Title: Sins of the Father
Author: Zappy Zaps
Summary:  Despite all the differences in this universe, both The Liberty and Voyager end up getting stranded in the DQ thanks to the Caretaker.  This story is a sequel to the story “The Trials and Tribulations of Tom Paris”. This story starts from ‘Caretaker, Part 1’.
Category: P, P/T, J Action/Adventure
Rating: PG-13 (talk of child abuse, torture)
Author’s notes:  This story makes several references to ‘The Trials and tribulations of Tom Paris’ you may want to read that before you read this (it’ll make more sense).  And read the notes I put at the end!

The sun was shining and birds sang happily.  It was a beautiful summer day and the country folk were taking advantage of it; planning a get together with their guests.  What the hell is going on, you’re asking; same thing the Maquis were asking.  They stood in somebody’s lawn while an old man strummed his banjo and the other country folk introduced themselves to the crew.  

Tom was looking around trying to determine exactly where they were.  This couldn’t be real. Could it?  Just a moment ago they were on the Liberty and had just discovered that they were on the other side of the Galaxy and now they were here.  What he wouldn’t do for a tricorder right now.  He walked around counting the number of crewmembers present.

 “Everybody’s accounted for.”  He said to Chakotay.  Everybody that survived their trip across the galaxy anyway. They had lost their chief medic which meant that Tom was their new chief medic since he had the next greatest amount of medical knowledge.  They also lost seven more crewmembers.

 Chakotay nodded.  At least they were still all together.  Where they were was another question. “This can’t be real.” Chakotay said. B’Elanna walked up to them, a device like a tricorder in hand.

 “You’re right it’s not.  No stable matter.  It must be a holographic projection of some sort.” She concluded.

 “There must be a way out.” Tom said and went to ask one of the holographic people.  The man on the banjo just ignored his questions.  The woman just offered him some sugar cookies.  “Well they’re not going to be much help to us.” Tom said. “We should split up into groups and look for a way out.” Tom suggested to Chakotay.  Chakotay agreed.  B’Elanna, Tom and Tabor went in one direction while other groups head in other directions.  A holographic woman tagged along with Paris and his group.  The woman walked in between Tabor and Paris and held onto their arms.  The woman was annoying enough that B’Elanna wanted to deck her just to shut her up but hanging onto her boyfriend’s arm was the last straw.  She was getting ready to swing but Tom stopped her.  “She’s just a hologram.” Tom said to her and he removed his arm from the grip of the hologram.  

A few minutes later B’Elanna got some strange readings from the barn so they went to investigate.  The woman tried to keep them back but they forced their way onward.  Once inside B’Elanna confirmed that it was some sort of holographic projector behind one of the walls.  When Tabor moved closer the woman became more violent.  She backhanded Tabor and sent the young man flying through the air and crashing to the ground.  Tom checked him.  He was fine.  He called for Chakotay and he and several more crewmembers came running.  

 “I’m not ready for you yet!” The woman snarled at them. The older woman who had been offering sugar cookies appeared before them armed with a pitchfork.  

 “If nobody wants any sugar cookies then we’ll just proceed.” She said.  Before anyone could say a thing, a flash of light engulfed them and each person found themselves strapped to something and no longer wearing their clothes.  Only a long synthetic cloth.  A probing device came down from the dark ceiling and penetrated each of them in the stomach.  Blinding pain and then darkness.

Caretaker: Only in this version Tom Paris saves Captain Janeway from falling to her death on the stairs.  Everything else is pretty much the same.  I’ll inform you of any differences later.

It had been thirty minutes since Tuvok had destroyed the Caretaker’s Array on Janeway’s order.  They had lost their only way home thanks Janeway.  At the moment Torres, Ayala, Henley and Paris where cooling there heals in on of the transporter rooms after being told by one of the officers to ‘Stay here!’.  All the consoles had been shutdown so they had nothing to occupy their minds except their angry thoughts.  Torres sat on the platform of the transporter padd while Henley and Ayala ranted between themselves.  Tom was working on one of the consoles.

 “Tom it doesn’t work.  You’re wasting your time.” B’Elanna informed him.

 “It doesn’t work yet.” He corrected her.  He opened up one of the consoles panels and followed one of the cables to the floor. It was hardwired. //Even better// Tom thought.  He walked over to the wall where Ayala and Henley were talking.  He found another panel and pulled it off.  It revealed several isolinear chips.  He pulled two out and went back to the console.  After a few seconds he got the console online.  “Presto.”  B’Elanna moved to his side and they looked through the database.  Tom went to the internal sensors and looked for the location of the other Liberty crewmembers by looking for lifesigns that didn’t have commbadges.  The Maquis were located in a few areas over the ship: cargo bay, transporter rooms, mess hall and shuttlebay.  They saw that Chakotay was in the Captains Ready room.  

 “Hey! What are you doing?”  One of the Starfleet officers walked in while Tom and B’Elanna where at the console.  “You’re not supposed to be accessing any of the ships information.”  The man was a Lt. j.g. “Security to Transporter Room two.”  Tom rolled his eyes.  He was very familiar with Starfleet operating procedure and knew that calling a security team for this sort of thing was unnecessary.  He guessed that this man knew who he was and hence knew about the accident at Caldik Prime.

 “I was just checking on the status of the Liberty crewmembers.” Tom said.

 “They’re fine.”  The officer said. Tom went back to the console anyway. “Don’t trust me?”

 “About as much as you trust me.” Tom nailed him with an unwavering gaze.  A moment later two security officer showed up in the transporter room phasers drawn.  Ayala and Henley moved to confront the officers but Tom ordered them to stand down, much to their chagrin.

 “What’s going on here?” one of the security personnel asked.

 “I was checking on the status of the Liberty’s crew.” Tom said. One of the officers approached and looked at what he had done.  

 “You accessed internal sensors.” //You’re a quick one.// Tom thought sarcastically.  The officer shutdown the console again and turned to the Maquis, “You’ll have to come with us.”  The officer said to all of the Maquis in the room.

 “I take full responsibility for my actions.  They had no part in this.”  Tom said knowing that without proof that the others had helped him they were not accessories to his little crime and they could only take him.

 “Fine.” The officer didn’t really care as long as he got to throw Paris in the brig where he belonged.  

 “Tom,” B’Elanna began but he shook his head at her.  They wanted to throw him in the brig and no matter what they said he was going to be spending a couple of hours in the brig before this day was over.  The two security officers escorted Tom through the corridors with a phaser at his back, which was also unnecessary.  

The officer that had first walked in on them while Tom was on the console was left alone to fix the isolinear relay, with three angry Maquis.  None of them did anything knowing that they would only get in more trouble and the Voyager crew would probably find some way of taking it out on Tom.  It had been made clear since the moment they first stepped on the Voyager that they disliked Tom due to the accident at Caldik Prime and then becoming a traitor when he joined the Maquis.  The officer left quickly after he had finished his business leaving the seething Liberty crewmembers in the room.  

A few minutes later Chakotay walked into the transporter room.  He needed to talk with Paris, Ayala and Torres since they were pretty much his senior staff.  When he entered though, he only saw Torres, Henley and Ayala.  “Where’s Paris?” he asked, although he thought he had an idea of where Tom probably was.  Most of the Voyager crew had a grudge against him for one reasons or another.

 “He was taken to the brig.” Ayala informed.

 “He activated one of the consoles and accessed internal sensors.  They never said that we couldn’t access the systems they just threw us in here.  They said that we couldn’t leave the area and Tom wanted to take a head count.” B’Elanna explained.  Chakotay sighed knowing that the next long while will not be easy.  He handed B’Elanna and Ayala each a padd.  

 “We need to separate everybody into different departments that they served on the Liberty.  Torres you do Engineering, Ayala you’ve got Tactical and security.  I’ll get Tom out of the brig.  We need to place the other crewmembers into the appropriate departments.”  

Chakotay headed for the brig.  He was the only Maquis crewmember that was allowed to move about the ship unescorted.  He wondered how long the crew would hold their grudge against Paris.  He didn’t know exactly what happened at Caldik but even if the Starfleet reports are accurate Tom had more than proven himself during his time on the Liberty.  

Chakotay entered the brig. There were two guards and Tom was in one of the cells behind a force-field.  Tom sat up to see who had entered.  When he saw it was Chakotay he stood and walked to the forcefield.  “You, alright?”  Tom nodded.  He looked well.  “Lower the forcefield.” Chakotay ordered the two guards.

 “We can’t do that sir.” One man said.

 “Then who can?”  Chakotay was getting tired of this.

 “You’d need the Captains permission to get him out of the brig sir.”  He explained.

 “Chakotay to Janeway,”

 *Janeway here,*

 “Captain could you tell them to release Tom Paris from the brig.  I need his help to organize the crew.” After a pause she responded.

 *Release him from the brig.* she ordered.  The guards did as they were told, albeit reluctantly.  

 “Thank you, Captain.” Chakotay said over the open commline.

 *Janeway out.*  She closed the comm link.  Tom and Chakotay left the brig without another word until they were in the corridor.

 “It seems my reputation precedes me in all circles.” Tom stated.

 “Don’t let it get to you.  We’re going to be on this ship for a very long time.  They’ll get over it sooner or later.”

 “Care to put a wager on that.” Tom asked with a smile.

 “No, we’re on a Starfleet ship now. No gambling.” Chakotay enlightened him although he was fairly certain that Tom knew that already.  “Anyway, we need to separate the crew into the proper departments.  We’ll all be serving on Voyager.”

 “I figured that’s what would happen.” Tom said.  “We should go see the others.  They haven’t received any news about what’s happening and I’m sure their tired of being under guard.” Chakotay nodded and they adjusted their course to take them to the Shuttle bay.  

Two hours later Janeway and Tuvok were finalizing the department additions and commissions.  Captain Janeway was looking at the list of helm officers.  She approved all of them except one.  ‘Thomas Paris’ She couldn’t entrust a man like Tom Paris to pilot her ship, could she?  She didn’t authorize him for a position at tactical either.  She put that padd down and picked up a different one.  

Tuvok had noticed that Captain had been disturbed by the contents of the padd.  He picked it up and viewed it.  He noticed that she had approved everybody on the padd except one person.  “Captain, why did you not approve Mr. Paris for helm and Navigation?” Tuvok enquired.  

