift at the conn. There had been a message waiting for him when he finally left the shower--from Chakotay, telling him to report for duty. Not even from the Captain now, he'd dully noted.
Gamma shift was, as always, quiet. All the action happened on Alpha, but that was Culhane's shift. Had been since day one. Tom could fly circles around Culhane, blindfolded, but *he* had the Alpha shift, not Tom. He was Fed, Tom was--well....
Baytart rose and explained to a distracted Tom what was happening. He vaguely heard the summary, his mind somewhere far from his body. After Baytart left, Tom blanked out the conn control layout, which was Baytart's poorly thought out and inefficient scheme straight from a Starfleet textbook, and absently called up his own. As his glassy eyes scanned the board, he saw that they were still on an assigned course through Devore space.
The Devore had gone through the brig with the same bland ruthlessness they used on the rest of the ship, but gave Tom little notice; Chell had told him little as well. Before coming up for duty, seeking something to distract his restless brain, Tom tried to read through the log reports on the Devore Imperium and Voyager's efforts to hide its telepaths. Given the relentless fascism of the Devore, it seemed a fool's errand. Tom had ground his teeth as he read of Voyager's Herculean efforts, wondering how Janeway reconciled those actions with her punishment of his.
Voyager was still on the edges of Devore space, carefully making her way to freedom. Chakotay had said that they were to leave the Vulcans and the others in stasis until they were completely clear. Not having Tuvok's flat, accusatory glare on his back for a few more hours suited Tom just fine.
Kashyk's final visit had been ugly. The Devore Inspector had been lying to the Captain for days it turned out, and betrayed her after all. But she'd gotten the last laugh and he left the ship very upset. Even so, Tom heard that when the crew tried to come back on the Bridge after it was all over, Janeway had kept them out for almost an hour while she listened to that blaring classical music and brooded. Harry later told him that it was Richard Wagner, but Harry, with his weird sense of humor, could have been joking with him.
Tom laughed to himself. First time Janeway gets laid in years and she really *did* get fucked. He hoped it hurt bad.
His comm badge chirruped. "Torres to Paris. I'm calibrating plasma conduits. How are your plasma flow readings?"
He scanned the board and said, "Reading 97 percent on port and 98 on starboard." He wanted to make a crack on the one percent difference, but he didn't want to pay for it later.
"Fine. Who's on Ops right now?"
Tom glanced over his shoulder. "Ayala. Why?"
"Who else up there with you tonight?" It wasn't like her at all to ask these kinds of small-talk questions. Certainly not of him.
"Cochran on Tactical and Rollins in the big chair. Should I ask them how they are?" He couldn't resist saying something after all.
"Never mind. Just watch plasma flows for the next few minutes while Seven and I recalibrate," she said, the irritation grown clear in her voice. 'Yes, ma'am,' he thought smartly.
"Crewman Paris," Rollins said, "'chat' with other departments is improper behavior during shift. Return to your duties."
He nodded, to cover a slow burn over the slight, and tried to put his attention back on the expanse of stars before him. Rollins as Watch Officer on the Bridge. Who'd have thought? Janeway had to have a Fed on duty here during Gamma, but wanted her best with her during the day. Chakotay was given Beta shift, to keep some distance between the Captain and her First Officer. Rollins should have been in Life Sciences, but he was the best fit she could find. So, she made do.
It was like that all over the ship. Key positions always went to Feds, even if a Maquis--or Tom--was a better candidate. B'Elanna was certainly a better engineer than Carey--she had a far more intuitive grasp of the ship's mechanics and a greater love of getting into the machinery than him--but Carey was Fed and B'Elanna was not. It was open knowledge that Carey was floundering and only got through by dumping everything on B'Elanna's Gamma crew. Janeway knew, but would not admit, that the only reason Voyager was still spaceworthy was her half-Klingon engineer and her ex-Borg assistant.
Seven of Nine. Another outsider like Tom and another of B'Elanna's pets. All the fire and passion of B'Elanna stood in stark contrast to the cool, clinical precision of Seven. They had developed a mutual semi-respect through their mutual dislike of the Chief.
Captain Janeway had forcibly ripped Seven from the Borg hoping to return her humanity to her. But Seven's constant insubordinations, born of her inability to understand the convoluted politics of the factionalized Voyager and rejection of any attempts to make her learn, had broken the Captain's good will, much as Tom's irrepressible chicanery had made her give up on him. Seven, too, had finally been left to fend for herself.
As Neelix put it, she could "out-Vulcan Tuvok" now. Seven made no attempts at learning the social graces and clearly held herself above everyone else. Anyone spending more than ten minutes with her either felt like shit or wanted to punch her out. Consequently, she spent most of her time alone in Cargo Bay Two.
Even hapless Harry, who had briefly lusted for her, was turned off. He was her nominal supervisor in their Astrometrics Lab, but he rarely was there any more, too exasperated with her relentlessly disdainful perfectionism to tolerate the abuse for long.
