|And This Is His Story 8
By Zappy Zaps
Part 8: Event Horizon
Voyager’s corridors were a blur of activity. Replacing relays, repairing the most minor damage, all to put Voyager in its best shape. They would need everything functioning at peak efficiency if they wanted to survive another ride on a displacement wave. The chance to get home created a happy undertone among the crew leaving almost no face without a smile; only the resident Vulcans and the senior officers were the exceptions.
The Captain had contacted Douglas and Jabin telling them she would meet their demands in exchange for use of the displacement device. They would require more time however to get everything together and Douglas changed the setting on the timer to give them more time, or so he thought.
The timer function on the explosive had a lockout in place. Only Tom could change the countdown but nobody could stop it. Douglas had no way of knowing this and assumed he was the one in control.
During the transmission to the Kazon, Tom had been inconspicuously beamed to the Kazon ship. He had to get the remote from Douglas. It could still instantaneously detonate the explosive.
On the bridge of Voyager each person was attentive to his or her duties. Chakotay and Kathryn monitored the status of final repairs and Tuvok monitored the Kazon ship looking for any sign of weapons being charged. Harry was at his console trying to concentrate on the display in front of him but found it difficult while worrying about Tom. He looked over to the Engineering station where B’Elanna was working, or trying to, knowing she would be feeling several times worse. Tom was on a hostile vessel, alone with no back up.
She tried to concentrate on the display before her. She was running diagnostics making sure Voyager was ready for the coming trip and coordinating what was going on in main engineering. Closing her eyes she tried to calm herself before she punched a hole through the console. When she opened her eyes again there was a blinking light informing her she had a message. It read: Hang tough, Maquis. He’ll be fine. Starfleet. The corners of her mouth upturned in a slight smile and she took one last calming breath before returning to her work.
Using every trick he knew and everything at his disposal Tom surreptitiously traversed the corridors of the Kazon ship. He’d been in there for several minutes and hadn’t run into any problems. Coming to a computer junction, he implemented the first part of his plan. When he left there was a small device attached to the wall. It had an uplink with the Kazon computer system and upon receiving a signal from him it would initiate one command which would destroy the transporters and replicators aboard the ship.
Tom set up as many of those devices as he could while making his way to Douglas. He had a tricorder with him and used it every few minutes to verify Douglas’ location: the bridge. His journey came to an end and a glance at told him he had only a few minutes before his time limit expired.
He was just outside the doors to the bridge but walked past them to his other access point: the Kazon version of a Jefferies tube. Crawling in and replacing the cover he moved until he was at the grating and could see into the bridge. Kazon officers milled about, some performing tasks were idle. There was an air of victory among the Kazon but Tom could see his three old crewmates were not as quick to start celebrating.
Not wasting any more time Tom slowly and carefully opened the grating just enough to drop a few silver spheres. They rolled across the bridge and caught the attention of Mec and a few Kazon officers. While the Kazon were ignorant as to what they were Mec recognized them and yelled for everybody to shield their eyes.
In a blinding burst of light the devices exploded leaving only small burn marks on the floor. Less than a second later several Kazon officers fell to the ground unconscious. Mec, Vaiyer and Douglas where still functional and looked around wondering who was attacking them. Ignoring the light haze left by explosions and the fallen Kazon Vaiyer went to a console and scanned the bridge of the ship knowing what he would find.
“Human lifesign on the bridge,” he told them but was unable to give any more information since Kazon sensors were not highly accurate. Douglas surveyed the room with eyes that missed little and noticed the slight opening of the grating to the maintenance shaft. Without a word he took out a disrupter and fired several shots at the grating.
As the smoke cleared, Vaiyer approached and opened it up. After searching inside he looked at Douglas. “Nothing.”
Suddenly a precision phaser shot cut across the bridge and hit Douglas’ hand, or more specifically, the device he held. The remote sparked and died.
Looking around they still didm’t see anybody but they knew who it was. “You can stop hiding now, Thomas,” Mec stated, hoping to draw Tom into the open. He received no response but it mattered little. There was a finite number of places he could hide. They would find him sooner or later.
“I can’t deactivate the bomb now, Thomas. Good Job. You’ve sentenced your crew to spend the rest of their lives in the Delta Quadrant.” Douglas mocked.
“Don’t count on it,” Douglas and
Mec had to turn around completely to see Tom. He had managed to get around
them without being seen.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Tom said as he showed them what was in his other hand. “I’m sure Jabin would be highly disappointed if he lost all the technology you’ve given him. All I have to do is press this little button and it’s all gone.”
Jabin and the one other Kazon still standing had been very disoriented for the past minute and understood little of who Tom was and what he was doing. The threat of loosing his hard-earned technology was enough to get the rest of his attention. Jabin leapt into action.
“Lower your weapon!” Jabin yelled at Douglas and hurried towards him. Douglas pulled the trigger but as Jabin collided with him the shot went astray and skinned Tom’s right shoulder. Chaos ensued.