 “I don’t think that the crew would be comfortable with him at the helm.” She said.  That was only a half-truth.  She knew that the crew could get used to Paris being at the helm she was the one having the problem and it wasn’t because she questioned his piloting skills.  She was having trouble separating what she knew of Tom Paris from his file and from what Admiral Paris said from what she witness from Tom Paris since he had been on the ship.  There was obviously some hostility towards Paris from the crew but the crew of the Liberty displayed undying faith in Tom and his abilities.  They trusted him enough to be comfortable taking orders from him.

 “Captain, the crew will adjust but I do not believe that is the source of your difficulty assigning Mr. Paris to the helm.” She sighed knowing that Tuvok knew her too well.  

 “I can’t explain Tuvok.  I know of the Tom Paris that refused to help Starfleet when he was approached, he has been behind several of the raids and attacks on the Cardassians, even though we have no concrete evidence that it was him I’m inclined to believe that it was.  And now we find him piloting for the Maquis.  He’s a traitor to Starfleet and among other things I don’t know if I could trust him at the helm of my ship.” She ended.

 “Chakotay was once a Starfleet officer.  He left to join the Maquis yet you do not consider him a traitor.” 

 “That’s different.  Chakotay left to defend his home colony.  Paris on the other hand is a mercenary.”

 “Essentially their situations are not different.  They both chose the Maquis over Starfleet.” Janeway considered his words. “It is possible he found something worth fighting for.” Janeway looked up waiting for him to continue “Ms. Torres, perhaps.”

 “Maybe.” She said, no longer looking at him.  Tuvok knew that this was not a battle of logic.  He could not change Captain Janeway’s personal opinion of Tom Paris.  If Mr. Paris continued to prove himself to her, she would have to change her opinion herself.  It wasn’t his battle to fight.  Tuvok left after Janeway had finished authorizing the department additions and commissions and took the data padds with him so that he could take them to Chakotay, Commander Chakotay now actually.

Chakotay took the padds and dismissed Tuvok.  Chakotay shook his head, it had been a long while since he’s had to dismiss anybody but as the new first officer, since Cavit was dead, he would have to get used to it quickly.  He looked over the list.  Beside each name was their department and an authorization from Janeway.  He scanned quickly through the next few padds.  In the second last one though he notice a break in the list of authorizations he scrolled up.  Beside ‘Thomas Paris’ there was a different symbol. Tom had been denied being added to the helm and Navigation department.  Janeway had listed him under sciences and medical.  He looked up at Tom who was talking to some crewmen trying to assure them that things would work out.  They were worried that they wouldn’t be able handle living on a Starfleet ship. He didn’t know how Tom would react.  Actually he did know.  Tom wouldn’t react, not visibly anyway.

With Tom’s help he replicated and handed out the uniforms to the various crewmembers.  They had all assembled in the two cargobays.  Nearly every person glared at their new uniform and rank insignias when they received them.  Starfleet had been the enemy for a long to time for them and now, not only did they have work along side Starfleet officers, they had to be Starfleet officers.  

Tom handed out some uniforms. He thought about the changes that these people where going to have to endure. They can change the way they acted and the way they dressed and even the way they thought about certain things but at heart these people would always be Maquis.  Hopefully though in time the crew would not look at each other as either Starfleet or Maquis but as Voyager’s crew, Tom mused.  

Tom, Chakotay and B’Elanna where the last ones to get their uniforms.  Tom handed B’Elanna her new uniform.  “Lt.” he said. She just growled a warning at him.  Tom noticed that Chakotay was hesitant to get his uniform.  “She won’t let me fly.” 

 “I’m sorry Tom.  I’ll talk to her.  I’ll ask her to give you a chance at the helm–”

 “Don’t worry about it.” Tom stopped him from continuing.  He always knew that it was a possibility that they wouldn’t let him pilot.  If they won’t let at the helm then being assigned to tactical was out of the question.  The only other place that he was officially trained for was as a science officer since he majored in Astrophysics. Chakotay handed Tom his new uniform.  Crewman Paris, science officer; that’s a new one.  

Chakotay wasn’t pleased with Janeway’s decision.  The best pilot on the ship wasn’t going to be at the helm.  If Janeway knew what was good for her ship she would put Tom at the helm.  It seems that prejudice penetrates even the highest ranks in Starfleet.  Chakotay wasn’t the only one that wasn’t pleased with Janeway’s decision.  You could almost see the steam coming out of B’Elanna’a ears.  First Janeway destroys their best choice of getting home and now, even after seeing what Tom could do at the helm of a Starship during the battle with the Kazon, she wouldn’t let him pilot the ship.  

Tom rubbed his fingers over the synthetic material.  “Tom are you alright?”  B’Elanna asked.  

 “Yeah…it’s just…I thought that I would never put on another Starfleet uniform.  Starfleet had been my life before Caldik and now that I have the chance to don the uniform again…I don’t want to.” Tom was going to leave it at that but Chakotay pushed the issue.  This was the closest he had ever gotten Tom to talking about Starfleet . “This uniform is supposed to represent all the ideals and ethics that we’d all like to have.  I, on the other hand, now that there are people wearing this uniform that don’t deserve to, people that will spit on everything that its supposed to mean for the sake of convenience, people that let political affairs decide what’s right and what’s wrong.  This uniform doesn’t represent anything with them wearing it.”  

Tom was in his small quarters. Possibly the smallest on the ship since it was a single meant for a crewman. //At least I get my own room//.  Tom tried to make the best of his situation.  It was getting more and more difficult to be optimistic though.  It became particularly difficult after he read his duty roster.  Stellar Cartography and Sickbay.  Tom gave up; he was never much of an optimist anyway.  This was going to be an awful 75 years.

In Stellar cartography Tom listened as Janeway gave her stupid speech.  Stranded over seventy thousand light years away from where he needed to be.  He wondered what was going on right then in the Alpha Quadrant.  

Janeway ended her speech and ships business continued.  Tom was assigned some menial tasks.  //Well somebody’s got to do it.// he tried to inspire himself but gave that up soon after.  Throughout the day the nearly every former Maquis crewmember came to ask Tom about one thing or another; mostly about procedure and whether they needed clearance to do certain things.  Even as a crewman he was still the second in command to the Maquis crewmembers.  In the end Tom reduced what he told them to ‘If you’re not sure ask for permission’.  Some of the questions Tom found rather humorous but didn’t let his amusement show.  It was going to be difficult for them to be on a ship with so many rules. 

  Tom was glad when the day was over.  He was so bored with his work that he could have fallen asleep standing.  I mean, stellar cartography isn’t bad if you like that stuff. In fact it could be quite interesting and it probably would have been for Tom if he actually got to do some interesting stuff rather than input data or run trivial scans.  

Tom entered his quarters on deck six.  He flopped onto his bed.  It was still early but he didn’t know what to do with himself.  He wasn’t interested in eating another delicious ration pack.  The door chime disturbed his thoughts he called for the person to enter.  B’Elanna walked in and let the doors slide shut behind her.  She slowly walked over to him while she looked around his small quarters.  “Welcome to Casa Paris.” Tom said unenthusiastically.  She sat down on his bed next to where he lay.  Tom took hold of her hand with his.  “How was your day?” he asked tiredly.

 “Better than yours it seems but still not great.” She said.

 “Tell me all about it.” Tom said.  Spending his time with B’Elanna was always good.  She began telling him about how she was having trouble in Engineering with Joe Carey.  Captain Janeway had yet to decide who was chief engineer.  “I’m sure Janeway will be sensible and make you Chief Engineer.” Tom stated.
 B’Elanna laughed cynically. “Yeah right. Because she was so ‘sensible’ when she assigned you as a science officer?”

 “Touché. But, I don’t think that decision had anything to do with being sensible.”  Tom said “The Captain and Admiral Paris where close friends.”  He informed her. “The minute she saw me I knew she hated me.”  Tom said shrugging.

 “Hopefully Chakotay will be able to change her mind.” B’Elanna said

 “Yeah, hopefully.”  Tom didn’t really believe that Chakotay would be able to.  After a bit of silence between them, Tom pulled B’Elanna down to lay next to him.  Their relationship was very new and due to the hectic lives that they had on the Liberty it moved very slowly.  They had never actually gone out officially. They just managed to do things together on the side.  Now with so much responsibility being lifted they would have more time for each other.  

Tom had his arm around her waist and held her close to him.  Drawing strength from the comfort that her presence brought.  B’Elanna felt completely comfortable in Tom’s arms.  It was the first time she entered a relationship without worrying about her partner’s intentions.  The slow pace was fine with her and Tom understood.  B’Elanna had been hurt before by men who only wanted to be with a Klingon and Tom could understand her reluctance to enter a relationship and the fear she had of her own feelings.  

She turned in his arms to face him after a few moments.  She lay there contently with her eyes closed enjoying the serenity.  Tom looked at her beautiful features.  She was the most beautiful sight in the universe to him.  He had never felt this close to someone before.  He brought his hand up and gently touched the smooth skin of her face.  

B’Elanna felt the gentle touch to her face and opened her eyes to see Tom’s beautiful azure eyes.   They could feel each other’s breath on their skin.  Tom leaned in and gently touched his lips to hers.  Tom pulled away, hoping that he had not over stepped his bounds.  B’elanna responded by kissing him again.  The kiss was gentle and shy, each not wanting to go to far.

 “Delaney to Paris.” Came the voice over the comm.  Tom ended their kiss and sighed.  He tapped his combadge.

  “Paris,” was all he said.

  “We could use your help with these star charts if you’re not too busy.”  She said.  Tom sighed silently.  He knew that she could just order him to help with the Star charts but she was attempting to be polite he guessed.

  “I’m on my way, Paris out.” Tom said with more than a little disappointment in his voice.  He looked to B’Elanna who was looking a little disappointed herself.  “I’ve got to go.” 

 “Duty calls,” she tried to joke. Tom smiled and B’Elanna nearly melted.  His smile could melt an iceberg.  She wished he smiled more often.  He kissed her tenderly and got up from the bed and helped her up as well.  

 “I don’t know when I’ll be done. Contact me whenever you want to.”  She nodded and they left his quarters.  B’Elanna went to deck nine while Tom went down to deck four where the science labs were.

