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 46


I came to with a start, sitting up so quickly that the various
members of my father's crew who were hovering over my bed leapt back
in astonishment.

"Where are we?" I gasped

"You're on the USS HPTS, Tom, we're taking you back to Earth" a voice

"I mean where the FUCK are we in space you moron? And what the hell
kind of name is HPTS anyway?" I snapped, swinging my legs off the bed
and jumping to my feet. I swayed a little, admittedly, but I was so
infused with my new enthusiasm that I wasn't going to let a little
dizziness put me off.

The ensign gaped at me, opening and closing his mouth wordlessly in
surprise at my apparent return from the dead.

"Okay," I said "Just tell me how far we are from Deep Space 9"

"Um, well, that is we are about 12 hours away at warp 6" the ensign

I was momentarily surprised by the answer and then I realised that we
had taken a roughly parallel course with Voyager, only at a slight
tangent since we were aiming directly for Earth, therefore if we
turned around now we would arrive only a few hours behind her.

"Take me to the bridge" I ordered, and the young ensign blanched but
responded automatically to an order from a Paris and led me meekly to
the bridge.

As I emerged from the turbolift, the entire bridge crew did a double

"Lieutenant Paris," the Captain acknowledged after he had managed to
close his jaw "I had been informed that you were - um -`indisposed'"

"The reports of my imminent demise were no doubt greatly exaggerated,
Captain" I grinned  "Tell me, what did the Admiral say when you
reported my illness?"

The stocky Captain turned puce. " Well, ahem, well we, that is I
didn't, well I"

"Didn't tell him" I finished smoothly.

I had been banking on the fact that the crew would have been too
terrified to let my father know I was so ill. Since this was my
father's private yacht it would be crewed by low-ranking subordinates
who couldn't get posted onto proper military vessels. I was sure that
even the Captain would be easy to intimidate.

"Well, ahem, No, but then it's just as well isn't it? I mean since
you look so hale and hearty now!" The Captain said with a weak smile

Since I knew that I still looked and felt like an animated skeleton I
had to admire his nerve.

"I don't want to cause you undue concern, Captain but
my `indisposition' was a symptom of an ongoing condition. It appears
that I left my medication on Voyager in my haste to depart. Unless we
head for DS9 now, I'm sure that a relapse will be inevitable" I lied

"But my orders are to escort you to Earth without delay" he spluttered

"Not much point delivering a corpse, Captain. I don't think that my
father would be very pleased. I'm sorry to inconvenience you but we
will simply have to turn around and go to DS9. I'm sure you wouldn't
want to have to explain to my father that you were only 12 hours away
from fetching my medicine and you didn't do it."

"Nobody told me you were `medically' ill" The Captain muttered

"What do you expect after all these years in the Delta Quadrant? Of
course we all picked up some viruses. In fact, come to think of it,
it would probably be a good idea for all of your crew to get
immunized. Who knows what I might transmit to you in the next few
days, in fact, you could all be infected now. I must admit you look a
little feverish, Captain."

The Captain mopped at his brow, which had definitely begun to glisten
as my words sank in.

"Delta Quadrant viruses, hey?" he muttered nervously

"No natural immunity, Captain, it's amazing any of us survived as
long as we did. Of course we had a sickbay. As I understand, there
isn't a doctor on the USS HPTS is there?" I asked smiling sweetly

"Ensign J'harm'n, set course for DS9, Warp 8" The Captain snapped,
looking at me as though I carried the plague.

With a wide grin of thanks I offered my hand to the Captain, he
pretended not to see it and shuffled back a few paces until he was
out of my reach.

"Perhaps I should return to my quarters until we arrive." I murmured

"Yes, yes lad, do that, have a lie down, leave us to get you to DS9"
the Captain muttered, desperate to get me off the bridge.

"Thank you, Sir, you won't regret this" I said blithely.

At least not until my father found out, I thought, with a pang of
guilt, but then again, they would hardly have turned around if I had
told them the truth, would they?


It took hours for the crew to disembark from Voyager. One by one we
were processed through a petty bureaucratical system of
identification, debriefing and assignment of temporary quarters.

Surprisingly, the notification of the Maquis crewmembers' pardons
turned out to be true, even if the Starfleet officials assigned to
the task gave them to us with an attitude of great reluctance.

Personally I was initially treated with a modicum of respect but as
soon as I made it clear that I had no intention of remaining in
Starfleet, I found myself unceremoniously dumped in the queue with
the rest of the crew.

I noticed that Kathryn and Tuvok were swept past the queue like a
pair of visiting dignitaries, and taken to a no doubt rapturous
heroes welcome. The rest of us were processed like so many illegal
immigrants, our belongings searched and samples of our DNA taken for

It was a sobering experience.

