DISCLAIMER: Tom Paris and the rest of Voyager's crew are<
Paramount's, but the story, the Amnesty, and unrelated
characters are Synbou's. This is a P/T story rated PG-13.
Set after 30 Days.


Prior stories in the *Neoplasm Universe*.
1) Neoplasm
2) In The Dark
3) Decytologenesis
4) Corridor: The Secret Pain.
5) Corridor: The Secret Past
6) Corridor: The Secret Path

SYNOPSIS: The Amnesty finally meets with Voyager. As Tom
recovers, their journey in the Corridor begins.

Corridor: The Secret Pawn, Part A
by Synbou- synbou@hotmail.com


Chakotay had been visiting Asa in the Winter Garden
everyday since he had rescued the child from the icy water
of the pond. Each time, he was pleased to notice that the
days were growing longer and warmer. The cold wind had
died down, the snow was melting under the bright sun, and
the hole in the ice covering the pond was getting larger
and larger. The Winter was gradually giving his place to a
long overdue Spring.

Spring was a time for rebirth and that was just what it was
for Tom and Asa. In the physical realm, Tom had finally
gotten the upper hand on his cancer. The curing treatment
had been quick and efficient, however the road to full
recovery was proving to be a long one. Had Tom not been so
worried about taking Voyager and the Amnesty into the
Corridor, his convalesce would have been a lot easier. On
the other hand, had it not been for the arrival of the Mist
and Gwanna's reaction to leola roots, they would have
lost Tom quite some time ago. All things considered,
Chakotay was confident that, surrounded by the support of
both the Amnesty's crew and Voyager's, Tom would be back to
his old self in no time.

In the spiritual realm, Chakotay was pleased to see Asa
getting better as well. Just like for the snow, Asa's mask
of wax had slowly started to melt under the warm sun. With
a wet piece of his uniform, Chakotay had cleaned away the
remaining of the withe substance. It was with relief that
he observed that Asa's smooth baby skin was free of scars.

The young boy was slow to warm up, but it was an ongoing
process. He had first reacted to Mr. Blue's presence, then
to the wolf.

A few days later, Chakotay had started to see a hint of
recognition in the child's eyes each time he was returned.

That simple flicker in Asa's beautiful blue eyes had
delighted Chakotay to no end. But, it had been nothing
compared to the joy he had felt the day Asa had got off the
bench and walked down the path to meet him. Now, Chakotay
was only waiting for the child to say his first words to
him. He knew from the interactions between Tom and Gwanna
that Asa was likely to speak another language. Chakotay
did not care in which one the words would come, as long as
they did.


Four months after the Amnesty's departure from the Alpha
Quadrant and six weeks since the arrival of The Mist into
the Delta Quadrant, Voyager and her crew were ready to
begin their journey on this new path that was the Corridor
under the protection and guidance of the Amnesty. Of
course, the event was calling for a celebration, but
another special occasion had to be mentioned. So
on the night before the D-Day, a huge party had been

Paul could hear the music from down the hall. The party was
being held at O'Rielys, the recreation of an Irish pub
located in downtown Saint-John's, Newfoundland. As he came
in, he saw Neelix, tending the bar that faced the entrance.
The walls were adorned with posters of Irish beers, and old
pictures. To the right, there was a stage where Harry and
his band were performing. Their jazz was a bit out of
place, but still quite nice.

To the left, there were several VLTs and tables. Three red
velvet chair were set around an old upright mechanical
piano. Back to the right, towards the back of the room,
there were more tables and chairs. There, he spotted the
object of his desire; Kathryn was sharing a table with

"Good evening, Ladies," he greeted in his most charming

"Good evening Paul," Kathryn said as she tipped her head.
"Care to join us?"

The small gesture made his heart skip a beat, she was the
most intoxicating woman he had ever met. As he sat down
beside her.

"I am too weak of a man to refuse such an offer." He took
her hand and place a kiss on her wrist. "You look lovely
tonight." He added.

"Thank you," said Kathryn, as a red hue rased too her

"Really, it enhances your eyes," he told her as he looked
deep into them.

