Disclaimer and summary: See part 1


Part Twenty-Two

  "Got them!" Harry exclaimed. When everyone on the shuttle looked at him quizzically, he elaborated. "I have Voyager on long range sensors." He checked his console again. "We’ll reach them in just under three hours." He smiled at the palpable relief from his companions. He felt the same way.

  After leaving the planet, the rescue team had headed straight back to the place they had left Voyager. It had taken several hours to reach the coordinates and when they finally arrived, no one was surprised to see that neither Voyager nor the two aliens ships had left.

  Fortunately, it hadn’t taken very long to find the ships’ warp trails. The pilots of the three shuttles had immediately set a course to follow the larger ships. The rescue team had spent the last several days trying to catch up and in only four more hours, they would arrive. The amazing thing was that it had only taken them five days. Everyone had assumed that it would take longer, but apparently, Voyager and the two alien ships were not moving very fast.

  Harry shook off his thoughts and commed B’Elanna and Tuvok to let them know that Voyager was in sensor range. As he did, he automatically glanced at the sensors. What he saw made him frown in puzzlement. He ran a diagnostic. Seeing that the sensors were in perfect working order, he did another scan to check Voyager’s position.   {That’s odd,} he thought. "Voyager and the alien ships are headed back here," he told B’Elanna and Tuvok.

  "What!" B’Elanna exclaimed. "Why would they do that?"   "I don’t know," Harry answered. "Maybe they forgot something," he suggested. Then another thought occurred to him. "Or maybe Tom, Chakotay and the doctor managed to regain control of Voyager."

  "Are the alien ships in pursuit of Voyager, Mr. Kim?" Tuvok asked.  

Harry checked his console. "No."  

"Then it is unlikely that the Commander, Mr. Paris and the doctor have retaken Voyager," Tuvok stated.

  "But not impossible?" B’Elanna asked hopefully.

  "No, Ms Torres, it is not entirely impossible," Tuvok replied. "Until we get onboard Voyager, we have no way of knowing what has happened in our absence. However, it is more likely that the aliens have decided to turn the ships around for some reason," he added calmly.

  B’Elanna’s disappointed sigh could be heard over the comm line. "I suppose you’re right, Tuvok," she acknowledged. "You usually are. Harry?"

  "Yes, Chief?"

  "With Voyager moving towards us, how long will it be until we rendezvous with it?"

  Looking at the sensors again, Harry noted Voyager’s speed. He made a few calculations, then said, "Only about half an hour. Wonder what their hurry is?"

  "We’ll find out soon enough," B’Elanna said. "Harry, Tuvok. Tell everyone to get ready to board Voyager." She only waited for the two men’s acknowledgement, then cut the link.


  MoZdee moved briskly through "Yuzla’s" corridors. She was on her way to sickbay in response to Dr. JanRy’s summons. The doctor had informed her that it had finished its research. When she had asked what it found, it asked her to come to sickbay. It would prefer to tell her in person, it told her. She really hoped that the doctor and its assistants were also able to provide her with a solution to the problem. Otherwise she would become even more pissed off than she already was.  

For the last few days there had been nothing but problems. First MoZdee discovered that Commander Chakotay, Tom Paris and the holographic doctor had somehow managed to regain control of Voyager. Not only that, but the three Starfleet people had locked the ship’s computer down so tight that nothing her people did could get them through. On top of that, Voyager had been turned around and was now headed back in the direction they came from. MoZdee had no trouble figuring out the reason for this.  

As if *that* wasn’t enough, Tom Paris hadn’t once responded to her summons to come to the "Yuzla". She had made the arrangements for the ritual Tom had to go through. Then, using the device Dr. JanRy had implanted, MoZdee had ordered Tom to beam to her ship. To her immense surprise, he hadn’t reacted.

  At first, MoZdee hadn’t thought anything of it. Dr. JanRy *had* warned her that it didn’t know how well the device would work on a Human. The doctor had told her that if she didn’t get a response from Tom, she should just try again because he might not have received her order the first time.

  However, when the problem persisted, MoZdee had contacted Dr. JanRy and ordered it to figure out what the problem was. That had been four days ago. She had waited as patiently as she could, calling sickbay several times a day to get a progress report. Now it seemed that the doctor had discovered what the trouble was.

