THE ROMULAN COURIER
Voyager has returned to the Alpha Quadrant and all the marquis were given pardons. Being home the crew have all went their separate ways…
Mars was dusty, as always. Orange smoke being whipped around by angry winds. Tom had always wanted to live on Mars, he had planned many times to runaway and live there but it had never happened. It wasn’t that he was too scared to try, he just couldn’t get farther than a transport vehicle before his father or one of his goons would drag him back home. Finally, Tom had control of his own destiny. Back home and free from prison he could do whatever he wanted. If he wanted to live on Mars, he would.
The first place he went was Velvet’s, he knew Velvet from his Marqui days, she was a sweet bajoran who ran a no-nonsense bar at the end of the strip mall.
Entering the musky old-fashioned room, Tom couldn’t spot Velvet so he headed to the bar and ordered a drink. Resting against the bar, Tom noticed someone enter. She was stunning, a Vulcan maybe. She had long black hair slicked into a high ponytail and wore a dark brown floor length skirt with a slit all the way to her waist. She was wearing brown knee high boots and was unconsciously playing with one of the thin tan straps on her tank top. She smiled seductively his way upon seeing him.
Definitely not a Vulcan.
He cursed silently when she started towards him. She hadn’t shown up here by chance, she’d been looking for him, sent to either kill or retrieve him. He’d lived in the criminal world long enough to realize this women had a hidden agenda.
She sashayed over, never losing her sultry smile and leaned across the bar, beside him. “I’m T’Kiera,” she said sweetly.
“And as you
know,” Tom said suggestively. “I’m Tom Paris.”
Maybe she was with the Romulan intelligence service, Tal Shiar. But what did she want with him?
“I’m not in the mood for games,” Tom told her firmly. “So why don’t you just tell me why you’re here.”
“I came here for a drink.”
She was stubborn, he’d give her that.
“Well, if all you want is a drink,” he drawled. “You have no need for company.”
She grabbed his arm as he turned to leave. “On the contrary, I rather enjoy company.”
“Then find someone else’s”
“The only person I want to be with is you,” she whispered seductively.
“I’ll bet,” he replied evenly, pulling his arm away. “So who sent you?” he asked with a crooked smile.
“Sent me?” she asked innocently, batting her eyes.
“I’ve been gone. I haven’t been gone that long.”
She almost smiled at that. “Nobody sent me, I was simply drawn to you.”
“Save it, we both know that you were sent here by someone. What are you? Tal Shiar?”
The corners of his mouth twitched, “So you are Tal Shair, now there is just the matter of why you were sent to find me.”
He could feel the cool of a phaser pressing against his hip and a twinkle in T’Kiera’s eyes. She’d dropped the charade. “You’re needed for many reasons, and if you don’t do exactly as I say you won’t be the only one to get hurt.”
Tom’s eyes narrowed but he knew better than to ask what she meant by that, she’d never tell him. “Then what do you say?”
“Lets go,” T’Kiera quickly ushered Tom from the bar.
As they left Velvet had just come from the back room. She squinted at the couple she saw leaving, Tom Paris? When had he gotten back?
* * * *
“Sit down,” T’Kiera ordered.
She had brought him to a small ship defiantly of Romulan design. Tom obeyed, sitting down on a bench in the cargo area. More concerned about the mysterious other person in danger than himself.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” Tom asked.
“Some of it,” she said evasively. “It has to do with your sister.”
“Moira?” Tom asked instantly.
The corners of T’Kiera’s mouth twitched. “How did you know?”
“Kathleen’s like my father, she never gets into trouble. Moira’s like me, she always does.”
“Well yes, it is Moira. She intercepted one of our couriers, she took something that wasn’t hers.”
“I’m sure she did it for the right reasons but what am I doing here, what is it you expect me to help you with?”
“Your sister has gone through a lot since you disappeared,” T’Kiera said slyly. “She has no loyalties, nothing we can use against her as leverage. She’s long since disowned her father and sister, over a fight about you, I believe.”
Tom smiled and leaned back, “So I’m your leverage.”
T’Kiera smiled back, “You’re the last person in the world she cares about.”
“And what are the other reasons you wanted me, you said that there was more than one.”
“You’re a very good pilot, if I want you to, you will pilot for me.”
Tom brought one hant to his mouth, an evil smirk marring his handsome features, “And why would I do that? You obviously don’t know where my sister is, you are no threat to her and I’m your only leverage, you’d be foolish to kill me.”
“But I have leverage against you as well,” T’Kiera smiled. “What I do when I find your sister depends on your behavior.”
“When you find my sister, you’ll kill her,” Tom said matter-of-factly, “and then you’ll kill me. Don’t expect me to cooperate. I know how the Tal Shiar works and I have no intention of helping you.”
“Your sister will suffer greatly as a result of your recalcitrance.”
“My sister wouldn’t want me to help you. And as I said, I’m not going to.”
“You’ll regret this,” T’Kiera sneered.
“Not as much as you will,” he shot back.
T’Kiera growled and hit the side of his head with the butt of her phaser. He fell to the floor and some of his dark blonde hair became scarlet.
* * * *
Moira Jane Paris ran across the dark corridor. Her black boots slamming down on the cold concrete a small black leather bag clutched to her chest. She ignored the phaser blasts roaring past her and focused on only running.