Quick to realize that Cupid was at work here, Audrey
decided that it was in all in their best interest --
especially her own -- to make an hasty retreat and leave
Paul and Kathryn at their own games.

"If you'll excuse me, I got some things I want to say to
Tom. "Good evening."

The two love birds barely noticed her departure.

As she made her way towards Tom, Audrey passed by Amber and
Tuvok playing Kalto. It was an interesting sight to see a
Klingon playing a Vulcan game and being quite good at it.
Then again, Amber was not the typical Klingon.

Tom was sitting near the stage, B'Elanna at his sides.
Chakotay and Gwanna were sharing a short bench across from
them, their back to the painted window. Doctor Margo was
sitting on the other side of the table. Margo was a small
woman, but her voice was strong and could carry fare. As
Audrey got closer, she started to wonder what Margo was
talking about.

"Gabriel reached into the night-stand and pulled out what
he thought was the lub. No need to tell you that in the
pitch black dark, none of them noticed that it was a
heating muscle relaxant. Since it's the friction activated
stuff, they realized their mistake too late."

At this point, the women were laughing, while the men were
wincing in sympathy.

"So that is why I have not seen Patrick around," said Tom
smiling and looking upwards to the second floor. He swore
under his breath before jumping out of his chair and
heading for the stairs leading up to the second level.

As he arrived upstairs, he quickly found Shannon leaning on
the railing that over looked the band and dance floor.
Shannon was an elegant man and every inch a charmer. He was
the 'jigolo' of the Amnesty crew. He loved women and all
those who visited his quarters were rumored to never have
regrets. If it would have been any other of Voyager's
female, Tom would have left them alone, but Seven was
different. She had no idea what she was getting into and
was even less ready to deal with someone like Shannon

"Shannon, can I speak to you in private?" Tom asked.

"Oh, Tommy Boy, don't you see I'm talking to a lady?" he
pleaded in his most sensual, thick Irish accented, voice.

"Seven, please go downstairs and find someone else to chat
with," Tom told her very seriously.

"Yes Tom," she said somewhat confused and took the stairs.

"Now, look what you've done!" Shannon said angry. "I almost
had her!"

"Shannon!" Tom snapped. "If it had been anybody else, I
wouldn't care. But Seven is off-limit."

"Oh yeah, or what? L'tle Winter Boy's gonna kick my ass?"

The reference hurt.

The crowd of people that had been around them suddenly fell
quiet. No one was suppose to insult the Chosen ones. Tom
just stood there for a long moment. He was not going to
lose his temper. He took several deep breaths and said low
enough, for only Shannon to hear:

"Or I could always transfer you to The See-Seas for the
rest of this trip," Tom suggested successfully making
Shannon cringe. "It's either my way or Amber's. It's your

"Fine. I'm taking my business elsewhere," he said storming
down the stairs ready to find a new companion for the ight.

Despite the unfortunate argument with the other man, Tom
allowed himself a grin. This was bringing old memories.

He saw Dominick, the Amnesty chief of security, join
Semack, Brian and B'Elanna and began to proceed towards

Audrey chose that moment to get up on the stage. She
cleared her throat, thus getting every ones attention.

"Good evening everyone. I see that the party is off to a
good start. Now, we will get it swinging."

As she was talking, Tom and several others were making
their way to the stage.

"When everyone is in place, we will perform a traditional
song very appropriate for what we are about to undertake.
So with out further due, I present to you Silver-Fables
with 'Heave Away'."

The group took their place and the music began to flow:

"Come get your duds in order,
Cause we're bound to cross the water,
Heave away, me jollies, Heave away,
Come get your duds in order,
Cause we're bound to leave tomorrow,
Heave away, me jolly boys, we're all bound away"


Tom and B'Elanna retired to his quarters at the end of the
evening. It had been a great party. The acquaintance with
new people the reunion with old friend had boosted the
moral of both crews. The food had been excellent. The music
had been great. Now, Tom was standing in his living room
gazing down proudly at a picture frame holding a very
important piece of paper.

Earlier in the evening, the band had took a break. Audrey,
self-appointed MO, had came up on the stage. She had took
hold of Tom's arm and had made sure that he would stay near
her as she addressed the crowd.

