Phase Shift
By TíPam
 

Standard disclaimer: All of Voyager and its crew, Star Trek and all itís incarnations - probably space itself - belongs to Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended. No money will be made from this story. It is just for fun.
 

Part Three

Tom woke up to the smell of food, and rolled over to have a look. Some one had put a covering over the straw and he found his bed quite comfortable. The father was cooking something and it smelt pretty good. There was no sign of the two girls. Thank Gods! He couldnít believe what had happened. Heíd never been so embarrassed in his whole life. And when he thought about it, there were plenty of embarrassing moments in that time. This will definitely take over the Number One Spot. At least my stomach feels better. Theyíve obviously done something about my appendix. What happened though? How did I get here? Whereís Voyager anyway? Why isnít somebody trying to rescue me?

The answers to all these questions would have to wait, however. He had a more pressing problem. What the hell am I wearing? He gingerly sat up and looked down at himself in horror. Gone was the strange gown from before. His chest was bare. But what was that down there? A Nappy?! A Nappy!!!! A NAPPY!!!!!!!!!! The final humiliation was complete. He let out a loud wail. I wish I were dead! Somebody kill me now. Please! PLEASE!

The father rushed over to him babbling incoherently. He smiled down at him telling him Ďgod only knows whatí. Tom wasnít really in the mood to try to make himself understood either. He was busy trying to remember how to commit suicide by chewing through your wrists.

"Father, is everything all right?" Mallee asked coming into the room.

"Heís a little distressed. Iím not sure why. He just woke up and is probably disorientated. Our dinner is about to burn, so if you wouldnít mind stirring it while I try to calm him down." He started making soft shushing noises, but Tom was having none of that. He started yelling at the top of his lungs. Every foul thing he had ever heard anyone call anyone else, and making a few up as he got into the full swing of it. BíElanna would have been proud.

"Is he all right?" Mallee called out anxiously. "Heís making a terrible noise."

"He seems to be," her father replied. "I wish we could understand him, though. Somethingís got him upset thatís for sure."

Quilla came running into the room at that moment and stopped in front of Tom. "Heís gone all red in the face, like before in the bath. How can he do that? Itís funny."

Tom slowly wound down. His throat hurt and his stomach was starting to ache again. He put his head in his hands. Was this nightmare never going to end?

"Thatís better. He seems to be calming down now. Perhaps heíd like a little of my famous cooking. Mallee, if you wouldnít mind dishing it out? If he ate the soup at lunch he should be able to handle it. Meanwhile, Iíve just realized what the problem could be. I think he needs to be changed."

When Tom realized what was about to happen, he did what any red-blooded male would have done. He pleaded and begged. Over and over again. Then he screamed. Loudly.
 

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"Chakotay to Janeway."

The Captain rolled over in bed and groaned. "Janeway here," she said sleepily.

"Iím sorry Captain, I know youíre trying to sleep, but I need to see you - urgently."

"Have you found something?"

"No, itís not that." There was a pause. "I have to speak to you, privately."

The Captain frowned. "All right Chakotay. Youíd better meet me in my ready room. Iíll be there shortly."

"Thanks Captain."

Janeway jumped out of bed and dressed quickly. Her mind was racing. Chakotay had sounded - strange. Trying not to worry, she hurried to her ready room.

Chakotay was already there, pacing up and down in agitation. Janeway felt a little sliver of fear run up and down her spine. She hadnít seen him this upset since all the business with Seska and the baby. "Whatís wrong?" she asked softly.

"Youíd better sit down." He led her to the sofa and sat down with her, only to jump back up and start pacing again.

"Chakotay, please! Youíre making me dizzy. Whatís going on? Whatís wrong?"

"Itís Tom. We have to find some way to speed the search up."

"Chakotay, weíre doing everything we can. You know that. I donít understand. Why are you so upset? Whatís happened?"

"I donít know how to tell you this," Chakotay replied, sitting on the coffee table across from her. He took a deep breath. "I think heís being tortured."