The next several days the crew settled into their new lives.  B’Elanna did indeed become Chief Engineer after getting them out of the quantum singularity that they were in.  Chakotay had piloted the ship through the small opening and had done an admirable but he knew that Tom could have done it without creating half of the damage that he did.  The fact that Tom wasn’t sitting at the helm was a topic of great discussion among the former Maquis.  Chakotay had certainly talked with Janeway about letting Tom pilot the ship, at least on a trial basis but she didn’t give him a definite answer.  She was leaning more towards ‘no’.  

Life on the ship was settling and with this settling came the arguments and tempers as people tired to deal with their new situations.  Tom had to stop three fights in four days.  He was then put on report for not reporting the incidents to Tuvok.  The Starfleet crewmembers that knew of the fights the fights knew that Tom wasn’t going to snitch on them so they decided to get him in trouble by telling Tuvok themselves.  Tom took full blame for his actions and for the Maquis crewmembers.  They too would have gotten in trouble for not reporting the incidents but Tom told Tuvok that he told them not to tell him. He had never actually said that but they didn’t need anything else to deal with.  He could handle it.   Tom’s replicator rations were lowered for the next two weeks but since his rations were already so low since he was a crewman they had been cut completely.  

That wasn’t the only time the crew got at Tom though.  He was ordered to report to one of the cargo bays one day.  Tom didn’t know why he was to report there and didn’t think anything of it until he entered the cargo bay.   The lights were out and when he called for them nothing happened. He braced himself for the attack he knew was coming.  And it came hard.  

Two forms tackled him.  They picked him off the floor and held him as others go their turn at punching and kicking him.  Tom at one point had gotten free from the people that where attacking him but they got him before he could get away. They now had three people holding him.  He could feel when one would let go and change with the other so that they all got their turns to get him.  They were silent throughout.  The only sounds in the Cargo bay was the grunts and moans as blow after blow hit their mark.  

When they were done they left Tom on the floor of the Cargo bay bruised and bleeding.  He rolled off his stomach and onto his back.  He reached to touch his commbadge but it was missing.  They must have taken it.  Tom tried to catch his breath.  He could taste the blood in his mouth and feel the blood that trickled from his nose and mouth.  Struggling to his feet he got to the doors of the Cargo bay.  Slowly and carefully he went to his quarters.  He had a medkit in there since he was being trained as the Doctor’s assistance though he didn’t think that any of the crew other than the Maquis and maybe Tuvok would agree to be treated by him.  

Tom made it to his quarters.  He sat in the floor next to his bed and leaned against he wall.  He had been lucky and managed to get back without anyone seeing him.  He reached for the med kit that wasn’t too far from him.  The effort that the simple task required caused pain throughout most of his body.  He sat there, med kit in hand waiting for the pain to subside before he dared move again. 

Outside Tom’s quarters a crewmember rang the chime.  There was not response.  He rang it again. Still no response.  “Computer location of Tom Paris.”

 “Unknown.” Came the response.

 “Computer are there any life signs in this room?”

 “Affirmative” Came the response.

Tom hadn’t moved from his position when he heard the chime.  He hoped that whoever it was would go away but he wasn’t so lucky.  It seems that he was never lucky theses days.  The doors opened and the bright lights of the corridor briefly illuminated the dark room before the doors slid shut.

 “Computer lights.” Harry Kim said.  He looked around a saw Tom sitting next to his bed, bloody and in obvious pain. “Oh my god,” Harry gasped. He quickly went over to Tom.  Harry had not forgotten what Tom had done for him those months ago on DS9.  He had been more than a little surprised when he saw Tom in the Ocampan cave.  Harry was the only Starfleet crewman that would be seen with Tom.  He also saw something in Tom that the other Starfleet crewmen didn’t.  It was the same thing that allowed the Maquis to believe in and trust him.

 “Hey, Harry.” Tom whispered.  

 “Tom what happened to you?” Harry asked as he scanned Tom with the medical tricorder.  He didn’t know too much about medicine but he was sure that Tom was in a lot of pain so he gave him what he knew was a pain killer.  Tom’s features relaxed as the painkiller took effect.

 “It’s nothing Harry.” Tom said as he took the tricorder and medkit and went to the washroom.  Harry waited in the main room. When Tom emerged he was wearing only his grey T-shirt. He threw the blood stained uniform and turtleneck into the refresher.  Harry studied Tom.  He looked better.  Tom had healed the most serious, visible and most painful injuries but he didn’t want to waste the battery of the regenerators.  He wasn’t going to explain to the Doctor how he had managed to drain the batteries.  Tom was still a little pale and moved kind of stiffly but he was much better than before.  “So why did you come by here Harry?” Tom said.

 “I wanted to know if you wanted to go to the Mess Hall for dinner but that can wait.” Harry said quickly. “Who did that to you Tom?”

 “Sure Harry.  Let’s get something to eat.  As you may or may not know I’ve lost what little replicator privileges I had.” Tom said as he pulled out and extra uniform and totally ignored Harry’s question.


 “Harry, it’s nothing.  I’ll be fine.  Don’t tell anybody.” Tom told him.  Harry nodded reluctantly.

Later that night B’Elanna came by his quarters.  Tom was laying face down on the bed wearing the grey T-shirt. “Hey, B’Elanna.” He said.  B’Elanna noticed that his voice lacked the usual vivaciousness that she was used to hearing.  She guessed that he was just tired.  She looked at the way he moved and added tense to the list.  

 “Lay back down Tom.” She ordered.

 “Yes ma’am.”  He relaxed as much as he could and thought that B’Elanna was going to lay next to him when he felt the weight on the bed.  Instead she straddled his waist and began giving him a massage.  Tom was enjoying the feel of B’Elanna’s hands on him when he noticed that she was nearing an area that was bruised. “B’Elanna–”, but before he could tell her to stop she pressed on one of his bruises.  He flinched and B’Elanna removed her hands from him.

 “Tom what’s wrong?”  She lifted his shirt so that she could see his skin in that place.  Tom tried to stop her but in that position and his current condition he wasn’t fast enough to keep her from seeing the large black and blue bruise that contrasted with his fair skin tone.  “What happened?” she asked out of concern


 “Tom, don’t lie to me!  Who did this?”

 “I don’t know B’Elanna.” He pulled his shirt back down and turned onto his back.  She still straddled him.

 “Tom!” she warned and leaned forward placing her hands on his shoulders.  She quickly removed her hands from him when he flinched again.  She pulled up the sleeve of his shirt. There was another dark bruise. “God, Tom,” she breathed “who did this?” she asked softly.

 “I honestly don’t know B’Elanna.” Tom said “It was dark.  I didn’t see who it was.”

 “Have you gone to the Doctor?”

 “I don’t need to see the Doctor every time I get a bruise.”


 “I’m fine B’Elanna.  Give me a couple of days and I’ll be in tiptop shape again.  

 “At least tell me that you told Tuvok about this.”
 “Alright then, I told Tuvok about this.” He said. She swatted his stomach and he flinched again. She pulled up the front of his shirt.  His taut stomach also had a bruise on it.

 “Tom you can’t let them get away with this.” If they didn’t put a stop to this now it could get worse.  

 “B’Elanna I don’t want to cause anymore tension between the two crews.  It’ll work out.  I promise.” he told her.  B’Elanna conceded.  If she found out who did this though, they would pay dearly, that was a promise.

A few days later Tom arrived on the bridge for his shift at the Science Station.  He relieved Samantha Wildman.  She was one of the few Starfleet crewmembers that was giving him a chance to prove himself.  Tom went about his duties without a word.  He caught B’Elanna’s eye when she entered the bridge and he gave her a small smile.  Janeway and Chakotay where also on the bridge at the time and they didn’t miss the short exchange between the two.

Tom was using the sensors and cataloguing some data when it began.  From behind an asteroid field three Kazon ships attacked Voyager.  Tuvok immediately raised shields and returned fire.  Chakotay took the helm from Hamilton while Janeway ordered Ensign Kim to hail the lead vessel.  They didn’t get a response and the attack continued.  Even with the superior firepower and technology it would be extremely difficult to win this battle.  Shields where dropping and gas filled the bridge.  Consoles sparked and exploded and crewmembers went flying.  Tom had been working on a way to get away from the Kazon but his priorities changed when the first person was injured.  He stopped what he was doing and picked up his med kit.  He began treating the most serious injuries, stabilizing them enough so that they could be beamed to sickbay.

Janeway was at the tactical station working with Tuvok.  There was no warning when the console behind them exploded.  Rushing to the station he scanned Tuvok and Janeway.  Tuvok was rising and had on minor burns but Janeway had taken the brunt of the explosion.  Tom pressed a hypospray to her neck. And made sure that she was stable before calling for transport for the Captain to Sickbay.  

At the helm Chakotay was struggling to keep the Kazon ships away from them.  When Janeway was injured he was next in charge.  “Paris, Take the helm!” Chakotay called to Tom over the commotion.   Tom vaulted over the railing and quickly took over for Chakotay.  The bridge crew was too busy handling other problems to object to Tom being at the helm.  

 “Shields at forty-three percent and dropping.” Tuvok reported.  A shot from the Kazon ship caused Voyager to shudder violently.

 “Initiating sequence Gamma 4.” Tom called from the helm.  Tuvok prepeared for the sequence and got several successful shots on the Kazon ships.  Tom manoeuvred the ship hard to port when the sequence had been completed.  He dodged several shots from the Kazon and Tuvok managed to take out the weapons on one of the Kazon vessels.    Another shudder ran through Voyager.

 “Weapons offline.” Tuvok stated.  They were defenceless against the Kazon until they got weapons back.

 “What about a tractor beam emitter?” Tom asked as he was piloting.  Chakotay remembered what Tom had done with the Liberty when they were in a battle with the Cardassians.  

 “The emitters are still functional.” Tuvok told him.  He wasn’t sure what Paris was planning but any ideas where welcome at the moment.  Tom brought Voyager closed to the ship that they had disabled the weapons on.  

 “Kim, tractor that ship when we are within range.  Get ready to release it on my mark.” Chakotay ordered.  

