Title:  Namelss Part II
Author: Zappy Zaps 
Category: P
Summary:  While engaging in the festivities of a planet, things take a dangerous turn when a terrorist group and a spy decide to take a hostage from the crew of Voyager.
Author’s Note:  This story, like the last one, raises more questions than it answers but don’t worry I’ll explain things in the later parts.
Rating: Uh…PG-13 (because of the violence, I guess)
July 01
Disclaimer:  Paramount, A Viacom Company, owns the Star Trek Universe.  I’m not getting any thing from this.  I’m just borrowing the characters for a little adventure.

 Computer begin recording:

It’s been getting easier.  Life in general that is.  Gerron, I think has finally given up on the sessions of twenty questions that we seem to have almost daily.  Tuvok has stopped looking at me like… like … I don’t know, a suspicious Vulcan.  Chakotay has eased off a bit too.  I don’t know what stopped that; maybe a good tongue-lashing  from Janeway.  Anyway life in general is okay.  Not as much to do as just Chief Helmsman and not First officer…it’s a welcome change but it makes me… restless.  It’s seems to be showing too; even Harry said that I can hardly sit still for more that thirty seconds, which I’m, not sure is completely accurate.  Though he may be right.  Both Chakotay and Tuvok have chewed me out (in public and privately), for my restlessness on the bridge.  Half the time I don’t even realize that I’m doing whatever I do that annoys them so much but since my back is to the rest of the bridge I can’t tell that I’m bothering people.  [sigh] Oh well I said it once and I’ll say it again, You can’t please everybody all the time.  

On a lighter note, shoreleave is coming soon.  We met up with this very friendly and very enthusiastic race of people.  Neelix will fit right in.  Were orbiting their homeworld and Janeway is arranging shoreleave as I speak.  I’ll be heading down to see the sights with Harry and B’elanna.  B’elanna’s attendance at Harry’s insistance.  Our ‘relationship’ has somewhat improved.  Since the Warp ten project and the Vidiian incident she no longer actively hates me but we rarely hang out together unless Harry is around, although I would like to get to know her better.  She’s very…complex.  I like her…as a friend that is. I doubt that there is much chance for anything other than a friendship with her.  She’s very picky and very defensive.  If she believes a single iota of my so called ‘reputation’  then she would really think that I’m a ‘pig’, as she so nicely put it.  Oh well. Anyway I should get to the bridge for the first of the shoreleave rotations.  End log.

At 1600 hours an impatient Tom Paris waited in transporter room two for Harry and B’elanna to show up. Now I know how Harry feels when I’m late.  Tom thought as he watched another couple of people transport to the surface.  Just then a breathless 
Harry Kim and a not quite as breathless B’elanna Torres entered the transporter room.
 “Sorry we’re late.” Harry said breathlessly, “We were caught up in engineering looking at this compound that the Nerisians-”
 Tom raised his hands halting the long tirade that Harry was about to get into, “Harry, Harry, you can tell me all about that interesting glop that you’ve acquired later.  Right now though, we’re on a vacation.  Just forget about the work.  Now come on”.  Torres who had remained silent throughout their little conversation, joined them on the transporter pad and within moments they were on the surface of the Nerisian homeworld.
 Nerisians where a tall species in general.  They looked a lot like humans but the men had an average height of six feet five inches and the women were an average of six feet tall.  
They walked around the capital city admiring the views and the vibrant culture.  The Nerisian culture was based mostly on the myth that the spirits of the dead would rise up and live for eternity in the gaseous nebulae that was visible from the planet on certain nights.  They had countless festival that where based on the myth and Voyager had arrived during one of the smaller ones.  The festivities where amazing.  Several activities took place including a race of hover bikes through a treacherous course through and around the city.  This event in particular captured Tom’s attention.  
 Tom traced the curves of one of the bikes with the tips of his fingers. “Wow” he breathed, admiring the contours of the machine.  Torres watched as Tom meticulously studied the bike.  It was Navy Blue with a black streak running up each side.  B’elanna was slightly interested in the mechanisms of the propulsion system that the bike use but other than that she wasn’t too interested.  Harry was getting into it asking lots of questions from one of the mechanics.  It must be a guy thing. B’elanna thought.  
 “What’s the top speed on this one?” Tom asked Dilla, the chief mechanic of the ‘garage’ that they were in.  
 Dilla stepped over to Tom and looked at the bike he had examined. “This one only reaches what you would call 196 km/h before the engine cuts out.” Dilla stated “I tried to increase that but I can seem to regulate the power flow through the propulsion unit” It was easy to hear the exasperation in his voice.  This one was Dilla’s latest prototype but it could not enter the race and be a contender unless it’s top speed was at least 208 km/h.
 Tom circled the bike one more time “Do you mind if I look at the propulsion unit?” 
 Here Torres interjected “What do you know about propulsion systems?” Torres asked incredulously.  Tom was a good pilot she would admit but not an engineer.  He could do basic things in engineering and a few other ‘tricks’ that he had claimed to pick here and there but to interpret a completely foreign system he would not be very adept in, she thought.
 “Oh, just a bit.  I…used to have something like this.” Tom explained easily.
 Dilla started to remove the outer casing that he called the armour. “Sure you can look at it if you want too.”  Dilla outlined the main parts of the system and Tom listened carefully and asked questions.  After getting an understanding of the subtleties Tom a Dilla tossed ideas and theories back and forth trying to make the bike work properly.  Ten minutes later B’elanna was thoroughly bored and Harry had run out of places and gizmos to explore in the garage.
 “That’s exactly what I thought!” exclaimed Dilla to Tom “ but when I tried it out the altinator over loaded and I began to loose power.” Dilla said dejectedly.  Both Tom and Dilla went quiet, pondering what the problem could be. After a few moments B’elanna interrupted their thinking.
 “Dilla thanks for showing us around. Where going to see the other sites.  Tom are you coming?” She said quickly showing her agitated state.  
 Tom looked at them then back at the bike. “If it’s alright with Dilla, I’d like to stay and take a closer look at this.”  Tom turned to Dilla who nodded silently.  
 “Alright Tom we’ll see you later.  Don’t spend too long in here.  There’s a lot to see.” Harry warned him.  He was beginning to worry.  Tom could get himself into trouble even in the most peaceful and seemingly harmless situations.
 “Yeah yeah.  Got it.”  Tom waved distractedly as he turned back to the bike.  Harry and B’elanna shook there heads and left the garage in search of other local treasures.

