(Sequel to " Revolution ")
Disclaimer: Tom, Chak et al belong to Paramount. I am only playing with them and promise to put them back relatively unscathed
Tom stood in the middle of Sandrineís and solemnly regarded his audience. He had opted for the holodec, realising that it was one of the few places on Voyager that was impossible to monitor from an external source and the Sandrineís program had been a deliberate choice of cover for several reasons:
Firstly, it was a public program and a gathering within it would not alert Security. Secondly, it was not unusual for the program to still be running and frequented in the small hours. People often partied right through the night, only stopping for a quick hangover hypo before venturing directly to Alpha shift. The long sojourn in the Delta Quadrant and the Captainís lack of interest had seen a dramatic collapse in the strict following of the usual rules for Starfleet personnel.
But the most important reason for Tomís choice was his own feeling of confidence in the setting. Sandrines was where he had plied his trade. He was the brat prince of the seedy bar, used to seducing and manipulating his marks until the price was right and the situation was in his control.
Despite his shame at his own previous behaviour, he was prepared to use any advantage to free Chakotay. He was no longer a whore, but he had been a damned good one and had learnt his trade well. He didnít have the rank or respect to pull off a coup, but he had enough personal charisma to charm people into at least listening to what he had to say, and he trusted that their respect for Chakotay would do the rest.
It had to.
"Thank you for coming." Tom said clearly and flinched as Baxter quipped "I never thought youíd say that to me again, Tommy boy."
Tom regarded the small crowd thoughtfully. Amongst the titters at Baxterís words, there were some solemn faces too. Most, like Ensign Murphy and Lt. Hargrove he barely knew, others like Geron and Tabor looked embarrassed at Baxterís tasteless joke.
Tom decided that the solemn ones were likely to give him a hearing anyway, but the others would need wooing and a flash of temper or histrionics wouldnít help his case. So he returned Baxter a sunny smile:
"Sorry, Baxter, I didnít realise it was my VOICE you missed!"
The good-humoured chuckle that ran through Sandrineís in response gave Tom a renewed surge of confidence.
"I know that you wouldnít have gotten up and come here if you didnít realise that something serious was happening. I have chosen you all because I know that you are good people. I have never given any of you a reason to believe in me or trust me, so I appreciate the fact that you are at least willing to listen to what I have to tell you."
Tom paused to check the reactions in peopleís faces and was gratified to find interest and puzzlement but no outright distain.
Baytart took the opportunity of the pause to step forward:
"I donít know you Ďpersonallyí, Tom" he said with significance "But I do know that you are a damned fine pilot and have risked your life on several occasions to save our butts. More to the point, it is obvious that the Commander thinks the sun shines out of your ass, and that is enough reason for us to listen to you. If HE trusts you, so will we." He declared boldly and then looked puzzled "But where IS he?"
Tom swallowed and blinked back a couple of treacherous tears. He was damned well not going to fall apart now.
"He is in the brig, with BíElanna, Samantha Wildman and Seven." Tom announced.
Pete Murphy surged to his feet "BíEl?" he shouted in outrage. John Hargrove had gone white at Tomís words and Tom purposefully misled him with his next sentence.
"They are all scheduled for execution at 0700 by order of the Captain." Tom stated loudly and watched the room erupt into chaos.
He waited until the initial furore had quietened into mumbles of disbelief and then raised his arm for silence. As though drawn reluctantly by his still figure the murmurs died away.
"Computer, location and status of Commander Chakotay, Lt. Torres, Lt. Wildman and Seven of Nine?" Tomís voice demanded and the electronic voice replied to affirm his accusation that they were held as prisoners in the brig.
"Why the hell would she do such an insane thing?" Ensign Nozawa spat, his fine oriental features contorting with fury.
"Because she IS insane." Tom replied quietly. "The Commander and the others, as Senior Officers, were within their rights to request that she took medical leave to recover." Tom improvised quickly. "She reacted by charging them with mutiny and ordering their immediate execution."
"I agree that she has been acting a little cabin-sick recently, but then again we all have." Fitzpatrick stated in confusion "But sheís the Captain. People canít just go around changing Captains. We need a command structure or we will all fall apart."
