Disclaimer:Voyager and all her crew belong to Paramount/Viacom. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit will be made, as this story is just for fun.
Harry Kim slowly became aware of voices around him. He’s regaining consciousness. The voice seemed to be inside of him. He quickly opened his eyes only to moan and shut them again. It was too bright. It hurt. He opened his eyes a little slower this time and a face came into focus bending over him. It was a man smiling gently down at him. How do you feel?
Harry started. The man hadn’t opened his mouth. "What am I doing here? Where am I?" he panicked.
"Please, don’t try to move yet," a pleasant faced woman told him. "You are very ill."
"Ill?" Harry said confused. He tried to sit up. "There’s some mistake. I’m not---" and then he saw them. Big knotty masses of flesh, on the back of his hand and arm. Oh God!! Oh God!! What was wrong with him? His neck felt strange too. Pulling open his gown he found another one. He blinked and gasped in shock.
"No!" The voice filled the room. Looking across, Harry could see a woman; dressed in the same white gown as he was, jumping from her bed and pushing the attendant away. Their eyes met and locked, before she forced her way to the door.
She put up a good fight before they managed to sedate her and carry her back to her bed. Harry watched quietly, trying to work out what was going on. He recognized the woman as one of the Maquis he’d seen hanging so weirdly in the back of the holographic barn.
Gazing around the room he noticed a figure, swathed in bandages on the other side of the room. Golden hair protruded from the mass of bandages covering the person’s face. Could it be? "Tom," he called out hesitantly. The more he looked the more sure he was. He swung his legs to the side of the bed and attempted to stand.
The attendant was at his side in a moment. "Please, don’t try to stand. You’re too weak."
"That’s my friend over there. Is he all right?"
The man came up to stand in front of him. "He arrived here some time before you. We’ve done all we can. He was badly hurt."
"Does he have these things" Harry gestured to his neck, "growing on him too?" He’d noticed that the woman seemed to have even more of the hideous growths than he had.
The alien shook his head. "No. His injuries were caused from some sort of explosion. We have him in a healing trance. I am hopeful that he will recover."
Harry nodded. Indicating his hand he asked, "What are these things?"
A sad expression crossed the man’s face. "I’m sorry. We really don’t know." At Harry’s horrified look, he continued. "You need to get some rest. We will answer all your questions later." They quickly left the room and Harry, feeling sick to his stomach, lay back down.
These things growing on him were terrifying. Tears slowly slid down his cheeks as he wondered where Voyager was. Were the rest of the crew here somewhere as well? Were they even still alive? Curling up into a little ball, he wiped the tears away with his sleeve and longed for home. He’d never felt so miserable in all his life.
Kathryn stood looking out at the stars from her ready room viewport. Soon they would be in orbit of the fifth planet and they could start the search for Paris and Kim. And the missing Maquis woman, B’Elanna Torres, she reminded herself. The strange little alien they had brought on board, called Neelix, was quite confident that the missing crewmembers would be with the Ocampa peoples. She hoped he was right.
Working with the Maquis seemed a little strange, but she was sure she could trust their Captain, Chakotay. He was a man of honor and until they rescued Paris and the others she was confident that he would help them. After that was anybody’s guess, of course, as she didn’t think he’d let them all be taken prisoner and carted back to the Alpha Quadrant.
That brought up another problem. How were they to get back? The being that had brought them here, the Ocampan Caretaker, didn’t seem very helpful. As soon as they got the others back she was going to investigate that array. Hopefully the technology would be there to send them all home.
One thing at a time, she told herself sternly. First she had to find Tom Paris and Harry Kim. There was no way she could go back without them. As much as Tom Paris annoyed her, there was no way that she could explain leaving him here to his father. As for young Ensign Kim, well he certainly didn’t deserve that fate, she told herself; after all it was only his first mission - even if he did have lousy taste in picking friends.
