And This Is His Story 1
By Zappy Zaps

Thank you to Brigid Johnson for beta reading this story
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer:  Characters, Thomas Paris, Chakotay, Harry Kim are not mine.  I don’t get any money for this blah blah blah…yada yada yada…you know the rest.

Part 1: Future Encounters

 “Stop moving.”
 “Why don’t you just use the regenerator?” 
 “Because we can’t waste the power on little cuts,” the older man said to the ten year old in front of him.  This cut was not little though.  The large gash on the right side of his forehead was bleeding profusely.  “How did you manage to get this, anyway?”
 “You try get the Captain out of a bar after he’s been drinking,” the child scoffed.  He reached up and touched the right side of his forehead.  The stinging sensation when his fingers touched the gash caused him to hiss in pain and pull his hand quickly away.  He had been sent to the surface to search the local bars when their designated time of departure had arrived with no captain to be found.
 “Thomas, don’t touch.  You’re just going to infect it,” the man said.  “What did you do, walk into a broken bottle?” 
 “Let’s just say, next time I should watch where he’s swinging the broken bottle,” the young boy explained.  Murphy put a bandage over the gash. 
 “Finished.  Clean yourself up and get some rest.”
 “Thanks, Murphy,” Thomas said quietly as he touched the bandage on his forehead.  Murphy was the ship’s engineer and, unofficially, the ship’s medic.  He was human, with ebony skin and out of all the members of the crew only Murphy and one other looked out for the young boy. Thomas quickly wiped off the blood off his face and left for his quarters. 
 Walking to his quarters he didn’t meet any of the other team members but he didn’t find that odd.  It was a pretty big ship with only six people kept it running.  Five years ago only five people ran it but then Thomas had joined the group and became the sixth member.

 Since then they had been training Thomas as one of them; a thief, a conman, escape artist, and given him training in demolition, weapons, self-defense and the list of less than appropriate activities for a ten year old goes on.  They were not an easy bunch to live with and if Thomas weren’t so good at what he did, he probably would not have made it this far.  Despite his age Thomas was very independent.  He had to be.  There was no one here to take care of him.  When he was younger the crew helped out in his care more often but now of himself.
 “Thomas,” a female voice called him.  The boy turned around and saw Takara coming towards him and smiled.  She was the other person that had taken care of him when he first came aboard, and to some extent she still did. “Have you started on the exercises that I gave you?” she asked.  Her slender dark brown eyes, evidence of her Japanese heritage, looked down into his.
 Thomas nodded and said “I’ve finished them,”
 “Already?  I only gave them to you this morning.”  Takara had given him some math and science problems to work through since he wasn’t going to school but needed to know the basics so that he could learn about warp engines and other things.  One day he might be helping Murphy with repairs; he was already flying for them, who knows what else he could be capable of.
 “What else am I supposed to do?” Thomas shrugged.  There wasn’t much for a child to do on this ship.  They had a holodeck but it was only used for training.  Thomas usually spent his free time reading anything and everything.  Whenever they visited a planet or a space station, Thomas would look for new texts to read and if he was lucky he might find a vid that he could watch. He had a few but had watched them over so many times, he could recite each line from memory.  Only Takara and occasionally Murphy, would make sure the material that the boy had found was suitable for somebody his age.
 “True.”  Smiling at him, she pushed an errant strand of black hair from her face and patted him on the shoulder before continuing on her way.  Tom watched her for a few seconds before he turned to go to his room.  He paused and thought for a moment.  It wasn’t that late.  Maybe he could go and find something to do around the ship. From around the corner he heard Takara yell: “Go to bed!” So much for that idea.  He shrugged and went towards his quarters. 

