By: R. Mackenzie

Date: May 2, 1999

Setting: Tom has a not so good day.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns them, I‘m just borrowing them.

*I‘m going to kill him. Wrap my fingers around his scrawny neck and choke the annoying life out of him.*

Captain Kathryn Janeway fumed as she paced the length of Voyager‘s bridge.

*I‘m going to toss his sorry butt in the brig and throw away the key. Barricade the entrance so he can‘t ever get out.*

As she continued to plot the demise of her most troublesome crew member, Voyager‘s most senior officer was oblivious to the looks of concern and unease that the rest of the bridge crew were casting her way.

*When they get back, Tom Paris is NEVER stepping foot off this ship again.*

Finally coming to a stop at the center of the bridge, she placed her hands on her hips and glared at the image of the innocent looking, olive green planet displayed on the forward view screen. Kathryn knew it was mocking her.

Once again in need of supplies, Voyager had made contact with the Teevvans, a humanoid race that seemed friendly and willing to help. All they had to do was met with the planet‘s governing counsel and make their proposal for needed food and mineral supplies. Things would have been easier if they had been able to use the transporters, but because of a high level of atmospheric interference that surrounded the planet, transporting was unsafe. There was no way to guarantee that the molecules of the people beaming down would materialize properly.

Not wanting to pass up on the opportunity to replenish their supplies, she dispatched a shuttle with a handful of crew members, knowing they would be able to handle any negotiations. Kathryn then retired to her ready room to wait for the mission‘s outcome, taking the time to catch up on the pile of reports that had been stacked on her desk. An hour later, Commander Chakotay, her first officer and the away team leader, contacted them. Paris had disappeared.

And now, more than three hours later, there was still no word as to his whereabouts. In the beginning, Chakotay had seemed only slightly annoyed with Tom‘s disappearance, figuring the young man‘s curiosity had gotten the better of him, yet again, and he had wandered off. But as time wore on, Kathryn could tell he was becoming more and more concerned. Especially since the planetary government had nicely, but firmly, refused their offer to help search for him, instead placing them in some type of conference room to sit and wait.

Although, their hosts had informed them that it was for their own safety, Kathryn noted that her first officer wasn‘t feeling very reassured. If they weren‘t being allowed to help, had their hosts played some part in her pilot‘s disappearance? Did they know what had happened to him? And were the other team members in danger as well?

Running a hand over her face, Kathryn tried to keep her frustration and worry from consuming her. *Why couldn‘t these supply missions ever go smoothly?*


Turning his gaze from the only window in the room and his uneasy thoughts, Chakotay‘s dark eyes met like ones as he looked into the concerned face of Ensign Harry Kim, Voyager‘s Chief Operations Officer and Tom‘s best friend.

"Yes, Ensign?"

In the several hours they‘d been left there, things had been pretty quiet between the other members of the away team. Everyone too engrossed in their own thoughts to bother with small talk. Now, Chakotay welcomed the distraction.

"Do you think Tom‘s all right?" Harry asked hesitantly. After all the times Tom had gotten himself waylaid on some strange planet, one had to figure that they should be used to this by now. Harry had to admit, Tom had a gift for getting into trouble.

"Harry," Chakotay smiled reassuringly, not wanting to let onto his own increasing concern, "I‘m sure he‘s fine. He probably got tired of waiting for us and decided to do a little sight seeing. You heard our hosts, this festival of theirs is quite the event. And knowing Tom, I‘m sure he couldn‘t resist the allure."

"If that were the case, don‘t you think he would have contacted us by now?" Harry questioned. He knew the commander was just trying to make him feel better, keep him from thinking so negatively, but this was Tom Paris here, his best friend. He wouldn‘t feel better until he had been found and returned to them, unharmed.

Seeing the worried look on his junior officer‘s face, Chakotay again thought how much he hated being in charge at times like these. What could he possibly say to reassure the young man before him, not to mention the other members of the away team, especially when he was having trouble putting a damper on his own morbid thoughts?