A blue tractor beam locked on to the defenceless Kazon ship.  Tom then guided Voyager towards one of the other Kazon Vessels.  At first the Kazon ship tried to resist but their engine blew out and they where at the mercy of Voyager.  As Voyager approached the ship at full impulse the Kazon ship fired at it but few shots hit the mark.  When they were less than a thousand kilometres from the other Kazon ship he tractor beam was deactivated.  Voyager slowed and turned away. The momentum of the Kazon ship that they had bee towing brought the ship crashing into the other one with a dazzling display of sparks and explosions.  Both ships where now completely out of commission.  Towing another one of the ships.  Tom piloted Voyager towards the last Kazon vessel.  Once again Voyager deactivated the tractor beam and the two Kazon ships collided.  All three where now disabled.

“We’ve got warp!” B’Elanna called from her station.  And not a moment too soon.  On long range sensors there were three more Kazon ships closing in on their position.  B’Elanna had been hard at work repairing the ships systems.  Tom turned the ship away from the Kazon that were coming and jumped to warp in a flash of white light.  After securing the navigation and helm systems to relinquished the helm to Hamilton who had been more than a little impressed by the superb display of piloting skill.  

Repairs where started and Tom returned back to the science station.  He looked at the mundane console and sighed.  After a piloting experience like that one, this station looked even less inviting compared to the helm than it did before.  He got to work and was soon put on a repair detail. 

Tom was working in Engineering helping to realign the warp field.  Several people were working in Engineering as well.  Sue Nicolleti, one of the Starfleet engineers felt like being particularly obnoxious.  She went over to the console that Tom was working at.  On the screen were complicated symbols and scientific notations.  She had trouble understanding the details of what he was doing.  She was impressed but didn’t let it show.  Tom continued working, ignoring her.  “Do you need any help, Crewman?”  she asked in an icy voice.  
 “No.” Tom didn’t even look at her.  She was beginning to get angry.

 “You’re Tom Paris aren’t you?”

 “Uh-huh.” Tom said distractedly.

 “You’re a pilot right?”

 “That’s right.” Tom said still working at the console.

 “Then stick to flying the ship and let the engineers do the real work.”  She attempted to push him out of the way.  Tom, however, was taller and stronger than she was and he didn’t move.

 “I’m busy right now.” 

 “You don’t even know what you’re doing!” 

 “Whatever.”  Tom finished working at the console and moved to a different console to check the alignment of the magnetic constrictors.  Sue followed him.  “Do you require something from me?”  Tom asked.  This woman was beginning to irritate him.  
“I want you out of Engineering!”

“I’m here under the orders of the Chief Engineer.  Since you don’t out rank her you can’t do a damn thing.”


“Just let me do my job and I’ll be out of here when my shift is over.” 

“Is there a problem here?”  Joe Carey had heard them and came over.

“No problem, Joe.” Sue said as she walked away.  Tom went back to work.  Joe Carey gave Tom a neutral glance and went back to work.  He had noted that Tom was a proficient engineer.  B’Elanna respected Tom and Joe respected B’Elanna, so he didn’t judge Tom just yet.  

In Sickbay Janeway was talking with Chakotay and Tuvok.  She was impressed that they had managed to get away from the Kazon.  She wasn’t pleased when she heard that Paris had been the one piloting the ship.  Chakotay gave her a viable excuse saying that none of the other pilots was able to pilot the ship at the time and he had to be in command.  Janeway accepted the excuse, for now.  Chakotay left but Tuvok remained behind.  Janeway interrupted him before he could speak.  She knew what he was going to say. “I’ll think about it Tuovk.”  She said.  Tuvok nodded and left; he too had other duties to attend to. 

That evening after most of the repairs where finished Tom took Harry, B’Elanna and Greg Ayala to the holodeck.  Tom ran a new program he had made.  “Welcome to Sandrines,” Tom said as he opened the door for them.  They entered the bar and a petit blonde woman greeted them.  She introduced herself as Sandrine.  Harry, B’Elanna and Greg where astounded by the detail of the program.  The characters mingled with each other and introduced themselves to the new comers.  B’Elanna wasn’t very impressed by the hustler.  She remembered him from her visit to Sandrines when she was on Earth with Tom.

They sat at a booth and listened to the soft piano music that was coming from the man playing the old upright piano.  They talked for a bit and Tom offered to get everybody a round of synthale.  Tom went to the bar and got four drink.  As he was getting them.  Three people walked into the bar.  They weren’t holocharacters.  Tom recognized them.  Meyer, Foster and Hamilton.  Meyer was an engineer, Foster was security and Irene Hamilton was the pilot that was at the conn until the battle started.  “Oh sorry we didn’t know that this was private thing.”  Hamilton said apologizing.  Tom shook his head.  

 “Don’t worry about it.  It’s not a private program.  Everybody’s welcome.”  Tom said with a charming smile.  Hamilton and Foster smiled back.  Meyer just snorted indignantly which earned him an elbow in the ribs from Hamilton.  “You’re all welcome to stay, if you’d like.”

 “Thank you.” Foster said.  Tom took the drinks and went back to the table.

 “What do they want?”  Greg asked Tom when he returned.

 “Just looking for a place to hang.”  ‘Hang?’  Tom saw the confused faces and tried again. “…looking for a place to relax.”  

 “Why are we here?  Let’s leave?”  Meyer said to his friends.

 “And go where?” Foster asked. “Besides I like this place.” She said leaning back in her chair.  

 “Yeah, it’s very nice program.  I wonder if he made it?”  Hamilton said as she looked around.  No detail was over looked.  The wear marks on the hard wood floor.  The dust in the windows, the soft music and the smell of the bar had all been meticulously recreated.

 “Whatever?”  Meyer said

 “Come on.  You’ve got to admit it’s pretty impressive.”  Hamilton said to him with a smile.

 “I don’t have to admit anything.” He retorted.

 “I suppose you could do better?” Foster asked him.  

 “I’m a pretty good programmer if I do say so myself.” He said.  Hamilton rolled her eyes at him.

 “I don’t think that you could out do this program.” Hamilton stated.  

 “You sure think highly of him!” Meyer said.  “What do you know that we don’t?”

 “Did you know he’s a pilot?”  Foster and Meyer nodded. “Did you know he’s a very good pilot.”  Meyer snorted and leaned back into his chair. “I’m not kidding.  I heard that he was the pilot for the Liberty.  He also piloted Voyager during our first battle with the Kazon and today.  If you guys had been there you would understand.  He still holds five of seven records for the piloting sims at the Academy.  Other than the accident at Caldik Prime, he’s probably one of the best pilots anywhere.”

 “Then why didn’t the Captain put him at the helm instead of in science?  He must not be that good.”  Meyer rebutted.

 “I can’t say I understand that choice but I guess the Captain has her reasons.”  Hamilton shrugged.  She had talked to Baytart about getting Paris transferred to helm and he said that he would ask about it.  After he had reviewed the flight logs, Baytart too had been impressed.

 As the evening wore on more crewmembers, Starfleet and Maquis alike entered the program.  Tom was at the bar talking to the holographic Sandrine when Meyer ordered a drink.  Meyer sat next to Tom who paid him no mind.  Tom was content with the silence between them but Meyer had something on his mind that he was going to voice it.  “So Paris, you make this program.”  

 “Yes.”  Tom took another sip from his drink.

 “It’s pretty good considering you’re just a pilot.  Oh, excuse me, my mistake.  You’re not even that anymore.”  Meyer corrected himself.  Tom spun around on his stool so that he was leaning back on the bar counter and facing his friends that were playing pool.
 “You could do better?”  Tom asked not even bothering to look at the man next to him.  Sandrine brought Meyer his drink and left to tend to another order.

 “You’re damn right I could.” He stated boldly.

 “That’s nice.” Tom said as he was getting up.  He was tiring of this conversation.  

 “Conceding defeat?” Meyer asked.

 “Not.”  Tom was beginning to walk away when Meyer began talking again.  //Doesn’t he ever shut up// Tom thought in exasperation.
 “How about a bet.”

 “Betting is not allowed on Starfleet vessels.”  Tom said. He’d been in enough trouble lately he didn’t need Meyer adding to his list of infractions. 

 “Just a friendly bet, no stakes just the title of best programmer on the ship.”  Meyer said leaning back against the bar like Tom had been doing earlier.  Tom smirked and turned back Meyer.  He was never one to turn down a challenge.  Seeing that he finally had the other man’s attention, Meyer went on. “1900, tomorrow holodeck two.  It has to be a brand new program.  We’ve got about twenty hours to prepare a brand new program for tomorrow.”  Meyer outstretched his hand and Tom shook it, making their friendly bet official.

Tom walked over to his friends at the pool table.  Ayala came up to Tom.  “What was that about?” he asked nodding his head in the direction of Meyer.

 “Nothing, just a little challenge.”  Meyer exited the holodeck.  Tom guessed that he was going to start working on his program. 

Later that night Tom, B’Elanna, Harry and Greg left the holodeck but there were so many crewmembers in the bar at that time that they had left it running.  Tom put the program on the public list but restricted access to the actual programming to only himself. 

The next day Tom walked into the Captain’s Ready Room.  He had asked to talk to her.  Janeway sat behind her desk the perfect portrait of a Starfleet Captain.  Tom stood at attention in front of her, the perfect portrait of a Starfleet Officer.  He may only be a crewman but he still had his dignity.  “You want to speak with me Mr. Paris.”  Janeway asked.  She was fairly certain that she knew what he was going to ask her about.

 “Yes Captain, I would like to be assigned to the hydroponics bay to help Kes.” Tom said.  He was staring at the wall behind Janeway and missed the momentary expression of astonishment on Janeway’s face.  

 “Granted.  Is that all?” she aked him.

 “Yes Ma’am.”  Janeway refrained from commenting in him addressing her as ‘Ma’am’ rather than ‘Captain’.

 “Dismissed.”  Tom left without delay.  Janeway leaned back in her chair.  She thought that Tom was finally coming to bug her about moving him to the conn.   Once again she didn’t know what to think of him.  She put aside her thoughts and returned to the bridge.

 It was a few minutes before 1900 and Tom was walking towards the holodeck. “Tom!”  Kes called to him from down the hall.  Tom stopped and waited for her to catch up to him.  He smiled charmingly at her.  Kes had accepted him as her friend even after hearing about his ‘past’.  “Commander Chakotay tells me that you’re going to be helping me in the hydroponics bay.” She smiled at him.  They continued walking down the corridor.