  As she reached her destination, MoZdee shook off her thoughts and went inside. She glanced around the chaos that was sickbay. Spotting Dr. JanRy by its desk, she walked over to it and cleared her throat. When it looked at her, she asked, "What did you find, Doctor?"

  Dr. JanRy sighed deeply before answering. It didn’t look forward to his superior’s reaction to its news. "I was quite thorough in my research," it began.   "Of course," MoZdee said impatiently. "What did you find?"

  "According to my examination, the device implanted in Tom Paris is in perfect working condition," Dr. JanRy said, then waited nervously for the explosion.

  MoZdee was silent for a moment, digesting the doctor’s words and what they meant. "So what you’re saying is that Tom *did* receive my orders?" she finally asked.

  Dr. JanRy swallowed heavily and nodded in confirmation. "Yes, SicA."

  MoZdee frowned. "Then why hasn’t he obeyed me?"

  The doctor gathered all its courage, knowing that she wouldn’t like the only answer it had. "The only thing I can think of is that Tom Paris has chosen to disobey you, SicA."

  MoZdee’s eyes flashed with anger. "Impossible," she snarled. "I personally conditioned him to obey my every command. I also told him, in great detail, what would happen if he ever disobeyed me."

  Dr. JanRy flinched. Being the focus of SicA’s anger was a very unpleasant experience. "I know, SicA, but it is the only explanation I can think of," it said.

  "Well, then find another!" MoZdee demanded.

  "To do that, I need Tom Paris," Dr. JanRy stated with a calm that belied its apprehension.

  "Fine!" MoZdee growled. "I’ll beam over to Voyager and get him." With that she turned and left sickbay. If her mate-to-be didn’t receive her orders through his implant, she’d just have to fetch him in person. She didn’t know that Chakotay had reinforced Voyager’s shields, making it impossible for her crew to disable them.


  As Tom took Voyager off of automatic pilot, he sighed quietly, aware that the doctor was still keeping a discreet eye on him. Despite the slight annoyance he felt, he didn’t complain. He fully understood the hologram’s reasons for keeping him under observation. After all, he was the one who had informed the doctor about the implant and asked to have it removed.

  Tom hadn’t planned on telling either Chakotay or the doctor about the device, convinced that he could handle whatever SicA threw at him. And he had. At least at first, but then she had briefly lost her patience and used the controller to find out if he received her orders. That’s what he assumed she had done, anyway. He didn’t think she realized that he deliberately disobeyed her.

  During his incarceration on the "Yuzla", Tom had quickly discovered that not only was SicA arrogant, she also had a very low opinion of Humans’ tolerance for pain. He had used that to his advantage, making her believe that he had been broken when nothing could be further from the truth. His next step had to convince her that she had complete control over him. That had taken some time and a lot of acting on his part, but eventually he had managed.

  However, he hadn’t counted on the fact that she would have him implanted with a device that would allow her to give him orders mentally and punish him in case he disobeyed those orders. It had taken considerable self-control and all his acting ability not to react when she told him about it after he woke up from the surgery.

  When they were alone, Tom had asked Dr. JanRy about the implant and was relieved when he learned that the device didn’t monitor his thoughts. It gave him a lot of freedom that SicA wasn’t able to read his thoughts and wouldn’t know what he planned. It also meant that she was unaware of the fact that she didn’t have as much control over him as he had led her to believe.

  Of course, Tom realized that until he and Chakotay had a plan, he would have to comply with her orders or, in the case of drugging Chakotay, pretend to obey her. Luckily, she stopped monitoring the ambassadorial quarters after her first conversation with him following his return to Voyager.

  Tom wasn’t stupid. He knew that despite her torture and the implant, SicA still didn’t trust him completely. He realized that that talk was a test to make certain that he was entirely under her control. He passed when he informed her about everything that happened between him and Chakotay, including a word-by-word account of what was said. After that, SicA let him turn off the monitor himself, trusting that she had his loyalty. That was also when she had given him limited access to the replicators, enabling him to feed himself and Chakotay.

  Tom was brought out of his trip down memory lane by a beep from the conn. He glanced at his console, noticed some strong turbulence ahead and plotted a course around it. Looking up, he caught the doctor’s eyes and gave the hologram a reassuring smile. When the doctor returned to his own task, Tom thought back a few days, remembering what had happened when SicA had ordered him to the "Yuzla".