"We certainly donít need a Captain with a Bligh complex. If we let her do this once, sheíll do it again. It might be YOU next time, Fitz." Murph replied in disgust. "We are Starfleet officers not bloody Romulans."
"Iím not planning on a mutiny though!" Fitzpatrick grumbled sullenly.
Sensing that several of the crowd were silently agreeing with Fitzpatrickís reasoning, Tom dragged a reluctant Harry forward.
"She doesnít need a reason to abuse people." Tom announced, "You probably know that Harry has been living with the Captain."
"So?" Baxter asked belligerently "You live with the Commander, whatís the difference?"
"This!" Tom announced and holding the squirming ensign firmly by the neck he ripped Harryís top off to reveal the younger manís naked back. To be honest, he had barely noticed Harryís injuries in the Captainís quarters, too occupied by his own self-pity and his worry for Chakotay. The multiple welts and burns were no more than he had himself experienced on previous occasions and therefore barely touched him. He was pretty sure that they would affect the other crewmembers though.
"Jesus fucking Christ!" Baxter swore, "She did THAT?"
Harry managed to break free of Tomís hold and frantically tried to cover himself up, whimpering pathetically.
Tabor stepped towards him slowly and carefully, his face distorted by horror. "Did the Captain do this, Harry?" He asked gently.
"Itís none of your business." Harry screamed at him, backing away from his outstretched hands "I LOVE HER!"
Tabor just blinked and he looked at the ensign with pity as the rest of the crowd murmured in disbelief and looked towards Tom for an explanation as though, since he was the person who had shattered their illusions, he was now responsible.
Tom shrugged "So, heís a sad fuck," he admitted "But thatís no justification for beating on him. Anyway, if the Captain would do this to someone who loves her, God help the rest of us!"
Nozawa leapt to his feet. "Okay, letís go get the Commander out of the brig!"
Everybody, with varying degrees of noisy enthusiasm, began to respond to his rallying cry.
"No!" Tom called out loudly and the resultant silence was almost painful.
"No?" John Hargrove repeated in disbelief.
"I have a better plan." Tom explained.
Sue Nicolletti laughed, "I donít mean to be cruel, Tom, but itís hardly likely. Itís not your brains that people admire in you." she sniggered.
"Let him speak." Tabor replied, giving her a quelling look.
"Why the hell should we?" She replied in genuine bewilderment.
"Because if we are agreed that the Captain is insane" Tom explained, grateful for the immediate murmurs of agreement
"and given that Chakotay, BíElanna, Sam and Seven are in the brig Ė "
Tom paused, to make sure everyone was following him,
"Then I am currently the most senior acting officer on this ship, THATíS why you will damn well listen to me."
Sueís mouth gaped open in astonishment.
Tom locked his face into an expression of icy control and glared at his fellow officers, calling on every memory he had of his arrogant father to create an illusion of supreme confidence.
For a terrifying moment the room was deathly quiet.
"Well? What the hell are we waiting for?" John Hargrove snapped decisively and stepped up to Tomís side to show his unequivocal support.
"Itís time we remembered who we are, what we stand for and what these uniforms mean." Then he turned to Tom, "Whatís your plan, Sir?" and one by one the others came forward to listen to Tomís reply.
Tomís knees nearly buckled at the unexpected complete support and respect of his fellow officers. His voice was a little shaky with emotion as he outlined his plan, but either no one noticed or they were too kind to mention it.
Ayala grinned at Chakotayís involuntary moan of pain as BíElanna wrapped a binding around his shattered wrist to reduce the swelling.
"Waste of time, sugar. Soon a broken wrist will be the last of your worries. I heard that when a person goes out into space they blow up and explode. Every one of your cells will rupture. I bet itís AGONY! Of course, itís over too quick. I might just tape it and make Tom watch it in slow motion." He giggled
BíElanna clung desperately onto Chakotayís shoulders to keep him from launching another impotent attack on the force field at Ayalaís words. Every time Ayala mentioned Tom, something snapped in Chakotay and he reacted with insane fury that only spurred Ayala on to more cruel taunts.
"I think Iíll fuck him as he watches." Ayala snorted gleefully, as Chakotay struggled under BíElannaís restraining arms.