Harry woke up the next morning feeling slightly nauseous and with panicked remembrance, quickly gazed down at his arm. It was still there. The horrible growth thing hadn’t gone away during the night. Groaning he sat up slowly and looked around. The Maquis woman, who from the ridges on her forehead looked like she had some Klingon blood in her, was still asleep in the bed next to him. Tom was still unconscious on the far side of the room.
Testing his legs, Harry stood up off the bed and slowly made his way over to Tom. "Hey, buddy," he said softly. "How you feeling? Pretty stupid question, I guess, huh?" There was no answer from beneath the bandages. A sudden gasp from behind him made him swing around. The Maquis woman was sitting up.
"Hi," he called out and she swung around on the bed to face him.
She frowned at him fiercely. "Who are you?" she asked angrily. "What is this place?"
"My name is Kim - Harry Kim. I’m an Ensign on the starship Voyager. I’m sorry; I don’t know where we are. I woke up here the same as you."
"Starfleet," the woman almost spat. "You were trying to capture us, weren’t you?" She jumped off the bed and advanced towards him.
"Yeah," Harry answered. "Consider yourself captured." He patted his gown and gave her a wry smile. "I know I have a phaser here somewhere."
"I don’t find this at all amusing, Starfleet," she hissed at him, glaring.
"Um, no. Neither do I actually," Harry answered grimly. He looked back at Tom. Gods, he wished he’d wake up. He felt sure his friend would know how to handle this firebrand.
"What did they do to him?" She was standing right next to him, peering down at Tom too.
"He was hurt when we were brought here. The helm exploded. I’m not sure why he’s here with us. They said he should recover."
"Do you know why we’re here then?"
"No." Harry shook his head.
"Do you know who these people are that are holding us prisoner?"
Harry shook his head again.
"Do you know why they did this to us?" She indicated the growth on her neck.
Harry could only shake his head again. "I’m sorry. They did say that they would answer our questions later."
"You don’t know much, do you Starfleet?"
"Well, I know more than you, Maquis," Harry shot back angrily. "I don’t think these people that are holding us did this to us. They don’t even know what these growths are."
"They don’t? Well that’s just great." She stormed over to the door and started pounding and kicking on it.
"Hey," Harry raced over to her. "What’s that going to accomplish?"
She shrugged him away. "I want out of here, and I want out of here now," she yelled.
Harry sighed. "Do you want them to sedate you again?"
She turned back to glare at him. "You’re right, Starfleet," she admitted. "It’s the Klingon half of me. It’s just hard to control sometimes." She seemed a little embarrassed.
"What’s your name, Maquis?"
"B’Elanna. B’Elanna Torres," she answered.
"Nice to meet you," Harry said with a grin. "Well you already know my name. That’s Lieutenant Tom Paris over there," he said pointing to Tom. "I hope he wakes up soon."
B’Elanna followed him over to stand by Tom’s bed again. "Paris? Any relation to Admiral Owen Paris?"
"Yeah, he’s his son. Do you know the Admiral?"
"We’ve met," she answered briefly. "The son’s a pilot, isn’t he?"
Harry nodded. "One of the best in Starfleet. He shouldn’t have even been with us. He was just on loan for this mission. He’s actually assigned to the Enterprise."
B’Elanna whistled. "How old is he?"
"A few years older than me. Why?"
She shrugged. "It just seems a waste. How badly hurt was he?"
"Pretty bad," Harry answered. "These people said they hoped he’d recover, but I’m not sure what they meant by that. I don’t know whether they mean he’ll be fully recovered or if they just mean he’ll live. He had some pretty horrific burns. I’d feel so much better if he were back on Voyager in our sickbay. I don’t think these people are very advanced, medically."
"Well, why are they holding us? Why don’t they let us go?" B’Elanna marched over to the door again and banged on it harder. "Hey!! Is any one out there?" she shouted.
Harry sighing raced over to her. "You’ve got to try and keep calm."
