"You can't possibly believe I deliberately left Tom to be killed,"
His use of Tom's first name wasn't lost on the Captain, but she
refrained from commenting on that for the moment.
"Of course, I don't, Chakotay. Whatever has happened between you and
Tom, you aren't a murderer," she replied firmly.
"Then why am I under arrest?" Chakotay demanded.
"Because by appearing to believe that you are guilty, Tuvok believes
that the real culprit will become careless enough to reveal his
hand," Kathryn answered. "If Tom was conscious it would be easier to
get to the bottom of this mess, but the Doctor says it won't be safe
to wake him for another 12 hours at least."
"What culprit?" Chakotay asked in confusion. "Tom was attacked by the
natives, wasn't he?"
"His injuries were inflicted by the people who robbed him, yes, but
whoever caused his comm badge to fail is on his ship," Kathryn
"It wasn't a malfunction?"
"It was sabotaged by a high-frequency transmission deliberately sent
from a terminal on Voyager," she confirmed.
"I don't understand."
"Whoever did it had set up the computer to register when Tom
contacted the ship. A feedback loop was created when you started to
speak to him, and then someone used your own transmission to piggy-
back the disruptor down to Tom's badge."
"It doesn't make sense, Kathryn. How would anyone know what would
happen down there? Tom might *not* have been attacked and then the
whole thing would have been a waste of time."
"Tuvok believes that whoever did it was listening in to your
conversation and decided to play the odds that Tom would get into
*some* kind of trouble and need to use his comm badge. When it failed
to work, the malfunction would be traced directly back to your
"But who hates Tom enough to do that to him?" Chakotay asked in
"We are supposed to believe you do, Chakotay, and I have a few
questions to ask you about that too. However, this wasn't an attack
on Tom. It was an attack on you."
"On me? You think that someone let Tom nearly die just so that I
would be blamed?" Chakotay demanded in horror.
Kathryn nodded sadly.
"You know who did it, don't you?" Chakotay accused.
"We have a good idea, but no proof as yet," she confirmed.
"WHO THE FUCK DID IT?" Chakotay roared.
Kathryn ignored his outburst.
"I need you to answer a few questions of my own first and I'd like to
do it formally, with Tuvok present," she said.
Chakotay digested her words. He appreciated the fact that she had
taken the time to talk to him *before* he had seen Tuvok again. It
was necessary that he co-operate with the Vulcan fully and he
wouldn't have done that if he had truly believed that the outrageous
charge against him was serious.
"Of course," he replied.
"We are in possession of tricorder records that prove that Mr. Paris
suffered two severe injuries. The first involved a jaw fractured in
four places. The second involved his right wrist being broken. The
Doctor has confirmed that he treated the broken jaw and that Tom
named you as the perpetrator although for reasons as yet unexplained
he refused to press charges against you for the assault," Tuvok
"I broke his wrist too," Chakotay confirmed, deciding to save the
Vulcan from having to ask.
"Mr. Paris did not report *that* incident at all," Tuvok
replied. "The record I have received is from the data cartridge of a
"The real questions, Chakotay," Kathryn interrupted. "Are why did
you, a man known to be pacific, assault Tom so violently on two
occasions and why did he fail to report them at the time?"
Chakotay's face burned and he dropped his eyes in humiliation as he
"I punched him because I discovered that he'd only pretended to love
me. I overheard Harry telling him that he hadn't needed to sleep with
me to get his pip back, after all. A week later he came to my office
and tried to convince me to take him back. He admitted that he had
lied to me, that he had only gone out with me for what he could get
out of the arrangement. Then he said he'd fallen in love with me, so
I shouldn't care why he'd gone out with me in the first place since
it had worked out okay in the end.
"He, he touched me, Kathryn. He tried to seduce me again. And I, I
simply lost control. I was so scared of giving in, of letting him
wrap me around his finger again, that I manhandled him out of my
office. I didn't mean to break his wrist, I was just crazy and
"Oh, god, Chakotay. I had no idea. I am so sorry," Kathryn whispered,
reaching out to take his hand and squeeze it comfortingly.
