Standard Disclaimer: Paramount/Viacom owns Tom and Harry, the good ship Voyager and the rest of its crew. I am just borrowing them and will put them back neatly when I am finished with them. This is just for fun. No profit will be made.
I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah for her wonderful Beta reading and helping me to improve this little tale.
This story is set some time late in the fifth season. Crash landing on an unknown planet, Tom and Harry unwittingly make a bitter enemy of one of the local inhabitants. The man swears revenge and will stop at nothing to see the pair dead. Will he succeed?
Ensign Thomas Eugene Paris took a deep breath and squinted nervously at his readings. Yep! They were in trouble all right. Engines off line and he couldn't even get the thrusters to operate. The controls were slow and sluggish and try as he might he couldn't get the Flyer to come out of its downward spiral. Trying to dodge the sparks coming out from the console in front of him, he cursed as a voice called out, "Inertial Dampers are off-line."
They were coming down fast and there wasn't a lot he could do about it. Throwing a look over his shoulder towards his companion, he mumbled. "Well, this is another fine mess you've gotten us into, Harry."
Ensign Harry Kim looked up from his readouts in astonishment. "Me?"
"Yeah, you Harry. I can not believe that you didn't see this coming." Tom struggled to regain control as they sped downwards.
The unfairness of the statement left Harry with his mouth hanging open. He quickly turned his attention back to his panel. "There's a clearing a few kilometers away. All we have to do is clear this mountain range and you should be able to see it."
"Well, considering I have no control whatsoever, this should be fun," Tom answered through gritted teeth. Sweat poured off of him as he battled to slow their descent.
Harry looked up just in time to see a huge mountain looming in front of them and swallowing quickly, looked back down again. What you didn't know----
Tom cursed loudly; but they were still in one piece. Harry knew that if anyone could get them down safely, it was Tom.
He couldn't believe that they'd been shot down. There had been something hidden behind the small moon, he and Tom were investigating, and it had not only shut off all communications, but had then begun firing on them. Some sort of dampening field had closed around them and Harry had realized that to their crewmates back on Voyager it would seem that they'd suddenly disappeared.
The Delta Flyer rocked and swayed as they plummeted down towards the planet surface. They had slowed down considerably, but Harry knew that they would hit the ground any second now. He also knew that with any other pilot they'd be certain death waiting for them, but with Tom at the helm there was a chance of survival.
"Brace for impact," Tom yelled and then with a huge crunch everything went black.
Harry slowly regained consciousness and looked over to see Tom fiddling around with the helm controls. He let out a small moan and sat up carefully. Nothing seemed to be broken.
"About time you woke up," Tom muttered, not looking up from his console. "I've done about all I can do here."
"Nice landing," Harry groaned.
"Yeah, well we're still in one piece. Don't worry; I've already checked you over. Other than a slight concussion, which I've already treated, you're fine."
"What about you?"
"A few cuts and bruises; that's all."
Harry whistled through his teeth. He couldn't believe how lucky they'd been. He got up from his seat and walked carefully over to Tom. "That really was some landing," he said sincerely. "I didn't think we had much chance of survival then. You are an amazing pilot, my friend." He clapped Tom on the shoulder.
"I wish I could take credit for this, but I can't Har. I didn't land the Flyer. If it had been left to me, we would have crashed nose first into one of those mountains."
Harry frowned. "What are you saying?"
"A tractor beam caught us, just as we were about to plough into the mountainside."
"A tractor beam? From where?"
"Somewhere on this planet's surface."
"That means that the locals must be more advanced than we realized. Do you think they're the ones who shot us down?"
"Maybe, but they just plucked us from the jaws of death, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt."
Harry sighed. "How badly damaged is the Flyer? Can we get out of here?"
Tom nodded. "The damage is pretty extensive, all I've been able to get working so far is the sensors, but we should be able to have the Flyer ready to fly, in about four hours."
"Voyager will probably find us before then anyway. Okay, let's get started."
"One small problem Har. We only have about ten minutes of oxygen left. So unless you want to hold your breath for a really long time while you work, we may need to open the hatch and let in some air."
"So? If we keep an eye on the sensors to make sure none of the local population come by, we should be fine."
"It's too late for that, Harry. The sensors are already reading six of the local population standing right outside the Flyer. And they're armed. We can't transport out either, as the transporter's not working. Nothing is. That dampening field has even affected our hand held phasers."
"You mean we're defenseless?"
"Jeez! Do you have any more good news?"
"Yeah!" He turned to Harry with a huge grin. "I managed to pay the Doc back this morning. I talked B'Elanna into programming a case of indigestion into his program. A really bad case of indigestion." Tom laughed. "You should have seen his face when he first hiccupped."
Harry shook his head in exasperation. "It may have escaped your notice, Paris, but we have a situation here."
Tom shrugged. "I have every confidence that you'll get us out of this. Lead on, oh fearless leader."
Harry glared at his friend. "This is serious Tom. We're about to run out of oxygen, so we're going to have to go out there and face the locals. The armed locals, who may or may not be friendly. I think not, since they probably are responsible for shooting us down. They might have stopped us from crashing because they wanted live prisoners to interrogate."