Two hours later Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay were walking with the High chancellor of the Nerisian sector and Homeworld.  Chancellor Masi was showing the city to the Captain and Commander.  He was outlining the importance of this particular festival and the race that they are going to have in two days when they came up to Dilla’s garage and Masi introduced Janeway and Chakotay to the chief mechanic.
 “Nice to meet you Dilla.” Janeway said pleasantly, shaking his hand.  As Dilla shook Chakotay’s hand a voice called out.
 “I got it!”  Tom slipped out from under the bike that he had raised on struts.  His clothing was covered in the engine coolant and his hair was a mess.  Tom walked over to Dilla and did not even notice Chakotay and Janeway staring at him. “Look at this.” Tom showed him one of the parts that he had removed from the engine.  “You no how you said the problem was with the altinator, well I checked it out and it seemed okay so I checked it’s sister component.  The voltage regulator is shot so the engine cuts out early.  I replaced the component but when I tried it again the second regulator burnt out the same as the first so I looked at the second burnt component and devised an attachment that will compensate for the higher current going through the system.” Tom takes a breath and continues, “I reworked the other components and changed the order of some of the conduits so that the voltage regulator can actually do it’s job and regulate the voltage that passes through some of the propulsion units.  That’s when I realized that the propulsion system could be reworked.  I removed a couple of superfluous components and with a little more tweaking the it should able to reach a top speed of at least 235 km/h or so.”  
 “One of your crewmembers I believe.” Masi stated to Janeway with a smile.
 “Somewhere under that grimy exterior lies our Chief Helmsmen, Tom Paris.”  Janeway said.  Tom looked at the other people that he had ignored and for the first time took notice of the Chancellor, Chakotay and Janeway.
 “Captain, Commander, Chancellor” Tom greeted them with a smile.  Not even Chakotay’s glare could ruin the good mood that he was in.  Chakotay was always suspicious of Tom Paris no matter what he was doing.  Something about the man just didn’t add up.  Janeway, Chakotay and Masi said a brief goodbye and they continued on their tour.  
Tom turned to Dilla “We should probably test the engines before the race.” 
 Dilla shook his head at Tom’s suggestion. “Even if it does work I don’t have a pilot for the race.  Then man who usually pilots my vehicles didn’t think that I would finish the bike in time so he joined another team.” Dilla sighed looking back at the bike.  Tom had the perfect solution to their little dilemma.  
 “No problem Dilla.” Tom placed his hand on the large man’s shoulder. “I’ll pilot your bike.”  Tom said completely serious.
 Dilla stared at him in shock for a moment.  “But…you…”
 “I may not have a lot of experience, or any, but I’m a quick study and I’m already a pilot.  This contraption can’t be much different than any of the other vehicles that I have used.”
 “Are you…Are you sure?  Wouldn’t you need permission from your captain?”
 “Hmm I might.” Tom said thoughtfully “But I can deal with that later.  The competition is open so I shouldn’t have any problems entering.  See it’s all taken care of.  I’ll operate your bike.”  Tom finished
 “No you won’t” Harry’s voice sounded behind Dilla and Tom causing both of them to turn quickly around.  There stood Harry Kim with his arms folded across his chest looking very stern and one B’elanna Torres beside him.  Tom looked at Harry first in astonishment then his features changed into that of amusement.  Harry was not about to let his friend endanger himself in a race if he could stop him.  
 “Harry, Harry, Harry.” Tom said shaking his head. 
 “I’m serious Tom.  This is dangerous.”  Harry said as he stepped over to Tom and Dilla.  “You could be injured or worse.”  Tom and Harry stared at each other for a few moments.  Harry really didn’t think that Tom should be racing.  Tom really thought that he should be racing.  Torres seeing that this argument was not going to be going anywhere finally said something.
 “Listen, we have to head back to the ship to get ready for tonight’s banquet.”  Saying good-bye to Dilla or in Tom’s case ‘See you later’, they made their way back to the beam out point with Tom and Harry arguing all the way and B’elanna running interference.
 Even at the banquet they were still arguing.  Tom never at a loss for words and Harry always with a new argument; needless to say B’elanna was getting frustrated so she decided to intervene.
 “Harrry, shut up for a minute.  Tom I agree with Harry, it’s too dangerous for you to operate a vehicle that you’ve never used before in such a large race.”
 “Thank you for your concern, but I’m telling you, I can handle this.”
 B’elanna folded her arms coming up with an infallible argument. “Neither Captain Janeway or Commander Chakotay will authorize your dangerous endeavour.”
 Tom snorted “You think I don’t know that I know that?  Chakotay won’t even give me the time of day, let alone authorize anything for me.  Besides,” Tom crossed his arms imitating B’elanna “What makes you think that I’ll be taking official channels?”  
 Harry and B’elanna just stared at him for a moment before B’elanna spoke. “Tom if you injure yourself, Janeway will make sure you never pilot anything for the rest of your life.”   Tom just laughed.
 “Mr. Paris,” Janeway called as she and two others joined the group of Senior officers.  “Mr. Dilla, here tells me that you have certain plans, involving a certain race.”  One of the people with Janeway was Dilla.  The other man was a member of the high council.  
 “Dilla, I didn’t know that you were going to be here.” Tom said trying to change the subject.  Dilla just smiled at him.  
 Janeway knowing what he was trying to do brought the conversation back to the subject at hand.  “Mr. Paris, the race...” 
 “Yeah…well…Dilla here has engineered this amazing hover bike for the race in two days but he didn’t have a pilot. So, I, always looking for a new piloting challenge, volunteered to pilot his bike.”
 “Have you looked at the race course?” Harry asked “It’s pretty dangerous.”  Harry wasn’t sure whether that would deter Tom or encourage him.  Tom was the type of person who flirted with danger on a regular basis.  
 “I assure you Captain countless safety precautions are taken in the race.  There has never been a single fatality in the history of this race.” Councillor Herra assured Captain Janeway.
 “So Captain what do you say?” Tom asked anxiously.  
 Seeing the Captain’s wariness Councillor Herra intervened once again “This is one of the largest events in the entire festival and it would be an honour if your Mr. Paris here could represent your people.”
 The idea of bettering relations between Voyager and the Nerisians clinched Janeway’s decision. “Mr. Paris, permission granted!” Janeway said with an infectious smile.  Soon all in their little group were smiling except for Harry and B’elanna who just looked at the rest of them.  B’elanna and Tom noticed that the smile on Herra’s face was a smile more of malice and they both made mental notes to watch out for that man in the future.  They had been in some seedy places before and would recognize a look like that anywhere for the rest of their lives.
 The group separated with Janeway joining Chakotay and Tuvok with the Chancellor, Dilla and Tom discussing there plans, and Harry and B’elanna joining Gerron and trying to find a way to minimise the chances for Tom to injure himself in the race and Councillor Herra walking off alone.  Tom watched as Herra inconspicuously slip out of the banquet.  His suspicion was heightened. 
 Herra walked several blocks through the desolate streets of the city to the rendezvous point.  Herra was the only member of the high council that was not a Nerisian.  Herra was surgically altered several years ago and given an identity as a long dead Nerisian citizen.  Over the years Herra worked his was through the system and maintained his identity.  Slowly he made his way to the High Council of the Nerisians. Here he is privy to all of the most classified information of the Nerisian government.  
 Originally Herra was of a race of people called the Mellary.  When the Nerisians took over the sector centuries ago, the Mellary were forced from their home planet.  For the past couple of decades the Mellary have been arguing with the Nerisians over rights to their planet.  The Mellary home-world has been colonized by several different species that the Nerisian government said have nowhere else to go.  Did the Nerisians care whether the Mellary had any place to go when they where forcefully removed from their home?  Several of the Mellary are tired of dealing with the government so they have banded together to create the terrorist group known as the New World Force or NWF.  
 Herra reached his destination and after a few moments a shadowy figure stepped out of the dark alley into the relative brightness of the streetlights.  
 “Is it set?” the figure asked.
 “Yes.  All preparations have been made and the Voyager crewmember will be in the race.”  Herra replied quietly.
 “Good.  The Nerisians will surely negotiate if we hold an innocent.  They won’t endanger the safety of anyone that has nothing to do with our conflict.  They will have to listen to us.”
 “Are you sure that we are not underestimating the Voyagers.  There technology-”
 “Will be useless against us.  Do your job and don’t question me.”  The figure retreated into the shadows without another word.
 “Yes sir.”

 The next day Tom and Dilla were busy preparing for tomorrow’s race.  They finished tuning the hover bike that morning and at the moment Tom was polishing the armour giving the metal back it shine when Dilla stepped out of his office with a package.  
 “Tom!”  Dilla called.
 “What is it?” Tom asked as he wiped his hands on a rag.
 “This.”  Dill opened the package and removed a racing suit. It was the same navy blue as the bike with a black stripe running from each wrist over the shoulders to the collar.  “This is your racing uniform.  It’s the one the original pilot would be wearing.  I had it made especially for this race.”  Tom walked over to Dilla a felt the material of the suit.  It had a leather feel to it but it was not as heavy. “The material won’t rip apart if you fall off your bike.  It’s also fire retardant and will prevent you from getting any severe burns if you skid.” Dilla turned the suit to show Tom the back.  “The back here is were the transmitter is installed so they can keep count of the number of laps that you’ve done and track you through the course.”  Dilla gave Tom the suit and went to a get a box that was in his office.  From the box Dilla brought out a matching helmet and gave it to Tom. “It’s yours.”.  Tom looked at the helmet ad ran his finger over the smooth surface.   The helmet was (guess what colour) navy blue with a black visor.  On the side written in white italic lettering was ‘PARIS’.  Tom looked at Dilla surprised.
 “Your sure?”
 Dilla snorted imitating Tom “You think that I want a helmet with your name on the side.”  He smiled at Tom.  
 “Thank you.” Tom said sincerely.
 For the rest of the day Dilla gave Tom the detailed overview of all the controls, safeties and fail-safes that are on the bike.  After Tom had suited up in an older racing suit and helmet and he and Dilla went to a track. There Tom and a few other racers got used to their new bikes but not without a few accidents.
 B’elanna and Gerron went to the racetrack that Tom and Dilla were at.  They immediately recognized Tom on a black bike.  He had just started another lap.  They joined Dilla on the side as he advised Tom on the communication device that linked him to the earpiece in the practice helmet Tom wore.  As Tom came up to the next hairpin turn his speed was too great and the bike slid onto its side and Tom was separated from the bike as it careened into the wall of the track.  Tom slid and rolled on the track until he came to a stop.  Gerron and B’elanna jumped the divider and ran to the site of the accident.  Dilla walked.  When they reached Tom he was rolling off his stomach onto his back.  B’elanna carefully removed his helmet.
 “Tom? Are you alright?” B’elanna asked worriedly.  The expression on Tom’s face when she removed the helmet was not what she expected.  Tom’s smiling visage was what greeted B’elanna’s worried one.  Tom was chuckling quietly.  His suit was a scratched up and dirty as was his helmet but other that that he was fine.
 “That was one wild ride.” Tom said happily.
 “I told you that you were taking that turn too quickly.”  Dilla said as he walked up to them.  
 “Hey, it worked the last time.” Tom said in his defence.  He sat up and that’s when the pain hit him.  He grabbed his side. And his eyes shut in pain.  After it had passed he opened his eyes and the smile returned.  “That’s gonna hurt tomorrow.” He said as he felt a bruise forming.
 “Tom maybe you shouldn’t do this.” Gerron suggested.  
 “Don’t worry.  This will probably be the worst accident that Tom will have on the hover bike.  Now that he knows the limits he can adhere to then.” Dilla said giving Tom a pointed look.
 “Yeah, yeah! sure, sure!”  Tom said dismissively as Gerron and Dilla pulled him up.  “How’s the bike?”
 Dilla looked at the smoking hover bike. “It could be worse.  The coolant system probably needs major repairs but it’s nothing worse than the first time I road a hover bike.  Anyway Tom I think that you’ve had enough for today.  Just study the layout of the track.  There are turns where the track is almost completely vertical, jumps and other assorted skill testing features on the track this year.  You need to know how to approach each one.  And speed isn’t everything.”
 “Got it.”  To said with a cocky smile.  B’elanna Gerron and Tom made there way back to the beam out point after Tom had changed out of the race suit.  Once on the ship Tom headed for sickbay not looking forward to the lecture the Doctor was about to give him on getting himself injured.  He really didn’t need that at the moment; he would probably be getting a similar speech from Harry or Gerron later.  
 Tom stepped into the sterile cleanliness that was Sickbay.  Thankfully the Doctor was not activated instead Kes was there.  
 “Hey Kes!” Tom greeted giving her his most charming smile.
 “Hello Tom. Your not hurt are you?” she asked with concern.
 “No just a couple of bruises.”  He took a seat on a biobed as Kes went to get a medical tricorder.   
 “From the hover biking racing that you were doing?” 
 Tom hadn’t told anyone other than Harry, B’elanna, Gerron and the Captain. “I guess news travels fast.”
 Kes got the tissue regenerator.  In a few moments Tom was as good as new.  “There you go Tom.  All better.”
 “Thanks Kes.” Tom said giving her his winning smile.  Tom hopped off the biobed and headed for the doors.  Just as he was about to leave Kes called to him.
 “Tom,” he turned to face her “be careful.”  Tom nodded to her and gave her a gentle smile.  Kes watched silently as he walked out of sickbay and offered a little prayer to whatever god that looked after reckless humans.