Much to the Commander‘s relief, the door to the conference room opened. Thankful for the interruption, he patted Harry‘s shoulder reassuringly and walked toward their host, Ambassador Krill, hoping that he would finally have some news for them. He didn‘t have to look to know that Harry was anxiously following behind him.

"Commander Chakotay," the Teevvan representative called as he stepped forward, holding the door open for a serving woman pushing a cart laden with trays and pitchers of food and drink, "I‘m sorry, I had not returned earlier. So many things going on with the festival and all," he chattered amicably, motioning for the woman to place the items on the table, "Although I don‘t know much about your people, I figured that by now even you must be hungry or at least thirsty," he smiled congenially at them before continuing, "I hope what we have provided will meet with your approval."

"I‘m sure everything will be fine, Mr. Krill, thank you," Chakotay plastered a smile on his face as he dispensed with the pleasantries. Their hosts had been nothing but courteous and friendly and appeared to be going to a great deal of trouble to search for Tom. He just hoped that it wasn‘t all some show for their sakes. But until they slipped up somehow Chakotay and the others could do nothing but play along. "You have been most generous," he nodded toward the food and then got to the more important point, "Has there been any word on Mr. Paris?"

Krill took note of the four anxious faces looking at him and immediately fell into his proper roll. Casting his dark eyes downward in regret, he shook his head, "I‘m sorry, Commander, there has been no luck in finding your missing crew member as of yet. However," he paused for effect, hoping that his next bit of news would satisfy them, "we believe we know what may have happened to him."

Seeing his hesitation, Harry felt a chill run up his spine. *Just what had Tom gotten himself into this time?*

"What would that be, Mr. Ambassador?" Chakotay prompted the little man to continue.

"Well, as you have described him, your Mr. Paris is quite different looking from the rest of your people and ours," Krill stated while gesturing to the away team and then to himself.

At this, Chakotay cast an appraising glance at the other members of the away team -Harry Kim, Jenny Delaney and Miguel Ayala- all humans, as were their hosts. Although the Teevvans were on average about a foot shorter than them, and they all wore their hair long, he hadn‘t really noticed anything different. Turning his attention back to the ambassador, he could only look at him in confusion.

"Someone with his physical attributes is rare," the little man explained. Seeing that his guests were trying to make sense of what he was saying, Krill tried a different approach, "As you may have noticed, my people are favored with dark hair, eyes and skin tone and from those we have seen, we have noticed that your people seem to be as well."

Chakotay nodded his head in understanding. It hadn‘t been planned, but it did appear as though most of the away team was made up of crew members matching Krill‘s description, with the exception of their missing pilot. Their initial contacts with the Teevvans had been audio only due to the atmospheric interference, so their hosts had no way of knowing just how diverse Voyager‘s crew really was.

"What, so someone snagged him because he‘s a blonde?" Jenny asked incredulously. She and Miguel had silently made their way over, not wanting to be left out or miss anything that was going on.

Krill nodded his head while responding, making sure that he was very careful in what he said, "Well, put simply, yes."

"So, what exactly does that mean for Mr. Paris?" Chakotay asked, folding his arms across his broad chest. He wanted the Ambassador to get to the point, not liking how the man seemed to be hedging around something. So far he had told them nothing helpful about Tom‘s current predicament.


The serving woman chose that moment to return to her cart and motion to the Ambassador that she had finished her assigned task. Nodding his head, Krill waited for the woman to leave, grateful for the moment to organize his thoughts.

"As you were saying," Chakotay again impatiently prompted their host to continue once the doors were closed.

"Yes, as I was saying," drawing in a deep breath, Krill silently cursed the other members of the counsel for volunteering him to deal with their guests. It wasn‘t his fault that Voyager chose to visit them at the time of his people‘s most revered celebration. Even though their presence was proving quite beneficial, in away. "You see, it is a very special season for us, when we celebrate all that we have and have been given," Krill proudly began to explain, "We are a widely diverse people, our cultures and religions are extremely varied from city to city, village to village. However, in spite of these diversities, we as one people, all acknowledge the time of Quibtar."

