Title: Stone Fortress
Note: Part IV of the Stone Heart Series
Author: Kim Riley aka MYSTIC / MysticMcknight
Summary: sequel to Stepping Stone:
Disclaimer: Everything but the idea and the talent that went into this is
Paramonts, the rest is all mine.
"So, the Captain said I didn't need the cuffs anymore," Tom said as he
was relaying today's turn of events to his husband who he was feeding some
vegetable soup. He had been doing this for about a week, and Chakotay was
starting to look a bit better. He was offering another spoon full when the
Commanders hand came up and gently grabbed Tom's hand and held it still.
"Not hungry anymore?" Tom asked with a bit concern, since his husband had
barely eaten half of it.
"Tom," Chakotay said in a low horse voice.
Tom's eyes lit up; his husband was speaking to him. "Yes, love?"
Tom felt his eyes fill again with tears, his love was blaming himself for
what happened. "No, don't be sorry. You have nothing to be sorry
for.nothing," Tom insisted. But all Chakotay did was let go of his hand and
eat the food. Tom wanted to scream at him for being foolish, but he could
see that Chakotay was off again, but now it was worse, for now he knew where
is husband was. He was in another world paying pennants for a sin that
wasn't his, but Tom's. "It wasn't your fault," Tom said softly as he
continued to feed his husband, "it was mine."
Tom Paris stood at attention before the review board, consisting of Lt.
Commander Tuvok, Lt. Wildman, and Lt. Dalby. Paris felt that he it was
really going to be a deciding vote on Tuvok's behalf for he was sure Wildman
would understand his behavior, even if to some degree Tom didn't understand
it himself. He also felt that Dalby would take full advantage to get back at
him for all the years of rivalry between them, so it would be Tuvok that
really held his fate.
"Lt. Thomas Eugene Paris. This review board has been ordered to investigate
the charges of premeditated murder of 1,325 Illtalsephian's at a strategic
military base during war time between the Federation representatives, that
being Voyager and the Illtalseph people," Tuvok stated. "It was the charge
of this review board to see if you are to stand trial for these charges,
instead of moving directly into a trial. It was petitioned by Captain
Janeway that you were not acting in accordance behavior due to the loss of
your children and the potential loss of your husband Commander Chakotay."
//Bless her heart for trying, // Tom thought, but stood still as best as he
could showing that he did remember how to be an officer.
Tuvok continued. "After several days of investigation and deliberation it
was a unanimous opinion that you did not commit any premeditated activities
due to you mental instability at the time. Also, in accordance to Starfleet
regulations during declared war, actions on a strategic military
instillation, even if not ordered too, but not ordered against, is not a
criminal offense. It is there fore the unanimous decision of this board
that all charges be dropped. That you are to be released into the custody of
your Commanding officer, Captain Janeway under the stipulation the strict
stipulation that you receive counseling and go through a full medical review
before being placed back to any further duties. Do you have any questions,
comment's or disagreements with this decision or this review board?"
Tom stood frozen in disbelief. He didn't expect this, to not be charged,
much less hear that not only he wasn't being charged but he was being
supported in the only way his friends legally could. Then to here it was
unanimous must have been Tovok's way of let Tom know that all of them agreed
with this, and it was important for Tom to know this. //Dalby, you
son-of-a-bitch, I'll let you win the next six games of pool for this! //
"No, sir," was all Tom could find words for since sentiment wouldn't be
welcomed at this moment.
"Very well, this investigation is officially closed and this review board
is now officially disbanded," Tuvok said, then it was over.
"Congratulations, Lt." Tuvok said as he stood up and moved to stand next to
Captain Janeway who had been near by.
"Thank you," Tom said, looking at all of them, even Dalby who walked up to
him, his hand extended.
"I know we don't see eye to eye on much of anything," he said. "But.well,
lets just say I'm not that blind."
Tom took Dalby's hand and shook it, grateful for his understanding as
surprising as it was. He then hugged Wilderman who whispered her sorrow to
him and that she was glad that Tuvok found a legal loophole so this ending
could be possible. Then Tom turned to Tuvok and smiled his thanks, for he
knew the Vulcan wouldn't want it said or expresses any other way.
"Lt. Paris. You and I will have a long discussion in my office at 21:00
hrs," the Captain said. "Until that time, you're a free man, Tom," she said
Tom thanked them all again and was out the door heading for sickbay to let
his husband know what had happened, as Janeway turned to face the former
members of the review board. "Thank you," she said sincerely.
