THE SHATTERING OF THE MASK 4/?
Disclaimer – part 1
A combination of the lack of dangerous obstacles in her path and the natural talent that enabled his hands to fly over the helm without conscious thought was probably the only reason that Voyager survived Tom’s shift.
He had been woken by the sound of his own sobbing and the smell that had immediately assaulted him had made him jump up before he remembered that he had a photon torpedo stuck up his ass.
Wailing with the renewed pain, he had dragged his filthy clothes off and found to his relief that the dildo had slipped out easily enough in the stream of mucus, shit and blood that had poured out of his traumatised rectum. A long shower, the draining of the dermal regenerator in his personal med.-kit and an entire box of painkillers later, he had managed to stagger, sore and a little stoned, into his room and clean up the vile mess from his floor. He had combed his hair, put on a uniform, had fixed his face into a semblance of normality and forgoing breakfast had arrived at the morning briefing with no time to spare.
What a fiasco that had been.
With the Captain still off duty and thus unaware of any trouble, the meeting had been taken by Chakotay. The Commander had been in an unusually good mood and appeared strangely oblivious to the emotional undercurrents in the room. B’Elanna had been hostile and uncommunicative from the moment Tom arrived, snapping out her engineering reports at a fixed point in the wall above Tuvok’s shoulder.
"The warp nacelles are still sluggish and unresponsive despite our considerable efforts to repair them. They have been subjected to undue stress in the last 62 months, largely due to Voyager being treated like someone’s private pleasure yacht." She spat viciously at Tom Paris who merely grinned back at her with his patent flyboy smirk.
His lack of response to her jibe only encouraged B’Elanna’s fury.
"I can’t be held responsible for the results of someone else’s antics, and frankly Commander, with the unavailability of spare parts perhaps we should look more closely at the current policy of encouraging dangerous maneuvers at the helm!"
Calmly, Chakotay steepled his fingers and looked thoughtful before replying.
"I understand your frustration, B’Elanna, and I am aware that some ‘discipline’ issues need to be sorted out" and he had smiled pleasantly at Tom, who had paled slightly under the scrutiny.
"However," Chakotay continued "I think that you are overreacting slightly to the problem…or is there another issue here that I’m missing?" and he had gazed with bewildered concern at the half-Klingon.
To her horror, B’Elanna found tears springing up in response to Chakotay’s kindness. She hurriedly ducked her head.
"No, Sir" she said quietly and Chakotay nodded, sagely, before moving his gaze to Harry.
"Ensign Kim, what have you to report."
"Um, nothing of interest, Sir, but I’m taking the opportunity to overhaul the Ops console"
"Well, keep at it, Mr. Kim, I’m glad to see that you have been paying more attention to your ‘career’ in the last few days" Chakotay said warmly, and as the two pairs of brown eyes locked, Harry was left in no doubt of the Commander’s sudden approval of him. Oddly, the Commander’s new good will seemed to coincide with his argument with Tom, although since there was no way the Commander could know about that, Harry decided that he must have simply picked up on his subsequent attention to duty.
He straightened proudly in his chair and replied "Yes, Sir!" and he knew that he had done the right thing in cutting Tom loose and concentrating on his job for a change. After all, look what the bastard had done to B’Elanna. And okay, Tom looked really odd today, as though he was wearing one of those Mardi Gras masks. The patent Tom Paris smirk looked like a bad make-up job today, barely concealing dark patches under his eyes and his pupils were so large that his blue eyes looked almost black. But then being caught cheating by B’Elanna would make any guy lose sleep. Even an amoral bastard like Tom.
"You deserve to feel bad," he thought viciously, remembering how B’Elanna had sobbed in his arms the night before. "You don’t deserve any pity". So why couldn’t he look at the Pilot, why did he feel so damn guilty? Was it something to do with the strange pleasure he had taken in comforting B’Elanna? The realisation that with Tom out of the picture, maybe there was hope for his own secret desires after all?
"Mr. Tuvok " Chakotay continued, "Any security issues that I should be aware of?"
The Vulcan contemplated for a moment before replying
"All of the crew appear to be working efficiently despite the enforced boredom and the long-time lack of shore-leave. I am aware of no current hostility between crew members."
A small choking sound escaped from Tom.
"Do you have something to add, Mr. Paris?" Chakotay asked with interest.
"Um, no sir. Just something in my throat" Tom mumbled, blushing furiously at the image of Chakotay’s huge cock that sprang into his head at his unfortunate choice of words.
"Perhaps you need to think more about what you are doing when you open your mouth" Chakotay replied mildly and only Tom saw the mocking glitter in his eyes.
How could the bastard seem so calm, so damned NICE? Why could no one else see through the mask to the malevolent creature that lurked just under Chakotay’s skin?
After Neelix’s report on the new and interesting diets he had devised to torture the crew with and Seven’s report that Astrometrics was running with near-perfect efficiency, Chakotay brought the meeting to a close.
"Well, gentlemen, that’s all. Dismissed"
He waited until they stood up before casually saying,
"Oh, Ensign Paris?"
Tom turned with studied nonchalance, clenching his fists to stop the sudden trembling in his limbs.
"Crewman Dalby reported that your performance in maintenance yesterday was extremely satisfactory!" Chakotay said pleasantly.
B’Elanna stiffened dangerously and spat "I’ll just bet he did." under her breath.
"He has requested that you call by today, straight after your shift to go over a few…loose ends" Chakotay continued, seemingly oblivious to the sudden drop of temperature in the room.