"Word had been floating around that we had another special
occasion to celebrate tonight," she had begin. "In fact, it
is a recognition overdue for at least six years. I would
like to invite Professor Semack to join us to the stage and
make the honors."

Tom had exchanged a looked with Audrey. Could it had been
what he thought it was? Assuredly, he had saw the Vulcan
come up on the stage, holding in his hands a big picture
frame. Suddenly, Tom had felt butterflies in his stomach
and had started to fidget with anticipation.

"Asa Thomas," the older man had addressed him solemnly.
"As Yanka University's representative, it is my honor and
privilege, as it was when you obtained the title of Doctor
in Astrophysics, to present to you this doctorate diploma
as an acknowledgment of your achievement in the field of
Criminology. Congratulations, Doctor Asa Thomas Paris,"
he finished giving the recipient a hand shake.

The crowed applauded cheerfully as Tom took the picture
frame, holding behind a glass a diploma printed in old
fashion paper.

God, how he had wished that Loreena had been there to see
his 'graduation'. Still, he had been no less happy to share
the moment with B'Elanna who was now putting the picture
frame aside to have his full attention. She put her arms
around his neck. Bending down slightly, he met her lips
with his own. They kissed passionately.

"What are you thinking about?" she whispered.

"About the past, about moving on..." he told her vaguely.
"I think... I think that we'll make it."

"We?" she echoed, a knot forming in her throat.

Ever since he had fell sick, Tom had not considered himself
to be among those who would come home.

"What do you mean by *we*," she asked more shakily than she

He bit his lower lip. "I guess that in the broad sense I
mean *us* in this crew." He gently kissed her forehead.
"There's no *me* without you, B'Elanna. At least, I don't
want it to be. I love you too much."

"And I love you even more," she assured him with a gorgeous
smile and bright brown eyes. "You're my whole word, Asa
Thomas. There's no *me* without *you either. At least, I
don't want it to be."

Tom smiled down at her. "I suppose we'll have to do
something about that."

"Oh? And that would be?" she asked teasingly.

"Well, actually it's a procedure that usually starts with a
proposal," he told her knelling on knee. Holding her hands
in both of his, he looked up at her with shining bleu eyes.
"Would you Marry me, B'Elanna Torres?"

She responded with a beaming smile. "Yes. Yes, I will."

He pulled her down into a passionate kiss.

"I love you, Tom."

"Humm... say it again, just to be sure."

"I love you Asa Tomas Paris."


Tom took several deep breaths. Three days ago, Margo had
given him flying clearance. There was no trace of disease
in his body and he was once again at the top of his shape.
For the first time in months, he felt really good.
Everything was just right. The icing on the cake was that
the Alpha quadrant was a few short months away, and not
several long decades.

Soon he would be reunited with his not so little girls. In
addition, he would be bringing to them someone they were
going to be able to call Mommy. A smile tickled Tom's lips
as the thought had crossed his mind. He was certain
B'Elanna would make a great mother.

"All systems clear. We are ready to go," Gwanna said from
her post.

Tom took an other deep breath. He cleared his mind of
everything and fully opened himself to the 'currents'
around him. Once ready, he activated the olographic flight
panel. This was the point of no return. Among those of
the Corridor, it was considered bad luck to activate the
fight panel and not enter the Corridor.

From ship to ship the message echoed: "Flight panel

Every one braced for entry into the Corridor.

Tom took one last very deep breath and closed his eyes. He
made the every day world around him go away and opened his
mind to the 'currents' of deep space. He could feel the
Corridor ahead of his ship. He could feel it like one
standing beside a huge river, where misty wind currents
hits the skin. Tom searched for several moments for an
Entry Vector. He had to find one that went perpendicular
to the others, leading inwards. It had to be large enough,
and smooth enough to carry Voyager.

Suddenly he found one. He opened his eyes and began to
navigate the ships into the 'Current'.

"Here we go!" The pilot said as his hands danced over the
panel projected before him. In response, it danced with a
rainbow of colored lights. "Transition in ....
five...four... three... two...ONE!"

