ANGEL By Morticia


ST: Voyager C/P

Rating. SLASH, m/m NC-17


Archive: Anywhere, just let me know, please
Disclaimer: Tom, Chak et al are Paramount's (lucky devils) Angel is
mine (yippee!)

Part 40


Three days before the intended attempt to traverse the wormhole back
to the Alpha Quadrant, I sat in my office in sickbay, carefully
watching Tom treating a minor injury through the window, and
contemplated my uncertain future.

The Captain had assured me that my program had developed to such an
extent that I would now be considered self-aware. I would be treated
as a new life form. I wouldn't be decompiled and replaced by a more
modern program.

I wanted to believe her, of course, but there were no guarantees.
There was no way of knowing what would happen to me. She had quoted
the example of Captain Picard's successful legal defense of the
android Data in an effort to quell my fears.

However, the fact that there had been people in Starfleet prepared to
claim him as property in the first place, confirmed my suspicion that
everyone would not automatically accept me as having a right to be
considered a `person'.

When all was said and done, I was just a computer program, by now
probably a badly out of date one. In addition to my concern regarding
my continued existence, I was also aware that our return would make
me effectively redundant. I might spend the rest of my existence as a
mere curiosity. Expected to perform for an audience just to justify
my inclusion in any human gathering.

I had little expectation of the return to the Alpha Quadrant being of
benefit to my own life. I supposed that was why I identified so
closely with Tom Paris. Like me he was wandering around in a complete
daze, with obviously no hope of future happiness.

He was still technically off duty and was registered as my patient.
However I had been unable to concentrate on my own duties as he sat
silently in the corner of sickbay each day, waiting for Alpha Shift
to finish so that Harry could collect him again. It was painfully
reminiscent of the months he had spent waiting for Chakotay to fetch
him after shift when he had been paralyzed.

Yet even during the long, terrible year of his incarceration in
sickbay, his presence had been less distracting to me. During his
paralysis his mind had always been aware, he had constantly griped
and complained, he had fought my ministrations every step of the way,
and yet in retrospect that had been far easier to deal with than his
current complete apathy.

So I had put him to work. Gently at first, just cleaning up and
calibrating instruments. There were far too many lethal opportunities
in sickbay to let him do anything unattended. But as the days went on
and he showed no intention of harming himself again, I began to give
him a little more responsibility, gradually easing him back into his
role as my assistant.

For years I had complained about his irreverent attitude, his
inappropriate witticisms and his failure to take his part-time role
as my assistant seriously. Now he was the perfect, compliant worker I
had always wanted.

I hated it.

I would have given anything just to see the smallest spark of
rebellion or to hear the smallest complaint. The Tom Paris I knew had
disappeared to be replaced by a soulless obedient automaton. Captain
Picard himself would have a hard time proving that Tom was still self-

Every morning, Tuvok took Tom for a counseling session, returning him
an hour later even more subdued. I was beginning to have severe
doubts whether the counseling was a good idea. Whatever Tom and Tuvok
discussed in these sessions only seemed to increase Tom's general

I was positive that Tuvok was taking the wrong approach, that Tom
needed to face Chakotay and talk things through. Everyone seemed to
have forgotten the months of devotion Chakotay had spent in this very
room, cleaning and dressing Tom, forcing him to face life as a
quadriplegic, never allowing him to give up. In my opinion, no one
could be that caring of someone that they didn't love.

I clearly remembered the day Chakotay had proposed to Tom. I had seen
the rapturous look on his face. I had never seen such unholy joy on
another face before or since. I was convinced that Tom and Chakotay
belonged together, no matter what had happened between them.

Tuvok, on the other hand, believed that Tom was better off without
Chakotay and his reinforcing of this opinion to the vulnerable young
man only seemed to be sucking out what little life remained in the

I had just decided to put my foot down and make an official complaint
about the treatment of Tom when an explosion rocked the ship and the
emergency medical klaxon sounded.

"Medical emergency" screamed an unfamiliar voice from the comm. even
as people started to materialize in sickbay carrying badly burned

As I rushed to help, I saw Tom hovering uncertainly, his face blank
with shock.

