Standing Over The Sea
by Isabelle S- Synbou@hotmail.com
The waves were rolling on the shore, then were forcefully dragged back toward the immensity of the ocean. The air was warm only refreshed by a cool breeze. The light blue sky was clear of any clouds and only disturbed by the unfrequent passage of small white marine birds. Ensign Tom Paris walked slowly to the water‘s edge, his thoughts in tune with the ever lasting movement of the sparkling water. He felt calm. He always felt so incredibly peaceful by an ocean. This was paradise as far as he was concerned.
"It‘s mesmerizing, isn‘t it?"
"Yes, it is commander," Tom replied, not taking his eyes away from the horizon. "Are we all done?"
"We are. The Captain is extremely pleased with how fast the mission went which means that we can all go on shore leave sooner than expected," the Commander said with a grin. "Do you have something planned?"
Tom detached his sky blue eyes away from the sea and to look around them. They were on a beach surrounded by a series of cliffs more than 300 feet high. He took a deep breath, tasting fresh salty air. He looked at the Commander for the first time.
"I might have," he replied pleasantly. "Have a nice day, Commander."
"You too, Tom," Chakotay greeted as the younger man walked away.
"Greetings Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay," said Brother Tiul as the Klouani mock approached them holding a black and red jacket. "I hope everything is to your satisfaction?"
"Oh yes, Brother, everything is more than perfect, "Janeway assured him happily. "We can‘t thank you enough for your help and for allowing us this shore leave."
"It seems you are all in great need of one."
"Tell me, Brother Tiul," began the Chakotay. "Does this jacket belong to one of us?"
"Indeed. It is Tom‘s. He asked me to give it to Harry."
"Why? Where is Mr. Paris?" asked Janeway.
The Klouani turned on his heels.
"Over there," he said pointing one of the cliffs.
Paris was not on the beach where they had expected him to be. Their gazes went up. Neither of the humans could hold their gasps at seeing Tom hanging from the cliffs half way to the top.
"Tell me he has security equipment with him," Janeway said as she recovered her voice.
"I‘m afraid not. Tom said that the only equipment he needed was his comm badge in order to get down," the Brother stated.
"I swear he does it on purpose to aggravate me," Janeway breathed as started to feel angry at the shivers Tom was giving her.
"You want me to call the Doctor, Kathryn?" Chakotay suggested as they both knew how prone to accident Tom Paris could be.
"No," answered Janeway. She took another calming deep breath before calling Voyager and ordered that they maintain a transporter lock on him at all times. "And just hope that he doesn‘t fall."
"Captain, is something wrong?" asked Ensign Harry Kim as he and Lieutenant B‘Elanna Torres approached them.
"Nothing. Nothing is wrong," Chakotay answered hastily as he tried to divert their attention away from cliffs.
"Captain," came Tuvok‘s voice. "Is the man climbing the cliff Mr.
All effort to prevent Harry and B‘Elanna from worrying was now gone.
"Yes, Tuvok, It is Mr. Paris," replied Janeway, a little annoyed.
"Well, it‘s seems that I owe you," Harry told B‘Elanna.
"Yes, seems that way," B‘Elanna said with an evil smile.
"The two of you made a bet about this?" the Commander asked incredulously.
"Frankly, Chakotay, how long did you think it would have taken him before he started climbing these cliffs?" retorted B‘Elanna.
"He should of have at least taken some security equipment with him," Janeway pointed out.
"Don‘t worry, Captain," Harry tried to reassure her. "He does it like that all the time in the holodeck."
"Mr. Kim, should I remind you that holodeck have security protocols," Tuvok remarked.
"True," B‘Elanna agreed. "When they‘re on."
"B‘Elanna...." Chakotay began.
"Commander, I don‘t want to know," Janeway cut her first officer, rising a hand.
"Ah! I see Mr. Paris has engaged into another of his reckless activities," observed the Doctor as he joined the group, Seven on his heels.
"What is the purpose of this activity?" asked the ex-Borg.
"That Seven is something to ask Mr. Paris once he comes down.," the Doctor answered her.
"At the rate that Tom is progressing, I would say that he is doing very well," commented Brother Tiul. "Obviously, he has a lot of experience. I would not worry too much."
"Brother, Mr. Paris has also the worst track record when it comes to injuries of various kinds. I should know, I‘m his Doctor."
"Oh God! He lost his footing!" Janeway said alarmed.
Almost everyone stared at the cliffs as Tom struggled to keep his balance. It took him a few minutes before returning to his quest toward the summit.