"I fail to understand your reasoning, Commander," Tuvok
interrupted. "You loved him. He loved you. You were both sexually
compatible and you just admitted that you were tempted by his offer
to resume the relationship. Your decision to spurn his seduction was
"It was human, Tuvok," Kathryn replied tolerantly to her
mate. "Chakotay's emotional rejection of Tom under the circumstances
was perfectly natural."
"For a human," Tuvok sniffed disdainfully.
"So that explains why you said *your* Tom had died," Kathryn
exclaimed. "Tom turned out to be a completely different person than
you believed him to be and so you believed that your love for him was
as false as he was."
Chakotay nodded miserably.
"I *do* love him, Kathryn," he said helplessly. "And I want him and
need him, and I would never deliberately harm him, only I just can't
"I understand why you were hurt, Chakotay. But surely everyone
deserves a second chance. He said he loved you, why couldn't you try
to accept his apology?" Kathryn asked gently.
"Because his apology wasn't worth the breath he used to say it. He
really didn't understand that he had done anything wrong, Kathryn. He
said it was a game. He even accused *me* of playing games with him. I
can't even begin to understand what goes on in his head. His
behaviour, his reactions, his feelings even, are all completely alien
to everything I believe in. I can't love someone whose whole
personality and values are the complete opposite of my own, Kathryn."
"Then it is fortunate that I was on an away mission with the Captain
rather than yourself when I entered my Ponn Farr," Tuvok interrupted
Chakotay gave Tuvok a startled look.
"It's not the same. Tom is human."
"If he were *not* human, would you find it less difficult to accept
"I don't understand what you are trying to say," Chakotay complained.
"Mr. Paris is a unique individual. I myself have often found his
behaviour illogical and his attitude irreverent. However, in the
years that he has served on this ship I have often found my own
perceptions of him challenged by behaviour that did not conform to my
expectations. Out of all of the humans that I have interacted with,
Mr. Paris is one of the most complex. He is also one of the rare
humans that I would chose to call my friend."
"Even though you know he lies and manipulates people?" Chakotay
"People are a total of their traits, both good and bad, Commander.
His faults, however bad are balanced by his bravery, warm-heart and
propensity to self-sacrifice. I am not discounting the severe
personal anguish that his behaviour has evidently caused you.
However, that is your personal concern. My own judgement of Mr. Paris
is based on the whole person.
"You have described him as selfishly using you for personal gain. I
do not dispute your tale. I do, however, draw your attention to the
number of times he has voluntarily risked his life for no personal
benefit. His acceptance of the mission yesterday is a typical example
of that trait. Whatever personal selfishness he is capable of, the is
also capable of acts of great courage and selflessness."
"I know," Chakotay admitted, then he shook himself. "This
conversation is getting us nowhere. Tom and Harry are together now,
so it's irrelevant how I feel about him. The important thing is to
find out who set me up and nearly killed Tom in the process."
Tuvok and Kathryn exchanged a look.
"What?" Chakotay demanded. "What aren't you telling me?"
"Sit down, Chakotay, and don't you dare get up again until I tell you
or I'll have you transported back to the brig until you calm down
again," Kathryn warned.
"At this stage, it is purely supposition," Tuvok added. "We have no
proof of our suspicions whatsoever."
"Who?" Chakotay hissed.
Kathryn bit her lip and put a restraining hand on Chakotay's shoulder.
"We're pretty sure that it was Harry Kim," she admitted.
For a moment, Chakotay was too stunned to even react, and when he
finally did, it wasn't with the bellow of outrage that she expected,
it was with laughter.
"You cannot be serious," Chakotay laughed. "Harry worships the ground
Tom walks on. He'd never do anything that would put Tom in danger.