"This is your mission Harry. It's your decision."
"Please Tom. I know that you've been upset that the Captain put me in charge instead of you, but that wasn't my fault. I really need your help here."
Tom sighed. "Harry, you should know by now that you can always count on me. I really don't think we have much choice here though. I know I'd rather take my chances out there than stay in here and suffocate. They may be friendly, after all. The technology around that moon may have nothing to do with these people. Something there's what shot us down. We know the people here live as if they're pre-warp."
Harry walked towards the back of the shuttle. "Open the hatch," he said grimly.
Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Starship Voyager paced backwards and forwards across the bridge. She knew she should sit quietly in her chair - pacing upset the bridge crew. But she couldn't help it. The Delta Flyer had disappeared from sensors over an hour ago and they could find no sign of it.
"The camouflaging that Ensign Kim noticed around the moon is now evident on the planet below," Seven finally said. "It is a technology that I am unfamiliar with and I am unable to disable it."
"I would surmise that the technology is on the moon itself," Tuvok added. "However, we need to get closer to the moon to be able to detect it."
Janeway shook her head. "If we get any closer we could end up in the same trouble as Tom and Harry. We need to increase the sensors."
"They are at maximum efficiency now," Seven stated.
The Captain turned to B'Elanna, who was sitting at her engineering station on the bridge. "Can you increase them?"
"I'm not sure. Maybe. But it will take some time."
"Do it." Janeway sat back down in her chair and rubbed her temples. She'd had a bad feeling about this, right from the start.
When they had first picked up this M-class planet on their long-range scanners they had been cautious. Too many times in the past, hostile aliens - intent on destroying them for no apparent reason, had attacked them. They weren't desperate for food stocks or minerals, so Janeway decided to continue on their way - hopefully without disturbing them.
As they got closer, their scans revealed a civilization with some type of hidden technology, but living as if they were pre-warp.
It was then that Harry had reported a strange energy reading coming from one of the moons. It was like nothing they'd ever seen before and Harry had looked over at her eagerly. He wanted to investigate this new technology and had all sorts of reasons why they should. His eyes had grown bigger and bigger.
She had to admit, she was interested as well. The sensors indicated that there had been no ships in the vicinity for years and they speculated that the planet below did not have the means or knowledge to create whatever it was on this moon. Some other species must have been responsible and who knew what had happened to them?
However, she had learnt to be careful over time. This could be an elaborate trap. As she had been hesitating over a decision, Tom had turned around to her - his face almost as eager as Harry's. "We could take the Flyer in for a closer look, Captain. That way it would be a lot easier to get away, if there's any trouble." He flashed her his best smile, eyes bright with anticipation.
She'd sighed. Tom was always looking for an excuse to take out the Delta Flyer, but it did seem their best option. And, damn it, she was curious as well. She'd turned to Harry. "Very well. This is your mission Harry. Don't take any unnecessary risks."
"Yes Ma'am," Harry had replied enthusiastically. She had been surprised to see a look of hurt disappointment, that was quickly masked, flit across Tom's face.
Knowing that he was a little sensitive at the moment she had opened her mouth to say, "Harry's in charge because this is his discovery. I still have every faith in you Tom," but shut it again. Tom would not appreciate her bringing the situation to the attention of everyone on the bridge and besides, she had been sure that he would realize this fact for himself.
Harry needed more command experience and this was the perfect opportunity, she had told herself. Tom and Harry worked wonderfully together and she was sure that Tom, with his many experiences behind him, would keep an eye on the younger man.
Pleased with these justifications, she had watched as Tom and Harry quickly left the bridge and then turned around to find Commander Chakotay grinning at her. "What?" she'd asked as she sat down beside him.
He'd leaned across and said softly. "You just fell for the puppy dog look again. You swore, after the last time, that you wouldn't let them pull that on you again."
"This is different," she'd argued. "I'm curious too."
Chakotay had chuckled quietly. "I am," she'd insisted, smiling a little herself. "Damn it! I couldn't resist them double teaming me. Next time I'll let you make the decision."
"Hey, I wouldn't be any better. Under this gruff, no nonsense exterior is pure marshmallow. They'd melt me in seconds."
She had laughed loudly.
"If I may be so bold?" Tuvok had said quietly from behind them. "Next time I could make the decision if you prefer. I do not believe that I will find any difficulty in ignoring their obvious ploys."
Janeway had laughed again as she turned to her security chief. "No, I don't suppose you would Tuvok. Next time I just might take you up on that."
Tom rubbed his shoulder and glared angrily at the figure in front of him, leading him to God only knew where. A sharp nudge in his back hurried him along. He glanced over towards Harry, who was marching along - head held high - chest out - back straight, and sighed. He'd once said to him that he wanted to be more like him. He'd made a joke out of it, of course, but underneath he'd kind of meant it.
Now he really wished he'd tried to be more like Harry. Perhaps then he wouldn't have a hell of a sore shoulder from where one of the locals had pulled him roughly around, a bleeding lip from where the man had back-handed him and continual sharp jabs in his back and side from the butt of a weapon.
