Kathryn had arrived at Auckland, had cleared security and then had asked to see Tom Paris. The obviously bored guard at the inner gates had checked her ID again and then let her through with a vague wave in the direction of the exercise yard.
"Knowing Paris, he'll either be in the gym "giving the guys a work out" or in the sickbay, getting his ass stitched back up again," he told her coldly.
She shuddered at the casual way he had said it, as though it was a daily occurrence. Then again, she hadn't really expected anything else.
The guard at the next security gate informed her that Tom was actually in the showers getting cleaned up for her, since his lawyer had called by and had advised him she was on her way.
"You planning to take him with you straight away?" The guard asked, his disappointment obvious.
She had been planning to send back a couple of Security Guards to collect him , but the expression on the Prison Guard's face wiped away any doubts she had about escorting Tom herself. She wasn't leaving him here for a moment longer than she had to, she decided.
"I am," she stated firmly.
"Waste of time," the Guard spat. "He's a cock-sucker, not a cunt-licker. He won't be much use to you, honeybun."
Kathryn stiffened in outrage, her diminutive frame quivering with fury that he dared to speak to a Starfleet Captain in such a manner, but before she could formulate the right words to make him quake in his boots, the gate opened and a still bedraggled young blond was pushed out into the corridor.
Water was still dripping from his hastily washed hair and down his long-limbed frame, which was so tightly sheathed in a grey prison jumpsuit that he looked more like a calendar model in a costume than a genuine prisoner.
Shit, he *was* a good looking young man, she realised.
"I'm Captain Kathryn Janeway. Your father sent me," she said bluntly.
For a moment, a look of such sadness filled his expressive face that she had an insane urge to hug him. He looked so young and defenseless, with his shoulders slumped in defeat and his eyes so blue and haunted. Then he straightened himself, fixed a smile of such smug arrogance on his face that he was suddenly slapable rather than huggable, and he suggestively drawled.
"I'm all yours, Ma'am. What do you want me to do for you?"
The guard sniggered and made a lewd gesture.
"Follow me," Kathryn snapped, her cheeks burning.
She spun on her heels and marched back down the corridor, her spine stiff with anger. She didn't even check to see whether he was following.
It wasn't until they were both sat in the public hover that would take them back to San Francisco that she wondered whether she should have insisted on restraints. He didn't look dangerous though. Neither did he look like he wanted to run. If anything he was as relaxed in his seat as a lazy cat and still that slightly smug smile completely masked his emotions.
Kathryn hadn't been sure what she would find in Auckland. From the rumors she had heard about the high security prison, and more recently the reports of the way Tom Paris was apparently being treated by the other inmates, she had expected to find a quivering, beaten wreck of a man. The only evidence of injury that she could see in Tom, though, was the almost glass-like quality of his eyes.
As soon as the false smile had slipped over his features, his haunted expression had ceased so abruptly that she could almost forget that she had seen it. His eyes couldn't lie though. They contained more suggestion of pain endured than any one person should ever have seen.
Not many people would notice something like that though, she decided, and then only if they were looking specifically for it. Other than his eyes, Tom looked like the pair of them were simply out on a Sunday jaunt. Somehow he even managed to make his plain prison overall look like a fashionable item of clothing.
Kathryn doubted anyone on the transport had even an inkling that Tom was a prisoner on parole. In fact she had seen several of them eyeing Tom suggestively, and he had responded to all of the searching, interested glances with a coy smile, despite the fact that she had it on best authority that Tom had spent the last year being repeatedly gang-raped by the other inmates.
How the hell was he managing to act so cool, she wondered. Perhaps that was why people had always assumed Tom was a spy, because of his obvious acting ability, she decided. That and the fact of who his father was, of course.
Before setting off, she had requested and received a surprisingly thick dossier on Admiral Paris's only son. Sifting through the files of reports she had ended up more confused than when she had started.
According to the reports, Tom Paris was a spy, a traitor, a double agent, a triple agent, a patriot, a Maquis, a Federation plant, a Cardassian plant, a whore, a slut, a victim, a player, take your pick of any of them. They couldn't possibly be all true and it was impossible to pick the truths from the lies.
The only things she knew were irrefutable were that he was an exceedingly good looking young man and that his father hated him with a vengeance. Both were good enough reasons to agree to take him along on her hunt for the Crazy Horse. She couldn't bear the thought of him staying in Auckland for one more night. Not that he seemed bothered by the sexual abuse himself.
She had been offended by the prison reports that had suggested that Tom Paris "liked it rough". As far as she was concerned, rape was rape. Anyone who claimed their victim had "liked it" was just trying to justify something that had no defense. On the other hand, as they had been passing out of the last gate, the guard on duty had taken the opportunity to give Tom a resounding slap on the butt as he passed "for good luck" and given the tightness of Tom's clothing, Kathryn couldn't fail to notice the fact that Tom responded to the slap with an immediate erection.