"Quibtar?" questioned Harry. He astutely avoided the glare from his commanding officer at interrupting their host.

"Yes, he is honored as our founder," the Ambassador‘s dark eyes lit up as he spoke, "and many even honor him as our creator. He is very special to us."

Trying to keep control of his temper, Chakotay asked, "What has this got to do with Ensign Paris?"

"Well, you see, there are those that believe your Mr. Paris resembles Quibtar."


Krill smiled apologetically, "It would appear as though some of our people believe your Mr. Paris to be Quibtar come back to visit and take part in our celebration."

"You‘re kidding?" Jenny exclaimed. The thought of Paris being worshiped as some type of Supreme Being was just too funny. Not that she and a few others hadn‘t teased Tom unmercifully as a love-God in their early days on Voyager, but that was then. Now the idea was just too humorous.

While Miguel and Jenny found amusement with the situation, Harry and Chakotay were trying to remain calm. If these people thought Tom was some sort of Deity, were they expecting him to preform some act or acts as such? And what would they do with him when they found out he was just a normal person like the rest of them?

Casting a glare at his two snickering subordinates, Chakotay turned his attention back to their host, "Mr. Krill, I understand how such a mistake can be made, but Mr. Paris is just a man, just like you and me. I‘m sure you‘re people can understand that."

"Yes, well, not all of our people have chosen to progress with the times, Commander. There are many peoples and cities that still grasp to the old ways," Krill continued, hoping that his explanation would be enough, "There are some who have even refused to accept modern conveniences, such as running water and powered appliances. Although we have no problem with the ways they have chosen, it does make things a little difficult in situations such as these."

"You don‘t know which group has him."

"I‘m sorry, no. We have a good idea, but it is just an idea," the Ambassador stated, hoping that he sounded convincing enough.

Chakotay‘s dark eyes narrowed as he appraised the man before him. Although they had so far been nothing but hospitable, Voyager‘s first officer again wondered if their hosts could actually be trying to keep them from finding Tom, and if that were the case, what could they do about it? Their sensors could not scan through the particles in the atmosphere to get a descent scan of where Tom could be and even if they could, their transporters were useless for the same reasons. Luckily they hadn‘t lost communications. Even though they could offer them no help, Chakotay was somewhat relieved that Voyager at least knew of their predicament.

"So, where does that leave us, Mr. Ambassador?" the Commander asked. *I‘m making sure Kathryn locks Tom in his quarters and never lets him out,* Chakotay fumed internally.

Hearing the tone in their superior‘s voice, Jenny and Miguel instantly stopped their snickering. Both silently noting that the Commander obviously didn‘t find the situation as amusing as they did and if he was glaring at their host, things really weren‘t looking well. Jenny hoped that they would be able to find their way back to the shuttle if things turned ugly.

"Commander, the celebration concludes tomorrow at sunrise. I assure you, your Mr. Paris will more than likely be returned at that time."

"More than likely?"

Krill cursed himself for his choice of words. Widening his smile, he restated his belief, "I‘m positive he will be returned, Commander, just as soon as the festivities are over."

"There‘s nothing that can be done in the mean time?" Harry asked, anxious to get Tom back and get out of there.

"I understand how concerned you must be at the disappearance of one of your own. But let me reassure you, whoever has taken him will treat him with the utmost respect and courtesy. After all, it‘s not everyday we have the chance to greet Quibtar."

"Mr. Paris is NOT Quibtar," Chakotay stated emphatically.

"Yes, of course, I mean, no of course he isn‘t," Krill could tell that it was time to leave, especially before he slipped and said something that completely gave himself away. "Please, eat and drink. I will have someone prepare rooms for you for the night. If you‘ll excuse me."

Chakotay shook his head at the man‘s hastily retreating form. Now what were they suppose to do? It was obvious that even if they found Tom, their hosts were apparently in no hurry to return him to them. How can one man attract so much trouble?