(How had it come to this? Gone so far so quickly? She’d been at a picnic with a guy friend when she’d seen the two Vulcans make a switch with two briefcases. She wouldn’t have been suspicious but one of them smiled.
They weren’t Vulcans.
One was always suspicious of Romulans.)
The shots were getting more accurate. Turning a corner she didn’t allow herself to stop. She continued to run, looking only forward.
(She wasn’t Starfleet, not really. But it was in her blood, she couldn’t turn a blind eye to what she’d seen. She excused herself from her friend, followed the Romulan who had smiled.)
The phaser blasts were endless, but she continued to run. The door, it was right in front of her. Only a few more feet.
(The Romulan moved discreetly into an ally, he opened the briefcase. Moira had cursed when she saw it’s contents. Recognizing the device for what it was she knew what she had to do.)
Moira skid to a halt as she reached the doors, fixing her black jumpsuit she exited slowly, calmly so as not to attract attention. She disappeared into the crowd of people, Venus’s dark clouds making visibility limited. Her pursuers didn’t stand a chance of locating her.
* * * *
Moira slid into the helm of her small ship and sat the briefcase on the empty chair beside her. Powering up the ship she was about to take off but noticed the blue light blinking on the console before her, telling her she had an incoming message. She was tempted to ignore it but couldn’t resist gloating to her enemies. The Romulan who appeared was unfamiliar, a beautiful women.
“It’s about time you return to us what’s ours.”
“And why would I do that?”
Tom had been right, they were alike, from personality to looks. The middle Paris child was tall, slim, blond and like her younger brother extremely attractive. The eldest, Kathleen was much different, more homely with drab brown hair and average eyes, not the sparkling blue of her siblings. Kathleen’s figure had never been quite as perfect as her sisters. The communiqués were never for her, always for her beautiful sister, her handsome brother.
“I have something you might want I suggest a trade.”
“What could you possibly…” Moira trailed off as the screen sifted to her prodigal brother, unconscious and bleeding.
Her heart stopped, ”Tom?” she whispered.
Tom and Moira had always stuck together. They’d been inseparable. Kathleen had been eight years older than Tom but Moira only three. They’d been best friends. Told each other everything… then he’d disappeared.
“What have you done to him?” she demanded.
“You should be pondering, what will I do to him if I don’t get back what’s mine.”
Moira was shaking with rage, “What do you propose?” she asked coldly.
“I propose you stay on Venus.”
“Unacceptable. You want to deal? I’ll deal. But only with you, just you.”
T’Kiera’s eyes flared up but she didn’t complain. “We’ll meet at Oakland Shipyard, it should be relatively deserted this time of year.”
“But that’s on Earth!” Moira blurted.
T’Kiera’s eyes widened, “Is that a problem? I thought you’d want the home advantage.”
“I’ll be there,” Moira said with narrowed eyes, ending the transmission.
Tom was home? She guessed everyone in the universe must have known but her. She’d been rather… unreachable this last week. Sighing she looked back to the black leather bag beside her.
She’d do anything for her brother.
She wouldn’t contribute to the contamination of the universe, not even for him.
He’d do the
same thing in her place. But he’d be able to pull this off, would she?
* * * *
Tom slowly pulled himself out of unconsciousness. He could feel the slight shuddering beneath him and he knew he was still on a ship, going warp. His head was pounding, and he could feel the dried blood caked on his neck.
The room he was in was small, he guessed it was a storage closet but the shelves were empty.
He wondered what it was that Moira had taken and why. Whatever it was, it was like he had said before he knew it was for the right reasons. Moira may have been wild when they were younger even more so than himself but when it came down to it, she never really hurt anyone. If Moira had seen something, something that would bring about bad consequences, he knew that she would interfere, his other sister, Kathleen would have reported what she’d seen. But Moira, like Tom, would have taken matters into her own hands.
Resting back against the wall, he sighed, he couldn’t seem to stay out of trouble. He briefly considered escape but decided this wasn’t the right time, he’d wait for the opportunity to present itself, and then he would bolt.
* * * *
Moira quickly replicated the parts she needed for her plan, placing them together she put them in the now empty, black leatherette.
Oakland Shipyard was located on Earth, near San Francisco. It wasn’t really the best place to have a clandestine meeting with a Romulan, even if the place was practically vacant this time of year. If someone were there, it’d be a good chance they were Starfleet. And right now, they were as dangerous to Moira as the Romulans. If they knew what was in her procession they’d stop at nothing to get it from her. They’d no doubt reduce their ethics, until they were even worse than the Romulans.
No, it wasn’t safe to tell anyone about what she’d found.
There was only one person she trusted enough.
And he was being used against her.
Sighing she set a course for Earth. There was a time she would have went to Kathleen but she’d learned from experience that given the chance, Kathleen would betray her.
Moira wasn’t naive, she knew why her sister hated her. She was envious of her life and of her relationship with their little brother. What Kathleen never knew was that they were just as envious of her, because of the relationship Kathleen had with their father.
Tom and Moira had been rebellious, Kathleen had been daddy’s little girl. If Moira were to ask her sister for help she would surly involve their father, and that would involve Starfleet.
That was the last thing she wanted.
She’d just need to do this on her own.
* * * *
T’Kiera landed her ship in the shipyard. Using makeup she hide the inherited green tinge to her skin and perfected her stony countenance. In the robes she’d changed into she looked Vulcan enough. Nobody here would look twice.
