Title: Angstrom
Author: Kim Riley a.k.a. MYSTIC
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Paramount. Again since they are
no longer using them I've decided to take our boys out of the 'closet'
and let them play and be happy. Enjoy.
Summary: Sometimes the smallest things can set off great chain of
events, for good and for bad
Rating: R for language and sex
Pairing: Chakotay/ Paris
Feedback: Please!
Notes: The poem "If Only" was written me. The song "Kiss Me Softly"
is off the new Journey album- Arrival; they own it, all of it, so
please respect that. Thanks.
(part 7)
The crew is falling apart. I'm not sure they can take much more, I
know I can't. But I also know that things haven't hit rock bottom yet,
but that's only a matter of time. I thought things would start to get
better when we got Chakotay back from the Borg, but that was not quite
the case. He kept acting strange around Tom, demanding some access
code. Well, he finally got it, turns out to have been his door code.
Why or How, I don't have a clue. But ever since he got it, he's been
in a coma.

That's been over six days as of today. Then to make matters
worse, having been requested to give Tom Paris a shot at flying again,
I sat through a SIMM with him. As far as the regular flying was
concerned, there was no difference to his performance. However, when I
slipped in the heavy duty combat scenario and Tom was thrown from his
seat, and didn't get back up in time, I saw the light in him burn out
as the Simulation ended, with us all dead.no pilot at the helm.

Tom's depression is far from the only case on board. From
witnessing the horror of Chakotay's assimilation to word getting out
that he tried to attack Tom, which I've tried to squash it with the
truth but no one is listening, to Chakotay being in the coma, and to
top it all off with, running from the Borg. Ever since we took
Chakotay back, that bitch has been trying to hunt us down. So far
we've managed to avoid her, but the stress is killing my crew and I
don't know what to do about it.

Then when all seemed lost, a spark of hope comes from the most
unsuspecting of people. It's that little bit of hope that has me
sitting here on the holo deck, waiting for Tom along with B'Elanna.

When he arrives he looks a bit shaggy, but since he's not on
duty, I can't blame him. I also see the depression in his eyes, even
as he tries to give a good show, perhaps by the time were done here,
that depression will be gone.so I'm praying anyway.

"What can I do for you, Captain?" Tom asks, with a smile that
doesn't reach his eyes.

"We've made some modification to the helm and we would like
you to test them," I say calmly.

"I don't see why Betaheart can't do it?" he replies.

"I'm not asking him, I'm asking you, Tom," I say in my, don't
give me any shit and just do it tone. Seeing him move his chair toward
the helm, I'm glad it still works on him. I see him reach the helm and
he notices the change.

"What's this?"

"What does it look like?" B'Elanna quips as she moves forward
to instruct Tom on the modification.

"A chair with arms," Tom states flatly.

"Not just any chair, Flyboy, you're chair. It's been
redesigned to keep you in it, safe and secure. So.Give it a try?"

I was glad that Tom decided not to balk and transferred
himself from his chair to the new one. B'Elanna should him how he
could secure the wheelchair so it too wouldn't become a problem.

The look on Tom's face when he placed the arms up, for they
could be up for his or anyone's use, or slid down for others or make
Tom's transfer easier, was priceless. You see, when the arms are in
place there not only is a seat belt, but a small force field to keep
the pilot in place, around the waist.

After giving him a moment to get comfortable, the simulation
began. It was good to see him smile, even if it was only a little bit.
I could tell he wasn't too sure if this was going to change things,
but I was! I secretly encoded the second part of the simulation.

The shipped rocked, balked, and volleyed all over the place
and Tom stayed in his seat and kept control of the helm.phase one was
a success. Part two would come as a surprise to Tom, but the safeties
were on, and even B'Elanna didn't know about this part, since she
didn't do all the work on the chair.

I hit a button on my chair and soon another round of damage
racked the false bridge, and then as I programmed it, the helm
exploded. To Tom's and B'Elanna's surprise, the safeties didn't kick
in, for they didn't have too. See, since Tom can't get out of the
chair either, he needs to be safe, so the designer added a sensor
field that would automatically throw up a force field around the pilot
to protect them. Personally, if this worked, and when we had the
resources, all stations were going to get them.it was brilliant. It
didn't depend on the ship's energy for it maintained itself in the arm
of the chair on a portable self-regenerating battery.

"End simulation," I said with glee.

When the situation had cleared itself, both Tom and B'Elanna
were staring between me and the force field that surrounded Tom.