Snapping out of his musings, he directed the others to go ahead and eat. There was no telling how much longer they were going to have to wait around and if it turned out that they needed to make a hasty retreat, he didn‘t want anyone falling behind because of hunger or dehydration. Walking back to the window, he tapped his combadge. Time to let the Captain know what was going on.

"He said what?"

Kathryn couldn‘t believe the conversation she was having. The Teevvans thought Tom was some Deity come to visit for the day? This was just too much.

"They seem to think that Tom is this Quibtar character, and apparently they have no intention of returning him to us until this celebration of theirs is over."

Sitting behind the desk in her ready room, Kathryn was grateful that the rest of the bridge crew wasn‘t hearing this. She could just imagine the things that would be said.

"Do you think he‘s in any danger?" she asked, running a tired hand across her forehead. She was seriously thinking about putting a permanent restriction in Tom‘s file, one that said he was never allowed to leave the ship, regardless of how harmless the situation appeared.

"I don‘t believe so. If what Krill says is true, and right now we have no reason to believe it‘s not, Paris should be fine."

Noting the pessimistic undertones in his voice, Kathryn sighed. She knew her first officer was trying his best not to worry the other members of the away team unnecessarily. Unfortunately, he wasn‘t making her feel any better.

"What do you suggest?"

"We‘ve been offered a place to stay for the night. I say we take them up on it. Maybe we can do a bit of investigating for ourselves."

Kathryn‘s lips curled up into a half smile. "Just don‘t do anything that would get yourselves into trouble, Commander."

"Of course not, Captain."

"Keep me informed. Janeway out."

Ending the transmission, Kathryn stood up and headed out to the bridge. Time to put some more pressure on her crew, they needed their sensors up and she was in no mood for anymore excuses.

Tom Paris was trying very hard to remain calm and clothed.

Folding his arms across his chest, he stood opposite his kidnappers and continued to glare at them.

After the other members of the away team had disembarked the shuttle and left the hanger bay, Tom had been left behind to secure their vehicle and keep an eye out for anything suspicious. While sitting in the pilot‘s seat, trying to keep himself from going stir crazy, a commotion outside drew his attention. Curiosity and boredom getting the better of him, he decided to check things out. Exiting, he found himself in the midst of what appeared to be some wild celebration, of which everyone was intent on being a part of.

Wanting to know more of what was going on, and if there was any way for him to participate without getting into trouble, he approached the closest local and tapped him on the shoulder. As the pudgy little man turned, Tom heard someone gasp and then all noise in the shuttle bay quickly came to an abrupt stop. Not understanding what was going on, Tom glanced around the room and found himself the center of attention, a sea of large dark eyes and open mouths gaping at him.

Paris tried to ignore the fact that his pale skin was turning red at all the sudden attention. Suddenly feeling very nervous and vulnerable, he put on his best Paris smile and opened his mouth to ask what was going on. That proved to be a mistake. Before he could finish his first word, everyone fell to their knees, their heads bowed in subjugation.

Definitely not the response he had been expecting.

Clearing his throat, he apologized for bothering them and asked if there was anyone who could help him. Nothing but silence followed. Not one to give up, Tom tried again and again no one would answer him. Several more attempts proved just as fruitless. It was apparent that no one there was going to help clear up what was obviously a case of mistaken identity.

Rubbing a hand across his forehead, he figured that it was time to contact the commander. Hopefully Voyager‘s first officer could find out what was going on.

That was the last thing he remembered other than feeling a prick of a needle against his arm before total darkness crashed down on him.

Waking up sometime later, he found himself in a relatively large room, furnished by only a bed, of which he was the occupant, and a small table with several candles scattered across it‘s surface, Tom noted that they were the rooms only source of light. Knowing he couldn‘t lay around and wait for someone to rescue him, he gathered his strength, shaky as it was, and began to investigate. He quickly discovered that there was no way out and as soon as *his hosts* knew he was awake, the standoff had begun.