An unexpected hiss from the turbolift doors made Tom turn around. No one ever came onto the Bridge during Gamma shift.
He saw two Maquis step out armed with phaser rifles. Rollins must have seen Tom's expression because he also turned his head. As a result, he took a rifle butt on his chin, not on the intended target on the back of his head. The other Maquis fired on Rollins and stunned him to the floor.
Ayala's steely, cold-eyed glare caught his attention. "You, Paris. Go with Dalby." Before Tom could get anything out, Ayala said, "Don't ask questions. Just go. Now." The last word was menacing enough to shut Tom's mouth with a snap.
Dalby had his rifle pointed at Tom's midsection as he stood up. Ayala opened a comm channel and said, "B'Elanna? Bridge secure."
"Good," she replied. "Now lock all the doors to Fed quarters, then do a sensor sweep. Let me know what you find--who's where. Got it?"
"Check." Ayala coolly watched Tom march off the bridge.
On the turbolift, Tom asked the grim-faced Dalby, "What the hell's going on?"
Dalby's eyes narrowed for a second before he answered. "We finally got tired of Janeway's shit. The Maquis are taking over. With Tuvok and the rest in teleporter stasis, this was our best shot."
The same cold knot he'd felt back in Sandrine's returned. "Mutiny? You've got to be kidding."
Dalby's thin, pinched face radiated pent-up anger . "Did you enjoy your little stay in the brig?" He leaned closer. "What about all the missed opportunities to use shortcuts to get home? What about all the stupid side trips and 'humanitarian missions'? How many times have we been shot at because of her stubbornness?"
"And Chakotay supports this?" Tom was still in shock, and his whole body was getting cold.
"He doesn't know yet. We're gonna hand Voyager to him." Dalby's assurance was disquieting.
"But why?" he squeaked incredulously. "What makes you think the Feds will go along with this?"
"Remember the Borg? Janeway was gonna deal. When Chakotay took over, he was gonna get us out of there, until the Captain," venom coated the word, "humiliated him. Then gets us tangled up with them, Species 8472, *and* the Hirogen! And she picked up another stray--that bitchy ice queen." Tom assumed that was a reference to Seven.
"Chakotay's pragmatic, he'll get us home. And the Feds? Like Janeway said, 'They can join us, or be left behind.'" Dalby's face was reddening, and he sprayed bits of spittle. "He had the right idea! She fucked him over and she almost got us killed." Venom dripped from his voice once more. "Again."
Tom fell back against the turbolift wall, his knees turned weak. "What do you hope to gain, Dalby?"
"A straight course for home, maximum warp, no distractions, and using every opportunity that comes up. Chakotay'll do that. Now shut up." Dalby raised his rifle to emphasize the point.
Tom was having trouble standing up and pressed his palms against the wall to support himself. The coldness in his stomach was making him queasy. His ears were ringing; his mouth was dry and metallic. When Dalby pulled him along, he numbly followed.
He was merely stumbling down the corridor when he saw Gerron escorting another Fed prisoner, coming at them. It took him a moment to recognize her.
It was Captain Janeway.
Tom was horrified, as the mutiny suddenly was made real to him. Turning to Dalby, something clicked in him. He saw the look that was passing between the two Maquis. And somehow he knew.
"Captain! Drop!" he yelled, voice cracking. He shoved Dalby as he was reaiming his rifle, shifting his target from Tom to the Captain. Tom caught Gerron's move--bringing up his own rifle--and dropped to the floor, kicking Dalby in the back of the knees.
Dalby's shot went wild, hitting Gerron squarely in the chest. The Captain had fallen to the side, but she was not trying to commandeer his rifle. Before Tom could get his hands on Dalby's, the Maquis had it pointed back at him. Tom put his hands up, his breath catching with a jerk. Dalby quickly chanced a glance at the still-fallen Captain, and was satisfied that she wasn't going to try anything.
Neither was Gerron. He lay dead on the floor.
Tom slid along the wall to check on the near-catatonic Captain. She wasn't seeing anything, but neither was she visibly hurt. When Tom took her arm to help her up, she looked at him blankly, but complied. They stood together under Dalby's guard.
Another Maquis ran into the corridor to see what had happened. She took in the scene and glared at the Captain and Tom.
"They shot him," Dalby said. "I was able to stop 'em before they killed me too." He conveniently avoided explaining why Gerron still held his own rifle.
Tom started to protest, but the two rifles now pointed at them stopped him. The pair of Maquis gestured toward the brig. They continued, leaving the dead Maquis where he lay.
A few minutes later, Tom found himself back in the brig, back in his old cell. It wasn't until he sat down on the same old bench and felt the bump under the mattress that he recalled his padd was still there, where he'd hidden it. His unfinished letter to the Admiral had been left behind in the rush to freedom.
