Disclaimer: Yes. Here it comes, the legal stuff: Paramount owns them, Synbou just kidnaped them for the fun of it. For their part, Vale and Darven are ours, (considering that Synbou needed some additional crew complement). This is 1/5 part story, that is set a few months after our previous one, Neoplasm. (That was after Vis-a-vis). The story is P/T and rated G.
SYNOPSIS: After being hit by an energy wave, Voyager‘s crew are assessing the extent of the damage, and try to keep Tom alive.
In The Dark, part 1: He Could See The Light
By Synbou Synbou@hotmail.com
Lieutenant Tom Paris was pleased at how well he was handling Voyager. The ship had entered an asteroid field about two hours earlier. By doing so, they were saving themselves almost three months of travel. It was a risk, but Captain Janeway had decided that it was an acceptable one.
The pilot was getting tired, but he knew it was almost over. Tom had been thrilled by the challenge at first. However, he would never have admitted to a single soul that he was somewhat happy that it would end soon. His fingers were aching, along with his neck and back. And, because of his discomfort, he needed to pay more attention. He was also losing touch with some of the other activities on the bridge—and for that matter, most of the people, too. The first one he had turned off—so to speak—had been Tuvok. The Vulcan had been the backseat driver for a little too long. Thank God for Captain Janeway‘s perception and she had actually quieted the chief of security, letting Tom work in peace. With a smile, he finally announced:
"There goes the last rock, Captain. We just cleared the barrier."
"Good work, Tom," Janeway told him with a smile he could feel, but not see. "Resume our original course at warp 6."
"Aye, Captain," he acknowledged, his hand already entering the commands in the control buffer. He had to wait a little longer before passing from impulse to warp, so he closed his eyes for a split second. Then, he snapped back to attention when he hearan alarm go off.
"Captain! There is an incoming energy wave originating from the barrier," called Harry Kim from the Ops station.
"Confirmed," said Tuvok. "Impact in four seconds."
Where the hell did that come from! Tom wondered.
"Brace for impact!" Chakotay called.
Before they could do anything, Voyager was thrown forward by the wave. Paris came quickly out of the initial shock realizing that they were actually surfing on it—a thought that was somewhat pleasing to him. He felt the velocity decrease, but had not expected the ship to sink in the wave as quickly as it did. The wave dissipated throughout the ship which caused consoles to blow up. The pilot managed to cut all propulsion power before it came to his console. And a bright light brought Tom Paris to darkness.
"Status report!" called Captain Janeway as she got back to her feet. The bridge was in the dim light of the red alert. Smoke was filling the air. Rapidly, she searched for her crew in a circular manner. Making eye contact with all of them reassured her. She first saw Commander Chakotay painfully making his way back into his seat. He seemed a bit shaken, but otherwise all right. They both had been thrown on the floor. Ensign Vale nodded at her across from the science station. Harry, for his part, was already on top of things despite a nasty gash on his forehead. His left arm was held close to his chest. Probably broken, Janeway thought. His voice was a bit raw but professional as he said:
"We lost both external and internal sensors. Communication is down, so are the transporters and navigational systems. We are on auxiliary power. Life support is stable."
"Structural integrity is intact," said Tuvok as calmly as ever.
Tuvok, her dear trusted friend, was also alright.
"Shields are down and phasers are off-line," the Vulcan added.
"I lost all contact with engineering," said Sue Nicoletti from the engineering console.
In a few seconds, the Captain assessed the delicate situation her ship was in, and she hated it, to put it mildly. She hated being vulnerable, knowing that her crew was in danger. She continued circling the room with her gaze, and came to stop at the helm. For a second she was confused. There was no one at the conn. She took a step forward and realized how badly the panel was damaged—and her pilot was laying unmoving on the floor.
"Tom!" she called rushing to where the fallen officer was lying. He was on his side, his face buried in his right sleeve. Her hand reached for his neck and found a pulse. Her other hand simultaneously came to rest against his back. She felt the rapid shallow movement of his rib cage. She lifted her head to exchange a worried glace with Chakotay, who was kneeling next to her. "Tom, can you hear me?"
