A Good Pilot is Hard to Find

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A Good Pilot Is Hard To Find

Chapter 6

Janeway sat in her ready room trying to read the padd before her, but she couldnt concentrate. She gladly set it aside as she heard the door chime.


The door opened and Chakotay entered.

Any word yet? asked Janeway.

No, I just came to tell you that weve been invited to see the fireworks tonight.

Im not really in the mood for fireworks. I wont be able to relax until Tom and Harry are back.

I know and Im sure the Lodakians will understand.

If we dont hear from Tom and Harry in an hour I want to go after them.

Do you think that they have had enough time to get here? They must be at least a good half a day or more behind us.

Janeway sighed. Perhaps youre right, but I cant shake the feeling that if we dont go after them soon, it will be too late. Guntak said he believed that Tom and Harry should have been able to get here in time for the banquet. That was over hours ago.

I think that he was just trying to make you feel better or he wasnt taking into account the certain things that could delay Tom and Harrys return.

Such as?

Im sure that the minefield would have slowed even Tom down if its as bad as they say. Then you have to allow time for the trade, and they may have been invited to a banquet as we were.

Thats true. How long do you think we should give them?

Id say at least until after the fireworks.

When exactly are the fireworks?

In two hours and the show lasts an hour. I really think we should give them till tomorrow morning, but I know you wouldnt want to wait that long. Im worried about them, too. Tom was anxious to back in plenty of time for the race.

I guess I can wait three hours.

Are you sure you dont want to go to the fireworks? Theres nothing we can do for them now anyway.

No, I dont think so. I have some work I need to do here.

You know you wont get any of it done. Go to the fireworks. By the time the fireworks are over, they may be back. If not well go after them.

Whatever happened to, ิthe Lodikians will understand?

Im sure they will understand, but you need this. You havent been getting enough rest lately. Youve been worrying so much about the supply shortage and the situation with Tom and Harry has just added on to that.

All right. You win. Come and get me when its time.

Chakotay smiled. Good. Ill see you in a couple of hours.

Chakotay left, and Janeway resignedly picked up the padd again.

Mind if I join you?

Tuvok looked up from the padd he was working on to see BEllana with a tray of food in her hands.

It would be useless for me to say no.

BEllana sat down. I was wondering if I could talk with you about something.

Tuvok set down his padd. Am I right in assuming that it is about Tom and Harry?

Yes. I was wondering what you thought of Lunai?

I have not met him so I can not form an adequate opinion of him.

What about Guntak?

He gave elusive answers and kept vital information from us. I think it would be prudent to be wary of him.

So, if hes untrustworthy because of his elusive answers and Lunai is even more elusive, he must be even more untrustworthy.

I believe your logic is flawed. An elusive answer would seem to indicate that he is hiding something, but it does not necessarily mean that he is untrustworthy. We do not know what he is hiding if indeed he is hiding anything at all.

Of course hes hiding something! Tom and Harry are in trouble and I dont see why we dont go after them now.

We can not be certain that they are in trouble. The wisest course of action is to give them time to return before we set out to rescue them.

We have given them time to return and they havent. Guntak has told us of the Dakans need pilots. How much longer are we going to wait? Every second that we wait something bad could be happening to Tom and Harry.

I doubt very much that they would harm them if they need their services.

What about Harry? Guntak told us that they could hurt Harry to make Tom cooperate.

Guntak also said that their basis for assuming that Tom and Harry are in danger is a 40 year old warning. I have learned from Commander Chakotay that we will be leaving to get Tom and Harry as soon as the fireworks are over.

Were staying for the fireworks? We should be leaving now! How can we enjoy fireworks when Tom and Harrys lives are in danger?

We do not know that they are in danger. It is not that long to wait. Events have been unsettling lately, and the fireworks may help lift the crews spirits. If Tom and Harry are indeed in danger, we will get them back.

I know. Im just not good at waiting.

So I have noticed.

What do you think of the fireworks? asked Chakotay.

Theyre amazing, answered Janeway.

You dont seem to be enjoying them.

I just cant enjoy them when I dont know if Tom and Harry are all right.

Do you want to leave now?

I dont want to make the crew leave. They seem to be enjoying the show. They may never see another firework show like this. The technology used in making the fireworks must be incredible.

The chirping of Janeways combadge interrupted them.


Captain, the shuttle is returning, but it seems to be badly damaged. The warp core is fluctuating.

Life signs?

Theres one weak signal, which we beamed to sickbay.

Two to beam up.

As soon as they materialized in the transporter room, Janeway and Chakotay headed for sickbay.

They entered to find Harry lying on a biobed with the doctor working on him.

How is he, doctor? asked Janeway.

He received a rather nasty bump on his head, multiple plasma burns, broken arm, two broken ribs, and several bruises. It was touch and go for a while there, but of course my superior skills saved him.

Is he well enough to talk?

You can have one minute with him, no more. He needs to rest.

The doctor placed a hypo-spray on Harrys neck and Harrys eyes fluttered open.

How are you feeling, Harry? asked Janeway.

Okay, I guess. He looked around him. Wheres Tom?

Thats what we wanted to ask you.

He was supposed to be right behind me.

Why didnt he come with you?

There wasnt enough room in the shuttle for both of us and the dilithium. They suggested loading the remainder in a ship that would follow the shuttle.

Why didnt Lunai pilot the ship?

He said he wasnt a good enough pilot. The shuttle could be programmed to follow the path we took to get there. It seemed logical enough the way he said it. I guess Tom was right--I shouldnt have trusted him.

If the shuttle was programmed to follow the safe path, what happened?

I dont know. I was almost out the second part of the minefield when one of the mines exploded. That caused several of the surrounding mines to explode as well. I was almost past the one that exploded first, so the shuttle didnt get the full effect of the explosion. It just doesnt make sense. Its as if it changed to a sensing mine as I passed it. As it was, it took a lot of work to keep the shuttle together long enough to make it back. For awhile, I didnt think I was going to make it.

You almost didnt, said the doctor. Im afraid thats all the time I can allow you, captain. He needs his rest.

Very well. Well see you again after youve gotten some rest, Harry.

Harry nodded and the doctor placed another hypo-spray to his neck.

Janeway tapped her com badge. Janeway to Tuvok.

Yes, captain.

Inform the crew on the planet that they are to beam back immediately. Then lay in a course for Daka.