"What? Chakotay, you canít be serious!" Janeway sat forward in alarm. "What makes you say that? In your vision, the girl was very caring towards Tom. Why would you think something like that?"

"I saw it. I couldnít see what they were doing to him, but ----- Kathryn -----he was ----"

"What? Tell me! You say you saw him. How? Did you visit the spirit world again?"

"I saw how much it helped BíElanna last time, you too for that matter, so I thought Iíd try again. It was just a flash last time, and I was hoping to get a few more details. Anything that might help."

"Go on."

"Well, at first my animal guide wouldnít help me. She said sheíd already shown me he was all right and that I should trust her. I assured her that I did, but I just needed to see him one more time. She seemed a little upset with me, but finally relented. It was the same as last time. A flash - just the impression of a village - and then a house - then a room. It looked like a kitchen. The girl that Iíd seen before was standing over an oven of some sort, stirring what looked like a stew, in a huge black pot. I heard something behind me and turned around, and thatís when I saw them." Chakotay ran a hand through his hair, hating to remember the rest.

Janeway shifted uncomfortably. "Saw who?"

"There was a man - a huge man - bending over Tom, who was lying on a bed of some sort. I could only see Tomís head and shoulders as the giant was blocking my view. He was doing something to Tom, but I couldnít tell what. I think he was holding Tomís legs, but I canít be sure."

"And you think he was torturing him? Why?"

Chakotay took a deep breath. "Kathryn, Tom was pleading with him to stop whatever it was he was doing to him. He was saying over and over again ĎDonít. Please donítí and begging for someone to kill him - to put him out of his misery. It was terrible to hear. And then, he screamed." Chakotay shuddered at the memory. "And there was a young girl watching. She looked even younger than Naomi Wildman, although sheís about the same size as an Hirogen. I turned to my animal guide, furious with her for lying to me and we started fading from the room. My last impression was of Tom, huddled up in a small ball sobbing quietly."

"Oh Chakotay." Janeway swallowed. "Why did your guide tell you he was all right?"

"I donít know. I donít know what to think. Sheís never lied to me before."

"I didnít know that animal guides could lie. Are you quite certain about what you saw?"

Chakotay nodded sadly. "You had to see him. He was very distressed. I know Iím not as close to him as you are, in fact, our relationship is still rather touchy at times, but this really shook me up."

"I can see that. This is unbelievable. What can we do? We are already doing everything thatís possible to find him," she jumped up and started pacing, feeling more and more upset. "This whole situation is out of our control. If anything happens to him, Iíll never forgive myself."

"Kathryn, this is hardly your fault. Please donít blame yourself. I still canít get over what my guide did."

"Chakotay, Iíve been thinking. Has your guide ever misled you in the past, for whatever reasons of her own? To stop you from worrying or something?"

"Never," the Commander said shaking his head. "Sheís very straightforward. Blunt, in fact. There are times in the past when I wished she had sugarcoated things a little more. She was always right of course, I was just too stubborn to see it at the time." He sighed deeply. "I know what youíre getting at, but I also know what I saw."

"Yes, but you only saw a fragment of what was actually happening. Perhaps youíve misinterpreted it," Janeway said hopefully. "Go over it again in your mind. Try and remember. Was there anything else?"

Chakotay shut his eyes and concentrated. "All I can remember is Tomís frantic cries. Iím sorry. I was focused on him and didnít notice what else was happening. I have a feeling Iím missing something. I just wish I knew what it was."

"This doesnít make sense. I find it incredible to believe that this giant man would be torturing Tom in some type of kitchen with a young child watching and another one, merrily cooking a few meters away."

ĎDifferent cultures have different beliefs. Perhaps to them, itís a normal every day occurrence."

"Iím sorry Chakotay, but I just donít believe that. You say that you turned to your animal guide, furious with her and then everything faded?"