 “I will indeed.  I felt I should be doing something that’s actually productive.” 

 “You’re not enjoying your job in Stellar Cartography or Sickbay?” she stated more the asked.

 “Sickbay could be worse.  At least there I’m actually learning something of some consequence but my work in Stellar Cartography is less than…stimulating.”  Tom stopped when he had reached the doors to holodeck.  “I’ll see tomorrow in the hydroponics bay.”  

She nodded and continued on her way.  Tom tapped a few buttons on the wall panel and then waited outside the holodeck for Meyer to show up.  A few minutes later he saw the man walking down the hall towards him.  “You ready?”  Meyer asked him.  Tom only nodded Meyer entered the holodeck thinking that Tom was right behind him.  Meyer turned around to face Paris once they were in the middle of the room.  

 “Ready?”  Tom asked.  Well Meyer thought that it was Tom.  What he didn’t know was that the program was already running.  The Tom that Meyer’s was looking at was actually a holocharacter.  The holo-Tom appeared right behind Meyer the moment he had entered the holodeck.  

 Meyer nodded that he was ready to see what Tom had created. “Computer, Activate-”  holo-Tom was interrupted.

 “Andrews to Meyer.”  Meyer sighed and tapped his commbadge.  

 “Go ahead.”

 “We need your help to calibrate the targeting scanners.”  Andrews said.

 “I’ll meet you in Engineering.”  Meyer said.  He spoke to Paris once the comm. line was closed.  “We’ll have to do this some other time.”  He walked past Paris and left the holodeck.  Well he thought he left the holodeck. 

Meyer walked through the halls of the holographic Voyager.  He didn’t notice any thing out of place.  He ran into a few crewmembers on his way to Engineering and conversed briefly with a friend of his but other than that the trip was uneventful.  

 “ ‘Bout time you got here.”  Andrews said to Meyer as he entered main engineering.
 “So what’s the problem?” Meyer asked.  Andrews was about to respond when without warning the ship shook violently. The red lighting came on and each crewmember went to their battle stations.  According to sensor readings the Kazon where back for another round.  Voyager took heavy damage as the ship was rocked by phaser fire.  Meyer did his job stabilizing the magnetic constrictors.  A console a few meters away exploded sending a million sparks into the air.  Meyer flinched but was far enough away that the he wasn’t injured

Out side the holodeck Tom watched what was going on from visual relay.  The holo-crewmembers where scurrying around trying to keep the ship in one piece.  The safeties where on and Tom knew that there was no chance of Meyer getting hurt by any of the holo-explosions but Meyer didn’t know that.  Tom had programmed it so that any explosions occured at least five meters away from Meyer.

Inside the holodeck Meyer was still working on the magnetic constrictors.  A feedback pulse went through the warp core and the alignment of the constrictors was lost.  The computer announced that a warp core breach was imminent.  Holo-Lt. Torres went over to Meyer.  “Lock down the constrictors!” she ordered.
 “I can’t the controls are fused!” he explained as he tried one more time to look down the constrictors.  “We’re going t have to eject the core!”

 “Try de-coupling the dilithium matrix.”  A calm voice suggested.  Meyer turned and saw Paris standing in the middle of main engineering with his hands clasped behind his back.  “It’ll work trust me.”  Meyer went back to work and indeed, decoupling the dilithium matrix caused the core breach to be averted.  “Have you seen enough?”
 “Not now Paris!  I’m busy!”  Tom rolled his eyes.

 “Computer, freeze program.”  Tom commanded.  Instantly, all activity ceased.  “So, what did you think?”  he asked the startled Meyers.  Meyers looked around the room.  Every person other than himself and Paris where frozen in place.  Gas and sparks hung motionless in the air.  

 “This … it’s …. it’s all …..”

 “Fake?” Tom provided the word.
 “You programmed this?”  Tom nodded.  “But Andrews, Torres, Dell-”

 “All holo-characters.” Meyer looked around the room.  He would have never been able to guess that this was a holoprogram.  “So, can I see your program now?” 

A few minutes later Tom and Meyer exited the holodeck.  “Well Paris, I think that it’s safe to say that you won that bet.”  Meyer said.  Meyers extended his had and Tom shook it.  Meyer was big enough man to admit that Paris’ program surpassed his.  They parted their separate ways.  

 “So where should I start?”  Tom asked as he followed Kes around the hydroponics bay.  It was his first day assigned here.
 “We need to transplant these seedlings.  I guess we could start here.”  Kes suggested.  Tom nodded and they went to work.  They talked nearly non-stop while they worked.  Kes was so young yet held wisdom and understanding beyond the few short years that she has lived.  

 “Did you have plants of your own at home?”  Kes asked Tom.

 “No.  My mother was the gardener of the family… or so I was told.”  

 “You don’t know your mother?” she asked.

 “There were complications when she was giving birth to me and she died.  I never new her only what I was told from my sisters.”

 “And you father.” She added thinking that he had forgotten about his father.  Tom laughed humourlessly.

 “He never talked about my mother when I was around.  He believes that it’s my fault that she died.”  

 “I’m sure he doesn’t think that Tom.”

 “You don’t know the Admiral.  Hell, I thought that it was my fault that she died when I was seven.  I wouldn’t go anywhere near my sisters.”


 “It was my fault.  My sisters are seven and eleven years older than I am.  They have memories of their mother and I came and she died.  I thought that they would hate me for taking away their mother away form them.”

 “But they didn’t.”

 “No, they didn’t.” he said softly.  

 “Kes!” Neelix yelled as he entered the hydroponics bay.  

 “Over here Neelix!”  she called back to him.  Neelix followed the soft voices to the far right side of the bay.  His smile disappeared once he saw who she was with.  Neelix had talked with some of the Starfleet officers and none of them had anything nice to say about Paris.  He didn’t know that man himself but if what they said was true then he didn’t want to know Paris.  “Hello Neelix.  Where just finishing up here.”  She said not noticing the change in Neelix’s demeanour.

 “I’ll see you later Kes.”  Tom dusted off his hands and exited.

 “Bye Tom.” She said and he left the couple alone.  

 “What was he doing here?” Neelix hissed.

 “Helping me with the plants.  Why?”

 “You should be careful Kes.  He’s a traitor and a liar.  I don’t want you to go anywhere near him.”


 “Kes you don’t know people like him-”

 “And you don’t know him at all!”

 “I don’t want you to go anywhere near him!”

 “You can’t choose my friends for me Neelix.”  Kes told him sternly.  He was always treating her like a child.  She may not know as much about the universe as he does but she was a good judge of character and her instincts told her that Tom Paris was a good person despite what others may say about him.

 A day later Chakotay came to Tom and told him that the Captain was going to let him pilot the ship on a trial basis.  Three weeks later Tom was chief conn officer and head of the navigational department much to the delight of the Maquis crew.  Tom did a good job as chief conn officer and conducted himself as an officer and gentleman at all times as was expected of him.  He was granted the field promotion of Lt. j.g. and was relocated to new quarters on deck three.  He no longer worked in Stellar Cartography (thanks God) but he still worked in Sickbay since they were short handed with Medical personnel.  He also still helped Kes out in the hydroponics bay but not as often.  Neelix was happy with that arrangement since he still considered Paris a rival despite his being involved with B’Elanna.
 Tom, B’Elanna and Chakotay entered the Mess Hall to eat their lunch and discuss what happened at the Senior staff meeting this morning.  They joined the cue to get their meals. “Commander Chakotay, Lt. Torres”  Neelix paused in his greeting “Lt. Paris.”  He spat and glared at Tom.

 “Neelix.” Tom said coldly and pierced him with a cold stare of his own.  Neelix turned away and went back to the kitchen.  

 “What the hell is his problem?”  B’Elanna was ready to tear a piece out of the Talaxian.  

 “Forget it B’Elanna.  He’s made his decision.  He doesn’t like me.  Let’s move on with our lives.”  Tom said as he picked up his tray.  B’Elanna followed Tom and Chakotay to a table.  She couldn’t believe how calm Tom was about all the shit that he’s had to put up with.  She could hardly stand it and if Chakotay knew about what’s been happening he’d probably be angry too but Tom was so… controlled; as always.

 “It seems Captain Janeway is less than pleased about having to see my face every morning.”  Tom said.  Janeway had been particularly icy to Tom in the meeting.

 “She’ll have to suck it up.”  B’Elanna stated.  

 “She can’t stay angry at you for ever, especially since she doesn’t have anything to be angry about.”  Chakotay said.

 “I’m sure that she’s capable of holding a grudge until we get back to the Alpha Quadrant.  She is the Captain after all.”  Tom said.  The trio chuckled quietly.  

 After finishing their meal Torres and Chakotay went back to the bridge while Tom headed to Sickbay for his shift there.  As he walked the halls of Deck five he came upon a woman who was obviously in distress.  He recognized Ensign Samantha Wildman as she leaned against the wall for support.

 “Sam are you alright?”  Tom asked.  She seemed to be regaining her equilibrium.  

 “I’m okay.”  Came her soft voice.  She continued walking in the direction of Sickbay and Tom kept an eye on her.  A minute later her steps faltered and she nearly fell but Tom managed to sturdy her and bring her gently to the floor.  He leaned her against the wall.  She looked a little sickly but he couldn’t be sure.  Making a quick run to the nearest med kit he came back to where she sat, leaning against the wall and scanned her with a tricorder.  Two Starfleet crewmembers came around the bend and saw the obviously not well Ensign Wildman leaning against the wall with Tom Paris at her side.  

 “What did you do to her Paris?”  Ensign Blain asked as he approached the two.  He pushed Tom away.

 “Look, she may be seriously ill so let me do my job and help her.”  Tom pushed back and continued his scan of the woman.  The scans indicated that her body was under some sort of stress but the cause was unknown.  When he reached her abdomen he looked carefully at the readings.  He scanned her abdomen again and the same readings showed up.  He looked at Sam.  “You need to go to Sickbay. Can you walk or should I call for a transport.”

 “I can walk, I think.”

 “What is it?  What’s wrong with her?” Blain asked.

