The next day, Chakotay was walking through the halls of Voyager.
Everyone seemed quiet. More quiet than usual. He was surprised when
Gerron came down the hall and bumped into him. As their bodies made
contact, Gerron handed him a data crystal.
"Read that, Cap," Gerron whispered and then louder said, "Oh Commander,
I'm sorry. I didn't see you. Guess I ought to watch where I'm going."
And he was gone.
Chakotay started to move and wondered about the chip Gerron had put in
Tom was allowed to go back to the cargo bay and sort through his
belongings. He looked at the four carry alls that contained everything
'Sorry collection for a lifetime,' he thought, as he dropped to his
knees and opened the first one. It was his clothes. He carefully laid
his uniforms aside. He noticed that all the insignia had been stripped
from them. His throat tightened. Why had he done it?
He lifted his civvies out and set them in the new carryall. He dug
deeper and found some pictures. Harry, his mother, B'El, and even the
one in the back of the one of his mother was still there. It was a
picture of Chakotay. He'd lifted it off the vid system on Crazy Horse.
It was a good picture of Chakotay. He was younger, in Maquis leathers,
but in the background he saw Tuvok.
'the route Tom Paris will take will be .....'
He dropped the picture. What in the hell had that been? He set the
picture aside with the other stuff he wanted. He continued to dig in the
carryall retrieving things here and there. Since the guard was outside
the doors, he didn't mind the tears running down his cheeks as he
remembered his days with both the Crazy Horse and Voyager. He picked up
some of the artifacts he had bought and collected around the DQ.
Presents he had gotten from people, and then he came across the device
Harry had made at Akiteria. Images of that horrendous time flashed
through his memory. The clamp, this man is my friend, being stabbed,
the surgery afterwards. Then Tom saw another flash of light and
jumped. Something wasn't right. He remembered doing surgery on Chak,
but it wasn't a gland. He was removing a...clamp?
'My life is yours.' No, that was Ocampa, and Chakotay said it. Not him
saying it to Chakotay as... Tom sat up on his knees and looked around.
He and Chakotay had sex on the planet?
He was just stressed, that's all it was. Chakotay would sooner kiss a
rabid targ then kiss him. Tom went and got the second carry all. This
was his old stuff. Stuff he had brought on board Voyager. He almost
puked when he came across his release padd. How he had kept this close
for the first two weeks. The stuff they gave him when he got out of
prison. Hell, his leathers were still in here. On a whim, he set them
with the things to go to the planet.
'Warp four, Paris, and keep the sensors wide, we're running quiet.'
Tom smiled, his first day on the helm of Crazy Horse. Chak had given
him a smile full of confidence and nodded. Gods, he had been a mess
that day. Tom Paris, pilot extraordinaire, just dried out, wiping his
hands on his pants, nervous about flying Crazy Horse. A Maquis ship
held together by duct tape, adhesive spray and a pissed of Klingon. Tom
smiled and shook his head, and laughed. He could have done that
forever, but Tuvok had set him up.
Tuvok? No, Seska had set him up because she was jealous. She wanted
Chak and didn't appreciate Tom making a play for him. She had warned
him the Chakotay liked it rough.
'Shit, there were times I had to regenerate the claw marks on my back
Tom's hands were shaking, he set whatever he was holding down. He
remembered. Tuvok and Harry had set them up.
"Oh, shit," Tom whispered to himself. "What do I do now?"
Moments later the doors to the cargo bay opened and Harry came in.
"How you doing, Tom?"
Tom had to fight down the initial reaction to deck the two-faced liar.
"I'm fine, Harry. It's just hard, ya know. This makes it so real."
"I wish there were something I could do, Tom. Really I do." Harry
knelt down next to him and put a hand on his back. Tom steeled himself
to the touch.
"I know, Har. I know."
"Are you finished?"
"Just about," Tom said, opening the next container. He laughed. It was
his vid collection. "Am I gonna have a vid player?"
"If you want 'em, Harry. You can have 'em." Tom said, throwing the lid
He quickly went through the last container. Harry promised to make sure
it got to the planet. Tom just nodded numbly.
Greg Ayala walked beside him as they went back to the brig. Tom
realized that the next morning he was being put off. He had less than
twelve hours to fix this mess. He looked up and down the corridor. It
was empty. He looked at Greg, and when Greg met his stare, Tom
"Trouble." He expected something from Greg, a reaction anything, but
instead nothing. Greg just gestured down the hallway.
"Move it, Paris."