"You can look now, Doctor," Seven calmly told the physician who had covered his eyes with one hand.
"Is he still climbing?" asked the EMH.
"Yes, going upward," Seven confirmed.
"If he doesn‘t kill himself. I‘m the one who is going to do it," swore Janeway quite furious.
"Captain," began the Doctor on a grave tone. "If we don‘t get to them soon, I‘m afraid that the ensign is going to die in the next few hours."
Janeway exchanged a worried look with Chakotay.
"As long as this storm persists, the transporters are useless and taking a shuttle down there would be too dangerous," the Commander told them.
"Where is Mr. Paris?" she asked.
"The last time I heard, he was still at the monastery with Harry and B‘Elanna," replied Chakotay.
"Get a hold of them," the Captain ordered. "With a little luck, they will be able to get to Ensign Martinez before it‘s too late."
Tom Paris entered the monastery salon where he knew he would find Harry and B‘Elanna waiting for him. Brother Tiul had lent them a room where they could rest and where he had been able to take a hot shower. His climb had left him a bit sore and quite dirty and sweaty. But what an exhilarating experience it had been! Not only had it been fun, but the view on the top of that cliff had been so incredible! It had been worth the effort one hundred times over.
"Happy?" B‘Elanna greeted him mirroring his smile.
"I‘m always happy when I see you, B‘Elanna," he told her sweetly.
"You are, aren‘t you?" They kissed tenderly. "You smell better," she teased him.
"I‘m glad you approve," he said as he sat at their table.
"Talking about approval," said Harry. "I don‘t want to be around when the Captain gets her hands on you."
"I heard she was quite mad at me."
"Furious," agreed Harry.
"I suppose it could be worse," Tom told him. "I could have a half-Klingon furious at me."
"Which is not something ‚either‘ of you would want," warned B‘Elanna which made them laughed.
"I‘m glad to see that you are having a good time," said Brother Tiul.
"I have to tell you Brother that I haven‘t had such a great time in months," Tom told the monk. "Thank you so much for your hospitality."
"It‘s a pleasure to have you here. We are gathering in the community hall for the afternoon tea. Would you like to join us?"
"With pleasure," Tom replied.
The three friends stood up as Tom comm badge chimed. The pilot sighed.
"Go," he told them before answering. "Paris here, go ahead, Commander."
"Tom, sorry to interrupt your R&R but we have a situation. Ensign Martinez and Lieutenant Ayala have got caught by the storm on the mountain. Apparently, the ensign is gravely hurt. With the storm, we can‘t get a fix on them and going down with a shuttle is too risky. We need you to get to them."
An hour later, Tom, Harry, B‘Elanna, and their new friend, Brother Tiul, were braving the harsh weather, making their way to the steep mountains. This was no longer paradise, Tom thought. The beautiful sunny day had been replaced by a cold dark rainy late afternoon. The conditions were making it hard for the small group to walk at the quick pace they needed. The Doctor had made clear that Ensign Martinez‘s life was in grave danger. With this rain it would certainly make things worse her.
"The away mission curse is still definitely plaguing us."
"Oh lighten up, Harry!" Tom told him. "At least were outside."
"Leave it to him to find a bright side in such a situation," B‘Elanna pointed out.
"And me who thought that ‚I‘ was the eternal optimist," said Harry.
"Yeah right!" both Tom and B‘Elanna replied.
Tom exchanged a look with Brother Tiul who was grinning widely. Momentarily, his left foot slipped. The monk caught him just in time before he fell.
"Thanks, Brother," Paris said. Looking back at Harry and B‘Elanna he admonished, "Careful you two, it‘s getting slippery."
The conditions of the ground were getting worst due to the rain. They concentrated their efforts at avoiding getting hurt themselves and encouraging one another. It took them almost two hours to get to Lieutenant Michael Ayala and Ensign Carla Martinez‘s position.
They followed a hiking trail up the hillside for more than one kilometer. It seemed that the two officers had fell down a crevice. It was a long way down, the rescue team could only hope that trees and bushes had broken their fall. Although, they knew it could also cause serious injuries.
"I can‘t see them," Tom said obviously worried.
"The readings are a bit scrambled because of the weather, but the tricorder does register their life signs around here somewhere," Harry told them as he came up behind his friend.
Tom tapped his comm badge.
"Paris to Ayala!" he called. "Paris to Martinez!"
He received only static.
"I don‘t think that the comm badges will work in this weather," B‘Elanna said.
Tom sighed with frustrations. It was either that or their friends could not hear them.