 “That’s not any of your business.  You’re dismissed Ensigns”  Tom brushed them off and helped Sam to her feet.  They huffed and Blain muttered something under his breath before they continued on their merry little way.  

 Together Tom and Sam made it to Sickbay.  Tom helped her sit on a bed.  The Doctor came over to them.  “What seems to be the problem?”  the EMH asked.  Tom flipped open the tricorder and pointed to the readings at the bottom.  Tom went back to Sam to make sure that she was comfortable. 

 “You may want to confirm those readings Doc.”  Tom told him.  The Doctor got the right instruments and began running scans.  

 “Confirmed.” The Doc stated simply when he was done.

 “What?  What’s confirmed?”  she asked.  

 “You’re pregnant.”  The Doctor said.  Sam was stunned but the Doctor had already turned around and was putting his instruments away.  Tom walked up to Sam and put a hand on her shoulder, not sure whether the small act of comfort would be accepted.  The Doctor really needs to work on his bedside manner.  

 “Pregnant.”  Sam whispered to herself.  “What am I going to do?” tears brimmed her eyes.

 “You don’t want to the child?”  Tom asked her.

 “I don’t know.  I would have before but my husband is so far away…” a tear escaped and travelled down her face followed by more and she broke down.  Tom sat on the bed and pulled her into his arms.  She cried on his shoulder for a few minutes.  Tom rocked her and whispered to her that everything would be okay.  

 “What am I going to do?”  she whispered through the sobs.  

 “I don’t know.” Tom told her honestly.  Voyager wasn’t the greatest place to raise a child.  “You’ll have to make a decision but not right away.  If you want the Doctor could put the fetus in stasis.”

 “What if I make the wrong decision?”

 “You won’t.  If you do what you believe is best for yourself then it will be the right decision.”  Tom wasn’t about to encourage her to abort the preganancy but he wouldn’t force her into giving birth to a child that she didn’t want.  It was her choice and nobody else’s.  She pulled away from him and looked him in the eye.

 “The crew… they’ll think… they…”

 “They won’t think anything.  They don’t have the right to judge you or in anyway influence your decision.  It’s your child not their’s.  It’s your life Sam, not their’s.  Nobody will know about this if you don’t tell them.  The Doc and I are bound to secrecy.”  She nodded.  Her thoughts began to wander.  She had so many questions and so many worries.  “You can talk to me or the Doc, Sam, about anything if you want, though I don’t know how much help we’ll be.  Kes would be a good person to talk to.  She’s never had kids before herself but she’ll listen and she’s a good friend.”

 “Thank you Tom.”  She said as one more tear fell.  Tom smiled and hugged her 
one more time before getting up.  The Doctor came back over to them and gave Sam some information on a padd and set up some future appointments.  Sam left sickbay after the Doctor had administered a hypospray that would ease the nausea and dizziness.

On a secluded console in Engineering three crewmembers where looking through the ships database.  “I can’t believe that the Captain’s letting him pilot the ship and work in Sickbay.  He has our life his hands too often for my comfort.”  Robert Blain said to Sue Nicoletti and Joshua Swift –all three were ‘fleeters.  
 “The pilots don’t seem to mind following him and I want to know why.”  Sue said as she called up Paris’ file.  “Let’s see…graduated in the 87th percentile…”

 “I heard Hamilton saying that he had some Academy records or something like that.” Swift said.

 “Okay… here we go.  He still holds a couple of records in the flight simulators… hey, look at this…” she pulled up another section of Tom’s file.  They stared at it in awe. “Holy shit!”

 “Shhhh!”  Blain shushed her.  They didn’t want to attract any unwanted attention. 

 “He could be anything and he wants to be a pilot?”  Swift said in disbelief. 

 “Don’t you three have something more important to be doing?”  Came Torres’ voice from behind them.  The startled trios turned around to face the Chief.  They each mumbled something and quickly left the area.  Getting Torres angry at them was never a very smart idea.  B’Elanna watched them scurry away and looked at the console that they were at a second earlier.  In their haste they hadn’t shut it down.  B’Elanna was about to do it herself when she noticed the name at he top of the file ‘Paris, Thomas E.’.  She looked at what it was the other three were so interested in.  ‘Holy shit’ nearly escaped her lips as well when she looked at it.  On his entrance exam to the Academy Tom got 1493 out of 1500 points –far above the average.  No wonder he was so good at so many things –if this entrance exam was any indication of his intelligence.  Tom was often pegged as just being a stupid pilot as if piloting did not required any intelligence.  B’Elanna closed the file, shutdown the console and went back to work.

 “What are you reading?”  B’Elanna asked when she walked into Tom’s quarters.

 “‘And No Birds Sang’ by Farley Mowat.” He said.  “How was your day?” he moved to make room for her on the couch.

 “Informative.” She said cryptically.  Tom looked up at her.

 “Really and what did you learn?”

 “That my boyfriends a genius.”  Tom snorted and went back to reading.  “1493 out 1500.” 

 “My entrance exam mark.” Tom stated not looking up from the book “Seven God damn marks.” Tom seemed a little bitter.

 “1493 isn’t good enough for you?” she sat down next to him with a cup of rakitijino that she had replicated.

 “I didn’t and still don’t care what I got on that exam as long as I get to fly.  The Admiral on the other hand doesn’t except anything less than perfection.”  Tom was still reading the padd.

 “That wasn’t good enough for him?”

 “Nothing I did was ever good enough for him.  Do you mind if we talk about something else.”

 “Sure, but let me warn you, Blain, Swift and Nicoletti might bring it up.  They 
were the ones looking through your file before I found them.”

 “What were they looking for?”

 “Beats me.”  Tom pausesd momentarily at her choice of words.  “Tom are you okay?”

 “Fine.  How about you?”  B’Elanna narrowed her eyes. He was still hiding it from her.
 “Tom what happened between you and your father?” she finally asked him what she’s wanted to know since almost he first time she met him.
 “What happened between you and your mother?”  Tom asked.  He was still reading his padd.  B’Elanna grabbed it out of his hand and threw it into a far wall.  “I’m not asking to get you mad B’Elanna but this is the only way I can think to answer your question.”  She calmed at that.

 “We didn’t agree on anything in my life and I left to find my own path.” She said quickly.

 “But your mother still loved you.” 

 “Yes.” She responded after a moment.
 “My father never did.  Case closed.  Let us all move on with our lives.”  Tom got up and walked to where his padd rested on the floor. 
 “You can’t be sure of that.” B’Elanna said.

 “I’m ninety-nine point nine, nine, nine percent sure that he never cared for me.”


 “B’Elanna enough already!” Tom said heatedly.

 “Somewhere, Tom, I know that he loves you!”

 “People don’t do the things he did tome out of love B’Elanna!”

 “What did he do?”

 “That’s not your concern!”  Tom’s voice was rising.  She had never seen him mad before and she wasn’t sure if she ever wanted to see him mad.  Her temper had a short fuse but it took a lot to get Tom to show just a bit of anger.  

 “If you don’t trust me then why should I bother being here at all?”  She got up from the couch and began towards the door.  Tom stopped her before she could leave.

 “B’Elanna I’m sorry.  Please don’t leave.  I do trust you.” He told her sincerely.
 “Then what is it?  Why won’t you tell me what I know you’ve told Chakotay.”  Tom swallowed and took a step back.

 “I… I don’t want you to think any less of me.  I’m not exactly the pick of the litter.” He tired to divert her with a bad joke.  It didn’t work.  He sighed knowing that he would have to tell her sooner or later.  If she decided that she could do better than him and left then he would deal with it.  He had done it before and could do it again, he hoped.  Tom unzipped the uniform jacket and took off the turtleneck and T-shirt together.  With his fair skin exposed she could make out the faint scars that marred his chest.  She had never seen Tom without a shirt on and she now understood that he was trying to hide this from her.  She hadn’t even noticed them when she saw the bruises on Tom’s skin from when the ‘fleeters decided to take out their rage on him.  They were faint marks but they were clearly not natural. “He did this to me.”  He looked away shame clouding his eyes.

 “Oh Tom,” she breathed and placed one hand on his chest.  He shied away from her touch and went to put his shirts back on but B’Elanna stopped him.  “You don’t have to hide anything from me Tom.”  She wrapped her arms around his torso and rested her head on his chest.  None of his demons could drive her away.

A few days later Tom was assigned for an away mission to pilot the Captain and Ensign Swift to a nearby planet where they hoped to meet up with a species that would be able to trade some minerals with them.  Swift was a mineral Engineer so Janeway had decided that he should join them on the away mission.  Voyager would be parked in orbit around another planet that they were studying a few parsecs away.  This was one mission Tom was not looking forward to.  

 “Lucky you.” Chakotay said as he and Tom walked to Chakotay’s quarters.

 “Can it.”  Chakotay smiled.  He keyed in his access code and he an Tom entered.

 “I don’t envy you in the least.”
 “I don’t envy me either.”  Tom snorted.  “When’s B’Elanna getting here?”  Tom asked as he took as seat in a chair.

 “Probably in a couple of minutes.  They were doing some important diagnostic in Engineering and it’s taking longer than expected.”  Chakotay told him as he walked to the replicator.  “You want anything?”  

 “No thanks.”  Chakotay replicated his tea and sat on the couch across from Tom who was slouched in the chair with his arms crossed.  Chakotay nearly laughed at the sour expression that was on Tom’s face.  He looked like a sulking child.  “This sucks.”  Tom finally mumbled.  “Thirty Six hours.”  He slouched further into the chair.  “Swift and Janeway.  Just what I always wanted.  Two of them to be breathing down my neck.”

 “Has Swift been giving you trouble?”  

 “No but he was snooping around my file a couple of days ago?  B’Elanna saw them.”

 “Them?”  Chakotay took another sip of his tea.

 “Swift, Blain and Nicoletti.”  The chime rang and Chakotay called for the person to enter expecting it to be B’Elanna.  Kathryn Janeway walked in and Tom stood acknowledging her presence.  She nodded briefly to him before giving Chakotay a padd with some info on it.  She left after speaking momentarily with him.  Tom sunk back into his chair.  “I’m glad to see I’m not the only one dreading this mission.”  He said.

 “What do you mean?”  Chakotay was still looking at the padd.