"Calm?" Her voice rose even higher. "They’re keeping us here against our will. We’re sick, in case you hadn’t noticed, and they’re stopping us from getting proper medical treatment. Damn you all anyway!" she yelled. "Can’t any one hear me?" A groan from the bed at the end of the room caught their attention. "All right! All right!" a voice said crossly. "Can’t you keep it down? I’m trying to sleep here."
"Tom!" Harry cried, rushing over to him. "You’re awake."
"Bit hard to sleep around here, Harry."
"How do you feel?"
"Fine. Why wouldn’t I?" He attempted to sit up and Harry helped him the rest of the way. "Where are we?" he asked curiously. Before Harry could answer, he continued. "My face feels funny. Kind of numb." He brought his hands up to his face and noticed the bandages over them. "Wh - what’s wrong with my hands?" He gasped as he realized that his face was also bandaged. "Oh my god! What happened?"
"The helm exploded. Don’t you remember?"
"N-No," Tom stuttered. "I remember that we were caught in some sort of displacement wave. I couldn’t get us out. Everything went black. Then there was a bright light and a - I’m not sure. A crushing sensation, and I couldn’t breathe properly. My chest hurt. Something was on top of me and there was a horrible smell."
"Cavit," Harry said quietly. "He saved you. He threw himself at you and took the full brunt of the explosion himself. He died saving your life. It was the most heroic thing I’ve ever seen."
Tom shook his head. "He barely knew me. Why would he do that?" Suddenly he snorted. "Of course. My father. If Cavit saved my life then the Admiral would owe him. He probably thought he’d be made full Commander."
"But he died Tom. He probably would rather have been a live Lieutenant Commander."
"Yeah, well of course. He didn’t mean to get killed Harry. That was just bad luck."
Harry shook his head in disbelief, while B’Elanna snorted as she approached the bed. "You’re a little young to be so cynical, aren’t you?"
"No, I’m just the right age," Tom answered flippantly.
"Tom, a man died saving your life," Harry scolded. "You should at least be grateful."
"I am Harry. Its just - well - I feel awful that he died. I didn’t even like him, but I still feel awful. Okay?"
Harry nodded. "I understand."
"Where are we anyway? I know this isn’t sickbay. And aren’t you going to introduce me?"
"Oh yeah, sorry. This is B’Elanna Torres. She’s one of the Maquis."
"Really? Seems I’ve missed a lot. How do you do Ms. Torres? I’d shake hands but, as you can see, my hands are a little tied up at the moment. I’m Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris, but you can call me Tom. And by the way, you’re under arrest."
"Very funny Lieutenant. Your partner here has already done that joke."
"Oh? Well, I must be rubbing off on him. Way to go, Harry."
Harry grimaced slightly and sat down on the end of the bed. He explained everything that had happened to them since hitting the displacement wave, while B’Elanna paced around the room like a caged animal. By the time he was finished, Tom was swaying.
"I think I need to lay down again. I feel kind of sick." As Harry leapt up to help him, he sank gratefully down into the pillows. "Harry?" he asked quietly. "Am I going to be all right? I mean my face and hands---"
"I don’t know," Harry admitted. "We’ll find out more when the Doctor comes back. Try not to worry and get some sleep."
Tom nodded and closed his eyes. Just as Harry thought he was asleep he opened them again. "I nearly forgot. I didn’t want to say anything before," he mumbled. "But you and the Maquis girl - you’ve got things growing on you. Have I?"
"No Tom. It’s just B’Elanna and me, as far as I know."
"What are they? Are you going to be all right?"
"I don’t know," Harry said again.
"But do you feel sick or anything?"
"Don’t worry about me. You just get better." He stayed with Tom, patting his arm, until he finally dozed off, and then straightening up went over to B’Elanna. She was sitting on her bed, her head in her hands.
"Are you all right? Do you feel sick or anything?" he asked her.
She looked up at him and snarled. "I’m fine."
"Oh. That’s good. I feel kind of sick, myself. Have ever since I woke up. It’s getting worse though." He climbed up onto his bed and curled up into a little ball.