I was glad that I was there to keep the tempers of the crew in check
as we went through this humiliating process and I was furious that
Kathryn had abandoned us to the wolves without even a backwards

I saw Neelix hustled away by some officials and was concerned enough
to try and follow but two grim security guards prevented me following
and I was too aware of my role as protector of the others to risk an
incident right then.

Even the original Starfleet crew were forced through a ritual of
reaffirming their original loyalties and pledging their ongoing
allegiance to Starfleet before they were allowed to pass onto the

Despite my intense sorrow at the deaths of B'Elanna and Seven, I was
glad that they were spared the harrowing ordeal. B'Elanna's temper
and Seven's insecurity would not have coped well with the situation.

In my capacity as leader, I felt constrained to wait until every last
member of Voyager's crew had been released before venturing onto DS9
to find Angel, who had been passed through freely as soon as we

The atmosphere on the other side of the docking bay doors was so
different that it was overwhelming.  The promenade was thronged with
welcoming civilians. Dozens of Bajorans had come aboard to
specifically welcome the ex-Maquis. Even the military personal wore
huge smiles and were friendly and helpful.

Of course, the presence of several news crews with live vid-cams
probably had a lot to do with the change in attitude from the

Despite the petty way in which Starfleet had taken the private
opportunity to humiliate us, public opinion on the heroic return of
Voyager had obviously tied their hands. My crew was therefore safe.
Which meant I could now depart for Earth.

"Commander Chakotay! What an honor to meet you again!"

I spun in surprise at the familiar sarcastic voice and my heart sank.

"Commodore Benson." I acknowledged tightly

"Well as I live and breathe, I never expected to see you in a
Starfleet uniform again, Chakotay, not after the way you left us,
must be hard to find good crew in the Delta Quadrant."

Since I clearly remembered removing two of his front teeth during my
resignation speech, I thought his comment was pretty mild

"I see that orthodontists have been doing a cracking trade in my
absence," I said mildly

"If I had my way you'd" Benson started only to jump as a news-cam got
thrust in his face, "You'd get a medal, Commander" he ad-libbed
furiously and I had to smile. He had always been quick on his feet.
After all, on our last meeting I had been intending to punch him in
the nose as I recalled.

"You're too kind, Commodore" I replied smoothly "I can't wait for the
opportunity to catch up with where we left off!" and I turned away
towards the promenade.

It took forever to wend my way through the throng. Over and over I
had my hands grabbed and shaken as various members of my old crew
dragged their families to greet me. It was unbelievable how many
people had managed to arrive in time to meet us. Though to be honest,
most of the Maquis originated from nearby worlds in the DM zone. Most
of the Starfleet crewmembers would have to wait several more days to
be reunited with their families

Which of course reminded me that Tom was already more than halfway to
Earth by now. I was frantic to catch him before he actually reached
Earth. Once his father had him in his clutches, who knew when I might
see him again?

Unless we departed immediately I knew there was no chance of doing
so, but I couldn't find Angel anywhere.  There was no point in taking
any other ship since only Angel's was fast enough for us to get a
chance to catch up with the USS HPTS.

After several fruitless hours, I finally gave up my search and went
to the temporary quarters that had been assigned to me. I took a
shower and changed into civilian clothes.

At last Angel arrived, looking flustered and angry.

"Where the fuck have you been?" I snapped by way of greeting

He just blinked at my tone and sat down on the edge of the bed.

"They won't let us depart yet!" He griped "I've spent the last six
hours trying to get my ship released from Voyager's shuttle bay but
they won't have it."

"Bastards, I'll sort it out." I growled, heading for the comm unit

Angel restrained me with a gentle hand on my arm.

"Don't Chak. I've finally managed to get them to talk reasonably to
me. They are trying to resolve the problem. If you go in guns blazing
you'll just put their backs up."

"So when WILL they release your ship?"

"Reading between the lines, I think they are just making sure that
you attend the party tonight. It would be bad publicity for them if
you raced off before the "Welcome Home" speech. Since it's being
broadcast live!" Angel grinned wryly.

"What bloody party?"

"The whole crew are going to be in a place called "Quarks", only I
gather it isn't really big enough so they've spent the last three
days knocking down walls." Angel laughed "They don't want the guest
of honor escaping after all their effort."

"The guest of honor will be Kathryn Janeway. The only reason they
want me there is to parade on her leash, so she can say `Look at my
tamed Maquis wolf! Aren't I clever!'"

"I thought you liked the Captain." Angel murmured in surprise

"Oddly enough, I did once." I replied "But either she's changed or I
never really saw her clearly before."