"Watches what?" A clear voice rang out from behind Ayala.
"Tom?" Chakotay gasped, flinging BíElanna aside and surging to his feet "TOM?"
His lover was striding confidently into the brig, flanked either side by Murphy and Hargrove. They were both carrying phaser rifles, Tom was unarmed and seemed completely oblivious to the fact that Ayala was twenty kiloís heavier and armed as well.
Ayala spun around in shock, his hand reaching for his holstered phaser. A roundhouse kick from the Pilotís long legs connected with his hand and crushed Ayalaís fingers against the phaser with shattering force.
Ayala screamed and clutched his wrist, looking down in disbelief at his broken fingers. Before he could recover, Tom took advantage of the bigger manís pain and sent a flurry of punches into his opponents face and chest.
"Tom?" Chakotay repeated in disbelief as his fragile lover became a whirlwind of vengeful fury, pummelling Ayala to his knees and then continuing to rain blows down onto the other manís cowering frame.
Tomís companions had wordlessly left the pilot to his revenge and concentrated instead on disabling the force field to release the occupants. AS the energy wall collapsed BíElanna rushed forward to help Tom, only to be swept instead into Murphyís arms.
"Leave him, heís okay." He hissed in her ear and since it was obviously the truth, she relaxed into Murphís embrace. He swung her around with a triumphant grin as she bit him gratefully on the cheek. John merely gave Seven a shy smile and wrapped his arm around her shoulders comfortingly as she stared in fascination at Tomís relentless battering of Ayalaís now prone form.
Chakotay stepped forward and tentatively tapped Tom on the shoulder. Tom spun around, his face still contorted with rage, the expression so alien that Chakotay took an involuntary step back before recognition dawned in Tomís blue eyes and the killing fury faded into a glorious triumphant smile.
"CHAKOTAY!" Tom yelled and leapt into Chakotayís arms and devoured his mouth with a passionate kiss.
"What the hell is going on, Murph? And why the hell did you let Tom attack Ayala alone? He could have been killed!" BíElanna gasped as she forced herself to release the wonderful comfort of his body. She had never expected to see him again and was amazed how much his presence was affecting her.
"He ordered us not to interfere." Murph replied solemnly, only a twinkle in his eye revealing how entertained he was by BíElannaís wide-eyed gasp of incredulity.
"Ordered you?" She snorted "and you just said OKAY?"
"Well he IS the Captain." Murph replied with a huge grin.
"Whoís the Captain?" Chakotay demanded, only hearing Murphyís reply and completely confused by his unexpected rescue, Tomís transformation into a Ninja and mention of a male Captain.
Tom squeezed his arm contritely and gave him a sheepish grin.
"I am." He admitted.
Seeing Chakotayís look of bewilderment, and sure the Commander was about to say something heíd later regret, John intervened.
"Starfleet regulations state that when a Captain is medically incapable of command in a hostile situation, which the DQ is, then the most senior officer becomes Acting Captain for the duration. After we reactivated the Doctor, Captain Janeway was declared unfit for duty and Captain Paris was then the most senior officer, since you were all in the brig."
"Captain Paris secured the bridge, announced the change to the crew with video evidence of the Captainís insanity, then issued a pardon for all of you. In view of the likelihood of resistance, a communications blackout was held in strategic points such as the brig, until we could secure all possible trouble makers."
"What video evidence?" Chakotay asked, grasping at details as he tried to assimilate the unbelievable story.
Tom blushed. "The stuff you made." He confessed.
"You found it? How? WHEN?" Chakotay gasped in horror as he considered how hurtful to Tom many of Janewayís comments had been, not to mention the evidence of the way he himself had manipulated Tom into his bed.
"A couple of days ago." Tom admitted, "You were late, I was bored. You were always so secretive with the computer. I wanted to know what you were up to."
"You never said anything." Chakotay replied in bewilderment
Tom shrugged nonchalantly, "Itís just past stuff, Chak. Old film, thatís all."
"But the things I did Ė arenít you angry?"
"You did it because you loved me. Why would that make me angry?" Tom replied with such sincerity that Chakotay was humbled by his own obvious underestimation of his lover.