"Lieutenant Paris" I snapped furiously "Help these people"

He blinked in confusion and then his gaze cleared and he was suddenly
galvanized into action at my side. Between us we got the worst of the
victims into bio-beds and then as I dealt with the worst injuries, he
began to quietly administer first aid to the rest.

"What happened?" I asked Jim Carrey furiously as he materialised with
another patient. The side of his face was blistered and his hair and
uniform were singed. He was carrying Jenny Delanney; her body was
just a congealed mass of third-degree burns.

"The plasma injector coils blew as we made the last adjustments to
the warp engines. The whole of engineering went up in flames and a
wall of fire just blew through Jeffries tube 19. The maintenance crew
inside were incinerated" he gasped through burnt lips.

"How many casualties are there?" I asked

"I'm not sure, maybe a dozen. Dalby and Rogers were killed instantly,
B'Elanna was trapped in Jeffries tube 22 and Chakotay went in to
rescue her but neither of them came back." Carrey cried
helplessly. "I think they're dead too!"

I looked anxiously to see whether Tom had heard, but he was too busy
running a regenerator over Sue Nicolletti.

As I lifted Jenny out of Carrey's arms, I noted that it was too late,
the young woman was dead. Sadly I placed her gently on a gurney and
then rushed to help the next patient.

By the time I had managed to stabilize all of the other burn victims,
the Captain had arrived.

"How many?" She asked quietly

"Apparently Dalby and Rogers although their bodies were completely
incinerated. Jenny Delaney, Hugh Richardson and Chell. The other
patients' injuries are treatable." I replied

"B'Elanna and Chakotay are still missing, Captain" Carrey said.

The Captain looked at us both in horror but before she could speak
the air shimmered with a transporter beam and Seven materialised with
B'Elanna in her arms.

The ex-Borg was smeared with soot and blood. B'Elanna's body dangled
lifelessly from Seven's torn and blistered arms.

"You will regenerate this drone." She ordered, her eyes blank with
evident shock.

It was pitifully obvious that B'Elanna was long past any help that we
could give her.

"It's too late, Seven, B'Elanna is dead" The captain soothed

Seven backed away in violent denial, completely maddened with grief

"This drone will be repaired." She hissed threateningly

I reached forwards to take the body but Seven jerked backwards out of
my reach, keening plaintively.

"Please give her to me, Seven" I murmured softly

"I will not comply." Seven gasped desperately, tears pouring down her
face, smearing her blackened cheeks.

She didn't see Tom slip behind her and place the hypospray to her
neck. As she collapsed, I leapt forwards and caught B'Elanna's body
as it fell from her arms.

"Thank you, Tom" The Captain said in surprise at his swift and
positive action but he just looked straight through her, his eyes as
blank as Seven's had been.

I had hardly placed B'Elanna down when the sickbay doors opened and
Angel staggered in with Chakotay. For a moment, looking at the savage
burns on the Commander's face, I feared that he too was dead.

"Quickly, please" Angel gasped "He's dying"

Rushing forwards with a tricorder I registered that Chakotay was
still alive, if only just. Heat and smoke had seared his lungs and he
was barely breathing.

"Get him on that bed" I ordered and Tom rushed forward to help Angel
carry the commander. As I quickly worked to repair Chakotay's lungs,
Tom grabbed two regenerators and giving one to Angel showed him how
to use it.

Even as I struggled to save Chakotay's life I was struck by the
pathos of the scene. Both the men who loved him were working side by
side in an effort to repair the horrendous burns on his hands and

When I was sure he was stabilized, I left the commander to their
tender ministrations and concentrated on my other patients.

Finally the battlefield conditions eased. The crew with minor
injuries left. Five injured people were now safely attached to bio-
beds and were stable and healing. Seven was sedated on the sixth bed.
Four covered bodies lay on gurneys in my office.

Tom and Angel were sat either side of Chakotay's bed, each holding
one of the Commander's hands in quiet desperation.

The Captain turned a tear-streaked face to me.