"Don't' thank us, Captain" Wilderman said. "If it wasn't for Tuvok, we may
still would have had to have a trial if he didn't find that regulation," she
"But it would not have mattered if you had not petitioned for his
competency and an investigation into the matter in the first place,
Captain," Tuvok responded.
"Off the record, Captain. If it had been me, there wouldn't be a planet
left," Dalby said quietly.
"Off the record, if it was me there wouldn't be a system left," Wilderman
Janeway only gave a look as if she agreed, but her position as Captain
prevented her from doing so, but she didn't say a word to disagree with them
either. "Thank you," she said and left back to the bridge.
It was three months before Tom was allowed back on the bridge as Chief
pilot again. During that time, the young pilot had his hands full with
counseling, flight simulators, and trying to help his husband come back from
the land of the dead. It was a long hard fight, and he wasn't sure, even
with the progress he saw, he was winning. After the news that Tom wasn't
going to stand trial and the matter was officially over, Chakotay did start
doing little things for himself, but that was about it. He was emotionally
unresponsive, though after about a month of hard work on Tom's part, his
love would give small responses to direct questions or precise actions asked
of him, but that was it.
The counseling helped him deal with the fact that it was an accident and
there was no way he could of prevented it, though he knew there would always
be a part of him that wouldn't agree to that. The only thing that helped him
cope was the flying simulations, for he could just allow himself to forget
for a little bit before stepping back into reality and facing the barricaded
strong hold known has his husband. It took every trick in the book and then
some to get his love to respond to things, but if he didn't make Chakotay
react then he would be in danger of being lost forever, and Tom couldn't
bare that. So every night and day when he was free he was with Chakotay
pouring it on, pushing, pulling, and prodding. It was only a week before his
return to the bridge did Chakotay gave and talked.
"Tom, I do not wish to keep you from your life, please just let me be," he
said in a flat tone.
Tom was internally jumping for joy. "Chakotay, have you forgotten, you are
my life," he said kneeling down in front of his love so he could look into
his face. "You are my soul, how can I leave it behind?"
"I'm sorry, Tom. But I don't have anything left to offer you," he said just
as flatly as his first sentence as he blinked and looked coldly at Tom.
Tom felt the shiver down his spine. He saw the emptiness and could
understand that. He saw the anger and sorrow and could understand that. He
saw the distance and understood that as well, but this coldness was new and
he didn't understand at all. "Chakotay?"
"I want a divorce," he said, again flatly.
"What!" Tom exclaimed as he stood up in shock. "Why?"
"We only got married for we were going to be parents together and it was
the right thing to do. Since that is no longer and issue, there is no longer
any reason for us to remain married," he stated in a cool dry tone.
Tom's eyes went wide with anger and dismay. "How can you sit there and say
that?" he asked feeling his temper growing as the hurt in his chest boiled.
"I say it for it is the truth," Chakotay replied unblinking as he looked at
Tom, his eyes cold and distant.
Tom thought about telling just fine, but inside a tiny voice told him that
was exactly what Chakotay was trying to do, push him away. //Well, we'll
both be damned if I'm letting you push me away after all I've done for
you.you son-of-a-bitch! // "Well, too damn bad for you!" he shouted back.
"For we're legally married and I won't grant you a divorce.so there!" he
finished and stood akimbo.
"Whatever," Chakotay replied unmoved by Tom's display and since he could
move himself around and didn't need anyone's help, he reached out and
touched the controls of his chair and turned it to leave.
"Where the hell do you think your going!" Tom shouted.
"Back to the infirmary, and that is were I'll stay till either you move out
of my quarters or I get new ones," he stated then left.
Tom was devastated. He couldn't believe that the man he loved, and knew had
loved him just did this to him. Chakotay was not pushing him out of his
life; his was throwing him out. He didn't know what to do so hit his com
badge. "Paris to Janeway."
"Yes, Mr. Paris, what can I do for you?"
"Ah, Captain.do you have a few minutes," he asked, trying to keep his voice
steady, but he could tell she heard his distress.
"Yes, Mr. Paris. Where should I meet you?" she responded easily.
"I'm on the observation deck, area C," Tom said then let the channel close.
He turned numbly to the window and looked into the stars wondering why.why
this was happening. Wasn't the loss of his little ones enough? He had fought
so hard to get his love back, but that was not who left here a moment ago.
