And This Is His Story 6
By Zappy Zaps
Part 6: Past Encounters
“Tom Paris,” the familiar female voice called. Tom looked up from the piece of machinery he had been working on to see a woman with her auburn hair in a bun standing proudly. Tom smirked and stood up.
“Cap’n Kathryn,” Tom greeted her with a smile. Janeway couldn’t keep a straight face any longer and a smile broke out.
“That’s Captain Janeway to you, mister,” she warned him playfully. She hadn’t seen Tom in years but he hadn’t changed much. Still taller than her, still had the ability to irritate her and everybody else to no end, still wore a black headband and still had his boyish good looks.
“Yes ma’am. So what brings you down under? I don’t get many visits from captains these days,” Tom said as he closed the panel on the shuttle he had been working on. After his graduation from Starfleet he had served on a few Starfleet vessels until his talents as a pilot and somewhat as an engineer were put to better use. He now worked as a test pilot, helping build and test new ships and shuttles in Australia and on Mars.
“After the stunts you pulled I’m not surprised,” Janeway said with slight censure. Tom picked up on the reprimand but ignored it.
“I was right each time. It’s not my fault my commanding officers were idiots.” Tom knew he was insulting her comrades and colleagues but he had never cared much for the hierarchy of Starfleet.
“Be that as it may, you still disobeyed direct orders-”
“And placed myself and possibly others in danger,” Tom finished for her. “I’ve heard it.” Janeway just looked at him with an unwavering gaze that would have made any other officer uncomfortable but Tom just stared back.
“I hope that’s not the attitude you’ll be bringing on my new ship,” she said.
“Blew up another one did you?” It was a joke but there was no expression on his face.
“Voyager-” she started but once again Tom interrupted.
“NCC-74656, Intrepid class, sustainable cruise velocity of factor 9.975, with integrated bio-neural circuitry.” Tom gave her a cocky smirk just to irritate her and Janeway wondered if she was up to this challenge
“Reading about starships is still a hobby I see,” she said, unimpressed.
“Reading about anything is still a hobby,” he corrected. “I’ve seen the schematics of the ship already. So, you were getting to the point of this meeting,” he brought them back on topic.
“I’m here to offer you a posting on the ship as the chief helmsman.”
Tom raised an eyebrow. “You couldn’t find anybody else to fill the position?” Tom asked and Kathryn tried not to infer anything from his statement.
“No, I’m coming to you first. You’ve had experience flying through plasma storms and you are ranked as one of the best pilots in Starfleet,” she explained.
“Why would you need somebody who can fly through plasma storms?”
“Because the mission is to find a Maquis vessel that disappeared in the badlands. My head of security was on it. He was supposed to check in twice in the past three weeks but he hasn’t.
“Maybe it’s just your head of security that’s missing,” Tom suggested.
“Maybe, but I intend to find out whether that is true for certain –with or without your help.”
“With,” Tom said without missing a beat. Janeway nodded and told him the rest of the information would be sent to him before walking away. Tom picked up his tools and walked past the entrance to the shuttle. “You can stop eavesdropping now. She’s gone.”
Marcus poked his head out to just to make sure before he came into the open. “I can’t believe you did that! Only you would be stupid enough to talk to a Captain like that. Makes me wonder how you’re a full lieutenant while I’m a lieutenant j.g. I’m not the one who goes around disobeying orders.”
“You should try it,” Tom recommended,
with a half smile.
Three days later Tom stood outside his father’s office waiting for the secretary to give him permission to enter. He was slightly nervous about seeing his father right now. Tom and Owen had a difficult relationship. Owen knew of Tom’s potential and pushed Tom to climb the ranks but Tom was comfortable where he was. He could stay a lieutenant for he rest of his career and not care but his father wanted Tom to continue the ‘Paris tradition’.
They had had an argument two and a half weeks ago over his career decisions and had not spoken to each other since. Usually when they had an argument such as the last one they would not speak to each other for about a month giving both of them time to calm down and look at the situation from a different perspective. After the month went by they could usually work past whatever was coming between them.
On the outside Tom seemed fine with this set-up but his father was hurting inside more than he would ever admit. There was a rift growing between the two and Owen didn’t want to lose his son. It had already happened once, he wouldn’t be able to stand it if it happened again.
“You can go in,” the woman at the desk told Tom. He thanked her and proceeded into the office.
