A Good Pilot is Hard to Find

I apologize for the delay in getting this part out. I have been pretty busy and on top of that I have had a case of writers block. Ill try not to take so long getting the next part out.

Disclaimer: Voyager and all its characters dont belong to me.

A Good Pilot Is Hard To Find

Chapter 7

I wont do it.

Oh, but you havent let me explain yet exactly what we want you for.

I can guess.

Lunai studied Tom for a moment. He had to admit that he was impressed with how calmly Tom could refuse him when surrounded by guns.

And what would your guess be?

You want me to lead a fleet of ships out to get revenge on the Lodakians.

How can you be certain that our intentions are not honorable?

If they were, you wouldnt have kidnapped me.

We just wanted to make sure we had your attention. You havent heard our side of the story yet.

I havent heard anyones side of the story yet, nor do I care to. I dont want to get involved in your dispute. I just want to return to Voyager."

"You are trying my patience with your rudeness. You were so polite at dinner-eating that horrid food without a single complaint."

"That was before you kidnapped me."

"That meal alone should make you understand why we need to get off this planet. Very little of the sun's rays can make it to us through that minefield. It is difficult to grow vegetables with so little sunlight. Those that we do manage to grow are small and tasteless."

"And here I thought that dinner tasted bad because you were trying to poison me. What a relief to find its just because your vegetables want to get a suntan.

Lunai turned his gun around and struck Tom hard in the ribs. Tom fell to the ground clutching his side. Youd be wise to watch your mouth.

Tom grimaced and stood up to face Lunai again. Ill try, but its a little hard to see something thats below my eyes.

This remark earned him a punch in the mouth. You dont listen well do you?

My teachers had the same complaint.

Well, you better listen now. Im going to tell you why we need your help.

Oh, good, because Im so anxious to hear it.

Lunai hit him with the butt of the gun again, this time in the stomach. I am not a patient man and you are severely trying my patience. Dont say another word; just listen. The Lodakians did not always hate us. Though they are loath to admit we were once the same race.

You werent too quick to admit that either.

I said not another word.

I dont listen well, remember?

Tom grimaced as he received another blow to the stomach.

As I was saying, we were the same race until the Larans tried to conquer us. Normally, we are a fairly peaceable society, but we were not about to sit idly by while the Larans took our planet. It was the consensus of the majority to fight back, but a few, myself included, preferred to try and talk it through first. The council agreed, although somewhat reluctantly. On the day of the peace conference, some of the Larans planted a bomb on the building. Some of my men witnessed this and tried to stop them but they were unsuccessful. The bombing was blamed on me, and the others who had voted for the peace talks. They claimed that we planned all along to blow it up. They sent troops to wipe out the Larans and sent us to Daka. They knew that we would not be quiet about it and they wanted to cover it up and pretend that it never happened. They surrounded the planet with a minefield and then sent spies to learn who our best pilots were. Once they knew them all, they killed them, effectively making escape impossible for us. That is why we need you. We need you to fly us out so we can settle things with the Larans.

Settle things? You mean an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth? That sort of thing?

Why would we want to trade eyes and teeth? Oh, I see, thats another one of your expressions. I imagine you mean, do we want to do to them what they did to us?

Tom just stared at him.

No. We just want to talk with them. Make them remember what they did, and allow us to return.

You expect me to believe that? You went to all this trouble just to talk to them? You couldnt just call them up?

They wont listen to us.

Have you tried?

Of course! What do you take me for?

You dont really want me to answer that, do you?

Lunai hit Tom in the stomach again.

You know I was trying to do this the easy way, but you dont seem to want to cooperate.

How very perceptive of you.

The hard way it is, then. You may think that you know pain, but you dont. By the time I am through with you, you will.

How am I supposed to fly for you if you hurt me?

We have all the time in the world to wait for you to recuperate enough to fly.

Youll need all the time in the world.

You think you can stall long enough for your ship to come and rescue you, dont you? Well, it wont work. No one is coming to rescue you. Take him to his room.

Tom was led down several hallways until they came to a small room that was furnished with one bench. They shoved him in and turned on the force field.

Dont get too comfy, said one of the guards. Luanai will be here shortly to begin your lessons.

The guards laughed and walked away. Tom walked the length of the room looking for any means of escape, but found none. Sighing, he sat down on the bench and tried to mentally prepare himself for what was to come. Soon he heard footsteps approaching his cell. It was not Lunai who appeared however, but a woman that looked strangely familiar. She stopped in front of his cell and looked both ways before speaking.

I dont have much time. Lunai will be coming soon. My name is Sonai.

Now Tom understood why she looked familiar when he had never seen her before.

Youre Lunais sister.

Thats right. You mustnt mention to him that I have been to see you. He would be very upset.

Why is that?

He and I dont see eye to eye on many issues. I did not approve of his kidnapping you, which is why I didnt attend the banquet. I want to get back to Lodakia as well, but not his way.

What is his plan, exactly?

I cant tell you that. He keeps me in the dark on his plans. He doesnt trust me very much.

Then help me escape.

I cant do that. Ive just come to bring you this.

She held up a small pill.

It will help to dull the pain for a time. Im afraid I cant give you anything stronger, or my brother would find out. Take it before he gets here. It will help you to make it through whatever he does to you. Ill try to come back later to give you another one.

She lowered the field, put the pill on the floor, and raised the force field again.

I have to go now. I hear him coming.

Sonai hurried off down the hallway. Tom picked up the pill and studied it. He knew that it could be a trick, but for some reason he trusted her. He heard footsteps approaching once again and he quickly swallowed the pill. Lunai walked up to Tom.

Are you ready for your first lesson?

Do whatever you want, Ill never do what you want.

Lunai held up a long stick covered with spikes. Lower the forcefield.

Is everyone back on board?

Negative, captain, answered Tuvok. We have been unable to contact them.

Lock onto their signals and beam them up.

There is something interfering with our transporters. I am unable to lock onto their signals.

Hail Guntak.

Guntaks image appeared on the viewscreen.

Is something wrong, captain?

Yes. Weve decided to go after our pilot, but several of my crewmembers are still on the planet. We dont seem to be able to contact them or beam them up.

Of course not captain, nor will you be able to. Your crewmembers will not be returning to the ship. Nor will you be going anywhere.

Captain, several ships are approaching us, said Tuvok. We would seem to be surrounded.

What is going on? Janeway asked Guntak.

Im afraid I cant allow you to rescue your pilot.