Later that night Tom was in his quarters looking through the information about the course that Dilla gave him.  Looking through the specs it brought back memories from two years ago…
“Were in position.”  The report came in.  
“Phoenix, it’s your show.”  The Captain of the Phantom nodded to his second in command. “Mase, bring us into position.” Arrow ordered. 
In the launch bay of the Phantom, Phoenix got his black helmet and gloves and made his was to his ‘super-bike’.  Veta was manning the launch bay at the time.  
“You’ve got thirty second to exit the hanger, after that you won’t have enough time to compensate for your velocity and make the manoeuvres.” Veta spoke through the comm system from the launch room over the bay.  Pheonix could see her through the window as she worked through the sequences to open the hanger doors.  “Rendezvous in fourteen minutes.  Commencing beta sequence.”  Phoenix placed his helmet on and got onto his bike.  In all black, both the rider and the bike, he would be camouflaged in the dark of this moon.  “T minus ten seconds.” The computer began to count down and the hanger ramp lowered.  “Deceleration in progress…300 kph….250kph…200kph!”  the ground outside went by at two hundred kilometres per hour.  That was standard launch speed for a bike.  Phoenix positioned the bike at the opposite end of the bay on the acceleration belt and lined up his approach.
“…1” the computer’s voice sounded.  The thirty second window of opportunity began.  Phoenix lowered his visor.
“Come back in one piece.” Veta called to him over the comm system.  Phoenix could here the worry in her voice though she tried to hide it with sarcasm.  Turning to Veta in the control room he gave her a thumbs up.  He revved the engine and began his acceleration.  Less than thirty seconds to reach at least 170 kph.  150…160…170 kph, that’s it.  The acceleration belt locked and the bike took off still accelerating.  Special inertial dampeners kept the force from throwing him off the bike.  180…190…200… 202…205 kph was the speed when the bike was out of the launch bay, off the ramp and falling the three meters to the ground. 
“On screen.” Arrow ordered as he received word the Phoenix had cleared the hanger.  The screen tuned to the picture of Phoenix on the bike accelerating away from them. “Launch sequence complete.  Mase get us out of here.”
“Yes sir.”  The man at the conn replied, deftly manoeuvring the craft out of the moons atmosphere.  
On the ground moving at a speed of 210 kph and still accelerating, phoenix lowered his upper body on the bike to lower air resistance.  His target was twelve kilometres in the distance.  Giving him a time of about 3.5 minutes to reach it at his current speed but including the obstacles that he will have to get around, his time will be about 4.25 minutes.  As he approached the Romulan base the automated defence system kicked in.  The phaser cannons instantly took aim of the intruder and fired.  
Phoenix dodged each blast proving to be too quick a target for a computer aiming system.  Rock pieces and debris flew in to Phoenix’s visor.  Passing the range of the phaser canons he was on the home stretch.  Dodging craters he set his sights on his target and accelerated.  The last obstacle between he and his target was a 15 meter wide and 50 meter deep gorge.  Land vehicles were the most common entry used by anyone trying to break in since aerial assaults were much too difficult due to the superb anti-shuttlecraft system installed at the base.  The gorge proved to be a successful deterrent except this one time.
 Phoenix was less than a meter from the edge of the gorge when with a push of a button he activated the vertical thrusters.  The vertical thrust launched the bike into the air at just the right angle to carry him over the gorge and to the other side. Landing about six meters from the edge Phoenix managed to keep the bike under control.  Braking as hard as he could allow the bike slowed until it was moving slow enough for Phoenix to jump off at.  Engaging the autopilot he jumped from the bike.  The stabilizers were activated as well and the bike stayed up right and followed a pre-programmed route to a hiding place.  Rolling as he landed on the ground he ran for the nearest cover.  Drawing his two of several phasers he shot at the first set of security personnel that emerged from the heavily reinforced doors.  Tapping a few buttons on the side of his helmet he activated the helmet’s light shielding function.  Re-holstering the phasers he armed a flash grenade and without hesitation he threw the grenade to the Romulan soldiers.  The instant it impacted on the ground the grenade released a blinding glow of light.  The Romulan soldiers covered their eyes in pain.  Their glasses were specially made so that they could see in the dark.  Now that feature proved to be their undoing.  The light was twice as intense causing blinding pain.  During their temporary impediment Phoenix struck.  The flash grenade is operational for only four seconds.  Four seconds was all it took for Phoenix to take out the six soldiers.  Using the security card from one of the fallen soldiers and some hacking skills Phoenix entered into the base.  Recalling the layout of the base from the briefing he quickly made his way to the shielding network mainframe.  Removing a computer attachment from one of his cargo pockets, Phoenix began implementing the codes and commands necessary to bring down the mainframe.  One minute later there was a cascade failure of the shielding network.  Romulan bases within a radius of ten light-years experienced several difficulties with their shielding systems.  Phoenix’s job was done.  Now he had to get out and rendezvous with the Phantom. 
Taking his attachment he made his way out of the base ducking search parties and phasering anyone that got in his way.  When he reached the doors that he entered through there were more than a dozen soldiers waiting for the intruder to make his way back to his point of entry.  Phoenix doubled back and used a turbolift to take him to the next level.  Getting off he ran towards his second escape route.  The base had brought out every soldier that they had and it was now crawling with Romulans.  Avoiding the parties was becoming impossible and soon one found him.  As Phoenix was about to turned down a different corridor four Romulan soldiers rounded the corner.  Seeing the intruder they hesitated for only a moment and drew their weapons.  The moment of hesitation provided enough time for Phoenix to take out two of them.  The other two had enough time to fire a few shots.  Phoenix dodged the first couple but two shots managed to hit their target.  One shot hit him in his left thy and the other in his right shoulder.  Shooting with his left arm Phoenix managed to stun them and get away. 
Crawling through the maintenance shafts he made his way to the roof.  Due to his injuries he was twenty seconds behind schedule.  Inputting some commands into the computer on his wrist Phoenix ran to the end of the roof.  He painfully jumped down to the lower roof and then scaled the wall using the small ridges on the walls and the air vents as foot and hand holds.  When he landed on the ground his bike rounded the corner and stopped in front of him.  Hopping on he made his escape.  Accelerating to jump the gorge again he activated the vertical thrusters and made it to the other side.  
The Romulans had deployed their cruisers and where in pursuit.  One minute until the Phantom showed up.  Phoenix sped over the terrain weaving and turning changing his direction and keeping the Romulans guessing what he was going to do next.  There were now four cruisers tailing him.  Taking the compression phaser rifle off his back Phoenix began firing shots at the cruisers.  He managed to damage one forcing it to end his pursuit but one of the others got a direct hit on the back portion of his bike.  Warnings were flashing on the console.  The computer predicted a systems failure in less than a minute.  It was then that the Phantom showed up. Firing precision phaser shots at the cruisers it took each one of them out.  The Phantom was in position in front of Phoenix and the rear ramp was being lowered until it was less than a meter from the ground.  Raising the front wheel Phoenix placed it on the ramp and then switched to front wheel drive and accelerated.  This successfully brought the bike back onto the ship.  Once the hanger was closed the Phantom began rapid ascent and as soon as it cleared the atmosphere it jumped to warp.  
In the launch bay Veta waited for Phoenix.  As soon as he was in the hanger she went to help him.  Phoenix was getting off of his bike when his leg collapsed under him.  Veta was at his side in an instant.  She removed his helmet for him.  His face was fairly relaxed but she could see the pain that clouded his eyes.  Blood from the wound in him leg was pooling on the floor.   She then saw the blood from his shoulder.  She removed part of the torn suit.  She hissed at the damage the weapon did to his shoulder.  
“I told you to come back in one piece.” She scolded him.  Before he could comment Veta called for an emergency transport for him to sickbay.  

Overall the mission was a success Tom thought as he reminisced.  Getting into the target building was rarely a problem the difficult part was getting out again.  That’s were most of the teams are lost.  The success probability getting in and getting the job done is usually close to one but the probability of getting out again is usually around fifty-fifty.  Getting the job done usually means blowing your cover or alerting everyone to your presence.
That particular mission caused the shielding failure of the Romulan stations in that area.  This allowed Starfleet to go in and get their people out.  The Romulans had attacked a science vessel that was near the border of their territory.  The Federation and the Romulans where at a temporary cease-fire so the Romulans couldn’t report anything because that would mean incriminating themselves.  
Tom’s train of thought was de-railed by the chime of his door.  
“Come in.”  Harry walked into Tom’s quarters.
“Hey Tom.  What are you up to.”
“Just looking over the race course.” Tom replied waving a padd around. Harry took the padd and looked at the diagram of the course.  Harry let out a whistle.
“That looks like a killer.”
“Yeah I know.  Isn’t it great!” Tom said snatching the padd from Harry.
“Just don’t get yourself injured.  You don’t have to win, Tom.”
“But Harry,” Tom said in a mock whine “Winning is half the fun.”
“Uh huh,” Harry wasn’t too sure about this whole race idea “And what’s the other half?” 
Being able to look back and say that should have killed me but it didn’t, Tom thought but he didn’t say that to Harry.
“The thrill of the ride Harry.” Tom answered as if it was the most obvious answer in the universe.  That was true though.  Tom could be classified as an adrenalin junkie.
“Just be careful.”
How many times have I heard that. “I will be.”  Tom changed the subject. “So, what brings you to my neck of the woods.  You didn’t just come by to lecture me I hope.”
“No.  Actually I was wondering if you wanted to join me for a game of pool in Sandrines.”
“Ahhh, you have rations that you would like to part with.” Tom joked as he put the padd down and made his way to the door.
“Not a chance” Harry said following him out.  
“Beware you have challenged the master.”
“No, I don’t think that Captain is there tonight.”  Tom stopped walking and feigned outrage making Harry laugh.  
Sandrines was hopping that night.  Even though the Nerisian home-world was a nice place, there wasn’t much of a night life.  Tom and Harry played a few rounds of pool talking and joking all the while.  After Harry had lost his third game to Tom they decided to call it a night, Tom calling it ‘giving up’ and Harry calling it ‘tactical retreat’.  Tom had to be up early to prepare for the race so he didn’t argue…much.