“Tom, what are you doing here?” Owen asked his son. Tom wondered what he was feeling. There was still a week and a half to go before the one-month mark rolled around.
“Just came to tell you I’ll be going on a mission under your protégé,” Tom said neutrally. “Captain Janeway came to me a few days ago and offered me a position on her new ship,”
“A permanent position?” Owen asked.
“Probably not. The mission will only take a few weeks,” Tom said.
“You could stay on after the mission is over.”
“Maybe,” Tom said noncommittally and heard his father sigh. “What do you want from me? One minute you’re telling me to do what I want to and the next your pushing me to be a captain!”
“I want you to harness your potential,” Owen explained as he reigned in his emotions. Only two people could really get under his skin, his wife and his son. “You could have a bright future in Starfleet,”
“I don’t want to be a captain,” Tom told him.
Owen sat back in his chair, already tired of arguing. “You used to,” he said quietly.
“When you where small you wanted nothing more than to command your own starship,” Owen said softly and looked the family picture on his desk. Tom was silent for a moment.
“That was a long time ago,” he said gently and sat down in a chair in front of the desk.
“I know,” Owen whispered. “I know.” Owen took a deep breath and Tom waited. “I just wanted…” he trailed off.
“…wanted a son you could be proud of for once,” Tom finished for him.
“I am proud of you, Tom,” Owen stated and it was the truth. Tom had achieved a lot in his life, survived and thrived when the odds were stacked against him and persevered during times when most people would have given up. “I just think you should consider taking a permanent position on a starship.”
“Maybe,” Tom said with a slight smile. Owens returned the smile and got up. He walked around the desk.
“Stubborn,” he ruffled Tom’s hair and that earned him a mock glare. He continued to the replicator to get some tea while Tom fixed his hair.
“I get it from my father,” Tom said
with a ghost of a smile.
On Deep Space Nine Tom sat in Quark’s having a drink. He had just arrived but was putting off going to Voyager for a few more minutes. He would be confined there for two to three weeks –he wanted to enjoy his last few minutes of freedom. Tom noticed the young man sitting at the bar talking to Quark and picked up some of the conversation. He shook his head as he heard what Quark was saying. Tom had heard this one before. Getting up and decided to pay a visit to the barkeep.
“Quark what are you going on about this time?” Tom said casually as he took a seat.
“Oh, it’s you again. What are you doing here? Another job for Starfleet Security?” Quark asked and Tom was about to respond but Quark ignored him and went back to the Ensign he was trying to swindle.
“Quark, give it up,” Tom said. He knew Quark from when he came to see Julian or when he had done some work for Starfleet Security. He had training and expertise that could not be taught in any academy course and thus had been recruited to help on some missions.
“Paris,” Quark warned and Tom sighed. He reached over and picked up one of the crystals.
“Dazzling aren’t they? As bright as a Colaiden diamond.” Tom admired the tiny stone. Quark snatched it away from him.
“Brighter!” He snapped.
“Hard to believe you can find them in any planet in the system-”
“Alright!” Quark exclaimed, closed the case and left the Ensign alone. Tom smiled in triumph. He got up and the young officer followed him.
“Didn’t they warn you about Ferengi at the Academy?” Tom joked.
“Harry Kim,” the young man introduced himself and Tom paused. Harry noticed the expression on the other man’s face. “Do I know you from somewhere?” Harry had a vague recollection of somebody along time ago with blond hair, blue eyes and a black headband.
“Thomas,” Tom introduced himself the same way he had several years ago. The name stirred another memory but Harry could not pinpoint it. “Tom Paris, actually.”
“Nice to meet you,” Harry said but
he couldn’t get rid of the feeling of déjà vu.
In the captain’s ready room Kathryn conversed with her first officer, Commander Cavit. Janeway only listened with half an ear as he reported the ship’s status to her. Cavit was a good officer but just good. Not exceptional, not outstanding, just plain good. He had a reputation of being a by-the-book kind of officer and Janeway wondered what he would do in a situation where ‘the book’ hadn’t outlined a procedure.
“He’ll be a problem,” she heard him say and decided to listen.
“Lt. Tom Paris,” he said in a tone that was almost disgust.
“You have something against him?” It was more of a statement than a question.