From what he had been able to put together, these people thought he was some reincarnated being and they had brought him to their village for a celebration that apparently was to be held in his honor.

No matter how hard he tried to tell them that he was not who they thought he was, no one would believe him.

And now, they were trying their best to get him out of his uniform and into a very strangely colored, not to mention very skimpy, outfit. One he really didn‘t want to try on.

He again shook his head as the leader of the group pointed to the bathtub that had been dragged into the room and filled with water.

"No way," Tom stated for the umpteenth time, "look, I‘m not this Quibtar character," he continued to try and reason with them, his voice edged with frustration, "what do you say about just returning me to my shuttle and we‘ll forget this whole thing ever happened? Sound like a plan?"

Bowing, the leader of his captors took a hesitant step toward him, "Please, it is our honor and pleasure to serve you, most exalted Quibtar. You must be prepared for the celebration."

"The name‘s Tom Paris, NOT QUIBTAR."

Not wanting to totally loose his temper, Tom took a deep breath and ran his hands across his face. Somehow he had to get these people to understand that they had made a mistake.

As the needle pricked his arm, he realized that he had let his guard down, again. He tried to struggle against the effects of the drugs, but quickly found his limbs totally unresponsive to his silent demands.

Against his will, he was guided back onto the bed and pushed into a prone position. As his legs were lifted up and his boots removed, Tom knew that they were going to do with him as they pleased. Closing his eyes, he gave in to the welcome darkness.

Taking a deep breath to settle his uneasy conscience, Ambassador Krill opened his office door and with more confidence than he felt, stepped towards his guests.

As the door opened, Chakotay stopped his pacing and faced the rooms newest occupant. Finally. "Mr. Ambassador."

"Commander," Krill nodded to Chakotay and than the other members of the away team, "I have news for you," taking a deep breath, he continued, "We have determined the group that spirited your Mr. Paris off yesterday."

"And?" Chakotay had gotten tired of being nice and the man before him was really getting on his nerves, especially after the events of the previous evening.

Thinking that they were going to have some time to themselves to look around before settling down for the night, the away team was more than a little stunned to instead find themselves in the midst of a wild party at the Ambassador‘s residence. Not wanting to offend anyone, they put on their best diplomatic faces and tried to remain as inconspicious as possible, hoping the night would be over soon.

Much to the team‘s dismay, they turned out to be the center of attention. Somehow word had gotten out that they were Quibtar‘s companions and everyone wanted to touch or talk to them.

Finally, after several hours of fake smiles and pointless conversation, and one very embarrassing situation for poor, naive Harry Kim, the away team members were finally escorted to their rooms at the back of the Ambassador‘s residence.

Exhausted, they had immediately fallen asleep, only to be abruptly woken up a few hours later by the Ambassador‘s staff. Morning had come much to early for all of them.

And now, after once again being sequestered for most of another day with no word about their missing crew member, the Commander‘s patience had just about reached it‘s limit.

"And..." Krill‘s dark eyes had grown wide. He knew he should have called in sick, "well, we had hoped to return your crew member to you this morning, however, when we arrived at the Empt village, Mr. Paris was no longer there."

Raising one of his eyebrows to show his annoyance, Chakotay folded his arms across his chest and waited for their host to continue.

"From what we were able to determine, some time during the village‘s celebration, another group, having heard of Quibtar‘s presence, decided that they wanted to honor him as well."


"They took your Mr. Paris from the Empts."

Closing his eyes, Chakotay rubbed his hands across his face. Would this trip never end?

"And you don‘t know who that group is?"

"Well, actually, we were able to figure out who it was...."

"Was?" Chakotay prompted as he re-folded his arms, the scowl on his face growing as the conversation continued. He had come to see the little man before him as nothing more than an annoying troll, one he wanted to do nothing more than squash.

"Well, by the time we intercepted the Reng, another group had come along and taken your crew member from them."

"You‘re kidding, right?" Harry finally piped in, this was just getting ridiculous.

