Title: Silver Lining
Author: Zappy Zaps
Category: P, J, P/T, Action/Adventure
Rating: PG
Summary: AU Tom Paris’ life if there was no Caldik Prime (actually it does happen but Tom is not there).  Just read it and find out.
Disclaimer:  Yadda yada yada…. Paramount owns the character’s (except the ones I make up)….song and dance….you get the idea.
Author’s Note:  This story, much like my story ‘A Promise Kept’, was stuck in my head obscuring better ideas.  So to get rid of it I wrote this.  Don’t expect too much. You’ve been warned.

The Exeter had docked at Deep Space Nine to re-supply before going on another brief mission to the Caldik System.  The ship would be docked for two days while the cargo was loaded.  The crew had been granted leave to visit the station.  Among them was Lt. j. g. Thomas Eugene Paris, only son of Admiral Paris and his wife Emily Paris.  
 Tom was one of the senior pilots on the Exeter.  Only 24 years of age and with so much potential, many watched with interest where this young man’s career would lead him.  Things in Tom’s life weren’t as peachy keen as you may believe.  His relationship with his father was far from stellar.  Owen pushed too much and Tom pushed back.  They didn’t know that it would take a tragedy to bring them closer together.
 Tom stepped onto the docking pylon along with several other crewmembers.  Tom had plans to see a friend from the academy that was stationed here.  He walked with a light step towards his destination: DS9 Medical Bay.  He walked in and looked around.  It looked like any other medical bay; equipment, med tricorders and other assorted devices strewn about.  He walked further and came upon an office.  He peered inside through the transparent barrier.  Dr. Julian Bashir was hard at work, as always.  Julian hadn’t noticed Tom yet.  He was staring so intently at the screen on the desk that the rest of the universe no longer existed only the information on the screen.
 Tom stood in the doorway and knocked.  Julian’s brow creased with frustration.  Could that person not see he was busy?  The knocking continued.  Julian finally looked up, annoyance set clearly in his features.  Try as he might he couldn’t stop the smirk that formed on his face.  He should have known.  Only Tom Paris could be that irritating.  They had been roommates for a year while at the academy.  They have been friends and stayed in contact with each other since graduation.  “Tom, what are you doing here?”  Julian got up from his desk and approached Tom.  They shook hands.
 “The Exeter just pulled in for a quick visit and then we’re off again.”  Tom explained with a smile.  “What were you reading that was so interesting.”  Tom asked and walked past Julian to take a peek.  He stopped short and looked back at Julian. “It’s not a patients file, is it?”.
 “No, it’s the latest Star Fleet Medical report.”  Julian walked back to his console. “It’s written by a Doctor in Sira Prime who was doing a study on an outbreak of Tackella.  There was a epidemic on the planet and the antivirus that fights it was -”
 “That’s great!”  Tom interrupted Julian.  He wasn’t particularly interested in what was written in the report.  “What do you say we get out of here and go to Quark’s?”
 “I can’t leave.” Julian protested.  Tom looked around the medical bay that was empty except for the two nurses.
 “Because you’re so busy right?”  Tom said folding his arms.  “If anything happens they’ll call you.  Besides isn’t it about time for your break?”
 “Fine!”  Julian raised his hands in defeat “Just to shut you up.”  Julian walked past Tom to the doors.  
 “Tom: one, Julian: zip.”  Tom smiled happily.
 They were soon seated in Quark’s having a coffee (Tom) and a rakatijino (Julian).  They were catching up on what had been happening in each other’s lives since graduation when a voice came over Tom’s commbadge.
 “O’Donnell to Paris.”  Captain O’Donnell was the Captain of the Exeter.
 “Paris here.” 
 “Mr. Paris, please come to the Ready room immediately.”
 “Aye sir.” Tom said bemusedly.  He wondered why the Captain wanted to speak to him.  “Sorry Julian.”  Tom apologized, “Duty calls.  I’ll see you later.” And he took his leave.
 “Captain,” Tom stood at attention in the ready room.  Captain O’Donnell was seated behind his desk, hands clasped in front of him.
 “At ease Lt.” O’Donnell’s sounded slightly weary.  Tom took a good look at the Captain as he slid into a chair. It seemed like there was some issue or burden that was weighing him down.  Tom was filled with a sense of foreboding.  “Tom, I hate to be the one to tell you this but… there was an accident.  The transport that your sisters and mother were on came into contact with an anomaly that severely damaged the ship.  Your mother and sisters didn’t survive.  I’m sorry.”  Tom just sat there silently wishing and hoping that this was some horrible dream.  Unfortunately this was not dream.  His sisters and Mother were dead.

 The Chime to his quarters rang again but Tom ignored it once more.  He was lying on his bead with his face in a pillow.  The doors to the dark quarters slipped open and a person stepped into the dark room that was briefly illuminated by the lights in the hallway.
 “Julian.” Tom recognized who had entered.  The accent was unmistakeable. 
 “Are you alright?  I just hear what happened.  I’m so sorry.”
 “I’m fine.”  Tom still lay face down on the bed.  “If you don’t mind I’d like to be alone right now.”
 “Okay, I’ll leave but if you need somebody to talk to-”
 “I know where to find you.”  Julian left Tom in his misery.  He understood the mourning process that he was going through but he could not comprehend the emotions that Tom would be feeling.

 The next day the Exeter was getting ready to leave.  Tom was at the docking junction saying goodbye to Julian.  Julian tried to convince Tom that he shouldn’t go.  In his opinion Tom still had to deal with the death of his family members and would not be able to concentrate on much else.  It would put him and his fellow officers in danger.  Tom also looked too pale and Julian was worried about his physical health as well.  He probably wasn’t eating enough.
 Tom had insisted that he was fine even though he wasn’t quite feeling up to par.  He was just turning to leave when another voice, a familiar voice called his name.  He looked back and saw his father, Admiral Owen Paris walking up the platform towards him.  Like Julian, Owen didn’t think that Tom should be going on missions right now.  
 Tom turned away from his father and his friend and headed to the ship.  Owen sighed. 

 From one of the decks on the station Owen watched silently as the Exeter pulled away from the station and jumped to warp.  He stared out at eh now empty space where the ship was last.  A voice from behind interrupted his musings.

 In his room on earth Tom lay on the bed in his room tossing his baseball up and down.  It had been two days since hearing about his mother and sister’s death.  Plans for the funeral were complete.  The funeral would be taking place tomorrow.  Tom was dreading it.  He heard a knock on his door.
 “Come in.”  He said wearily.  The doors opened and an auburn haired woman walked in.  “Hey Kat.”  Tom said. Commander Kathryn Janeway walked into Tom’s room and sat on the side of his bed.  The Janeways had always been close friends of the Paris’.  Phoebe, being the older daughter of the Janeway’s hung out more with Moira and Kathleen rather than Tom who was six years younger than the youngest of the Paris daughters.  Kathryn hung out with the Paris girls as well but also with Tom.  She didn’t mind having to play with the ‘baby’ so Tom was just about as close to Kathryn as he was to his sisters.
 “Hey.  How are you feeling?”
 “Less than stellar.”  He said not looking at her.
 “Have you told Elaine what’s happened yet?”  Elaine was Tom’s fiancée.  
 “No I haven’t been able to contact her yet.  I guess she’s busy.”  Tom shrugged and continued tossing his ball.  Kathryn caught it in mid air before Tom could.  
 “Keep trying.  She should be here with you.”  Kathryn didn’t particularly like Tom’s fiancé.  She was worried that Elaine was only using Tom for the Paris name and his connections.  It had happened before –‘friends’ in the academy that wanted to get on Tom’s good side to help their careers.
 “I’ll try again.”  He sat got off his bed and left his room.  Kathryn watched him leave.  Love is blind but hopefully Elaine was a better person than Kathryn thought and she wouldn’t hurt Tom.  
 He went to the office in the house where the subspace communication console was.  He inputted the location he wanted the message to be sent to and waited for a minute to get a response.  A dishevelled partially dressed Elaine appeared on the screen.  
 “Tom!” she was obviously surprised to see him.  
 “Elaine, are you alright?”  She was flushed and Tom worried that she may be sick.
 “I’m fine.  What is it?” she said quickly.
 “I just-” Tom was cut off by a voice from Elaine’s side of the communication.
 “Elaine, where did you throw my shirt?”  A male voice yelled.  Elaine didn’t answer.  She watched silently as Tom tried to piece together what was going on.
 “Elaine who is that?” Tom asked suspiciously.
 “Uh… that’s…”
 “Elaine who are you talking to?”  A man walked into the range of the visual and Tom saw an older dark haired shirtless guy.
 “Her fiancé!”  Tom said angrily. “Who the hell are you?”  Tom was trying desperately to find another reason why this half dressed man was with his fiancé.  
 “Oh you?”  The man rolled his eyes.  “You haven’t told him about us yet?”  The man asked Elaine.
 “What are you talking about?  She’s my fiancé!”  
 “Tom,” Elaine interrupted.  “This is Commander Lawrence Terilli.  I…we….”  She took a deep breath. “I’ve been seeing him for a while now… I meant to tell you.”
“When? Before or after we got married?”  He asked indignantly.  He took a moment to calm himself.  “Elaine, I love you-”
“I don’t love you Tom.” She said softly.
 “…You don’t love me anymore?  Elaine please tell me what I did.  I don’t want to loose you.” Tom asked desperately.
 “Tom, I don’t think I ever loved you at all.”  She said coldly.  Tom could feel his heart ripping in two.  He closed his eyes and tried to keep his composure.  A shaky breath escaped his lips.  “Now Lawrence I could love.  He’s successful and he’ll be a captain long before you are –maybe even an Admiral someday.” She either didn’t notice Tom’s distress or ignored it.
 “Save it Lt. That’s an order.”  Lawrence laughed.  Elaine was feeling better now that she had gotten that off her chest and laughed a bit at Lawrence’s joke.  Tom ended the communication link.  “That was rude.”  Lawrence said still laughing.
 Tom slowly raised himself from behind the desk and left the room.  He saw Kathryn standing on the bottom steps.  He paused and looked at her.  Had she heard them?  From the look on her face she had heard at least a little of the conversation.  “I’m sorry Tom.”
 “Yeah…well, I guess you were right about her.”  Tom said quietly.  He walked to the stairs but before he could go up Kathryn stopped him.  She looked at him for a moment.  She could see the torment in his eyes and it hurt her.  She pulled him into a hug.  At first he didn’t respond but then he wrapped his arms around her small torso.  His head rested on her shoulder since she was on a higher step than he was.  He was silent, not a sob escaped him.  Despite the lack of emotional response she knew that his heart had been shattered.  One tear escaped.  He wouldn’t allow himself to cry more than that.  Elaine wasn’t worth it.
  The next day at about noon.  Kathryn knocked on Tom’s door again but this time she received no response.  She opened the door carefully as to not wake Tom if he was sleeping.  Tom was lying on his back eyes open staring at the drab ceiling.  
 “Hey.” She said softly.  
 “What is it?”  Tom asked.  He could tell that something was bothering her.  He knows Kathryn well enough to know when something was bothering her.  
 “I’ve got some bad news.”  She said softly.  Tom sat up and moved so that he was sitting next to Kathryn.  “There was a shuttle accident at Caldik Prime.  Odile, James, Armand and one other officer died.”  If it was possible Tom became another shade paler.   Odile, Armand and James were very close friends of his.  Elbows on his knees, he rested his head in his hands.  Kathryn put her arm around Tom offering any comfort that she could.
 “Welcome to the worst week of my life.”  Tom said quietly.

