MISSION GONE WRONG
Standard Disclaimer: Tom, Kathryn and the rest of the crew, belong to Paramount/Viacom. No copyright infringement is intended. This story is just for fun - no profit will be made.
Summary: Kathryn - Tom - Shuttle - Crash - Hostile Planet - Nasty Aliens - Need I say more? Set mid fifth season. Just after ĎThe Diseaseí. Very slight spoiler for the episode ĎOne.í
Mission Gone Wrong
Tom awoke to an all-encompassing darkness. No light could be seen anywhere. Attempting to sit up, he discovered he couldnít. He couldnít move. Something was stopping him.
It took him a while to remember what had happened; where he was. The surrounding blackness didnít really worry him but the fact that he was jammed into such a tiny space, did.
Telling himself to stay calm, he tried to breath normally. His heart was racing, the thudding becoming painful in his chest. The overwhelming desire to panic was becoming harder to control.
He tried to remember some of the happier times heíd had on Voyager, but all he could picture was the tiny casket he was lying in.
ĎYou are not claustrophobic,í he told himself sternly. ĎYou can do this. Theyíll let you out soon.í
He repeated it over and over again, only stopping when he realized he was whimpering the words. They were probably standing there above him, laughing.
Closing his mouth grimly, he determined to fight the urge to scream for help and kick and pound at the lid to be let out. He knew if he started, heíd never stop.
Kathryn bit her lip as she watched, from her hiding place amongst the bushes, the aliens bundle Tom into one of the boxes and then walk away laughing. She had to get him out of there. The problem was - how?
She had found the prison compound a few hours previously and had been searching for a way in ever since. It was extremely well guarded, and she had no idea how to rescue Tom without getting caught herself.
Creeping through the bushes, so that she could get as close to Tom as possible, she noticed that the guards didnít seem to pay any attention to that small corner of the compound. It wasnít as if the prisoners, once thrown inside the boxes, could go anywhere.
If she could just find a way to get over the fence without being seen, she had a good chance of getting him out. The fence seemed to be made of normal meshed wire and would be easy to climb. The problem was; she would be clearly visible.
She would have to wait for nightfall, when the prisoners were taken inside. She could only hope that Tom wasnít taken inside also.
She grimaced at the thought. Tom spending the whole day in that tiny box wasnít a good option. She knew that he was claustrophobic, they had discovered that almost a year ago when the crew had to be placed in stasis chambers for a month to navigate through a particularly nasty area of space.
Although in a deep sleep, Tom had still managed - on several occasions - to escape the tiny confine, somehow.
She had tried to discuss it with him afterwards, but he had denied all knowledge as to the reasons why. She hadnít liked to push him, and considering that they had no counselor on board Voyager and Tom had shown no signs of small spaces affecting him before, had decided to drop the matter.
Now she was worried about how he would react. There was nothing she could do but keep out of sight and bide her time.
Kathryn waited tensely as the hours passed. She had to keep moving around to stop her legs from cramping up. She had heard nothing from the casket that Tom was trapped inside, and none of the guards had gone anywhere near him again. She could only pray that he was all right.
At last, as the sun began to set, the guards ushered the prisoners back inside. She watched carefully as the compound slowly became deserted; there didnít even seem to be a sentry left outside now.
She stayed where she was however, not trusting herself to make a move. There had to be someone still on watch. Not all of the guards could have gone inside, surely.
She watched for some time before deciding that there really wasnít anyone about. The compound was as deserted as it seemed.
Rushing out into the open she began to hastily climb the fence. It was as easy to climb as she had imagined it would be and squeezing through the barbed wire at the top, she quickly scaled down the other side.
Looking around anxiously, but still not seeing anyone, she raced over to Tomís casket and pulled it open.
The moonlight shone down on him and she could see he was a mess. Soaked completely with perspiration he was making little gasping noises, the absolute horror on his face painful to see.
She shook him gently and his eyes opened wide. "Tom, itís me. Come on, we have to get out of here."
She helped him sit up and climb out, all the time looking over her shoulder for the guards that didnít appear.
Tom stood up shakily and glanced around as well. "Where are the guards?" he asked hoarsely.