Krill shook his head apologetically. It had all started out so innocently. When the priests of his home village had notified him that they had encountered a man that they thought was Quibtar, Krill had been skeptical. He had excused himself from his guests and flew to his village to see for himself. Krill knew he shouldn‘t have fed into the lie, but he had been looking for a way to repay his village‘s generosity in making him their representative. So, he had willingly let them believe that the Voyager crew member was Quibtar. He should have known that something would go wrong, it always did.

"We are continuing our search, but so far have been unsuccessful in locating your pilot."

"So, now what?" asked the Commander, his annoyance more than apparent.


"How about this," Chakotay interrupted him with a suggestion of his own, "you let me and my crew search for him."

"Commander, I‘m sorry, but I can‘t allow that. This is a situation for the Teevvan guard," the Ambassador quickly declined their offer.

"Well, it‘s become more than obvious that your Teevvan guard aren‘t capable of doing their jobs."

Krill took a step back from the angry man. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he continued to back up toward the door.

"I-I-I‘ll just go t-t-talk to the o-o-other members of the c-c-counsel," he stammered, almost tripping over his own feet in his haste to get out of the room, "I-I-If you‘ll exc-c-cuse me."

Turning quickly, the Ambassador made a hasty and not so dignified exit from the room.

Reigning in his anger and frustration, Chakotay began his pacing again, ignoring the looks his subordinates were giving him. He knew that technically he had not handled that situation all that well, but he had become very tired of the run around their hosts were giving them.

Coming to a stop on the far side off the room, his anger finally under control, Chakotay sighed and tapped his combadge. He couldn‘t put off the inevitable any more.

"Chakotay to Voyager."

Tom sat on what could only be described as a poor attempt at a throne, trying his best to stay awake.

Things had steadily gone from bad to worse.

After regaining consciousness, for the second time, Tom found himself still laying on the bed in his cell, but now he was dressed in the native attire he had tried so hard to stay away from. Looking himself over, he cringed. Not only had they put the not so modest loin cloth on him, but someone had decided to paint bright designs all over his exposed skin.

Shaking his head, Tom had closed his eyes and silently prayed that his torture would soon be over.

Apparently no one was listening.

After realizing he was awake, Tom was escorted from his cell, paraded across the center of his tormentors‘ village and then given the seat of honor, a large cushion set on a makeshift stage, located at the edge of what he figured had to be the village town square.

Grateful to finally be out in the open and hopeful for a chance to slip away, he quickly realized that escape would be nearly impossible. The village, if one could call it a village, was surrounded on all sides by a wall of trees. Huge, menacing looking trees. Ones that Tom knew he‘d never find his way around or through.

As the party started to get into full swing, people began to cross in front of him, everyone wanting to touch him. Tom didn‘t actually like the idea, but knew he didn‘t have much of a choice. Conscious or unconscious, people could still touch him. And he definitely preferred to be conscious.

Hours passed, he ate and drank what was given to him and tried not to flinch every time he felt a hand fall against his skin.

It was well into the night that the attack happened. A neighboring village, having heard of Tom‘s presence, had decided that it was their turn to honor him. Moving quickly they swarmed over the village, ready to defend their right to have Quibtar bless their homes. Not that there was anyone to fight them, almost everyone had already passed out from exhaustion or way too much drinking.

Tom was quickly picked up and carried off.

Not that he had that much time to acquaint himself with his new captors. Just as they got him situated and got their own party going, the village was besieged and again he was carried off.

Cursing his dumb luck, Tom tried to stifle the yawn that crept up on him. Somehow he didn‘t think his current hosts would appreciate his inattentiveness to the festivities, not that he really cared. All he really wanted to do was get back on Voyager, give his beloved B‘Elanna a hug and then crawl into his own bed and sleep for the next four or five days, without interruption.

Tom snorted, like that would ever happen.

As his eyes slid shut, Voyager‘s Chief helmsman wondered what could possible happen to make his stay even more pleasant than it already was.