 The next years of Tom’s life were far from easy.  He went through a period of depression where he took unreasonable chances with his life during away missions but he survived each time, though with a few injuries.  Eventually, with the help of his friends and his father, Tom pulled through.  Tom’s relationship with his father had gotten much better as well.  Not since he was twelve did Tom feel as close to his father as he did now.  They still had their arguments but not the calibre that they had before.  
 Tom’s career in Starfleet took off.  His exceptional piloting skills and excellent command ability took him quickly through the ranks and at age twenty-six he was promoted to Lt. Commander.  Each of his promotions was debated upon by other officers.  Some thought that it was Admiral Paris pulling strings to get Tom promoted but that was not the case.  Tom had made sure early in his career that his father would not use his rank to help Tom during his career.  Each of his promotions was well deserved and if you ever saw him in action you would understand.
 Currently Tom had just been transferred off the USS Ganymede to the Voyager.   Voyager was a newly minted vessel under the command of Captain Kathryn Janeway.  He would be serving as First officer during the short mission to the Badlands and then transferred to the new Enterprise to serve as Chief Conn officer.  It had been Tom’s dream for the longest time to pilot the Enterprise and he would soon be getting his chance.
 Tom was in Quark’s at DS9 sipping on a beverage.  He had tried to con Julian into joining him but this time he couldn’t get him to leave is experiments and what not. Julian: 4, Tom: 7.  Tom watched from not too far away as Quark tried to swindle a young Ensign.  Tom smirked and shook his head as Quark started making a big fuss about something.  He had seen this a million times.  Tom walked over to the pair.
 “As bright as a Colaiden diamond.”  Tom started.
 “Brighter!” Quark snapped.
 “You can find them on and planet in the system.”  Tom took another sip of his drink.
 “That’s an exaggeration.”  Quark explained to the young east Asian man.  
 “There’s a planet in the Bomar system that sells a set of ten assorted colours for one Cardassian Lam.  How much are you selling these for?”  
 “We were just about to negotiate the price.”   Quark said looking expectantly at the young Ensign who slammed the case shut.
 “Come on.”  Tom said.
 “Thanks.”  The Ensign said.
 “Didn’t they warn you about Ferengi at the Academy?”  Tom joked.

 Voyager had left DS9 and was on its way to the Badlands.  Tom rang the chime to the Captain’s Ready Room.  He entered after receiving permission to enter.  “Hey Captain.”  Tom walked past Captain Janeway who was reading something on her console.  She gave him a distracted wave.  Tom walked past her desk and went to the sofa by the window and made himself comfortable.  After a few minutes Kathryn turned her attention to her first officer that was stretched lazily on her sofa.  She picked up a large padd and walked over to her couch.
 “Make some room.” She said.  Tom moved his long legs off the cushions and sat up so that she could sit down.  
 “You wanted to see me?”  He asked casually, not the way that Lt. Commander would usually address a Captain, but they were old friends.
 “I did indeed.” She turned on the padd and showed it to him.  “I don’t want any of this while you’re under my command.”   He looked at the information on the padd.  It was his medical reports from when he was injured on away missions.
 “I made it didn’t I?”  
 “Not the point.  No unnecessary risks with your life.”
 “Those weren’t unnecessary.” He defended his past actions.  She sighed and just looked at him.  Tom had seen that look before.  “I’m fine.”  Since his bout of depression his father and Kathryn had been watching him like hawks, looking for any signs that he was having a relapse.  Taking chances was something he always did before but never so often.  Since the death of his friends and family members he took more chances but only when he was the only with his life.  He never put anybody else in danger when he was with somebody else.  It was just another change in him.  They couldn’t reverse it but they certainly weren’t about to encourage it either.  
 “Just be careful.  There are several young and naïve Ensigns that will be looking up to you, since you are XO.”  Tom didn’t have a spotless record.  He had gotten in trouble before and it was part of what made him a good officer.  Captains want well rounded officers that have had a lot of experience; it made them the best and Tom was one of the best.  He was Lt. Commander and was currently only twenty-six years old.  Captain by thirty seemed probable though Tom was not in any hurry.  
 “Yes Ma’am.” He replied despite her telling him to call her Captain.  She shook her head watching him leave the ready room.  She’d just have to get used to it because she was fairly sure that Tom would not stop calling her ‘ma’am unless he was ordered to by the president of the Federation. 

Caretaker I/II – Voyager and the Liberty stuck in DQ.  Liberty destroyed.  Tom still saves Chakotay’s life in the Ocampan Caves.

 Commander Paris and Captain Janeway were in the Ready room discussing the changes in Voyager’s crew.  It was already decided that the Maquis would serve as crewmembers on Voyager but the Command staff still needed to be sorted out.
 “I think that Chakotay should be first officer.” Tom suggested.
 “You want him to take your place?”
 “I’ll be Chief conn officer since Stadi’s dead.  I was going to be a chief conn officer anyway once this mission was over.”
 “This mission isn’t over.”
 “Isn’t it though?  The crew of the Liberty are on Voyager.”  He joked.  “Besides the Maquis crew are going to need somebody on the senior staff that they can trust.”
 “Alright.  You’ll be assigned to the conn and Chakotay will be first officer.  He has the training already.”
 “That’s the spirit.”  Tom said getting up.  “I’ll see you later.  Don’t forget to eat sleep and breathe.”  He reminded her.
 “Get out.” She said with a smile.
 “Fine, fine, whatever.”  He left the ready room and a smiling Kathryn Janeway.  Being stuck in the Delta Quadrant didn’t give her much to smile about these days and she was grateful that Tom was here with her.
 Tom walked out of the ready room and onto the bridge heading for the turbolift.  He greeted crewmembers as he went.  The lift doors opened and Chakotay, former Captain of the Liberty, exited.  He saw Commander Paris talking to a man at the tactical station.  He glanced at Paris for a moment and then continued on his way to the Captain’s ready room.  He and the Captain had some things to discuss.  

 Tom was in the first officer’s office cleaning out his personal items.  Chakotay had accepted the position so it was his office now.  Tom had gotten everything out but he couldn’t find one thing.  He was searching for it on the floor thinking that it may have fallen off his desk during one of the battles.  The announcer rang and Tom called for the person to enter.  Tom got up but hit his head on the bottom of the desk.  He let out string of curses in at least four different languages.  He closed him mouth and stood at attention when he saw whom it was that had entered. 
“At ease.”  Chakotay said, slightly amused. “Can I help you with anything.”  Chakotay noticed that the room was pretty much bare.  All his personal items were in a little case on a chair.  It was only supposed to be a two week mission so Tom had not brought much with him.
 “Uh, no thanks.  I’m done.  I just can’t seem to find one item.”  He said looking carefully at the floor.
 “What does it look like?”
 “It’s a rock but there’s an inscription on it…”  Tom trailed of when he thought he spotted it but a closer look revealed that it wasn’t his rock.  “I guess I’ll be going.”  Tom closed the case and headed for the door.
 “If it turns up I’ll return it to you.”  Chakotay said to Paris as he was leaving.
 “Thank you sir.”  Tom said and left. 

 Two weeks later all the kinks in the Senior Staff where ironed out.  B’Elanna Torres was chief engineer over Joe Carey.  The ships energy reserves where not quite full so the crew had to suffer through Neelix’s creations.  The crew was still divided; Maquis rarely associated to Starfleet and vice versa.  Currently it was dinnertime and the Mess hall was crowded.  B’Elanna, Seska and Henely sat at one table talking quietly together.  Their topic had shifted to the other members of the senior staff.  “Harry Kim seems nice enough.”  Henley said.
 “He’s a nice guy.”  B’Elanna said.
 “Three out of six isn’t bad.”  Seska said.  Torres and Henley looked at her in confusion. “Three good people on the Senior Staff out of the six in total.” She clarified. 
 “What’s wrong with Paris?”  Henley asked.
 “How about the fact that he was sent out to capture us.”  Seska said.
 “So was Kim.”  B’Elanna said.
 “Do you know who his father is?”  Seska asked.
 “Isn’t his father an Commodore or something?”  B’Elanna said.
 “Try an Admiral.  Admiral Paris.”
 “So what’s that got to do with anything?”  Henley asked.
 “He’s only a few years older the Kim but he’s a Lt. Commander.  Isn’t that just the least bit odd?  He’s must have been handed his career on a silver platter.  His entire life must have been a picnic.”  Seska said vehemently.  She didn’t really have anything against Commander Paris but Admiral Paris.  
 “I hear he and the Captain are close friends too.”  Henley said.  “You may be right Seska.  He’s probably never done any real work in his entire life.”  Henely was beginning to despise Paris as well.  He’s never known any suffering or hardships in his life.  They on the other hand the Maquis will have had nothing but hardships and now they have to take commands from that fleet brat.
 “He can’t be that bad.”  B’Elanna said.  She’s never spoken to Paris except for ship’s business. She also knew that Paris was Harry’s friend.
 “We’ll see.”  Seska said.