Chakotay sat in his office. Gerron had called him Cap. The hand off
was an old Maquis move, and Gerron was the messenger. For some reason
he invoked privacy dampeners and slid the disk into the console slot. A
message appeared across the screen. "Overriding surveillance, please
"Sur..." Chakotay started to say, but old habits died hard. He shut
his mouth, sitting up straight. Why was he under surveillance, or maybe
this was on old data chip. He sat patiently for several moments.
Then the screen flashed to see B'El sitting in front of her view
screen. "Captain, when you were on the planet you sent a message to me
and several other people that used our old code word 'trouble', but when
you got back, it was if you didn't remember doing it. We did some
digging around and found some things that you might be interested in.
Please review the rest of this data and then contact me. I have
over-ridden the surveillance in whatever room you're in and locked your
doors. If you stop the vid, everything will come back on line. Right
now, it's being read as a power fluctuation." B'Elanna's face
disappeared and then the vid asked for security clearance. Chakotay
entered his old Maquis code and the vid sprang to life.
Tom sat on the bunk in his cell. He looked at the two hypos sitting on
the table. For some reason he knew if he took them, he would forget
again. He also knew if he said anything, Tuvok would be there in a
second; Tuvok or his dear friend, Harry.
"Tom, if you don't take your medicine, you know I will have to use force
and Dalby is on duty right now."
"Greg, I'm not gonna have them on the surface, why waste the energy."
"Because those are my orders. Take the meds, Paris."
Tom just stared at them. Greg stepped up to the force field.
"Tom, I prepped them according to the Doctor's specs. Don't make
trouble on your last night here. There's nothing in them that will hurt
you. Take the meds."
Tom kept his head down. Trouble. Greg had made them. Nothing in them
that will hurt you. He looked up to see Greg standing there as if life
were perfectly normal.
"C'mon, Paris. Don't make trouble. I'd hate to get the Captain
involved in this."
Greg was trying to tell him something. "Yeah, I don't want to make
trouble or get the...Captain involved."
Tom walked over and put the first hypo to his neck, and then the
second. Usually a disoriented feeling followed by euphoria, but today
that didn't happen. He still went back to his bunk and sat down as if
it were like usual.
"That's it, Tom. One more night and it'll all be over."
"Yeah, Greg. I guess so. Sorry, I'll do what you ask. I don't want to
"Good thing, too."
Tom sat there in the silence of the evening, trying to remain calm and
fake being asleep. He knew something was up, but he didn't know what.
Chakotay sat in his chair on the bridge watching and waiting. Tom was
set to beam down in a few moments.
"Chakotay, are you all right?" Kathryn asked from her seat.
"Fine, just...I don't agree with this, Kathryn and you know it."
"At first, I agreed with you, but Chakotay it was you who screamed that
Tom was a traitor. I wrestled with the decision for a long time, but
you and Tuvok are correct. As much as I hate to admit, Tom was
deceiving me the entire time. All of us."
Chakotay nodded his head, and stopped his hand from drumming on the
console. Harry stood silently behind them and Tuvok, as head of
Security was overseeing Tom being beamed to the surface. It would all
be over in a few minutes. Baytart looked back at them.
"Carry on, Ensign," Kathryn ordered.
Chakotay could see that Kathryn wasn't happy about this situation, and
for some reason, he was pretty sure the next few moments were going to
change all of their lives.
"Captain, we are ready to transport Mr. Paris to the surface. However,
Mr. Paris has requested he be able to address you and Commander
Janeway looked at Chakotay, who shrugged. "All right, put it through,
Tom's face filled the view screen.
"Captain, Commander," he cleared his throat. Chakotay noticed he looked
very pale. He kept a straight face. "I wanted to make this last
statement to you. Captain, I know I have disappointed you once more,
and even though I don't remember everything that happened or why I did
what I did. I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you or cause any
Chakotay looked over at Kathryn and could see the tension in her face
and the evidence of tears in her eyes. She didn't want to do this.
"I understand, Lieutenant, and I hope you understand my decision."
Kathryn had had to clear her throat as she spoke.
Chakotay almost didn't catch Tom's wording. He looked back at the
screen and lifted an eyebrow at Tom, but Tom was still looking at the
"I do," Tom said. Then those blue eyes met his, and he felt a rush of
pain to his stomach. "Commander, we've never quite gotten it
straightened out, did we?"
"No," Chakotay said calmly. "And it doesn't look like we will, does it."
"I wish I could break the pattern we got into, but that's in the past.
Chakotay, I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I thought I was
"I understand, Tom," Chakotay said gently. "Anything else?"
"Yeah, if you get back to Alpha. Don't tell my mother. You can tell
anyone else what you did, just don't tell my mother. It'll kill her.
Tuvok moved into the view screen. "Captain?"