The ship was another matter, with its obvious Romulan design it stood out among the uniform Federation ships, but she’d taken care of that too. Landing in the maintenance dock the ship blended in with the wreaked and torn ships. Hiding a phaser in the folds of her robes, she checked one last time to make sure her prisoner was still locked up and stepped out onto the cool metal floor of the docking port. As she had suspected, there weren’t many people around. A few engineers working on a particularly battered ship and a few uniforms but no crowds.
T’Kiera had never told her rival where to meet in the vast shipyard. She didn’t want to lose the upper hand.
Seeing a small retired Starfleet ship land, T’Kiera hid against a wall. The figure that dropped down was unmistakably Moira Paris, lithe and athletic, and she was holding the bag.
* * * *
The ship had landed. Tom listened at the door for any movement inside the ship but heard none. This was his chance. He was in a storage closet so there was no locking mechanism inside. Turning to the metal shelves behind him he pried one from the wall. Tom jammed the metal board into the crack between the wall and door and tried to get it open. The door flew outwards and Tom flew with it, landing on his stomach and renewing the throbbing in his head.
Pulling himself off the floor, he made his way off the ship. He instantly recognized the place, Oakland Shipyard. Hearing voices he crept along the length of the ship and peered out across the station.
He could see T’Kiera approaching Moira.
* * * *
“You’ve brought it.”
“I have what you want, now where’s my brother?”
T’Kiera smiled, “It’s not so simple, Ms. Paris. I’m afraid you’ve made quite a few enemies. You never should have killed the Romulan courier. You don’t even have any idea who he was, do you?”
“He was the son of the Empress.”
“I’m sorry I killed him, then,” Moira lied. “But he gave me no choice.”
“No choice?” T’Kiera growled. “You had a choice! The choice to walk away. You never should have interfered. Now, give the package to me!”
Moira pulled out a phaser, “I can’t risk letting you Romulans have this. The consequences could be catastrophic.”
T’Kiera pulled out her phaser as well, aiming it at Moira just as Moira’s was aimed at her. A stalemate.
* * * *
Tom groaned as T’Kiera pulled out a phaser as well. He had to think of something. But what? He was unarmed. He could always create a distraction but a Tal Shiar agent would be trained not to react. In doing that, he’d be helping T’Kiera.
Cursing silently, he stepped out from behind the ship into the open. Both Moira and T’Kiera saw him, but neithers gaze had strayed from the others.
“What’s going on here?” he asked. If all else fails, do something stupid.
Story of his life.
“Tom Paris, good of you to join us,” T’Kiera purred, still staring unflinchingly at Moira.
“Moira, just giver her what she wants. Who knows, I’m in an optimistic mood. She may even let us live.”
“Are you crazy, Tom?” Moira shouted. Her grip on the phaser tightening in desperation.
Tom hoped he was right in his assumption. He was guessing Moira was holding a fake in her hands. His plan wouldn’t work if he wasn’t right.
“Give it to her, Moira!” he shouted back, trying to catch her eye, make her understand what he had in mind.
Moira couldn’t turn but she was beginning to catch on. They had always thought alike. He knew she hadn’t brought the original. Only T’Kiera didn’t. T’Kiera wouldn’t risk allowing it to become damaged. Moira knew the bundle of make shift parts in her bag were worthless.
“Fine!” Moira yelled, feigning anger. “Take it!”
Moira launched the bag and T’Kiera cried out reaching out, desperate to keep it from landing.
Tom ran up from behind her, grabbing her arms and pulling them behind her back. T’Kiera’s eyes widened in horror as the bag crashed to the floor, small shiny parts spilling across the concrete.
“No!” she cried, falling to her knees, Tom still gripping her wrists. He took the Romulan phaser from her hand and she didn’t fight him. Moira allowed herself a small smile and began to approach her brother. He looked up and smiled back at her.
Moira realized too late, what was happing.
T’Kiera used Tom’s grip on her wrists to pull him to the ground. Elbowing him in the side she grabbed back her phaser and spun behind him, pressing the weapon into his neck. T’Kiera’s eyes locked with Moira’s and Moira’s heart stopped.
This time T’Kiera wasn’t planning to negotiate. This time, she was out for revenge.
The phaser blast echoed through her head. The analytical part of her brain remembering what she’d learned about Romulan phasers. Even on the lowest setting, they will kill the victim instantly.
Tom fell to the floor in a heap, T’Kiera’s hands and robes were covered in Tom’s blood.
T’Kiera had reaimed her phaser at Moira without hesitating but Moira had already fired her own weapon without even having realized it.
People began to run over, kneeling beside the fallen T’Kiera and Tom.
Moira’s phaser fell from her hand and she walked over to them, her eyes not straying from Tom’s inert form.
One of the people kneeling over Tom, a man in a green Starfleet uniform was holding a tricorder over him.
Moira heard the monotone buzz. She knew what it meant.
The man looked up, “Brain death has occurred. He’s gone.”
Moira fell to her knees. No, not Tom.
She’d just gotten him back.
And now he was dead. Tom was dead.
* * * *
She had vowed never to use it. It was too dangerous, even in the hands of Starfleet. She’d decided in the beginning to take it to a planet somewhere and have it destroyed.
But now she’d need to break her vow.
Because the reason she’d been running, the device that lay hidden on her ship. It could send people through time.