 Seska’s opinion of Paris spread through the Maquis like wild fire.  Everybody was in need of somebody to hate due to their current situation and the Kazon and Tuvok weren’t filling the quota.  So the Maquis turned the rest of their ill feelings towards Paris.  Tom noticed the looks that he was getting and finally had to ask Harry.
 “Harry why is it I’m getting these looks from the Maquis crewmembers?”
 “How am I supposed to know?” Harry said smiling.  Despite his rank Harry was completely calm and comfortable around Tom.
 “You talk to Torres outside of duty. I thought that maybe you’d know.”
 “Sorry can’t help.”  Harry said.  He too was wondering what was going on.  He had noticed that the Maquis were less friendly towards Tom but he couldn’t explain why.  He’d talk to B’Elanna about it later.

 “Yeah I’ve noticed.”  B’Elanna said disinterestedly.
 “Well do you know why?”  Harry asked.  He had been talking to her for five minutes but hadn’t gotten a straight answer.  She couldn’t share the same feelings about Paris that the other Maquis do. 
 “Harry, they just don’t like him.”  She said a little too loudly.  They were walking through the halls and a few crewmembers looked at the pair.
 “Do you know why?”  He asked again.
 “What difference does it make?  So people on this ship don’t worship the ground that he walks on.  Is he finding it that hard to cope?”  B’Elanna asked with a touch of 
 “That’s not it.  He just doesn’t want them to be mad at him.”  B’Elanna just snorted.  “It’s not fair to him.  He hasn’t done anything.”
 “Harry I really don’t care.”  Harry was going to say something again but paused to analyse her tone.
 “You don’t like him either.” 
 “Should I.”  She pressed the button that called for a turbolift.
 “He hasn’t done anything to you.”
 “He hasn’t done anything for me either.”
 “That’s no reason to dislike someone.”
 “Look Starfleet, Paris is a fleet brat that has connections everywhere.  He’s had an easy life until now because you ‘fleeters keep kissing his butt.  The Maquis crewmen won’t so let him deal with it and we can all get on with our lives and Paris can learn how the other half lives.”  Se entered the turbolift. Harry didn’t follow.
 “You’re wrong about him.” 
 “We’ll see.”  She used the same words that Seska had said earlier.  The doors closed and Harry stood there staring at the doors for a moment before leaving.  He now knew why the Maquis where glaring at Tom they resented him and his charmed life.  He wasn’t about to go tell Tom the reason that they didn’t like him.  Harry didn’t know Tom very well yet but he knew that there was more to him than met the eye. 

 “There’s an M-class planet a few light years away that Neelix said is rich in minerals.  We should send an away team to look for dilithium and other useful materials.  We’ll rendezvous with the away team in three days.” Captain Janeway said to the rest of the Senior staff.  “Commander Chakotay, I’ll leave you in charge of choosing the team that will go.”  He nodded. “Voyager will be in orbit of another planet that is rich in plant life.  The locals have agreed to trade with us.”
 A few minutes later the meeting ended and the officers where exiting. “Mr. Paris, may I speak with you for a moment.”  Janeway called to him.  Once all the other officers had left she began. “You don’t seem to be very popular with the Maquis.”  Janeway observed.
 “You’re telling me.”  Tom slouched in the chair next to hers.  She sat down as well.  “I don’t know what I did but for some reason they all want to tear me to shreds.”
 “I’ll talk to commander Chakotay-”
 “Don’t bother.  Everybody’s running on high emotions right now.  Hopefully it’ll pass.  If gets any worse I’ll be afraid to go anywhere on this ship alone.” 

 “Chakotay you can’t do this!”  B’Elanna fumed.
 “I can and will.  I know you and Chell aren’t the best of friends but-”
 “It’s not Chell!  Why did you have to assign Paris to this mission?”  She asked.
 “You’ll need a pilot get you to the planet and this is a hostile area of space.  He’s the best on board.  Besides I don’t think the Captain is willing to assign an all Maquis away team just yet.”  
 “Fine.” B’Elanna huffed and left his office.  Chakotay watched her leave.  He had noticed that a lot of the Maquis didn’t like Paris and after talking to Ayala he knew why.  Ayala was a good man and good friend.  He had nothing against Paris but he knew of several that did.  Chakotay didn’t think that Paris was in any danger.  They may not like him but they weren’t about to attack him in a dark corner of the ship either.  
 He wondered again if it was such a good idea to put Paris on an away mission with Chell and B’Elanna.  Baytart was a good pilot but wouldn’t be able to handle B’Elanna if her temper flared.  Paris was the only viable option.

 B’Elanna wasn’t the only one who wished Paris wasn’t on the away mission.  Tom wasn’t so thrilled with the idea himself.  He didn’t complain to anybody though.  He had his orders and he would carry them out.  Hopefully Torres wouldn’t kill him before the mission was over.  Chell he wasn’t too worried about.  Chell was follower.  He didn’t like Paris because the others didn’t like him.  If Tom could keep B’Elanna from ripping his head off then Chell shouldn’t be a problem.  He mentally prepared himself for the verbal spars that he may have with Chell though.  Chell was notorious around the ship for having too big a mouth and too small a brain.  Not that he was stupid but he often spoke without thinking.
 The mission started out boring.  The trip to the planet was made in almost complete silence.  Once there they went about their business quickly and efficiently just as good officers do.  They got some dilithium without a problem.  There was another large deposit a few kilometres so they headed in that direction.  They had scanned the planet for any civilizations or something that indicated that this planet belonged to someone else but they had not found anything.  They still carried weapons but were not actively looking for other inhabitants.

 It was a tropical climate and the temperature was rising.  Tom and Chell had already unzipped their jackets.  Tom was beginning to wish he had brought some sun block with him.  If the sun stayed this intense he would be sporting a healthy sunburn before this mission was over.  Tom noticed some odd readings on his tricorder.  “Lt. Torres, are getting any anomalous readings from your tricorder?” he asked her.  
 “No.” short and snappy, the same way she’s been during the entire mission.  
 “Chell how about you?”  Tom asked.
 “Nothing, sir.”  Tom looked back to his tricorder.  The readings had disappeared. Maybe it was just a malfunction.  They continued.  Tom was leading Torres followed him and Chell was bringing up the rear.  They had walked a little further when Tom saw the anomalous readings again.  They might be lifesigns but they weren’t registering that way.  Tom stopped walking and signalled for the others to stop as well.   
 Torres was in general an impatient person and today was no exception.  She watched as Tom studied the tricorder readings and turned to scan in all directions. “Well?”  She finally asked.
 “I think these are lifesigns, but I can’t isolate them.”  Tom closed the tricorder and looked around. “Is anybody there?”  He yelled into the forest.  There was no response.  “We don’t mean you any harm!”  Still no reply.  The other two where now looking for any movements in the thick brush.  A glimmer of something metallic caught Tom’s eye.  He looked through the leaves and saw something that looked like the end of a weapon.  He took out his tricorder but it didn’t register anything metallic or any lifesigns, only plant life.  Tom looked at where he saw the metallic object and looked it to see where it was coming from.  His eyes met another pair of dark grey eyes that where looking back at him.  The other being didn’t move and for a long moment neither did Tom.  The dark grey eyes were wild and Tom decided it was better not to risk a confrontation with these people.  Although he could not see them his tricorder had told him that there was more than one.  He turned around to face Torres and Chell.  “Slowly take out your weapons and start back to the shuttle.”  He ordered.
 “What?  No!” B’Elanna was outraged.  She hadn’t seen anything and still wanted to go after the dilithium.  “We have to keep going.  There’s dilithium there-”
 “There’s also a group of unfriendly locals.  I’m ordering you back to the shuttle.”  Tom didn’t have time to argue with her.  She turned and began following Chell back towards the shuttle.  Tom brought up the rear and was still looking around for anymore of the beings that he had seen.  He didn’t see anything and the only thing that could be heard was the footsteps of the three Voyager crewmembers as they stepped on fallen branches. A twig snapping to the right of Tom somewhere in the forest caught his attention.  He looked carefully and saw someone aiming a weapon at Torres.  He ran the few meters between them and tackled her so that she was pinned to the ground.  Before she could yell at him the whine of disrupter was heard and area above them were B’Elanna had been standing a second before was illuminated by an orange beam.  Tom rolled off her and fired in the direction of the being that he saw.  He wasn’t sure if he hit his mark.  “Chell get down!”  Tom yelled.  The Bolian didn’t follow the order fast enough and was shot in the back by a weapon and lost consciousness.   Tom quickly repositioned himself so that he was crouched and had his phaser ready to fire.  There was no sound and no discernable movements from any beings in the forest.  Torres was ready with her phaser also.  “We have to make a run for it.”  Tom said quietly.  
 “What about Chell?”  
 “We’ll have to come back for him.”  Tom was still scanning the surroundings with his eyes looking for any more of the locals.
 “We can’t just leave him here!  What if they kill him?”
 “If we get caught what makes you think they won’t kill us too.”  Tom said still looking around.  “When we reach the shuttle we’ll transport him.”
 “We can’t leave!”
 “We don’t have a choice!  Go!”  Tom ordered and B’Elanna complied.  She knew that he was right but it was the principle of the matter.  They shouldn’t leave one of their own behind.  Tom wasn’t delighted with the choices either but loosing one crewmember was better than loosing three.  His main concern was getting B’Elanna out of here and to safety before getting Chell.  The Chief Engineer was too important an asset to loose.  He and Chell could be replaced and while Carey was a good engineer B’Elanna was better.  The chances of Voyager getting home were much improved with her around and Tom knew it.
 They were only a kilometre and a half away from the flyer when Tom saw a beam slice through the air and hit B’Elanna in the back.  Tom rolled and fired back in the direction he believed the being was in.  Tom caught some movement out of the corner of his eye but before he could do anything he felt pain in his side and he too lost consciousness.