"Theyíve gone inside. Letís move before they realize whatís going on."
She ran back to the fence, aware of Tom right behind her, and climbed up and over as quickly as she could. Jumping down to the ground below, she grabbed Tomís arm as he landed beside her.
"This way," she whispered, leading them away.
Tom followed the Captain quietly as they made their way through the thick jungle and away from the prison camp. He was not sure where they were headed, but was willing to trust that she did. He sighed with relief.
That had been a close call back there. Heíd almost lost control and given in to the panic that heíd been fighting off for hours. Thank the Gods, he hadnít. The thought of the Captain finding him there, screaming his head off was more than he would have been able to bear.
The Captain stopped abruptly and he was just able to stop himself from smashing straight into her. "What is it?" he hissed, although he could hear a strange rustling as he spoke.
Janeway shook her head and put her finger to her lips. She crept silently forward and he tiptoed after her. Peering through the undergrowth, they saw a strange bear-like creature fossicking around in the bushes.
Tom gulped and took a step back. The creature was huge and had sharp talons on its paws. Sniffing the air suspiciously it turned to look straight at them, itís eyes glittering brightly. A small snarl came from deep within the beast, as it bared its teeth.
"Uh oh." He turned to look at the Captain. Her eyes were fixed firmly on the creature, waiting to see what it was going to do next.
Not wanting to wait to find out, he urged, "I think we should get out of here." The beast took a step towards them.
"I think you may be right," Janeway answered breathlessly. She took three quick steps back as the creature took another step forward. It snarled once more and Tom could see saliva dripping from its fangs.
He swallowed hard and stepped back also.
Kathryn looked around desperately, trying to find something they could use to defend themselves with. She spied some sticks close by and hastily picked them up.
Tom snorted as she handed one to him. "Youíve got to be kidding," she heard him whisper. The stick she had given him was a little fragile looking, but it was the best she could do.
The beast took another menacing step forward and they took three more steps back, crashing into a huge tree trunk.
"Do you have any ideas, Captain?"
"No," she answered. "Just try to stay calm. It may be able to pick up on our fear."
"I think itís a little late for that. Do you think that thing can climb?"
"Iím not sure. What are you suggesting?"
"This tree looks easy enough to scamper up. What do you think?"
"I think you may be right, and Iím hoping that the beast canít follow us."
She turned and hastily started to climb, with Tom right behind her. The beast gave a roar and she heard Tom curse. "Tom? Are you all right?" She didnít dare stop climbing.
"Yeah, just peachy keen," Tom answered through gritted teeth. "Just keep going."
"God damn it!" he yelled suddenly. There was a yelp and then silence. She peered down beneath her. "Tom? What happened?"
"I just kicked it in the nose. Keep moving Captain."
His voice sounded strained.
"All right," she puffed, continuing to climb. What the hell was going on down there anyway?
"Itís all right now Captain. It canít reach us," he called out and she breathed a sigh.
"Where is it?" She could still hear it snarling below them.
"Obviously it canít climb, but itís not going to give up either."
She found an extra wide branch and sat down cautiously on it. Tom soon joined her. In the moonlight, she could see pain on his face. "Are you all right?"
"Fine," he answered, sitting down slowly.
She eyed him carefully. There was definitely something wrong, but she couldnít exactly order him to tell her.
They sat there for some time waiting for the beast to lose interest and move away. Unfortunately, it didnít. Instead, it lay down beneath the tree.
"It looks like we might be spending the night here," she said with a sigh.
"What worries me is that weíre not very far away from the prison camp." Tom indicated, with a nod of his head, the compound in the distance. From their vantage point, high up in the trees, they could see everything.
"They donít seem to have noticed that youíre missing yet," she commented dryly. She hoped they wouldnít for some time to come.
She yawned loudly and noticed that Tom was stifling a yawn also. "We need to get some rest."
"I agree, but I donít fancy laying down along this tree branch."
"I still have the rope. We can tie ourselves to the tree, so that we donít fall out."
It wasnít long before they were both laying uncomfortably amongst the branches. She didnít really believe that she would be able to fall asleep, but until that creature below them moved away, there wasnít a lot they could do.