Planet-side Herra had just ended a communiqué with his commanding officers.  During the third of six laps of the race, the NWF battleships will de-cloak and begin their attack.  The ground troops, that came in as passengers on a transport earlier today, will deploy and begin their attack.  The explosives have already been rigged and all they have to do is detonate it at the right time to get the Voyager crewman.  The NWF team will be the first to the wreckage and get the Voyager crewman and bring him to the pick-up point.  It was all set. Tomorrow, the High council will listen to their demands.

The morning of the race came quickly and the street where very busy.  Merchants sold all sorts of things in front of the main seating complex for the race.  Tom was in the race garage with Dilla going over everything again. The race would start in less than an hour.  Tom was decked out in his racing uniform.  The dark suit fit him perfectly and gave a nice contrast to his fair features.  The entire crew had heard that Tom was in the race and most of them came to watch.  Also, the race was the second biggest event at the festival so while it was on the festival was pretty much at a standstill. Some of the crewmembers came by to wish him good luck or just to not to get himself killed.  Most of the female crewmembers ran an appreciative eye over Tom in the race suit.  The navy pants weren’t skin tight but just fitting enough to outline his long lean legs.  The shirt traced his well-toned upper body.  The slightly messy hair, the dark gloves and helmet added to the rebel persona that seemed to suit him.
B’elanna, Harry, Gerron and the Captain were the last people to see him before his race.  When they were approaching B’elanna noticed the looks that the female crewmembers were giving him.  Tom was oblivious to them, as all his attention was turned to Dilla and the bike.  B’elanna and the Captain however noticed and the Captain chuckled quietly while B’elanna snorted.  Harry and Gerron just looked at them, perplexed.  They had no idea what was wrong with them.  After seeing Tom they made their way to the stands where Chakotay was holding some seats for them.  Tom and Dilla positioned the bike in Tom’s starting position.  Tom was way at the back because this was his first time in the race.  There were a total of forty-three racers.  
“Well that’s it Tom.  Good luck.” Dilla smiled to Tom as he made his way off the track to let the race begin.  Tom slid his helmet on and prepped the engine.  The announcer began:
“Welcome spectators, to the annual Hover Bike Race.”  Cheers went up in the rowdy crowd.  Even some of the Voyager crewmembers were getting into it.  “This race will test the speed of each bike and the skill of each of its pilots.  To start the race, let me present our Chancellor Masi!”  Everyone in the stands applauded. The announcers face on the jumbo-screen was replaced by that of Chancellor Masi.  “Racers, on you mark….” Tom lowered his visor, “Get set…” BANG the starter shot rang out and the pilots shifted their bikes into gear.  With a roar of cheers the race began and the racers were off.
B’elanna, Gerron and Harry watched from the stands with a little of apprehension and excitement as Tom took off down the track.  On the jumbo-screen they could keep track of the racers.  Half of the screen was a layout of the race with coloured dots as the racers positions.  Tom was the navy blue dot.
“What’s his position?” Gerron asked
“He’s in twenty- eighth position.”  Harry responded
“No he’s in twenty-sixth,” B’elanna corrected him “twenty-fifth…twenty fourth…”  and his place kept getting better through the entire first lap.  
Inside rail.  Tom thought to himself as he took the inside to pass the rider in front of him.   Tom was making his way to the front of the pack at an alarming rate.  He had to pass as many people as possible before the track got trickier and he wanted to keep as close to the leading pack as possible.  A few seconds later he had successfully passed another pair of riders.  The obstacles quickly approached and Tom followed the other riders through the tunnel.  The next was a ramp and a jump.  Some of the riders didn’t make it over; they were too cautious and took the ramp too slowly.  The part were most of the riders that didn’t make it past was the sharp turn that came directly after the jump.  The riders that took the ramp too fast over shot the landing ramp and hit the padded wall of the turn.  Some of the riders collided with the fallen riders and they went down as well.  Tom estimated the right speed to take the jump at and made it to the other side on the landing ramp.  Swerving to avoid fallen riders he mad his way through the mess and continued without a look back.  The next obstacle was a series of narrow bridges that swerved and over lapped.  There were four different bridges and each bridge had no guardrails only padding on the sides and a few meters under in case riders fell off the bridges.  Tom chose the one he had decided, the night before, to use.  Carefully he manoeuvred the bike over the bridges.  Four more riders fell off leaving only 31 riders left.  
The next obstacle was the pillars.  There were several pillars and the riders had to find their way around them all.  Some of the spaces between the pillars are too small for the bikes and riders to fit through so they had to judge where they were going to go.  One rider was taken out of the race here.  Through the rest of the lap and the obstacles Tom made his way to the leading pack and at the beginning of the second lap he was in sixth place.
The second lap was much the same as the first.  Some of the riders didn’t make it through certain obstacles but not as many as before.  The third lap was when the chaos began.  In the stands Captain Janeway’s commbadge went off.
“Captain there are several battle cruisers of unknown origin de-cloaking and orbiting the planet.”
“Go to red alert-” but before she could finish an explosion was heard and smoke and debris was seen rising in the distance.  
Tom was just entering the pillars when the explosion occurred.  It wasn’t just one explosion but several small ones at the base of each of the pillars detonating simultaneously.  The pillars wobbled and then they began to fall.  Several of the riders were knocked off their hover bikes as the pillars fell.  Tom ducked under falling pillars just before they hit the ground.  Riding over some of the already fallen pillars Tom made his way to the exit at the other end.  The riders that were at the very front of the pack were already through.  The pillar near the exit was falling in front of it.  Increasing his speed as much as he dared Tom shifted all his weight to the right side and turned the handles sharply to the right. This caused the hover bike to slide on its right side and lay almost parallel to the ground.  Parts of the bike scrapes the ground causing some sparks to fly and Tom could feel the heat on his right knee as it scraped against the ground.  There were only a few scant centimetres of clearance when his head passed under the pillar.
Breathing a sigh of relief, he slowed his bike to a stop after he had cleared the wreckage but couldn’t keep a small smile from forming on his face.  He still had it!  The smile was briefly lived as Tom eyed the wreckage behind him.  Hoping to offer his assistance Tom shut down the hover bike and removed his helmet.  His now unruly hair fell onto his forehead.  As he dashed to the fallen pillars he could see a crushed bike and he hoped to whatever gods were listening that the rider wasn’t caught under that. 
Climbing over pillars he made his way to the first bike.  The rider wasn’t near there.  He called out hoping that someone would respond.  He heard moaning coming from his right so he made his way over there.  There a rider was just regaining consciousness.
“Hey are you alright?” Tom called to him as he looked for a way through the fallen pillars to help.  
“What? yeah I’m all right.” The dazed pilot responded.  He took of his helmet and rubbed his temples.  Tom couldn’t find an opening that he could squeeze through so he went down on his knees to talk to the other man.
“Do you need any help?”  Tom asked hoping that he could wait until some more people came.  The rider looked up to respond but when he saw someone with the weapon he had to warn the man who was trying to help him.  Tom saw the expression on the other man’s face and as the rider yelled:
“Watch out!”  Tom had rolled on his shoulder successfully turning him while rolling to face his attacker.  The shot hit where Tom was a moment before and pieces of the pillar flew off in all directions as the phaser fire hit it.
The aggressor was wearing a dark-brown suit.  He was about the same height as the Tom but a larger build.  He had dark glasses on so Tom could not see his eyes but he was defiantly not a Nerisian.  This man had dark skin and ridges on his cheek bone and forearm.  The aggressor fired a shot at Tom, which Tom dodged again.  All his training was coming out but Tom still had the disadvantage.  Tom was on a lower level of the fallen pillars than the attacker and Tom wasn’t armed.  Knowing that he would not be able to get away with out being shot if he ran, he made a decision and started moving towards the attacker.  The attacker continued to shout as Tom advanced but Tom was always a step ahead and smoothly dodged each shot.  After a few seconds Tom was on the same pillar as the attacker.  The attacker only looked at him for a moment and then returned to firing at him but none of the shots hit the intended target.  He raised his phaser level with Tom but before he could fire the first shot Tom had ran towards him and hit his arm forcing the phaser to fire into the open sky.  The attacker was stunned and Tom used that to his advantage. A high kick to the attackers face and he stumbled backwards.  The attacker regained his balance but Tom was already attacking him again.  A hard punch to his midsection and the attacker doubled over.  A round-house kick knocked the attacker off the pillar and landed hard on the next one.  Tom check that the attacker still had a pulse and then went to retrieve the weapon that had fallen from the attackers hand.  It was just out of his reach.  As he repositioned himself to try again another shot vaporized part of the pillar next to him.  Two more armed men where making their way toward him.  Tom quickly found an opening that he could fit through slipped into the maze of fallen pillars. Tom made his way through the pillars crawling and slipping between trying to make his way to his bike.  
In the seating area all of the Voyager crew was being transported to the ship to ensure their safety. The other fans were fleeing the stands causing chaos.  On Voyager Janeway was in her command mode.  Voyager rocked to one side as the battle cruisers pummelled the hull with torpedoes.  
“Report!”  
“Primary power conduits are overloading!”  Kim called from ops.  “long range transporters ore offline.  We’d have to move into a lower orbit to transport the remaining crewmembers off the planet.”
“Who’s still down their.” Chakotay asked before Janeway could. 
“Tuvok, Rawlins, Meyer, Farely, Foster, M. Delany and Paris.”  Kim read off the list of people that were unaccounted for.
“Chakotay take the conn.  Mr. Kim reroute as much power as you can to the shields; buy us as much extra time as you can.  As soon as we are within range drop the shields and start transporting.” Janeway ordered “Chakotay take us down.”
“Beginning descent.”