"Whoa!" B'Elanna said as she moved up and checked it out.

Tom reached forward and realized that he could move passed it.
It was to keep things from getting in, not out. "You.you could have
warned me," he said a bit shaken.

"I apologize, Tom. But I wanted to see how you reacted as well
as test the devise. I'm glad to say you both passed with flying
colors," I grin.

I let Tom and B'Elanna get lost in a bit of technical
discussion as I finalize a few of my reports. "By the way, Lieutenant,
I thought you should know that this chair will be fully functional and
installed by 0800 tomorrow."

I could see Tom wonder why he should care while at the same
time held his breath in hopes. "That's good to hear, Captain."

"I'm glad you approve," I say as I make my way to exit the
holodeck, "for you're to report for light duty, starting tomorrow at
0900," I say in all calmness, then I stop and turn, not just to see if
Tom is happy, which by the 200 watt bulb in his eyes was any
indication he was, "Oh, and Lieutenant?"

"Yes, Captain?": He asked, turning cartwheels in his soul.

"The grunge look is out. Try a uniform," I smile and leave,
things were finally starting to look up.

"Wow, that was really terrific, but you could have warned me
or something," Tom tossed at B'Elanna as she was going over the design

"Hey, Flyboy. For your information, I didn't build the thing;
I just over saw its installation. Several others built it. I didn't
even know it had that feature in it, which of course is a damn good
one," she marveled.

"You telling me you didn't design this?" Tom asks in

"As unbelievable as it is, no I didn't," she replies.

"Harry?" Tom asks in wonder.

"He worked on it, but he didn't design it," she replied as she
took some last minute notes from her scans. Then she looked up at Tom.
"I'm glad we finally have a way to get you back behind the helm,
Flyboy," she grinned.

"Me too," Smiled Tom, one that light him up inside. "So, who
do I owe my thanks too?"


Tom sat there in silence for a moment, as he looked at the man
responsible for getting him back on the bridge. He was filled with
mixed feelings, for one, it was Kevin Dalby that lead to his accident
in the first place, and to some degree he admitted, he was angry with
the guy. To discover that Dalby of all people came up with the design,
touched him as well as irked him, for if Dalby didn't head that stupid
fight.put that was the past.

"I guess I owe you a bit of thanks," Tom stated, startling the
man that laid resting in the brig.

Kevin sat up and stared at Tom. "I take it, it worked?" he
asked, containing a small smile.

Tom allowed his to flow, "Yes, it worked great. I can return
for light duty starting tomorrow. Flying means a lot to me."

"I know that, Tom," Kevin said as he looked away feeling
guilty. "I'm only sorry it can't make up for what I took from you."

Tom couldn't believe it, Kevin 'tough guy' Dalby was crying?
"It was an accident, Ken," Tom replied, trying to ease the man's

To Tom's surprise, Ken laughed, "That is so like you." Ken
then looked up, a few tears falling down his face. "I've learned a lot
over the past few weeks, things that if I had had the courage to admit
and see in the first place, all of this could have been avoided. One
of them is that you always put the feelings and safety of the crew
before your own, Tom."

"But, Ken.it was an."

"Accident? I jumped you, because I wanted to blame you for so
many things and what happened to Chakotay. I didn't care about his
wishes, or you, just releasing my anger. You paid the price for 'my'
stupidity, Tom, and that was no accident, even if the result was."

Tom moved closer to the force field and kept his voice soft,
"What kind of things, Ken? Why were you so angry at me?"

Ken gave a regretful laugh; "Because you were able to accept
that which I couldn't and I.I was angry and jealous of you for that."

Tom looked puzzled, "Angry and jealous.over what, Ken?"

Kevin remained silent for several minutes, his eyes turned
down, before he finally spoke, "Because you were able to accept who
you were, and I was raised to hate that sort of thing, even if it was
inside of me," he said in a whisper.

It took Tom a few moments for it to process, "Are you saying

"Ah, for crying out loud, Tom," Kevin stated as he stood up
and paced his cell, "You think you're the only gay person on Voyager?"

The confession somehow gave Tom a sense of relief, and another
sense of understanding of the man called Kevin Dalby. "No, but I'm
glad to know it instead of only guessing it."

Just then Greg Alaya walked up to Tom, "times up, buddy.
Captain has limited visitations," he replied warmly.

"Okay," he said and watched the older man move back to his
station. "Ken? Could I.can we.be friends?"