 “She didn’t seem to thrilled with seeing me here.  She must be dreading having to spend the next day and a half with me.  At least I’m not the only one suffering.  Speaking of Suffering you’ll be in command while we’re gone.  Lucky you –you’ll have Tuvok breathing down your neck and watching you every move.”

 “Don’t remind me.”  He put the padd down and sat down on the couch.  Just as he was getting comfortable the chime rang and B’Elanna walked in. “How’s Engineering.”

 “That’s Carey’s problem now.  I’m not going back their until tomorrow morning.  When I was leaving, though, it was a mess.  That diagnostic took forever and a day to finish.  I swear everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong.”

 “It would seem that the ship has a vendetta to settle with you.”  Tom joked and B’Elanna growled in response.  

 “I have a score to settle with you too for that remark but then again you’re going to on that away mission tomorrow so I suppose that’s punishment enough.”  Chakotay and B’Elanna laughed while Tom groaned.  The mission hadn’t even started yet and he was already being hassled.  Things could only get worse.

The morning of the Away mission Tom and Chakotay walked into the shuttle bay.  Chakotay had his hand on Tom’s shoulder and was telling him something of importance judging by Chakotay’s hand movements.  When he was done Tom just looked at him and laughed.

 “Thanks for that pearl of wisdom I’ll keep it in mind.”  

 “You do that.” Chakotay said matching Tom’s smile.  “Captain,” Chakotay turned to the Captain “We’ll see you in thirty-six hours.  Safe journey.”

 “Take care of my ship.”  She warned him playfully.

 “I will.”  Things were less tense between that two of them but they still had divided opinions on many issues.  Janeway walked into the shuttle followed closely by Swift.  “See you in thirty-six hours.”  Chakotay said to Tom as he was entering the shuttle.

 “If I survive.”

 “You better or B’Elanna will revive you just to kill you herself.”  Tom shook his head and rolled his eyes as he entered the craft.  No one could foretell that Tom would literally be fighting for his life during this away mission.

After the pre-flight check was completed the shuttle flawlessly exited the shuttle bay and into the depths of deep space.  The beginning of the trip was spent in silence.  They only spoke to each other when it was absolutely necessary.  The Captain was in the co-pilots seat while Swift was at the engineering station and Tom was at his rightful place at the helm.  An hour and a half of the strained silence was all that Janeway could take and excused herself to go to the aft section of the shuttle.  Paris and Swift where silent for several minutes but Swift couldn’t pass up the chance to try and rile the pilot.

At first Swift was just being a back seat pilot, which was annoying for Tom but not unmanageable.  When he failed to get a reaction out to Paris, Swift decided to talk about Tom’s past status as a crewman.  Tom reminded him that he outranked him and that he would be put on report for insubordination.  That angered Swift.

 “You don’t even deserve to wear that uniform!”  Swift said intensely.  “You gave up that honour when you lied about what happened at Caldik Prime, after you killed those people.  I don’t know what your Maquis ‘friends’ see in you but the rest of us see a liar and a murderer that has no right to be on this ship.  The Captain should have thrown you in the brig the moment you set foot on the ship!”

 “Are you done?”  Tom asked as he adjusted their course.

 “Your father was right to disown you.  You aren’t even worth the air that you breath.  I know your type.  No loyalties and no conscience.  Only a person like you could kill three people and not care.”  

 “A person like me huh?”  Tom tapped a few more keys.

In the aft section the Captain could here what was being said.  She really should go out their and reprimand Swift but… she couldn’t bring herself to defend Paris.  She was ready to defend Swift if necessary though so when she heard Paris say ‘A person like me.’ She assumed that he was going to go after Swift finally so she decided to put a stop to this.  “Lt. Paris!”  she called from the aft compartment. “Could you please assist me!”

In the cock pit Paris and Swift both heard Janeway call him.  Tom put the ship on auto pilot and got up.  When he reached Swift’s station he leaned on the top of the small console and looked at him with eyes like glacial ice.  “Don’t *ever* assume that you know any thing about me.”  Tom left after making sure that the point got across and went to help Janeway with whatever it was she wanted.

A long hour later the shuttle touched down on the surface of the mineral rich planet.  They had detected signs of the species that they were supposed to be meeting with on the planets surface and Tom settled the craft in the same general area.  When they stepped out of the hatch they could see them approaching their location.  

These people where naturally stout but very strong.  They lived just over a parsec away in a binary star system.  They had tanned skin and dark hair with slender black eyes.  They called themselves Kepal.  They had claimed this planet as their own several years ago and they were continuously mining the materials in order to fuel their ever-growing society.

 “Captain Janeway,” one of the three Kepals that approached greeted the Captain.  

 “Ambassador Miré.”  The Captain smiled and greeted the short man.  “Let me introduce to you Ensign Swift and Lt. Paris.”  They each nodded politely.

 “I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”  The man said.  “This is my aid Tulmar and this is my daughter Saruli.”  Miré introduced.  After these pleasantries where over they got down to business and did some trading.  Things where going well until they came upon a substance that would have been extremely useful to the crew of Voyager.  If the could integrate it into the system then they would be able to increase replicator rations for a while.  Unfortunately they had nothing to offer the Kepals that they deemed of enough value to trade the substance for.  

Janeway was making offer upon offer of anything that she could think off when Saruli interrupted them.  She whispered something into the her father’s ear and gestured toward Paris who was helping Tulmar and another Kepal man load a large crate into their cargo hold.  

 “Captain I believe that we’ve found something that is worth trading for.  We will take your Lt. Paris.” He stated.  Janeway looked at him carefully trying to gauge whether he was being serious.  He was.

 “I’m sorry Amabssador but you can not have Lt. Paris.  He’s a member of my crew.” Janeway explained simply thinking that Miré would understand.  

 “Then we have concluded our business with you.  We are leaving you have one standard hour to finish packing and leave this planet.”  He said angrily.  “Tulmar!  Prepare for out departure and have the *special* plans made.”  He ordered to his aid.  

Tulmar closed the hatch and after one apologetic look to Paris he entered their spacecraft leaving Tom to wonder what that glance was for.  The three Starfleet officers watched as the shuttle lifted off and disappeared into the blue sky of the planet.  They walked back to their craft and finished packing.  They left before the allotted time had run out.  

Despite the trade not ending as well as they had hoped they still managed to get several important resources.  Janeway was inputting some information on a padd and wondering about why they had wanted Paris.  She hadn’t expected the Ambassador to react so badly at being refused.  She had noticed that whenever she was unable to accommodate his order for one of Voyager’s resources the Ambassador would get slightly upset but had always been placated by another offer.  It seems the Ambassador was not used to being refused anything.  She wondered if keeping Paris was worth not getting the material.  She berated her self mentally for thinking about trading her crewmember.  Still extra replicator rations would have been a welcome change.

The shuttle lurched and the three officers had to grab onto the consoles to keep from being flung from their seats.   “Report.”  Janeway barked.

 “We’ve dropped out of warp.  There’s some sort of dampening field that’s taken the core off line.”  Tom said from the helm.

 “It’s coming from a ship four hundred million kilometers off our starboard bow.  It matched the signature of Kepal ship.”  Janeway said. She attempted to raise the shield but they too had been taken off line by the dampening field.  She hailed the ship but received no response.

Tom was struggling with the helm controls to get the thrusters to work.  They where slowly moving out of range of the field.  Tom felt an odd sensation but before he could do anything about it he was no longer on the shuttle but inside a brightly lit stark white cell.  A moment later Captain Janeway appeared next to him.

On the shuttle Swift watched as first Paris and then the Captain disappeared in orange transporter beams.  He thought that he would be next but suddenly all the shuttles systems came back online.  The shuttle had continued to drift until it was out to of the range of the dampening field.  Swift lived up to his name and darted to the helm and put the shuttle back into warp to get away from the Kepal and toward the Voyager.

In the bright cell Paris and Janeway were regaining their bearings when two vents near the ceiling began releasing a gas.  It was colourless and odourless so neither of the two occupants of the cell had time to figure out what was happening before they collapsed to the floor unconscious.  

Kathryn Janeway awoke in the cell with a mild headache as the right lights of the room assaulted her eyes.   She couldn’t remember anything except being transported to the cell with Paris and the rest was blank.  She looked around the small cell for her crewman but he was nowhere t be seen.  Unsteadily she made her way to cot that rested against the wall.  Once the dizziness and the headache had passed she was thinking more clearly.  She reached for her commbadge but found that it was removed.  She walked over to what she believe was the exit to her cell but couldn’t find any wall panel or circuit board that would enable her to break out.  Finally she gave up and sat back down on the cot.  She couldn’t do anything but wait, wonder and worry.

The waiting ended a few minutes later.  The doors to the cell slid opened permitting the entrance of two security guards that guided Paris into the cell and Saruli who had what could only be termed as an evil smile, plastered to her face.  Tom walked to the cot and sat down resting his head in his hands.  The guards left the cell and waited outside.

 “Are you alright.”  Janeway asked her crewman but received no answer.  He looked pale and was sweating but she could not see any physical signs that he had been mistreated.

 “He’ll be alright soon.  We just needed to do some testing.”  Saruli said to them from the doorway.

 “If you don’t let us go our ship will come looking for us.” Janeway warned her.  The young woman just laughed.

 “I doubt that.  If you survive the fights then you’ll be returned to your people before they even realise that you’re missing.  We have ships looking for Ensign Swift as we speak.”

 “What do you want from us?”

 “Entertainment.  I had wanted your Lt. here to be a combatant for our house but when you decided that you would not trade him we decided that we would take him, and all of you, by force.”  She explained to them.

 “We will not fight for you!”  Janeway said adamantly.

 “You will not fight.  He will,” she pointed to Tom who was still sitting on the cot, “or you all die.”  With that she left the and the cell doors slid closed.  Janeway fumed for a long moment before going back to Paris.

 “Lt. Paris, are you alright.”  He nodded but didn’t raise his head.  “What did they do to you?”  she sat next to him but not close enough to encroach on his personal space.  

 “Testing.  Pain threshold…sensory tests… physical stress and endurance test… chemical resistance… neural stimulation… I can’t quite put a name to the rest of what they did.”  His voice was soft and harsh.  He was clearly still suffering from what they did to him. 