"Yes. I thought some rather unpleasant things about her, which she would have known, of course. I was about to say some of them, when she brought us back. She told me that my lack of faith in her was disappointing and that Tom was recovering well, and then she disappeared. I havenít been able to call her back." He sighed heavily. "Iím starting to feel rather guilty about the whole thing now, actually. I hope she hasnít abandoned me."

"Would she do that?"

"She has before. She leaves me alone to come to my senses. Sometimes, that can take months. I think I really offended her this time."

"So we canít expect any more help from that quarter."

"I wouldnít think so. No."

"If your guide says that Tom is recovering well, then I think we should accept that. She told you that he is all right, so that leads us to the conclusion that you misinterpreted what you were seeing. We donít know how medically advanced these people are. Perhaps they were able to remove Tomís appendix but are keeping him heavily medicated or something. He might have been hallucinating when you saw him. There were other things happening as well, you admit that. We need to find out what."

"No matter how hard I try to concentrate, I canít remember," Chakotay said in frustration.

"I wonder if Tuvok could help? He may be able to do a partial mind meld with you. To help you remember. It might be a good idea not to tell the others about this however; it would only upset them. And as we really donít know whatís going on, it seems rather pointless."

The Commander agreed. He sighed as he stood up. "Well I donít know about you, but I need a cup of coffee."

"You just said the magic words."
 

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"Did you get him to eat anything?"

"No Father," Mallee shook her head tiredly, as she sat down at the table across from him. "Heís calmed down enough to sleep."

"Well, weíll try again later. He has to keep up his strength."

"Iíd better be the one to try again. It might be best if you stay away from him for a little while." She rubbed her hands over her face.

Her father laughed. "Iím used to sitting up till all hours with sick animals. You need your rest. Heíll be fine with me."

Mallee glared at her father. "Heís not an animal and anyway youíve traumatized him," she accused.

"Oh, for the love of the stars, Mallee. I took his temperature, thatís all. I wasnít torturing him, you know."

"Try telling him that. The way he screamed, Iíll never forget it."

"Well I must admit, that made me jump. Most animals donít like their temperature being taken, but none are quite that vocal."

"Stop calling him an animal. You said yourself, heís not."

"Well heís not a person either."

"Heís not a person like us, no, but I think heís---"

"Mallee - please! Enough of your theories about a man from the stars. Do you realize just how unbelievable it is?"

"Why? You have a closed mind Father."

"My mind is always open to new ideas. But they have to make sense, child. All right tell me this. If he really is another type of person, why is he so small?"

"Maybe heís meant to be like that. All his people may be that size."

"Unlikely. Life would be rather difficult if you could hardly reach the top of the table. Not to mention the problems in the bathroom."

"Father, thatís not funny. Their world would be in proportion to them. After all they would make all their furniture and things, just like we do."

"What about the plant and animal life?"

"Maybe thatís in proportion to them, as well."

"Perhaps, but thatís a little convenient. What world anyway, my love? We have the only world, unless you mean each one of those stars in the sky are really other lands. Look at them. They are bright, twinkly, natural, little lights."

"How do you know that? Youíre only repeating what we have been taught, generation after generation. What if the very first teacher was wrong, all those hundreds of sun rotations ago?"

"Mallee, youíre talking about our most revered legend. Pritus was a genius. He was all seeing and all knowing. If you want to have your little fantasies then go ahead, but donít disparage the First Leader."

"Theyíre not fantasies." Mallee stamped her foot angrily. "Iím not the only one who questions our beliefs either. You know that."

"Even if you could talk me into agreeing with your arguments so far, thereís still the major question that proves heís not a person. Why canít he talk? Even a child of two rotations can speak a little. This being is fully-grown, and all he can make are strange chirpings and whistlings. They are animal noises Mallee, nothing more."

"Maybe that is his speech. Just because we canít understand him doesnít mean he isnít talking."

"Oh now really, child. You expect me to believe that not only are there other types of people and worlds, but different types of speeches as well. Thatís going too far. Even you canít believe that. Surely."