“He’s reckless, and irresponsible and he can’t be trusted!” Cavit pointed out what he thought was obvious. There were many officers who would agree with Cavit but others like Janeway saw something different.
She had met Tom a few times and read his file and the conclusion she had come to was different than most but more accurate. Tom would not take orders from someone he didn’t respect or feel was a strong leader. He was the type of person who would take command of a situation if he thought the person in charge was not fulfilling their duties. And most of all Tom Paris could not be held down. He was the epitome of a free spirit and because of it he was never truly comfortable under the strict regulations which living on a Starfleet vessel entailed.
“He’s not that bad. He may disregard
orders sometimes, but with due cause,” she defended. She knew being his
commanding officer would not be easy but she was up for the challenge.
If she could earn his respect she would have his trust and loyalty as well.
She looked at her executive officer –Tom Paris was a challenge he wasn’t
“Gentlemen, welcome aboard Voyager,” Janeway greeted Lt. Paris and her head of Operations, Ensign Kim.
“Thank you Sir,” was the ensign’s crisp response. Janeway glanced at Paris who was looking curiously at the young ensign. Kim was greener than Paris had thought.
“Mr. Kim, at ease before you sprain
something,” she said and the young officer was unsure how to respond. Thankfully
he didn’t have to as Captain Janeway instructed him to call her ‘Captain’
and not ‘Sir’. Janeway showed her new officers to the bridge. She introduced
them to the first officer who was noticeably less genial when he shook
Paris’ hand. Tom noticed Cavit’s attitude towards him and knew right then
he and the Commander would not get along. Taking their rightful positions
–Kim at Ops and Paris at the helm –Voyager pulled away from DS9 and jumped
to warp; destination: the Badlands. In less then two days Tom would be
reunited with old acquaintances and a huge blast from the past, a past
he had left behind when Takara died.
The next day, when Tom entered the mess hall to get his lunch, he spied Commander Cavit and the Dr. Fitzgerald talking to Harry -most likely warning the ensign about Tom and his ‘reckless’ behaviour. Tom was surprised when Harry remained his friend despite the warnings and had come to respect the young man more.
Routine reigned and the crew went about their business until arriving in the badlands when everything changed. After being scanned by an unknown object a displacement wave quickly approached and nothing Tom did at the helm and nothing the others tried had any effect on it.
The displacement wave soon over came
them and the ship was thrown into chaos. As the wave hit, several conduits
overloaded and consoles exploded including the helm. A few seconds before
the helm erupted in sparks Tom locked down the controls and tried to get
out of the way of the oncoming blast. He had piloted enough experimental
vessels to know when the helm was about to overload. Unfortunately the
explosion still got him fairly well and he was unconscious before he hit
Tom looked around the room the crew was trapped in –four solid walls which looked very much like the holodeck on Voyager. He tried to get up but the pain in his chest thwarted his first attempt. He had been transported from sickbay like much of the crew and his injuries had not been completely treated. His second attempt was met with more success and standing he had a better view of the area. He spotted Harry Kim a few meters away and went towards him noticing the Ensign had a tricorder.
“Any idea where we are?” Tom asked Harry who studied the tricorder readings.
“We’ve transported less than one hundred kilometres. We’re on the array,” Harry said forgetting Tom had not been on the bridge to see the massive structure and filled him in on everything he knew. They had been thrown two-thirds of the way across the galaxy to the Delta Quadrant. Hanging in front of the Voyager had been a massive structure rotating and sending energy bursts to some far off destination. The ‘array’ had what looked like weapons burns all over the surface and some of the large plates protruding from the structure had been partially or completely destroyed. The array had come under attack several times but they didn’t know by whom.
“Lieutenant, Ensign,” Tom and Harry turned and saw Captain Janeway coming over to what was left of her senior staff. “I don’t suppose you’ve found a way out of here?” she said as she looked around surveying the rest of her crew. She noticed some of her crew caring for those who were injured and as her gaze swept around she noticed the injuries of her chief helmsman.
“It looks worse than it is,” Tom said before Janeway had a chance to speak.
“Captain, I’m detecting some strange readings,” Tom and Kathryn turned their attention to Harry. “There’s some unstable matter near here, which would suggest a holographic projector but I can’t locate the source.”
“Is it coming from the walls?” Tom asked. Though they looked solid it could easily be a projection.
“Not all of the walls, possibly a part –but it may be covering an exit,” Harry suggested.