And it could bring her brother back.
The crowd around her was growing.
T’Kiera, still unconscious was being placed in manacles.
And Tom lay motionless. The sight brought tears to her eyes but she refused to let them fall.
She didn’t care if she was violating the temporal prime directive.
She didn’t care if she contaminated the time line.
She was going to bring her brother back.
Standing up she ran for her ship, people shouted after her, telling her to stop, asking her to come back but she didn’t listen.
She ran to the small cargo area on her ship and pulled an blanket off the ‘past changer’. The name was inscribed on the side of the sleek blue and chrome device in a language that she was unfamiliar with. But she did know, it wasn’t written in Romulan.
She wasn’t exactly sure how it worked but Tom was always showing her the things he had learned at the Academy. She almost felt that she’d attended herself.
She could figure this out.
She had too.
Pressing a small button on the underside of the ‘past changer’, a click sounded and a lid popped up on top.
She could hear the people outside yelling at her to let them in, saying they had questions for her but again, she ignored them.
There was a rounded triangle shape beneath the lid, a glowing blue light shining through it.
Moira looked at her hand and back to the upside down triangle shape. Deciding it would be a good fit, she pressed her eyes shut and placed her hand onto the blue light.
She heard another slight click before the world disappeared in a haze of vertigo.
* * * *
“You brought it?”
Moira’s eyes snapped open. Disoriented only a moment she quickly recognized T’Kiera’s melodious voice, her sickenly sweet smile.
A chill ran up Moira’s spine. It had worked. She wasn’t sure how but she was getting a second chance to save her brother. And this time, she wouldn’t fail.
“I have what
you want. Now where’s my brother?” she asked reciting words she’d already
spoken. Moira’s eyes went to the slight bulge in T’Kiera’s robes. A small
detail she hadn’t noticed the first time around. The Romulan phaser.
“It’s not that simple…” Moira blocked out T’Kiera’s words, knowing already what she would say.
Moira took a deep breath.
“killed the Romulan courier…”
She poised her hand over the handle of her phaser.
“have any idea…”
She’d need to be quick, extremely quick. Moira
Moira ripped the phaser from her waistband.
T’Kiera reacted quickly, reaching for her phaser but Moira knew where it was hidden. With perfect aim, Moira fired.
She hit her mark, T’Kiera’s phaser. The phaser crackled, sending green energy pulsing through T’Kiera. She cried out and fell to the floor.
“Nice shot. How did you know she was armed?”
Moira whirled around at the voice.
“Tom!” she cried. For once allowing her tears to stream down her face.
She ran to him, pulling him into a hug.
A crowd gathered around T’Kiera and Moira again heard the monotone buzz of a flat line fill the room. This time however, she didn’t care.
“What’s going on, Moira?” Tom asked still held in his sister’s embrace. “What was all this about?”
Moira pulled back.
The ‘past changer’.
* * * *
“We’ve got to get out of here,” Moira said abruptly.
“Why? It was self defense,” Tom protested. “Starfleet will…”
“Want an explanation,” Moira interrupted. “And I can’t give one to them. Please, I need you to trust me. We have to leave.”
Tom reluctantly nodded and ran after Moira as she took off for her ship.
“You can still fly, right?” Moira asked teasingly as they entered her ship.
Tom’s eyes brightened as he sat at the helm, “Do you really believe that I could ever forget?”
Moira laughed, “Just get us out of here.”
“Yes ma’am, and our destination?”
“Take us to dad’s.”
Tom thought he had misheard her, “What?”
“We need to stay on Earth, no one should be home. We can park in the garage and think up a plan.”
Tom relented unhappily, “This isn’t a good idea…”
“If Starfleet figures out we’re involved in this dad’ll kill us.”
“But he’ll be just fine with us using his home as a hide out.”
Moira smiled slightly, “Hopefully he’ll never know about that.”
* * * *
Kathleen pulled herself out of bed and placed another hypo to her neck. Starfleet Medical could cure billions of diseases, heal a broken leg in under two minutes but had yet to find a remedy for the common cold.
Coughing, she felt the hypo take effect, things came back into focus but her mind still felt clouded. Stopping in front of the mirror she grimaced. She looked horrid. Taking a dermal regenerator from her dresser she ran it over the red blotches on her face. She smiled when they disappeared. Not bad. She took out her round brush and pulled it through her chestnut, shoulder length hair, creating soft curls.
Everyone had complemented her on her new highlights. Her smile grew wider. People had been noticing her a lot more lately. She wished it were just because she looked so good with her new highlights.
But she knew the real reason.
Her sister hadn’t been here to out shine her.
Her smile faded as she continued to examine her reflection. She was nothing compared to her sister.
Kathleen shook her head. No, that wasn’t true. Moira may be beautiful but she’d turned out to be a failure, her father had told her so.
Kathleen went to her closet and pulled on a pair of black pants. She was feeling a little better and didn’t want to spend the whole day indoors. She put on a silky lavender shirt that left her shoulders bare. The shirt was Moira’s and not the prestigious JAG lawyer’s usual style but she was sick of black shirts and blazers, she wasn’t in the mood for a white blouse.
Kathleen left her room and headed down the bright corridor of her father’s house. Reaching the door to the garage Moira narrowed her eyes.
The garage light was on, she could see the gold glow seeping through the seams of the door.
In all he life, her father had never forgotten to turn off a light.