On his mark, the ships began to shake violently. It was as
if stepping into a cyclone. Winds were erratic, pushing
the ships from one side to the other. It took all the
pilots training and talent to keep all the ships from
colliding with each other. That part, at least, was not
Tom's job. He lead the way, it was up to the others to
keep things together.

The transition hit Tom as if he had been slammed into a
wall of

"God, I forgot how that hurts," he hissed to himself. His
mind never wondered from the task at hand. He kept the
ships in the calmest Current he had found. It still felt
like the worst. It was almost as if wind driven freezing
rain was hitting every part of his body. He could swear
that each 'ice pellet" bruised his skin. In the upper
levels, the bruising was known to occur to some
pilots, but it had never happened to him.

People should begin to feel the effects of motion sickness.
At the back of his mind, Tom wondered how B'Elanna and
those on Voyager were doing. Suddenly, he felt the first
Interlayer approaching. Within seconds they would breach
the Wall.

"Ending transition in.... five... four..... three....
two.... ONE!" The Chief pilot announced.

On cue, the ships ceased shaking. A gently, constant,
vibrations typical to the Corridor. Tom laid back against
his chair. He left out a deep breath, he had been holding
for the last few seconds of the trip.

"Status," he whispered as the energy drained from his body.
He hurt from head to toe as if he had crossed three upped
inter-layers at once.

"This... This is impossible," he heard Gwanna choked with
disbelief. "Semack?"

"What the hell just happened?" came Amber's voice over the
comn channel.

"Conforming position," announced Semack. "Position: I01-

"I01?..." echoed Tom shakily. "Gwanna?"

"Every one is in one piece," Gwanna reported. "All systems
are within parameters. Janeway reports that Voyager held up
better than planed. We made it Asa. We're just not where we
planned to be. We are in I01. We reached the VERY center
in ONE step."

Shouts of joy and amazement could be over heard on the
speakers from every department. The only place they were
louder was on the fight deck of the Mist.

"Asa! You did the impossible!" Gwanna said as she came
around to pilots chair at the front of the deck. Tom, was
out cold. His skin color was the deep blue of a bruise, as
if it covered his whole body.

"Oh My... Margo!" she yelled in panic. "We got to get Tom
to the Medlab. He's been bruised from head to toe."

"I got him, Gwanna," the doctor said, as she had the
transported materialized Tom in the regeneration tank.

An hour later

"What happened?" Janeway asked the doctor of the Mist.

It had taken her almost a half an hour to recover from the
motion sickness that had over come her during the
transition. It was not something she cared to experience
again. The humiliation of not being able to stay at her
post had been almost worse than the vomiting and dizziness
that had assaulted her.

Upon her recovery, she had been informed that Tom had not
taken the Transition to well eighter. She had wanted to
come over to the Mist at that very moment, but duty had
kept her on Voyager. She was to take care of her own
before seeing to the others. And some how, Tom had become
part of the 'other' crew.

He laid in a large cylindrical tub of blueish 'goo' for a
lack of a better term. There was a purplish halo all
around his naked body. The diagnostic and monitoring
systems were located in a critical position over the tub,
preserving the patients dignity.

"Those who navigate the Corridor feel the changes of
pressure a bit like we feel wind on our skin. Some times,
in the high pressures of the upper inter-layers, it
squeezes the blood out of the capillaries at the surface of
their skin, causing major bruising. As long as the
formation of blood cloths are prevented and the blood is
removed, the pilot recovers in a few hours. The
regeneration tank accelerates the healing process. Thomas
should be waking up in the next few minutes."

"It happens in the upper inter-layers," Janeway repeated.
"And we reached the center on our first entry, no wonder
Tom's body is so battered."

"I never seen anything like that before," Margo admitted.
"Oh, I know some Elshans have very special abilities, but
Tom never did something like that in pass."

"Those Elshans, are they the ones who disappears?" inquired
the Captain.

"I'm afraid so," Margo replied sadly. "They are the most
valued possession in the Corridor. Having such good pilots
ensure manoeuverability, hence power. Those special people
are enslaved and exploited until their death." Shaking her
head in a mix of sadness and dismay, Margo walked away.