She listened as Tomís breathing evened out and she was glad that at least he was able to sleep up there. She crept a little closer towards him along the tree branch, smiling at the peaceful look on his face. He was totally exhausted.
She wondered how much sleep he had been able to get the night before. She had slept quite soundly while he had been kidnapped and dragged back to that prison camp. And although the day had been rather stressful for her, hiding cramped amongst the bushes, she could only imagine what he must have gone through in that casket for most of the day.
He moaned a little in his sleep and it was all she could do to stop herself from holding him to her. There was something about Tom that brought out her mothering instinct. She had to try and ignore it.
Sighing, she peered down to the ground below. The beast was still there, sound asleep as well. Closing her eyes, she let herself drift off too.
Tom opened his eyes and listened closely. Something had awoken him, and although he was cold, he knew that it wasnít that. A noise. Something was happening.
The Captain was curled up next to him, half sitting and half laying against his chest. Her arms were holding him to her and he took a moment to enjoy the feeling, before gently touching her shoulder.
Her eyes opened immediately and she flushed as she sat up.
He put his fingers to his lips. "Thereís someone down there," he whispered. They could hear voices coming towards them. The creature below them stood up and growled quietly.
The voices came nearer. Although it was still dark, they could see activity around the compound. "It appears that youíve been missed," Janeway said quietly.
They waited breathlessly as the voices edged closer. The beast stood tensely below them, growling softly.
All of a sudden, everything seemed to happen at once. Seven guards from the prison camp appeared beneath the tree and the beast sprang at them.
There were screams and shouts as the terrified men ran back the way they had come and the creature chased after them.
Tom hastily untied the rope and they scampered down the tree, running as quickly as possible in the opposite direction.
Slowing down to an energy saving trot they continued through what remained of the night, only stopping occasionally to rest.
Morning found them at the river once more, although much further downstream to where they had left the Delta Flyer.
The Captain consulted the tricoder and smiled as she announced that there were no life signs around anywhere.
"We should be able to rest for a while," she added. "And maybe get something to eat. I donít know about you, but Iím starving."
He rubbed his stomach and nodded in agreement. "I canít remember the last time I ate."
"Thereís some berries and fruits over there," Janeway pointed. "Letís check them out."
Kathryrn studied Tom worriedly as she sat down and began eating some berries. Tomís movements were slow and stiff and it was obvious that he was in pain of some sort.
All through the night as they had jogged along, she had been aware that something wasnít right with him. She was getting damn sick of hearing him tell her that everything was fine.
She watched as he sat down slowly across from her and winced. Taking a bite out of something that resembled a pear, he studiously avoided looking at her.
"Regardless of what you may think, Iím not stupid you know Tom."
He looked across at her in confusion. "Captain?"
"You can drop the innocent act with me as well. I know youíre hurt. Iíd appreciate the truth, or do I have to make it an order?"
Tom sighed. "Iím sorry Captain, but itís just a scratch."
"Well, itís a scratch that seems to be bothering you quite a lot. Tell me about it."
"That beast thingy got me with one of itís talons, just as I started up the tree. I didnít get my - well - I didnít get out of the way in time. But itíll be all right. It hardly hurts at all anymore."
"I see. Well youíd better show me. You could have a rather severe gash." She got up and went over to him.
"Thatís not necessary Captain. Honest."
"Iíll be the judge of that. Now where did it get you?"
"Um, my leg - sort of."
"Where?" she asked, scanning his trousers for any sign of blood.
Tom gulped noticeably. "It was the back of it actually. Up the top."
"Okay, Iíd better take a look." Tom seemed very nervous and she wondered how bad this really was. It was just like him to try not to worry her.
"How far up?" she asked, looking around for a sharp stone to rip his pants leg open with.
There was a silence. She turned around to look at Tom once more. He was bright red.
"Just below the small of my back, on the left hand side," he answered her miserably.
It took a few moments for the information to sink in. "Oh," she said suddenly, kneeling down beside him. She cleared her throat. "That beast slashed your- um - bottom?" she asked delicately.
Tom nodded, but refused to look at her. "Itís not that bad Captain."
"Really? Youíve examined the wound yourself, have you?"