"I know what it sounds like, but please Father, try to keep an open mind."

Her father sighed wearily. "All right my love. He should be a little better tomorrow, so weíll try a few tests and see what happens."

"Oh thank you Father." Mallee jumped up from the table and threw her arms around him, hugging him tightly. "Iíll prove to you that Iím right."
 

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
 

Lieutenant Commander Tuvok took a few moments to gather his thoughts. He could feel an anxiousness rising within him that was not appropriate. He focused on remaining calm and centered, as that was the only logical thing to do. Emotions would only hinder his thoughts. He looked up into the concerned eyes of his captain. "I apologize. Viewing these events has unsettled me. I do not believe that I was fully prepared to observe Mr. Parisís distress."

Janeway fell back onto the sofa with a groan. "I was hoping you could reassure us that it wasnít what Chakotay thought. Obviously not."

"On the contrary Captain, the Commander was mistaken in the view that Mr. Paris was being tortured."

"I was? Well thatís a relief anyway. How am I going to apologize to my animal guide?"

"Indeed! Although I must concur, that the events I witnessed could be construed in the manner in which you did."

"If youíre trying to make me feel better, it isnít working."

"To quote a well known crewmember, Ďyour feelings are irrelevant.í I am merely trying to convey my understanding. You were so concerned with Mr. Paris you neglected to analyze the entire situation. When everything is taken into account it gives a complete portrayal, instead of the small piece that you misinterpreted."

"Well, what did Chakotay miss?" Janeway asked impatiently. "What was that giant doing to Tom?"

Tuvok hesitated. "I am unable to tell. It was as the Commander said. He was blocking most of the view. Only Mr. Parisís head and shoulders were visible."

"Well then, how do you know he wasnít being tortured?"

"The man was trying to tell Mr. Paris that he wasnít going to hurt him. He was making soft, reassuring sounds, similar to those almost everyone on board this ship used to make, whenever they nursed young Miss Wildman when she was a baby. At one stage, he stroked Mr. Parisís face and called him Ďlittle oneí in a kind, gentle tone. I do not believe that these are the acts of a torturer. In addition, a young child was watching the proceedings and she said, and I quote, Ďlet me cuddle the poor little darling when youíve finished Father. Heís upset.í"

Tuvokís voice had unintentionally risen in pitch to duplicate the girlís words. Janeway had to swallow a laugh. She felt much better. "It seems our Tomís charms, have struck again."

"Perhaps," Chakotay said doubtfully. "But why was he so upset? Tuvok, you saw how distressed he was. What was that all about? You canít tell me that, that didnít affect you as well, because we could see how disturbed you were."

"You are correct Commander. It disturbed me greatly to see him like that." He pondered over the puzzle.
"Mr. Paris is one of the most emotional crewmembers we have, with a few exceptions," he began thoughtfully.

"Especially since heís let those barriers of his down. And some of the things Iím hearing about he and BíElanna. Well all I can say----"

"If I may continue Commander?"

"Sorry," Chakotay said sheepishly. The Captain caught his eye. ĎDetails! Later!í she mouthed to him.

"As I was saying. Although Mr. Paris seems to be highly strung, he has always functioned at a competent level in the most serious situations." Tuvok pointed out. "Even when he has appeared to be panicking, he has managed to complete his duties. We have been in many predicaments together unfortunately, and in each instance he has acted professionally most of the time. His sense of humor is misplaced on most occasions but I have always been able to rely on him."

"He thinks a lot of you too," the Captain said softly.

Tuvok cleared his throat. "I believe that Mr. Paris is under the impression that these people are trying to hurt him. He cannot understand them, as he has no universal translator. In his ill and weakened state he could be misinterpreting their attempts at kindness. The male could have been tending to Mr. Parisís wound from his appendix and therefore hurting him. We do not know how they managed to help him. A few hundred years ago your own peoples removed diseased organs by cutting the body open."