"We have to find them soon," he said. "Under this rain they must be freezing to death! Mike! Carla! It‘s Tom Paris, can you hear me?!" he shouted.
The wind raging thought the trees and the beating rain were he only replies they received. He did not like this at all. He was getting more and more worried by the second as a feeling of helplessness filled him. Brother Tiul put a hand on his shoulder.
"Try again, Tom. Maybe they can hear you, but you can‘t hear them," he said.
Moving along the hillside, they began searching and calling the missing officers name. After a few minutes, Harry called: "I found them! Over here!" As they others joined him, he said: "They are about 30 meters down this way."
"Oh great," Tom sighed as he quickly assessed his surroundings. This would not be easy, would it? "Ok... I‘ll tie a rope to this tree and start to rappel down. Brother, you‘ll be next with the stretcher. B‘Elanna and Harry, you make sure everything goes well on this end. We‘ll probably have to pull up the stretcher."
They all nodded their agreement and started to prepared their equipment. Once the rope had been solidly tied up to a huge strong tree, Tom started his descent. The earth had turned into a slippery mud was not making it easy, leaving Tom to wonder how they would rescue their friends. Well, he did not have all the facts yet, so he decided to worry about that when the time came.
As he was getting closer, he had a better look at the two officers. Ayala was seated on the ground and leaning against a big rock that was slightly sheltering them from the rain. Martinez was lying on the ground, her head on Ayala‘s lap.
"Mike! It‘s Tom, can you hear me?!"
"We‘re here, Tom!" Ayala called back.
Tom finally got to them in a few jumps.
"Captain said that you were coming," Ayala told him. "Took you long enough."
Tom smiled to hide his embarrassment.
"It‘s not pretty out here," he said, getting his medkit out of his backpack. He got his medical tricorder and began to scan Carla.
"I know, sorry," apologized Ayala. "The weather changed so fast.
It caught us by surprise."
"Caught everyone by surprise," Tom pointed out. "Brother Tiul says it‘s due to the beginning of the raining season. How long has Carla been unconscious?"
"Ten or fifteen minutes. she‘s been in and out since the accident.
How is she?"
"Not too good at the moment," Tom replied meeting Ayala‘s brown eyes. Holding his gaze, he added. "But, she‘ll be fine. It‘s nothing the Doc and I can‘t cure." Assuming we can get her to the Doc in time, he told himself as he worked on stabilizing the woman‘s life signs. "About you, Mike, how are you?"
"I have a broken leg, maybe a few ribs too," he told the field medic.
"Nothing I can‘t handle," Tom assured him. He quickly looked behind him as he heard Brother Tiul coming. "We‘ll have you out of here in no time."
"You think that we‘ll be able to transport back to the ship?"
"I‘m not sure if they fixed the transporter yet," Tom said. "It seems that the communications are not coming through this weather either. And, since our Chief Engineer and Chief Ops officer are down here with us, it‘s not helping them."
"Ah yes! the Three Musketeers," said Ayala.
"The Three Musketeers, eh?" Tom chuckled. "Mike, meet Dartagnan," he said pointing Brother Tiul who was kneeling beside them.
Ayala smiled and greeted the new comer.
"Dartagnan?" asked Brother Tiul.
"A heroic character of an Earth story," Tom replied as he healed Martinez‘s broken right arm.
"Oh, I see. How is she?" asked the Brother.
"I stabilized her life signs," Tom said. "Give me a few minutes to heal Carla‘s major injuries. Then, we‘ll be able to move her."
While Tom was taking care of Martinez, he let Brother Tiul chitchat with Ayala, both knowing that talking would keep the lieutenant‘s mind occupied.
They careful laid Martinez on the stretcher and Tom made sure that she was well strapped in. Then, he tugged hard on the rope tied to the stretcher, signaling Harry and B‘Elanna that they could pull it up. Brother Tiul prepared himself to climb behind it.
"Give me a few more minutes," Tom told him. "I‘ll fix Mike‘s leg and see what I can do for his broken ribs. Then, we‘ll follow you."
"Alright," Brother Tiul agreed. "Just hurry, it is going to be total darkness very soon."
Tom nodded, then turned his attention to Ayala.
"How‘s that?" he asked once he was done.
"Much better," Ayala told him with a smile. "Thanks, Tom."
"No problem, Mike." Tom tied Ayala to the rope. "Here comes the hard part," he said as they begin climbing the muddy hill.
"At least, it stopped raining," Ayala observed.
"Finally!" said Tom.