"I can feel that itís all right," he said stubbornly.
"Unless youíve got a hidden mirror somewhere, there is no way you can know that. Iím sorry Tom, but Iím going to have to check for myself. An infection may have set in."
"Well its not like we can do anything about it, so why bother? Voyager will be here soon, anyway."
"I donít expect Voyager for at least two more days, but I expect it will be three," she told him gently.
"Well, I can wait till then."
Kathryn sighed and ran her hands through her hair. "Tom, I know this is embarrassing, but will you please let me take a look?"
Tom shook his head. "No."
She pursed her lips and sat back on her heels. Her voice was like steel. "Drop your pants now, Ensign. Thatís a direct order."
Tom looked at her, his eyes open wide, in surprise.
"I mean it," she threatened.
Tom fumbled with his fasteners, just as the tricorder started beeping. She picked it up quickly.
"A group of five guards, headed this way," she said briskly. She jumped up and helped him up as well.
"Saved by the beep," Tom commented with a small nervous smile.
She gave him one of her looks, and led the way towards the river.
"How strong a swimmer are you?" Kathryn asked Tom, as he stood next to her, gazing at the river.
"Iím not bad," Tom answered frowning. "Does it matter Captain? The riverís not that wide here, and it looks pretty calm. We should be able to swim across in no time."
"We wonít be swimming across," she answered. "Thatís what theyíll expect us to do. Instead, weíll be swimming downstream for quite some time before crossing. Are you up to it?"
"Sure. Swimming will probably be easier than walking. Itís just the thought of how deep that damn river is, thatís giving me the shakes."
Tying the rope around each other and taking a deep breath, they dived into the water. It was freezing and they struck out immediately. The flow of the river was quite strong, so they let it carry them away.
They stayed in the river for as long as they could stand the freezing temperature and then made their way to the other side. Climbing out, they untied the rope and then crawled their way into the dense undergrowth. Stretching out, soaked to the skin, they tried to relax and let the sun dry them off.
Kathryn pulled out the tricorder she had tucked into her belt and attempted to turn it on. Nothing happened. She cursed and banged it a few times. They were meant to be water resistant, but obviously the river had been too much for it.
Placing it on the ground, she sighed. "It looks like weíre on our own. Weíll just have to listen carefully."
Tom nodded, but didnít say anything - his teeth were still chattering alarmingly. She scrunched up against him and put her arms around him.
"We need each otherís body heat to get warm," she said softly. After a slight hesitation, she felt his arms come around her also. It wasnít long before their teeth stopped chattering and she began to feel a little warmer.
She tried to take her mind off of the man she was holding so closely. She shut her eyes and pretended it was Harry. He was like a son to her, or Tuvok - he was like an older brother.
Anything so that she didnít have to think about Tom and his bright, sparkling, blue eyes and warm, sexy smile. She gulped at the thought and pushed the image away. This was not helping.
Once they were dry, she wondered if she should inspect his wound. She was having enough trouble keeping her mind off of him as it was, without checking out his bare butt.
There wasnít much she could do about the wound anyway, she told herself. It was probably better if she didnít look. Sheíd keep an eye on him and see how he was, and only look at it if he seemed to be getting worse.
With that decided she was able to relax.
Tom lay in an agony of misery, holding the Captain firmly to him. She felt so good and he felt so bad. He wasnít supposed to be feeling like this about the Captain. They were holding each other like this to get warm, but although he did feel warm now, he was reluctant to let her go.
No wonder she had made that comment to Harry about him. She obviously viewed him as some sort of over-sexed playboy and considering the way he was feeling now, she was right. He shouldnít be feeling this way about the Captain, when he was in a committed relationship with BíElanna.
It was a great relationship too. He frowned at that. It wasnít great - but it was good. He frowned again. Okay, it wasnít so good anymore, but it WAS committed. He should be thinking about her and not the Captain.
He had never respected anybody the way he did the Captain. And now he was going to ruin it all by getting some sort of adolescent crush on her. What was the matter with him anyway? He thought heíd changed. Grown up a little.
He started as he felt her pull away from him and sit up. "Thatís better," she told him with a smile. "Iím hungry again, Iíll see if I can find us something to eat."
