Only Here

Part 2

Rating for this part: 
Category: P/T Angst
Disclaimer: The characters in this story belong to Paramount.  No infringement intended but the story is mine.
Archiving: Feel free to archive anywhere but please tell me if you do.?

It was a typical meeting.  Each department gave a report giving a list of required maintenance, repairs or supplies that were required.  After a moment of thought the Captain decided that it was about time the stopped to collect supplies.  Checking the long range scans of the area showed a trading dock and a few planets that could have promising metal deposits in the next system.  The decided that an away team could take a shuttle to the planets and mine the metal and Voyager could be taken to the trading station. 
“Lt. Torres you’ll be going to the planets.  Assemble a team with a metallurgist and whoever else you need for the operation.” Ordered Janeway.  When Torres nodded Janeway continued. “Lt. Paris you’ll pilot the shuttle just in case there are any problems on the way there or back.”  Tom wasn’t thrilled with the idea of being locked in a shuttle with Torres for four days but nodded his consent without letting his discomfort show.  Janeway however noticed the way Torres was casting a glare in Paris’ direction every now and then and Paris who just threw her his cocky smirk.  Deciding to ignore them for now she continued with the meeting.  After all matters had been addressed they were all dismissed. 

The away team was scheduled to depart at 1400.  Tom made a quick stop to his quarters to pack for the trip, brought it to the shuttle and then helped the engineers and science officers to load a shuttle with the mining equipment and cargo containers the metal was to be stored in.  Paris and Torres only spoke to each other where work was concerned until Tom started pre-flight checks.
The shuttle was empty except for the two Lt.s.  Tom sat at the helm of the shuttle completing the pre-flight checks when Torres joined him.  Slowly, she crept up behind the pilot’s console where Tom was working.
“B’elanna.” He said not taking his eyes off the console.  He had beaten her to it again. The moment she was about to make her presence known he addresses her.  “Could you check the antimatter injectors?  I’m getting some anomalous readings.”  All business eh? B’elanna thought to herself.  Sighing she sat down heavily into the Engineering console in the shuttle.  The faulty injector was isolated and repaired within a few minutes and with that they were prepared to disembark.  After receiving clearance from the bridge Tom expertly manoeuvred the shuttle out of voyager and into the vastness of space. 

Two hours into the sojourn the ensign and crewman that had accompanied them went to the rear of the shuttle leaving Tom and B’elanna alone up front.  Torres seeing that this was as good a time as any to play twenty questions (or fifty depending on how cooperative he was) decided to try and corner Paris into telling her what the problem was. 

“B’elanna” Tom interrupted turning around to face her “if this is about my sleeping habits then, please just don’t ask.  It’s nothing critically important so just leave it.” And with that he tuned back to his console making unnecessary course modifications. 
“Tom, as the officer in command of this mission it is my responsibility to ensure the safety and success of this mission.  Your fatigue-”
“Is not an issue here?”
“B’elanna, the truth is that if you hadn’t seen me last night then you wouldn’t have suspected a thing.  I guarantee you Lt., on the minute chance that I feel under par in any way, shape or form, I will tell you immediately.”  Tom said with a smirk “Cross my heart,” he said playfully. 
“Tom, it may not be affecting you now but sooner or later you won’t be able to keep this up.  As your friend Tom, I’m worried about you.”  Growing more sombre Tom replied.
“B’elanna…” Tom started unsure where to go from there, “You don’t understand,” Tom whispered quietly; but quietly enough.
“I would understand if you would tell me Tom.” B’elanna said. The concern she felt evident in her voice.
“Sorry can’t.” He said quietly but with resolution.
“Lt. Torres, could assist us back here?” Asked Ensign Dell.  B’elanna wasn’t pleased that she was interrupted but knew that her conversation with Tom would have to wait for a more convenient time.  However for the rest of the journey the Lts. were not alone long enough to pick up on their last discussion, whether Tom was doing it on purpose B’elanna could not be sure but she had a good idea that he was.  At 2330 B’elanna gave up and left with Ensign Dell to the bunks to get a goodnights sleep before they were supposed to arrive at the planet the next morning.  After some cajoling from Tom Ensign Farley went to the bunks as well leaving Tom alone with his thoughts and his nightmares. Seven and a half hours before they reached the planet.  To busy himself Tom retrieved a padd and started working on a new holoprogram.  Two hours into his programming and tired and half asleep B’elanna staggered to the entrance to the cockpit.

