Title: Red River 1/5
Authors: Isabelle and Maxine
Pairing: C/P 
Rating: PG-13 
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Voyager and it's characters, we don't. But 
the Alinnidans are Isabelle's
Archiving is okay as long as you let us know.
Feedback: Of course we want feedback
Special Note: Thank you Leone for helping with this story.  

Red River 1

 Chakotay walked thought the small Alinnid village. It was one of the 
most beautiful places he had ever seen in his life. The village was 
high up in the mountain over shadowing a large valley down many 
kilometers below. The buildings made of white rocks reminiscent of 
the ancient Aztecs cities back on Earth. Yet, the well-furnished 
reddish leaf bushes that were surrounding the various paths through 
the village and the purple sky were giving the place a total 
different flavor.

 Flavor, Chakotay ponder some more. Yes, this place had a lot of 
taste. Taste in the food that was prepared, in the soft pastel 
clothing that was worn by the inhabitants, in the landscape.. It was 
a place of true heaven where children were laughing as they were 
running around playing different games. 

Chakotay and Tom Paris had found this paradise by accident. An 
electrical storm had forced the two Starfleet officers to put down 
the Delta Flyer on the nearest planet available. They had hoped to 
stay hidden from the local inhabitants until they could take off 
again. Unfortunately, their entry into the atmosphere had been 
noticed. Four hours after landing in a small clearing, an Alinnidan 
rescue team had carefully joined them. It had been reassuring for all 
of them to find out that both parties were friendly.

 Discovering that the Prime Directive would not be an issue had been 
of equivalent relief for the two Starfleet officers. Chakotay found 
Tom near the fountain in the village's zocolo. Children who had been 
enthusiastically showing one thing after another to the courteous 
pilot surrounded him. He had to admit that Tom was very good with 
children, attending to all of them with genuine interest. It was not 
surprising considering that Tom was himself a grown up child, 
Chakotay thought with a smile. 

However, his smile faded quickly as he noticed once again the fatigue 
that had plagued the younger man ever since the both of them had 
submitted themselves to the Alinnids' purification ritual. After the 
ceremony, Tom had been pale and would have slept through the day if Chakotay had not woken him. Almost a day later, he was still not 
fully recovered. 

Chakotay could only wish that he would have been able to bring a 
tricorder with him, but the Alinnids had been adamant that no 
technology should be taken into the village. Aware of the 
inhabitants' history with the Borg, their concerned were 

Chakotay kept on watching from a distance while a child put some sort of big egg into Tom's hands. The man held it gently as all the 
children gathered around him, waiting for something to happen. A few 
minutes later, the shell started to crack. A colorful bird emerged 
from the egg. Blue, yellow, and purple feathers shined under the 
midday sun. Mesmerized by the beauty of the small creature, they all 
contemplated its struggle to fly away in an innate gesture.

 It finally took off a few moments later leaving a rainbow of colors 
in the air and some red liquid dropping from Tom's hands. The red 
liquid automatically prompted some concerns in the Commander as if a red light had shown up. His gaze flew upon Tom's had as the younger man was doing the same. For a second, they both looked with amazement at what was quickly becoming a stream of blood running along Tom's long fingers. Chakotay gave himself a mental kick and quickly jogged and knelt by Tom's side. He ignored the concerned inquiries of the children as he gently examined Tom's hand. 

"It's only scratches, Chakotay," Tom whispered somewhat captivated by the amount of blood poring out.

"It shouldn't be bleeding so much," Chakotay pointed out worriedly.

  "No, it shouldn't," Tom agreed. 

"One would think that I'm on blood thinner or something," he added. 
Finally looking up at Chakotay with confused and tired blue eyes. 

"Chakotay, is everything all right?" Came the concerned voice of 
Oromocto. Chakotay looked to the village's leader. 

"Tom has a few scratches on his hands. It's nothing serious. Still, 
we could use some bandages to stop the bleeding."