“Split up into teams and look around,” Janeway ordered. She knew Kim was straight from the academy and his optimism was welcomed in the situation.
Some of the able bodied members of the crew teamed up and began searching every meter of the wall looking for a holographic projector, an exit or anything that could help them. Tom and Harry searched together and found the holographic wall. After calling the Captain they tried many times to disrupt the projection but nothing worked.
Suddenly an old, human-looking woman appeared before them armed with a pitchfork. She was a holographic projection but looked unstable. Every so often her matrix would destabilize. She warned them to stay away from there but when Janeway demanded answers to her questions the woman became angry and disappeared.
The wall in front of them vanished revealing a long room with several bodies laying on their backs with synthetic covers over them. “Human, Bajoran, Vulcan, Klingon, Bolian…” Ensign Kim read off the list of species. These people were obviously from the Alpha Quadrant but before they could draw any more conclusions a bright light engulfed them.
They woke up on Voyager in the same places they had been before transport to the array. Tom in sickbay, Kathryn in engineering, but someone was missing. Tom left for the bridge as soon as he determined that someone was Harry and told Janeway. Once on the bridge they discovered the Maquis ship had powered their engines and was ready to make a getaway but Janeway hailed the Maquis Captain. He to stayed around willing to offer their help to find the missing Starfleet officer as well and their own missing engineer.
When Tom arrived on the bridge the transporter beam was just depositing three Maquis officers in the mid level of the bridge. They had their weapons raised but after assurances from the captain they lowered them. Tom went to stand next to Janeway and got a good look at the Maquis Captain. //Chakotay?// Tom thought as he remembered the Starfleet ensign who had interfered with his mission and probably saved his life all those years ago. Shock did not appear on Tom’s face unlike it did on Chakotay’s when they found out Tuvok had been a Starfleet spy.
After initial tensions had eased Janeway formulated a plan and with the co-operation of the Maquis it would work. They went to the nearest weapons locker to arm themselves before they went back to the array. It was most likely the Maquis Engineer and Ensign Kim would be there. While they were arming themselves Chakotay glanced at Paris a few time feeling a sense of déjà vu.
“Have we met?” Chakotay asked as they left the weapons locker for the transporter room.
“We have,” Tom said but was too busy checking over his rifle to say anymore. They walked to the transporter room and stood on the pads waiting for transport. Tom felt Chakotay looking at him and looked over. Their eyes locked and suddenly Chakotay remembered where he had seen this man before but he had been a mere boy at the time of their first encounter.
“Thomas?” Chakotay said half a second before they were transported to the array.
The group was tranpsorted back to Voyager from the array when Chakotay, Paris and Janeway encountered an old man in a barely working holographic environment, playing the banjo. He had not given them much information but had rambled on about having enough time and needing to repay a debt.
Through the rest of the day and night the crew worked to get the ship’s systems up and running. They were heading for the planet where the energy bursts were aimed. The missing crewmembers may have been transported there. It was a long shot but they had no other options to explore.
On the way there they encountered a small freighter with an eccentric man named Neelix living aboard. He offered to help them in exchange for a much-needed substance, water. He was able to give them some information about the area and about the planet they were heading to.
On the planet they met with a group of people called the Kazon. After the initial hostilities had abated somewhat they where able to trade water for an Ocampan female named Kes. Kes however was not the only person they acquired during the trip.
When Neelix shot a hole in each of the large water containers the group of Kazon scrambled to get to the precious liquid spilling out. In the chaos Neelix managed to get to Kes but she was unwilling to leave without another person who was also being held captive with her. Tom and Chakotay quickly rounded the corner where Kes had come from and a few meters away was another old friend of Tom’s.
“Murphy!” Tom dropped to his knees to look at the dark man’s injuries. Blood trickled from his eyes and his breathing was laboured but he was still alive.
“You know him?” Chakotay asked. Tom only nodded and draped one of Murphy’s arms over his shoulder. Chakotay did the same and they joined the rest of the group carrying the other man between them.
“Seven to beam up!” Janeway said
as she tapped her commbadge and the group vanished.
Back on Voyager the two injured people where taken to Sickbay to have their injuries treated. Most of Kes’ injuries where superficial but Murphy was not so lucky. His optic nerves had been severely damaged and despite the EMH’s skill he could not save all of Murphy’s sight, losing over eighty percent.