“Tom” she called hoarsely getting his attention “There is nothing out here to pilot around so stop wasting your time and get some sleep.”
“I’ll sleep after I’ve landed the shuttle on the planet” he said turning away. 
“And miss out on setting up the mining equipment.  I don’t think so.”
“What will it take for you to leave me alone for a couple of hours?” he asked in exasperation.  B’elanna smiled realizing that she was winning this little battle.
“The only was I will stop bothering you is if you get some sleep.” Sighing audibly Tom raised his hand in defeat and followed her to the back of the shuttle after he had placed the shuttle on autopilot.  B’elanna had taken the upper bunk so he took the lower, unoccupied bunk. 
“Goodnight Paris.” B’elanna said smugly 
“Goodnight Torres.” Tom said as he lay down having no intention of falling asleep in his current state of mind.  After B’elanna’s attempts to get him to talk about his sleeping problems the nightmare where close to the surface of his consciousness.  He had kept his mind off them with his programming but now with nothing to occupy his mind he kept getting flashes of the nightmares.  His father’s angry face, cellmates at Auckland, Kaldek Prime, Charlie.  Tom shook his to try and clear his mind of the images.  Staring up at the underside of Torres’s bunk his eyes began to droop.  Fatigue was slowly setting in.  Usually he would not be so apprehensive about falling asleep but with the images he was seeing he knew he would not sleep peacefully.  Try as he might he could not fight sleep and slow he succumb to the deceptively peaceful bliss that sleep was supposed to bring.  And then they started.

Five-year-old Tommy ran through the familiar corridors of the Paris household heading towards the kitchen.  He was going to get some more cookies.  Rounding the sharp corner that would take him into the kitchen he accidentally brushed up against a tall, narrow and Vulcan sculpture of some sort.  Tommy turned to see what he had hit and could only watch helplessly as the sculpture fell to the ground and shattered into a thousand pieces.  The crash caused a shiver to run through his body and fear gripped his little body as he anticipated what was going to happen next.  Footstep where a approaching and Tommy knew who they belonged to. 
Captain Owen Paris had heard the crash and was investigating.  Owen came up behind Tom through the kitchen and immediately saw the shattered remains of what was once a piece of art.  Owen immediately knew what had happened and would see to it that Tom was punished. 
“What did you do?” Owen said harshly as he roughly turned the child to face him.  Tommy had his eyes on the ground and would not meet his father’s gaze.
“It was an accident.” The child said softly, his voice quivering slightly.  Owen knelt so that he was eye level with his son and grabbed his chin.  He raised the boy’s head so that he was looking him in the eye.
“What did you do?” Owen asked again, his voice raising. 
“I –I was running and… and…” the child stammered.  Tommy’s breathing was becoming more ragged as he was almost in tears.
“And what?” Owen yelled. “What have I told you about running in the house?”  Owen wasn’t mad because the statue was broken; that could be easily replaced. What really got him angry was that Tom had disobeyed an order from him. 
“Not to run in the house.” The child said quietly. 
“I didn’t hear you!” Owen yelled.  His grip on Tommy’s face tightened.
“N-Not to run in the house.”  Tommy said his eye’s closing as the tears finally cascaded down his cheeks.
“Look at me boy!” Owen yelled.  Tommy immediately opened his eyes and stared at his father.  Owen could easily read the fear I his eyes and was disappointed.  Disappointment that soon turned to anger.  Anger that was directed at Tommy Paris “Don’t ever disobey me again boy!  Is that understood?” Owen yelled.  Tommy quickly nodded. “I didn’t hear you!” he yelled and removed his grip from Tommy’s face to his arm and began to twist.
“Yes,” was all that left his trembling lips as more tears took the same path that others had taken earlier fuelling more anger in Owen.
“Stop crying!  Don’t be so weak!” Owen commanded.  “Fear is a sign of weakness!  I will not raise a weak child!” Owen slapped his son across his face.  Tommy’ head snapped to one side.  He would have fallen but Owen’s tight grip on his arm kept him standing.  When the crying continued Owen slapped him again.  Tommy began to quiet down but tears were still flowing.  Owen grabbed hold of his shoulders and began to shake him, yelling for him to stop crying, to stop being so weak.  Tommy had summoned all the strength he had to overcome the powerful emotions that he felt and had stopped crying.  Owen stopped shaking him and studied Tommy’s face.  His anger was subsiding and he spoke to Tommy in a softer but very stern voice. “Emotions are a weakness son.  They let other’s know what your thinking and enemies will use that against you.”  Tommy was confused and afraid and Owen could see it. “You have to keep your emotions under control or else they will be your downfall.”  Tommy pushed all his emotions down so that the fear was no longer showing.  Owen studied him.  He could still see some of the emotions lurking beneath the exterior but he would fix that in time. 
Owen allowed a small smile of pride to show on his face.  He pulled Tommy into a hug and told Tommy that he was doing it to help him; to make him stronger.
Tommy did not understand but he knew better that to let it show.  He didn’t return the hug but instead he stood ramrod straight, detached from the world around him.