"Eh . . . " he coughed. "I... I‘m here . . . " he whispered.
The two commanding officers turned the injured pilot on his back making the young man stiffen and wince in pain. He coughed a few more times. His uniform was charred, but there was no exterior sign of injury. His breathing eased a bit, but it was still coming in harsh breaths. His eyes finally focused on Janeway.
"I‘m . . . I‘m okay. We need to heal that cut on your face before it gets infected, Captain."
Cut? What cut? She brought her hand to the right side of her face. It was wet with blood. Suddenly, she was aware of her own pain. It could have been worse, a lot worse. With Chakotay‘s help, Tom was sitting up, coughing again.
"Fine. I‘m fine. Have you seen the medkit around?"
They helped him sit on his chair and Tuvok gave him the medkit that he had found behind the tactical station. Tom gestured to Janeway to come closer.
"I don‘t have time for this right now, but later . . . "
"Not later. You could have a concussion. Don‘t argue with me. Leave that for the Doc."
Tom scanned Janeway with the medical tricorder. Then, visibly satisfied, took the dermo-regenerator out of the medkit and passed the device over her face.
"You should pass the tricorder over yourself as well," she told him.
"Play doctor with myself Plenty of time to do that," he said flippantly. "There you go. That wasn‘t that bad, was it?"
Janeway smiled at him. The comment was so . . . him. She was feeling better, and it was reassuring to know that the chances that she would faint in a Jeffries tube due to a concussion were dismissed.
"Who‘s next!" he called. "Doctor‘s in office."
Janeway pointed at him. He made a gesture at her saying who else? She shook her head in dismay and smiled.
"Harry could use some medical assistance, too. I believe his arm is broken."
Harry Kim made his way down to the conn where Tom was still sitting.
"Gee, Harry. Looks like you mutilated your head, too," he observed.
"You look terrific yourself," the Ensign teased him.
While Tom was taking care of Harry‘s injuries, Janeway turned to consult with her second-in-command and her Chief of Security.
"I‘m afraid we are pretty much stranded here," Chakotay began. "Main power is still down. We‘re on auxiliary power only, no communications, no turbolifts, no transporters, and so on. The only accurate readings we have are the tricorder‘s. As far as I can tell, the ship is dead in space, but in one piece. That‘s about it."
"We‘ve got to get communications back," said Janeway. "We need to know what‘s going on in engineering. The wave might have put some strain on the warp core. Any ideas on what kind of wave that was or what caused it?" Her head turned slightly toward Tom when she heard him coughing again.
"The wave was nekryon based," stated Tuvok. "Similar to the nekryon clouds we have encountered in the asteroid belt."
"Our particulate warp emissions probably contacted with the nekryons and ignited them."
"I was sure I avoided all the clouds," the pilot said, coming from behind with Harry Kim.
"Voyager didn‘t hit a cloud, Tom. You did a fine job back there," Janeway reassured him. "There was just no way of detecting the smaller ones. Are you two alright?"
"I‘m as good as new," Harry said, casting a grin to his friend.
"How about you, Tom?" asked Chakotay.
"I‘m fine. Just a little sore," he told them.
"Tom, you‘re still wheezing," Janeway commented.
He coughed to clear his throat.
"I should get to Sickbay, anyway. Doc might need my help."
"Well, the only way to get there, or anywhere else for that matter, is by the Jeffries tubes. I‘ll go check on Engineering with Lieutenant Nicoletti. Tuvok, begin a deck-by-deck search with Ensign Vale. Try assembling people together. Harry, try to bring primary systems on line from here. We‘ll see what we can do from Engineering. Commander, you have the bridge."
Janeway turned to her pilot who was racked by an other coughing fit. He was leaning against the railing of the upper-deck in a half-bent position. He was visibly unable to stand straight and his face had lost the little colour it had.
"Mr. Paris. Hand over that tricorder," she ordered.