  "The bleeding?" Oromocto asked puzzled. "I am afraid that I 
don't understand what you mean." Chakotay turned to Tom, who 

"Some species don't have blood," the medical assistance answered his unspoken question. 

"Is blood the red liquid streaming from Tom's hands?" inquired one of the children.

  "Yes, it is. When one loses blood, we say he or she is 
bleeding," Chakotay explained. 

"Does it hurt?" asked a little girl. Tom smiled at the children.

  "Not really," he assured them. "It's uncomfortable that's 
all. The blood is there to carry oxygen and nutrients through our 

"I see," Oromocto understood. "This is like our plasma gel." 

"Your plasma is a gel? That's interesting," Tom said. "We have plasma too. It's a part of our blood. We also have red blood cells that 
carry iron. That's what gives blood its color."

 "Losing plasma gel can be very dangerous. I would assume losing 
blood is the same for you," Oromocto said. Tom nodded his affirmation.

"We should not wait any further to cover those wounds. Please, follow 

Twenty minutes later, Tom was quietly resting on comfortable cushions in a corner of the room they shared. His hands were tightly bandaged, 
still blood was piercing through. The bandages would have to be 
changed soon. Chakotay stood in the doorway patiently awaiting the 
return of Oromocto with some water. He gave another sideways look 
towards the younger man. Seeing the pilot not fidgeting for so long 
was more than unusual. What was more worrisome was the way Tom's skin seemed flushed and clammy. He still could not understand how Tom could lose so much blood from superficial wounds.

 He had seen Tom receive cuts before, he blood seemed normal then. If it had not been the case, he would never been granted clearance from the Doctor. His sudden condition had to be due to their presence on this planet or, even more specifically, with the purification ritual 
they had gone through the day before.  At last, Oromocto arrived with 
a bowl of water and clean bandages. Together, they knelt by Tom's 

  "Tom, how are you feeling?" Chakotay asked.

 "Like I've been ran over by something. You?" Chakotay gave him a 
small smile. 

"I'm fine." He was touched that Tom was still concerned for his 

  The medical assistant had been afraid the commander could 
develop the same condition that he had. The fact that it had not 
happened yet did not mean the Native American was home free. Chakotay had promised he would be careful. He wet a piece of cloth and refreshed Tom's face with it.

  "Is that better?" 

"Oh, yeah." Chakotay gave Oromocto the cloth so that he could start 
changing the bandages.

  He was taken aback by the amount of blood that was still 
pouring from the cuts. The blood was not his usual bright red. It was 
much more diluted.

  "You think that you could find me a raw steak?" Tom joked. 
Chakotay allowed himself a grin more for Tom's sake then for his own. The joke was not funny. It was Tom's way of letting him that he was 
seriously anemic.

"Oromocto," Chakotay began.

  "The purification Tom and I went through yesterday, can it 
render somebody ill?" 

"It has been known to change people," the man replied. 

"Change people?" Tom asked suspiciously. He did not like the sound of 
that neither did Chakotay. 

"It removes all which makes you impure, things that are foreign to 
your nature really are like viruses, bacteria, and drugs. I even saw 
it remove technology from a body." 

"I thought technology was not part of your culture." Chakotay said.

 "That was before this rule was made, before the Borg invasion. Most 
of our people were living in the valley then. One day during the 
third circle, a ship crashed. Inside, we found an injured Borg drone. 
We did not know how to heal it, so we took him to the purification 
fountain and a miracle happened. The machines disappeared and the 
Borg was a man again. But then, the dark days came upon us." 

"The Borg always come back for their own, and they came to retrieve 
their former drone, Chakotay stated. 

"Yes. We lost many friends. We survived by taking refuge in the 
mountains. It seems their technology doesn't work here, so they could not find us. Eventually, they left." They share an uncomfortable 
silence for a minute or two. 

"Chakotay," Tom whispered quietly.