 A few weeks later they where prepping for a mission in the holodeck.  The ship was parked on the dark side of a moon in an uninhabited star system.  All six members of the crew were assembled in the holodeck.  They had to prepare carefully for this mission since they were going into Federation space.  Their objective was just inside the boarder of the Federation but it was a big tourist spot so they had to be very careful on this mission. 
 This wasn’t the first time since Thomas had joined the team that the Federation had something that they wanted but they never considered trading Thomas, even though doing so was well within their power.  Thomas was more valuable to them as a partner than he was as bait or in a trade.  With his help they could get what they wanted without giving up anything.
 “Myself, Takara and Thomas will be going in as tourists,” said their captain, Douglas.  He was a muscular man with light brown hair and hard features.  Douglas was half human and half another species from outside of the federation.  Whatever features he had which where not human were not expressed physically; he looked completely human. He kept the crew in check with threats and with his fists and that went double for Thomas.  For one reason or another, Douglas despised Thomas and was harsher towards him.  “Mec, I want you and Vaiyer to stay on the ship.  Watch out for Starfleet vessels and monitor our progress.”  They nodded.  Mec was half-vulcan and half-betazoid.  Out of all of them he was the calm one, rarely displaying emotions.  Mec was short for his given Vulcan name.  It was an odd combination of species in Mec but his personality held a strange balance of the two.  Vaiyer was the other man/woman.  Vaiyer was from a species from outside the Federation whose people did not have distinguishable sexes.  His skin was a light grey and it was easy to see some blood vessels below the skin.  He also had very small ears and no hair.  Vaiyer was a tall and skinny being with an elongated cranial structure.  In personality Vaiyer was much like Douglas and like Douglas he kept his distance from Thomas.  “Murphy you’re going to be going in with us as back up,” Douglas said and Murphy nodded.  “Here’s the plan…