Helping to maneuver the shuttle through the planet‘s atmosphere, Chakotay fought the urge to turn around and look at their newly returned crew member.

The first officer silently thanked the spirits that Tom had been returned when he had and that he was unharmed, Chakotay shook his head, well, the man was still in one piece, at least.

As the sun had started it‘s decent against the horizon, the Native American had had the sinking feeling that they were going to be stuck on the planet for yet another night. A thought that hadn‘t set very well with him.

When Krill returned a short time later, he had prepared himself for the inevitable, silently praying that he would have the strength to refrain from hurting their host. What they received instead, was a very angry, very sore and very drunk Tom Paris.

"Don‘ tush that."

Hearing Ayala snicker beside him, Chakotay just closed his eyes and shook his head. Tom was a mess. Not only was he sunburned from head to toe, but the body paint that the Teevvans used had caused a ugly rash of large welts to break out all over his normally pale skin. Once he sobered up, he was going to be hurting, a lot. Not to mention the embarrassment he was going to be feeling. Chakotay wondered again just how they‘d gotten him to put that skimpy little piece of cloth on.

"Voyager to away team."

"Away team, ...."

"I thaid don‘ tush that!"

Chakotay sighed in exasperation. He knew Tom had to be miserable, but Harry and Jenny were just trying to help. After getting him as comfortable as possible on one of the back bunks, they had begun the horrendous task of trying to clean off some of the goo that was plastered to him. Unfortunately, it had pretty much baked to his skin.

"Commander, is there a problem?"

Realizing that he hadn‘t finished his response to the Captain‘s hail, Chakotay quickly focused his attention forward. "Sorry, Captain, Ensigns Kim and Delaney are attempting to assess Mr. Paris‘s condition."



"What‘d you do that for?"

"I thaid, don‘ tush that!"

Turning in his seat, Chakotay watched as Harry moved away from the bunk Tom was lying on, rubbing his forehead while glaring at his best friend. Apparently Harry had touched what Tom had told him not to.

"Captain, are we in transporter range?"

The pause on the line told him that she was checking.

"You‘ll be in range in about three minutes, Commander. What seems to be the problem?"

Chakotay rethought his decision not to tell the Captain the condition of her chief helmsman before they had taken off. Glaring at Ayala who was having trouble containing his laughter, Chakotay rolled his eyes, "Captain, I think things would be better explained in person."

There was another pause on the line and Chakotay knew that the Captain was debating on whether or not to force the issue. He should have told her that Tom wasn‘t in the best of condition when the Teevvans had found him and returned him to them. But at the time, Chakotay was more concerned with getting off the planet and everyone safely back on Voyager before something else could go wrong.

"Very well, I‘ll meet you in sickbay. Janeway out."

As the comm line disconnected, Chakotay hung his head. Somehow, someway he was going to make sure Tom Paris never left Voyager again.

Throwing an arm over his face, Tom used his other arm to pull the scratchy sickbay blanket up over his head. He had no desire to hear anything else that was being said. He especially didn‘t want to have to see anyone else, not for awhile, maybe not ever.

"Mr. Paris."

Tom ignored the Holographic Doctor. He had heard more than enough from the pompous program since his arrival.

"Mr. Paris, I have not finished healing your rash," the Doctor stated while pulling the blanket off his patient‘s face and upper body.

Sighing, Tom cringed as the cool air hit his skin, causing the itching to intensify. He fought the urge to start scratching.

"You can come out of hiding, everyone has left."

At this bit of news, Tom slowly lifted his arm off his face and blinked against the brightness of the lights. He really hated days like this.

"The Captain wants to see you after you‘re released, which will be as soon as I finish regenerating your skin."

Tom dropped his arm to his side and continued to ignore the man hovering over him, thankful that his headache was gone, that he could form a complete thought and that everyone had left. The constant snickering had really started to get on his nerves.

"I see we‘re in a talkative mood," the Doctor stated to his silent patient, "something on your mind, Mr. Paris?"