"Youíre right Tuvok, that may be how they did it too. We couldnít see Tomís stomach after all. And Iíve just remembered something. When Tom screamed, the other girl who was stirring the pot, raced over asking if heíd been stuck with a pin."

"A pin?"

"Yes Captain. I wonder if they cut his stomach open to get the appendix and then have pinned him back together again, somehow."

"Oh my god!!!" Janeway felt the need to put her head between her knees. "Are you saying that Tomís lying out there somewhere with pins holding his stomach together?" She thought she might be sick.

Chakotay nodded his head enthusiastically. "No wonder he was so upset. I know how Iíd feel. Maybe they donít have anaesthetic either. If heíd been awake for the whole thing-----" He started to feel a little sick himself.

Janeway gulped. "We have to get him back. Now."

"Speculation at this time is pointless," Tuvok started to say.

"It all makes sense now. These people are trying to be kind but given the circumstances itís no wonder that Tomís in the state he is."

"Commander, may I just remind you that there is no evidence that any of this has happened. This is pure conjecture. There has been no mention that these people do not have anaesthetic, or that Mr. Parisís stomach has been mutilated in any way."

"Then why is Tom curled up in a little ball, crying his eyes out? And donít forget that scream. You heard it yourself."

"How clean were these people? If Tomís stomach has been opened up, pins arenít going to stop germs from getting in. Oh my god! This is unbelievable!"

"Truer words were never spoken Captain," Tuvok commented dryly. He looked around the room. Had they passed through some strange anomaly? He knew that worry could do strange things to humans, but this was totally unacceptable. "You are upsetting yourselves for no reason. The whole purpose of this exercise was to assuage your worries, not make them worse. We do not know that any of this is true."

"Youíre the one that said they cut his appendix out."

"I did not say that exactly," Tuvok said stiffly. "You over reacted Commander. As to your memories of what happened when Ensign Paris screamed, you have misinterpreted things again."

"Really?"

"Yes, really."

Janeway was still trying to get the picture of Tom, his stomach hanging open with little pins trying to hold it together, out of her mind. Tuvok felt frustration seeping into his very core. The commanderís rather thoughtless remarks, in his opinion, regarding the pins had upset the Captain more than heíd ever seen her. "Captain, if I may explain?"

"Please," was all she could get out.

"You are correct, Commander, that the other girl approached the others when Mr. Paris screamed, however, she did not say Ďdid you stick him with a pin?í She said, and I quote, ĎFather, what happened? Did you stick the pin in him?í"

"Whatís the difference?"

"Several pins Commander." The Commander just looked blankly at him, but Janewayís eyes showed sudden comprehension.

"There was only one pin."

"Exactly. The father denied doing this, it must be noted."

"I didnít remember him saying that. But youíre right, he did. Thatís when Tom started to cry though. What would the pin have been used for?"

"I do not have all the answers Commander." Tuvok tried to repress the frustration from surfacing. "I do remember that Mr. Paris had a strange cloth wrapped around him. Perhaps these people use pins as we do fasteners."

"You still havenít explained why Tom screamed, or was crying afterwards," Chakotay pointed out.

Tuvok felt like screaming ĎHOW THE HELL WOULD I KNOW?í straight in the Commanderís face, but managed to control himself - just. "Tom could have been upset for any number of reasons." In his desperation, he didnít even notice his slip of the tongue. Vulcans very rarely called people by their first names.

"Well weíre not going to know, until we get him back. Tuvokís right Chakotay. We did over react a little."

"Possibly," Chakotay smiled.

"Letís go down to engineering and help with the search. Perhaps our being there will help." The captain jumped up and practically ran from the room.

"Captain, if I may point out," Tuvok called after her. "Your being there will not hasten the sensors."

"I know that. But Tomís been missing for thirty-six hours now. I just feel I have to do something. You have the bridge Tuvok"

"Yes Captain." Tuvokís brow was raised slightly as he watched the Captain and Commander race away. The illogic of humans never ceased to surprise him.
 