Taking a step forward she could hear faint voices.
Picking up her father’s phaser off the table in the entry way she headed back to the door.
Probably, her father had come home early with a friend of his.
Probably, but it didn’t hurt to be safe.
* * * *
“Have I mentioned that this is a really bad idea?” Tom asked quietly as he leaned against Moira’s ship.
Moira ignored him as she quickly shut and locked the garage door.
“Well, are you going to at least tell me what this is all about?” Tom asked impatiently.
Moira sighed, “How much do you know?”
“I know you stole something from a Romulan courier.”
“Yes, a Romulan courier that I killed.”
Tom gasped, “You killed him?”
Moira gave a rueful smile, “He pulled a gun out. We struggled and he was shot.”
“Then what’s the problem? It was self defense.”
“Yes, unfortunately I it made the Romulans a little angry.”
“Why? The Romulans care very little about their officers, they’d only care about what you took.”
just any officer. He was the Empress’s son. They’ll be hunting me down.
No matter what, they’ll want me dead.”
Tom groaned, “Maybe if you just give them what they want it will appease them.”
Moira sighed. Remembering the ‘past changer’ and the miracle that it was that her brother was standing in front of her. She decided not to tell him that part of the story. He didn’t need to know how close he had come to dying. How he had died.
“You wouldn’t say that if you knew what I’d taken,” she said at last.
“Then tell me!” he countered.
Just then the doors slide open. The eldest Paris child stood in the doorway holding a phaser aimed in front of her. Kathleen’s eyes widened when she saw Tom, they narrowed again when they stopped on Moira.
Forgetting Tom’s presence, Kathleen cried out in rage, “You! What are you doing here?”
Moira met her sister’s gaze without flinching. She ignored the phaser aimed at her chest.
“My dear sister, you don’t seem very happy to see us. Haven’t you missed your prodigal siblings?”
Kathleen lowered the phaser, “I want you to leave.”
“Both of us?” Moira asked mockingly. She knew Kathleen had always wanted to be close to Tom. “Or just me.”
“Just you,” Kathleen spat with undisguised vehemence.
“I’m not staying if Moira doesn’t,” Tom said quickly.
Kathleen pressed her lips into a thin line, “Well isn’t that typical. The inseparable Paris kids. Moira and Tom. Well fine then. You can both leave.”
Moira sighed and turned back to her ship. She knew her sister wouldn’t help her. Especially not after their latest fight.
“Come on, Tom,”
Moira said, her voice prideful. “We’ll find somewhere else to go.”
* * * *
Tom stared at Kathleen with disappointment in his eyes. He had had much more faith in her than Moira had. He never thought his own sister would turn him away.
He guessed he shouldn’t be surprised. His father had done the same thing.
Kathleen turned her gaze to the floor, unable to face her brother’s accusing glare. He’d been gone almost 3 years. She hadn’t seen her own brother in 3 years and now she was giving up what might be her only chance to get to know him again. What kind of sister was she?
Setting down the phaser on a table behind her she flew down the few steps so she was at eye level with Tom.
“Wait,” she cried. “You can stay.”
Moira turned, one perfectly sculpted eyebrows raised in amusement. “You’re not kicking us our?”
“Hey,” Kathleen said uncertainly. “You’re family, right?”
Tom smiled and hugged his sister. Kathleen smiled too and hugged him back.
“I knew you’d come around,” Tom said happily.
Feeling the caked blood on Tom’s neck Kathleen pulled back in horror. Twisting around she saw the gash on his head.
“What happened?” she asked urgently.
Tom didn’t seem to think it was that important. “I had a run in with a Romulan,” he told her glibly.
With a slight glare at Moira, Kathleen ushered Tom inside. “This should have been looked at immediately.”
“We were a little preoccupied,” Moira said archly, following Kathleen and Tom into the house. She was beginning to wish Kathleen had just let them leave.
Kathleen got a first aid kit and quickly healed the gash on Tom’s head.
“I’ve healed your concussion,” she told him. “Now, why don’t you tell me what really happened?”
Moira shook her head ever so slightly in Tom’s direction, warning him not to tell Kathleen anything.
Tom smiled, “I let Moira fly for a moment, we hit some turbulence and I flew back into some crates.”
Kathleen turned to Moira, “You should be more careful,” she rebuked.
A portable console that had been sitting on the kitchen table beeped.
“Excuse me,” Kathleen said getting up to answer the message.
Tom went to stand by Moira. “We should tell her, she might be able to help.”
“You don’t know the whole story yet, Tom. Starfleet can’t know,” Moira whispered back.
Tom watched as Kathleen picked up the console and went into the next room then turned back to Moira.
“Kathleen isn’t Starfleet,” he protested.
“She might as well be,” Moira snapped back. “Now, I’m leaving, are you going to come with me?”
“Well, we are the inseparable Paris kids, right?”
Moira smiled, “Come on.” With that, the two quickly crept from the room.
* * * *
Kathleen stared at the man on her screen in disbelief. “Are sure it was them?”
“The two people who fled the scene matched Tom and Moira’s descriptions exactly.”
Kathleen thought back to Tom’s earlier remark, ‘I had a run in with a Romulan’. And now Starfleet had a dead Romulan, a suspected Tal Shiar agent with the murderer and main witness missing. A women and a man. Could it be?
“Kathleen, do you know something I don’t?”