The Captain was in the cell opposite. She was sitting too--elbows on legs, hands held together as if in prayer, chin on fingertips, mouth in a sour down-turn, dark circles under vacant eyes that stared far past the floor of her cell. Tom had never seen anyone so utterly lost in defeat.
That scared him deeply, because it was so against her usual nature. He expected to see her pacing her cell, considering ideas and options, trying to talk to her captors, to reason with them, marshalling Tom into action as well. Seeing this slump-shouldered, broken woman just sitting there made him consider that things might at last have fallen apart.
He coughed noisily, trying to get her attention politely. Her eyes flicked to him--her only movement--and for just a moment he saw deep into the hollowness inside her, before her eyes focused on him. She seemed to see him without recognizing him. She looked like nothing more than an android Janeway who'd been turned off.
The ice in his stomach rippled through his body, making him shudder.
Chakotay burst into the brig, striding straight to Janeway's cell, nervous fear on his face. "I didn't plan this. I-- I wanted you to know that. You do understand, don't you?"
Barely tilting her head, her eyes traveled the length of his body. She then slowly stood up, as though being pulled by those haunted eyes. Janeway mechanically shook her head. It tore Tom up to see the hurt and disappointment consuming her.
"You want to be the Captain?" she said in a voice as dead as her eyes, "Then take responsibility."
"I didn't know. I didn't want this." Tom could hear the hurt in Chakotay's voice. "Some of the Maquis just woke me up and told me what was happening."
"Then give me back my ship."
Chakotay hesitated, and Janeway smiled. It was a smile of Pyrhhic victory. "I thought so. Now what?" Tom grinned. Even defeated and in a cell in her own ship, she was still in charge.
"I can't-- You can still have your quarters. You'll be confined to them, but--"
She was shaking her head again, a slow, automatic side-to-side tracking motion. "Never."
"It's too late to go back, Ca-- Kathryn. It would become a bloodbath." Chakotay was thinking now, hand on chin.
"And how many are dead already?"
"Two I know of. Maybe more." He didn't sound overly concerned.
"That's two too many. How many bodies are there in a bloodbath?" The snide nasality of old shaded her voice.
"One of mine; one of yours. I--"
She interrupted him. "They're *all* yours now, Chakotay." Tom noticed that she hadn't called him Captain yet. She narrowed her eyes into slits. "Just remember. You're setting a precedent. What's done to me can be done to you as well."
That rocked Chakotay. He paced around the brig, rubbing his neck and uncombed hair. "Spirit! Why did they do this? I don't know what--"
She stepped closer to him. "You want to be the Captain? Start making some decisions for your crew and ship. You've got a mutiny on your hands now."
He walked to the console and pecked at it for a few minutes. Tapping his comm badge, he said, "B'Elanna, prep the Delta Flyer and stock it with provisions."
New horror sickened Tom. "Chakotay, no! You can't be serious. You can't leave her out here alone." The beginnings of a tight-lipped smile disappeared from Janeway's face, leaving a cold mask behind.
The new Captain jerked his head up in surprise, as though he was noticing Tom for the first time. After a cold, calculating moment, he said, "Who said she'll be alone?"
Tom ran forward and into the forcefield; he barely felt the stinging tingle. "NO!"
"Dalby told me about Gerron. I warned you, Paris. I wouldn't forget." Chakotay spun on his heel and walked out.
Tom took two stunned steps back and tripped over his own feet. He hit the floor hard, hard enough to rattle his skull, and fell over into the wall. Paralyzed with dread, he just lay there.
Janeway had resumed her previous posture. Tom, wanting to scream and cry simultaneously, forced himself to call out to her.
Again, the dead-eyed stare. "I should have trusted him, Tom. And you, too. Maybe we'd have never gotten to this point if I had."
Tom scuttled back to his bench, squeezing himself as tightly as he could into a corner. He was too baffled by her remarks to say more than, "Ma'am?"
"I treated them like Maquis, like criminals. What if I had worked with them instead? Made them equal crew. Maybe even promoted some of them?" Her attention drifted to a vast abyss under the deck at her feet. "Distrust bred distrust. Caution bred fear bred hate. We took the wrong route, Tom." She buried her face in her hands. "I should have welcomed them. We should have gotten along and become one crew."
"Cap-- Kathryn." It felt so strange to say her name after years of formality. "Kathryn," he whispered again. He desperately wanted to reach out and touch her, but his arms wouldn't unwrap from his drawn-up legs. Yearning strained to break through fear and failed.
Ache squeezed his heart like angina, the pain blending with and being washed out by overwhelming loneliness, drowning him in new depths of alienation, of isolation. He could not have imagined such loneliness.
His soul grew small within him, like the hopeless sole survivor on trackless, storm-wracked seas; knowing as night falls that no rescue is coming and that tomorrow would find him deep in the cold dark waters below.