She led him to the command center. He carefully sat down in Chakotay‘s chair. She passed the tricorder over him. *Damn. How could he keep such a calm face? He had to be in a lot of pain.* The right side of his body had taken the worse of the explosion. Blood was filling up his chest cavity due to a punctured lung and his two floating ribs on that side were broken. In addition, his kidney and spleen were hemorrhaging and a trail of first-degree burns ran down from his rib cage to his upper thigh. *Thank God for the thick materiel of his uniform,* she told herself. Of all the injuries, most concerning of all was the fluid that was building up under the left side of his skull, which he had probably hit when he had been thrown to the floor. His low blood pressure was also alarming.
"What does it say?" he croaked.
"You‘ve been better. How do you feel?"
"Stiff. Coughing hurts and my ears are ringing, but otherwise okay, I guess. Why? What does it say?" he asked again.
"You have a haemothorax, a sub-cranial hemorrhage, two broken ribs, burns, a bruised kidney, and a ruptured spleen. The injuries are mostly all on your right side, except for the sub-cranial." "Oh . . . I don‘t feel that," he said once the information had sunk in. "It‘s got to be shock," he rationalized. "I need to see the Doc."
"The Doctor is going to have to come to you. You‘re staying here.
No crawling in the Jeffries tubes for you."
"But Captain, Sickbay is just five decks down," he argued. "I have to get there. Doc might need my help, considering how bad it is .
. . "
Janeway did not need him to remind her how bad it could be throughout the rest of the ship. One look at him was enough.
"Don‘t argue with me, Mr. Paris. Leave that for the Doctor," she told him teasingly.
"Giving me my own medicine, are you? I‘ll be fine."
"Tom, you‘re in shock. Your blood pressure is dropping each time you stand. You know your injuries are severe. You need to lie down. You know that."
They had to make him comfortable and take care of his wounds, just like he had done for Harry and herself. Losing Tom Paris was not an option. For that matter losing any member of her crew was not an option. Janeway knew that as the time would pass, he would slip away from them really fast if those injuries were not looked after. So, they settled him on the couch of her ready room, grateful that she kept a pillow and a blanket in there. They gave him something for the pain and a coagulant to slow the hemorrhage and she left him under Chakotay‘s watchful eye.
Captain Janeway was almost down to deck four, making her way through the Jeffries tubes, when she met Ensign Ayala on his way up. She had begun her descent, aiming for engineering, but planned on a quick detour to check on Sickbay. Tuvok and the others had already left, before her.
"Captain," greeted Ayala. "I was on my way to the bridge. What happened?"
"We were hit by a nekryon wave. Did you see other crew members on your way?"
"Yes. People are pretty much shaken, but okay. Many were either returning to their stations or making their way to Sickbay," he said.
"Good. Tuvok and Vale have begun a deck-by-deck search. They are on deck two. Join them and tr to get people together."
The Captain was about to say something. She didn‘t really like to be called ma‘am. But then again, they were in a "crunch," so she just kept on her way. She opened the arch to deck five and lifted herself up on the floor. The corridors were quite busy. Injured people were gathering in Sickbay. Despite the growing number, Janeway was glad to see that so far, it seemed to be only minor injuries. Of course, at this point, they still hadn‘t heard from engineering, and the more severely injured crew members were in the same predicament than Tom Paris, being unable to be moved through the ship.
"Captain," came the Doctor‘s voice not masking his annoyance, "you don‘t seem to need my services," he observed.
"No, Doctor, I‘m fine. Lieutenant Paris took good care of me."
"Of course, Mr. Paris. Shouldn‘t he be here to help me, or has he run down to engineering already?" came the Doctor‘s sarcastic comment.
"He is still on the bridge. The helm blew up in front of him," she said. She went over the pilot‘s condition rapidly.
"I see. It‘s not good. But I just can‘t leave Sickbay right now. People are still coming in. Ensign Wildman and I are rather short handed. Are you going back to the bridge?"
"No, I‘m on my way to engineering. I just wanted to know how you were coping," Janeway answered. "I‘ll bring a medkit and some supplies with me. It could be helpful."
"You‘ll find one on my desk. I‘ll get to Mr. Paris as soon as I can, but hopefully, you‘ll be able to send him to me."