"I donít deserve you, Tom." He said, clutching the blond towards him and hugging him as tightly as his broken wrist allowed.
For a moment Tom sank into his embrace and then he pushed back.
"We have to leave the brig, Chak. The new residents need to move in." He explained with a grin, "And then we need to find a nice uninhabited m-class world."
Chakotay stiffened angrily. "You want to let that bitch go?" He snarled.
BíElanna joined in the protest "She was going to space us, ALIVE, Tom and then give you to Ayala as a sex-toy. Why the hell would you let her go?"
Tom gave them both an apologetic smile.
"I made Harry a promise." He said
"Well, I didnít. Iím going to rip her scrawny neck off and then dance on her body." BíElanna howled into Tomís face
"Both Harry and Janeway will be put off the ship unharmed." Tom repeated firmly.
Chakotay watched in concern as BíElanna and Tom locked eyes in a battle of wills. For a long moment they glared at each other, blue ice meeting black steel.
Chakotayís heart nearly burst with pride at the transformation of his fragile lover into this man who radiated confidence and authority. He alone knew Tom well enough to see the strain the younger man was under. A small muscle in his throat was twitching under the skin, his face was too pale, his eyes too bright, and the fingers of his right hand were beating a nervous tattoo against his thigh. But his face never flinched and his eyes never wavered in their resolve to keep his promise.
To Chakotayís relief and amazement, BíElannaís eyes dropped first and she turned away from Tom swearing obscenely in Klingon.
"You tell him, Chakotay!" She demanded
Chakotay met Tomís eyes and his own need for vengeance was extinguished by Tomís mute plea for support.
"Itís Tomís decision, BíEl." Chakotay replied softly
"Why?" She snarled
"Because heís the Captain." Chakotay said with a grin.
BíElanna looked at him in disbelief and then slowly an answering grin spread across her own face and she began to laugh.
"Shit! Youíre right! Sorry, Captain Paris!" she giggled as the pressure of the last three hours was finally released in the cathartic relief of healing laughter which spread through the room like a breeze of welcome fresh air.
Tom blushed almost scarlet. "It was just for show, Chakotay. Just to make the thing legal." He apologised to his lover. "Of course I will relinquish all command to you now."
John coughed discretely for attention.
"I donít think that would be a good idea. Not yet anyway. There are still a lot of people on the fence. Making the Commander our new Captain would convince a lot of them that this was a Maquis plot after all. They all like Tom and very few people have objected to him taking the role."
"Only cos I slept with most of them!" Tom muttered sullenly
"Isnít that a human tradition?" Seven asked innocently. "I understood that most people in authority achieved their positions by use of sexual favours."
Chakotay choked, BíElanna howled and Tom sank miserably to sit on the desk and buried his face in his hands.
When Chakotay could trust himself to speak, he went over to Tom and rubbed his shoulders comfortingly
"Itís only temporary, Tom. Johnís right. We have to take care of Janeway and her supporters before we announce any permanent changes."
Tom nodded his understanding and pulled himself together.
"I agree on one condition. Harry and the Captain, and anyone else who wants to stay with them get put off the ship. No executions, no punishments, they are just left behind." He demanded quietly.
"What was your performance with Ayala about then?" BíElanna sniped.
Tom looked at the battered unconscious form of the security officer.
"That was personal." He whispered and when his eyes met Chakotayís they were dull with pain.
Chakotay swallowed heavily. No matter how brave Tom had been, he knew that Ayalaís latest rape had left yet another scar on Tomís soul; a scar that would take time to heal.
"Letís go." He suggested quietly, wrapping his undamaged arm around the younger manís shoulders and Tom nodded gratefully.
"Iím tired." Tom confessed
"The pressures of leadership, huh?" Chakotay joked and was rewarded by a sharp elbow in his ribs.
Tom paused in the doorway and looked back at Seven.
"Would you start looking for a suitable planet?" He asked quietly, "The sooner they are gone, the better everyoneís going to feel."
"Of course, Captain." Seven replied.
Tom searched her face for mockery, found none, felt a little bewildered and then shrugged.
"Thanks" he muttered and let Chakotay lead him silently back to their quarters.