 A few days later Douglas, Takara and Thomas arrived on the planet.  Not too far behind them was Murphy.  They were all dressed in civilian clothes and blended into the crowd of people.  Thomas also wore a black headband that covered the scar on the right side of his forehead.  They where in a large open area like a small park that was located in the middle of the business section of the city.  This particular park was a big tourist attraction.  Around them were families enjoying the pleasant weather and the scenery. 
 Takara looked at Thomas.  She could tell the he was excited when he saw other children his age playing.  She could see the longing in his eyes to be playing with them.  Thomas may be an important member of the team and experienced beyond his years but he was still just a child with the same needs and desires as all children.
 Thomas watched the father of one little boy lift him up and placed him on his shoulders as the child laughed.  Thomas envied the boy; he had a real family that loved him.  Thomas felt a wave of bitter emotions flow over him the last one being intense sadness as he thought of his family who didn’t want him.
 Takara watched the emotions play over his features before he hid them away.  Douglas would only get mad at him if he saw Thomas acting like a weak child. “Come on,”  Douglas said and they began to move towards their destination at the other side of the small park.  They didn’t notice the dark haired child sitting on his father’s shoulders watching them go. 
 In this job as in most, it was Thomas’ job to go in first and let them in since he could fit in places that the others could not.  They walked the perimeter of the building until they found a small access hatch.  Carefully and inconspicuously removing it, Thomas crawled in and Douglas replaced the cover.  Now Douglas and Takara only had to wait for Thomas to open the side entrance where they were waiting.
 A few minutes later the side door opened and Thomas stood there.  Douglas didn’t give a word of commendation to the boy, walking right past him.  Takara patted his shoulder once as she walked in.  Thomas smiled and closed the door silently.  He liked Takara and wanted her approval more that anyone’s even if she was a girl.
 The three crept quietly and carefully through the building.  This particular building was storage for items confiscated by Border Patrol and a storage place for large quantities of goods waiting for transport.  They had a buyer lined up who was interested in buying one of the items, which had been confiscated when it was being exported from the Federation by smugglers.  They had to find it, set up pattern enhancers and then leave undetected.  When they were leaving the planet they would beam it up to the ship.  The thick metal of the building prevented them from beaming it up from orbit but the pattern enhancers would remedy that problem.  Quickly they found what they were looking for while they avoided cameras, security patrols and took out internal sensors.  A few minutes later they emerged from the side access where they had entered and walked away as if nothing had happened.
 “We’ll meet back here in forty minutes.” Douglas informed them.  He walked away from the other two to go see Murphy and tell him they had some free time.  Thomas began to walk off but Takara grabbed the back of his shirt collar.
 “Where do you think you’re going?” she asked him.
 “To get something new to read and maybe get some new vids.”  Thomas intended to make full use of this opportunity to get new reading material.
 “I’ll come with you.”  Thomas smiled faintly and together they went to explore the shops.
 About thirty minutes later Thomas was sitting on a bench in front of the fountain where some kids where playing.  Thomas was looking through what he had gotten while Takara did some shopping of her own.  One of the children approached.  Thomas looked up from his purchases.  In front of him stood a boy who was a few years younger than him; maybe four or five years old.  Thomas recognized the boy as the same happy child who had been playing with his father when they had first arrived.  Thomas didn’t say anything so the other boy spoke first.
 “Hi, I’m Harry Kim,” the little boy introduced himself “What’s your name?”
 “Do you want to play?”  Harry asked, hoping  he would soon have another playmate.
 “No, thanks,” Thomas answered politely.  The boy was too young to be any fun.  Tom went back to looking at his new possessions.  Harry looked at the boy in front of him for a few seconds before he sat down on the bench next to Thomas.
 “Are you here with your parents?”  Harry asked.
 “I am.  I’m on vacation before I go back to school.  Where do you live?”  Harry said.
 “On a ship.”  Thomas didn’t look up.
 “A real starship?”  Harry asked excitedly.  He liked travelling on starships. “Wow!”
 “You don’t like it?” Harry asked, noticing that Thomas didn’t seem very happy with his current accommodations.
 “It’s alright.” Thomas said neutrally.
 “You should be thankful for what you have.”  Harry said, repeating what he had learnt at school.  Thomas looked at Harry and then looked around, seeing what he was missing. 
 “I have nothing to be thankful for.” He said solemnly looking down.
 “Thomas!  Here!  Now!”  Douglas yelled.  Thomas looked over his shoulder and saw Douglas with Takara.  He could tell by their stance that something was wrong.  Thomas began packing up the PADDs and data chips quickly. 
 “I have to go,” he told Harry quickly.  Harry watched in confusion as the other boy got up.
 “Harry!” Harry and Thomas looked to the person that had called and saw an older woman who vaguely resembled Harry.  She was smiling and waving for Harry to join her.  Harry started to get off the bench.
 “That’s my mom.”  Harry explained.  He was going to run over to her immediately when he paused and looked at Thomas.  “You’re luckier that you think,” He said.  Thomas looked thoughtfully at Harry for a second.  He had already seen that the universe was not a fair place.  One day Harry would know the same thing but hopefully not too soon.
 “Before today I may have agreed with you,” Thomas said, now understanding more than before what he was missing. “Don’t take what you have for granted,” Thomas said looking over at Harry’s mother.  Harry followed his gaze and smiled at his mother.  When he looked back to where Thomas had been standing, he was no longer there.

 “What the hell took you so long?”  Douglas asked angrily.  He grabbed Thomas by the collar of his shirt in a grip that was so tight it choked and prevented Thomas from responding.
 “Hey!” one human man who had been passing by, saw what was going on and was coming to Thomas’ aid.
 “Vaiyer we need a transport now!”  Takara said into her communications device.  A second later the three disappeared just before Thomas’ would be saviour reached them.