So maybe Tom *was* a slut.
Although she was too professional to be interested in Tom Paris herself, she knew that the presence of a good-looking young man with sluttish tendencies always helped ship morale.
His involvement with the renegade Chakotay intrigued her. She had spoken to Will Riker who had confirmed that Chakotay was working for *them* and that both he and Chakotay had believed that Tom had been spying for his father on Chakotay's ship, which was why Chakotay had set him up to be caught.
Once she knew that one of *her* people was on board the Crazy Horse, she hadn't needed Tom Paris. Will could have contacted Chakotay and arranged a rendezvous. She would have had to take Tom anyway though, so as not to give away to Admiral Paris the fact that she was a spy herself.
As soon as Kathryn had reported that the Admiral had *his* spy on board the Crazy Horse, Will had realised two things. Firstly that Tom never had been to blame for the leaks from the ship and secondly, Chakotay was in danger. He had tried to get hold of Chakotay so that he could start looking for the traitor before Kathryn "caught" his ship.
Unfortunately, the Crazy Horse had disappeared into the Badlands some days ago and hadn't emerged again.
Since it was now patently obvious that Tom *hadn't* been working for his father, and Tom had evidently experienced severe physical and sexual abuse during his imprisonment, according to his surprisingly thin prison medical files, she had little doubt that Tom would be full of the desire for vengeance on Chakotay and would lead her straight to him.
How she would then explain Chakotay's subsequent "escape" once they had discovered and arrested the Admiral's man, was a problem she would deal with when she got to it.
For all the reports of Tom Paris being a troublemaker, the man she had collected from the prison was being remarkably docile and co-operative. Either the reports of his past misdemeanors were as wildly exaggerated as the suggestion that he was one of his father's spies, or his year in prison had battered him into submission.
Either way, she had a feeling that he would do as he was told and that would at least make it easier for her to keep him safe.
She was under orders, both from her own people and from the Admiral, that if he seemed likely to endanger her mission in any way he was to be eliminated. It was heart-wrenchingly sad that, in this brutal world of espionage that they were all entangled in, Tom Paris seemed to be considered expendable by *all* the sides of the conflict.
She was determined to try and protect him if it was at all possible. As far as she could see, Tom's only real crime was in being born the son of Admiral Paris.
She looked pretty harmless at first glance. A petite middle-aged woman who wore her hair in a bun, presumably to make her look taller and sterner, though all it really did was make her look a little old-fashioned. Although she was attractive enough, she looked a little frigid to Tom. She certainly didn't look like she was planning to jump his bones and that was enough to let him genuinely relax a little under his casual facade.
He didn't trust her though. She had clearly stated that his father had sent her so he could only assume that she was one of his operatives. That automatically meant that the calm respectable exterior of Captain Janeway hid some deep abiding kink. She was too old to be a purposefully designed operative like himself, and she didn't have that unmistakable air of a power freak, so his father had to have some hold over her, and in Tom's experience that usually came down to some form of sexual deviance.
Tom made sure that his face remained fixed in an expression that suggested both slight amusement and overall boredom. He had learnt that a tiny smug smile in an otherwise placid face tended to make people uneasy enough to avert their own eyes from him. It gave him the opportunity to observe the woman closely with his flickering eyes without her being aware of his scrutiny.
Captain Janeway was sitting a little stiffly, obviously uncomfortable with her mission and she appeared to be slightly wary of him. Her hands were loosely clasped in her lap, like a prim schoolteacher, but he could see the tension in her right shoulder that indicated that she had chosen the seemingly innocuous hand arrangement so that she had easy reach of her phaser.
It hadn't surprised him that she had refused the guard's offer to cuff him. She obviously knew that he was under orders from his father and wouldn't dare run. Even so, she was obviously still being careful.
He couldn't get a handle on her though, and that bothered him. Usually he was good at reading body language, yet there was such a pure "Starfleet Academy" aura about her that although he *knew* she had to be dirty, he couldn't see any evidence of it in her.
Which only meant that she was a well-trained actress. Not surprising really. His father only recruited the brightest and the best. And the dirtiest, of course.
He tried to picture her in tight black leather and thigh length-boots. Oddly, the image suited her. She *did* have something a bit "Dom" about her. Maybe her kink was inflicting pain rather than enjoying sex itself. He shuffled a little uncomfortably in his seat. He really didn't want to spend the next god-knew how many nights getting caned by the bitch. He was going to get enough whippings once Dukat got hold of him.
He didn't realise he had moaned out loud until he heard the Captain ask, "Are you alright Mr. Paris?"
"Yes, Ma'am. Sorry Ma'am," he replied humbly, looking down at the floor to avoid her searching glance. He wasn't fooled by the hint of concern in her voice. He understood that she was talking for the benefit of their audience.