B’Elanna climbed off her bed and went over to him. Feeling his forehead, she announced. "You’ve got a temperature too."
"Great. That’s just great," Harry sighed.
"Don’t give in to it, Starfleet," she urged. "Fight it."
The doors opened suddenly and B’Elanna whirled around to see the Doctor standing there. She growled softly, but remained where she was. "I hope you’re felling better," he said.
"I’m all right," B’Elanna said, "But Harry feels sick and he has a temperature."
"Oh dear," the man said hurrying over. He quickly filled a hypospray and injected it into Harry’s neck. "That should bring his temperature down and help with the nauseousness."
"Thank you," Harry said sitting up. He felt better already.
The Doctor went over to Tom. "Has he awoken?"
"Yes," Harry said, going over to them. "He was awake for a little while. He was fully coherent. He started to feel sick though, so I helped him go back to sleep."
The Doctor nodded. "That is good. He will be weak and dizzy for quite some time, but should eventually recover."
"Will his face and hands be all right? He wants to know."
The Doctor seemed to hesitate. "We will not know for several more hours," he finally answered. He turned away from Tom. "Now, I know that you both must have many questions to ask of me."
"That’s for sure," B’Elanna said angrily. "Why are we prisoners?"
The Doctor looked genuinely shocked. "You’re not prisoners," he answered. "You’re honored guests. Please, I’ve taken the liberty of bringing you some clothes. If you’d like to get dressed and come with me, I’d be pleased to show you our world. We’ll get something to eat as you must be hungry."
"I don’t like to leave Tom," Harry said.
"The nurse will stay here, in case he awakens. Please. You have a lot of questions that I will try my best to answer."
Harry looked toward B’Elanna, who nodded. "All right," he agreed. "But I don’t want to be gone too long."
Tom awoke to the sound of soft voices. Rolling over he groaned quietly as pain shot through his face and down one hand. Everything came flooding back to him as he remembered the helm explosion and Harry telling him they were being held prisoner in the Delta Quadrant.
"We have to get to the surface and get help," a voice whispered urgently.
"How? Do you know the way out of here? Cause I don’t. And even if you did, I don’t know how we could take Tom. I’m so weak, I can hardly support myself anymore." Tom recognized Harry’s voice.
"You might be willing to just lay down and give up, but I’m not," the other voice hissed. "In the Maquis we don’t give in, we fight."
"Till the last breath?" Harry asked with a small laugh.
"If need be," B’Elanna Torres replied fiercely. "Now, are you with me or not?"
"I’m with you." Harry’s voice had grown stronger. "When we get out of here and contact Voyager, they’ll send help back here for Tom."
"That’s if Voyager’s still there," B’Elanna said grimly.
"What are you talking about? Of course they’re there. They’d never go off and leave us here."
"Maybe they’re all dead," she said flatly.
"No," Harry answered vehemently. "That can’t be true. They’re there. They just don’t know how to get us out. They’re waiting above this planet. I just know it." His voice indicated that the alternative was unthinkable.
B’Elanna shrugged. "If you say so. All I know is that I intend to keep going. This won’t beat me."
The pain in Tom’s hand was getting worse and he couldn’t help moaning. Harry was at his side immediately. "Tom. What’s wrong?"
Tom struggled to sit up. "It’s okay. My hand hurts a bit, but I can cope." He took a deep breath. "I heard what you were saying. What did you mean about getting to the surface?"
"We’re underground." He relayed to Tom all that the Ocampan had told them. Tom was silent for a few moments trying to digest what Harry had said. He was also trying not to scream. The pain was unbearable. It felt like there was acid in the bandages trying to eat its way through his hand.
Then the other hand started to throb as well. Moaning he placed his hands up to his chest and started to rock back and forth. Now his chest was hurting as well.
"Tom?" he heard Harry say, through a haze of pain. "B’Elanna, get the Doctor. Hang on Tom. The Doctor’s coming."