Tom ‘s eyes shot opened as he realised, it was just a dream.  His breathing slowed and the feeling of fear was slowly wearing off.  Checking the chronometer he realised he had only been sleeping for three and a half hours.  Feeling that he had had enough sleep for one night he got up from the bunk and made his way back to the helm not realizing that another pair of eyes had been on him the entire time.

B’elanna watched as Tom left the sleeping area and headed back to the cockpit.  B’elanna is light sleeper and had woken up when she heard Tom thrashing in his sleep.  She couldn’t be sure what it was that had caused him such distress but she knew that if the same thing happens every night then it was no winder he only slept a few hours a night, if at all.

They arrived at the planet on schedule the next morning and after a flawless descent and landing of the shuttle they began to set up the equipment for extracting the elements that they needed.  B’elanna kept an eye on Tom the entire time.  He joked and made his usual comments and was his normal self.

Late in the day when the mining work was in full swing an alarm on the shuttle caught Ensign Dell’s attention.  He immediately went to Lt. Torres.  “What is it?” she asked the ensign.
“There’s another ship approaching this location.  They aren’t responding to hails and are charging weapons.” He said quickly.
“Paris!  Farley!” she called “We’ve got to go!”  Packing as much equipment as quickly as possibly they went back to the shuttle.

Each person slid into their position- Paris at the helm Torres at Engineering, Farley at Tactical and Dell at Ops.
“Still not answering hails.” Dell said.
“I think it’s time we made like a ski and dattled.” Paris said finishing the pre-flight check. He knew that Torres was giving him a funny look so he elaborated. “You know- skidattle”  Torres just shook her head and went back to working from her console.  Leave it to Paris to crack a bad joke at a time like this.
“Beginning rapid ascent.  Hold on to your knickers.”  Dell had to wonder how the bridge crew survived all these jokes.  At least it broke some of the tension.

The shuttle shook just as it left the atmosphere of the planet.  The attacker had gotten a direct hit on the shuttle.  The ship was bigger than Voyager and more heavily armed.
“Shields seventy-two percent and falling!” called Farley.  Paris tried to dodge the incoming shots but more shots still hit their mark.
“I’ve lost warp drive.” Paris said rather calmly.  B’elanna stole a quick glance at him before working on the warp drive.  The larger ship fired a volley of torpedoes at the damaged shuttle until…
“Shields are down-”
“I’ve lost impulse engines-”
“Primary systems are failing-” said Dell, Paris and Farley in succession. 
“Launch a distress beacon.  Let’s hope Voyager finds it.” B’elanna ordered.  The shuttle began to shake and outside the shuttle and blue tractor beam locked on the shuttle and was towing it into the massive ship, but not before the beacon was launched.

God my head hurts, Was the first thought that entered the mind of B’elanna Torres.  She pushed herself up off the cold floor into a sitting position.  Just then she felt a pair of hands on her arm.  She was ready to attack but when she saw that it was only Dell she relaxed a bit.  He smiled a weak smile at her.  He had a bruise on the right side of his forehead but other than that he seemed fine.  B’elanna quickly looked around the room looking for Paris and Farley.  Farley was near a wall lying on his side. “He’s sleeping.” Dell informed her.  She looked around the rest of the room.  More like a cell actually.  Low lighting except above the door, which had a small window to see outside.  The dark metal of the room added to the glum reality of their situation.  There was nothing in the room just her Farley and Dell.  Wait a minute, where the hell’s Paris.  She turned to Dell and as if he read her mind he answered her unasked question.  “They took him hours ago.” Hours how long had she been out.  “You’ve been unconscious for at least four hours.” He said.  She had thought out loud. “Whatever they used on us seems to affect on you more severely.” He explained.  B’elanna’s mind was still foggy and she could only nod in agreement.  “Paris was awake before anyone else.  When Farley and I woke he was already looking for a way out.  The guards came in soon after and took him.” He turned to look at the door hoping that by the force of his will the doors would magically open.  B’elanna’s mind was running through several awful scenarios that could be happening to Tom when the door slid open with a light his. 

The lighting in the hall way was much brighter than the cell.  B’elanna and Dell had to shield their eyes and the light woke up Farley.  The only thing that could be seen were a couple of dark forms standing in the doorway before Tom Paris was roughly pushed in falling to his hands and knees.  The door was abruptly shut and the darkness returned. 