She stood up and he watched her move away, unable to tear his eyes from her retreating figure. Telling himself to stop it, he sat up and winced in pain.
Standing up quickly, he gingerly touched his sore behind. And that was another thing, he decided. There was no way he was showing her the wound. She could throw him in the brig when they got back to Voyager.
However, to his relief, she didnít ask to see the wound again - although she did seem to watch him closely whenever he sat down.
They spent the rest of the day creeping through the jungle and fortunately saw no signs of any more guards or wild animals. The night was spent huddled together in some bushes. The following day was much the same, although they did have a narrow escape from some sort of wild boar.
Tom woke up on the fourth morning of their stay on the planet and smiled in delight. Voyager should be here some time today to find them. Tomorrow at the latest.
The Captain was already up and about and he sat up and yawned. He could actually sit up now without wincing, the wound hardly bothering him at all anymore.
Janeway looked over at him as he yawned, and smiled. "About time you woke up sleepyhead."
He smiled in return and couldnít seem to tear his gaze away from hers. She turned away quickly and he sighed to himself.
His feelings for the Captain hadnít changed, in fact they had grown stronger, and he had an awful suspicion that she had guessed how he felt. He had caught her gazing at him, quite a few times over the past few days, a strange look on her face.
He hoped that Voyager got here soon, before he embarrassed himself completely. He just wanted everything to return to normal.
Kathryn watched, out of the corner of her eye, as Tom came over to join her for breakfast. She was heartily sick of all the fruits and berries they had had to eat over the past few days.
Tom was looking a little uncertain and she had to stifle a sigh. She couldnít blame him. Heíd caught her ogling him on more than one occasion.
What was the matter with her anyway? It wasnít like her to act this way. She had always flirted with him, always found him attractive, but had never dreamed of taking it further.
Now, that was all she thought about. She was the Captain. She had no intentions of having a relationship with anybody. If that had been the case, she could have started something up with Chakotay years ago.
It wasnít like her to encroach on another womanís territory, either. And Tom was clearly BíElannaís territory. If BíElanna discovered the way she was feeling, she would probably challenge her to mortal combat.
A sudden noise made her look up and Tom stiffened beside her. She listened intently. There was definitely someone or something coming towards them.
They both stood up carefully and tried to see through the undergrowth. She could just make out a group of alien guards headed their way.
"Damn it!" she hissed and Tom nodded. They crept back and headed away from the oncoming guards. Twisting and turning, they soon lost them. All they had to do was keep moving until Voyager came for them.
Hours later, Kathryn was sighing with relief. They had left the guards far behind them and she had high hopes that Voyager might rescue them before nightfall.
Tom, who was leading the way, suddenly stopped and grabbed her arm. They had almost walked straight into another group of guards. They turned around and headed back the way they had come, only to find more guards coming their way.
Tom cursed loudly and stepped off of the small pathway they had been following. He pushed his way through the thick vegetation and she was right behind him.
It was getting harder and harder to keep moving and they were both scratched and bleeding. Stumbling out into a clearing, they stood still and waited to hear if anyone was following them.
All was quiet and Kathryn wiped her forehead with the sleeve of her uniform. "That was a little too close for comfort," she said with a sigh.
"I just wish we could find somewhere to hole up until Voyager comes," Tom answered.
She agreed. "Come on, weíd better keep moving."
Tom wished fervently for Voyager to whisk them away. The guards were everywhere and they had almost been captured four times in the last two hours.
Night would soon be falling and he had had high hopes of being off this planet by then. Now, that didnít seem very likely.
He knew that Voyager couldnít contact them since neither of them had their commbadges anymore but they should still be able to pick up their life signs, and beam them away from here. All he wanted at the moment was to feel the familiar tingling sensation of the transporter beam.
He sighed as he ducked his head under a tree branch. It looked like they would have to spend one more cold miserable night down here.
"Tom," the Captain suddenly called out from behind him. "Iím stuck."
Stuck? He turned around quickly and saw that her hair was caught in some thick, prickly vines. The more she struggled the more entangled she became.
"Hold still," he told her as he attempted to free her. "Iím sorry Captain. This is going to pull a bit."