"How could it happen now?" She asked, "So close to home? How could
they have survived so long only to die now?  What happened? What went

"It was my fault, Captain" Carrey said, tears of grief and shame
pouring down his cheeks. "I ran the diagnostics on the new system. I
killed them. I killed them all. It was my fault."

I expected the Captain to explode in anger. Instead she put a
comforting hand on the engineer's shaking shoulders.

"If it WAS your fault, and until we check we won't know, then you
made a mistake, Jim. That's all. You were dealing with an unfamiliar
technology on an engine that has been patched together for years. We
need you Jim, now B'Elanna is - is gone; we need you to get the
engines back on line. You need to concentrate on that now if we are
going to get home." She replied urgently as though she could simply
order him to cease his grief.

I looked at her in shock

"I've heard the engine room has been destroyed." I reminded her.

"Most of the damage was contained before it affected critical
systems. The casualties were due to a backdraft from the explosion.
The only real damage was to flesh and bone." She replied sadly "The
new warp core is still usable."

I looked at her in disbelief. The only way she could know those facts
was if she had checked before she arrived in sickbay. I couldn't
believe that she had actually checked on the engine room before
finding out how the crew were.

As though reading my thoughts, she explained

"I made a promise to get everyone home, Doctor. Despite today's
tragedy, that is exactly what I intend to do."

"Not everyone, Captain" I said, nodding at the gurneys significantly.

"No, not everyone" She agreed sadly, then she shrugged and left

I watched the doors close behind her and simply stood in
contemplation for a long time.

I was beginning to think I was the only sane crewmember left on the


"You saved him"

I jerked in surprise at Tom's soft words. For a moment I contemplated
lying, but I just couldn't do it.

"No I didn't. It was Seven. She broke though the bulkhead into the
Jeffries tube to rescue B'Elanna. I just followed her through." I
admitted, remembering how I had been frozen in terror at the sound of
B'Elanna and Chakotay's screams of anguish as they burned.

"Oh" he said. He was quiet for a long time before he added "Still,
you brought him back here."

"Yes" I agreed quietly

We lapsed into silence again, maintaining our vigil over Chakotay.

"You're hurt," Tom said vaguely, some time later

I looked down in surprise at the burns on my hands and arms. As soon
as I became aware of them, they immediately began to ache.

"Yes" I said

He reached over Chakotay with the regenerator and silently began to
heal my burns.

"Thank you" I said, surprised at his actions

"It's my job." He replied softly

"I thought you were a pilot," I said thoughtlessly

"Not anymore" he said sadly and I felt a dart of regret that I had
inadvertently wounded him so badly. It had been more than enough that
I had returned to reclaim my beloved. It was a shame that I had
destroyed Tom's life in the process.

"I'm sorry," I said, and I didn't just mean about his job, I meant
about everything.

Tom shrugged carelessly although his face was a mask of grief.

"S'Okay. It's not your fault."

I couldn't think of an answer and Tom didn't seem to expect one so we
just sat there silently as the hours passed. Eventually I dozed,
waking to see Tom running a hand lovingly over Chakotay's face,
tracing his tattoo with his delicate fingers. Instead of the expected
jealousy as I saw my rival stroking my beloved, I just felt an
overwhelming sense of sadness.

Tom looked at me furtively, I feigned sleep and then watched him bend
down and give Chakotay a soft, tender kiss on the forehead and then
another on his lips. I was just deciding enough was enough when
Chakotay began to stir and Tom jerked back in guilty shock.

Chakotay's eyes began to flutter as he struggled back to
consciousness. Tom abruptly let go of his hand and stood up, backing
slowly away from his bed.  I looked at the young man in surprise. His
secret kisses had completely proven to me that his vocal rejection of
Chakotay had been just an act.

"Where are you going, Tom?" I asked in confusion.

He looked at me with miserable, apologetic eyes.

"I just needed to know he was okay. I'll go now." He mumbled and
quickly walked out of the room.

As he left, relinquishing my beloved to me, giving up all claim, I
was surprised at how hollow my victory felt.

Especially when Chakotay's first waking word was "Tom?"