 On Voyager Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay where walking back to the beam out point.  They had just concluded one round of the trade negotiations with the inhabitants of the planet.  They had talked about what other items they might want to trade for during the first half of the five minute walk but Janeway had changed the topic to Tom Paris.
 “What about him?”  Chakotay asked.
 “Do you like him?”  It was a simple question but the answer she got wasn’t as innocent as it seemed.
 “I have not reason not to like him.  He saved my life after all.”
 “How about the other Maquis crewmen?”  Chakotay looked at her but Janeway was looking straight ahead.  
 “You’ve noticed that they’re not very friendly towards him.”  
 “Tuvok has noticed too, and Kim and Neelix and Tom himself.  I was wondering if you knew why.”
 “I have an idea.”
 “Are you willing to share that information.”  Janeway joked a bit.
 “They resent him.”  Janeway looked at him wondering what he meant.  “Paris has lead and easy life and they resent it.  For most of the Maquis life even before the Cardassian problem was not easy.  They haven’t done anything to him and I doubt that they will.”
 “Do they know that he saved your life?”  Janeway asked him.
 “I didn’t tell anybody so unless you, Paris, Tuvok or Neelix told anybody then nobody else knows.”  There was a stretch of silence before Chakotay asked Janeway a question. “How well do you know Paris?”  
 “I’ve known him since he was a child, our father’s were friends.  I also served on the same ship with his father when I was an Ensign.”  She said. “I know him pretty well.”  They reached the beam out point. “And I can assure you his life has not been as easy as you’d like to believe.”  Janeway called for transport and they disappeared in the shimmering blue light.
 “Paris wake up!”   Torres had been trying to rouse him for the last few minutes and only now was he responding.  He rolled onto his back.  
 “Are you okay?”  He asked a little groggily.
 “Chell and I are okay.  We were worried about you.  You’ve been out for a while.”  B’Elanna said.  Tom sat up and saw Chell leaning against the wall.  Tom looked around.  They were in some sort of holding cell.  It was circular and the walls and ceiling were metallic.  In the cell was empty except for its three new occupants.  There was one exit to the cell.  But it was sealed from the outside.  Tom got up and went to it.  He was a little dizzy and his steps where unsure but he made it.  He examined the seal.
 “We tried already.”  Said Chell.  Tom walked over to one of the two small windows and tested the bars.
 “We tried those too.” Said B’Elanna.
 “Have you seen our hosts?”  Tom asked.
 “No we haven’t had the pleasure of making their acquaintance.” Said Chell sarcastically.  Tom wasn’t in the mood for sarcasm and the look he gave Chell told him exactly that.  Tom sat down under the window but out of the sunlight.  He was on the other side of the cell from Torres and Chell.  They didn’t like him and he knew he wouldn’t be welcomed with them so he was content to sit on the other side.  
 The metal of the cell was warm but the air inside was hot.  The sun was still heating the planet and the temperature was still rising.  The cell heated quickly and the temperature in the cell was soon suffocating.  They had all taken off their tunics and turtlenecks so B’Elanna was in her tank top and Chell and Paris where in the T-shirts. B’Elanna noted absently that Paris filled out his shirt nicely but diverted her eyes before anyone noticed her looking at Paris.  She doubted they would notice.  For humans and Bolians this heat was debilitating but Torres was half klingon and klingons were better in heat than humans and bolians so she was coping better
 “Some water would be nice!”  Chell yelled out the window.  
 “They’re ignoring us.”  Tom stated.
 “Why?” Chell asked.
 “You’d have to ask them.”  Tom said.  He was lying on the floor and his eyes where closed but he was too hot to try and sleep.
 “They can’t ignore us forever.”  Chell said to himself.  Tom held his tongue.  He was ready to make some pessimistic comment but he knew that he should be trying to keep their moral up.
 “They might be sensitive to the sunlight and will wait ‘til the sun begins to set before coming out.”  Tom proposed.  Suddenly the doors opened and two beings appeared in the doorway.  They were about Tom’s height but looked more reptilian than humanoid.  They were saying something but the universal translators didn’t seem to be working or their language was too different for the translators.  Tom tried to talk to the to see if they could understand but they didn’t seem to understand him either.
 Three plates of some sort of food were placed inside and then the door was closed.  Tom picked up two of the plates and Chell picked up the last one.  Tom handed the plate to B’Elanna and sat down next to her but not close to her.  
 They each studied their food.  It looked several times worse than the worst thing that Neelix cooked up.  They each studied it for several minutes before Chell picked up a small piece and ate it.  B’Elanna followed suit a few seconds later but Tom just stared at it.  B’Elanna looked at him inquisitively.
 “Aren’t you going to eat?”  Torres asked Paris.
 “I don’t think I can eat this.”  He said and put the plate down.  He watched it like it may jump up and attack him at any moment.
 “It’s not gourmet but I think you can lower your standards and eat a little bit of it.”  She said and put another piece in her mouth.  Tom just shook his head.  “You’ll get hungry enough to eat it.”
 “Not unless I want to get sick.”  He said still staring at the offending fare.
 “Well if you’re not going to eat it can I have it?”  Chell asked.  Tom pushed it over to him.  
 “Be my guest.”  He stood up and walked to the far window.  Torres and Chell watched him for a moment before going back to their meal.  From under her lashes Torres watched him.  Tom was testing the bars again and looking at the seal looking for a weakness.  Tom gave up after a while.  With no tools they had no way of getting out.  He looked around to see what was outside.  Before when he had looked there was nothing but there were now more of the lizard like beings outside and they had brought some supplies and other things.
 Chell and Torres talked quietly while Tom looked out the window.  “We may be here for a long time but he won’t eat.  Not up to his standards I suppose.”
 “He’ll have to change them if he wants to survive.”
 “Or maybe they should serve it up on a silver platter.  He’s probably more accustomed to things being served to him: careers…” Chell laughed a little but Torres was thinking about the conversation that she had with Harry.  Maybe Tom was more that what he seemed.
 “Torres, take a look at this.”  Tom called her.  She got up and walked over to him.  “I’m not sure but I don’t think that these people are technologically advanced enough to create phasers.”  Torres looked through the small window and saw the reptile beings carrying phaser like weapons.  The weapons where advanced but there where no other signs that they have any technology.  
 “Your right.  Someone must have given them the weapons.”  B’Elanna said.  For them it was a breach of the prime directive but for other Delta Quadrant species it was considered smart business.  Paris and Torres looked through the barred window for a little while longer before sitting down again.  Not to long a wait later the sun began to set and the temperature began to drop.  
 The nights where frigid while the days where sweltering.  By the time the sun had set completely outside the cell was silent.  The Lizard people where gone and if there were any nocturnal creatures on this planet, they didn’t make a sound.  Tom was still looking outside.  If they could escape now they may be able to make it back to the shuttle.  But which direction was the shuttle in?  They had all been unconscious when they were brought here.  If they could get their equipment back then they could locate the shuttle.  Only problem was that they had no way of getting out of their holding cell.  
 Tom looked back to where Chell and Torres where sleeping.  Chell was sound asleep but B’Elanna was shivering.  Klingons can take the heat but they aren’t great with the cold.  Tom walked over to them and took off his tunic.  He knelt down and covered B’Elanna as best he could with it, being careful not to wake her.  He watched her for a few second longer than was necessary.  She was so beautiful and exotic but he would never tell her.  She’d kill him before he could finish.  He lay down about a meter away and tried to get some sleep as well.

 The Next morning B’Elanna woke up feeling warmer than she had felt last night.  The sun was rising but the temperature was still cool.  She felt the extra weight of the fabric and after rubbing the sleep from her eyes she could clearly see that at some point during the night she had acquired another uniform top.  It had red shoulders and she knew who it must have come from.  She caw Chell still sleeping about a meter next to her.  She turned over expecting to see Paris sleeping on her other side but was surprised when he wasn’t there.  Looking further she saw him sitting cross-legged in front of the exit.  He was fiddling with the seal again.  B’Elanna rolled her eyes.  He was nothing if not persistent.  
 Tom heard some rustling behind him and turned his head enough to see B’Elanna sitting up.  She yawned. “Morning.”  Tom said plainly.  He went back to work.
 “Mmm…” was the sleep reply.
 “If you’re hungry there’s some more food over there.”  He gestured to the centre of the cell where three plates of the same stuff where placed.
   B’Elanna went over and picked up one plate and then walked closer to Paris.  She handed him his tunic “Thanks,” She sat not too far away and watched what he was doing. He had taken off the casing of the commbadge and used it as a tool to slip into the small cracks in the seal hoping to make them larger.  
 A few minutes later Chell woke up and he began eating breakfast as well.  Just as Chell was finishing off Tom’ portion of the food the door opened quickly and one of the large lizard like beings was standing in the doorway.  It immediately saw Tom sitting on the floor in front of it and let out a sound that was a cross between a scream and a hiss.  The being swung out in and attempt to hit Tom but managed to hit nothing but air.
 Tom was momentarily surprised when the door opened but reacted quickly.  He did a backwards somersault and was on his feet in less than a second.  The being was too slow and was unable to hit him.  It yelled something unintelligible to Tom before gesturing to them to follow it.  The exited the cell for the first time.  The air outside was slightly cooler than inside the cell.  Tom put on his tunic on top of the grey t-shirt and put his commbadge in his pocket.
 They finally got a good look at their surroundings they were in clearing surrounded on all sided by the thick forest.  Once they were outside two more armed guards joined the first one and assumed escort positions.  There where at least fifteen of the other beings in the clearing that they had seen.  They were lead on a narrow trail through the forest.  After a few minutes of walking they could here the sound of running water and a few minutes later they emerged at the side of a small river that was fed by a waterfall.  It would have been an enjoyable place to be if it weren’t for the phasers aimed at them.  
 The guards dropped back a little and the three Starfleet crewmen were left alone relatively alone.  Tom knelt and took a drink of the water.  He nodded to them that it was okay and they each drank a little.  Tom was still crouched at the riverside looking at the guards when Torres came over to him and crouched.
 “You think we could take them?”  She asked.  Tom shook his head.
 “They may be not have made those weapons but they know how to use them.  We could take two, possibly three, if we were lucky maybe even four but not fifteen.”  
 “There are only four guards here.  We could take them.”
 “If we had a lot of luck.”
 “I take it you don’t believe in luck.”  She said standing.
 “I make my own luck.”  Tom stood.  Torres walked away from him and took off her tunic.  Tom followed suit.  The temperature was rising quickly.  Tom splashed himself with water to try to cool off.
 Tom looked at the river carefully.  Maybe there was a way that they could use the river to help them escape.  The river was completely clear and not very deep.  He could see to the very bottom.  He looked up stream at the waterfall.  If there were any caves behind the waterfall they could use them as a hiding place. He ruled out that idea.  That would probably be the first place they looked.  He looked as far down stream as he could.  The river bent and it prevented him from seeing where it led.
 A few minutes later they were being escorted back to the cell.  Chell was being particularly annoying and although the reptile people could not understand what he was saying they too where being bothered by the constant chatter.  One guard who seemed to be extremely violent yelled something at Chell but he still didn’t shut up.  That was the last straw.  The guard grabbed him by the neck, slammed him against a tree and aimed his weapon at Chell’s head.  Tom reacted instantly.  He was responsible for them and he would not allow any harm to come to them.  
 Tom stood between the phaser and Chell.  He didn’t say anything to the other being knowing that they would not understand anything.  The look in Tom’s eye was universal.  It promised that there would be consequences and repercussions if any harm came to any member of his team.  If he didn’t do it himself Kathryn would do it when she came after them.  The being lowered his weapon and gestured for them to continue.  Tom grabbed Chell by the arm and pushed him ahead of him so that he was between himself and Torres.
 “Well that wasn’t very nice-” Chell started.
 “Yes sir?”
 “Be quiet!”  Tom ordered.  The rest of the trip to the cell was silent.