 “Let him go!  We have other things to worry about,” said Vaiyer.  Douglas glared at the child in his grip for a second more before roughly shoving him towards the helm.  Thomas gasped a few times before he took his place at the helm.  Vaiyer was right, they had bigger problems to attend to.  There was a large vessel on an intercept course. 
 “Beam the cargo up!”  Douglas ordered. 
 “I can’t!  They must have raised the shields around the building!”  Murphy said. “I can’t get a lock!”
 “At a lower altitude you could beam it up,”  Thomas suggested.
 “Did anybody ask you?”  Douglas yelled at him.  Thomas started bringing the ship into the atmosphere of the planet.
 “The signal is getting stronger,”  Murphy said.  The ship continued to descend.  “I’ve got a lock!  Transport in progress!”  Douglas was fuming in his seat at tactical. “Got it! Let’s get out of here!”  Thomas started a rapid ascent as soon the ship jumped to warp and exited Federation Space. 
 Douglas slowly rose from his seat and walked to the helm.  In the reflection of the control panel Thomas saw him coming.  He put the ship on autopilot a moment before he was roughly hauled out of his seat.  Douglas used both hands and grabbed Thomas by the collar and lifted him up.  His feet dangled a few feet above the floor and hid head was above Douglas’.  Douglas slammed him against the nearest bulkhead and held him there. Thomas’ head connected solidly with the hard metal surface and he winced.
 “What were you doing?”  Douglas yelled at the boy.  His fists were pressing into his neck and Thomas once again was unable to respond.  “I give the orders around here!”  He slammed Thomas into the wall again.  “Do you get me?”  Douglas yelled at him harshly.  Thomas nodded weakly.  Douglas pressed him against the wall before letting go and letting him fall to the ground.  He looked at the boy at his feet for a moment before leaving the bridge.  Vaiyer left with him.
 Thomas sat there gasping for air for a minute before he got up and went back to the helm.  He sat there not touching the controls. He felt the back of his head and could feel a bump forming, a physical reason for the headache he was getting.  He took off the headband that he wore and let out a deep breath.  He thought about the boy that he had met on the planet. //Yeah, I’ve got a lot be thankful for// he thought sarcastically.

 In the corridor of the ship Vaiyer and Douglas walked towards the cargo hold to check their new acquisitions.  They walked in silence until Vaiyer spoke.
 “He was right,” he said looking forward, not at Douglas.
 “And I hate him for it,” Douglas said. 
 “I think that you’re afraid that one day he’ll be better than you.”
 “I am not afraid of a child.  I can kill him easily.”
 “Today maybe, but one day he will surpass you,” Vaiyer stated.  They were silent the rest of the way to the Cargo Bay.  Thomas was a smart and resourceful child.  He picked things up quickly and if his progress continued he would surpass the skills of those who trained him in a matter of years.  Vaiyer knew it and, though he would never admit to it, Douglas knew it too.  He vowed on that day to make Thomas’ life on this ship, under his command, more difficult than ever before.

 Two years later Thomas was in the holodeck with Mec doing some physical training.  They had another difficult assignment coming up and Thomas would be going solo on this one.  Currently Thomas was standing on a long slender beam.  Mec was standing next to him, spotting while Thomas attempted some moves.  Around the holographic room were several other apparatuses.  The large room looked more like a gym where gymnasts practice but with slight differences.
 “Again.”  Mec ordered.  Thomas lined up his feet on the narrow bar and performed two consecutive back walk-overs.  “Good.”  Mec commended him.  This was just the warm up.  Mec explained to Thomas what he was supposed to next.
 Mec has been working with Thomas for years, improving his physical strength and endurance and flexibility.  Children are all flexible to a certain extent but as they grow much of their flexibility is lost.  Many of the exercises Mec created were specifically designed to help Thomas retain some flexibility as he grew. 
 Thomas was now on the open floor doing some tumbling.  This was no normal floor though.  Upon activation three-foot rods would emerge from different areas on the floor and using their sensors they would aim and fire a short energy burst.  When one of those energy bursts hit a person the muscle in that area would contract painfully like a muscle spasm for a few seconds before relaxing.  They could change the intensity of the burst so that it would cause the muscle to contract for a longer or shorter period of time.  Not only did this train him to avoid weapons fire but also how to continue while injured and in pain.
 “Thomas,” Mec called him and Tom ended the last little routine with an aerial before he ran over to where Mec was.  Mec placed the special covering over the left side to the young boys chest.  The energy burst could not penetrate that material so it would protect Thomas’ heart.  Thomas prepared himself and a moment later Mec activated the floors system and watched as Thomas easily avoided every shot and deactivated each rod.  To deactivate a rod it had to be struck somewhere on it and it would lower back into the floor.  The exercise was soon over.  Mec commended him on a good performance and concluded that he was ready for the mission.