As the man walking behind him jabbed him again, he gritted his teeth. 'One more time' - he seethed to himself - 'just once more and I'm going to, I don't know what, but something.' The fact that these people were huge in comparison with he and Harry - about the same size as a Hirogen - and that they were outnumbered three-to-one wouldn't stop him.
As soon as he and Harry had stepped out of the Flyer they had been none too gently slammed against the side of the ship and searched for weapons. Taking their useless phasers and tricorders from them, their captors then made them lay on the ground.
"Who are you? Where do you come from? Why are you here? Who sent you?" The questions were fired one after another with no time for an answer to be given.
Before Tom could say anything, Harry gulped out, "We mean no harm."
One of the men, he seemed to be their leader, had knelt down next to Harry and pulling his head up by the hair, slammed his face down into the ground. "Answer the questions," he snarled.
"Hey," Tom yelled out angrily. He was pulled roughly to his feet and shaken like a rag doll.
"Wait your turn," the man holding him grunted. "Hey Veron. This one's impatient."
The man called Veron had looked up. "We'd better take them in for questioning."
"Let me question them," the man holding Tom laughed. "I'll soon get the truth out of them."
Veron shook his head. "I think the President will want them alive." He pulled Harry to his feet.
One of the other men peered inside the Delta Flyer. "What shall we do with their ship?"
"We'll let the President decide."
Tom managed to break free from the man holding him and turned to Harry. "You okay?" he asked.
Harry had barely nodded - still a little dazed - when Tom found himself sprawled on the ground. A heavy boot came down hard in the middle of his back.
A couple of the men laughed. "Slipped through your fingers did he Garnoff?" one of them teased.
"You'll have to do better than that, if you want to be second in charge of the guards," the other one said.
The rest of the men laughed, as Tom was yanked roughly once more to his feet.
Tom was pulled around to face the man, trying not to wince as the man's fingers dug into his shoulder. "Do not try that again, little man."
Tom had frowned at him angrily. His shoulder was on fire. "What? I wasn't trying anything."
A stinging backhand straight across his mouth had made Tom's teeth rattle.
"I didn't say you could talk."
Veron had sighed impatiently. "That's enough Garnoff. Let's get moving. You two," - he had indicated Tom and Harry - "follow me."
As they had started off, Tom could hear the other men laughing and joking.
"I don't think Garnoff worked off all his aggression this morning," one of them had said. "Did you even do your morning workout Garnoff? Or did you sleep in again?"
More laughing comments had followed and Garnoff had pushed Tom forward angrily.
Tom shook his head as he thought about what had happened. It wasn't his fault the other men were laughing at Garnoff.
Another sharp jab in his side had him grinding his teeth. He stopped suddenly and turned around to face his tormentor. "You stick me with that one more time and I'm going to wrap it around your neck," he growled.
He had the pleasure of seeing surprise register on the man's face for about two seconds before Garnoff rammed the butt of the weapon into his midsections. Tom fell to his knees with a groan. 'Okay, that could have gone better. When will you learn to keep your big mouth shut?' He struggled to breathe, gasping in a great lungful of air.
Harry knelt down beside him. "That was smart Paris. What are you trying to do?"
Tom rolled his eyes. He couldn't have answered, even if he'd wanted to.
Their captors hauled them roughly to their feet. "You'll keep quiet and keep moving," the man in front said dangerously. He looked at Tom menacingly. "If that one gives you any more trouble, break his arm."
Harry looked at Tom anxiously. "Can you walk?"
Tom nodded. Walking? No problem! Breathing? That was something else. He coughed a few times as they started forward and Harry glanced over at him. "Are you okay?"
Tom nodded again. He wanted to make some wisecrack to reassure Harry, but he didn't trust his voice. Probably better if he just kept quiet, he decided. Time enough for smart-ass comments later.
After about twenty minutes they reached the outskirts of a small city, and it wasn't long before they were in the heart of the small community. People hurried and bustled along the busy streets, but studiously avoided looking at Tom and Harry as they were led towards a huge building in the city square.
Tom frowned as the man behind him pushed him once again. "Hurry up," the man growled. "The President wants to talk to you."
"Good, because I've got a few things to say to him too."
Tom winced as the man behind him slapped him across the back of the head. "You'll watch your tongue, Alien."
"Alien? Who are you calling, Alien?" He immediately regretted the words as his arm was wrenched roughly behind him, almost tearing his already sore shoulder from its socket.
He couldn't help yelling out and Harry tried to intervene, telling the man to take it easy. Harry received a slap across his ear for the trouble.
They were ushered inside the building and hauled down red-carpeted hallways until they reached a door at the far end of one. Throwing them roughly inside the room, the men told them to keep quiet and wait. The President would see them shortly.
Tom looked around as he rubbed his shoulder and arm. They were in a small windowless room, bare of any furniture. "These people really need to learn how to treat guests," he said in disgust.
"How's the shoulder?"
"Sore. But nothing's broken."