 "I'm going to bleed to death." Chakotay met Tom's blue gaze and any comment he wanted to make to refute the younger man's statement got caught in his throat.

  There was that expression in his eyes, the one of a man who 
suddenly understood everything. There were reflecting fear and 
resignation. Over years, Chakotay had learned to recognize that 
behind Tom's nonchalance there was always hope for something better. Now, all he could see was fatality.

  "What makes you say that?" he asked gently.

 "That purification fountain, it can go to the gene level. Right?"

 "Yes," Oromocto replied.

 "One of my great grandfathers' was born with hemophilia. It's a gene 
disease," he explained to their alien friend. 

"It was cured with gene therapy. It is passed on from one generation 
to the next, but it's still artificial. My genes must have been 
changed, Chakotay, because I have all the symptoms of hemophilia."

  Chakotay wanted to dispute Tom's diagnostic. That had no 
proof that it was what had really happen. They should not jump to 
conclusions. They should wait and see. However, they had no time for 
that. Tom was still bleeding. They were stranded on a planet, four 
hours away from the shuttle and a dermal regenerator. They had to 
assume the worse and start acting now before it was too late.

  We are going back to the shuttle," he decided. Tom shook his 
head. He was never going make it.

  "Chakotay," he tried to argue. 

"I don't want to hear it," he cut the younger man. 

"You can do it. Besides, you don't have a choice, Lieutenant." Tom 
sighed.  Oromocto got to his feet and Chakotay followed suite.

  "We won't make it before night fall," the Alinnidan said on 
his way to the door.

 "I'll make the proper arrangements." 

"Thank you," Chakotay told him sincerely.

Fifteen minutes later, after hugs and good wishes had been made, they were on their way. Chakotay walked behind Tom, a protective hand constantly on the pilot shoulder. Oromocto had insisted that the 
Commander should not carry anything and that he should concentrate on guiding Tom. The native had been right. The path was difficult for 
someone who did not know the terrain. Not only did he have to steady 
Tom, he had to be careful with his footing as well. 

They walked a steady pace for half-hour before taking a break. Tom's 
bandages needed to be changed once more. Chakotay led Tom to rock on which the Lieutenant could sit.

 "Here, have some water," he said, bringing the canteen to the 
younger man's month.

  Tom was hot and dehydrated. He drank greedily. Chakotay then 
damped a piece of cloth and wiped Tom's face as he had done before. 

"I'm slowing us down," Tom said as Chakotay started to undo the 

"Not that much," Chakotay assured him.

 "Your mountain climbing experience is showing. Without it, things 
could be much worse." Their friend agreed. 

"There," Chakotay said once his task was completed.

  "Are you ready to go?" Tom nodded. 

As they kept going down toward the valley, Chakotay watched Tom's 
condition deteriorate at an alarming rate. They were walking much 
more slowly and needed to rest more often. Tom had started to feel 
cold a hour trough their journey. The air was getting more frigid as 
the darkness was slowly falling upon them. They had wrapped a blanket around Tom. Chakotay was keeping a protective embrace around him. Tom did not seem to mind. Chakotay wondered if he even noticed. Soon, it became evident that Tom could not go further.

  "Sit here," Chakotay instructed the pilot gently.

  "I'm so cold," Tom whispered. The Commander wrapped the 
blanket tighter around Tom's body. 

"I can't go on, Chakotay. I'm sorry."

"I know." Chakotay replied. 

"You'll have to stay here with Oromocto. He assured me that we're no 
longer in the mountain range, I'll be able to transport you in the 
Flyer once I get there." 

Tom nodded. "I'll be here." he assured him.

 "Chakotay, I'm glad you're the one who's with me." Chakotay smiled 
as he patted Tom's shoulder.

  "I'll see you in a hour and a half."

  "Chakotay?" Tom looked away, unsure of what to say next. He 
finally met the Commander's gaze, which he held for a second before 
swiftly planting a kiss on Chakotay's lips.