Finally.  Tom emerged from the mess of pillars and headed for his hover bike.  The two attackers were too slow to get to him before he rode off.  Tom wasn’t presumptuous to think that he was home free so he kept his guard up.  Those people were pretty persistent.  What did I do to bring this on, Tom thought to himself.  He hadn’t pissed off any of the natives yet.  He was planning to do that when he won this race.  A shrill whistling sound become louder in Tom’s ear.  Some sort of missile? KABOOM. Yup.  An explosion erupted directly in Tom’s path.  He was too close to it and moving to quickly to stop or avoid it.  Tom and his bike were launched into the air.  He landed hard on the ground and his momentum slid him across the rough ground until he cam to a stop.  The bike landed behind him in a mangled wreck.  After a moment Tom rolled onto his front and attempted to get up.  He pushed himself a few centimetres off the ground before he collapsed again.  The pain was everywhere.  Fortunately he was wearing his helmet so his head injury was minimal.  Unfortunately for the rest of his body, the padding the suit gave was minimal.  He tried one more time; ignoring the pain his exertion caused.  He was soon on his feet.  He reached into his pocket to get his commbadge but all he found was pieces.  His commbadge was on the same side that he had landed on.  Just my luck.  His bike was totalled so he continued on foot to try and escape his attackers.  His running was more of a quick jog due to his injuries.  He could see a part of the course were the wall was low enough for him to climb.  He picked up his pace as he heard some sort of craft getting closer.  A quick look behind him confirmed that it was not one of the planets officials.  Tom reached the wall and attempted to climb it. As he finally got a good grip on the ledge the craft clipped him as it sped by briefly crushing him against the wall before he again fell to the ground.  This time he did not get up.  He was still conscious and felt the intense pain in his chest from where he was hit.  He guessed that there were a few broken and/or cracked ribs but he could still feel the pain in his legs and extremities so at least his spine was in one piece.  
The craft turned around and landed near Tom.  One of the rear doors slid open and three large men stepped out.  Tom had never seen their species before except for the first attacker.  They jogged over to where Tom lay.
“Pick him up.” One order and the other two obeyed.  They could not see through the tinted visor that his eyes were open and remained that way until the one giving the orders removed it.  
“Is he alive.” One of the men holding Tom asked.  The first one stepped closer to Tom and saw the rise and fall of his chest indicating that he was breathing.  
“He’s fine.” The first one said.  He took a good look at the man before him.  Dark blond hair and fair skin.  Smaller than most of the Mellary and the Nerisians. This is the weakling that we came for?.  He shrugged his shoulders and turned away indicating that they should bring the off-worlder with them. When he turned his back Tom struck.
The element of surprise was the only advantage Tom had in his weakened state so he had to use it wisely.  He slipped his arm out of the grasp of one of the men that was holding him.  His left arm free he slipped his left foot behind him and using his free arm he pushed on the front of the man causing him to trip on to his back.  Tom swung his left knee around and it connected with the gut of the other man holding him.  He then kneed him in the head causing him to fall backwards as well.  Tom turned on the man who had his back turned to him but he had already drawn his weapon and trained it on Tom.  Before he could take a step the man fired and Tom fell to the ground, unconscious.
“Pick him up and let’s go.” The man said angrily as he put his weapon away.  The two men picked themselves up off the ground and roughly grabbed Tom and took him inside their craft.  The craft lifted off the ground and took off towards the open sky.  In the chaos few people noticed it leaving.

Back on Voyager Harry reported from his station. “We’ve got everybody but Tom.  I can’t locate his commbadge.”    
“Try looking for human lifesigns.” Janeway suggested.  Harry tapped a series of commands into his console and shook his head.
“I…I can’t find any.”  Harry looked up at the Captain confused.
Tuvok who had just made it to his station reported “Captain shields at twenty-eight percent and dropping.  I suggest retreat and-” Just then the shaking stopped.  The battle cruisers were retreating quickly.  Tuvok raised an eyebrow at the odd behaviour and reported to the Captain.
“Hail the Nerisians.” Janeway ordered staring at the viewscreeen that showed the view of the blue and purple atmosphere of the planet.
“They’re responding.”  
“Onscreen.”
“Captain Janeway do you require assistance?”  The Chancellor asked.  The city was in upheaval and he had forgotten about Voyager and her crew.
“Yes, one of our crewmembers is missing. Tom Paris.  He was in the race.”
“Some of the racers are still trapped under the rubble caused from the explosions.  An entire section of the track was destroyed.  It’s possible that he may be trapped under the wreckage.”
“I’m afraid not.  Is their any part of your planet that our sensors would not be able to penetrate?”
“No.  I’m sorry Captain but I must go.”  The Chancellor said hurriedly and cut the link.
“I don’t think that they’ll be any help to us at the moment.”  She turned back to Harry at Ops “Mr. Kim are the battle cruisers still within scanning range?” an affirmative nod. “Check the vessels for human life-signs.”  Harry quickly went to work.
“Captain they have some sort of shielding that our scanners can’t penetrate.”
“Tuvok, damage report.  Are we in any shape to go after them.”
“Aft shield emitters are down, long range transporters are down.  Primary power conduits are fused.  Warp engines off-line.” Tuvok read off the list as if it were a grocery list. “In short, Captain, we are in no condition to pursue.” 
“Begin repairs. I’ll be talking with the Nerisians.”  Janeway walked into her ready room.  On the bridge Harry worked diligently at his console. He did it again, Harry thought, I leave him alone for ten minutes and he gets himself into trouble.

In her ready room Janeway had finally gotten to talk with the Chancellor.  
“Chancellor, who were the people that attacked your planet?”  Janeway asked trying to get as much information as she could.
The Chancellor sighed and answered her question. “They are part of a terrorist group called the New World Force, NWF.  They are mostly Mellary.  They’ve argued with the government for many years for a planet that was theirs centuries ago but is now home to several different species from the sector.  The Mellary now want it back but they won’t agree to share it with the other inhabitants.”  
“Do you think that they may have taken our crewmember?”
“Possibly.  It would give them an advantage to have a hostage especially someone who is a guest of the government but I don’t know where they would have taken him if they have.  I’ll tell our security force to begin a search of your crewmember.”
“Thank you Chancellor but if you don’t mind I’d like to doing some searching as well.”
“Of course Captain.”  Masi had expected nothing less from the strong-minded captain. “I’ll send you the information that we have on them.  Perhaps we could co-ordinate our search efforts.” 
“That would make things move faster.  I’ll have my Chief of security contact you.”
Plans were set in motion and the search for the missing crewmember was about to begin.   In the meantime, the missing crewmember was laying unconscious in a cold dark cell.  The first thing to greet him when he awoke was pain.  He was lying on his front and the pressure on his chest was causing intense pain.  As small moan escaped as he rolled himself onto his back.  There was a new pain in his chest.  One that wasn’t their before he passed out. He raised his hand to the pain in his chest.  His hand came into contact with a wet substance and Tom could tell by the texture that it was blood.  Tom looked around his cell.  There was some sort of force-field to keep him in his cell.  The floor was bare except for the cot in the far corner.  The light above him flickered providing minimal lighting.  Hoping that he would be more comfortable on the cot he carefully raised him self from the floor and staggered to the cot were he fell heavily onto the hard mattress.  He laid down on his back, eyes shut until his breathing had evened out.  He could feel a headache coming on and he didn’t have any of his medication on him.  I mean you just don’t expect things like this to happen to you everyday.  Not only that but the dosage he took last week should be enough for another week.  Why now of all times?  Why do things like this always happen?  Q if that’s you I’ll find a way to kick your omnipotent butt!  

On the bridge of the battle cruiser were Tom was being held prisoner the Captain (also the one who shot Tom unconscious) gave out orders.  The mission was a success.  They had captured one off the Voyagers, damaged Nerisian property and the Voyager and they had not lost a single member of their group even Herra’s cover was intact.  It took longer than anticipated to subdue the Voyager crewman but they had gotten him.
“Captain Isal, none of the Nerisian forces or the Voyager are pursuing.” A young crewmember called from his station.  Isal nodded to him.
“Helm take us back to the base. Engage the cloaking device when the quantum generator is charged.”  
“Yes sir.”
Captain Isal looked with pride at his crew.  They would achieve in a few days, when they contact the Nerisian government with their terms, what their fathers had not achieved in decades.  He had a good crew, very obedient.  They had to be; Isal had a very short fuse.  Few people opposed him and his bidding was always done.
“Feigh!” Isal called. “Why don’t we visit our guest.”
Footsteps in the corridor were coming towards his cell.  Tom sat up ignoring the pain that it caused.  Standing in the corridor before him were two large men with two armed guards.
“I am Isal, Captain of this vessel, this is Feigh.” He said gesturing to the man to his left “And how is our guest feeling?” Isal smiled at Tom.
“Guest?” Tom asked incredulously, “You obviously haven’t been on this side of the force-field.” 
“You, my friend will be the turning point of the Mellary cause.” Isal said with an evil smile.  
“Friend?  You must mean fiend!”  Tom spoke without thinking.
“You may want to curb that mouth of yours or else you will make this much harder on yourself.”  Feigh, the head of security warned.  He signalled to the other security officers to release the force-field.  As the guards made their way towards him he contemplated attacking them and trying to escape.  He discarded that idea. In his condition he could take out the two guards but he saw that Feigh had his hand firmly on his weapon.
The guards grabbed Tom by each of his arms and hauled him off the cot.  Tom and the guards followed Isal and Feigh out of the cell and down the hall to another room.  This room was larger and more brightly lit than his cell.  The room was very sterile looking with nothing adorning the walls except a large veiwscreen and a communications panel.  The guards stopped in the center of the room in front of the viewscreeen.  Feigh stopped in front of Tom blocking his view.
“It’s time we contacted the Nerisians with our terms don’t you think?”  Isal walked to the console. After contacting the bridge to set up the scrambling signal he tapped in the command for a long range subspace communication to the Nerisians.  He then walked back to stand beside Feigh and wait for the communication to go through.