"Good. You know, you could have avoided all that if you'd only shut up."
Tom rolled his eyes. Harry was certainly taking this whole 'leader of the mission' thing to heart. "Harry, that wasn't my fault. That Garnoff fellow is a little crazy. Anyway I'd have missed all the fun if I'd just let that maniac jab and push me the whole way. I couldn't let him think we'd do whatever they wanted."
"We don't even know what they do want yet. I prefer to wait and find that out first. You know, save the pain for later, kind of thing."
"Yeah, well I prefer to make a good first impression. You know, the sort they won't forget in a hurry."
"Well, you certainly did that."
Tom sighed. "All right Harry. You've made your point. I am now certainly chastised."
"Don't joke about it Tom. I'm responsible here. And that means I'm responsible for you too. I don't want to see you get hurt."
"And all I'm saying is that I couldn't do much to avoid that. All right, I shouldn't have yelled out 'Hey!' when they decided to use your face as a ground tenderizer. That way the guard Garnoff would have left me alone."
"Well, just try not to tick him off anymore."
"Yes Commander," Tom teased. He chuckled and sat down on the floor, his back resting against the wall. "Relax Harry. I've got a horrible feeling it will be our last chance for a while."
Harry let out a small sigh and sat down next to him. They were quiet for a few minutes, until Harry broke the silence. "So, tell me about the Doc's indigestion. Was it as funny as I think? And how the hell did you talk B'Elanna into doing it?"
Tom grinned. "You'd be surprised what I can talk B'Elanna into doing."
As Harry opened his mouth to say something, Tom quickly added. "Some of the time."
B'Elanna Torres muttered and cursed as she raced from one console to another. "Vorik, you P'tahk! Where are those readings?"
Ensign Vorik handed her a data padd without a word. She scanned it quickly. "What the hell is this supposed to mean?" she yelled at him.
"Exactly what it says, Lieutenant," he answered calmly. "The output from the sensor relays---"
"Damn it! I know what it means," she interrupted crossly. "But are you telling me that that is the most we can get from the sensors?"
Vorik nodded. "Yes Lieutenant. The readings become blurred and inaccurate, quickly deteriorating to unreadable from this point."
B'Elanna swore in Klingon and the rest of the engineering crew scattered away. She knew she was taking her temper out on all of them, and that she was being unfair, but couldn't seem to stop it. Her crew were working to the best of their abilities and shouting and swearing at them would not make the impossible become possible. Her crew found things to do on the other side of the room and she could almost hear the huge sighs of relief when Commander Chakotay entered engineering.
"Any progress?" he asked.
"The sensors are at maximum now Chakotay," B'Elanna growled in frustration. "We have to somehow disable that dampening field."
"Seven and Tuvok are working on that. They haven't had much luck so far."
"Damn it! This is so frustrating!" B'Elanna said through gritted teeth. She was worried sick. Tom and Harry had been missing for hours. She clenched her hands into fists and wondered whether to put a hole through the nearest console or wall.
Chakotay put his hand gently on her arm. "Try to stay calm. Maybe you could give them a hand in a minute?"
"All right," she said, actually glad for something else to do. "There's nothing else I can do here anyway."
"Get moving. The President's ready to see you now."
Tom and Harry were dragged from the room again and pushed into another one a few doors down.
"Mr. President, these are the strange aliens."
Tom looked carefully at the man who was these people's President. He didn't really look any different to any of the other people on this planet, except he was wearing a rich flowing gown.
"Thank you. You may leave us," he ordered.
"I don't think you should be left alone with them Mr. President. The light one is a little hostile."
The President looked at Tom curiously. "Very well. You and another guard had better stay. The other four may go."
Tom frowned when he saw that the remaining guard was the one called Garnoff. The President walked over and studied them closely. "We are the Caldons. What species are you?" he asked suddenly.
"Human," Harry answered in surprise.
"I have never heard of Humans. You are very similar in appearance to us. What do you want? Why are you here?"
"We don't want anything and we're here because these two goons and the other four dragged us here," Tom answered.
"I believe he is insulting us," Veron, the leader of the guards, told the Caldon President.
The President frowned. "That is most uncalled for."
Tom snorted. "We were brought here against our will. I've had my arm practically ripped from my shoulder, not to mention all the pokes and jabs along the way. You'll have to forgive me if I'm a little insulting."
"As you can see, he is rather hostile." The leader of the guards once again spoke to the President.
The President nodded. "Yes, Veron. That is most unfortunate."
Harry sent Tom a look. The look said very, very clearly - Shut up! Tom frowned at him, but didn't say anything.
The President noticed and turned to Harry. "Can you tell me why you are here?"
"We were investigating one of your moons and somebody shot us down. Our ship was pretty badly damaged."
"Harry," Tom warned.
Harry turned to him. "It's all right Tom. I know what I'm doing."
Tom's face clearly showed that he didn't believe that for a second.
"The Captain put me in charge, so---" Harry's voice trailed off and he turned a little red. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded."
Tom's smile was forced. "Of course not. Go ahead, Commander Kim. Obviously you have this situation well in hand." If that's the way the little worm wants to play it!