Janeway cleared her throat, but it still broke when she ordered.
The transporter sounded, and then there was a rush of movement.
"Overrides locked out, Chakotay," B'Elanna announced. Chakotay came to
his feet and aimed his phaser at Kathryn. He glanced at Ops and was
glad to see Harry wasn't there.
"Transporter's shut down," Greg's voice announced from the transporter
"What about Tom?"
"Standing right here in front of me," Greg answered with a chuckle.
"Chakotay?!" Kathryn demanded, coming to her feet.
"Give me five minutes, Kathryn. Five minutes and I will explain
everything. Computer, Chakotay Crazy Horse nineteen, alpha take over."
"Lock out Harry Kim, Commander Tuvok and Kathryn Janeway."
"What are you doing?" Janeway demanded.
"Making sure, Kathryn. Making damn sure."
They sat in conference room.
"All this time?" Kathryn said, staring out the view port.
"I know, Kathryn, and I'm sorry it ended this way," Chakotay said, as he
sat on the table with his phaser still in his hand.
Tom, Greg and B'Elanna sat and waited.
"I didn't know anything about the implants or the surveillance or any of
"I believe you, Kathryn."
"What about the orders about getting us back?" Greg asked.
"Yes, I knew about that, but I wasn't just going to turn you over. I
considered you my crew. There was nothing I could do about it out here.
I was going to deal with it when we got back to the Alpha."
Chakotay looked down at Kathryn Janeway, and for once she didn't look
like a fierce Captain. She looked like she was tired and hurt. He
watched as she looked over at Tom.
"Tom, I'm sorry."
"What for? You didn't know, and if it hadn't been for the fact that
Greg and B'Elanna were messing with the meds the EMH prescribed, we
never would have remembered."
Chakotay looked at Tom sharply, and was surprised when Tom gave him a
look that he couldn't put his finger on, but it worried him.
"How could I have been so stupid," Kathryn said.
"Kathryn, remember he got past me, too," Chakotay said.
"Yeah, and Harry had all of us fooled," Tom said with a smile.
Later, Tom went to Chakotay's quarters, and chimed. He had showered,
shaved and dressed comfortably. He was looking forward to seeing
Chakotay, to being held in those big arms, to feeling like he belonged
to someone again, like someone was proud of him. He entered when the
doors opened. Chakotay was standing by his terminal.
"Come in, Tom. What can I do for you?"
That had a bad sound to it, Tom decided. "I thought you would want to
"Well, I did want to apologize for the way you were treated," Chakotay
said, shuffling the padds on his desk. Tom just stood there for a
moment. His heart lurched in his chest. His pulse was pounding in his
ears. He felt faint.
"That's it. After all we went through down on that planet. That's it.
I'm sorry you spent two months in the brig when you were completely
"I spoke to B'El and Greg. The word will be passed among the Maquis
that you aren't to be touched, and that you didn't betray us."
Tom felt as if he might fall, his knees gave for a moment, and then he
regained himself. "So that's it. It was all just an act, I trusted you
Finally Chakotay looked up, and met Tom's eyes. "Tom...I don't know
what you're talking about. If you trusted me there had to be a reason,
but *I* don't remember what happened on the planet. They said the
surgery you did, did too much damage to my brain and that I may never
recover the information."
"Chakotay the only surgery *I* did was to remove the clamp, the PEB and
Harry put in your brain so they could drive you nuts. So they could
drive you to killing me when I found out the truth. *I* didn't hurt
you. Harry did it and Tuvok did it with a mind meld." Tom knew he was
striking out at an innocent, but it hurt so bad to think that Chakotay
couldn't remember even a little of what they had down there. That he
didn't feel anything. That what Tom had given him was completely lost.
"A mind meld?" Chakotay asked. "What else did he do?"
"Don't you remember any of it?" Tom almost pled. He wanted to beat
Chakotay's head against a wall until he remembered. He wanted to
scream, *you were my lover, you wanted me*
"No. Well, bits and pieces. I didn't try to kill you?"
Tom sighed as he saw the confusion on Chakotay's face. He still thought
he had tried to beat Tom up, when instead he had gotten into a scuffle
with Tuvok and that's why the Vulcan pinched him. "No, Chak, you
didn't. You and Tuvok got into it."
"EMH to Lieutenant Paris."
"Lieutenant, I need you in sick bay. The Captain has ordered that all
implants are to be removed from the crew."
"I'll be there shortly." Tom closed the comm line. He looked at
Chakotay and wondered what he should do.
"Tom, if you have regained your memory, perhaps I will as well. I
suggest you go help the EMH."