The storm had faded away during the night making place for a new beautiful shining morning. From the monastery terrace, Kathryn Janeway had a splendid view on the garden and on the ever lasting sea. The air was fresh, the sun was warm on her bare arms. It felt good to be outside in the open. She had not realized, until now, how much she had missed this.
"Greetings, Captain," Brother Tiul said as he joined her by the hand railing.
"Greetings, Brother Tiul," she replied returning his smile. "I was just thinking how much I missed being outside. On Voyager we have the holodeck, it creates very elaborate illusions. But, they are still illusions."
Brother Tiul smiled empathetically. They stood in silence for a moment as both their gazes got lost in the immense clear blue ocean rolling in front of them.
"I believe that Tom is right when he says that the sea has this uncanny ability to steel your thoughts away and make you at peace," Brother Tiul finally commented.
Kathryn looked down at the garden, Tom was still siting with B‘Elanna on the bench facing the sea.
"I must admit," continued the monk, "That it is the calmest that I seen him since you arrived."
"Tom did confess to me that he always been attracted to the sea," Janeway said nostalgically. "He would have made a career out of it if his family‘s aspirations had not gotten in the way."
"His fascination for an ocean put a strain on your professional relationship and friendship not so long ago."
"He told you about that?" Kathryn asked surprised that Tom would confess to a stranger.
"He did not elaborate on the subject. But, I could tell that it sadden him, as it obviously sadden you."
Janeway looked away embarrassed.
"I did not meant to put you ill at ease, Captain. I‘m sorry," Brother Tiul apologized.
"It‘s quite alright," she dismissed.
"Would you join me for a glass of fresh fruit juice?"
"I would like that, Brother. Thank you."
They sat at the round table. As Brother Tiul was pouring them each a glass of a pale green liquid, Janeway commented: "You and Tom obviously have become good friends."
"Tom knows a lot about your culture, and is very eager to learn about ours. We had very interesting conversations. I learned a great deal about your people," he explained.
"Tom is our unofficial resident historian," Janeway grinned.
"He is a very empathic person," Brother Tiul added. "This is one of the most valued and cherished quality among my people. One can tell that he is driven by empathy. I felt it during our encounter as Tom was helping around. It was even more obvious yesterday. He was so worried for your injured crew members and the safety of his friends." The monk paused and held Kathryn‘s gray eyes. "As you were when you saw him hanging from the cliff."
It was still giving her shivers, just to think about it.
"He means a great deal to you, does he not?"
"Yes, he does mean a lot to me. Tom is a very dedicated friend and officer," she said. "No matter what happened between us, I can‘t take that away from him. Not that I want to. He came a long way since the first time that I met him."
"He saw and experienced many things, some pleasant, others more unfortunate. But, with such a capacity for empathy, that does not surprise me too much. It is bound to put him in trouble."
"It did, on many occasions," she agreed.
Her gaze fell down on Tom for a few seconds before looking back at her companion.
"Tom always cared about the crew, even in the beginning when most were not very sympathetic to him. He still does not want to let it show too much." She sighed. "I envy you, Brother," she confessed a little sadly. "You seem to be able to read right through him, as if Tom was an open book. I know Tom for five years now, and he is still a mystery to me most of the time. To many of us, in fact."
"Tom is like an open book. Watch carefully, Captain, he will reveal all his secrets before your eyes without even knowing it."
She gave him a small smile.
The monk stood up and walked back to the railing. Janeway put her empty glass on the table and joined him. She eyed him carefully. He was staring in Tom‘s direction. Maybe she could not read Tom Paris very well, but she certainly could tell that Brother Tiul looked concerned.
"Are you worried about Tom?" she asked, suddenly having a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach.
"Tom has a beautiful soul, deeply wounded by shadows of the past. He is walking a difficult path—sometimes, in someone else‘s shoes." The monk looked at her. "Since the two of you have met, you have been playing a very important part in his life." He sighed. "You might still be able to make a difference."
"What do you mean by that?" Her voice just above a whisper.
"Remember that Tom‘s empathy is what drives him. Losing that will kill him inside." He gave her reassuring. "On this long journey of yours, promise me that you will take good care of yourselves."
"We will, Brother," she promised.
As the monk took his leave. She looked at the garden. Tom and B‘Elanna had left. Kathryn turned her gaze back to the ocean, pondering all of what Brother Tiul had told her, and feeling quite perplexed about it.
Thanks for reading this little piece.
Next part: "Looking Down"
Feedback is always very appreciated.
Isabelle S.- firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyrights @ April 1999.