Harry gulped a little. "Tom, I'm sorry."
The President looked from one to the other of them, clearly confused. "Commander Kim?" he repeated.
Harry quickly shook his head. "I'm not a commander."
"I see," the President said doubtfully.
Tom could feel Harry's eyes on him, but refused to look his way.
The President cleared his throat. "You were saying that your ship was shot down?"
Harry nodded. "Yes, that's right. But somehow we were stopped from crashing."
"In the interests of friendly relations between us, perhaps I should explain," the President said with a slight smile. "The moon has a defense mechanism built into it. We managed to get control of your ship before it crashed. What were you doing near the moon?"
"We noticed some strange energy readings coming from it. We were curious. I'm sorry. We didn't mean any harm. It was a technology that we've never seen before. We wanted to find out a little more about it."
"Why didn't you just ask us?"
"Our scans of your planet indicated that you weren't technically advanced enough to have built whatever it was on the moon. We thought someone else must have done it and you probably weren't even aware that it was there."
The President looked alarmed. "So you thought you would steal it."
"No! We're explorers. Scientists in a way. We just wanted to look at it. Find out what it was."
"I still do not understand why you did not contact us."
"We have a policy that we must abide by. It's called the prime directive. We are forbidden to contact pre-warp civilizations or to interfere with them in any way."
The President nodded. "I see. Who forbids you to do this?"
"We belong to an organization called the United Federation of Planets."
"I have never heard of them," the President dismissed.
"I'm not surprised," Tom muttered.
"You wear what appears to be uniforms of some description," the President continued.
"We're Starfleet Officers. I'm Ensign Harry Kim and this is Ensign Tom Paris."
"Starfleet Officers? That sounds military. Are you military officers?"
"Um, in a way."
"Harry," Tom said in exasperation. He couldn't keep quiet any longer. "What ever happened to name, rank and serial number?"
Harry flushed guiltily. "I - I---"
The President nodded. "You are military."
Tom shook his head, deciding to butt in after all. Harry was digging their graves awfully fast here. "Not in the way you mean, no. We're peaceful explorers. Obviously we made a mistake in thinking you were pre-warp."
"You are correct, we are not pre-warp. We just choose to live this way. We are not interested in exploring the galaxy. We prefer our own worlds. The technology on that moon was set up many centuries ago. We do not go near it. Nobody else has either, for a very long time." The President thought for a moment before resuming. He turned back to Harry. "Mistakes are common. I am not worried if that is all it is. What planet are you from?"
"It's called Earth. It's in the Alpha Quadrant."
"The Alpha Quadrant? What is that?"
"Um! Our people divide the galaxy into four sections. This area is what we call the Delta Quadrant."
The President looked thoughtful. "Are you saying that your planet is on the other side of the galaxy?"
Harry nodded enthusiastically. "Yes Sir, that's right."
"You have traveled a long way," the President said frowning slightly. "I cannot believe that you have traveled so far in that tiny ship. You were just a scout ship for a much larger vessel. Is that not true?"
Tom groaned. He didn't like the way this conversation was going. And Harry was giving them far too much information. "We don't have any plans to invade you, if that's what you're thinking," he said hurriedly.
"I am not sure what I am thinking at the moment. You say you are peaceful explorers, curious about our technology. That could be true, but I've just discovered that there is a large alien ship above us somewhere, sending out scouting ships to investigate us. And it has originated from the other side of the galaxy. This information worries me greatly."
"I can understand that," Harry agreed. "But it's not like that. I wish you'd believe us. We mean no harm."
"Why are you so far from home?"
"We were stranded out here. We're just trying to get back home."
"I will have to call an emergency council meeting to discuss this. I'm afraid you'll have to stay locked up until we decide what we are going to do." He nodded to the guards. "Take them to our guest quarters. See that they are not harmed."
"Hey!" Tom grunted as he was pushed roughly into another room and almost lost his balance. He turned around and glared at the guard standing in the doorway. "You're really spoiling for a fight, aren't you?"
The guard snorted. "It will not be much of a fight, puny human."
"You'd be surprised," Tom answered angrily, stepping towards him.
Harry grabbed his arm. "Don't Tom. He's just trying to bait you."
Veron frowned over at the guard. "Leave him alone, Garnoff. You heard the President. They are not to be harmed."
Garnoff snorted once again, but all he said was - "Yes, sir."
Veron turned back to Tom and Harry. "You will remain here until the meeting is concluded. I suggest you make yourselves comfortable. It could be quite some time."
As the two guards left, Tom sighed and threw himself down on a nearby couch. "I think that Garnoff doesn't like me."
Harry grinned. "You think?"
"Well of course I could be wrong."
Harry paced up and down. "What do you think is going to happen?"
"Truthfully? I think they're going to find us a threat and start torturing us to get all the information about Voyager that they can."
Harry stopped his pacing. "Do you really think they'll torture us?"
Tom nodded. "Probably."
Harry shook his head. "The President doesn't seem that type of person. I trust him."