 Thomas slouched against the wall of the small room.  He sighed for the umpteenth time in the few minutes that he had been trapped.  He looked over to the other person who was trapped with him.  The man wore a black and red uniform.  Thomas guessed that he was from the organization called ‘Starfleet’.  He didn’t know much about it only what he had read and what the others had told him, which wasn't much.  Douglas and the others were being more careful to keep him from learning about Starfleet.  It felt to him like they were hiding something from him but he didn’t know what, nor did he inquire.  He had done that once and only managed to incur the wrath of Douglas.
 “What’s your name?”  Thomas looked over to the man leaning on the adjacent wall.  It was the second time the man had asked.  Thomas hadn’t responded the first time and was not interested in responding now.  It was the older man’s fault that he was stuck here now anyway. He looked away and heard the adult sigh in frustration.  He wasn't the only one frustrated right now. 
 Thomas’ mission had been going perfectly before those stupid Starfleet officers had shown up.  Granted they were in Federation space so it was Thomas who was trespassing but they still ruined his mission.  It seems they weren’t the only ones interested in the decrepit old Starship had crashed on a rogue planetoid.  The small, damaged Starship had crashed here after being pulled in by the gravity of the planetoid.  The crew has abandoned the doomed ship and left the Cargo behind.  It was one small piece of that Cargo that Douglas had found a buyer for.  Starfleet was only here to investigate what had happened and to make sure that there was nothing harmful on the ship.  The mangled vessel still had an atmosphere even though the planetoid did not have enough mass to keep a heavy one of its own. 
 Thomas had managed to stay hidden from them even though their scanning devices had said there was another person on the ship.  Thomas had finally made it to the Cargo hold and found what he wanted.  All he had to do was get out of there and contact his ship to pick him up and the mission would have been complete but then it happened. The reactor to this ship finally went critical when some of the engineers where trying to stabilize it.  The rest of the Starfleet away team managd to get to the beam out point and had been beamed out but due to their close proximity to the reactor the officer and Thomas could not be, nor could they send any communications. 
 As the reactor went critical power conduits ruptured and plasma was released into the air causing explosions.  In the chaos Thomas had come across the other man.  He was going to continue his attempt to escape but the Starfleet officer had other ideas.  Although Thomas was probably trained as well or better than the other man he was still only twelve years old and the larger man easily over powered him.  The officer decided to take refuge in room a that did not have too many power conduits near it.  It was some sort of holding cell.  No furniture just four plain, dark walls.  When the explosions had died down somewhat they tried to get out but there was something blocking the exit and the door was jammed shut; thus their current predicament.
 “We may be here for a long time.”  The officer stated. “I just want to know your name,” there was silence in the room and the man didn’t think the boy would respond.
 “What’s your name?” Thomas asked, not looking at the man.
 “I asked you first.” 
 “If you want me to answer your question you’ll have to answer one of mine.” 
 “Thomas what?”  Chakotay asked.  There was no forthcoming response.  “What are you doing here?”  Chakotay asked another question.  The boy didn’t move or say anything.  He was wearing all black and had on a backpack, sunglasses and a black head band.  “A little dark for sunglasses don’t you think?”  The only lighting in the room was provided by the little fluorescent light that Thomas had turned on and the wristlight that Chakotay had.
 “They aren’t sunglasses.  They allow me to see things that I can’t see with the naked eye.  I just like them tinted.”  Thomas said.  The dark tint prevented Chakotay from seeing the boys eyes.  They sat there in silence for a while longer.  The temperature in the room was increasing slowly but steadily and they soon found themselves sweating and thirsty.  Thomas was prepared for just about anything so he had a few bottles of water with him.  Chakotay however was only expecting a simple away mission and thus had not come with all the gear.  Thomas took a drink from one bottle and tossed another one over to Chakotay.