Tom Paris looked a little pale, Kathryn decided. He had lost his mask of confidence and it had been replaced by a hang-dog, almost fearful expression. She was sure that once she had had an opportunity to explain the mission he would cheer up a little. Until she told him that she was only anticipating being off Earth for a couple of weeks, a month at most.
That's why she hadn't spoken to him at the jail. That and the listening guards. In a way it was cruel, though. What if his lawyer hadn't bothered to explain that as soon as the mission was over, Tom would be returned to Auckland to serve out the rest of his sentence?
Maybe, if Tom performed well, she could at least argue that he should be transferred to a normal prison. From what Will had told her, Tom had only flown once for the Maquis, and that mission had been intercepted. He was hardly a desperate criminal who deserved to be locked in the general population of a jail full of murderers and thugs.
The crazy thing was that all Admiral Paris had needed to do was pull in a few favors and Tom's arrest would have been swept under the carpet. He would never have gone to jail at all.
As much as she hated the Admiral for his corruption, she would have forgiven him that one small "human" act on behalf of his only son.
She looked at Tom's bowed head and sighed.
If everything went to plan, and the plant on Chakotay's ship was who they suspected it might be, maybe they would finally get a chance to put the Admiral in Auckland, for a taste of what his son had suffered.
From the hover port at San Francisco, Captain Janeway took Tom not to his father's office as he had expected, but to a small military base near the Starport. There he was issued a plain uniform, a selection of personal items and a bag containing a few articles of casual clothing. Without checking, he knew everything would fit. His father never fucked up the *small* details.
He felt more human when he changed into the uniform though.
Janeway then escorted him to a small, but clean public restaurant where she proceeded to buy him lunch. He was too busy eating, hunched protectively over his food as though he expected it to be stolen at any moment, to listen to the boring details of the mission ahead.
She told him he would be onboard with the status of "observer" and that they would be hunting for a missing Maquis ship. He nearly choked when she mentioned Chakotay's name, but carried on shoveling food into his mouth without missing a beat.
"Do you have a problem with this mission, Tom?" she asked him carefully.
"No, Ma'am," he replied, too busy mopping up the last of his gravy with a bread roll to pay more than the smallest amount of attention to her.
Either she didn't know the whole picture, or she wasn't telling. It made no odds. He knew his job was to lead her to the Crazy Horse and then escape with Seska back to Gul Dukat. What happened to anyone on Voyager or the Crazy Horse after that was none of his business. Since Tuvok had probably already messaged his father with the hiding place, the trip wouldn't take long.
By this time next week he would probably be hanging in Dukat's torture chamber having his skin slowly flayed off his body. In the meantime, all he wanted to do was stuff his stomach with food and get some decent, uninterrupted sleep, unless the Captain had other plans for his body. He decided not to ask her though, since there was no point putting the idea in her head if it wasn't there already.
He had the sinking feeling that the meal was just foreplay though. The Captain probably already had a room waiting somewhere with her whips and boots already in place.
There was no point worrying about it though, he decided fatalistically and reached for another bread roll.
Kathryn hadn't been told to feed Tom before she put him on the shuttle for DS9, but they had arrived in San Francisco earlier than she had anticipated since she hadn't had to call for an armed escort to escort them, so she had taken the opportunity to give the young man the first decent meal he had probably had in a year.
Given the way he ravenously wolfed down everything he was offered, and all the bread rolls in the basket too, she was glad she had bothered. She didn't care if he *was* the Admiral's son and a would-be Maquis to boot, she kept her dog better than the guards at Auckland had kept Tom Paris.
When Tom finally looked replete, and the old-fashioned clock on the restaurant wall indicated it was time to go, she paid the bill with her own personal credit card rather than her expenses one and then asked Tom to follow her.
He sighed a little sadly, then put his smiling facade back on and followed her without a word.
He seemed surprised to be led directly to the Military Starport and directed to a shuttle.
"Voyager is at DS9," she told him. "You are expected on board at 1800. Try and report in on time, Tom. Don't blow this chance you've been given. You should arrive at the station by 1600, so you'll have a couple of hours free first."
She handed him a small handful of credits.
"Just in case," she said. "But if you turn up drunk, I'll have your ass, Mister."
When she saw him turn a little pale, she realised it was a bad choice of words, but she couldn't take them back without somehow making it worse.
"I'll see you on Voyager, Tom," she said with false cheerfulness.
"Yes, Ma'am. Thank you, Ma'am," Tom replied, obviously completely bewildered.
He stood awkwardly for a moment, just looking at her in confusion, then he picked up his kit bag and headed for the shuttle.
Kathryn watched him go with a sad smile on her face. A very small part of her hoped he'd have the sense to hit the ground running at DS9 and not stop until he was as far away from the Federation as he could escape to.
Something told her that he'd report for duty though, in which case she was really going to have to break his habit of calling her Ma'am.