He'd no more have left Tom helpless on that planet than I would."
"It was Harry who brought me the tricorder evidence, Chakotay. It was
he who suggested that you had deliberately tried to kill Tom by
sending him to the planet alone. It was his suggestion that we check
your terminal for evidence that you had sabotaged Tom's comm badge,
despite the fact that no one would ever have looked for such an
occurrence without his suggestion."
"Harry?" Chakotay asked in disbelief.
"So either he is right, and you *did* try to kill Tom, or Harry has
developed psychic powers, or *he* sabotaged Tom's badge," Kathryn
"But why the hell would he do it? Why risk Tom's life just to frame
me?" Chakotay demanded.
"Perhaps Tom and Harry aren't as `together' as you thought,
Commander," Tuvok replied.
"I know I said it would be safe to wake him," the Doctor griped. "I
didn't suggest that you could interrogate him though. He will be in
considerable pain, Captain. Far too much pain to answer your
"Surely you can give him a painkiller," Kathryn argued. "We only need
to ask him a few questions and then he can sleep again."
"If he is under the influence of a narcotic, the validity of his
answers will be questionable," Tuvok warned.
"Speed is of the essence, Tuvok. We have to get to the bottom of this
before the whole ship is alerted to the fact that Chakotay is
supposedly under arrest," Kathryn reminded him.
"Methadrine," Chakotay snapped.
"Absolutely not," the Doctor protested.
"What's methadrine?" Kathryn asked blankly.
"It's barbaric," the Doctor huffed.
"It is perfectly safe and can be used with morphine," Chakotay argued.
"May I remind you that Mr. Paris is *not* a Cardassian prisoner. This
is *not* a Maquis ship, Commander," the Doctor snapped.
"WHAT'S METHADRINE?" Kathryn roared.
"It's a stimulant that works like a truth drug. Tom will be able to
talk, he actually won't be able to stop talking, and every word he
utters will be the complete and absolute truth. It's completely
harmless and as I said, it won't react with a morphine based
painkiller," Chakotay replied.
"It is completely unacceptable," the Doctor huffed.
"I agree," Tuvok stated. "It is, however, logical."
"It is an infringement of Tom's rights," Kathryn argued, extremely
uncomfortable with the idea.
"So is someone deliberately sabotaging his comm badge and leaving him
to be stabbed to death by a bunch of murdering thieves," Chakotay
growled. "Put it this way, Captain, either we give Tom this painless
drug or I pay a visit right now to Mr Kim and I assure you that
*that* won't be a painless encounter."
Kathryn realised that short of arresting him again, there was no way
she could stop Chakotay from carrying out his threat.
"Very well," she said.
He was flying, Tom decided, and grinned happily.
"Tom?" he heard the Captain say gently.
He opened his eyes and tried to look at her face. It was blurred by
the dense clouds he was floating through and kept fading in and out
of focus, which was weird, but not as weird as the fact that she was
obviously flying too. He giggled at the idea of them both floating
through the fluffy white clouds together.
"How do you feel Tom?" the Captain asked.
"Fanchastic," he slurred. His own voice didn't seem right to him,
although he couldn't pinpoint the problem. Maybe it was the altitude.
Or, oh shit, was he drunk? Fuck, he WAS drunk. In front of the
Captain. Fuck that was funny.
"Drunk," he sniggered happily.
"He says he feels drunk," Kathryn said unnecessarily. "Are you sure
this is going to work?"
"I had to give him a high dose of barbiturate first to ensure that he
would experience no pain on waking. He *has* just had intensive
surgery, Captain," the Doctor snapped.
"He'll start to come down from the high quickly," Chakotay said, with
a confidence that chilled her. She didn't want to know how her
peaceful First Officer knew so much about interrogative drugs.
"Tom," she said gently.
Tom's blue eyes tried to focus on her again.
"You cut your hair," he said. "You looked so much prettier with long
hair. I loved your long hair."