Hopefully they would be able to before it was too late. With that, Janeway was back on her way to Engineering.
"Tom, it‘s not time to fall asleep," Chakotay told the young man, whose eyes were barely staying open. His pupils were so dilated, Chakotay could hardly see Tom‘s clear blue iris. It had been over half an hour since they had laid him on the couch. His condition was worsening at an alarming rate. He was now running a hemorrhagic fever. His blood pressure was low and he was coming more and more confused and anxious. His irregular painful breathing kept being interrupted by a recurring bloody cough.
"Chakotay?... Where were you?" Tom whispered.
"I went to the bridge for a few minutes, remember?" he asked putting his hand on Tom‘s forehead. It was hot. His skin was clammy and as white as milk. "I won‘t leave again. Harry is doing fine by himself. He almost has communications back on-line."
"Think I could call B‘Elanna?" Tom asked with an uncharacteristic uncertainty.
"Sure. Why not?"
"She‘s alright, isn‘t she?"
Chakotay smiled mostly to himself. Paris kept asking about Torres. At first, Tom felt the questions were stupid, since he knew Chakotay didn‘t know either, but he asked anyway, needing the reassurance.
"I‘m sure B‘Elanna is alright," he told him once again, trying to sound as confident as he could. "You have to hold on. If you die, she‘ll bring you back from the dead to kill you herself. Knowing B‘Elanna, she wouldn‘t make that a pleasant experience."
"If I survive this, Doc is the one who‘s going to kill me for not helping him in Sickbay."
"I‘d say, you‘re in for at least a lecture, since you hurt your head again," he teased him. A weak smile relaxed Tom‘s tired features, but coughing prevented him from saying anything. It shocked his body which was already in a lot pain. There was not much Chakotay could do. He had given Tom a painkiller a few minutes earlier. The only thing he could do was to try to keep Tom conscious as long as possible and keep him warm. Chakotay took a wet tissue and cleaned the blood that was covering Tom‘s mouth and the hand he had used to covered it.
"Hang in there. It shouldn‘t be long."
"I know. The Light, it‘s so beautiful and yet, I‘m still afraid of death... " Tom said in low voice that was painful to hear.
Chakotay felt his heart sink, his emotions knotted in his throat. Was Tom already seeing The Light? They both knew that death was at the front door. Chakotay could tell that Tom was almost ready to cross over to the other side, but to what? For him they were the Happy Hunting Grounds, The Spirit Plains. What was it for the pilot? He had cheated death so many times before. Come to think of it, he actually had died after he had breached the Threshold. What were his perceptions? What was he afraid of?
"I wasn‘t talking about death," he whispered back.
"No... I only wish I could hear B‘Elanna‘s voice. I love her so much. I wish I could wake up and find her by my side." He sighed, which forced him to cough further more.
"Chakotay . . . Thank you for being here," Tom whispered looking for a brief moment at the commander, who was surprised by the sudden clarity in Tom‘s eyes. "It means a lot, you know."
"You would be doing the same thing if the situation was reversed. I know you would have taken good care of me, or anybody else, for that matter."
"It‘s my job now. I really should be helping the Doc, not dying in the Captain‘s ready room."
"You better not die in here. Think about how the Captain would
feel." Kathryn, whatever you‘re doing hurry. We‘re losing him.
"I‘ll try not to."
"Captain!" called B‘Elanna Torres.
"Lieutenant, status report," Janeway ordered as she came in Main Engineering from the Jeffries tube access.
"The warp core was unstable for a while, but it‘s back to normal. By cutting the power to the propulsion system, Tom saved us a lot of trouble." She paused for a breath and looked around. "A few people need medical assistance. We‘re working at bringing main power back on-line."
"Good. I have . . . "
"Kim to Janeway, can you hear me."
"Janeway here. It‘s good to hear your voice Mr. Kim. I just arrived in engineering and B‘Elanna assures me everything is almost fixed. They are working on bringing main power back on-line."
"Tom and Commander Chakotay are going to be happy to hear that."
"Harry, how is Tom doing?"
