Disclaimer and summary: See part 1

Dedicated to my angel, without whom I would probably still be
stuck with this part

Part Twenty-Eight

The first rays of the sun fell across Samantha's face, waking her
from a light slumber. She hadn't gotten much sleep, awakening
every few hours to check on Janeway. The other woman had
regained consciousness a couple of hours earlier. Samantha had
given her a quick examination, and asked a few questions to
determine that she was coherent.

Janeway answered clearly enough, reassuring Samantha that the
other woman was lucid. Once Samantha finished the exam, it
didn't taken long before Janeway had fallen asleep. Samantha
put the tricorder away and lay down on the mattress that Neelix
and Roberts had brought her before dinner.

Knowing that Voyager's captain was better had enabled
Samantha to get some real sleep, so although she'd only gotten a
few hours of uninterrupted rest, she felt refreshed.

Samantha stretched and yawned, then sat up and looked over at
her patient. Seeing that Janeway was still asleep, Samantha
decided to do another scan before she woke. She grabbed the
tricorder, rose from the mattress and moved over to the bed. She
sat down on the edge, opened the medical device and waved it
over the other woman.

Looking at the display, Samantha was reassured when she saw
that all the readings were back to normal. Janeway didn't even
have a fever anymore. Sighing in relief, Samantha closed the
tricorder. Glancing at the other woman before she rose, she was
startled to see that Janeway was awake. "Good morning,
Captain," she said quietly.

"Good morning, Samantha," Janeway replied. She glanced
around the shelter, then looked back at Samantha with a slight
frown. "What happened?"

"Neelix and Roberts found you unconscious yesterday,"
Samantha explained. "You had a fever, your breathing was
shallow, your pulse was weak and irregular and you had foam
around your mouth. Neelix fetched me, and I gave you some
medication to stabilize you."

Janeway's frown deepened. "Why?"

"Why what?" Samantha asked puzzled.

"Why did Neelix get you? Why didn't he just have me beamed to
sickbay?" Janeway clarified and sat up.

Samantha blinked in surprise, then frowned in worry. "Captain,
what's the last thing you remember?"

Janeway continued to frown as she thought about it. It took a
moment, then it came to her. "I remember leaving Tarral after
successfully negotiating for supplies," she said slowly. "Just
before we left, the Tarralians warned us about the planet
Qre'de'an. Something about a hostile race. I ordered Ops to keep
an eye out for the borders to Qre'de'an space to be sure we didn't

Samantha's worry increased. "Captain, that was almost two
months ago," she said gently.

"Two months?" Janeway's voice was shocked. "What
happened?" Before Samantha could answer, Janeway's eyes
widened as images flashed through her mind. "I asked. no,
*expected* Tom to be my whore," she whispered horrified. "And
when he refused, I was so angry that I left him behind when we
evacuated Voyager." Her voice was filled with remorse.

Samantha's eyes widened. She wasn't surprised at the
confession. After all, when confronted Janeway had all but
admitted this. No, what startled Samantha was the horror in the
other woman's voice. Up until now, Janeway hadn't expressed
any regret at her actions.

Samantha shook off her shock. "Yes, you did," she agreed sadly.
"You also left the doctor and Commander Chakotay behind."
When Janeway met her eyes, she asked, "What was your reason
for abandoning those two?"

Janeway thought back for a brief moment to recall her reasoning.
"The doctor would've revealed that my excuse for leaving Tom
was a lie," she finally said.

"And the Commander?"

"Chakotay refused to abandon Tom." Janeway hesitated for a
moment, then added, "But that wasn't my only reason." Seeing
Samantha's quizzical expression, Janeway elaborated. "I was
actually relieved to have an excuse to abandon Chakotay as
well," she admitted shamefully. "After Tom refused to be my
whore, I was very unfair to him. I put him on a lot of double-
shifts, made sure he didn't have much time off, made harsh
comments. Chakotay noticed and ran interference as much as he
could. He changed Tom's schedule several times to make sure he
wasn't over-worked, gave Tom extra time to do his reports and
took my reprimands for it," she explained.