"So I gathered," Tom said dryly. "Why didn't you tell him your life story while you were at it?"
Harry groaned and sank down on the opposite couch. "I really blew it didn't I? Commander Kim, indeed." He gave a little snort. "I'll be crewman Kim when the Captain finds out."
"Crewman Kim. I like the sound of that."
Harry grimaced. "Don't Tom. I really messed up. And, when I reminded you that I was in charge -" Harry shook his head in dismay, "that was unforgivable. I'll understand if you never speak to me again."
He looked so thoroughly miserable that Tom took pity on him. "It's all right Harry, you're forgiven."
Harry looked incredulous. "Just like that? You're far too forgiving Tom."
"Are you saying that if the situation were reversed, you wouldn't forgive me?"
"Of course I would. But you wouldn't act so stupid in the first place."
Tom gave a little laugh. "I've done some pretty stupid things in my life Har. I've only told you a quarter of them. The point is, that we all do stupid things sometimes or say things we wish we hadn't. It's part of what makes us human. Do you know what I'm trying to say?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah. Thanks Tom. I just hope I haven't caused Voyager any harm."
"I don't think so. You didn't give them any technical information or tell them anything about Voyager. They've got the Delta Flyer after all. They can always tear that apart to find out what they want to know."
"I suppose so. You really think they'll torture us?" Harry swallowed nervously.
"I don't know. Let's not worry about that unless it happens. I'm being tortured enough as it is, anyway." Tom grimaced a little and rubbed his shoulder once more.
Harry looked at him in concern. "You do look kind of pale. How bad is that shoulder of yours?"
"I'm not sure. Pretty bad I think. Up until now I've managed to keep my mind off of it. Now - it's killing me."
Harry went over to him. "Take off your shirt and let me see." He whistled as he saw how badly bruised Tom's shoulder was. It was black and blue - literally. "Maybe they'll give us something for it."
"I'm all right. It's just bruising. I wouldn't give that Garnoff the satisfaction of knowing he'd hurt me."
"Are you sure?"
"Oh yeah, I'm sure."
Harry resumed his pacing. "How long do you think they'll take?"
"I don't know Harry. Veron seemed to think it would be a while. I think I'll try to get some sleep." He stretched out full length on the couch and snuggled around making sure his shoulder didn't touch anything.
Harry watched him incredulously. "You're going to sleep? How can you?"
"I said I was going to try Harry."
Sighing heavily, Harry lay down on the other couch and closed his eyes. "I suppose there isn't anything else to do," he muttered.
He must have drifted off, as some rustling in the room woke him. He opened his eyes to see the guard Garnoff bending over Tom. The guard grabbed Tom's sore shoulder as he shook him awake.
Tom yelled with the pain and sat up quickly, head butting Garnoff on his chin as he did so. Harry quickly jumped off his couch as he saw the guard grab Tom around the neck and start shaking him like a rag doll.
"Leave him alone," he yelled running over and trying to pull Garnoff's hands away.
Tom punched the man in the stomach as hard as he could from his sitting position, and Garnoff grunted and let go.
Quickly springing to his feet Tom just managed to get out of the way as the guard swung his fist into where the pilot's face had been, only moments before.
Harry meanwhile was still clinging to one of the huge man's arms and he turned around to glare at him in annoyance. He pushed Harry away from him, with very little effort and then turned back to Tom.
"You're dead little human. Dead."
"You'll have to be quicker than that," Tom taunted.
Garnoff lunged for him, but Tom ducked out of the way.
"Stop it," Harry yelled as he picked himself up from the floor.
Garnoff made another lunge for Tom, but once again he was too slow. He cursed angrily as he slowly but surely herded Tom towards a corner of the room. Tom could see what was happening but couldn't seem to prevent it.
Harry made a flying tackle and landed on the guard's back. Grabbing him around the neck he yelled again, "Stop it! Leave him alone!"
"Stay out of this little man, or you'll be next," Garnoff growled, throwing Harry from him.
He lunged once more for Tom and this time Tom wasn't quick enough. Placing Tom in a headlock, Garnoff squeezed as Tom tried desperately to escape the hold.
Harry jumped up once more from the floor and looked frantically around for something he could use as a weapon. Quickly grabbing a water jug from a side table Harry rushed over and hit Garnoff over the head. The guard looked around in surprise and let go of Tom. Tom fell to the floor on his knees, choking and gasping.
Harry swallowed nervously as Garnoff stepped menacingly towards him. "I warned you, little man."
"Garnoff! What is the meaning of this?"
Harry swung around to see the leader of the guards, Veron, and two other guards standing there. Veron was frowning fiercely as he took in the scene before him. "The President gave explicit instructions that they were not to be harmed."
"They attacked me," Garnoff snarled.
"That's not true," Harry said. "We were just defending ourselves."
Veron looked once more at Garnoff. "If the President sees them like this, there will be a full investigation. This isn't the first time your temper has got the better of you."
Harry hurried over to Tom, who was struggling to stand. His lip was bleeding and the bruises around his neck were clearly visible. Veron came over to check him out as well and sighed impatiently. "You've gone too far this time, Garnoff. This one needs a doctor."
