A Good Pilot is Hard to Find

Disclaimer: Voyager and all its characters do not belong to me.

A Good Pilot Is Hard To Find

Chapter 8

B'Elanna paced the room angrily. She hadn't wanted to watch the fireworks in the first place and now she was stuck on this planet. The fireworks were finally nearing an end when she felt a hypospray on her neck, then everything went black. When she woke up, she was in a small gray room furnished only with a few cots. Several other Voyager crewmembers, among them Seven, were there also. It was maddening enough to be stuck in this room, but it was infuriating to her that Seven could remain so calm. Finally she could take it no more and stopped before Seven.

How can you be so calm? We're stuck here when we should be rescuing Tom, and we have no idea why they are keeping us here or what they are going to do with us.

There is no reason to become agitated. There is nothing that we can do at the moment. It is more logical to remain calm and wait to see what will happen.

What if they decide to kill us? Do you just want to wait around for that to happen?

That is a most unlikely scenario. What purpose would our death serve? It is probable that there is something that they want and they are holding us until they get it.

What could they want from us? They are much more technologically advanced than we are.

I admit that I am somewhat confused by that as well.

B'Elanna began pacing the room again, looking about for any possible means of escape as she did so.

Well, you can just wait and see what happens if you like, but I'm not waiting for anything. I'm going to find a way out of here.

You have admitted to their technological superiority; is it not logical to assume that this room would utilize that technology to keep us from escaping?

Do you have to be so negative all the time, Seven?

I am not being negative. I am being logical. Why must you insist on trying to find a way to escape when all evidence suggests that that is not possible?

I can't just sit here and accept this. I have to do something. I wish they would at least tell us why they are holding us. B'Elanna stopped suddenly and growled. Where is the door? How can I find a way to escape if I can't even find the door?

That would make escape rather difficult, Seven agreed.

If it's information that they want they'll need to speak with us. If we are bargaining tools they'll need to feed us. Either way they'll have to come and see us eventually and when they do I'll know where the door is.

That's assuming that there is a door.

Of course there's a door. How else would they get us in here?

They could have used a transporter beam.

I suppose so, but that would be impractical. If something were to go wrong with the transporters this room would be inaccessible. No, there's got be a door of some sort somewhere.

Seven raised an eyebrow. If you say so.

Why can't you allow us to rescue my pilot?

In helping him escape, you may inadvertently help the Dakans to escape.

Janeway stood up straighter and anger blazed in her eyes. She'd had enough of Guntak's blatant lies.

No, I don't believe that. What is the real reason that you are preventing us from rescuing him?

Guntak smiled in amusement. Temper, temper, Captain. All will be revealed soon enough.

I'm tired of playing these games with you. All I want is a straight answer about what is really going on here.

You are in no position to make demands, Captain.

Janeway continued to glare stubbornly at Guntak. Perhaps not, but I'm not making any demands. I'm simply asking for the truth. However, that seems to be something you are incapable of.

Guntak frowned and his voice was heavy with sarcasm. You wound me, Captain. I am very capable of telling the truth. I just do not feel that you really need to know the truth.

You seemed so concerned for the safety of my pilot before. Why are you now preventing us from rescuing him?

You never give up, do you? If you must know, it was merely an act. Surely you have heard of the art of misdirection? I make you wonder about me, and have you follow me to my planet. Then, while you are distracted with me, your pilot is enticed off the ship.

Why would you want to help the Dakans capture Tom?

That is part of the truth you don't need to know.

Why can't you tell us what is going on? It's not as if we can do anything with the information.

As resourceful as you seem to be, there is no telling what you could do, but mostly, I just don't feel like ruining the surprise. Now if you will excuse me, captain, I have matters to attend to.

Wait, what about my crew on the planet?

What about them?

You don't need to keep them on the planet. As you have Voyager surrounded, we obviously aren't going anywhere.

No, I have other plans for them.

What would those plans be?

There you go again, asking more than you have the right to know.

I have the right to know what you plan to do with my crew.

You really should keep a better watch over your crewmembers. They should know better than to get involved with other people's wars.

We didn't ask to be involved in your war.

No, you came uninvited.

You invited us!

I invited you to visit our planet. I would not have done so if I had known.

Known what?

I can't discuss that right now. We'll talk more later. In the meantime, you may as well get comfortable. From what my associate has told me, we may be in for a wait.

Janeway suddenly found herself glaring at the view of Lodakia.

Hail, Guntak, again.

No response, said the ensign at communications.

Keep hailing him until he answers.

Captain, do you think that it is wise to antagonize him, said Tuvok. If you anger him, he could harm one of the crewmembers on the planet or fire upon us.

Janeway sighed. You're right, of course. It's just so frustrating not knowing what is going on. Ensign, belay that last order. Tuvok, inform the senior staff members that there will be a meeting in the briefing room in twenty minutes to discuss our options. I'll be in my ready room.

Janeway walked to her ready room with her head held high, and her face betrayed nothing of what she was feeling. Once she was alone in her ready room, she collapsed in her chair and put her head in hands. The situation seemed so hopeless. After a minute, she lifted her head and turned to her computer. Her features were once again calm and her eyes glittered with determination. She was not about to give up so easily. There was a solution out there and they would find it.

Lieutenant? Lt. Paris?

Sonai waited a moment then tried again. Lt., please answer me. Are you all right?

Sonai was distressed when she still got no response from the wan, bruised man laying curled up on the bench. Finally, after looking cautiously both ways, she lowered the force field and walked over to him. She placed a hand on his shoulder and gently shook him.

Lt. Paris?

At last Tom's eyes fluttered open. Please call me Tom. I want the last voice I hear to call me by my first name.

You're not dying, Tom. The doctor came and treated the worst of your wounds. She frowned as she studied him. Though I think he could have done more.

Are you sure? It certainly feels that way.

I wasn't sure at first, when you didn't answer, but I am now. They want you alive, Tom. They need you. They say they can wait as long as it takes, but my brother is not very patient. The longer you hold out, the harder he will be on you.

I don't care. I won't give in.

That's very admirable, but I'm afraid it won't do you much good. My brother is also very stubborn. He will keep you alive and torture you as long as it takes. I wouldn't count on being rescued either. You're shivering. Are you cold?

No, I'm just shivering for the fun of it.

I'd get you a blanket, but then they'd know that I was here. She paused and bit her lip as she came to a decision. Never mind. I'm going to get you a blanket.

Tom grabbed her arm as she stood up. Don't. I don't want you to get in trouble because of me. I'll be fine.

Sonai hesitated then knelt beside him again.

I wish there were more I could for you. She gently pushed his damp hair off his face, but paused with her hand on his forehead. Why, you're burning up! They must not have treated you well enough. I can't believe I almost forgot why I came here. I brought you this. She held out another small pill. This should reduce your fever and help with the pain.

What has he done to Voyager?

You need to take this pill.

Tom pushed the pill away. First tell me what he's done to Voyager.

I'll tell you what I know if you take the pill.

Tom hesitated, then nodded and took the pill. Sonai took the canteen of water that she had slung over her shoulder and helped Tom drink. Tom looked at her expectantly as she slung the canteen over her shoulder again.

I don't know much. As I told you before, Lunai tells me very little. From what I gather, my brother has captured some of your crewmates, and is holding them as insurance in case his plan does not succeed. He also has Voyager surrounded so they cannot escape to rescue you.

Lunai has other people from Voyager here? How is that possible, if he can't leave the planet?

No, not Lunai. I'm sorry. I forgot that you did not know. Everyone here knows that I have two brothers. Lunai and Guntak.