"So you'll attend the party?"

"I don't seem to have any choice, do I?"

"Better get dressed then."

"I am dressed"

"I meant in your uniform, Chakotay."

"I don't have a uniform, Angel. We're home."

"But I - I thought they'd offered to re-instate your commission."
Angel said in bewilderment

I looked at him suspiciously. How the hell had he known?

"I declined, only I didn't know it was general knowledge" I replied
shortly, as a little voice in my head began to insistently whisper
that maybe the source of Angel's information was the same person who
had conveniently impounded his ship.

"Oh, someone mentioned it when I was trying to get my ship released"
Angel replied, flushing slightly.

"We are going after Tom" I stated firmly, watching his face closely
for his response.

"Of course we are, Chakotay" Angel replied with such innocent
surprise that I felt ashamed of my doubts.

"Let's go to this bloody party, then. The sooner we get there, the
faster we'll be able to escape" I said firmly

"Sure, Chak. All you have to do is look relaxed and happy, and glad
to be back. I'm sure they'll let us leave as soon as the speeches are
over" Angel replied soothingly.

As I followed him to "Quark's" I knew that he was probably right,
however, as I figured it, there was now no way in hell to catch up
with Tom before he disembarked.  I was not naïve enough to imagine
that it was co-incidence, however it was probably completely unfair
of me to blame Angel.

It was more likely that Admiral Owen Paris had engineered the delay,
probably assisted by Kathryn and Tuvok.

If only my father's advice had been more practical. It was all very
well him telling me that Tom was my soulmate. It would have been a
hell of a lot more helpful if he had told me how to do something
about it.


It was only as we got within communications range of DS9 that I
realised that my plan had far too many holes in it.

All it would take would be a message from the Captain of the USS HPTS
to the officials on DS9 and he would discover that the only medical
condition that I suffered from was a broken heart.

Somehow I had to beam myself onto DS9 before he spoke to security. I
was uncertain how well DS9 was protected but in view of the recent
War with the Dominion, I was sure that an unauthorized transport
would be impossible.

My only hope of getting off my father's ship and onto DS9 without
being immediately apprehended was if I had help from inside. My old
friend Julian Bashir was posted as a doctor there. It would seem
perfectly natural for me to put in a call to DS9's Sickbay and
perhaps my call would convince the Captain that my story was genuine.
At least for long enough for me to beam off. I knew that the panic I
had inspired in him about the mythical virus would mean he would soon
be contacting officials to inquire about immunizations and then my
deception would be revealed.

I called the bridge from my Conn. unit and requested a person to
person communication with Doctor Bashir.

"Of course, Lieutenant" The Captain replied "Um, are you feeling
unwell again?"

"I think that it would be a good idea, for the safety of your crew,
if I was beamed direct to DS9's Sickbay." I replied smoothly, "Just
to be on the safe side"

"Oh, of course, I'll contact DS9 immediately"

"It's better if I speak to Dr Bashir myself, he'll need to know my
symptoms so he can prepare."

I held my breath as I waited for the Captain's reply.

"I'll put the call straight through to your Conn unit then" He
finally decided.

A few minutes later Julian's surprised face filled the screen.

"Tom Paris! My god. You look like death warmed over!" he spluttered

"Thanks, Jules. I love you too!" I grinned

"What are you doing here? I was told you had gone straight home."

"It's a long story. I need a favour Jules, a huge one."

"Anything" he replied generously

"You need to authorise me beaming aboard as a medical emergency"

"Well, that wouldn't be hard to pull off since you look dead already"
Julian laughed gently but his brown eyes were filled with genuine

"Only there'll be people coming after me almost immediately, I think.
I need to get away from sickbay as soon as possible and I'll need you
to pretend I'm still there for as long as you can manage it."

"What have you done this time, Tom?" Julian asked sadly

"I've fallen in love with someone."

"Well that's not a crime!" He spluttered in surprise

"That's what YOU think, Jules and if I don't get to him now, I might
lose him forever."

"Him?" Jules asked in astonishment and then a wry grin crept over his
face "Hell, Tom, if I'd known you were into guys I'd have snapped you
up myself back in the academy!"

"Will you help me?"

"Will I get court martialled for this?"


He looked at me pensively for a few minutes and then grinned
"Shit, won't be the first time. Okay Tom, I'll set it up. Get to the
transporter room."

"Oh, Jules, find out where Chakotay is for me so I can hit the ground

"Chakotay? The big Maquis with the gorgeous ass?"

"Yeah, and it's my ass, Jules, so hands off" I grinned back

Julian smirked wickedly and switched off.

As I made my painful way to the transporter room I realised that "hit
the ground limping" would be a more apt description.