A week passed and Tom was back on the bridge, and per the Captain's advise,
he stayed right were he was and so Chakotay stayed in the infirmary, for he
flatly refused to go back to his cabin if Tom was still there. The man had
even had Tom barred from sickbay, but Janeway said this was only part of
Chakotay's way of pushing Tom away. The problem was, that Tom felt it was
working, but then he reminded himself about his long road to recovery and he
wasn't the one who carried them and almost died he. He let out a deep breath
and refocused on his job, grateful again to the Captain for clearing him fit
for duty once more.
"Captain?" Harry stated from operations. "I'm picking up a distress
"Where from, Ensign?" she replied.
"About twenty minutes from our location, near the asteroid belt. The
signals weak, but I have traced it back and can give you exact coordinates."
He returned promptly.
"Mr. Pairs," she said knowing her chief pilot knew the rest.
"Yes, Ma'am, "he smiled and set course for the asteroid belt.
As they got closer, "Captain, I'm only reading one life sign. From what I
can tell it must be in some kind of life support chamber, but the power to
the tiny vessel is fluctuating all over the place."
"Captain, I'm reading heavy radiation levels on all levels of the ship. It
appears that everyone else died from radiation poisoning except the
individual in the chamber," Tuvok added.
"Captain, the ships warp core has gone critical," Harry replied with
urgency in his voice.
"Are we within transporter range?" Janeway asked.
"We will be in five minutes," Tom replied.
"Warp core overload in six," Harry stated.
"I can do it, Captain," Tom said, knowing what Janeway would be
"Very well, Mr. Paris. For all our sakes, I hope you can. Once were in
transporter range lock onto that chamber and beam it directly to sickbay.
Notify them of the radiation situation so proper precautions can be taken,"
Janeway ordered then sat back and let her crew do their job.
Tom did as he had promised. He got Voyager into transporter range and once
word was given that the chamber had been successfully transported to sickbay
got the ship out of range of the warp core explosion, though the ship did
take a bit of battering from the debris.
Since Commander Chakotay had flatly refused to return to his quarters and
remained in sick bay, and he wasn't fit to return to any real duty, the
Doctor felt compelled to put him to work. "I don't believe in free loaders,"
he said, hoping to anger the Commander into some action, but it didn't work.
The commander only agreed and in that flat tone offered to help as best as
he could around the infirmary. He could reach most stuff from his wheel
chair, and his practical mental faculties were in perfect working order. It
was the rest of his mental state that had the Doctor concerned.
Chakotay had picked up very quickly on what he could and couldn't do to
help out in the infirmary. During the entire time he never raised his voice,
nor get emotional over anything, though his eyes always seemed to be cold
and distant. He was there now as the small chamber was beamed in and he
worked the barriers and monitored the situation as the Doctor moved inside,
since being a hologram he wasn't affected by most forms of radiation. The
chamber wasn't very big, about four feet in length.
He watched as the Doctor ran his scans then proceeded to open the chamber.
"You sure that's a wise idea?" the Commander asked flatly.
"Though the boy has not been exposed to any of the radiation, he had been
injured and is in need of treatment. So yes, I think it's a very good idea,"
the Doctor said as the hiss of the chamber indicated the lid was ready to be
opened. The Doctor lifted out the small child; the boy had a rich dark
complexion, and bright blond hair. The Doctor ordered Chakotay to beam away
the chamber and when it was gone laid the boy back down on the bio bed and
ran another scan.
"You can lower shields, there is no longer any danger of radiation
exposure," he said as he started treatment on the boy.
Chakotay did as he was told, them moved and brought the medical tray he
know the Doctor would be asking for. He received a simple nod of
appreciation and stayed there looking at the child and waiting for any
further instructions. The child looked human enough from the commander's
point of view, and from what he heard of the Doctors tendency to mumble to
himself, that the child was compatible to most human medicines.
The Doctor was just finishing fixing the mild internal damage the child had
received when the doors to the infirmary opened to reveal Captain Janeway
and Tom. Chakotay just moved off not wanting to deal with either one of
them, and found something in another room to keep him busy.
The Captain saw her friend and first officer move off like, not even giving
her or his husband a second glance. But firs thing first. "So, how are
they?" she asked wanting to know about the new person she just let on board
"Though I'm not familiar with the race, the boy does seem very compatible
to human medicines, and from all I can make out will be just fine," the
"Boy?" Tom asked.
"Yes, he's about the human equivalent of eight years old," the Doctor
answered. "He should be waking up soon. Are his parents about?"
