Part Nine

Chakotay woke with a start and looked around in confusion.
After a moment, memory kicked in and he remembered where he
was and what had happened. Wondering what had awoken him,
he rose from the bed and walked into the living room. No one
else was there, but a plate had been set on the dinner table.

Although there was only one platter, Chakotay checked the rest
of the cabin to be sure that Tom hadn't been returned. Finding no
sign of the pilot, he finally sat down and ate his meal. He didn't
recognize the dish, nor did he really care what it was. He was too
concerned about Tom to take any real interest in anything else.

When he'd finished his meal, Chakotay rose from the table and,
not knowing what else to do, started pacing the room. He had
traveled the room for about half an hour when the cabin door
opened and one of the aliens entered.

The alien moved over to the dinner table and picked up the plate,
glass and utensils. Then it started back to the door, only to stop at
the sound of Chakotay's voice.

"Where's Tom Paris?"

The alien turned to the commander. "Who?"

Chakotay frowned at the question. "Tom Paris," he repeated.

The alien shrugged. "I don't know who you're talking about."

Chakotay's frown deepened. "Tall, blond, blue eyes. He was here
with me earlier."

The alien thought for a moment, then met Chakotay's eyes. "I
don't know anyone matching that description." With that, it left.

Chakotay stood in the middle of the living room and stared at the
door in confusion. He could've *sworn* that the alien that just
left was the one who'd been in here with G'REtchK yesterday.
Apparently, he was mistaken.

After several long moments, Chakotay shook off his confusion
and decided to visit his spirit guide. He hadn't had time to
meditate since this whole ordeal began, and right now he could
use some advice. He just hoped that he would be able to reach
the spirit plane without his akoonah.

Chakotay walked over to the coffee table and pushed it further
away from the couch. Then he lowered himself to the floor until
he was sitting cross-legged in front of the sofa. He took a deep
breath and let it out slowly, relaxing his body as he exhaled.
When he was as comfortable as he could be, he closed his eyes
and began.

We are far from the sacred places of our grandfathers.
We are far from the bones of my people,
but perhaps there is a powerful being
who will embrace this man
and give him the answers he seeks."

After a moment, Chakotay sensed a change in his environment
and opened his eyes. Instead of the forest where he usually met
his spirit guide, he saw that he was back on the cliff from his
hallucination. His breath caught and his whole body tensed in
apprehension. *Spirits, I can't go through this again,* he thought.
*Once was more than enough.*

Chakotay glanced around in anxiety. For a moment, he felt relief
when he noticed that Tom wasn't there. He slowly walked
towards the edge of the cliff. When he reached it, he stopped and
gazed at the horizon, strangely reluctant to look down.

For long minutes, Chakotay just stood and looked at the horizon,
but finally he overcame his trepidation and glanced down. As he
had feared, he could just make out a still form at the bottom. He
gasped and took a step away from the edge of the cliff and the
sight of Tom Paris' body lying at the foot of it. Chakotay
shuddered and came out of his meditative state.


For the next three days, Chakotay was largely left alone. The
only time he saw anyone was when the aliens brought his meals.
It was a different alien who came each day, and Chakotay asked
each one about Tom. Every time he asked, he got a puzzled look
and was told that there was no one aboard who matched that

On the third day, SicA came to see him. It stopped just inside the
door and looked at Chakotay, who was seated in the couch. After
a moment, the alien moved closer until it stood in front of the
coffee table. "My crew tells me that you keep asking about Tom
Paris," it said. When Chakotay nodded, SicA asked, "Who is he?
I assume it's a he."

Chakotay gave the alien leader a strange look. "What do you
mean, 'who is he'? You've seen him. You talked to him shortly
after you took over Voyager."

SicA frowned. "Commander, " it said. "The only ones I've
spoken with are you and the holographic doctor. You're the only
ones of Voyager's crew left."

This time Chakotay frowned, clearly puzzled. "But he was with
me when you had us brought to the holodeck."

SicA gave Chakotay an odd look. "Commander, I didn't have
you brought to the holodeck," it said gently. "In fact, you haven't
left these quarters since you were taken here." For a moment, it
studied Chakotay with a concerned expression on its face.
Finally it turned and left the quarters.


Another two days where Chakotay only saw the one to bring his
meals passed. He still tried to meditate regularly. He kept
returning to the cliff from his hallucination, and like the first
time, there was no one and nothing else there, only Tom's still
body at the bottom. He had tried to get down there, but the only
way down would be to jump. There were no trails that led down,
and the cliff was too steep to climb.

Chakotay had begun to consider jumping over the edge of the
cliff to see if Tom was truly dead when he got a visit from the
doctor. The hologram brought Chakotay's dinner. He carried the
tray over to the dining table and put it down. He waited until the
commander was seated, then sat down across from him.

The doctor watched in silence while Chakotay ate. He didn't
speak until the commander had finished. "I'm told that you keep
asking about Lieutenant Paris' whereabouts," he said calmly.

Chakotay nodded in confirmation. "Do *you* know where he

"Lieutenant Paris left the ship with the rest of the crew," the
doctor said gently. When he noticed the confused look on
Chakotay's face, he sent him a compassionate look. "Don't you
remember? You were injured when we fought these aliens.
That's why you and I remained on the ship. I was operating on
you when the Captain gave the order to evacuate Voyager."

Chakotay frowned. "No, I don't remember that."

"What *do* you remember," the doctor asked.

"*Tom* got hurt during that fight and the Captain was going to
leave the two of you behind. I refused to leave without you and
stayed as well," Chakotay began. "When Tom woke up after the
surgery…." He proceeded to tell the doctor what he remembered


Once again, SicA stood by the biobed in sickbay, watching the
still form lying there. The doctor had informed the alien that the
person was in a coma, and that he didn't know when, or if, they
would awaken.

SicA was deeply concerned. It's chosen mate was hurt and it
didn't know what to do to help. Finally, SicA lifted a hand and
stroked the blond hair, a tender expression on its face. "Please
wake up soon, GenA," it whispered, then bent down and kissed
its mate's forehead.