Soon the Doctor’s concerned face was peering down at him and a voice was inside his head telling him that he would be all right. The Doctor placed a hypospray against his neck and the pain started to recede. Soon it was the dull ache that he was used to.
He smiled gratefully at the Doctor. "Thanks," he managed to say. "I needed that."
The Doctor smiled at him reassuringly. "You’ll be all right now. I’ll send the nurse in to check on you later."
He turned to Harry and B’Elanna, who were hovering behind him. "We’ll keep him medicated for the next few days, just to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Now, how are you both? Do you need anything?"
"We’re both feeling a little weak and dizzy," B’Elanna said quickly and the Doctor quickly prepared another hypospray and injected it first into Harry’s neck and then hers. "Let me know if there’s anything else you need," he said. "You really should rest now."
"Thank you Doctor," B’Elanna said as he left. "Right," she turned to Harry as soon as the doors closed. "Now’s our chance, while we’re feeling a little better. They’ve got a library here. Let’s go and see if they have any plans to the city there."
Harry shook his head. "I don’t think I should leave Tom."
"He’s fine now," she said in exasperation. "The nurse will keep an eye on him. Come on. I don’t know how long we’ve got till the hypospray’s effects wear off."
"She’s right Harry," Tom called out. "I’ll be all right. Go, while you can."
"I don’t feel right about it. What if the hypospray the Doctor gave you wears off?"
"Then I guess I’ll start screaming. Don’t make me make it an order, Ensign. Go - now!"
Harry sighed and headed for the door. "Yes sir," he said with a small grin. "We’ll be back soon."
"Take your time Harry. I’m not going anywhere. Hey and by the way," he added with a grin. "Watch out for Torres. I don’t think she’s as tough as she makes out."
Harry’s eyes glittered in amusement, but B’Elanna, who was just about to step out the door, turned back with a glare. "You’re not funny Lieutenant. Humor is an immature way of dealing with your emotions."
"Yes, really." Glaring at Tom once more, she stomped out of the room.
"Ouch! I was just trying to lighten the mood."
Harry shook his head. "See you soon."
As soon as he had gone, Tom sank back down on the bed. He felt really awful. And what was with Torres anyway? What was she trying to prove? I give up, he said to himself. What with the Captain hating my guts and now this spitfire giving me a hard time, it’s all too hard. I’m giving up on women, he decided. No more Tom the flirt, he solemnly promised himself, before shutting his eyes.
"How do you feel?" a soft voice asked him a few minutes later. He opened his eyes again, to see the pretty Ocampan nurse smiling down at him. "I see your friends have gone for a walk. Would you like some company?" Tom promptly forgot his promise.
"He’s asleep," the nurse said softly as Harry and B’Elanna entered the room a few hours later. "Did you have a good time?"
"A good time?" Harry asked confused.
"Tom said you were going to see some of the sights."
"OH! Yes thank you."
The nurse smiled. "You really should take it easy. Try to rest more. You both look exhausted."
B’Elanna hissed at a sudden pain in her neck and the nurse grabbed her arm. "Come and lay down," she said. She helped B’Elanna to her bed and couldn’t help noticing the papers that B’Elanna had clutched to her. "What have you got there? It looks like a map." B’Elanna tried to hide it, but was too weak to move quick enough. "It’s a map of the tunnels. Why would you have that? Surely you’re not thinking of trying to find the tunnels? You’re in no state to be doing that."
"Please," Harry pleaded. "We have to get to the surface. It’s the only thing that will save us. You’ve done your best, but my ship can help us. We’ll die otherwise."
"I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do."
"Can you show us the tunnels?" B’Elanna asked.
"It’s too dangerous," the nurse answered. "You’ll be killed."
"We’re dying anyway," Harry reminded her.
"At least this way we’ll die trying to beat this thing," B’Elanna added.
"I don’t know." The nurse seemed to be wavering. "I know of only one person who made it to the surface. And she’s never been seen since."