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Tom woke up to the early morning sun peeping through the kitchen window. This time when he sat up there was hardly any pain in his stomach at all. He decided to try to stand. Using the bars to lean on he managed to stay upright, although a little shaky. He looked around, getting his bearings. There was no one in the room with him, and he heaved a sigh of relief. If only his legs were a little stronger, he felt certain he could climb out of this cage contraption and escape from this hellhole.

The sounds of high whistlings and chirpings alerted him to the fact that those girls were coming. He was determined to greet them standing up, with as much dignity as possible. After last night - no it was best not to think of that. He grimly held onto the railing, gritting his teeth.

"Oh look Mallee. Heís standing up. Isnít he cute?"

Mallee smiled. "Maybe we can get him to eat something now. Father put some porridge on for us. Iíll see if heíll eat some."

Quilla patted Tom on the head. "Whoís a good boy then? Arenít you clever?"

Tom winced. He didnít know what the kid was saying, but all this head patting had to stop.

"Can I pick him up?"

"No, Quilla. Heís too big for you."

"But heís really light. You said so yourself."

"He is light, but if he starts wriggling, like yesterday, you wonít be able to hold him."

Quilla sighed. "Itís not fair. Iím a lot bigger than he is. I know I wonít drop him."

"How about if you help feed him?"

"Can I? Oh yes please. Will he be good for me do you think?"

"If heís hungry he will. Let me try him first. Just to make sure."

Tomís legs gave out on him at that moment and he plopped back onto the straw mattress. It looked like they were going to feed him anyway. That was good. Heíd refused to eat anything last night, even though the father had stayed up half the night trying to make him. Heíd been far too upset to bother with food. He shook his head. NO. He wasnít going to think about that. EVER.

Mallee pulled up a chair and sat down next to the cot. She was chirping at him and holding out a spoon. Tom sniffed. It smelt like porridge, so heíd give it a go. It tasted pretty good too. All right, Iíll let the kid feed me as well. What the hell, the more the merrier.

As soon as Tom had finished eating, he stood up again. He was feeling a lot stronger. He only had to hang onto the rail with one hand now. "My name is Tom," he said slowly and clearly, pointing to himself. "Tom." The girls looked at him curiously. "Tom. You, are Mallee." He pointed to Mallee and then to Quilla. "Quilla." He then pointed back at himself. "Tom." If all they can hear is me chirping, as I do them, then Iím in trouble. How can I make them understand? "Tom," he said again, a little desperately.

Mallee smiled at him and gently stroked his arm. She stood up and held out her arms to him. What the hell? That wasnít the reaction heíd wanted. Sudden understanding dawned. He let go of the railing and plopped back down again. They think Iím a baby! I knew it! Damn it! She wants to pick me up. I donít believe this! No way!!

He shook his head stubbornly. Now what? How can I make them understand Iím a person, just like them? A fully-grown man for that matter. I thought they were treating me like an animal before, what with the straw and bowl of water. This isnít much of an improvement. The first thing Iím going to do is get rid of this damn nappy. He tried tugging at it, unmindful of the girls watching him. Where the hell were the fasteners? He felt Malleeís hand on his shoulder, but he shrugged it off. Let them see him in all his naked glory. He didnít care. Theyíd seen everything the night before anyway, not to mention the bath.

He pulled as hard as he could, but the nappy stayed firm. Groaning loudly, he put his head in his hands and started rocking back and forth.
Where, in the name of all the gods, is Voyager? The next thing he knew, he was being hoisted in the air and Mallee was placing him on her hip, just as if he were a small child. She marched quickly out of the room with him, before he could even think to protest.
 

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The small blip on the screen went unnoticed at first. BíElanna and Harry were in a secret huddle over the other side of Engineering and the rest of the staff were busy at other terminals. Both the Captain and Commander had left hours before to get a little more rest. It was now forty-two hours, since Tom had disappeared. "Iím telling you Harry, thereís something going on between the three of them that theyíre not telling us."