Forty-five minutes later in Voyager’s conference room, sat the Chancellor and Councillor Herra surrounded by the rest of Voyager’s Senior Officers.  The Chancellor sat with a grim expression that made the Senior officers anxious.  The Chancellor had contacted Voyager twenty minutes ago saying that he had received news from the terrorists about their crewmember.  He began:
“This is the transmission from the NWF that we recorded.  I thought that you would want to see this.”  He stood and handed Janeway a file. She gave it to Harry who loaded it on the viewer in the conference room.  The screen fizzled to life.  Two Mellary men stood in the foreground blocking a couple of people behind them.
“Hello Chancellor.”  Isal said calmly
“Isal,” The recorded voice of the Chancellor said.
“Very good Chancellor.  I’m glad to see that you remember me.  Let me introduce Feigh my Head of Security-”
“Isal where is the man from Voyager. I know you have him.”  Masi interjected.
“Patience Masi, my friend. You wouldn’t want to jeopardize the safety of or dear guest would you?”  no response “I didn’t think so.  Now we do have the man you are looking for and we will return him…when you have agreed to meet our terms that is.  Until then he will remain here and receive our ‘special treatment’.”  The tone of Isal’s voice left no question in the minds of the Senior officers what ‘special treatment’ meant.
“Isal he has nothing to do with our conflict.  Let him go.”  Masi pleaded. “He is an innocent.”
“No one is innocent.”  Isal exclaimed infuriated.  Masi had definitely said the wrong thing.  Isal’s calm demeanour was replaced with extreme anger.  “I’ll send him to you in a torpedo casing if you don’t fulfill each of our demands.”
“Your demands are unrealistic. We can’t kick out the inhabitants of Nerisii Prime just to accommodate your people.”  Masi was not negotiator.
“Then we’ll get the weapons information from the Voyager crewman we have in our possession and we will destroy you.”
“Don’t do this Isal. It will achieve nothing.”
Isal walked closer to the viewer. “You think so?  Well, we’ll see.”  He gestured for Feigh to step out of the way.  The Senior Staff saw Tom Paris for the first time in the transmission.  He stood up straight with his head held high, trying to look as dignified a possible in his current state.  His race suit was dirty and ripped.  His hair was a mess, much of it falling to his face and he had blood crusted scars on his arms and legs. His chest had a large phaser burn that looks as if it had only recently stopped bleeding.  Two armed guards held his arms behind his back.  He outwardly appeared calm but they could only guess what was going through his mind.
Isal stepped up to Tom; in front of him but slightly to the side so that he could still be seen.  “What type of shielding does your vessel use?”  No answer. “Answer me!” he backhanded Tom across his face causing Tom’s head to snap to one side.  He brought his head back and retuned to staring at some imaginary point directly in front of him.  “What are the shield frequencies?”  Again no answer.  “YOU WILL ANWER ME!”  he punctuated each word with a punch to Tom’s mid section.  Tom was hunched over his eyes closed tightly as the pain ripped through him.  The internal bleeding he got from the missile that threw him off his bike and being hit by a shuttle, had restarted.  
“Isal stop this!” Masi yelled
“The shields!” Isal yelled to Tom who was still looking calm but was in pain.
Right  Hook! “The shields!”  Tom’s mouth opened to speak.  Isal thought that he was going to get an answer.  Instead he got:
“Thomas Eugene Paris, Lieutenant Junior Grade, 6439-” A Punch to his face stopped him in the middle of his serial number.
“Feigh!” Isal called slightly out of breath. “Continue this for me.” Feigh nodded and continued to ask questions and punch Tom when he didn’t answer or give the right answer.  Isal walked towards the viewer.  “He’s not talking now but we will break him.”  
“Isal-”
“I’m sending you our demands.” He interrupted. “You have forty rotations.”  He turned to Feigh and the Two guards holding Tom.  “Enough!”  he commanded and Feigh stopped his assault.  Tom was barely able to stand under his own power.  He would have attacked them but he knew that Voyager would probably see this transmission and him kicking these guys butts would raise a lot of question.  So he decided to take the more painful but less conspicuous choice.  
Isal walked over to Tom who’s he was hunched over and was coughing up blood.  Masi’s voice could be heard yelling at Isal but Isal ignored him.  With an evil smile on his face he grabbed Tom by the hair and forced him to look up.
“Have you had enough Mr…Paris, I believe it was.”  Tom glared at Isal at first but then he smiled that irritating smile and spit in Isal’s face.  Isal wiped the blood off his face still smiling evilly.  Then he connected Tom’s head with his knee.  The blow caused a sharp pain in Tom’s head but he stayed semiconscious.  Isal turned and pointed to Masi on the viewer. “Forty rotations.” 
The screen went black.  That was the end of the communication.  Janeway was the first one to speak.
“Harry how muck longer until we are able to go after him?”
“We need at least eight more hours to replace al the fused components and bring the primary processors back online.  Transporters will take longer-”
“B’elanna how long until we have warp?”
“The primary systems have to be up before we can re-initialize that warp core. That will take at least four hours if I have a large enough team to work on it.”
“Forty rotations is about twenty hours captain.  We will be ready to launch a rescue before the allotted time runs out.”  Tuvok stated calmly.
“We have to find them first.” Janeway stated, more to herself than anyone else.  “Chancellor did you track the transmission?”
“We tried but the signal was rerouted through several relay stations and the signal used and subspace bandwidth that it barely distinguishable from subspace echoes.”
“Harry I want you to take a look at the information that they have recorded.  If that all right with the Nerisians.”  The Chancellor nodded. “As soon as the repairs are done we go after Tom. Dismissed.”

After Tom was thrown into his cell he slowly made his way to the cot and lay on his back cataloguing his injuries. A couple of broken ribs, internal bleeding of liver and maybe kidneys, punctured lung, multiple phaser burns, bruised vertebrae, killer headache and several assorted cuts and bruises; the Doctor is going to have a field day when he got back to Voyager.  Where the hell was Voyager anyway.  Most likely making repairs on the ship and planning a rescue.  Tracking Isal’s ship would be difficult due to the cloak.  Maybe he could make Isal’s ship a little more obvious.  Voyager would plan a rescue for before the forty rotations ended.  Forty rotations that about twenty hours.  Just great almost a complete day in this hellhole of a ship. I wonder if they’ll feed me.
Tom made his way to the force field.  The access panel was on the same wall as the force field that means that the circuitry must be in the wall next to his cell.  He carefully looked over the wall of his cell that enclosed the panel’s circuitry.  The wall was one solid piece of metal so he looked to where the metal connected to the floor.  Some parts were not securely connected to the floor.  There was less than a millimetre of space between the floor and the wall’s metal but it was enough to work with.  He sat in front of the wall close to the force field and using both feet he began to kick at the lowest portion of the wall pausing only when he could hear footsteps.  Twice a guard came by to investigate the noise but each time Tom pretended to be unconscious and the guard left.  Soon there was an opening small enough for Tom to fit a finger through.  When the tip of his finger came into contact with something in the wall he got an electric shock.  He noticed out of the corner of his eye that when he had touched that wiring, the force field weakened.  
Tom went back to his cot and twisted off a large piece of one of the metal legs.  He went back to the opening at the base of the wall that he had made.  He slid the metal in until he thought that it was near the wire but not touching it.  Sitting back down he kicked the metal piece as hard as he could.  The metal dug into the connection almost severing the thick wiring.  Tom watched with anticipation as the force field flickered and then disappeared.  Cautiously Tom looked down the corridor for any signs of guards.  One was approaching his cell.  Tom ducked back into his cell and waited against the wall for the guard to pass by.  
The guard walked down the corridor towards the cell of their prisoner with his gun poised and ready.  When he was only a few steps from the force field he did not see any prisoner. As he got closer he still did not see the prisoner on the cot or on the floor.  He took one more step and Tom jumped him.
Quickly rendering the guard unconscious with a Vulcan neck pinch, Tom dragged him into his cell.  He took all the weapons and what looked to be some sort of access card and a communication device.    He placed the unconscious guard on the cot that nearly collapsed since it was missing a leg.  He rolled him onto his side so that his face was not visible from the opening to the cell.  It would take them a while to find that he had escaped.  
Tom went to the console that controlled the force field and hacked into their system and changed the panel settings so that it did not show that there was a malfunction.  He then accessed a design layout of the ship.  Engineering is where he wanted to go.  He told the computer to highlight all the guard stations and the layout was covered with green marks indicating the stations.  Isal sure is paranoid.  Tom memorized the route that would take him to Engineering and passed the fewest guard stations.  He quickly closed the program he was in when he heard the footsteps.  He ducked into a dark corner and kept as still as possible.  
Two guards walked down the corridor to Tom’s former cell they looked in and saw the body lying on the cot and then kept on walking.  As soon as they were out of sight Tom searched for the maintenance shaft access that he had seen on the layout.  He found it and started crawling.  The ship only had ten decks.  He was on deck four and main engineering was on deck eight. Only four decks down.  He would be taking the long way of course so he calculated that he would be crawling and climbing for at least an hour.  Not that he didn’t have time though; he estimated that only four hours had passed since Isal had sent the message to the Nerisians.  About half way through Tom’s slow journey to engineering and alarm went off and the lighting changed to green.  I guess they found the guard.  Tom crawled out of the maintenance shaft and dropped into a room that he knew was a crew quarters from the layout.  He activated the locking mechanism for the door and went to the computer console.  He easily hacked through the system lockouts and then into the internal sensors.  He instructed the computer to delete any of the life signs that matched his.  That made internal sensors useless in finding him and they would have to rely on hand held scanners and search parties. 
Tom crawled back into the shaft, leaving the room in the exact same state it was in when he had arrived a few minutes earlier.  
On the bridge the crew was frantically trying to resolve the problem with the sensors but every command that they tried had no effect on the sensors.  Diagnostics also came up clean.  It was a crewman at his station on the bridge that found the glitch in the system, but even then they could not get rid of it or even confirm that that was what was causing all the sensor malfunctions.
Tom was forced out of the maintenance shaft after he heard the voices of guards entering behind him.  He found himself on deck seven and in a fairly busy corridor.  Hiding out in the dark alcove by the maintenance shaft exit he waited until the corridor was mostly deserted and started on his way to the turbo lift to take him to the next deck. That was when the idea hit him.  He was on the same deck as the shuttlebay.  He adjusted his course to take him to the shuttlebay.  He was ducking search parties all the way there but managed avoid them.  
When he reached his destination he paused outside and used the console to access the internal scanners.  He scanned the shuttlebay and found that there were seven people guarding the shuttlebay.  Creating a quick plan Tom entered the shuttle bay.  In less than three minutes the only conscious person in the shuttlebay was Tom.  
Tom quickly found a shuttle to his liking; one that was fast and manoeuvrable.  He familiarized himself with the controls, started the engines and piloted the shuttle flawlessly through the force field that separated the atmosphere of the ship from the cold vacuum of space.   