 “Dinner’s here.”  Torres said walking to pick up the three plates of food.  She gave Chell his but Paris was reluctant to take his.  “You have to eat something.”  The shoved the plate of food in Tom’s face.  He took it, looked at it and then placed it on the floor next to him.  Torres glared at him.  “Eat it!”  Tom looked at her and raised an eyebrow.
 “Is that an order?”  He asked lightly.  
 “If it has to be.”  She said defiantly.  Tom shook his head and closed his eyes.  He leaned against the wall across from Torres.
 “I guarantee you that if I eat that I’ll be sick by tomorrow morning.”  Tom said without opening his eyes.
 “We aren’t sick.”  Chell said.
 “You aren’t human.” Tom retorted. 
 “I’m half human and I’m fine.”  Torres stated.
 “Look I know that if I put this in my system it will come right out the way it came a few hours later.”  Tom said.
 “You can’t be sure.” Chell said.
 “I’m pretty sure I can determine what will make me sick, and this will make me sick.”
 “Get off your high horse and join the rest of the populace Paris!”  Torres snapped.  Tom opened his eyes and looked at her.  What had he done now?  She looked at him as if she was challenging him.  Tom picked up the plate next to him.  He looked at the disgusting plate of food (if you could even call it that).  He picked up a small piece.  Maybe it wouldn’t make him sick.  He put it I his mouth.  The instant it touched his tongue he wanted to spit it out but he forced himself to chew and swallow.  He took a few more small portions and managed to choke down about a third of his meal.
 “That wasn’t so bad was it Paris?”  Chell said in a voice that was nearly mocking but not quite.
 “Yeah it was worse.”  Tom said with a sour expression.  That ‘food’ left an awful aftertaste.  Chell rolled his eyes.  “I just don’t like it.  Get off my case.”
 “You’ve just lead too sheltered a life.”  Chell said.  Tom didn’t say anything. “I suppose all your ‘fleet connections are useless out here, eh Paris.”  Tom sent him a warning glance but Chell ignored it.  He was still fuming about being told to ‘be quiet’.  “Well how else can you explain being a Lt. commander and only being… how old are you?  Twenty five… twenty-six?” Tom was silent he didn’t have to explain himself to the bolian.  B’Elanna was silent.  She agreed with Chell but was not bold enough or stupid enough to tell it to Paris’ face.  “Come on Paris.  Help me out here.  You’ve probably got a ship with your name on it waiting for you in the Alpha Quadrant or were they planning on promoting you to an Admiral.  You could beat Kirk’s record.”
 “Chell what problem do you have with me?”  Tom finally asked.  He didn’t have to sit and listen to someone who knows nothing about him criticize his life.
 “The problem I have with you, commander, it that you’ve never had to work for anything and then the minute things get tough you expect someone to come and sort it out for you.  Everything has been given to you.  I’m not going to be one of your fleet lackeys and do what ever you command.”
 “Is that what this has been about?  That’s why all the Maquis hate me?”  Tom asked.  Chell just glared at him.  Tom looked at B’Elanna who was looking a the floor. “I do not believe this.”
 “Believe it!”  Chell said.  He was going to go on but Tom cut him off.
 “Before you go and judge me maybe you should get all the facts first.”  Tom said.
 “Please enlighten us.”  Chell drawled.
 “Why should I?  I don’t owe you anything and you’ve made up your mind already.”
 “You know it’s true.  You can’t refute the truth.”  Chell told him.
 “Chell that’s no way to talk to a superior officer.”  B’Elanna didn’t want him to get in more trouble than he was already in.
 “Forget rank.”  Tom said. “Right now it’s just Tom, Chell and B’Elanna.  No ranks.”  Tom wanted to get his over with and now was as bad a time as any.  Chell smiled he could finally voice what everybody had wanted to say. 
 “I think that you’re a spoiled Starfleet brat.”  He said, enunciating each word. “That about sums it up.”  Tom stayed silent neither denying nor agreeing.  Torres watched Paris carefully.  For some reason she had hoped that Harry was right and that Paris wasn’t what the Maquis thought he was.  She watched Paris but she couldn’t tell what he was thinking or what he was feeling.  She looked at Chell and could tell instantly that he felt empowered.  “You’ve got a whole life waiting for you in the Alpha Quadrant while we have prison cells with our names on them.”  Chell gestured to himself and Torres.
 “We won’t be getting back to the alpha Quadrant for at least a couple of years.”  Tom said calmly.
 “So we should enjoy our freedom while we have it?  If it weren’t for you people we’d still have our freedom.”
 “We’re just doing out job.”  Tom defended the Starfleet officers.
 “Protecting Cardies?  Is that part of your job?”
 “Believe me I wish it wasn’t.”  Tom said quietly.  Chell didn’t hear him and continued talking but B’Elanna hearing what he had said interrupted.
 “What do you mean by ‘I wish I wasn’t’?”  B’Elanna asked Paris.
 “I mean I wish I didn’t have to help defend Cardassians. I don’t mind helping the innocent ones that are only victims to the stupid decisions that the government makes.”
 “You would have never made it as a Maquis.”  Chell said.
 “Maybe but I had considered joining.” 
 “To help save that colonies?”  Torres asked knowing that would not be the reason.
 “Saving colonies would be a bonus but revenge would be the main reason.”  Torres looked at him curiously.
 “So you don’t like them either.” Torres stated.
 “Do you know what it’s like having to shake hands with a Cardassian officer when he’s smiling and thanking you for saving his ship when the only thing you want to do is beat him to a bloody pulp?  Every time I have to help them I feel like I ‘m betraying someone else.”
 “Who?”  Chell asked.  Tom didn’t respond.  He had said too much already.  Nobody else spoke that night.  They each went to sleep.  The question of who Tom felt like he was betraying hung between them unanswered and neither Torres or Chell could even hazard a guess as to who Paris referred to.