As soon as the door closed Paris was on his feet and made his way to Torres and Dell, flopping exhaustedly on the floor next to them.  “Ah sleeping beauty awakes.” He said looking down at his hands 
“Are you alright?” Torres and Dell ask at the same time.
“Oh, I’m okay.” He said a little too confidently.  He finally looked up and they could see his face.  He was pale and sweating, his eyes were glassy and he had a gash o his forehead that was bleeding.
“Tom what did they do to you?”  B’lanna asked moving towards him.
“They just roughed me up a bit.” He said weakly.  His strength was leaving him.  “They also gave me something… an injection of something.  I’m feeling kinda sick actually.”  His mind was sluggish as whatever they injected took effect.
“You should rest a bit.” Dell suggested.  That seemed to jumpstart Tom’s memory.
“no not yet” he said weakly as he slowly got to his feet.  “I’ve got to do this now or I won’t be able to later.” He said walking to the wall with the door.  Dell and Torres looked at each other and at Farley before joining Tom by the wall.

Tom had removed a panel of the hull plating and was working with the circuitry revealed.  He fished for the items in his pocket and lay them on the floor next to him.  There were a few little instruments and the rank pins of Torres, and Dell.  B’elanna hadn’t even noticed that they were missing. 
“Why did you take these?” B’elanna asked.
“As the only ranking officer they thought that I would have the most information.”  He said simply.
“You shouldn’t have done that.  I’m in charge of this mission-”
“You were a little preoccupied at the time.” He said with a weak smirk.
“Where did you get these?” Dell asked about the tools before the Lts got into a fight.
“Let’s just say they should have bound my hands.”  All the while Paris was working at the wiring.  Using some of the tools here and there until the panel sparked and died.  Tom smiled at his handy work.  Dell and B’elanna however were clueless as to what he was doing.  Tom sat there as if waiting for something to happen.
“Tom what-” B’elanna began
“Just wait a second.” Tom said pointing to the door.  B’elanna and Dell turned there attention to the door as did Farley who was listening from his position.  CLICK.  The door moved open a fraction making enough room to slip some fingers through to pull the door open.  “Amazing what you learn in prison.” Tom said as he slowly got up from the floor.  The moment he was standing a wave of nausea overtook him and he leaned heavily on the wall, arms wrapped around his chest.
“Paris-”  Farley said as he approached.
“I’ll be okay,” he said. 

Together the four of them managed to move the heavy door enough for them to slip out.
“No where to?” B’elanna asked Tom, seeing as he was the only one of them that had been out side the cell.
“This way.” Tom said walking to the right.  The small group kept up a quick pace and were constantly looking over their shoulder.  Sooner of later (hopefully later) these people were going to realise that their prisoners had escaped.  B’elanna looked critically at Paris who was leading them through the ship.  He was even paler than before, if that’s possible and his hair was beginning to stick to his forehead with the sweat.  He was breathing heavily for someone like him who was in shape and he seemed to be fighting to keep up this pace.

The group soon found themselves at a turbolift. 
“Up or down?” Dell asked.
“Down.” Tom said. “Shuttlebay.” He tapped the appropriate button and with a slight jerk the turbolift descended.  Tom leaned a against the turbolift walls and tilted his head to the ceiling trying to make the sickness stop through sheer will.  The other three in the turbolift eyed him analytically.  He definitely looked very sick.  They had to get him to sickbay.

The turbolift stopped and the group slowly disembarked looking around and ducking crewmembers that passed by.  They guessed that the huge bay doors at the end of the corridor lead to the shuttle bay and head quickly in that direction.  They had been lucky not to have been caught thus far, but their luck was about to run out. 

The turbolift they had just exited deposited a large group of crewmember to this level; each of them armed with phaser rifles.  Looks like the prisoners have been missed.  They armed people started shooting the escaping prisoners.  The escaping prisoners broke out into a full sprint.  Good thing that these people had such bad aim.  They managed, however, to hit Dell in the arm and Torres too but hit Tom, who was bringing up the rear, in the right shoulder.

He stumbled but carried on ignoring the pain.  They soon made it into the relative safety of the shuttlebay.  There were only a few officers in that general area of the shuttlebay and they were easily subdued.  The Voyager crewmen and crewwoman made there way to the beaten up class two shuttle.  It looks like these people were trying to repair it.  Ah the box with two nacelles, Paris thought.  It never looked so good.

Once inside the shuttle they moved to their stations.
“How will we get past the bay doors.” Asked Dell.  Farley was one step ahead.
“Like this.”  Farley fired the shuttles phaser at the door.  After only a few seconds the door was weak enough for the pressure of the shuttlebay to blow open.  The officers that had followed them now clung onto any secure object they could find to avoid being sucked into space.  The shuttle slipped easily through the hole in the ship and jumped to low warp in the direction of Voyager.