Samantha listened in silence. When Janeway stopped speaking,
she said, "So basically, the Commander did his best to protect
Tom from your temper and you were angered when you realized

Janeway winced and averted her eyes. "Yes," she admitted. "I
don't know what was wrong with me," she said quietly. "But I
know that I must have hurt Tom deeply. I just hope that nothing
has happened to him and that I can somehow make it up to him."
Then she sighed sadly. "I don't think that there's *anything* I
can do, but I'm going to try. Maybe he'll be able to forgive me
some day." She didn't sound very hopeful.

The sadness in Janeway's voice awakened Samantha's
compassion. She reached out and patted the other woman's hand.
"Captain, Tom is a very forgiving man. He doesn't carry a
grudge. If you apologize to him, I'm sure he'll forgive you."

Janeway smiled gratefully. "Maybe you're right. I hope so," she
said. "But even if he forgives me, I don't think he'll ever trust me

"Of course he's going to trust you again," Samantha said.
"You'll just have to work on it. *Show* him that he can trust you
and that you don't think he's a whore."

"I know," Janeway said. "And I will. As soon as we get Voyager
back." Then she frowned. "We *are* going to find Voyager and
get it back, aren't we?"

Samantha nodded. "Yes, Captain. B'Elanna, Harry and Tuvok
gathered a rescue team and left to find Voyager and take her
back from the aliens."

Janeway sighed in relief. "Good." She hesitated for a moment,
then said, "Now I just need to figure out a way to make the rest
of the crew forgive me."

"Well, Captain, I think that what everyone was most upset about
was the fact that you didn't express any regret at your actions,"
Samantha said. "I'm sure that they'll forgive you when they
realize that you're sorry for what you did." Samantha patted
Janeway's hand again, then rose. "If you don't mind, Captain,
I'll leave now. I haven't seen Naomi since last night and I want
to make sure she hasn't gotten in trouble."

Janeway nodded in understanding. "That's okay. I need some
time alone to think about a few things."

Samantha smiled. "I'll come by later to see how you are," she
said as she gathered the med kit. "I want to make sure that
whatever happened to you yesterday doesn't happen again."

"All right. I'll see you later, then." Janeway watched the other
woman leave. As soon as the door closed behind Samantha, she
smiled in satisfaction. That had gone amazingly well. When she
had awoken early this morning and seen Samantha she had
thought of a better plan than talking to Naomi Wildman.

Janeway had counted on Samantha's compassionate nature to
reassert itself if she pretended to be upset about her treatment of
Tom Paris and she had been right. An apparent temporary
memory loss and a little faked horror of her action and Samantha
had been all compassion and reassurance. Now she just needed to
keep up the act and convince all the others of her remorse. Then
she should have her crew back in no time. And once she was
back in command and the rescue team brought Voyager back,
everyone was going to regret crossing her.


When the computer announced an incoming hail from Voyager,
GenA turned on the view screen and was greeted by the sight of
the other ship's EMH. "Well, Doctor, did it work?"

"No, GenA. Mr. Paris' condition remains unchanged," the doctor

GenA cursed softly, then turned to Dr. JanRy who stood beside
him. "What do we do now?"

The scientist sighed and addressed the EMH. "You'll have to
transport Mr. Paris over here so I can take a look at his implant. I
might be able to repair it, but I need to find out exactly where the
damage is."

The EMH frowned. "Can't you do that here?"

Dr. JanRy shook its head in the negative. "No. The equipment I
use for that can't be moved."

The EMH looked displeased. "I'll inform the Commander," he
said, then glanced at GenA. "I want you to stay with Mr. Paris
while he's over there."

GenA nodded. "Of course, Doctor," he agreed. "I will not let him
out of my sight."

"Good," the EMH said. "Commander Chakotay will contact you
to get your exact coordinates so we can beam Mr. Paris to you.
Voyager out." The screen went dark.

A few minutes later, the expected call from Commander
Chakotay came through. GenA gave him the coordinates and a
moment later, Tom Paris arrived. GenA and Dr. JanRy placed the
pilot on the only bed in the room and then the scientist grabbed
his diagnostic tool and went to work, hoping that he would be
able to repair the implant.