 “Thanks,” Chakotay said and drank from the bottle of water.  Thomas finished drinking before Chakotay and put the bottle away.  He pulled out one of the weapons that he had on him.  Chakotay looked at it but he didn’t recognize it as any phaser or disrupter he had ever seen before.  It looked more like and old firearm that shot projectiles.  “What is that?”  Chakotay asked. 
 “A gun,” Thomas said as he pressed the small button the released the empty bullet cartridge.  The gun was modeled after late twentieth/early twenty-first century guns.  Chakotay remembered seeing guns in old vids from earth and had read about them when he studied earth’s history.
 “You used all the bullets?”
 “I had to get the case open and I was in a bit of a hurry.”  Thomas told him.  He jammed in the new cartridge and put the weapon away.
 “What are you doing here anyway?” 
 “My job,” said Thomas.  Chakotay left it at that.
 “What’s your rank?”  Thomas asked, taking the opportunity to learn more about Starfleet.
 “Ensign,” Chakotay told him.  Tom turned his head to really look at the other man trapped with him.  He was muscular looking and hard dark hair and skin darker than his own.
 “Where are you from?”  Thomas asked.
 “Dorvan V,” Chakotay said, “It’s a small colony at the outskirts of the Federation, not too far from Cardassia.”  Thomas looked away from Chakotay.  After a minute of silence Thomas took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes.
 “How old are you?”  Chakotay asked him, thinking that this boy was far too young to be out here under any circumstances.  Where was his family?
 “Twelve,” Thomas said looking over to him and young blue eyes met older brown ones.  “How ol-”  Thomas was stopped in mid-sentence when the doors blew open with a resounding bang in the small room.  Thomas immediately stood, put on his glasses and pulled out his weapon, aiming it at the smoke filled opening.  If it was more Starfleet officers he  wanted them to get their man and leave him alone.
 When the smoke had cleared Thomas saw Douglas and Mec standing there.  Thomas put his weapon away and went to join them leaving Chakotay alone in the room.  “Did you get it?”  was Mec’s question.  Not ‘Are you okay’ or any such inquiries as to his well being and Chakotay wondered who they were. 
 “I have it.”  Thomas said just before Douglas hit him hard on the back of head.
 “How did you screw up this time?”  Douglas said in anger.
 “Hey!”  Chakotay began to approach but stopped when the man who hit Thomas pulled out a weapon and aimed it at him. 
 “The reactor started to breach.  He saved me.” Thomas said quickly so that Douglas wouldn’t hurt the other man.  Chakotay didn’t say anything and neither did Douglas but he lowered the weapon.  They turned away and made their escape.  Chakotay left the room as well and went to an area that was not as close to the reactor and contacted his ship, which quickly beamed him aboard. 
 Despite looking, no ship appeared on sensors.  Chakotay had told the Senior staff of his ship about the boy he had met down there.  The staff had been ordered back to their duties and to continue the investigation of the crashed ship, but the Captain had kept Chakotay was back to talk to him.  Chakotay had given a brief description of the boy he had met and Captain Martin had taken interest in who the child was.
 “Did you get his name?”  Martin asked.
 “Yes, he said his name was Thomas.”  Chakotay told him wondering what was going through the Captain’s head.  The name Thomas conjured a vague memory of something from years ago but he couldn’t put his finger on it.
 “How old did he look?”
 “He said he was twelve years old.  I’m fairly certain that he’s human so he may be twelve in earth years,” Chakotay said.
 “Did he look it?”  Martin asked.  Chakotay nodded.  Martin was lost in thought for a moment before he remembered that the ensign was still there.  “You’re dismissed, Ensign.”  Chakotay nodded and left the briefing room.  Martin continued to sit there thinking.  That couldn’t be Thomas Paris could it?  The boy Ensign Chakotay described fit the description and the age was right but the chance that was Thomas Paris was slim to none.  He would send a report to Starfleet Headquarters on earth telling them what he thought and leave the rest up to them.  Maybe he could finish the job he had started seven years ago. 

End Part 1: Future Encounters