Janeway remained silent, empathizing with the situation.
She walked over to where Tom was laying. Thoughts of what
he might have been through when he disappeared send shivers
up her spine. She looked down at his still form. 'He
looks dead' she thought. When she realized what had just
crossed her mind, she closed her eyes and chassed it away
with a deep breath.

Suddenly, the sound of tapping stopped their conversation.
Tom had woken up and was hitting the side of the healing
tank so they would get him out.

Margo immediately went over to the controls and drained the
fluid from the tank. She knew how much Tom hated close
quarters. As the lid lifted she held out a robe to him,

"Welcome back."

Tom rapidly sat up as soon as he could and slipped on the

"I hate this!" he said as he swing his legs over the side
of the healing tank. "Why did you stick me in there?"

Margo indicated to Janeway to help Tom stand up. The

doctor took his other arm and guided him to a nearest bed.
The pilot did not protest, preferring the open bed to the

The doctor explained to him what had just happened as she
examined him.


In the privacy of his quarter on the Mist, Tom faced
Audrey, Semack, and Dominick.

"What happened?" he asked.

"What do you mean?" voiced Audrey.

"You *know* what I mean," he refuted angrily. "This kind
of entry we did in the Corridor is not possible."

"Obviously it is, Asa," Semack said in pure logic.

"Semack," Tom warned. He was in no mood to humor the
Vulcan at the moment. "I never been able to do something
like that before. How come I can all the sudden?"

"The elements changed," Dominick answered. "You changed."

"The amino acid," said Tom.

Its removal was the only thing that could have had actually
changed him -- his DNA. Well, maybe not quite considering
all the damage chemotherapy had done to him in the last
months. Still...

"We think so, yes," confirmed Audrey. "The Doctor, Margo,
and I checked and rechecked all of your medical history.
You're not born with it."

"Then, who gave it to me? Why?" Tom wanted to know.

"We don't know," Audrey replied. "But, we think it was to
prevent you from doing what you just did. By the same
token, to keep you from reaching Eltlys."

"You're not suggesting that I'm the real thing?" Tom asked
with disbelieved.

"I believe that we have been suggesting just that for a
very long time, Asa," Semack reminded him.

Tom cursed under his breath.


Tom corrected his heading for the umpteen time. He growled
at himself with frustration. Ever since he had taken the
helm of the Mist two hours earlier, he had been struggling
to maintain the Amnesty and Voyager in the present inter-
layer. Now and again, he was realizing that his course was
heading further down to the right. It felt as if he was
drawn there like a magnet. For the life of him, he could
not tell why.

With more resolved than ever, Tom did all he could to
concentrate on his navigating. He did not notice the silent
conversation that was taken place between Semack and
Dominick behind him.

"Asa," came Semack's voice.

"I know, I know, concentrate," the pilot mumbled.

"Actually, Asa, I was about to suggest that you follow your
instincts," the Vulcan.

"My instincts, Semack?" Tom challenged.

"Yes. Trust yourself again," his old friend replied.

Trust himself again. It was easier said than done. It had
been so long since Tom had navigated the Corridor. It was
as exhilarating as he remembered it to be, but somehow it
was also different. Tom felt like he knew where he was
going, however he kept on making stupid errors.

"You don't think that I'm making errors, do you Semack?"

"In light of your recent new abilities, the possibility
that you might be making unconscious accurate corrections
to our original fight plan has indeed occurred to me."

Trust his instincts, Tom thought back. He was known to
have good ones. They had rarely left him down before.

"Trust my instincts," he said at loud. "Let's see where
they can lead us."

Dominick nodded in agreement.


Tom rolled on his back. No matter how hard he tried, he
could not sleep, nor could he ignore the constant ringing
sound in his ears. It had started a few days before. He
had not given too much thought to it, thinking that it was
just one of the Corridor's side effects. But now that he
was laying in bed in the dark, B'Elanna sound asleep by his
side, his attention had nothing else to focus upon beside
the sound.