"I'm all right," Tom choked out. "I just bruise easily."
Veron ignored him and signaled to one of the guards still standing in the doorway. "Go and get a doctor."
Harry helped Tom sit down on one of the couches while Veron turned once more to Garnoff. "I'll try to keep this quiet, but I think it would be best if you went home for the rest of the day."
Garnoff nodded. "Thank you Sir." He glared venomously at Tom and Harry before walking stiffly from the room.
Voices could be heard in the hallway and then the President himself walked into the room. "What is happening here?"
Veron swallowed nervously. "A slight misunderstanding Mr. President. The aliens thought that one of the guards was attacking them, so they tried to defend themselves, and it got a little out of hand."
"That isn't what happened at all," Harry said quietly but very distinctly. The President listened as he told him exactly what had happened and when the doctor arrived he confirmed that the bruises on Tom's shoulder were quite recent. The President went over to confront Veron. He spoke quietly. Harry leaned forward so that he could hear.
"Did you know what had actually happened?" the President asked.
"No Sir, not really."
"But you decided to cover for this guard anyway. It was Garnoff, wasn't it?"
"Yes Mr. President. I will see that he is disciplined."
"You always say that. This is not the first time I have had complaints about him, and each time you make excuses for him."
"I'm sorry Sir. He is my wife's brother. I have a family duty---"
"Your first duty is to me Veron. You are the leader of my guards. If I cannot trust you, I cannot trust my guards. You are jeopardizing your own position with your constant half-truths regarding Garnoff."
Veron flinched as he hung his head. "You are right Mr. President. I will resign my position immediately."
The President shook his head. "That will not be necessary, at the moment. Garnoff must be sent away immediately, of course, but you are the best leader of the guards I have had."
"Thank you Sir. Where will Garnoff be sent?"
"I believe he will make an excellent cargo hauler. Working on one of the supply ships for a few years should temper him down."
"He is about to be married Mr. President," Veron objected. "He will not be able to support a wife and family on a cargo hauler's salary."
"That is not my concern. He should have thought about that and conducted himself accordingly."
"Yes, Mr. President."
The President walked back over to Tom and Harry. "Well Doctor?"
"There is no permanent damage. He should be fine in a few hours. I have given him something for the pain."
"Thank you Doctor."
"Yeah, thanks," Harry echoed. Tom didn't say anything; he just sat looking around the room, with a stunned expression on his face. "You all right Tom?"
Tom nodded. "Great," he finally said. Harry frowned. Tom sounded kind of funny. He turned his attention back to the President.
"Has your council meeting finished? What was decided?"
"We have decided to trust you," the President answered. "We are going to turn off the security system that is currently blanketing the planet and see if your ship tries to contact you. We will then speak with them to see if they mean us any harm."
"They don't. They don't!" Tom sang out, giving a small chuckle.
Harry frowned at him. "I'm glad you've decided to trust us Mr. President. You'll soon see we were telling you the truth."
"Harry always tells the truth," Tom said slowly, his voice a little slurred. "He's a good boy. I'm a bad boy - sometimes. Aren't I Har?" He looked at Harry and blinked a few times.
"Tom?" Harry looked at him in concern.
"I see," the President said in confusion.
Tom turned back to the President and confided. "I used to be a Lieutenant you know, but I did something really bad." Tom shook his head. "I don't care about the rank. Not really. A little bit maybe."
"Tom, are you okay?" Harry asked frowning.
Tom laughed a little. "Sure Har. You know, being an Ensign in Starfleet is more than I ever thought I'd be again after Caldik Prime. And I really think the Captain liked me, don't you? But now she hates me."
"Tom, the Captain doesn't hate you," Harry argued. What the hell was the matter with Tom? Why was he talking like this? In front of the President too.
Tom shook his head again. "Yes she does. She put me in the brig and I hate being locked up; she knows that. And she tried to blow me up, Har. She did. She did. And now she doesn't trust me." As Harry opened his mouth, Tom rushed on. "She doesn't. She doesn't trust me."
The President watched Tom in astonishment and then turned to Harry. "I'm sorry to hear that," he said diplomatically.
Harry watched Tom in alarm. "There's something wrong with him. He's not usually like this."
Tom laughed and put his arm around Harry's shoulders. "I'm okay Har." His voice was decidedly slurred by now.
"I don't think so Tom. You're not acting normal at all."
Tom grinned foolishly. "Harry's my best friend," he confided slowly, turning back to the President. "I look after him and he looks after me."
"Tom, you're really worrying me here," Harry said in alarm.
"I feel - weird," Tom stated before falling face forward on the couch.
"Tom!" Harry cried out in panic. The Caldon doctor hurried over.
After examining Tom closely, the doctor stood up. "I believe he is having a reaction to the pain medication I gave him. I may have given him too much, not allowing for the difference in size."
"Is he going to be all right?" Harry asked anxiously.
The doctor nodded. "We will have to let him sleep it off, as I do not like to give him anything else under the circumstances."