Tuvok reprimanded Neelix for putting the team at risk but Kes offered her assistance to get their people. She led them to the Ocampan settlement. The captain was getting ready to leave with the others when she noticed Tom was standing at the side of the other man the holographic Doctor was working on.
“Tom,” Janeway approached and looked at the unconscious man on the biobed. “Do you know him?”
“From a long time ago,” Tom said
before he headed towards the doors.
“So what’s her name?” Tom asked Chakotay.
“Your engineer. If I’m going to look for her I should at least know what to call her,” Tom said as the group led by Kes travelled to the subterranean city.
“B’Elanna,” Chakotay told him.
“B’Elanna Torres?” Tom paused for a moment.
“Yes. You know her?”
“I used to.”
The Starfleet officers, the Maquis and the Delta Quadrant aliens, Kes and Neelix made it back to Voyager though not without some difficulties. Chakotay had broken his leg but Tom had managed to save him from falling to his death as the stairs collapsed behind them.
Voyager headed back to the array along with the Maquis vessel hoping to find a way to get home. They had a short trip back to the array and Tom went to Sickbay to check on Murphy. When he arrived Murphy was awake and asking the Doctor questions about what was going on, none of which the Doctor could answer.
“Can I speak to your patient, Doctor?” Tom asked.
“Of course,” The doctor stated and waited for the two men to begin talking.
Tom sighed. “Computer, deactivate EMH program,” and the Doctor fizzled out of existence.
“A hologram?” Murphy said, slightly surprised.
“How did you get here?” Tom asked quickly.
“Apparently you brought me here, at least that’s what Doctor….” He tried to recall what the doctor’s name was.
“Just ‘Doctor’. He doesn’t have a name yet,” Tom told him. “How did you end up in the Delta Quadrant?” Tom clarified his earlier question.
Murphy looked at the man he thought was Thomas but he couldn’t be sure since his eyesight was so bad. He had recognized the voice of Thomas but he regretted not being able to see clearly the man he had grown to be. “We were doing a job and ended up in the badlands hoping to take a shortcut to our rendezvous point. Unfortunately we never made it there. A displacement wave hit us and tossed us out here. I’m not sure exactly what happened after that. I was injured on the way over and was left in the care of the Kazon while Douglas worked with the rest of the sect. Before you ask, I don’t know what they’ve been doing.” He waited for Tom to say something but there was only silence. “Is there anything else?”
“Why didn’t you leave?” Tom asked the question which had been plaguing him since they had first found Murphy.
“Where was I supposed to go?” Murphy asked. He hadn’t changed that much, Tom noted. Murphy had always been a fairly bitter person. “I didn’t have a family to go back to.”
“I didn’t know I had one either,” Tom said with a touch of anger. Murphy had helped with Tom’s care during the early years on the ship and Tom had trusted him. It had not been easy for him to discover the people he had trusted lied to him since the beginning and Tom didn’t know if he could ever forgive them for taking him from his family and lying to him.
Murphy had the decency to look away in shame. “I’m so sorry.” He said quietly.
‘Lt. Paris, report to the bridge,’ Captain Janeway ordered over the comm line.
“Lieutenant,” Murphy repeated. “You’ve done well for yourself.”
“You’ve been keeping an eye on me,” Tom stated more than asked.
“Had to make sure you weren’t going to turn on us,” Murphy justified.
“I gave you my word.” Tom said and started to leave. “And I never went back on it.”
“You always wanted to play the hero,” Murphy reminisced. “You’ll have to make a choice sooner or later,” Murphy stated and Tom stopped in his tracks. “Them or us.”
“Them,” Tom said, referring to the
crew of Voyager. He walked to the door “Activate EMH program,” and the
Doctor reappeared. “Take good care of him, Doc.” Tom said and walked out
of Sickbay. “He was a friend once.” He headed for the bridge.
When they arrived at the array it was under attack by Kazon ships and one other, unknown, vessel. Tom was the only one who recognized it.
With weapons powered Voyager and the Liberty approached the array. The Kazon warned Voyager not to board the array but Janeway was not easily swayed by threats. She and Tuvok were ready to go when Tom joined them. “Lt. Paris, I need you on the bridge,” Janeway ordered.
“You’ll need me when you get on the array,”
“What do you mean?” she wasn’t interested in playing any guessing games at the moment.