“Captain Isal.”  One of the officers called “There has been an unauthorised launch of a shuttle from shuttlebay two.”
Isal marched over to the officers station. “Life signs.”
After a moment the officer answered.  “None sir.”  He sounded slightly confused.
Isal guessed that was were the prisoner had gotten to.  “Lock phasers and fire at will.”  Isal ordered.
Blue streaks flew from the larger battleship to the small shuttle.  Very few of the many shots actually hit their mark.  Tom had used another of his trick to project a false image of the shuttle on the scanners of the battleship.
“He’s heading for the Kasarus debris field.”
“Tractor him.”
“He’s out of range.”  Isal slammed his fist on a console.  The crew waited silently for his next order “Follow him.”  The crew was shocked! Several of their own vessals had be lost trying to navigate the debris field.  The debris was composed of parts of several destroyed ships.  The area had been used as a kind of dump until the Mellary had moved into the neighbourhood.  The race that had dumped the garbage failed to disarm all the weapons and some of the ships that were less damaged still had antimatter in some very old containment fields.  The containment fields were known to collapse without cause and the resultant explosions would cripple or destroy and vessels in the blast radius.  Each ship lost in the field left more weapons that could go off at any time.
“Sir the field…you can’t…you can’t-”  the officer at the helm sputtered.
“I can’t what ?” Isal bit out as he grabbed the man’s collar and threw him to the floor.  Isal took over his station and plotted the course himself.  The much larger cruiser followed the small shuttle to the debris field.  
In the shuttle Tom was examining the sensor data and was already trying to find a safe route through the field.  The scanners had identified antimatter leaks all over the area.  A beep from the ops console next to the pilots console turned Tom’s attention in that direction.  The battlecruiser was following him.  Tom laugh for a moment.  Isal was crazier than he thought if he would to make it through the debris field in that hunk-of-junk.  Tom had reached the perimeter of the debris field.  There was no turning back now.  He headed at half impulse into the hazard.  Twenty minute later the cruiser entered as well.

On Voyager repairs were running on schedule.  Chakotay was in command of the bridge while the Captain and Tuvok were down on the planet trying to create a plan to rescue Mr. Paris.  Why did they always have to make repairs and then go and save Paris?  Chakotay was pondering this very question.  This was the second time that they would have to go and get him.  Granted that last time Gerron was with him but that’s besides the point.  
Chakotay looked around and found that the crew under that command of mostly Kim and Torres were working furiously on repairs.  He could understand there urgency.  The recording they had seen was disturbing.  Tom was their friend (even if Torres would deny it) and they did not want Tom to be treated so brutally.  Tom was a survivor though.  He had survived a lot of pretty awful situations and Chakotay knew Tom could hold his own in a fight and had a lot of ingenuity.  Chakotay had read the report that Gerron wrote about how Tom had used a tricorder and commbadges to create some sort of field that the Kazon could not scan through.  Paris however had forgotten to mention that in his report casually saying that he had found a way to hide from the Kazon’s sensors.  
If anyone had to be on that ship Paris might be the best person, Chakotay thought to himself.  Not that he wanted the pilot to be tortured or anything but Paris seemed like the kind of person who could find a way to survive more than any other member of the crew could.

At Ops Harry was cursing under his breath (something he had picked up from Tom).  He had hoped that the repairs would have been done early so they could launch a rescue but the repairs were going as planned and not a second faster.  When Harry had first seen that they were not going to be done early he had asked the Captain for permission to take a team in a shuttle and go after Tom that way but the Captain nixed that plan and he was stuck on Voyager were his over active imagination was conjuring up horrible pictures of the kind of torture Tom was being put through.  
As his mind wandered he inputted an incorrect command and the work he had been doing for the last fifteen minutes had been ruined.  Harry took a deep breath to calm himself and went back to work.  Any delays could be the deciding factor between life or death for Tom or his sanity.  

In Engineering B’elanna worked with her crew to get the warp core and other systems back online.  B’elanna had recruited people from all departments of the ship to assist in repairs.  Gerron was one of those people.  She figured that Gerron would like to be doing something to help get Tom back and working in Stellar cartography wouldn’t do that.  Gerron was working quietly in a corner.  B’elanna knew that Gerron didn’t trust readily and that Tom was one of his close friends.  Someone he looked up to and trusted.  He saw something in Tom that no one other than he Janeway and Harry have been able to see.  
B’elann felt sorry for him to have to go through the fear of losing a good friend.  Gerron has had a tough life.  He didn’t deserve it, so B’elanna was trying extra hard to get Paris back.  Paris had been there for her in the Viddiian prison and she would return the favour now.  Paris was an acquaintance, nothing more but she didn’t want him to be tortured.  She had seen what torture can do to a person during her time in the Maquis.  She would do everything she could to make sure that no one else would have to go through that sort of pain.

Gerron worked at the console in engineering.  He did his work and did not say a word to anyone except when absolutely necessary.  He knew why B’elanna had asked him to work in engineering and help out with the repairs and he appreciated her compassion.  He didn’t know what was happening to Tom at the moment since he hasn’t seen the recording but he had a few guesses mostly fuelled by the rumour mill than any real facts.  

The debris field was still except for one battle cruiser precariously making its way through the debris field.  They had completely lost the shuttle on scanners and where now looking through the debris field with no idea where the prisoner and shuttle were.
Tom sat in the shuttle with almost no lighting and watched as the cruiser passed by him, again.  Tom sighed. Persistent little bastards aren’t they.  Tom had placed the shuttle in a type of grey mode where the energy emission levels were below the level of the battle cruiser’s sensors so he was relatively safe from them.  Tom decided to do a little searching of his own.  Accessing the computers database he tried to find evidence to back his theory.  
The explosives were planted at the base of each pillar meaning that whoever put them up was one of the Mellary.  To get the clearance to enter the race prep area they would need some high clearance from, let’s say a government official.  Tom went through the database find ways around barriers and hacking through others until he came to a heavily classified area.  Jackpot!  Using his knowledge of computers he found a surprisingly simple way around the blockade.  He found detailed accounts of past missions and plans for future ones.  Included were the names of all the undercover agents they had.  He opened up a search program and in the parameters he entered ‘HERRA’.  The information popped up before Tom and he read it all.  He knew it!  All his suspicions had been confirmed.  Tom saved the information to a separate memory unit and shut down the computer files he had searched.   He slipped the unit into a pocket on his torn race suit.
Tom watched as the battle-cruiser passed by in the distance, still looking.  It stopped.  Curioser and curioser.  They released some sort of large cylinder.  After it was a few kilometres from the ship the cylinder detonated.  Tom scanned and noticed that that thing had released a type of radiation that the metals of the two Mellary ships readily absorbed.  If they scanned for the radiation they would find the shuttle.  The cruiser turned and changed its course to a direct route towards Tom’s shuttle.  They were charging weapons.  
Another beep caught Tom’s attention.  Two of the antimatter containment field were about to fail.  The containment field generator must have been damaged by the radiation.  Tom sent a warning to the Mellary ship and then hightailed it out of that area.  He didn’t want to be in the area when the containment field finally went down.  Antimatter explosions could get really nasty.  
Tom and the Mellary spent the next few hours weaving through the debris and trading blows.  The larger cruiser could not keep up with the shuttle or the dexterity of the pilot in the shuttle and quickly lost ground.   Tom sent out a subspace message using a Starfleet emergency frequency and encrypted the message. He hoped that Voyager would be attempting a rescue about now since the forty rotation deadline was rapidly approaching.  

Voyager was only twenty minutes into the rescue plan when Tom’s message came through.  
“Captain.” Called Harry from Ops “I’m receiving a subspace message.”
“From Isal?”  Janeway rose from her seat in ‘the big chair’.
Harry shook his head “It’s on the Starfleet emergency frequency.  It from Tom but it’s encrypted.”  Harry was working like mad on his console to find what it said.  He was relieved to get a message from Tom though.  Maybe they weren’t too late.  “He’s given us a set of co-ordinates and some other information.”  The Captain made her way to Harry’s station. “There’s a debris field in that area.”  Harry looked at the scans again “More like a mine field actually.  That’s were he is and that’s that Mellary ship.”  Harry pointed out.  Janeway was busy reading through the other information.
“Helm Change course to 117 mark 48. Hold position four hundred thousand kilometres from the edge of the debris field.  Harry transmit the same orders to the rest of the Nerisian ships.”  Janeway made her way back to her seat.  “Tuvok raise shields and arm phasers.  Mr. Paris will be coming out of there in a few minutes with a battleship right behind him.  He said that there is a high chance of some antimatter explosions coming from within the debris field.”  She explained to her crew.  