"Sleep - that - sounds - good," Tom mumbled.
"I am most sorry about this," the President said, distressed.
Tom suddenly sat up. "I - think - I - need - a - bathroom," he said slowly.
"You do?" Harry quickly jumped up.
Tom nodded decisively. "I - think - I'm - going - to - be - sick."
Harry quickly hauled him to his feet as the doctor hurriedly led them across the hallway.
The President decided to ensure that the security system was turned off. He would let their Doctor see to the problem in the bathroom.
Harry sat on the couch next to Tom trying to get him to go to sleep. That was turning into an impossible task. The door suddenly opened and the guard Garnoff burst into the room. Harry jumped up and Tom sat up slowly. Tom grinned stupidly at the guard and Harry realized that he wouldnít be much help.
"Youíll pay for this," Garnoff shouted.
Veron hurried in after him. "Donít make things worse."
"How can they be worse? Iíve lost my job, my status - everything. Julase will never marry me now. I would have been set up for life. What sort of a life will I have now? A cargo hauler? This is all their fault."
"Itís your own fault Garnoff. How many times have I warned you about your behavior? About your bullying? And if Julase loves you she'll marry you no matter what your job is."
"Her parents would never allow her to marry a simple cargo hauler. You know that, Veron. My life is ruined."
"Garnoff, I'm sorry. But this isn't going to help anything."
"They have to pay," Garnoff snarled angrily, glaring at Tom and Harry.
"You have to go," Veron told him. "Now leave, before I have you thrown out."
"Somehow Iíll get my revenge on you," Garnoff shouted angrily as Veron led him from the room. "Youíll pay for this. Iíll hunt you down."
Veron signaled to two guards to take Garnoff away. He turned back to Tom and Harry. "Iím sorry about that. He wonít trouble you again."
As Veron left, Tom chuckled. "Boy, was he mad. He was really mad, wasnít he Harry?"
"Yes Tom. He was really mad. Now go to sleep."
"But Iím not tired."
"You were before," Harry argued.
"That was before. Iím not now. Iím hungry. But I better not eat anything, had I Harry? Boy was I sick. I was really sick, wasnít I Harry?"
"Yes Tom, you were really sick. Now please, please, please; try to go to sleep."
Harry heaved a sigh of relief as the door opened and the President led Chakotay and Tuvok into the room. "Our doctor assures us that he will be all right. We're most terribly sorry."
"It was an understandable error, given the circumstances," Tuvok allowed.
Chakotay hurried over and knelt beside the couch Tom was lying on. "How is he?" he asked Harry, who was standing next to him.
Harry threw his hands up in the air. "The Caldon doctor said that he needs to sleep it off, but I can't get him to lay still for more than a few minutes at a time."
Tom rolled over and beamed up at Chakotay. "Hey! Hi! Harry, Chakotayís here!"
"Hello Tom. How do you feel?"
"Great! Never better. I was sick before though. Did you know I got sick three whole times before? Three!" Tom held up four fingers and waved them in the air.
Chakotay grinned. "Nice side-effect," he said to Harry.
"You wouldnít say that if youíd been trying to keep him quiet for the last two hours," Harry said dryly.
"You should Ďa seen it Chakotay. It was gross. All lumpy and---"
"The Commander doesnít want to hear about that," Harry quickly interceded.
Tom looked surprised. "Donít you?"
Chakotay shook his head. "No. Weíre going to take you back to Voyager now. Okay?"
Tom nodded happily. "I love Voyager."
"Weíll take you to sickbay to see the Doctor."
"I hate sickbay," Tom frowned. "And sometimes the Docís really mean to me. And he hurts my feelings - and I have to smile and pretend it doesnít hurt. But it does."
"Iím sorry about that Tom. The Doctor can be mean to everybody."
Tom nodded his head up and down. "I know, but he makes me laugh lots of times too. You should have heard what he said to Harry the other day. Harry had a pain down in his---"
"Tom," Harry sputtered. "The Commander definitely doesnít want to hear that."
"Oh, okay. What about the time when you were sneezing all the time and every time you sneezed you---"
"No! Definitely not!" Harry was beet red. "I think we should get him back to Voyager straight away."
Chakotay nodded, although it was obvious he was trying not to laugh.
"Yeah, letís get back to Voyager. I love Voyager. And BíElannaís on Voyager. And I love BíElanna. Did you know that Chakotay? I love BíElanna."
Chakotay smiled. "I think everyone on the ship knows that by now Tom."
"You think so?"
"Yes. Come on. Can you stand?"
Tom stood up. "Iím good at standing," he stated. He caught sight of Tuvok then. "Tuvok!!! I didnít know you were here." He raced over to him and hugged him hard. "Iím so happy to see you."
Chakotay laughed at the face Tuvok was trying not to pull and Tom turned around to beam at him. "I love Tuvok," he stated. "And I love Harry and I love you too, Chakotay."
Harry gave a great shout of laughter as Chakotay requested Voyager to beam them back up. Tom was going to be horrified when he remembered this afterwards. And completely mortified as well. Harry couldnít wait.
End Part One