Vaiyer retrieved a weapon from the nearby station and aimed it at Tom but Tom saw it coming and fired at Vaiyer. The Kazon officer went to attack Tom but was thwarted by the swift kick to his midsection Tom gave him. Pressing the small button on the device in his hand the command was released into the Kazon system.
The three replicators in the ship started to work spontaneously. The Kazon nearby looked curiously at what was forming for a few seconds but when they heard the soft hum of the replicator turn into a shrill whistle they knew something was wrong and took cover. In a dazzling display of sparks and smoke the replicators overloaded and exploded leaving no salvageable parts behind.
In the transporter room the same thing happened. For reasons unknown to the officers manning the station the transporter suddenly came to life. The shrill sound was heard by them as well only a second before the transporter and it’s components burnt to a fine crisp leaving nothing of use behind.
“Get off me!” Douglas yelled at Jabin who was trying to take the weapon from him not knowing Tom had already pressed the button. Mec too, had sprung into action and was now trying to prevent the cascade failure of the ship’s systems, which had started when the replicator and transporter overload began.
Tom tapped his commbadge hoping Voyager would get the signal to beam him out.
“Transport in progress,” Harry said.
“Kazon ship has raised shields.”
“I’m loosing containment!”
“Abort the transport,” Janeway ordered.
“Aborted. He’s still on the Kazon ship,” Harry told them. “We’re being hailed.”
“Onscreen,” Janeway said and before
she had even finished Douglas’ face appeared on the screen. Behind him
was Mec putting all his effort into restraining Tom and several Kazon bodies
littered the ground.
Janeway was going to say something but Douglas continued. “Thanks to your lieutenant here, the displacement device will be destroyed in about ten minutes.” Douglas said knowing the time limit he gave them would soon be up.
Tom had planned to be on Voyager by this time manoeuvring Voyager into the right position for the displacement wave to hit the ship. Douglas and the Kazon would think it would be their futile attempt to use the device before it was destroyed not knowing Tom had put a longer countdown on the explosive and given Voyager ample time to use the device to get home.
“Time for plan B, Captain,” Tom said and Janeway hesitated before nodding. She closed the link.
“Tuvok, launch the device from the shuttle bay. Ensign Baytart position Voyager. Red alert!”
Baytart paused for a moment not wanting to leave a fellow crewmember with the Kazon but after receiving a glance from the first officer he proceeded.
“Captain-” B’Elanna was about to protest not wanting to leave Tom behind.
“Tuvok, charge phasers and arm the forward torpedo banks; we need to bring the kazon shields down in a hurry,” she said ignoring her chief engineer for the moment. “Ensign Kim, prepare to beam Lt. Paris back.”
“Aye Captain,” Harry said, feeling a huge amount of relief. They had all known what the contingency plan was and in it Tom didn’t make it back. They were to use the device and leave without him. At the meeting they had agreed with the plan knowing they didn’t have much of a choice and Tom obviously wouldn’t have accepted any other answer but Kathryn had amended ‘Plan B’, so that she wouldn’t leave any of her crew behind.
“Fire torpedoes, sierra spread.”
The screen went black and after a moment Douglas turned to face Tom. He walked up to the younger man and stood staring into his eyes. Tom was taller than Douglas now, requiring that Douglas tilt his head up slightly to see Tom’s eyes.
“You have been nothing but a thorn in my side since the day we got you.”
“You mean the day you abducted me,” Tom corrected.
“Well your family didn’t want you and now it looks like your crew is leaving without you too. Seems nobody wants you.”
“Go to hell,” Tom said, knowing Voyager was preparing to use the device.
Suddenly the ship shook violently. “They’re firing on us,” Mec stated. He forcefully spun Tom around and once facing him, punched him in the stomach causing Tom to double over in pain. Mec left him to go check the sensors. Voyager was firing on them and the shields were failing.
Douglas kicked Tom in the stomach and watched as Tom tried to control the pain and get up. Aiming his weapon at Tom’s head his finger moved to the trigger. The ship rocked again and several consoles sparked.
“Shields have failed,” Mec announced just as Douglas pulled the trigger.
“Transport complete,” Kim announced.
“Raise shields. Lt. Torres activate the displacement device,” the Captain ordered.
“Chakotay to Sickbay, how’s Paris?”
“Not here, he left the moment he arrived, though against my wishes.” The Doctor huffed. A moment later Tom walked onto the bridge and without a word he went to the helm. “Thank you, Doctor,” Chakotay ended.
“We’re in position,” Tom announced.
“All stations report ready,” Tuvok followed.
“Ensign Kim, hail them,” Janeway said and a moment later the screen displayed the bridge of the Kazon vessel. “Once we’ve used the device you should have enough time to take a shuttle and use the device again.”
“And what happens once we get back?” Douglas asked.
“I honestly can’t say-” Captain Janeway began but was interrupted when Douglas finally lost the grip on his emotions and the air of calm he put forth crumbled.
“I am not going to jail. I’ll die
before that happens and I’ll take you with me!” he yelled looking at Tom.