“It’ll be days before Voyager comes looking for us and by then our new friends will have caught us again.” Said B’elanna as she tried to give the shuttle more power.  She turned to face her team.  “We need to hide out somewhere.  Any ideas?” she asked.  No response from anyone.  Not surprising.  This area of space was devoid of any stellar phenomena. 
“A planet with a high EM field would be able to hide us from sensors if we hide under a rock formation.”  Paris said.  He was tired and it showed.  B’elanna was about to take over the scan when he found a suitable candidate.  “Laying in a course.” 

An hour later they were orbiting a planet with a very big and very erratic EM field.  The shuttle shook as it entered the field. “Sorry about that.” Tom said tiredly.  He had to concentrate on piloting the shuttle through the EM field.  Dell was looking for a suitable place to hide when the long range sensors picked up the large ship. 
“We need that location.” B’elanna urged.
“Got one!” he said triumphantly “Sending the co-ordinates to the helm.”
“Got them.  Were going in.”  Tom said.
The shuttle began it’s descent.  Smooth when looking on the outside but inside the shuttle it’s a different story.  The shaking was getting a bit much.  The EM field was throwing off the guidance system.  As soon as they entered the stratosphere the shaking stopped and it was a smooth ride down into the large cavern.  They weren’t out of danger yet though.  Their attackers may have seen them coming down to this planet.  Each person held their breath as the large ship warped past them.  Home free!

The planet was M-class thankfully so B’elanna sent Dell and Farley to do a scan of the area using the tricorders.  The shuttles sensors were being scrambled because of the rocks they were surrounded by.  Tom sat at the helm slowly going through the navigational systems and fixing what he could.  With the adrenaline wearing off his fatigue was quickly becoming harder to fight. 

B’elanna was working on a relay when she saw Tom walk past her.  Getting up she followed him.  Tom grabbed the medkit and sat heavily on the bunk he slept on the day before.  He closed his eyes and leaned against the wall catching his breath. 
“Tom,” B’elanna called softly.  No response. “Tom!” she called louder approaching him.  Still no response.  She sat next to him and shook him calling his name.
“What?” he said confused. “Where…” then he remembered “right the shuttle.” He rubbed his tired eyes and finally noticed that B’elanna was next to him looking very worried. 
“Tom are you all right?” B’elanna asked 
“Yes…No…I don’t know.” He closed his eyes again.
“Oh no you don’t. Open your eyes Tom. Stay awake.” She waited until he had fully opened his eyes before getting the medical tricorder out. She scanned him and attempted to read the results but she had little medical knowledge.  Tom saw her confusion and gently took the tricorder from her to look at the readings himself.  Temperature: 42 degrees centigrade, BP: 180 over 100.  His vision was blurring again and he had to shake his head to clear it. He tapped a few buttons and looked at them for a moment before taking a hypo loading it with inaprovaline and pressing it to his neck.  He sat back and sighed.
“What did it say?” B’elanna asked.  Tom had been silent the entire time and she wanted to know what was going on.  Tom popped one blue eye open to look at her before sitting up and resting his elbows on his knees.
“Whatever they gave me is attacking my organ systems and causing internal bleeding.  My body is shutting down.  In short…I’m dying.” He said with dis-interest. 
“Isn’t there something that we can do?” B’elanna asked quickly.  She grabbed the tricorder and looked through it’s database for what to do in this sort of emergency.  Tom put his hand over the tricorder and pried it from her fingers. 
“Can’t do anything here.  Maybe the Doctor could do something but…” They were both silent for a few moments.  Tom placed the tricorder back in the med kit and stood up shakily.  “We’ve got a shuttle to fix.” he said extending his hand to B’elanna to help her up.  B’elanna was still thinking about the possibility that Tom could die here and didn’t hear him.  Tom kneeled in front of her. “B’elanna he said holding her hands.  “I’ll be okay.” She looked at him.  How could he say that?  Ruptured internal organs was a death sentence if they couldn’t treat it.
“If we repair the shuttle in time we can find Voyager and the doctor can treat you.” She said standing.  Both she and Tom knew that it was a long shot but she needed a bit of hope to hang onto.  They left the back of the shuttle to the cockpit.  Dell and Farley were working on the shuttle.  They had both over heard them talking and knew that Tom was dying but they didn’t let it show that they knew.  Together the four worked on the shuttle.  Two days was too long to wait for Voyager.

End Part 2