As he allowed himself to listen, he realized that the sound
was not continuous and there were different pitches. So
had to be hearing different sounds. Has he concentrated
harder, he felt the sounds to be familiar somehow. There
were not like the type of sounds that one would hear on a
starship. They were too high pitched. There were more
like the sounds one would here in a forests. Sounds of the
wind playing in the leaves and of bird singing.

Could he be hearing sounds from the Winter Garden? Until
Chakotay had found his way there, Tom had never thought of
the place as more then a fabrication of his imagination.
Could he now be able to go there suddenly as his Spiritual
friend could?

Tom sighed heavily as he was forced to admit that a lot had
changed about himself -- within himself. With the amino
acid gone, he seemed to be able to do things that he had
never been able to accomplish before. Things that only the
Children of Eltlys were rumored to be able to do.

Back on Part-Ayalexis, he had dedicated most of his work at
the Silver-Seas foundation to the search for those special
children inside and outside the Corridor. He was not the
only one to look for them, and unfortunately his work was
often only beginning with the disappearance of a child or
the discovery of a tragic death.

A knot formed in his throat and he felt a tear rolled down
his cheek as old and horrific memories of little lifeless
corpses filled his mind. As Tom had done many times before,
he tried to push the images away thinking of Sayana and
Solenn playing and laughing in the family backyard.

He was missing them so terribly.

Tom shifted uncomfortably. This line of thought was doing
nothing to bring him peace of mind. On the contrary.

If he was the real thing, a Child of Eltlys as his
kidnappers had believed when he was four, and as Audrey,
Semack, and Dominick had also considered a possibility,
then what about his children? What about his mother? Was
there something she had kept a secret from him despite all
that had happened to him since his first entry in the
Corridor? She was aware of his research, surely she
would never had held from him knowledge that would had put
his family and himself at risk.

Frustrated, Tom got out of bed and walked around. If only
he could shut out those voices in his mind!


The chime of the door woke Chakotay up. He groaned in
annoyance. In a soft voice, he told the woman laying next
to him to go back to sleep. He passed on a robe. Once in
the living area, he called for half light, then invited his
visitor to come in.

He was surprised and concerned to see Tom walk in a bit

"Tom, B'Elanna is everything all right?"

The younger man nodded. "I'm sorry, Chakotay. I know it's
late, but I need to talk to Be, Gwanna, and you."

Chakotay smiled, assuring Tom that they was welcome

"I'll go wake Gwanna. Make yourselves at ease."

He reentered the bedroom and came back moment later with a
still sleepy Gwanna. Tom had taken the liberty to
replicate some coffee for all off them.

"Asa, you're okay?" she inquired, worried.

"I'm not sure Gwanna," he answered, giving her a cup of
coffee. "I need to talk and you're the ones I feel the
closest to." He sighed again. "And, if I bring this to the
others, they'll just think that I'm overreacting."

"What's on your mind?" Chakotay encouraged him.

"Do you still visit the Winter Garden?" Tom asked. He
seemed apprehensive as he waited for the answer.

"Yes, I do," the Native American replied. "Not always on

Tom smiled sympathetically. "How are things there?"

"Quite nice," Chakotay assured him. "Asa and I are bonding
more and more each visit. He still doesn't talk to me, but
I feel that it will come in time. As for the Winter Garden
itself, it's more like a Spring day. The leaves in the
trees are of a tender green. There are flowers growing
along the path and the pond. The sun is warm. Sometimes,
I can even hear birds signing."

"I don't think that they're birds," Tom said. He bit his
lower lip. "I'm hearing voices -- children voices. I
can't make out what they're saying, it's too far away.
But, I'm sure it's there. It's familiar and it scares me."

"Did it began when we entered in the Corridor?" Gwanna

"Not quite. It started a few days ago. At first, I
thought it was my ears ringing, like some sort of tanitus
or something. But now, I pretty sure I'm hearing voices."

"Tom, you have been under a lot of stress lately," Chakotay
pointed out. "Could being back into the corridor bring
back old memories of your kidnapping. You did say that you
had been in the Corridor at the time.

"Maybe, I don't know," Tom said.

"Any idea yet on who might have put the amino acid in your
system?" asked Gwanna.