Kathryn flushed. "I guess the truth drug is working," she muttered in
"Let me," Chakotay urged.
Kathryn decided she would rather spare herself any more of Tom's
observations and stepped back to allow Chakotay to take over.
"Hello, Tom," Chakotay said, sitting on the edge of the bed so that
Tom could see him clearly.
"How are you feeling? Are you in pain?"
"My heart hurts," Tom wailed.
"You said he wouldn't feel anything," Kathryn hissed at the Doctor.
"Well I explained that the knives punctured his lung *and* his heart,
Captain. Why do you think he nearly died?" the Doctor protested. "He
shouldn't be able to feel it though," he added petulantly, as though
Tom was deliberately defying him.
Chakotay ran a gentle hand over Tom's chest.
"Where does it hurt, Tom?" he asked, his interrogation forgotten in
the face of Tom's declaration of pain.
"Everywhere," Tom sobbed. "You made me love you and you never said it
would hurt, but it did, and then you didn't love me, and that hurt
more, and I wanted to hate you, but I couldn't, `cos it was my fault
and so I hated me, but that hurt too. I hurt, and I don't want to
For a moment, Chakotay was too stunned to answer. He just sat there
telling himself, over and over, he loves me. He *really* loves me.
He's not lying. He *can't* be lying and he loves me. Tom loves me.
He shook himself abruptly.
"Tell me about Harry, Tom," he urged.
"Harry loves me," Tom answered with a sigh.
Chakotay stiffened but forced himself to continue.
"Does he Tom? That's nice."
"No it's not," Tom spat. "I hate it. I hate him `cos he hates you."
Kathryn and Tuvok exchanged a glance.
"Why do you say he hates me, Tom?" Chakotay asked.
"Because he's jealous. He knows I love you. I told him you hated me
but he doesn't trust you. He says you're dangerous."
"Dangerous to you?"
"Yeah, he says you'll just beat me up again if I talk to you. He said
you wanted to kill me. That's why you sent me down there with the
bugs. I hate bugs. Did you know I hate bugs Chak? I do. I really do.
Is that why you sent me down there? Because I hate bugs? There were
bugs everywhere. I hate bugs. Did I tell you I hate bugs?"
"Tell me about Harry, Tom," Chakotay interrupted quickly.
"Don't know if Harry hates bugs," Tom said thoughtfully. "He hates
"How do you know he hates me?"
"Because he keeps saying he'll tell the Captain what you did. He says
if I leave him he'll tell everyone what I did and you'll be so
embarrassed you'll have to leave the ship and I don't want you to
leave the ship, Chak. I don't want you to go anywhere. I love you. I
know you hate me. But that's okay cos I hate me too, so I understand.
But I love you and I don't want you to go. You're not going to go,
"No, Tom. I'm not going anywhere, I promise," Chakotay replied,
"Harry said you'd go. Except I wasn't sure if that was before or
after you went to the brig."
"Why would I go to the brig, Tom?" Chakotay asked.
"For hurting me. He kept the records. He said the Captain would put
you in the brig if he told her that you hurt me. He said you were
dangerous. Said if I left him he'd go to the Captain. The brig's a
bad place Chak. It's a scary place. I don't want you in the brig.
There aren't any bugs in the brig though. I hate bugs. Did I tell you
I hated bugs?"
"Yes, Tom. You did," Chakotay replied gently. "So, Harry has been
blackmailing you? Forcing you to stay with him?"
"I don't know," Tom admitted. "He says he only does it to protect me.
He said no one could ever love me like he does. That no one else
understands me. He said you only loved me because you thought I was
what you wanted me to be. Only Harry knows me and loves me anyway."
"Do you love Harry, Tom?" Chakotay forced himself to ask.