Tom only glared back at him.
“End transmission,” and the link was severed. If Douglas chose to go back to the Alpha Quadrant it was his choice. She wasn’t going to promise Douglas any favours to get him out of trouble when they got back.
“Do we have weapons?” Douglas asked.
“Barely,” replied Mec. Douglas moved
to a console and open fire on the displacement device. The weakened weapons
of the Kazon ship had little effect on the device and Mec and Douglas watched
on the view-screen as the chrome wave swept away Voyager and all hands.
“What of Vaiyer?” Mec asked to Douglas’ retreating form. Douglas paused and looked over his shoulder to where Vaiyer was slouched unconscious against the wall. He said nothing and walked away. Mec went over to Vaiyer and draped the unconscious form over his shoulder before leaving for the shuttle bay.
On Voyager crewmembers were thrown from their positions as the displacement wave hurtled them across the galaxy. In a few seconds it would end but not before causing more damage. Tom noticed the reading on his console and knew what was coming. Ducking for cover the console exploded but he avoided the brunt of the explosion.
A moment later the smoke on the bridge was clearing and various crewmembers were the raising themselves from the floor. Captain Janeway surveyed the bridge crew. Everybody was alright basically. The ride coming back was better than the one going since they had been prepared but they knew the damage would be massive.
“Harry, what’s our current location?” Kathryn asked.
After a few moments Harry was coherent enough to respond.
“We’re….we’re just over 450 light years from sector 001.” Harry said as a smile covered his features. It would take them less than six months to get to earth.
“I’m receiving reports of injuries, no fatalities,” Tuvok reported.
Kathryn smiled. “Start on repairs,” she said.
In front of the helm controls Tom was trying to get up with B’Elanna’s help but was having difficulties due to his injuries. “Vulcans can sure throw a punch,” Tom joked but there was too much cocern for his health to laugh at a bad joke.
“We’re going to sickbay,” B’Elanna stated, not leaving any room for argument.
The six months were spent on repairs,
contacting Starfleet and securing the status of the Maquis crewmembers
and for Tom looking over his shoulder. He knew Douglas would use the device
if only to get back at him and make good on his death threat. However long
range sensors didn’t detect any displacement waves or spatial distortions
in the area. Wherever Douglas, Mec and Vaiyer were they weren’t nearby.
“You could get this removed,” B’Elanna
said to him softly in one of the rare moments when she was totally at peace;
not worrying about an engineering problem or what was lurking beyond the
next star system.
“No you could. You don’t have to keep reminding yourself.”
“I don’t want to be like him.”
“Mr. Paris, what can I do for you? Injured yourself in the holodeck?” The Doctor asked cheerfully and Tom pondered for a moment how the Doctor could be so irritating even when he was cheerful.
“No, I injured myself while helping replace a relay.” Tom showed him the cut on his forearm. The gash ran a straight path up the side of his forearm. The Doctor retrieved the necessary instrument and easily healed the wound.
“Is there anything else?” the Doctor asked.
“Yeah,” Tom looked down for a moment before meeting the Doc’s eyes. “Could you remove this?” Tom took off his headband showing the Doctor the scar.
“Yes, of course. It’s a simple procedure,” the Doctor said more caringly. He knew the Tom had gotten it as a child and it held a meaning for him that nobody else could truly comprehend.
Tom sat there while the Doctor fixed
the scar and a few minutes later the jagged lines had vanished leaving
smooth skin in place.
They went directly back to earth not stopping at any star bases or stations. During the trip through Federation space a few ships escorted them on certain legs of the journey and when they arrived back on Earth several ships and crews greeted them along with the top Starfleet brass.
The reception hall was packed with family members. Harry was talking with Libby, who was still single, and his parents. Kathryn was talking quietly with Mark, Chakotay was talking with Ayala and his two sons and Tuvok was talking calmly with his family. B’Elanna and Tom were together while they conversed with her mother. Her father had not been able to make it but hoped to be in San Francisco this weekend to see her. The hostility between B’Elanna and her mother was still high but it had calmed somewhat with the extended time apart.
“Tommy?” Tom turned around when he heard his mother’s voice call his name.
“Mom!” Tom managed to get out before he had an armful of his mother. She hugged him for a full minute not wanting to let go.
“I was so worried about you,” she confessed with tears brimming.
“Mom, I’m okay,” Tom assured her. He saw his father coming towards them finally catching up with his wife. “Dad,” Tom smiled again. Tom was rather surprised when his father pulled him into a hug. They had never been highly affectionate.
“It’s good to have you back,” Owen said to his son.
“And who is this?” Emily said smiling at B’Elanna and Tom commenced with the introductions.
A few meters away Moira and Kathleen were approaching. They hung back a few moments and just watched the scene before them. Both of their parents were smiling and talking happily with Tom and his girlfriend. They had taken the loss of Voyager hard. They had already lost Tom once, twice had nearly been too much.
End Part 8: Event Horizon
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