"Please," Harry begged. "Show us the tunnel she used. That’s all you have to do. It’s our only chance."
"I could get into a lot of trouble." She smiled suddenly. "Very well. But you need to rest first. Gather your strength. I’ll show you in the morning."
"Thank you." Harry said in delight. "You’ve given us a chance."
"Do not get your hopes up," the nurse warned. "The tunnels are a very dangerous place."
The next morning Harry woke up with a start to find B’Elanna already up and preparing to leave. "About time you woke up. I was about to wake you. The nurse brought us some tools to dig with. She’ll be back in a minute."
Harry got up and inspected the tools. "What’s this?" he asked picking up a long instrument with what looked like a bulb on the end of it.
"It’s a light," B’Elanna informed him. "It has a switch on it somewhere, to turn it on. We’re going to need it. The tunnels are very dark."
"Oh, right." Harry looked across to Tom, who was just beginning to stir. Some time during the night the Doctor had taken off the bandages from around his face. "Hey," Harry smiled. "You’re looking better."
Tom sat up and touched his face with his bandaged hands. "Yeah, the Doctor said that there was hardly any scarring. Tell me the truth. How bad is it?"
Harry went over and studied his friend’s face. His forehead was a mass of crisscross scars, all a livid red in color. There was a deep scar down one side of his face, from just below the ear, but it was a lot better than Harry had imagined.
"Nothing that a dermal regenerator wouldn’t fix," he told the pilot.
Tom sighed in frustration. "I wish they had a mirror around here. I’d like to see for myself." He noticed B’Elanna studying his face also. "Okay, Torres. Let me have it. I know you won’t spare my feelings."
She shrugged in response. "Harry’s right. A dermal regenerator will fix you up. Hopefully, you’ll have one waving over you soon. Harry and I will be leaving soon."
Tom nodded. Harry had told him their plans the night before. Holding out his arm to Harry, he said. "Help me up."
Harry looked worried. "I don’t think you should be getting up yet."
Tom snorted. "I’m feeling a lot better today. Besides, I intend to come with you."
Harry opened his mouth in surprise, while B’Elanna shook her head. "You’ll slow us down," she said crisply.
"I’ll keep up," Tom said quietly. "I’m not staying here, while you have all the fun."
"I wouldn’t call it fun, Lieutenant," B’Elanna snapped. "You’ll fall behind and we won’t be able to help you. Neither Harry, nor I are up to carrying you."
"She’s right Tom. You should stay here. We’ll send help as soon as we can. I promise. We won’t leave you here."
"I know that Harry. Look, correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I remember you telling me, those things on you are killing you. You’re slowly getting weaker. I’m slowly getting stronger. What if you can’t make it to the surface? I might be able to help you."
"With your hands bandaged like that you won’t be much help," B’Elanna said flatly.
"Okay, so maybe I won’t be able to dig, but I’ll bet I’m in better shape than either of you two are at the moment. I won’t compromise the mission, I promise you. You can leave me behind, if I slow you down. Who knows? I might end up carrying you."
B’Elanna snorted. "I don’t think so Lieutenant."
"You can carry me if you like," Harry said with a grin, but sobered immediately. "Do you really feel up to this?"
"Do you? None of us are in the best of health here. I won’t lie to you. My hands hurt like hell, but I don’t need them to walk. If I didn’t think I could help, I wouldn’t insist on coming."
"All right then," B’Elanna suddenly decided. "But if you slow us down, we will leave you behind. Is that clear?"
"Yes Ma’am," Tom grunted as Harry helped him up. "Um, I think I need some clothes. I don’t really want to go crawling through tunnels in this." He indicated the white gown he was wearing.
B’Elanna rolled her eyes. "Hurry up then. Harry, I'll go and find the nurse, while you help him get dressed. The sooner we get going, the better." She marched from the room.
"Hey Harry?" Tom said as soon as he was sure she was out of earshot. "Who put her in charge?"
End Part Three