"BíElanna, just because they had a meeting without us doesnít mean anything."

"Harry, you can be so dense sometimes. Theyíre acting weird. Even Tuvok."

Harry sighed. "And you think it has something to do with Tom?"

"Of course it does. They are definitely hiding something from us. Sue told me that Chakotay went back down to the planet yesterday afternoon all by himself. Now get this. He had his medicine bundle with him, so that only means one thing. He was trying to visit Tom again."

"Well, maybe he didnít have any luck and thatís why he didnít tell you."

"No Harry. Thatís not it. Harrison was on transporter room duty when he beamed back up and he said Chakotay looked like heíd seen a ghost. He was pale and shaky. Now it takes a lot to upset the Commander and we all know that Tomís not his favorite person, so it must have been real bad."

"What must have been?"

BíElanna wondered if it might be easier just to strangle him. "Harry," she growled. "Stay with me here. His vision. I know you can be a little dense at times but put your brain in normal speed."

"Hey, I resent that. I am not dense! At least, not most of the time. Iíll let it pass this time since youíre upset about Tom but donít be so nasty. Anyway, youíre jumping to conclusions."

"Oh really? Then why did Chakotay contact the Captain and request to see her privately, almost as soon as he walked out of the transporter room? And, he was trying to keep it quiet. Didnít want any one to know. Jones was passing him in the corridor and heard everything. She said that Chakotay was acting furtively."

Harry snorted. "Annabelle is one of the biggest gossips on the ship. Why, she told everyone that I was having a secret affair with Dalby, just because she saw me coming out of his quarters late one night, - acting secretive according to her. Weíd been playing poker and I just happened to be the first to leave. Tom teased me for months about that."

"Well, you shouldnít walk about the ship, looking secretive."

"I wasnít. I just didnít want Tuvok to catch me, as I had early shift in the morning."

"Ah Ha! So you admit, you were looking secretive. And thatís my point. If Annabelle says that Chakotay was looking furtive, then he probably was. Anyway thatís not all. Bateheart was on bridge duty later when the Captain and Chakotay called Tuvok in. He glanced through the ready room doors as they opened and got a glimpse of the Captain. He said she looked awful and that Chakotay was drinking coffee. He never does that unless heís really upset. Coffee keeps him awake at night. He only ever drinks it in the mornings."

Harry shook his head in amazement. "So all this Ďevidenceí points to Chakotay having a bad vision of Tom, something so terrible that he had to tell the Captain straight away, who then in turn had to bring in Tuvok, because, as we all know heís her rock. Then the three of them decided not to tell the rest of us, so as not to upset us."

BíElanna nodded worriedly. "Well they were in here working frantically, after that meeting, as if something had changed. Something we obviously donít know about. Both Joe Carey and Vorik were here at the time and they said that the Captain and Chakotay seemed frantic to hurry the search. Ensign Gould said she heard them talking. She couldnít hear everything of course,"

"Of course," Harry agreed.

"But, she did hear them say something about pins and Tomís name. She said that Chakotay seemed to be trying to reassure the Captain and apologizing for upsetting her."

"Iím impressed."

"Finally, just as the Captain was entering her quarters to get some rest, Chell walked past them and he heard her say to Chakotay that she probably wouldnít be able to sleep because as soon as she closed her eyes all sheíd see was Tomís stomach. Now what can that possibly mean?"

"I have no idea, but I tell you BíElanna, you leave me speechless. I just canít believe the spy network youíve got running around here. Is there anyone that doesnít report back to you?"

Just as BíElanna was about to snap back at him, Seven came hurrying over. "The scanners have found something. It is fortunate that I was passing, as you seem to have left your console unattended."

"What?" BíElanna grabbed Harryís arm as they raced over. "Thank Kahless! I think weíve found him."

"Kim to the Captain. I think youíd better get down here Maíam. The sensors have picked up human lifesigns."

End Part Three