Kathleen held back the automatic response engrained within her. She listened to her heart, remembered the look in Tom’s eyes when she’d turned them away.
“No, dad, of course not.”
Admiral Paris sighed. “After Janeway’s performance report on Tom I thought he’d changed… Now this. Those two just can’t make my life easy, can they?”
“I’m sure it’s a misunderstanding now if you’ll excuse me, I have a case I need to work on, don’t wait up for me tonight.”
Her father nodded and Kathleen ended the communiqué. Kathleen picked up the console and headed back to the kitchen but when she looked up over the counter, Tom and Moira were no longer on the couch in the living room. Dropping the console onto the counter, Kathleen raced across the living room and into the hallway leading to the garage. When the door slide open she could see the small ship preparing to lift off. Kathleen had only a moment to think. She could lock the garage with her access code and call Starfleet Command. She could sell out her brother and her sister or she could…
She raced to the entrance hatch, prying it open she stumbled into the cargo area pulling the hatch closed. She had just enough time to activate the lock before the ship pulled out sending her into a bulkhead. The way the ship had pulled out, it had the distinct flare of her long absent brother. She could feel the ship soaring through the air, not even the slightest amount of turbulence. It had been three years and she had forgotten what a magnificent pilot he was, even sitting in the cargo bay she could feel a difference between the way Tom could fly and the way everyone else did.
Kathleen heard the whoosh of a door and looked up, Moira stood before her, with her arms crossed.
“Kathleen,” was all she said.
“Hi,” Kathleen said sheepishly.
“Oh, Tom,” Moira called over her shoulder. “We’ve got ourselves a stowaway.”
Tom smiled. He knew who the stowaway was. His other sister had joined the dark side.
His two sisters joined him on the bridge. Moira was smiling smugly and Kathleen looked uncertain.
“Why don’t we fill Kathleen in?” Tom asked.
Moira looked at him like he’d grown another head.
“Yes why don’t you tell me?” Kathleen asked boldly. “What do you gave to do with the death of that Tal Shiar agent?”
Moira looked at her sister in surprise but Tom only smiled, “Come on, Moira. We can trust her.”
With a sigh Moira told Kathleen everything she had told Tom. Kathleen for her part had remained composed the entire time.
Tom smiled when Moira finished, “Now for the big finale, why don’t you tell us what you took, what is it that the Romulans are so desperate to get back?”
Moira took a deep breath, she didn’t know how to tell them so she just moved off to the side and removed an old blanket from atop the object of all her troubles.
Kathleen and Tom stared at, completely oblivious as to its purpose.
“What is it?” Tom asked after a beat.
“It’s called a ‘past changer’,” Moira said evasively. “It can send people through time.”
Kathleen’s mouth dropped open, “Are you kidding? How did the Romulans get a hold of it?”
“Are you sure it works?” Tom asked.
Moira turned to Tom with a knowing glint in her eyes. “Oh I guarantee you, it works.”
Tom sighed, “Now I know why you didn’t want to involve Starfleet.”
“Why?” Kathleen asked.
“Because despite the fact that Starfleet has the temporal prime directive they would stop at nothing to get this from Moira.”
“And they’d no doubt use it,” Moira added.
“No, I don’t believe that,” Kathleen protested. “The only legal way to handle this situation is to tell Starfleet. You killed a member of the royal family, Moira. The Empress will order you to be killed. You need protection.”
“I need protection from no one,” she said audaciously. “I have the ‘past changer’ don’t you know what that means?”
“But you can’t use it,” Kathleen said abruptly. “You know that.”
“Of course,” was all Moira said. “But I do know how. I don’t believe the Romulans do.”
“No offense, sis,” Tom said. “But I think if you could figure it out a Romulan scientist could.”
“Yes, but it never made it to a Romulan scientist. It never made it past me.”
“What are you saying?” Tom asked. “You think you can bargain with them? They have no use for that information if they don’t have the ‘past changer’.”
“Then I’ll give it to them, just like last time, Tom.”
“Last time?” Tom asked. “What are you talking about?”
Right, that never happened. “Oh nothing, I’m just thinking. I’ll make a duplicate. The way I see it the only people who have see the ‘past changer’ our us and the two couriers. One is dead the other would have been sent away until things cooled down.”
“So they won’t notice if something is slightly off.” Tom said understanding.
“Right,” Moira replied.
Kathleen frowned, “It’s too dangerous.”
“Kathleen’s right,” Tom agreed. “They’ll kill you anyway. We’re dealing with the Tal Shiar. They don’t leave any loose ends.”
“But before you said…” Moira began.
“Wishful thinking,” Tom interrupted. “This won’t appease them. Only your death will do that. They won’t allow you to live, they will avenge the Empress’s son. They’ll stop at nothing, they’ll hunt you the rest of your life.”
Moira noticed the look in his eyes, “You have a plan.”
“Of course,” Tom smiled. “I can think of only one way out of this.”
“And what is it?” Moira prodded.
The corner of Tom’s mouth twitched. “We have to use the ‘past changer’. We need to go back and we have to stop you from ever killing the Empress’s son.”
* * * *
“Admiral Rice,” Admiral Owen Paris snapped. “What is going on? First two of my kids go missing, maybe involved with a murder and now Kathleen has vanished as well.”