"Could be a number of people," Tom said, allowing a
sarcastic smile.

"You never really told us what happened when you were
four," Chakotay reminded him.

"True," Tom granted. He took a sip of coffee before going

"Well, I was kidnaped in Port-Ayalexis by the members of a
Kimirian radical movement who wanted to put pressure on my
dad so that would influence Starfleet in supporting their
actions during the war with Irsia. You know as well as I
do that Starfleet doesn't negociate over hostages that even
over the life of a child. Apparently, they were about to
execute me when an Elsha came along and either bought be or
kidnaped me from my kidnapers. He brought me into the
Corridor. I don't remember much about what happened. I
have flashes and nightmares, and other kinds of odd
feelings. What I know is that two months later, I ended up
with Lahuma. She brought me home."

They fell silent for a moment, enjoying their coffee.
Then, Chakotay brought back the issue of the mysterious
amino acid.

"The way things are turning into in the Winter Garden," he
began. "I believe that the removal the amino acid was for
the best. It freed Asa from the pond."

"I'm not so sure, Chakotay," Tom disagreed. "I don't think
it was meant to be. I made some research on the genetic
background of Hao, Lassa, Gwanna, me, and a few others that
were kidnaped by the Elshans. We already know that we're
half Kimiran, but the ones that are never found are the
ones like me. Those who are born without the amino acid."

Tom paused.

"I think that Audrey, Semack, and Dominick are right. it
was given to me to protect me from something or prevent me
from reaching Eltlys."

"Eltlys?" asked B'Elanna.

"The Secret Path," answered Gwanna.


Following Tom's request, Chakotay returned to the Winter
Garden upon morning.

The hot dry air blew in his face. His sudden bright
surrounding blinded him for a moment.

Spirits! How could it be so hot?

His eyes adjusted to the brightness, Chakotay was finally
able to take in his environment.

It was a mid-summer day!

The trees were fulled with emerald green leaves. Flowers
beds were surrounding the paved walkway. The pond was
crystal blue. It's surface was disturbed now and then by
the rocks that Asa was throwing into the water.

"Asa," he called.

Eyes as blue as the sky looked up his way. A huge smile
crept upon his face. Forgetting his play, Asa jumped on
his feet and ran towards Chakotay as fast as he could, the
cat and the wolf in tow.

"You're back!" the little boy said enthusiastically

Chakotay bent down, arms opened, and scooped Asa into his

"Yes, I missed you," replied Chakotay returning the child

He could hardly contain his joy at hearing Asa say
something for the first time. A tear ran down his cheek.

"Why you're crying?" asked Asa taken aback.

"Because I'm very happy. I'm happy to hear you're voice,

"Oh," said Asa, not quite understanding Chakotay's answer.

"Everything is all right," Chakotay told him with a
reassuring smile.

Asa laid his little blond head on Chakotay's shoulder. The
adult cuddled the child against himself, lovingly stoking
Asa's back. Like this, Chakotay walked around the pond.
Again, he could hear birds, well sort of. With the wind
playing through the leaves, it was hard to tell if there
were birds or not. He carefully scrutinized the threes.
He could not see any birds. He ventured into the edge of
the forest. There he could not even hear the *birds* any
more. Maybe Tom was right. Maybe what they were both
hearing were not birds. He walked to the bench by the
pond. There, he could hear the sounds again.

"Asa," he said softly. The youngster looked up at him.
"Do you hear other people than me talking?"

Asa nodded several times. His expression sobered.

"Are you afraid of them?"

Again, the child nodded.

"Why are you afraid of them?" Chakotay wondered.

"They hurt my friends," Asa told him sadly.

"Your friends?" he echoed, surprised. "Where are they?"

Asa pointed in the direction of the path leading away from
the garden.

End of part A


We know that we kept all of you waiting for a very long
time. We are very sorry about that.

Big THANKS to DANIELLE for Beta reading.

We hope that you liked the first part of Secret Pawn. Part
B will eventually follow :). Feedback is always welcome
at: synbou@hotmail.com

Thank you for reading,

Synbou (a.k.a. Isabelle S. And Louise B.)

Copyrights Jully 2001