"Not good, Captain."
"Tom? What‘s wrong with Tom?"
Janeway looked at Torres straight in the eye. Telling somebody that a loved one was injured and dying was never something easy to do. She could read the worry on B‘Elanna‘s face growing by the second.
"The helm blew up, injuring Tom," she gently told the younger woman. "We need the transporters or at least the turbolifts to get him to Sickbay."
"I‘ll keep working on that, Captain," Kim said over the link.
"Keep me informed, Mr. Kim. Janeway out."
Tom‘s eyes flew open, but did not focus. He blinked in confusion. He was disoriented. He just had a vague feeling that he had been lying in an uncomfortable position for a while.
"Tom? Tom, it‘s Chakotay. Look at me."
Paris forced his vision to focus on the Commander, but it stayed blurry. He felt a wave of panic overcome him as he recognized the taste of blood in his mouth.
"Tom, there‘s a call for you," Chakotay told him. The first officer was holding a cold cloth over his head. With a wet tissue in his other hand, he was cleaning the small stream of blood that was running down Tom‘s mouth.
"I‘m here, Tom." B‘Elanna said in a soft voice.
"I‘m fine, Tom. Don‘t worry about me."
"I have to. I love you, B‘Elanna," he responded sweetly.
Chakotay allowed himself a smile at the sincerity of Tom‘s words and expression.
"I love you, too. That‘s why you have to hold on. We almost have transporters back on-line. I just need a little more time. You hear me, Paris, just a little more time."
"I hear you," he said with a faint smile.
"At least the core didn‘t breach and we don‘t have to beam into space."
"Beam into space?" B‘Elanna repeated confused for a second. Her thoughts brought her back to the last Day of Honor when she and Tom had been forced to beam into space before the explosion of the Cochrane. The shuttlecraft Cochrane. "Tom, you‘re right! A shuttle has independent transporters," she said excitedly.
"Chakotay to Shuttlebay Four," said the Commander catching on immediately, which was definitely not Tom‘s case.
"Darven, here, Commander."
"Darven, I need you to power up a shuttle, then transport Lieutenant Paris to Sickbay. t‘s an emergency!"
"Aye, aye, sir. Darven out."
"Chakotay to Sickbay. Doctor, we‘re about to beam Mr. Paris to you."
"Acknowledged, Commander. We‘re standing by."
"Just a little more time, Tom," he whispered.
Tom smiled. It did not matter anymore. He knew that B‘Elanna was alright. He could face The Light, now.
"B‘Elanna, how is he?" asked Chakotay as he approached the biobed where Tom Paris was now lying. The Commander could tell that Tom was a little better compared to what he had looked like seven hours earlier. His breathing was regular and the bruise that had covered his left temple had healed. However, he was still awful pale.
"Stable," Torres answered tiredly. She was sitting on chair beside the biobed. "We almost lost him again. The Doctor said that he was in full cardio-respiratory arrest when he arrived. He‘s in a coma, now. We could still lose him, Chakotay," she whispered, her brown eyes dropped on Tom‘s sleeping face once more.
He sat on the edge of the biobed in front of her.
"He‘s still here, B‘Elanna. He loves you too much to leave without a fight. He told me so, along with a lot of other things he asked me to forget."
"I bet he did," she said with a wry smile.
"He needs time to heal. I‘m sure that in a few days he will be back to his old self, planning a new gambling scheme," Chakotay said giving his friend a hug. "Go get some rest, B‘Elanna. I‘m sure the Doctor will call you as soon as there are any changes in his condition."
"I want to be here when he wakes up."
"I know. It is his wish too. But, you‘re not doing yourself any good by staying here. Come on, I‘ll walk you to your quarters."
Captain‘s Log, Stardate 51994.8
The last four days have been quite busy. The crew has been bringing the damaged systems back on-line. The ship is finally functioning smoothly, at least for the most part. We have resumed our course for home. Unfortunately, Lieutenant Paris remains in a deep coma. So far, The Doctor has done everything possible. It is up to Mr.
Paris to do the rest. We can only wait and hope for the best.
End of Part 1.