Rice sighed and looked at his old friend, “I don’t know, Owen. We’ve got some barkeep on Mars, a Miss Velvet, says Tom came through and get this, he left with a Romulan. Then we’ve got two eye witnesses who say that Moira shot and killed the Romulan Tal Shair we found. Tom was there to, showed up after the murder and left with Moira.”
“And now Kathleen’s missing,” Owen said. “There’s got to be more going on here than we understand. I know my kids tend to get in trouble but I don’t believe they’d murder anybody in cold blood, not even a Romulan.”
“I know they wouldn’t,” Rice said. “But we can’t help them if we don’t find them. Where would they go, Owen? Where would they hide?”
Owen sighed, he knew Rice was right. If he wanted to help his kids he’d have to find them, “They’d be in Moira’s ship.”
“Do you have the schematics?”
Owen nodded, “I’ve got them. It won’t take long for you to track them down.”
* * * *
“Tom, maybe *we* shouldn’t do this,” Moira said quietly.
Tom looked up, “What are you talking about?”
“I think I should do this by myself.”
“No,” Tom said firmly. “Moira, I won’t let you do alone.”
“It’s the way I should have handled it from the beginning. Alone. I never should have involved you.”
“Moira, it isn’t safe…”
“We don’t have a choice anyway Tom. The ‘past changer’ can only send one person through time. I’m going alone. I have too.”
“And what about us, Moira? You go alone and me and Kathleen of today will no longer exist.”
“But the Kathleen and Tom of 6 days ago will. Trust me, this whole incident would be better forgotten.”
“Then I have a last request,” Tom said.
Moira rolled her eyes, “You’re not dying, Tom.”
“Hear me out, will you?” he snapped. “Look, when this is all over just make sure we get back to the point we’re at now.”
“What do you mean?” Moira asked.
“I want us all to get along,” Tom clarified. “The three of us. The way it should be.”
Moira nodded, “You’ve got it, kid.”
“We’re being hailed,” Kathleen called.
“Put it on audio only,” Tom ordered.
“This is the Federation ship Maverick. Please shut down your engines and prepare to be boarded.”
Tom shut down the transmission and turned to Moira, “You’ve got to go, now!”
Moira nodded and turned to the ‘past changer’. She quickly pressed the button and the lid came up, and without hesitation she placed her hand on the eerie blue light.
Tom and Kathleen shielded their eyes and the ship was engulfed with light.
* * * *
“Moira? Are you listening to me?”
Moira looked up. Neil Blake was sitting across from her on a red and white checkered blanket. Cassie Peters and Josh Mason were making out a few feet away.
“Yes, of course I am, Neil.”
He smiled and continued to babble on about something.
Moira looked up towards the fountain. She saw the two Romulans walking towards each other.
Preparing to make the switch.
* * * *
Tom groggily pulled himself off the floor of the ship. Kathleen was sitting up beside him.
“Why are we still here?” she groaned, grabbing her head.
“Moira hasn’t changed anything yet,” Tom said. “I guess the timeline won’t change until Moira takes the ‘past changer’ without killing the Empresses son.”
“And what about us?” Kathleen asked.
“We’ve got to get away from that Starfleet ship,” Tom said sliding into the helm.
“Why can’t we just tell them the truth?”
“It’s too late for that. We need to keep the ‘past changer’ safe in case Moira fails and I have to go back and fix that as well.”
Kathleen sighed, “Do you really think you can lose this ship?”
“I can try,” he replied glibly.
“We should surrender. Dad will defend us.”
“He’ll defend you. He doesn’t give a damn about me. If you want out, fine. I’ll transport you to the Maverick. But I’m getting out of here.”
“If you’re staying, then so am I.”
Tom smiled. “Alright,” he said tapping at the helm.
“Why are you shutting down the engines?”
“An old trick,” he said cryptically. “Paris to the Maverick. We’re prepared to be boarded.”
“Tom,” Kathleen said warningly.
“Hold on, just another moment…”
“What are you doing I thought we were going to-“
The Maverick stopped above them, shutting down their own engines. Tom grinned evilly and pushed thrusters full speed jumping to warp in record time.
“Evade them?” Tom queried to Kathleen’s unfinished question.
“Jesus, Tom. How’d you do that? I thought you’d shut down the engines. With this old ship they take at least a minute to boot up.”
“I only presented the illusion that we’d shut down out engines, whereas the Maverick actually did. It doesn’t give us much of a head start, but hopefully we won’t need that much time.”
“Time,” Kathleen muttered. “What’s it even mean anymore? We have the power to bend it to our will.”
“We have the power but we’ve yet to understand it.”
Kathleen nodded, “Moira’s killing the son of the Empress could have very well started a war with the Romulans. Probably erasing the event will save countless lives but who are we to decide that event should be erased. Maybe Moira was meant to kill that Romulan.”
“You’re over thinking this, Kathleen.”
“I suppose you’re right it’s just all so confusing. I only wish that we could have gone with her. What’s going to happen to us, Tom?”
Tom placed the ship on autopilot and kneeled beside his sister, “We’ll be fine, we’ll just go back to who we were a week ago.”
“But I don’t want to be who I was a week ago! That person cared more about herself than her siblings! She cared more about her job than anything!”
“We’ll be fine,” Tom said again. “I won’t allow you to stay that way.”
Kathleen smiled, “You really think Moira will do as you asked? Get the three of us together?”
“I know she will.”