 In the middle of the night Torres woke up when she heard and persistent scratching sound.  She opened her eyes and after they had adjusted to the darkness enough she could see Paris sitting in front of the exit.  He had some tool that he was using to try and push and scrape through the seal on the door.  If they broke the seal then the doors would be easier to break from the inside. 
 Tom was engrossed in his work and had not heard Torres’ movements.  The voice that called his name startled him.  He turned and saw B’Elanna who once again had his tunic draped over her, sitting up and looking at him.
 “What are you doing?”
 “Trying to break open this door but I need to weaken the seal first.  I didn’t mean to wake you.”  He stopped working and moved so that he was across the cell from her. He leaned with his back against the cell wall.  She noticed the tool in his hand and asked him about it. “I picked it up when they let us do our business in the bushes.  Figured it would come in handy.”  The reptile people had let them each got to the washroom in the bushes when they were taken out that day.
 Torres lay down to go back to sleep.  Before she dozed off she opened her eyes to look at Paris.  He looked different.  Maybe it was the light from the moon but he looked paler and there was a thin film of perspiration on his forehead.  He looked like he was sick. “Paris are you alright?”  He nodded. “You should get some sleep.”
 “I tried and failed already.  Get some rest. I’ll wake you in the morning when breakfast arrives.”  She looked at him carefully a moment longer before nodding and closing her eyes.  She was soon asleep.
 Tom listened to her breathing even out as sleep claimed her.  He got up and walked to the barred opening he placed his forehead against the bar.  The cool nightly breezes grazed his face bringing momentary relief.  The food that he had eaten earlier was catching up with him and would soon be coming out of him exactly the way the he had predicted earlier.  His stomach was producing low rumbling sound and pain and a heightened feeling of nausea accompanied each one.  Tom lowered himself to the ground and lay down.  It didn’t make him feel much better but maybe he could catch a few winks.
 The hours passed slowly and soon the sun was rising.  Tom had only managed to catch a few hours of interrupted sleep and was feeling worse than he was the night before.  He felt like he was going to throw up at any moment.  Bolian body odour is enough to make most people want to vomit but in such an enclosed are and the humid climate it was worse.  The air was still frigid but Tom was sweating through his t-shirt.  He was also experiencing dizziness.  
 The doors opened and three plates of the nasty food was placed inside.  Tom watched the door close.  “Torres!” he called her name as he was getting up.  He picked up two of the plates and walked over to Chell and B’Elanna.  He put each plate near them but not close enough that they would knock it over if they moved.  Tom leaned against the wall and slid down to the ground.  “Torres get up!”  Tom said but she still did not wake.  He reached out and agitated her lightly.  
 “What?  I’m up!”  A yawn escaped her. “I’m up.”  She wearily got up to face another day imprisoned.  
 “Breakfast awaits.” Tom said and gestured to her plate of food.  Tom closed his eyes and concentrated on not throwing up.  He was sure that Torres and Chell would not appreciate it if he threw up in here.  
 Torres woke Chell and they began to eat their breakfast.  Torres glanced at Paris every so often trying to determine what was wrong with him.  He was definitely sick.  He was sweating and every so often a fine tremor would course through his body.  He was talking deep even breaths.
 “Paris are you alright?”  Torres finally asked.  Tom shook his head ‘no’ but did not say anything.  Torres glanced at Chell who just shrugged carelessly and went back to eating, not at all concerned about Paris.  
 A few hours later when the air was thick with heat the three were again escorted to the riverside.  As soon as they were there Tom went into the bushes.  Torres and Chell looked at each other each hoping that the other could provide a reason for why Paris left so abruptly.  A few seconds later the sounds of retching reached their ears.  Chell only smiled and laughed but Torres couldn’t laugh at Paris’ misery.  A minute after the sounds had ended Tom emerged from the forest.  He walked over to the rivers edge and knelt down.  He splashed some water on his face.  He looked in the water at his reflection and grimaced he looked really sick.  He batted a hand on the water where his reflection was making it ripple and the reflection disappear as if the river was to blame for his current state.
 “Paris.”  Tom didn’t answer. “Tom.”
 “What?” came the reply.  
 “You okay?”
 “Never better.” He said sarcastically.  
 “I guess you were right.” She walked closer to him and crouched down.
 “Unfortunately.”  He cupped his hand and took a drink of the water hoping that it would settle his stomach.  He still felt nauseous and was still experiencing some dizziness.  “How’s Chell?” he asked looking down at the river.
 “You care?”
 “I’m responsible for him and you so yes, I care.”  He answered dutifully.
 “We’re fine.  You on the other hand don’t look any better than you did this morning.”  She said looking over him carefully.
 “I don’t feel any better either.”  He took a deep breath.  “You don’t feel sick at all?”  He asked Torres.  She shook her head.  He thought that with her half human physiology she may be experiencing some discomfort but was not saying anything but it seems that her klingon physiology was helping her out.  Klingons and bolians must have stronger stomachs than humans.  She left after talking to him for a moment longer to take her turn in the bush.  Tom splashed some more water on his face and revelled in the momentary relief it brought him.  He took of his shirt and splashed his bare chest with the water.  The cool water on his skin was refreshing as was the feel of the shirt being off of him but he knew better than to keep it off for too long.  He burned easily and a little discomfort was better than sever sunburn.  He also didn’t feel like answering any questions.  
 Torres had finished her business in the bushes and was returning to the riverside when she saw Tom shirtless.  She was still partly concealed in the forest so she held her position and just looked at him.  She had thought him handsome before but she was also pleased to see the rest of his body.  From what she could tell he had a well-toned upper body but unfortunately she could see his chest.  She admired how that muscles in his back rippled when he moved.  His skin was fair and smooth except for a scar on his lower right side that marred his perfect skin.  She finally emerged from the bushes and walked over to Tom. He had her back to her and was crouched at the riverside.
 “What happened to you?”  she asked.  Tom stood up quickly.  He hadn’t heard her coming and her voice had startled him out of his daze.  He looked at her curiously wondering what she was referring to.  His mind was still a little hazy.  “That scar.” She pointed to the mark at his side.  He turned to face her and she was graced with a view of his bare chest.  She was right.  He had a well-toned upper body.  His pectoral muscles weren’t overly large but well built, defined abs and red gold chest hair that funnelled as it went down until it was a slim line that went below the waist band of his pants.  
 Torres quickly raised her eyes to meet Paris’.  She hoped that he hadn’t noticed her appraisal but she doubted it.  He looked like he was still trying to process the question she had asked.
 “Scar?”  he looked down at himself and saw the mark.  His wits quickly came back to him.  “Oh that.  I was injured on an away mission a couple of months ago.  I was away from the ship for a while and I had to treat the injury myself but I didn’t have the tools or expertise to fix it completely and I got stuck with this scar.  I just haven’t gotten around to having it removed.”  He explained without getting into too many details.  Tom was put his shirt back on.
 “Must have been quite an away mission.” She said taking one last look at the scar. 
 “Or you really screwed up on the mission.”  Chell said.  He had been eavesdropping on the conversation.   
 “On the contrary the mission was a complete success.”  Tom said.  Chell shrugged and walked away.  
 After Chell had gone into the bushes to take a leak the guards escorted them back to the clearing Chell yakking all the way.  Most of the comments where jabs at Paris who had remained silent through most of it.  Torres was first in line with Chell in the middle and Paris behind him.  Paris was still feeling sick from what he had eaten the night before and was very quiet.  Torres wondered how long he could take Chell bothering him.  A minute later her question was answered.
 “Crewman, that’s enough.”  Tom said tiredly.
 “Hiding behind rank are you?”  Chell commented.  
 “I know what you think of me already so excuse me if I don’t want to listen to it anymore. I can’t help what family I’ve been born into, so shut up already.”
 “And what will you do if I don’t?”
 “Don’t even tempt me.”  Tom said quietly.
 “What was that.”
 “I said shut your trap Crewman.  That’s an order.”
 “Yes sir.”  Chell sneered.  B’Elanna smiled.  If Paris hadn’t shut him up she would have done it herself but it would have been with her fists.
 That night after their meal the three Voyager crewmembers were sitting in the cell.  Only Torres and Chell had eaten and tonight neither had said anything when Tom didn’t eat his serving.  That night though was completely different than the past ones.  About an hour after they had finished eating while the sun was setting the door to the cell opened.  Tom had once again been trying to break the seal and was once again caught.  He did his back roll and stood.  Chell and Torres stood.  There were two of the Reptile beings standing in the doorway.  One made some angry gestures to Tom and the other said something that they did not understand.  The second one stepped back and two other beings entered the small cell.  They were armed.  The first reptile being pointed at Tom. The two armed ones walked up to Tom and each grabbed an arm.  He was escorted out.  The door shut and Torres and Chell were left in the cell.  Torres moved quickly to the window to see what was happening to Paris.  Chell looked out as well.
 The guards left Tom go when he was in the middle of the clearing.  There was a large altar that was covered in blood a few meters away.  They either ate on it or killed things on it.  Tom hoped that wasn’t where he was heading.  It hadn’t been there the nights before.  Tom turned his attention to the four reptile beings that stood around him. They seemed to be arguing over something.  Two of them seemed to be getting violent.  For no apparent reason the one that had pointed to Tom earlier pulled out a crude little dagger and before Tom could do anything he plunged it into his arm.  Tom let out a yell as the blade cut through his flesh.
 Tom immediately moved his hand to the wound to cover it. The being grabbed his wrist and pulled the hand way.  The four beings were looking at the wound with great interest.  The closest one touched the blood that was coming from the wound.  They seemed to be transfixed on the colour of his blood.  They began talking between themselves and ignored Tom just long enough for him to attack one of the armed beings and take his weapon.  They watched Tom carefully as he wielded the weapon.  One of them went to attack him but Tom shot him quickly and the being slumped to the ground.  None of the others tried to approach him Tom walked backwards to the cell where Torres and Chell were and kept the weapon aimed at three still conscious reptile creatures.  A few others emerged from the bushes but few dared to approach Tom and those who did where quickly shot.
 When he reached the door to the cell he tried to open it by touching the largest button on the small pad next to the handle but the door did not unlock.  Tom turned quickly and shot the pad and opened the door.  He turned quickly back to the reptile beings and saw three coming at him.  He managed to shoot two of them but the third one tackled him to the ground.  The being on top of him punched him in the arm and Tom let out another yell and the small dagger moved and broke more of his flesh.  Suddenly the being collapsed on him.  Tom used his good arm and pushed him off.  Above him stood Torres with the weapon.  He hadn’t even realised he had lost it.  Tom got up and joined the rest of the away team.
 “We need to find a tricorder so that we can locate the shuttle.”  Torres said still brandishing the weapon.  
 “They must be around here somewhere.  They don’t have anywhere to store them.”  Tom said looking around.  It was just as likely that they would have destroyed their equipment.  Tom didn’t say so but they all knew it.  Tom and Chell split up but didn’t go too far or too close to any of the reptile beings to look for their equipment.  Less than a minute later Chell found some of their equipment; two tricorders and one phaser.  Tom took a tricorder and phaser.  They had quickly located the shuttle and left the clearing.  Heading in that direction.
 The trio ran for as long as they could.  Chell fell behind first and then Paris.  Not only was his arm bothering him but he was still feeling sick from eating the night before.  They had made it half way when they heard footsteps getting closer to their position.  They picked up the pace.  They were only a few hundred meters from the shuttle when the first phaser blast whizzed past them.  A few moments later Tom was hit in the leg.  And couldn’t go on.  Chell tried to help him up but Tom pushed him away.
 “Keep going!”  Tom ordered.
 “Maquis have a habit of helping the injured.” Chell said as he tried to lift Tom to his feet.
 “Fine, lets do things the Maquis way!”  Tom punched him squarely in the jaw.  Chell staggered backwards. “Go! That’s an order!”  Another phaser shot flew by them.
 “What about you?”
 “I’ll lead them away from you. If I’m not at the shuttle in five minutes then or they find the shuttle leave!  Which ever comes first. Now get lost!” Chell looked at him a moment longer before running towards the shuttle.  Tom hobbled in a different direction.  He wasn’t too far off the path that they had taken.  He fired a few shots into the forest and heard the grunt as one of the shots hit its intended target.  Tom smiled despite himself.  He turned and continued running.  He was slow and they were gaining on him but he wasn’t about to give up.

 “Where’s Paris?”  Torres asked Chell as he joined her in the shuttle. She had already started the engines and was getting ready to lift off.  Paris’ absence was the only thing keeping the shuttle on the ground.
 “I he was hit.  He’s leading them in a different direction.”  Chell told her what Paris had told him.  “I’ll find him on sensors and we can beam him aboard.”  Chell started working the sensors. “I can’t find his life signs!”  Had they found and killed him.  Torres began running her own scan but she didn’t find Paris’ life signs either but then again her and Chell’s life signs didn’t register either.  
 “Something must be wrong with the sensors.  We’ll have to wait for him.”  They waited in the shuttle for seven minutes before they decided they had to lift off.  The shuttle rose from the ground and ascended into the starry sky.  The sun had set completely while they were running and the stars where clearly visibly from the surface.
 “Put us in orbit.”  Torres ordered.  Chell had switched to the helm since he was more of a pilot than she was.  Torres scanned for Voyager and was surprised when she found it was on its way to their location already.  She hailed them.  She appraised them of the situation.  Voyager would be there in forty minutes.  Until then they just had to sit tight but Torres was determined to do more than that.  She was actively running scans and trying different types as she tried to find Paris.

 Speaking of Paris he was scaling a cliff face at the moment.  It was dangerous and difficult to do especially with his injuries and only made it down about fifteen meters before his injuries forced him to stop. He was sitting on one of the larger outcroppings on the rough cliff face.  His legs dangled over the end.  He looked down.  There was at least forty more meters to the trees below.  He could here the footsteps of those who were looking for him but they had no idea where he was.  It was dark and they had no scanning devices.  He was safe as long as he didn’t fall off the ledge.  That meant no sleeping.  He just had to wait.  