"I donít care if you have to pull all my hair out, just get me out of here."
He smiled down at her. "Hopefully, that wonít be necessary."
He tried to be as gentle as possible, but there was still an awful lot of hair left on the vines when he finally managed to free her.
She grimaced as she looked at it all, and gave a small laugh. "It appears Iíll be starting a new fashion trend." She patted what remained of her hair down and looked up at him with a smile.
She was beautiful no matter what her hair looked like, he decided.
The smile froze on her face and he realized with horror that he must have voiced that thought.
The silence lengthened as he tried to think of something to say.
"Thank you," she said instead. "I donít feel very beautiful at the moment." She smiled at him once more and then quickly turned away. "Weíd better keep going."
She led the way this time and with a gulp, he followed.
A sudden shout made them both stop. He looked around carefully, trying to see where the voice had come from.
He couldnít see anything. The guards all wore uniforms of brown and green and it was hard to see them through the trees.
A shot rang out and he cursed and ducked. "Captain," he hissed, pushing her down beside him. In her red and black, she was an easy target.
She crouched down alongside of him and they crawled back away from the guards shooting at them. Standing up they made a dash for it.
He heard her stumble behind him as the shots sizzled around them. "Captain, are you all right?"
"Yes," she gasped.
Turning around, he grabbed her arm and practically pulled her along. They needed somewhere to hide.
The Captain stumbled once more and he found that he was half carrying her now. Something was wrong. "Captain?"
"Itís nothing Tom," she wheezed. "Just keep going."
He was really worried now and stopped instead. Looking at her carefully, he immediately noticed that her face was contorted with pain and she was clutching at her side.
"Tom, we have to keep moving," she hissed. He was horrified to see a dark stain spreading rapidly beneath her fingers.
"Oh God - no! Youíve been shot."
"As you will be too, if we donít get out of here." Her voice, although tinged with pain, brooked no argument and he realized she was right.
Wrapping his arm more tightly around her, he weaved their way through the trees, trying not to think of how badly hurt she may be.
He could hear the guards, crashing their way behind them. Every now and then a shot rang out, although he couldnít tell how near the projectiles were to them.
The Captain sagged against him as she lost her battle to stay conscious, almost causing him to overbalance. Picking her up gently, he continued to push his way through the overgrown plants and bushes, trying to protect her from as many scratches as he could.
He could hear movement to his left now as well as behind him, so he turned to the right quickly. More noise to his left had him turning again. He had a horrible suspicion that they were being herded into a particular area, but couldnít seem to do anything about it.
If he had been on his own, he would have turned around and charged his way straight into them. It was the last thing they would have expected. He may have even, by taking them by surprise, been able to get away, but that wasnít an option now.
The Captain was hurt - badly - and he had to try and keep her safe. He looked around for somewhere to hide as the guards came closer. He could see glimpses of them through the trees, so was sure that they could also see him.
He wondered if he should hide the Captain somewhere and try to lead them away. The thought of leaving her here alone made him shudder. Besides, there seemed to be so many of the aliens chasing them, that he was quite sure not all of them would follow after him.
He stepped out of the dense foliage into another clearing and smiled sardonically. Standing there waiting for him, were four more of the alien guards, each with a weapon trained straight at him.
"Small world," he muttered.
One of them stepped forward and inspected Janewayís wound. Tom hadnít had time to look at it himself and gasped in dismay as he realized that they were both covered in her blood.
The wound was a gaping hole in her side and as he looked at her face - so pale and still - it was hard to tell if she was still breathing.
The guard attempted to pull her from his arms, but he held her in a death grip. There was no way he was letting them take her.
The alien shook his head and said something to him. His tone was soft and reasonable, but Tom shook his head anyway. "Youíre not having her," he rasped out. "Leave her alone."
One of the other guards snarled something and gestured with his weapon. "No," Tom said stubbornly. "Iíll carry her."
The guard standing next to him tried to pull her from his arms once more and as he resisted, more aliens appeared from the jungle behind him.
They surrounded him now, pulling and tugging at him as they tried to take the Captain away from him. He couldnít let them. He had to stop them.
One of the guards lifted his weapon. The darkness surrounded him.
End Part Two