Origin in Pain
Tom Paris hated loss of control. It seemed that some things didn't change throughout the universe. Prison camps, beatings, and close sexual encounters of the third kind were apparently among them.
Sliding down to a sitting position against the camp inner wall, he glanced around. Not a big place, this camp, but chalk full of pathos.
Worry knawed at his gut. He was willing to deal with whatever they dished out, but Janeway...damn her infuriating hide, when you went down to the crux, she wasn't made for maltreatment...
No, make that Captain Janeway, a starship captain perfectly capable of taking care of herself or dying in the attempt. She wouldn't want his concern.
None of it made the alternating, not quite muted curses and screams coming from the interrogation cell any easier to bear. Groaning, he buried his head in his hands and wondered where the hell Voyager was.
Concentrating, Janeway brought her head up from the rocky floor, taking in her surroundings with clarity achieved only through clinical detachment. The cell was dark,no windows, just tiny, pinpoint air shafts. She was curled into a far corner, opposite the door, which was being knocked open.
Drawing her uniform-or what remained-up against her bosom in an automatic nod to modesty, she winced again as familar, but embarassing fingers took hold of her shoulders, wrapping them in a ripped but servicable blanket. Tom's voice was angry. "What the hell have they done?"
Straightening, she squeezed a bit of the captains brusqueness out, pushing his hands away and struggling to her feet on her own. "Nothing worse than what they've done to you. They might've finished breaking the ankle. I'll make do. Report."
He snorted, a clear indication of his feelings for her captains mask. "Nothing to report. We're here, Voyager's not, and I'm formally requesting that you reprimand the living hell out of that laggard that you call a First Offi.."
"Thats quite enough, Lt. I'm well aware of your feelings towards prisons and Chakotay in general, but I'm certain Voyager has an excellent reason for being...late. If not, I'll reprimand the hell out of every damn one of them." She said testily, then chuckled briefly at the insanity of the conversation.
He grumbled, lifting her up against her protests. "Lets get you out to the general area. The guards agreed that a strong, debatably healthy, albeit annoying man like myself will make a much more pleasing target than an already injured woman. They want dinner...and...intimate entertainment afterward."
Her hand snapped around his wrist. "You will NOT, Lt. Paris."
"Sorry, ma'am. Starfleet honor. I have to protect the captain." He helped her into a corner, striding away.
"That was a direct order!"
"I've disobeyed them before."
It was long into the alien night before he returned. Shifting to conserve warmth, she reached out as he slumped to the ground silently, reaching for his hands. Clammy, shaky. She closed her eyes. "Don't let them do it again. I'll derank myself and take away your damned excuses."
"Pips don't make a commander." He threw out, almost savagly. "I thought you had figured that much out by now. When we obey you, its because of you, not those damn tacky circles or any Starfleet title, and when we disagree with you, those damn tacky circles and all the Starfleet commendations in the universe are worthless." His tones lowered as he threw her earlier comment back at her. "Besides, its no worse than what they did to you."
"I can ignore the physical abuse, Tom." Her tones were level, dry, bleak. "I've sold my body for ways home, supplies, the lives of crewmen. I can dismiss it as superficial. To you, its more. Its complete emotional rape...it may've kept you alive in other prisons, but here, now, its killing you. I can't allow that."
"As captain or mother?"
"Was there ever a line between the two?"
A raspy laugh. "No, I guess not. I wish there were, and I'm damn sure you know which of the two you were speaking as. But that side of the captain/Kathryn coin will always be the silent minority, won't it, Captain?"
She removed her hands, turning to stare into a nearby fire. "You won't do it again, Mister Paris. As a captain, I am trained to undertake such risks on behalf of my crew and I will not tolerate you undermining training I spent years building up. However little respect you have for those pips, I suggest you dwell a bit more rationally on the wife and daughter who will be left with the fallout of your misplaced heroism. I don't have anyone to leave fallout. As for the mother-son defense...nonexistant relationship. A broken wheel that I don't have time to fix and will not be snagged in. Do you understand me, Lt?"
His reply was stiff. "Aye, ma'am. Receptions never been clearer."