Voyager and the Nerisian ships waited for the shuttle.  They could see what was going on with the sensors.  Tom neared the end of the debris field.  Five, four, three, two, one…he cleared it and headed straight to Voyager.  The cruiser came through the field a moment later.  Even knowing that the Nerisians were waiting they would rather take their chances in a battle than with an explosion that would surely destroy them.  The Mellary began an all out assault on the shuttle.  All though the cruiser was damaged the weapons were still in working order and were doing considerable damage to the small shuttles defences.  Isal had decided to keep his promise to kill the Voyager crewman since the Nerisians had not complied with their demands, even if it meant that they went down as well.  
Voyager had warned the Mellary ship that they would open fire on them if they did not cease firing on the shuttle.  The Mellary ignored them and kept firing so Voyager and the Nerisians open fired on the Mellary.   
In the shuttle Tom was being thrown from his seat and crawling frantically back into it.  Consoles were exploding and Tom fervently hoped that the pilots console wouldn’t be next.  Unfortunately Tom’s luck had just run out.  He only had enough time to raise his arms and shield his face before the console explode send shards of the console flew at him as flames erupted from it.  Tom was forced out of his seat due to the force of the explosion and he fell to the deck and into unconsciousness.  

In the debris field the containment units had finally given up and an antimatter explosion was the result.  The shockwave caused the second containment unit to breakdown and another antimatter explosion followed soon after the first.  
“Captain, I’m detecting two antimatter explosions coming from within the debris field.”  Harry reported at his station. “The shockwave will hit us in sixteen seconds.”
“Divert extra power to the shield emitters.  Lock down all primary systems.  Bridge to all hands, brace for impact!”  Each person grabbed onto the edges of their console as Harry counted down the seconds until impact.
The wave crashed over them creating only minimal damage to Voyager and the Nerisian vessels but the Mellary ship was more heavily damaged and the shuttle even more so.  
“Shields down, weapons down, life support off-line,”  Harry read off the list of damaged systems of the shuttle Tom was in. “Propulsion is still on-line”  just then an explosion came from the shuttle. “Propulsion off-line.”  Harry corrected.
“Helm move us within transporter range.” Janeway ordered to Hamilton. “Tuvok prepare to drop the shields for transport.”  Tuvok nodded and went to his task.  
Voyager moved closer to the dilapidated shuttle and took a position between the crusier and the shuttle.  Tom’s head was swimming and his headache was getting much worse.  Probably another concussion, Tom thought.  He was brought into consciousness by a voice.  He identified it as Janeway telling him to expect transport.  In a few moments Tom’s form shimmered out of the shuttle and onto Voyager.  Tuvok quickly raised the shields again and Voyager moved away from the small, badly damaged shuttle.  It exploded a few minutes later leaving nothing but charred debris.  Voyager pivoted and with one precision shot The Mellary’s weapons were taken out.  
Voyager sent a message to the Nerisians that they had their crewmember and that they could leave but even as Voyager turned to head back the Nerisians continued their assault on the defenceless ship.  They didn’t stop until the ship was barely a ship at all.  All of the systems of the ship were down except minimal life-support and their warpcore was relatively stable.  Two of the three Nerisian ships went to apprehend the Mellary while the other one stayed near Voyager.

In Voyagers sickbay the Doctor and Kes watched as Tom Paris’ battered and bloodied form materialized on the floor.  Kes was shocked at Tom’s state so much that she hadn’t moved.  Until Voyager Kes had lead a very sheltered life and not until she met the Kazon and came to Voyager that she saw that the universe was a much harsher place than the Caretaker would let them see.  Tom’s moan as he attempted to get up brought Kes back to the Present and she assisted the Doctor in getting Tom on the surgical bed and raised the medical arch.  
An hour later the Doctor was just finishing the operation on Tom when Captain Janeway and Ensign Kim entered Sickbay.  The Doctor instructed Kes to finish putting away the instruments while went to see them.
“How is he Doctor?”  The Captain asked as she looked at Tom’s still form on the surgical bed.  
“Mr. Paris will make a full recovery given proper rest and treatment but he will not be able to return to active duty and his other reckless endeavours for at least four days.  I’ll be keeping him in Sickbay.”
“How badly was he injured?”  Harry asked in concern.
“Where to start,” that earned a look from Janeway “ four broken ribs three cracked ribs, a punctured lung, internal bleeding from a kidney and his liver, second degree phaser burns on his arms and  third degree on his chest, a concussion and several cuts and abraisions.”  Harry and the Captain were startled.  Looking at Tom on the biobed you would never be able to tell that he had been so badly injured.  He had a slightly pale cast to his skin tone but other than that he looked well.  
“When will he wake up?”  Harry asked.
“I’ve sedated him.  He was regaining consciousness when he arrived.  He will sleep through the night and awaken sometime tomorrow morning.”
“We’ll be here tomorrow morning then.” Said Janeway.  

The next morning Tom woke up and again the first person he saw was the Doctor who was running a tricorder over his body.
“Mr. Paris.”  The Doctor greeted with little enthusiasm. 
“Doc.”  Tom said still slightly groggy.  He noticed that there were others around him.  Harry, that didn’t surprise Tom but he was glad his friend was there.  Janeway,  Masi,  Herra,  a guard; HERRA?!  Tom remembered information that he had seen and saved in the memory unit.  
“Tom how do you feel?”  said Janeway.  Tom seemed to ignore her and reached down to where his pocket was but he then realised he was wearing the blue sickbay pyjamas.
“My suit.” Tom said weakly.  He was looking around him trying to find it.  
“Tom?”  Janeway asked again.  Tom finally looked directly at her and saw the concern in her eyes.
“In the pocket, the memory unit.” He said as he tried to get up only to have several pairs of hands force him down again.  “You don’t understand.”  He looked over to Herra again.
“Tom I’ll get your suit for you.”  Harry said as he patted his leg and went to a nearby stool were it was.  
“The pocket.”  Harry looked at the tattered suit and looked for a pocket.  He found one but it was empty.  He turned the material in his hand and found another.  In this one there was some sort of computer memory unit.
“Yes.  It’s all on there.” Tom said as he relaxed on the biobed.
The Doctor ushered them away from Tom’s biobed.  They moved to the Doctor’s office and Harry quickly worked on retrieving the information on the unit.  It was slightly damaged but Harry managed to do it.  The screen of the computer console changed and showed Herra as a Nerisian and then another picture of him as a Mellary.  Reading the first line was enough to incriminate Herra.  
“Gurad,”  Masi turned to face Herra “Arrest him.” But Herra had already seen the file and ran to Tom’s biobed where Tom was chatting quietly with the Doctor.
“This is your fault!”  Herra yelled as he attacked Paris.  Tom had caught Herra’s hand’s before he could choke him but Herra pushing to get at him and Tom pushing to keep Herra away forced Tom off the biobed and landed with a thud on the floor.  Herra quickly circled the bed.  The others were exiting the Dotor’s office to go after Herra.  
Tom had the air knocked out of him and some pain was retuning to his chest.  Herra was about to attack Tom again when he dropped to the floor unconscious.  Tom turned over to find the Doctor standing over Herra’s inert form with a hypospray in his hand.  Harry and the Doctor helped Tom back onto the biobed.  
“Mr. Paris we are terribly sorry for getting you involved in one of our conflicts.  But we must thank you.  Herra must have been giving the Mellary very sensitive information. We knew we had a spy among us but we never imagined it would be someone so high on our government.  Herra and the others on the Mellary ship will be dealt with severely.”  Masi said, with a look in his eye that made Harry, Tom and Captain Janeway feel lucky that they weren’t the ones he was talking about.     
“I’m afraid that I must ask you to leave now.  I believe my patient has had enough excitement for one day.”  With that they said goodbye to Tom and left Sickbay.  
For the rest of the day Tom was visited by Gerron, B’elanna and Harry again.  The last person to visit him was Captain Janeway.  She came into sickbay in the evening after they had gotten the supplies from the Nerisians and left the planet.  She walked over to Tom who was reading a padd.  Tom heard someone coming and put down the padd.  She smiled warmly at him.
“How are you feeling Tom?”  She asked for the second time that day.  The first time she hadn’t gotten an answer.  
“A little tired.” He answered honestly.  She placed a hand on his shoulder.  “Did Masi say what they were going to do with those they had captured?”  Tom asked.  Janeway had heard the tone of Masi’s voice when he said that the Mellary would be dealt with and had her own fear.  Tom saw the emotions flash across her face and he feared the worst.  He may not like the Mellary but he could understand how desperate they were to get their home back.
“He didn’t say.” She answered simply.  Tom took a deep breath.  “It’s not you fault Tom.”  She was afraid Tom would blame himself for getting the Mellary in trouble.  Tom nodded but he still worried.  
“The Mellary are strong Tom.  And smart,” she added with a slight smile.  At Tom’s questioning glance she continued. “When the Mellary realised that they were going to be caught, they wiped their computer system.  The Nerisians couldn’t get any information from their computer.  The tried to salvage the computer from the shuttle that you where in but it was to badly damaged to be of any use.  The Mellary secrets are still that.  Secret.”  Janeway didn’t side with the Nerisians or the Mellary but she wanted the Mellary to have fair chance of regaining their rightful home.
“I was tempted to save more information but I only wanted to get Herra.”  Tom explained “It was…personal.” Tom said with a grin.  Janeway patted his shoulder and left telling him to get some rest.  She expected him be completely healed in four days, no more.
Great, Tom thought, four days with the Doctor for company.  He moaned internally and went back to reading.  

End Part II

Please send comments and constructive criticism to zappyzaps@hotmail.com