Rolling his eyes, Tom remained silent, letting the man complete his task. All he wanted to do was get back to his quarters, crawl into his own bed and pretend that the events of the last two days hadn‘t happened.

Snorting, he ignored the Doctor‘s questioning look and tried to relax. He knew it was wishful thinking, the pretending part that was. Jenny was Voyager‘s biggest gossip, next to her sister, Megan. There was no way she was going to pass up on the opportunity to humiliate him.

"There, all done," the medical officer stated a few minutes later as he shut off the regenerator and picked up a tricorder. Knowing his assistant as well as he did, the Doctor knew that no amount of coaxing would get the man to talk. When he was ready, Tom would tell him what the problem was. "You‘re in prefect health, yet again, thanks to my expertise."

Sitting up, Tom moved to swing his legs off the bed and realized that he was still dressed in the native garb the Teevvans had forced on him. Heaving a tortured sigh, he asked the Doctor, "Do you have something I can put on?"

Pointing to the other bio bed, he turned toward his office, "Mr. Kim dropped them off for you."

Making a mental note to thank his friend, Tom reached for his clothes and headed for the sickbay‘s shower. He also reminded himself to apologize for hitting Harry earlier. Not that he had been in control of himself at the time, but still, it was the principal of the matter.

Deciding that a shower would be nice, he turned on the water and wondered how he was going to write this one up. Not that he was remembering things all that well. Whatever they had given him to drink, it sure left him feeling more than a little fuzzy around the edges.

Quickly cleaning off the layers of dirt and grime from the last two days, he turned off the water and dried off, thankful that there was no more pain at every movement. As he dressed he wondered if he shouldn‘t ask the Captain to stay on Voyager from now on. It seemed that every time he left the confines of the ship‘s walls, he was getting himself into trouble. But then again, he seemed to get into as much trouble on the ship as he did off.

Shaking his head, he walked back into the main room and called out, "So, am I free to go than, Doc?"

"He‘s released you into my care for the night."

At the sound of the sweet, familiar and loving voice, Tom smiled, "Oh, he has, has he."

Moving to met him half way across the room, B‘Elanna Torres made sure to check out the body of the man she loved. He looked okay and he was smiling, but she could see the dark circles and lines of stress etched across his features.

Deciding that now was the time for gentleness, she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. Burrowing her head into his chest, she realized how much she‘d missed him. The last two days had been unbearable. Not knowing where he was, if he was okay, if they were going to get him back.

"I‘m okay, B‘Ella."

Squeezing him a little tighter, as if to reassure herself, she released him and took a step back. "And you‘d better stay that way, if you know what‘s good for you."

Tom smiled back at her and ran a hand across the side of her face.

He had missed her so much.

"If you two wouldn‘t mind, this is a sickbay, not a place for a romantic liaison," the Doctor stated with feigned annoyance as he stepped out of his office. "I told Ms. Torres that you were free to go, but that you are to rest and I do mean rest," he gave them both his sternest look, "also, the Captain has postponed your meeting until tomorrow morning."

Taking B‘Elanna‘s hand, Tom pulled her toward the door, "Thanks, Doc."

As they made their way toward his quarters, Tom cast a glance toward the woman at his side. "So, when do you have to go back on duty?"

Smiling at him, B‘Elanna replied, "You‘ve got me all to yourself until tomorrow morning, Helmboy."


Seeing the gleam in his eyes, B‘Elanna knew that part of the night was definitely not going to be spent resting.

Entering his quarters, Tom didn‘t even wait for the doors to close before pulling his B‘Ella into his arms and capturing her lips in a very deep, very long kiss. Things were definitely looking up.

Pulling back, B‘Elanna looked into the blue eyes of the man she loved. She knew that he should be resting, but the need to be together was strongly suppressing common sense. Taking his hand, she pulled him toward the bedroom. Eventually, they‘d follow the Doctor‘s orders, but not just yet. She wanted to show him how well he could be worshiped by her.

The End.