"I'm afraid he's the only survivor from the ship we just left," Janeway
replied wondering how this small boy would take to waking in a room of
aliens. She prayed he would be able to understand her as she moved up to be
next to the boy when he woke up.
Tom knew that Janeway asked him to come along, for then Chakotay couldn't
say a word about him being in sick bay with the 'supposed' retraining
order.which was never officially filed by Lt. Tuvok, in accordance to Harry.
He moved toward the back room to see his love busy at sorting supplies and
his heart ached, but he didn't move into the room he just went back to stand
by the Captain. "Doctor, how is he," Tom asked gesturing to the back room.
"Physically he's getting better and in a few weeks he may be up to the
surgery that may get him walking again. As for the rest.as you yourself have
once put Mr. Paris. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them
drink. He has all the opportunities to get better; he just won't use any of
them. Mr. Tuvok states that Chakotay won't say a word during their sessions
so as of this morning is considering canceling them. In short, Mr. Paris...
Chakotay may walk again long before he'll be First officer again, if ever."
Tom didn't know how to take this, so he just blinked in silence for a
moment, "If you don't need me anymore, Captain?" he asked hoping to go back
to the bridge.
Janeway saw this, "No, Tom. Not at the moment." She watched as her young
friend and chief pilot moved out of sickbay, knowing his heart was on fire
and prayed for the millionth time that things would start working out for
them. Just then the boy moaned. "It's all right," she said soothingly. "Your
The boy opened his eyes; they were a rich deep silver. When the boy saw his
surroundings he roared and leaped with such speed off the bed that neither
Janeway or the Doctor could prevent it. The Doctor sealed the area so the
boy couldn't get out of sickbay as he scrambled for a place to hide from the
"It's all right," Janeway soothed again, slowly trying to approach the
child. "We're not going to hurt you," he said.
The child didn't understand her or didn't believe her for as she got a few
steps closer he roared like an animal and dashed away. In his hurry to get
away from the strange aliens ran smack into Chakotay that was coming in the
room to see what was happening. The boy ran so hard into the chair it
knocked Chakotay over to the ground and the boy tumbled over him to the
other room, then only scrambled backwards on his hands and butt scarred at
what was happening. He saw the dark skinned man push himself up, and when
Janeway had tired to help him up, swipe at her to let him do it. He watched
the same man right his chair and then with great effort lift himself into it
then got himself situated.
Janeway was torn between being livid that Chakotay had literally swiped at
her to make her let go of him or glad to see that independent determination
that was so the former Chakotay back, even for a moment, and even if it only
showed in a burst of temper. But considering how unemotional he had been,
this was a sign that there was something still beating inside waiting to
come out. She then looked over to see the Doctor trying to approach the boy
and the child finding things to throw at him, and since it didn't hurt he
could keep going, but the child was becoming more and more petrified that it
started howling and whining. She was going to tell the doctor to back off."
"Knock it off!" Chakotay snapped and glared over his shoulder at the boy.
To everyone's surprise the boy did, and just stared that Chakotay, not
moving. The Doctor moved next to the boy and scanned him. "No additional
damage. He leaned down to grab for the boy when he dashed again, but this
time right next to Chakotay and hid behind his chair like it was a place of
"What is he doing?" Chakotay asked his annoyance profound in his voice.
Janeway wasn't sure if she liked this angry Chakotay one bit, but then it
was an emotion, a huge step to the lacking one he had been for months now.
"He for some reason finds you to be a source of security, commander. Deal
with it," she ordered. //If he wants to be an ass, I can be a bitch. //
Chakotay started moving out of the room in his wheelchair and looked to see
the boy was staying right behind him. He moved to the biobed. "Get up
there," he snapped and pointed at the bed. Again, both Janeway and the
Doctor were surprised to see the child obey the Commander's orders with
swiftness. The child scrambled up and perched himself on the bed, ready to
leap to safety if he had to.
The Doctor got a small grin on his face then whispered something to Captain
Janeway, who also smiled and nodded her approval. Then the Doctor looked
back at the Commander who was glaring at the child and the others in the
room. "Commander, since you're here for a undetermined duration, I'm giving
you and the additional responsibility of watching over our new addition till
we can contact his home world."
"That's a direct order, mister," Janeway snapped and silenced any further
protest. "Doctor, I sure you and 'Commander' Chakotay, can handle things
from here. If you need any more help, I'm sure you know who you can
contact," she grinned then exited back to the bridge.
< Then end >