Tuvok noticed the tension, however and raised an eyebrow slightly as he watched Tom stiffen and pale before a brittle smile broke across his face and he whispered "Yes, Sir" before bolting to the helm. He watched the fury on B’Elanna’s face and the concerned pat that Ensign Kim gave her as he followed her onto the bridge.
He turned to the Commander and said, "It would appear that Ensign Paris has managed to alienate Lieutenant Torres, and it would appear that Mr. Kim is also unhappy with the situation. Do you believe that this will have an impact on crew performance, Commander? Would you like me to investigate further?"
Chakotay looked at the Vulcan with saddened eyes.
"I think that Mr. Paris and Ms. Torres have always had a volatile relationship. I am sure that it will blow over, Mr. Tuvok. I believe that this "alienation" should not effect bridge efficiency. I see no immediate reason for you to pay the matter any attention."
Tuvok nodded in agreement. "Indeed, Commander. I am sure that you are right. Perhaps Mr. Paris will finally learn to behave with proper decorum on the bridge, if not in his personal life."
"I hope so" Chakotay replied sorrowfully, "It would be a shame if further action needed to be taken."
As the ready room door closed behind the Vulcan’s back, Chakotay released the breath that he had been holding all meeting and began to laugh uproariously.
"Game, set and match, Tom" he sniggered.
Despite his narcotic haze, Tom had nearly lost it when he had seen B’Elanna but he had too many years of practice to allow his true emotions to show. Admittedly he had choked at the irony of Tuvok’s words but he had stayed cool, almost detached as he marveled at Chakotay’s performance. He could have made it, he thought, he could have coped with the situation, but Chakotay’s last words had been an unexpected blow that had nearly felled him.
"That wasn’t the deal" he whispered to himself in disbelief. "It’s only supposed to be HIM, I’m supposed to be safe from the rest!"
He rocked in misery at the Helm, every movement sending needles of pain up his abused ass.
"It’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s not fair…" and he continued the mantra in his head all shift, lost in his personal hell.
Tom made no move to leave the helm at lunch. Tuvok looked over at Chakotay with a questioning eyebrow and Chakotay merely shrugged, so it was not until end of shift that Tom felt a hand on his left shoulder. As he jumped, uttering a small cry of panic, the hand tightened viciously, hidden from the rest of the crew by Chakotay’s bulk.
"Daydreaming, Ensign?" Chakotay laughed pleasantly, only the biting pressure of his fingers showing Tom his displeasure at Tom’s inadvertent cry.
"Sorry, Sir" he managed
"Well try not to do it near a planet, okay?"
"No, Sir…sorry Sir…" Tom stuttered.
"You’re due in maintenance now, " Chakotay reminded him .
For a second Tom was afraid that he would throw up or scream or fall on his knees and beg for mercy. But the fingers bored mercilessly into his abused shoulder and the pain was like a dash of water in his face.
"Pull yourself together" he told himself "don’t let anyone know…don’t give yourself away"
Stiffly, his torn ass numb from 8 hours of sitting, Tom pulled himself to his feet.
"Yes, Sir… I’m going there now"
"See that you do, Ensign" Chakotay replied softly, the threat in his eyes unmistakable, and he stood back to let Paris limp slowly off the Bridge.
"May I speak to you in your ready room, Commander?" Tuvok requested.
"Of course, Mr. Tuvok" Chakotay replied pleasantly and led the way.
He felt sick with angry panic. Had Tuvok seen him hurting Tom? Had he guessed Chakotay’s secret? Fear warred with fury but he showed no sign of his inner conflict as he turned a placid face to the Vulcan.
"It is my opinion that Mr. Paris’s inattention today was a reckless endangerment of this ship." Tuvok stated coldly.
Relief flooded through Chakotay along with glee that his plans were proceeding so rapidly.
"I think you are being a little harsh, Mr. Tuvok. I heard at lunchtime that his relationship with B’Elanna is over. We should be a little sympathetic, I think."
"Your sympathy does you credit, Commander, but in my opinion it is ill-placed. Despite Mr. Paris’s undoubted talents there is no doubt that he is capable of acts of extreme negligence. We would not want a repetition of Caldik Prime every time his love life suffers."
"I think that you are being overly judgmental. Tom is only human. You can’t expect him not to let his emotions show."
Only a minute curl of his lip betrayed Tuvok’s distaste.
"I understand Tom’s lack of self-control, Commander, that is why I am making a formal request that he is removed from the helm until the situation is resolved."
Chakotay bit his lip and then sighed loudly.
"All right, Tuvok. I concur. Tom will be reassigned."
"Thank you, Commander."
Chakotay waited for Tuvok to leave before he let the wave of triumph spread over his face.
"Oh, no, Tuvok… Thank YOU! "
Chakotay knew that the only thing that Tom valued was flying. Removing him from the helm would be like cutting the wings off a bird. Tom had lost his best friend, his lover, his pride and now his reason for living. It would be easy to break him now. He had been so careful, knowing that Janeway would question the decision to take Tom off the helm. With the formal request coming from Tuvok, against his own protests, there was no way anyone would guess his hand in this action. He was so squeaky clean that the next step of his plan would be easy.
"Eight years…" he whispered to himself "Eight years I’ve waited and planned this, Paris. But it’s been worth it. Dangling you like a fish on a line, letting you out, bringing you in. Letting you think you were free just long enough that now your spirit will shatter in my hands."
"Computer, initiate privacy lock Chakotay Gamma One" he snapped, walking over to the replicator.
"Computer, one steak, rare!"
As the plate appeared, Chakotay felt a rush of hunger that was almost sexual. He grasped the meat with his hands and ripped into it with his teeth, feeling the blood juices running down his mouth.
"Oh, if they could see me now!" he giggled, and his body convulsed with laughter again.