   Voyager was early in coming for the away team since they weren’t expected at eh rendezvous point for several more hours.  They had explained to Torres and Chell that they had been talking with the people that they were trading with they had gotten some information about the planet that the away team was visiting.  They had been told that there were violent inhabitants on the planet but they were in visible to sensors.  The inhabitants of the planet had killed many explorers.  The Captain had quickly concluded their business and left in search of the away team.  
Voyager had arrived two hours ago but had not been able to locate Tom on the surface either.  They knew that wasn’t a reason to give up however since their sensors had not detected the life signs of Chell and Torres on the shuttle either.  On the bridge they were running every scan that they could think of to try and find Tom but they had not had any luck.  Even his commbadge was malfunctioning.  They had tried to contact him but had received no response, the same thing that Torres got when she tried to contact Paris from the shuttle hours ago.  
 “EMH to Captain Janeway.”
 “Go ahead Doctor.”  Janeway said from the Ops station where she was working alongside Ensign Kim to find their missing crewman and friend.  
 “I’ve isolated a particle from the scans that I took of Crewman Chell and Lt. Torres that I believe accounts for them being invisible to sensors.  It seems to be a naturally occurring substance but it is invisible to conventional sensors.  When it binds to other material it also renders them invisible to sensors.  However it only seems to work on organics such as humans and what ever beings live on the planet.  Chloroplast and other plant proteins does not seem to be affected thus the plant life appears on sensors.”
 “Do you know how we can scan past this substance?”
 “I do not but I’m sending you all the information that I have on the substance.”  The doctor said.
 “I’ve got it.”  Kim said.
 “Doctor out.”

 It took an hour and a half but they where had found a way to modify the sensor to scan past the substance and Harry had found out why Tom’s commbadge had been malfunctioning. It seems that the substance when airborne also hinders communication.
 “Try it now Captain.”  Harry said.  He re-modulated the bandwidth of the communication to Tom’s commbadge so that a message could get through to him.  
 “Janeway to Paris, please respond.”  At first there was nothing and they thought that it had failed but before Janeway could tell Harry to try another bandwidth… 
 “Paris here,” Janeway smiled when she heard his voice.
 “Are you alright?”
 “I’ve been better.  Are Torres and Chell with you?” his voice sounded weaker than usual and Kathryn knew that he was not as well as he let on.
 “Yes.  Their fine.  We’ve had trouble locking on to your life signs and comm. signal but we should be able to transport you back in a few minutes.  We just have to modify the transporter beam.”
 “Okay.”  He said.  Janeway paused to further analyse his voice.
 “Tom are you sure your alright?”
 “Yeah but my current accommodations aren’t very comfortable.”
 “Where are you?”
 “On the face of a cliff about forty meters up.”  Harry used that information to locate Tom from the topographical scans.  Tom couldn’t be far from the shuttles landing site so had to find a cliff near there and he did.  After a few minutes he found Paris as well. 
 “I’ve found him.  Transport on progress.  He’s in sickbay.”  Harry said.

 Tom was sitting on a biobed in sickbay.  He was talking to Kes as she ran a tricorder over him.  She and the Doctor had healed his injuries and given him something for his illness.  The Doctor also gave him a lecture about being careful what he ate.  He was in a new uniform and was feeling as fit as a fiddle.  Kes concluded her scan and pronounced him fit for duty.  He contently hopped of the biobed and left sickbay giving Kes his thanks.
 That evening Tom was relaxing in his quarters.  He had to write his report on the away mission.  He was almost done when the chime do his quarters rang.  He called for the person to enter and Kathryn Janeway walked in.
 “Hey Kath.”  Tom said. 
 “What? I know that tone.”  He said.  She sat in a chair across form him.
 “It seems you forgot our little chat about taking chances.”
 “No I didn’t but Voyager needs its chief engineer more than it needs its chief pilot.  I’m replaceable, Torres isn’t.”  He said and went back to writing his report.  He expected Kathryn to say something but when she didn’t he looked at her.  She looked almost angry at him.
 “Don’t ever say that again.”  Tom was confused. “Don’t ever say that you’re replaceable.  Nobody on this ship is replaceable.”  Kathryn said in a strong voice.
 “I didn’t mean…”  Tom trailed off.  What exactly did he mean.  He wanted to argue the point but he didn’t want to fight with Kathryn so he only nodded.  Whether she would admit it or not they both knew it was true.  In the Delta Quadrant the Chief Engineer was more important than the helmsman.

Over the next few weeks Kim and Torres hung out more and since Paris hung out with Kim it also meant that Torres and Paris hung out together more.  They never did anything together unless Harry was with them but Harry was glad to see that the two where getting along.  They didn’t talk about what happened on the planet or what was said but Harry assumed that there shared suffering brought them closer together.
 “What’s she look like?”  Torres asked.  They in Harry’s quarters talking about home and family.  Tom wasn’t thrilled with the choice of topic but he didn’t tell them that.
 “Libby?  Well she has dark brown curly hair that goes past her shoulders brown eyes and…”  Harry shrugged.  He couldn’t describe her Libby was just Libby.  “I know I’ll show you a picture.  Harry got up from his seat on the couch and ran to his sleeping area.  Torres was at the other end while Tom was in the corner of the L-shaped couch.  She and Paris where silent while Harry was gone.  He soon returned with a holo-image of his fiancé.  Tom and B’Elanna looked at the picture in turn.  She was a nice looking woman.  Harry looked at the picture longingly before remembering he wasn’t alone.  He pulled himself out of his daze. “Sorry.” He apologized and put the picture on the coffee table.  
 “Why?  You love her and miss her.  You don’t have to be sorry.”  Tom said matter-of-factly as he shifted positions.
 “How about you Paris?  Anybody special waiting for you in the Alpha Quadrant?”
 “No.”  Harry and B’Elanna looked at each other.  
 “No girlfriend-”
 “How about family members?”  Harry asked this time.
 “My father, but that’s it.”
 “How about your mother?”  Torres asked wondering even more about Paris’ family since he was not very forthcoming with information.
 “She died a couple of years ago.”
 “I’m sorry.  How about siblings?  Are you an only child?”  Harry inquired.
 “I am now.  My sisters died a couple of years ago.”
 “I’m sorry Tom.”  Harry really was.  He hadn’t meant to bring up so many depressing memories for him.
 “Don’t worry about.”  There was an awkward silence before Tom asked: “How about you guys?  Any siblings?”  Torres and Kim both shook their heads.  Tom was going to ask Torres if there was somebody important to her waiting for her in the Alpha Quadrant but the expression in her eyes kept him from asking.

Threshold –Tom Paris goes warp 10
Manoeuvres – they find that Seska was a Cardassian spy and she escapes and joins the Kazon.

 Lt. Torres marched purposefully down deck three towards the quarters of Commander Paris.  She rang the door chime and waited impatiently for a response.  The door opened and a sleepy eyed Tom Paris stood before her.  “B’Elanna?”  he said sleepily.  She pushed past him and entered his quarters.  “Please come in.”  Tom said sarcastically to the empty space on front of him.
 “Where you sleeping?”  Torres asked him.  His hair was a mess and his uniform was wrinkled.
 “Yeah.  I had a headache and I figured that I could sleep it away.”  He yawned and sat down on the couch.
 “Did it work?”  she sat down at the other end.
 “No.  Why are you here?”  Tom asked.  He wanted to go back to sleep.  Torres fidgeted for a moment before responding.
 “I had to ask you how you had a connection to the Cardassians.  You said that you disliked them and for some reason Seska didn’t like you.” There was a tense silence for a while but Tom decided to answer her question.
 “My Father.  He was caught and tortured by Cardassians when he was serving as a Captain.  That’s why I hate them.  As for Seska, my father’s work dealt mostly with the boarders.  He was against the alliance with the Cardassians but it went through anyway.  Since then he’s worked with the Cardassians but he’s not made it easy for them.”  
 “Cardassians aren’t good people to make enemies out of.”  B’Elanna stated.
 “That’s why Starfleet kept him on the assignment despite the tensions.  They didn’t intimidate him.”  B’Elanna was silent and Tom just watched her.  He wondered what she was thinking.
 “I owe you an apology.  In fact a lot of us owe you an apology.”  Tom didn’t say anything and when B’Elanna looked at him she couldn’t read him. “I…” she was going to explain what Seska had said about him and how eventually all the Maquis crewmembers started to agree with her but she was klingon and klingons do not make excuses. “I’m sorry for how I treated you earlier.”
 “Forget it.  No harm done.”  She looked down at her hands and nodded.  
 “Well I should be going.”  She got up from the couch and headed for the door.  Tom stood as well and was going to ask her to stay.  He didn’t feel like sleeping anymore.  He stayed silent though and she left.  He cursed at himself for letting an opportunity to talk with B’Elanna alone slip through his fingers.
 Just outside the door B’Elanna took a deep breath.  She wanted to stay and talk longer to him but they were always so awkward around each other.  She walked away wishing that he had asked her to stay.

 Three weeks later.  Kathryn Janeway was sitting in her ready room thinking.  They had a major problem.  Tuvok had discovered that there were covert transmission leaving Voyager.  They had tried to trace whoever was doing it but had no luck in doing so.  She sighed and brought her mug of coffee to her lips.  The chime rang.
 “Come in.”
 “My sources tell me that you’ve not eaten lunch.”  Tom said as he walked in.
 “Keeping tabs on me?” she said.
 “Somebody has to.”  He sat down in chair.  “What is it this time?”
 “You have the look you get when you’re stumped by a tough problem, so I’m asking what it is.”  Her lips upturned and a slight smile graced her features.  “Well?  Spill”  She took another sip of her coffee and Tom waited for her to tell him.  Kathryn decided that two heads where better than one so she filled him in on what was happening. “Oh.”  Was all he could say.
 “The person is most likely a former Maquis communicating to Seska but for what purpose I can’t be sure.”
 “Maybe to share technological information.”  Tom suggested.  Janeway nodded.  She had thought the same thing.  “Or…”
 “I was just thinking that why would Seska want to get little tidbits of information from somebody on Voyager?  Why not just take the entire ship?  She has not loyalties to us anymore now that we know she’s Cardassian so our well being wouldn’t matter.”  Kathryn thought about this for a moment.  “It’s only a thought but it would be a good idea to prepare for all contingencies.”  Kathryn nodded.
 “I’ll tell Tuvok about your theory and see what he thinks.”
 “Who else knows about this?”
 “Just you, me and Tuvok.”
 “It might be a good idea to let the rest of the senior staff in on this.”  Tom suggested.
 “I’ll think about it.”
 “That’s all I ask.”  Tom stood up. “Now, back to the original reason that I came here.  Would you care to accompany me to the mess hall m’lady.”  Tom bowed grandly.  “We can suffer through Neelix’s selection together.” He smiled at her and Kathryn found herself smiling as well.