Kevin stopped and looked at Tom, seeing the sincerity in the
pilot's eyes, moved a part of him he thought long dead. "I'd.I'd like
that, that is.if you can forgive me?"

Tom smiled, "Like I said, Ken. It was an accident, so there's
nothing to forgive.not anymore." With that, Tom headed out of the
brig, to share his day with the man he loved, even if it was only his


When Tom entered into sickbay, he was surprised to see the
Captain and the Doc standing quietly, watching Tuvok. Tom could tell
that for some reason, they had decided to let the Vulcan try a mind
meld. Tom moved up quietly next to the Captain and waited to see the

Tom could see that there was signs of stress on the Vulcan's
face, as well as what could be classified as confusion. Then after ten
minutes it looked like Tuvok was forced to break the link. He snapped
back, looking dizzy, as the Doc moved up next to him, scanning his

"What happened?" Janeway asked.

"Having never done a mind meld with the Commander, I an unsure
if what I experienced is his own doing or that of the neuronet, but
his mind is most.fascinating."

"In what manner?" The EMH asked, now sure that Tuvok would be
all right.

"The best way to describe it would to compare the Commanders
mind to that of a large, vast labyrinth. There are many pathways, and
at first look, seems very much like a cavernous maze. What makes it
more a labyrinth is that it is not one dimensional, but
multi-dimensional. That is most unusual in human."

"Explain," Janeway stated.

"Where in a typical maze, one would attempt to figure out if
they should go either right or left to find their way out or to the
center. The labyrinth has false walls, tunnels underneath, false
passages, and illusions covering others, and all directions are
possible.quite fascinating," Tuvok states, with a raised brow, looking
as close to impressed as he can get.

"Could Borg be that.creative?" Tom asks.

"It is not likely, for during my travels I did spot what would
be considered Borg programming. It seemed to be searching the area,
similar to myself, but they could only move along the one dimensional
pathways," Replied Tuvok.

"How did you discover that it was more than one dimensional?" the EMH
asked out of curiosity.

"I found myself in a situation, being faced down by the Borg
programming when all of a sudden the floor opened up beneath me. Then
I was pulled, as if from behind through some false walls and then left
alone. I got the distinct impression that it was the Commander, but as
to why he would continue to hide from me is unknown, only that I do
know he is in there."

Tom couldn't help but smile. He was getting to return to duty
and now Tuvok has let him know that Chakotay was not lost to them. It
would only be a matter of getting him to wake up. "So, can you get him
out of his coma?"

"That I am unsure of. I did not have the proper time or access
to discover the cause of the Commanders condition. If you would

"No, Commander. You have had enough of mind melding for
today," the EMH states firmly. "Perhaps tomorrow."

"Thank you, Tuvok. At least we now know he is in there,"
Janeway states, reflecting Tom's thoughts. She then gives the
security officer a nod and lets him leave. She turns to the EMH, "let
me know if there is any change," she says coolly.

Tom watches the Captain leave, and can see the pain in her
eyes. He turns back to the Doc who is rechecking Chakotay's condition

"Came to keep him company again?" the Doc states.

"If you don't mind?" Tom replies, knowing he'd stay
regardless, but it was always easier if the Doc cooperated.

"No, perhaps it may help," the holo Doc states, a look of
self-reproach for not being able to help the Commander. "Just make
sure to get some rest yourself," he adds and then leaves.

Tom moves closer to Chakotay, looks around and is glad they
are alone. He reaches out and caresses the Commander's cheek, then
strokes his dark hair. "I miss you," Tom whispers. Then he leans down
and places a soft kiss on Chakotay's lips. "I know you're in there,"
he states, wishing he had the magical key to release his love from his
current prison.

After a few minutes of no change, Tom calls to the computer to
play a personal selection, which he has made from the data rods he got
from Chakotay's quarters. They are songs the Commander had recorded,
and Tom loved them all. Listening to them, sitting near Chakotay, made
him feel closer to the older man, and again he wished he could openly
show Chakotay how much he loved him.

"Damn it, Chakotay! You're being selfish! We need you! I need
you!" Tom cries, but not too loudly for he didn't want anyone but
Chakotay to hear him. Between the music and seeing Chakotay not
respond, Tom found himself in tears once more. //You think after these
last few days I'd be all out, // he thinks to himself as he wipes them
away. He then lays his head down on Chakotay's chest to rest and be
close to him. He didn't expect to fall asleep from his emotional
exhaustion. He didn't take notice to the strong hand that caressed his
hair as he slept.

********END OF PART 7*********