* * * *
“Neil, sorry but I’ve got to go early.”
Neil gave his date an exasperated look, “We haven’t even eaten yet!”
“Sorry,” Moira said as she stood.
The two Romulans met in front of the fountain, switching briefcases without stopping.
Moira braced herself and ran after the Empresses son. He went into the ally, just as he had the first time Moira had lived this moment.
Moira cursed when she realized that her phaser was no longer in her waistband, it hadn’t survived her passage through time. She didn’t have time to get a weapon, she’d just have to be careful.
Peeking into the ally she saw the Romulan get down onto his knees and open the case.
Moira took a deep breath and entered the ally. The Romulan had his back to her, he was obviously inexperienced, he never heard her come up behind him.
The first time Moira had stolen the ‘past changer’ she had cried out to the Romulan and he’d turned around pulling out a gun.
Last time she’d been stupid.
She was right behind the Romulan now, she knew that his phaser was in his waistband, she could see it through his jacket.
Pushing the Romulan she knocked him off balance and he fell onto his stomach. Moira grabbed the phaser and pressed it to his neck.
“If you want to live,” she whispered dangerously. “You will stand up and leave this ally. If you turn around, if you see my face I will kill you.”
He was trembling with fear and Moira realized he really wasn’t very old. She felt a rush of pity for him but didn’t allow it to control her.
“What do you want?” he rasped.
“I already told you. Stand up and leave this ally without turning around.”
“And my briefcase?”
Moira snorted as she pulled him to his feet, careful not to let him see her face. “It stays with me,” she said, slightly amused that he thought he might be able to leave with it.
“Walk,” she ordered. “Go sit at the fountain, count to 300.”
“I’ll see you leave the ally if I’m sitting at the fountain.”
Moira smiled, though her young hostage couldn’t see it, “Are you complaining?”
“No, you just seemed smarter than that.”
“How do you know I’m not? Now leave.”
Moira sighed when he had cleared the ally. She took out the Romulan tricorder she had stolen from the young Romulan agent.
Tom had also taught her how to pick pockets.
Kneeling on the ground she shut the briefcase and transported herself to her apartment two blocks away.
300 seconds later, the Empresses’ son and his bodyguards stormed the empty ally.
* * * *
“Something’s wrong,” Kathleen said. “We shouldn’t still be here.”
Tom sighed. “Don’t count out Moira yet. She’ll handle it.”
Kathleen nodded, “She’d better do it quickly because I’ve just picked up the Maverick on sensors.”
Tom cursed and reclaimed his spot at the helm.
“You won’t be able to lose them again, Tom. Not is this old rust bucket.”
“I know, I’m rerouting all power to the shields.”
“Are you crazy?” Kathleen yelled. “They’ll cut through our shields like butter. We have to surrender.”
“We can’t. We need to keep the ‘past changer safe until Moira completes her mission.”
Kathleen was knocked to the floor as the ship was targeted by the Maverick.
“They’re firing,” Tom said evenly.
“Gee, ya think?” Kathleen snapped.
Tom only smiled.
“Are you really prepared to die for this, Tom?”
“We’re not going to die, Moira is six days in our past and she won’t allow that to happen.”
“And what if she’s dead? What if we’re stuck in this timeline?”
“Even if Moira was dead then the Romulans would have gained control of the ‘past changer’. That would have caused a different timeline too.”
“Shields are down, Tom. One more hit and it’s over.”
Tom smiled at his sister, “Just in case I never get the chance to say this, you are a good sister, Kathleen.”
Kathleen smiled back with tears in her eyes, “And you’re a good brother.”
A bright flash engulfed Tom and Kathleen’s galaxy, the Maverick and Moira’s rickety old ship disappeared.
Their timeline no longer existed.
* * * *
Moira watched as the ‘past changer’ was vaporized in her recycler.
A great burden was lifted from her as she sat at her couch. She’d done it.
Kept the Romulans from taking over the quadrant.
But she’d yet to face her biggest challenge.
Keeping her promise to Tom and making up with her sister.
With a sigh she opened her desk console. “Put me through to Kathleen Paris,” she told the computer.
be one more part, a short epilogue to tie up the loose ends but then I’m
Mars was dusty, as always. Orange smoke being whipped around by angry winds.
Tom had the strangest feeling of déjà vu but pushed it aside.
He had always wanted to move to Mars and now that he was finally in control of his life he realized that he could move here now if he wanted.
The first place he went was Velvets, he knew Velvet from his Marquis days. She was a sweet bajoran who ran a no-nonsense bar at the end of the strip mall.
The first thing he noticed when he entered the musky old fashioned bar was Velvet, tending bar and talking with two female patrons.
He began to approach the bar and a smile spread across Velvet’s face when she saw him.
The two patrons turned to see what had caught her attention.
Tom froze, “Moira? Kathleen?” his voice was incredulous.
Velvet smiled slightly and left the family alone.
“You know, Tom,” Kathleen said. “I never could understand why you would hang out at these places but I must admit I’m enjoying myself.”
Tom let out a bemused laugh. Not sure what to say he remained silent.
“We’ve come to kidnap you,” Moira said with a huge grin. “We’re all going home.”
“How did you know that I would come here?” he asked as Moira and Kathleen each placed an arm over his shoulders and steered him from the bar.
Kathleen shrugged and Moira had a suspicious glint in her eyes.
Tom. You don’t want to know.”