 Two weeks later the crew of Voyager found themselves in danger thanks to their on board traitor and Seska.  After they had to vent the plasma through the warp nacelles a few days ago and consequently ruined the lining they had to go to a nearby star system to get the right material to make a new lining.  What they didn’t know was that Seska had anticipated what they would do and was waiting for them at the planet with several Kazon vessel.  They were ready to take Voyager by force.
 “I’m detecting Kazon lifesigns on deck eight through twelve.”  Harry said from the ops station.
 “I’ve lost helm control.”  Tom said just after another volley of phaser fire rocked the ship.
 “Computer initiate program Janeway Gamma two.”  Janeway said.
 ‘Select decks.’  The computer’s voice said.
 “Deck’s eight through twelve.”  The computer chirped it’s acknowledgement.
 “I’m detecting multiple transports.  Only Kazon are left on those decks.” Harry said.
 “Computer initiate lock down and release the netrizine gas.”  He computer chirped once more.  
 “Torres to the bridge, we’ve we just been transported to the cargo bay.”  Torres informed them.  The plan was working.
 “Kazon are on those decks.  They’re being pumped full of netrizine gas to knock them out.”  Tom updated her on what was going on.  In the end Janeway had decided to tell the entire senior staff what was going on.  Together they had devised a few plans that would cover the most likely scenarios if the Kazon ever tried to take over the ship.  One of those contingencies came true.
 Janeway and Kim continued running scans to make sure that the Kazon on board where all unconscious.  They vented the gas from those decks and Tuvok left the bridge to go join his security team and secure those decks. 
 An hour later the Kazon where gone from the system leaving the crew of Voyager to get the resources needed to create the new lining of the warp nacelles.  The ship remained on yellow alert until the away teams had retrieved enough of the materials that they could make the new linings.  They broke orbit immediately after all the away teams were on board.

 A few days later Voyager was warping through space again.  They had created the new lining without problems.  Neelix figured out that Jonas was the Kazon spy.  Jonas had taken off Neelix’s commbadge when he was momentarily subdued.  During the following scuffle Jonas was killed but Neelix managed to bring the weapons on-line.  
 In his quarters Tom, B’Elanna and Harry were talking.  Harry was called away to help with some business so B’Elanna and Tom where left alone in his quarters.  They talked for a while when the chime rang.  Commander Chakotay entered.
 “I just came to return this to you.”  Chakotay said holding out a rock to Tom.  Tom smiled and took it from him.
 “Thank you sir.”  
 “Where did you get it?”
 “On an away mission a long time ago.  One of the inhabitants of the planets gave it to me.  He was an old guy and I didn’t want to offend him so I accepted it.  I don’t know what it is or what it’s for but I like it and It’s gone with me to every ship that I’ve been on since.  Kind of like a good luck charm.”  
 “I have a stone like it.  The came pattern engraved into the surface.”
 “Where did you get yours?”  Tom asked.
 “One of the men of my tribe gave it to me.  It’s part of my medicine bundle.”  Chakotay ended up staying and the three talked some more.  Chakotay found that Paris was not as bad as the rumours (which Seska started) stated.  In fact he found that he liked the man.  Not too long later Kathryn Janeway stopped by Tom’s quarters.  Tom invited her to join them and she couldn’t say no.  she was there as Kathryn not the Captain, though only Tom was comfortable calling her Kathryn.
 Tom was up and replicating something for them to snack on.  
 “Where should I put the rock?”  Torres asked him.  She had been holding it last and didn’t want to hold it anymore.  
 “The small container next to the couch.  I’ll find a place for it later.”  Tom said. B’Elanna saw the case and opened it to put the rock inside.  She saw what looked like a padd that stored picture files and pulled it out.  
 “Tom, you mind if we take a look?”  she asked waving the padd around.  It was slightly bigger that the regular data storing padds and had a larger screen.  Tom thought about it and then shrugged.
 “I don’t think that there are too many embarrassing pictures in there.”  He came and sat back down on the couch with a bowl full of colourful things.  Chakotay looked at the food carefully. 
 “There jujubes.”  Kathryn explained. “Candy.”
 “What’s in them?”  Chakotay asked.
 “Colouring, flavourings, sugar mostly and gelatine; vegetable gelatine.”  Tom appended knowing that Chakotay was a vegetarian.  He popped a few in his mouth and Chakotay took one and tried it.  Janeway also helped herself. Torres was preoccupied looking through the pictures.  
 “What’s you dog’s name?”  B’Elanna asked.  There was a picture of Tom sitting next to a golden retriever.
 “Terry.”  Tom said.  Kathryn started chuckling. “What?”
 “What happened to ‘Woofy’?” she said and burst into laughter.  
 “I was six!” Tom protested.  
 “Tom wanted to name the dog ‘Woofy’ when they first got it.  Even after they named it he still called him ‘Woofy’.”  Janeway explained to the others.  The other’s joined her in laughing.
 “He’s a dog and the name fit him!  He responded to ‘Woofy’!”  Tom said.  Torres 
brought up the next picture.  Her smile faded.
 “He responded to ‘Stupid’ too!”  Janeway said.  Kathleen had never liked dogs and ‘Woofy’ was no exception.  She would call the dog ‘Stupid’ and it would still come to her.
 “Who’s this?”  B’Elanna asked giving him the padd.  That picture showed a young woman with light brown hair and green eyes who Tom had his arms wrapped around from behind.  They were both smiling and looked like a nice couple.  B’Elanna knew that it wasn’t on e of Tom’s sisters.  She had seen his family picture and thus seen his sisters before.  Tom’s smile faded and a shadow came over his features.
 “That’s Elaine Bacher.”  Tom said.
 “I thought that you didn’t have a girlfriend.”  B’Elanna stated thinking that Tom had lied to both her and Harry.  Chakotay leaned out of the chair that he was sitting in and took the padd from Tom so that he could look at the picture.  He had noticed that Janeway had tensed at the mention of the woman’s name and wondered why.
 “I don’t have a girlfriend.  She *was* my fiancé.”  Tom stated and put another jujube in his mouth.
 “What happened where is she?”  Kathryn was going to interject and change the subject but Tom spoke before she could.
 “She dumped me for a Commander…. Commander something, I don’t remember.”  Chakotay handed the picture back to Tom who promptly deleted the picture.  He handed the padd back to B’Elanna she could continue looking through it if she wanted.  As the hours wore on Janeway and Chakotay left and once again.  Tom and B’Elanna were left alone.  They talked for an hour after the other two had left and at the end of their conversation the somehow got on the topic of lost love and B’Elanna asked about Elaine.
 “Did you love her?”
 “I thought I did, but I don’t know if it’s possibly to truly love somebody that never loved you in return.”  He walked B’Elanna to the exit to his quarters.
 “I’m sorry Tom.”
 “Don’t worry about it.  I guess I just wasn’t enough.”  His voice sounded light and carefree but she could hear the anguish that he tried to mask.  Time heals all wounds but the scars a their for life.  B’Elanna stopped just before they where in range of the sensors that would open the doors.
 “She didn’t deserve you.”  B’Elanna hesitated and then kissed him lightly at the corner of his mouth.  Silently she left his quarters.  Tom stood there for a long minute trying to comprehend what had just happened.  A genuine smile graced his face and he sat down on his couch and finished off the rest of the jujubes.  The smile didn’t leave his face that night. 

 Next morning.  Tom walks into the Captain’s Ready room.  The time was only 0727 and he knew where to find his bosom buddy.  Kathryn was seated at her desk looking through some information for the Senior Staff meeting at 0800.  
 “Tom what are you doing here?”  she asked.  Tom was usually a late riser. 
 “I thought that I should whisk you away from all the work so that we could enjoy a wholesome and colourful meal in the Mess Hall.” He announced grandly.
 “I have to read these.”
 “Read them later.”  Tom took the padd out of her hand and pulled her to her feet.  “Come on.  If you join me their might be coffee involved.”  She smiled.  Tom knew she couldn’t resist. They started for the door. “And if I don’t have enough replicator rations there’s always Neelix’s better than coffee substitute.”  Tom joked.  Kathryn turned to head back to her desk but Tom turned her again and they left the ready room.  They entered the turbolift and Kathryn noticed the Tom was grinning like an idiot.  
 “What are you so happy about?” she finally asked him.
 “I’ve achieved the impossible and got you to join me for breakfast.”  They stepped off the turbolift onto deck two.
 “That’s not the only reason.  Spill! Or I may have to force it out of you.” 
 “Nu-uh-uh!”  Tom waggled his finger at her.  “I can beat you at that game now.”  He reminded her.  There was a time, long ago when she was the bigger one and could pin him to the ground but then came his growth spurt and the tables had turned.
 They walked into the Mess Hall and say the food that Neelix had created for breakfast.  They looked at each other and then back at the food.  It didn’t smell very good and it didn’t look very good but they forced them selves to serve at least a small portion of whatever it was.  
 “I love what he’s done with you’re dining room.”  Tom said and she punched him in the arm.  She walked off and sat down and Tom followed.  This wasn’t such a bad place to be.  They were all relatively safe.  The Maquis didn’t hate him anymore, some of them even liked him.  He had friends here that weren’t out just to better their careers.  He sat down across form the Captain.  There’s a silver lining in every cloud, it just took a while for him to find this one.  

The End
Email me please!  zappyzaps@hotmail.com
It was a pretty crappy ending but at least you won’t have to read it again but if you want to please feel free to.  Here’s an idea ? every person that reads this story must send me an email!  Just kidding but I like getting emails.  It’s like Christmas all over again but without the hassle of Christmas shopping.