"You've got an implant or two that needs to removed. I expect to see
"I'll be there when I can get free."
Tom looked at the EMH. "So, you're saying I shouldn't say anything to
him about it."
"That is exactly what I am saying. If the Commander and Tuvok had such
a battle of wills to accomplish this mind meld, then to force more
memories on the Commander will only make the situation worse. He will
not know what is real, and what isn't."
"Is there anything you can do to help break down the mind meld?"
"No, nothing that has been proved successful. A mind meld is difficult
to deal with, at best."
"Lieutenant, the Commander," the EMH said, very quietly gesturing
towards the door.
"Doctor, the Captain asked that I report so you can remove the implants
in me as well."
"You will be pleased to know that you two will be my last two patients.
All the other implants have been removed."
"That's good to hear," Chakotay said, with a ghost of a smile for the
Doc. When his eyes shifted to Tom, the smile faded. Tom busied himself
with rearranging the instruments on the tray beside the bio bed.
"Doc, you need to check and see if Chakotay still has the clamp in
"No, Lieutenant, he does not."
"So, Tom really didn't hurt me?" Chakotay asked, looking at Tom. Tom
felt a horrible twist in his stomach as he realized Chakotay didn't
remember anything they had shared. It was like he was staring at a
"No, Commander. The Lieutenant, in fact, performed a fine operation and
removed the clamp without even leaving a trace of scar tissue."
Chakotay was silent for a moment. "Thank you, Tom. I remember how
angry I was just before all of this. I'm sure it wasn't easy to
convince me to let you do the surgery."
"You're welcome, Cha...Commander." Tom tried to keep his voice steady,
but it was hard. He so wanted the Chakotay from the shuttle back again,
the one that touched him. "If you'll get on the bio bed, we'll get the
other implant out and you can go." Tom said, picking up the tricorder.
Chakotay sat on the table quietly as Tom ran the scanner over him.
"Usual spot, Doc, in his shoulder."
The Doctor nodded and moved to remove the transponder. Chakotay watched
as the microscopic device was removed from his arm. Tom ran the
tricorder over him again, and nodded.
"You're clean, Chakotay."
"Thank you, Doctor, Lieutenant."
Tom watched as Chakotay turned and walked out of the sick bay. Tom
watched him, until the doc removed his transponder and then said he
could go as well.
He walked numbly to his quarters for the first time in almost two
months. It was emptied of all of his stuff and most everything else had
been wrecked. He sighed as he looked at the mess. He walked to his
terminal where all of this had started, and sighed as he remembered
finding those messages. He ran his hand over the monitor, and
remembered his time with Chakotay, the man who owned his life and didn't
even know it. He pushed the com button and raised B'Elanna.
"B'El what did you give me in the brig?"
"We didn't give you anything, Tom, we just left out the neural dampeners
the Doc had prescribed."
"Was Chakotay getting those as well?"
"We altered his, too," B'El said quietly. "What's wrong, Tom?"
"Nothing, B'El, we just had us a moment on the planet and he doesn't
remember that. To him, I'm just a vindicated traitor again."
"Tom...I don't know what to say."
"Nothing to say, B'El. Good night."
Tom, if you need to talk, my door's open."
"Thanks, B'El." He closed the link.
Tom sat down on his couch and let his mind review what had happened. He
remembered watching Tuvok and Chakotay struggling with each other.
Chakotay trying to keep Tuvok out of his mind. Tuvok striving to
complete the meld. It had sounded so painful, but Harry had assured him
that Tuvok had to do this so Chakotay could be restored to his
position. And since Tom had already been through the meld, he accepted
what Harry said. Tom really believed he had caused the damage. That he
had sabotaged the shuttle. That he was to blame again.
Tom wanted to hear Chakotay's voice assuring him it was all right, it
wasn't his fault. With a sniffle, Tom realized two things. The first,
he was crying, the second, he would probably never hear that from
Slowly, Tom climbed to his feet and numbly made his way to his bedroom
and lay down on the bed still dressed, curled up in a fetal position.
As his stomach tightened to the point he wanted to throw up. Tom Paris
lay in his bed and rocked, realizing he was all alone again.
Chakotay sat in his quarters, staring out the view port. He wondered
what had actually happened? What Tom remembered that he didn't?
"Computer, are the logs to the away mission available?"
"What about the surveillance logs for Commander Tuvok."
"Those logs are security coded."
"Code word," Chakotay thought for a moment and then said "Sex." For
some reason, it seemed totally right and totally wrong, all at the same
time. But he also remembered *Come on, Chak, think. Harry and
"Surveillance logs accessed."
"Maybe I am remembering. Computer, replay logs."