“The unidentified ship. I know who it belongs to,” Tom said.
“Are you sure?”
“Very. I lived there for ten years,”
The array vibrated as the Kazon ships and the one under Douglas’ command fired trying to weaken it. Tuvok went for the central processor while Tom accompanied Janeway as she looked for the entity called the caretaker. Janeway talked with the old man for a while and he explained what had happened and why he had taken care of the Ocampa for so long.
Without warning the array shook violently as a damaged Kazon ship collided with it. The last bit of the holographic projection vanished and the true interior of the structure was seen as was the true form of the Caretaker.
The Caretaker babbled as it shrank that the Kazon could not gain control of the station. Finally the entity shrunk until only what looked like a rock was left. Janeway and Tuvok talked for a short time over the implications of their next action but Tom had noticed something on his tricorder scan followed it.
He followed the signal, which as he approached, could be identified as a lifesign, a part human lifesign. Following it brought Tom to the central processor where Tuvok had been only a few minutes prior. There was a man working at a console and Tom knew who it was. “Douglas.”
The man turned around and Tom saw the face of Takara’s killer again. “Thomas?” The man said after a short pause. He looked at the uniform Tom wore. “It doesn’t suit you,” Douglas turned his back to Tom and went back to what he was doing.
“Step away from the console,” Tom ordered as he aimed the rifle at Douglas’ back. He wanted to pull the trigger but he couldn’t. Douglas however didn’t know that and stepped away from the console but not before he picked up his memory units. Tom kept his phaser on Douglas and approached the console. There was a schematic of a device which created a displacement wave on the screen. “What are you planning?” Tom asked Douglas.
“Oh come now, Thomas. You can figure it out. Do you really think your Captain will use the program to get home and leave this here to the Kazon,”
“She’ll destroy it,” Tom was sure.
“Exactly and when she does I don’t intend on being stranded out here,” Douglas said and pulled out a phaser of his own.
“You’re working with the Kazon aren’t you?”
“Always were a sharp one,” Douglas deadpanned.
“I won’t let you take that information,” Tom stated.
“You can’t stop me.” Douglas pressed the button on his weapon and Tom moved away just in time to avoid the blast. He squeezed he trigger on the rifle and his shot hit the mark. Douglas fell backwards but was not unconscious. Tom walked up to him and still had his weapon trained on the fallen man. Tom looked at Douglas carefully. He seemed to have only aged about five years and Tom hypothesised the slow aging was due to the mixed genome.
“Lower the weapon, Thomas,” a familiar voice said from behind and Tom turned to see Vaiyer with a weapon aimed at him. Tom stepped away from Douglas and lowered his weapon. Vaiyer disarmed Tom before helping Douglas stand up.
“You lose, Thomas,” Douglas said as he raised his weapon and aimed it square at Tom. “I should have done this twenty years ago,” but before he could press the button another phaser discharged and hit Douglas in his arm making him drop the weapon. Vaiyer aimed his weapon at Murphy who leaned heavily on the wall near the entrance to the room and fired. Tom went after Vaiyer but was not fast enough to prevent the single shot which hit Murphy.
With ease, he subdued Vaiyer just as an arm wrapped around his neck from behind. Tom elbowed his attacker, Douglas, in the ribs and threw him but not before picking his pocket. Douglas was up in and instant and took out some small devices, which he threw in Tom’s direction.
Tom knew what they were and ran from them just as they exploded causing an inferno in the small room. Through the wall of flames Tom saw Douglas helping Vaiyer up and making calling for transport. Tom approached Murphy who was struggling to stand.
“I don’t need your help,” Murphy ground out as he saw Tom approaching. Tom stopped and instead went to the console to check the status of the array. The self-destruct sequence was still offline but could be manually carried out.
“Lieutenant!” Tom saw Janeway and Tuvok coming towards him.
“Captain we need to destroy the array.”
“Agreed but most of Voyager’s weapons are offline and phasers won’t be enough,” she said and they all understood the implications of the statement. Somebody would have to stay behind to destroy the array.
“I’ll do it,” Tom volunteered.
“No.” Janeway and Murphy said simultaneously.