"I hate Harry. Harry wants to own me. He tells me what to wear. He
never lets me go out. He says he'll destroy you if you ever touch me
again. He's jealous and possessive and nasty and he threatens you all
the time and I hate him. He's like a bug. I hate bugs. I really hate
bugs. Did I tell you-" and Tom's eyes abruptly closed as he fell
"Well, we have at least established that Mr Paris has an intense
dislike of bugs," the Doctor drawled into the sudden silence.
"So do I," Chakotay hissed, jumping to his feet in a fury. "And there
is a particular cockroach on board who is well-overdue a stomping."
"I can't believe you did it," Tom hissed furiously.
"Kicked Harry's ass?" Chakotay asked mildly.
"Drugged me, you bastard!"
"It worked. You told the truth. Does it really matter *why* you told
the truth?" Chakotay mocked gently.
"You're never going to let me forget that, are you?" Tom griped.
"Your shitty attempt at an apology?" Chakotay laughed.
"Well, I got confused."
"It was the new experience of trying to tell the truth that tripped
you up, I expect," Chakotay sniggered.
"You're in a hell of a good mood about it all of a sudden," Tom said
"Well, it probably has a lot to do with the fact that my cock is in
your ass, where it belongs," Chakotay snorted.
"Shit, don't say that. You sound like Harry," Tom complained.
"I," Chakotay spat, slamming furiously into Tom's depths, "AM"
thrust, "NOT" thrust, "HARRY!" and he rammed the point home.
"You can say *that* again," Tom gasped deliriously.
"Hmph," Chakotay snorted.
"No, I mean it. Say it again. With the actions," Tom pleaded.
"I'd rather say I love you," Chakotay purred, finding a slower,
"Oh, yeah, I like those words too," Tom moaned as Chakotay tortured
him deliciously with his slow internal stroking.
"Did I really tell the Captain her short hair looked like shit?" he
"Just about. There's obviously something to be said about diplomacy,
"Shit," Tom groaned.
"Never mind, I'm sure she won't hold it against you for too long.
Just the next 30 years, give or take," Chakotay teased.
Then he couldn't hold back any longer. He started to speed up again
until he was slamming into Tom, reclaiming, repossessing, what had
turned out to be his all along if only he had been able to see it.
"TOM!" he screamed as he came, and it was a benediction, a
forgiveness, an affirmation and a declaration of love.
He collapsed to the bed and drew Tom carefully into his arms, mindful
of the sensitive spots where the knives had pierced Tom's abdomen and
chest. Nothing remained now of the wounds but thin red scars that
would quickly fade but Chakotay knew he would never forget them,
would never again let pride and self-righteousness prevent him from
claiming what was his.
As Tuvok had said. Tom was unique. Infuriating, aggravating,
deceitful and manipulative. He was also the owner of Chakotay's heart
and he may as well accept the fact.
"What's going to happen to Harry?" Tom asked quietly.
"When he gets out of sickbay, you mean?" Chakotay purred contentedly.
"I can't believe the Captain let you do that to him," Tom repeated.
"I told her he slipped," Chakotay said innocently.
Tom reared up in bed and looked at him in complete disbelief.
"You lied? You, holier than thou, all liars are scum of the universe
Chakotay, actually lied?" he demanded in shock.
"Well you know what they say, don't you, babe?"
"No," Tom said suspiciously. "What do they say?"
"If you can't beat `em, join `em," Chakotay sniggered.
"You don't *really* mean that do you?" he asked in a small voice.
Chakotay reached over and pulled him back into his arms.
"No I don't, Tom," he said seriously. "And you're on warning that the
first time I catch you lying to me again you won't be able to sit
down for a week."
"You'd really beat me?" Tom asked wide-eyed.
"You bet your sweet ass, I will, Tom," Chakotay said sincerely. "But
I tell you what I won't do."
"What's that?" Tom asked.
"I won't leave you," Chakotay promised. "I'll never leave you again."
<Well that's it folks....except for maybe a chapter I'll tack on when
I finally figure out a suitable punishment for Harry - ROFL>