“I’ll do it,” Murphy continued. He saw Tom was going to protest but cut him off. “I’m nearly blind, Thomas. Not even your doctor could repair the damage to my eyes. I’ve been like this since we arrived in this awful quadrant and I’m tired of it.” Tom was silent knowing when Murphy made up his mind about something he could not be persuaded otherwise.
Tuvok informed them they should leave and Janeway nodded. She placed a hand on Murphy’s shoulder and quietly thanked him before moving away. Tom hadn’t moved an inch. “Get going, Thomas. I’ll blow this place whether you’re on it or not.” Tom looked into the dark eyes and saw the determination so he walked away.
“Janeway to Voyager, three to beam
up,” she said as Tom joined her and Tuvok, still looking at Murphy. They
vanished and a few seconds after they got back to the ship and started
moving away the array exploded in a blinding display. Murphy was dead and
the crew of Voyager and the Liberty where stranded 75, 000 light-years
A few days later things where settling down. The Maquis were integrating into the crew, repairs were underway and Neelix and Kes were helping out wherever they could. Tom was in the Captain’s Ready room standing at attention. It was rather late but they had all been busy with their responsibilities.
“At ease, Lieutenant.” Tom relaxed out of his stance but Janeway could still see the tension in his shoulders and dullness in his usually sparkling blue eyes. “Tom, are you alright,”
“Yes Captain,” Tom said formally and without making eye contact.
Kathryn walked around her desk to stand in front of him but he still avoided her gaze. “They were the ones who abducted you weren’t they?” Janeway said and Tom nodded after a moment.
“But they were more than that.” He finally looked at her. “For a long time they were the only ‘family’ I had.”
“The man on the array-”
“Murphy,” Tom supplied.
“He was a friend?”
“Yes, sort of. I never actually figured him out.” He looked down at his feet. “I wish he had taken my advice.”
“What did you tell him?” Janeway asked.
“In the message I gave him when I left, I told him he didn’t belong there,” Tom said quietly. The sadness in his voice was unmistakable as Tom remembered the other person who didn’t belong there but when she had tried to leave she was murdered. “It was the same thing he told me the day I left.”
“I’m sorry, Tom.” Janeway put a hand on his shoulder and after a moment Tom composed himself and shrugged.
“The others are still out there and they’re with the Kazon. That’s a recipe for trouble but I have something they need.” Tom changed the subject. He pulled out a memory unit. “This is half of the schematic to the displacement device the Caretaker used to bring us out here,” Janeway looked at the unit in hope. “It’s only half though. Douglas has the other half.”
“Douglas?” Janeway looked up at him.
“My….first captain,” Tom said. “This information is on how to get the device itself but it’s useless without the schematic for the platform which stabilizes it.”
“How did you get this?”
“Douglas had it but I picked his pocket,” Tom said smugly and Janeway looked at him curiously for a moment.
“I suppose we’ll have to work with them to get home then unless we can find the Caretaker’s companion,” Janeway spoke as he put the memory unit on her desk. She looked back to Tom and could tell he didn’t want to have to work with Douglas but they didn’t have a choice.
She couldn’t imagine what type of
memories all this was bringing back to him. Nobody really knew much of
what Tom had experienced when he lived as a rogue; he never spoke of it
and people didn’t ask, afraid they would pry into matters that were none
of their business. Whatever those memories and experiences were they still
affected him since there had been no conclusion –no ending to that chapter
in his life. Those loose ends had been hanging over him like a cloud of
doom just waiting for the right or wrong time to strike.
In his quarters Tom stripped out of his uniform and went to take a shower. It had been a long day but there was still a glimmer of hope on the horizon. They could make the device to get them home but Tom was not looking forward to working with Douglas, Vaiyer and Mec. There was too much history and friction there. He had wanted to leave it behind but he could never really escape –never really forget.
He looked in the mirror and removed the headband exposing the scar he still bore from long ago. He traced the crooked lines. He knew it could be removed and his family and friends had suggested he get it removed but he could not bring himself to get it done. The scar was a reminder. He didn’t want to forget what had happened to him, he didn’t want to forget Takara or the good times he had with her and he didn’t want to forget the lessons he had learnt then.
He didn’t think he’d ever truly be free from those ten years when his childhood had been cut far too short and where he learnt and saw things he didn’t think anybody was really ever ready to see. He would never forget and the scar made sure, but with it there he could never move on.
End Part 6: Past Enoucnters
Part 7: Shades of Grey coming soon…
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