 “You should rest Voyager will find us soon but until then you have to take care of yourself.”  Tom lay down on the cot and closed his eyes.  He was soon asleep leaving Janeway alone with her thoughts.  She was worried about Paris.  She didn’t want to think about what they could have been doing to him.  How long had she been out for?  Sure she didn’t particularly like Tom Paris but nobody deserves this sort of treatment.  She lay herself on the floor and tried to get some sleep herself.  

Janeway dozed lightly for a short while in a relatively peaceful slumber but Tom found himself reliving days from years ago during his childhood; days he thought he had forgotten.  

He sat up in the cot with a start.  His heart was pounding and his skin was clammy with perspiration but other than that he seemed calm.  Janeway was only lightly sleeping and awoke when Tom had gasped and awakened.  There was a vacant look in his eyes that sent a chill down her spine.  She thought that he was lost in thought but he was really lost in memories.

A hand on his shoulder brought him back to the present.  Janeway was looking at him in concern but Tom shrugged of her hand and got up.  He had to move.  The cell wasn’t that small but it was still far to confining for him in his current state.  Usually he would be able to stand it.  It was things like small escape pods, stasis chambers and small closets that usually bothered him not shuttles or a room this small.  

Janeway watched Tom pace the cell, his hands clenching and unclenching.  After about ten minutes of pacing he sat down in a corner.  He had another headache and the motion was only making it worse.  He was still experiencing some discomfort from the tests that they did to him.  

The room was silent until out of nowhere Tom commented: “We’ve arrived at our destination.”  Janeway just looked at him wondering what he was talking about.  “We’ve dropped out of warp.”  Before she could ask how he knew, they were beamed out of their bright cell into a darker one.  The softer lighting was a welcome change but until they were back on Voyager they wouldn’t feel much better.  The doors to their new cell opened and Saruli walked in with three other guards.  Tom and Janeway stood, not knowing what to expect.  

 “Time for your first fight.”  Saruli said to Tom.  The guards approached him and shackled his wrists behind him.

 “I’m not fighting anyone.” Tom said softly but sternly.

 “You will fight or she will die.”  Saruli gestured in Janeway’s direction.

 “He can’t fight anybody in his condition.”  Janeway stalled in hope that they would let him rest and then Voyager would have more time to find them.

 “I think that he’ll manage.  He did very well in the testing.  But if you really don’t want him to fight then you can take his place.”  She offered to Janeway.  Saruli wasn’t serious though.  Women are not permitted to fight but they can place bets along with anyone else.

 “Let’s get this over with.” Tom said, not even giving Janeway a chance to answer.  The guards, Saruli and Paris left Janeway alone in the cell.  

It was her turn to pace now.  It had been at least twenty minutes since they had taken Tom but he had not returned yet.  She had started pacing five minutes after the group had left and had not stopped since.  Suddenly from a speaker in the cell that she had not even noticed an announcement rang out.

 ‘Off-worlder Paris is the victor. Beating the odds of nearly three hundred to one.  The house of Miré Yan has won over eighty thousand rems.’  The announcement ended.  So that was it.  They bet on the fighters and to the winners go the spoils.  A few minutes later the doors to the cell opened and a bloody and bruised Tom was practically dragged in by two guards.  Janeway was immediately by his side. Saruli walked in after the guards had left. She was smiling broadly.

 “He fought well.” She stated.  Janeway wanted to rip her head off but resisted knowing that there were armed guards just outside the door.  “Nobody thought that he would win except our house.”  She dropped a small medkit to the ground.  “Make sure that he is prepared to fight in four hours.”  Saruli left them.

 “Lt.” Janeway called to him looking for any response.  To her it looked more like Paris had lost.  What was left of his uniform was torn and bloody most of it was his blood but some was from whoever or whatever he was fighting.  There was a wound in his side that was still bleeding a bit and he had a large bruise on the right side of his head. “Tom!”  she kept calling to him hoping that he would respond. She retrieved the med kit and began using it to the best of her abilities. “Stay with me Lt. that’s an order.”  She used the regenerator on the wound in his side. “Voyager will find us and we’ll be back before you know it.”  After what seemed like hours She had done all she could with her limited supplies.  Tom had not moved an inch and Janeway sat with his head in her lap cleaning the blood off of him with the small amount of water they had and a piece of her uniform that she had ripped off.  If nothing else it made her feel better.  She was powerless to do anything to help him.  

Tom mumbled something and Janeway pulled herself from her thoughts.  She called his name hoping that he was regaining consciousness.  After a minute he responded.  What he said was unintelligible but she took it as a good sign.  He finally opened his eyes and looked around.  At first he was confused but then remembered everything that had happened.  He tried to sit up but the sharp pain in his side thwarted his attempt.

 “Voyager?” he asked through clinched teeth.

 “Nothing yet but I ‘m sure that their on the way.”  She attempted to reassure him.  He didn’t respond only tried to get up again.  He was successful this time though the sign of how much effort it took him to complete that simple task was evident on his face.  He leaned against a wall and exhaled.  As the pain in his side dulled he became more aware of the headache, the pain in his left knee and ankle and back.  Tom was having difficulty staying awake but he imagined that the blow to his head had given him concussion so he tried his best to stay awake.  Janeway noticed his struggle for consciousness and decided to help.

 “Talking might help keep you awake.”  She said.

 “Fine.  Talk then.”  His eyes were closed and he missed the momentary flash of annoyance that crossed Janeway’s features.  

 “You should do the talking it will keep you awake.”

 “I’m not in the mood for a conversation right now if you don’t mind.”

 “Tough.  Tell me about your sisters.” She choose what she hoped was a neutral topic.  

 “Why?  You know them.  What’s to tell?”  Tom said tiredly.

 “I’ve met them but I don’t know them.  Humour me.”  She was getting tired of his attitude but at least he was still awake.

 “I’d rather not…” he didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence and unconsciousness crept over him.   Janeway moved over to him.

 “Lt. Paris waked up!”  she shook him gently as to not aggravate his injuries.  

 “I’m up! I’m up.” Tom mumbled.  He stayed that way for a few seconds before his head began to droop again and Janeway decided to bring up a topic that she hoped would hold his attention.

 “Tell me about your father.”  

 An emphatic “No.” was all she received as a response.

 “Why not?”

 “That is none of your business.” He said irritably.

 “You hate your father?”

 “No…yes…I don’t know… I hate Admiral Paris, but I never new my father.”  He said quietly.

 “I don’t understand,”

 “Moira and Kathleen had a father and a mother until I a came along.  To them admiral Paris acted as a father should but to me… ”

 “He didn’t.” she finished.  Tom nodded once.

 “When Emily Rodell-Paris died, so did my father.”  His voice was intoned with sadness and guilt.  Kathryn didn’t say anything.  She didn’t comprehend what type of relationship Tom had with his father but she could comprehend what type of impact the death of a loved on can have on somebody.  It had happened to her before with both her father and her fiancé Justin.

They didn’t know it but the four hour mark had just passed.  The doors opened and two guards came in and went straight to Tom.  Saruli was waiting in the doorway.  

 “He can’t fight!  He was severely injured in the last one.  He’ll loose.”

 “He will not loose or you will die as well.”  Saruli said as she watched the guards unceremoniously haul Tom to his feet.

 “I’ll fight in his place.”  Janeway offered.  A cold laugh was all she got as a response.

 “Please just let me rest for an few more hours.”  Came Tom’s weak voice.  

 “Sorry but the fight has already been scheduled.  You will fight.”

 “But I won’t win.”  Tom was fairly certain that if the next fighter was anything like the last one then he would loose.

  “If you win I’ll let your Captain go.”  Tom looked in her eyes to determine if she was lying.  “But if you loose,” she took out a weapon and aimed it at Janeway.  “She’s dies.”  Tom didn’t say anything.  What choice did he have.  If he lost he was already dead since it was a fight to the death but then Janeway will die as well.  They don’t allow women to fight so they would have no use for Janeway.

Tom was lead to the entrance of the ring as he was the first time.  The large doors before him swung open and he entered the ring.   The ring was actually more of a pit with twelve foot walls to keep the fighters inside and prevent any of the spectators from interfering with the fight.  The hard stone ground had splotches of blood all over it.  

 ‘Representing the housed of Miré Yan is off-worlder Paris!’ came the announcers voice.  There was a mixed reaction of boos and cheers from the crowd.  A spotlight had focussed on Miré who sat with Saruli and Janeway.  The light did not illuminate Janeway and Saruli very much.  The three of them were seated in the first row to the right of where Tom stood.  Saruli was holding a weapon to Janeway’s side and made sure that Tom could see it.  

The apposing fighter was introduced and their ‘owner’ pointed out in the crowd of people.  The other fighter was at least ten feet tall with scales that looked more like body armour covering most of his flesh.  Glowing yellow eyes met determined blue.  Weapons where chosen and as soon as the ring was cleared of all other personnel it began.

The larger being approached Tom with his weapon raised high.  Tom carried a long bow with blades attached to each end while the other man carried a large axe like weapon that weighed as much as Tom did.  

Tom was much faster than the other being but also much weaker.  The ogre like being swung his axe at Tom who rolled out of the way.  While the other being was raising his weapon again Tom took the opportunity to attack.  He jabbed his weapon at the beings knee where there was less of the scaly armour.  The blade broke through the skin and the being let out a howl of pain.  Tom pulled the weapon back out of the being but just as it came loose he was backhanded by one of the beings massive hands and sent flying.  He landed with a thud and his weapon landed several meters away from him.  

In the stands Kathryn watched in horror as the massive hand came into contact with her pilot and sent him flying.  The crowd was cheering thinking that the giant would win.  Slowly Tom raised himself from the cold stone floor.  The ogre was awkwardly walking over to him, weapon in hand.  Tom shook his head trying to stop the ringing.  He ran to his weapon and prepared to dodge another attack.  The axe was swung and Tom managed to narrowly miss being sliced in half.  He swung his own weapon and the blade sliced through part of the other beings wrist.  Another howl of pain escaped him and Tom moved back several meters to avoid another hit from the beings hand.  

With only one good wrist the axe was too heavy to be carried in only one hand.  Tom had successfully disarmed him.  Tom managed to keep the upper hand for a while until the ogre got one solid blow to the side where her had been severely injured before. 

Tom was lying on the ground clutching his side where blood was soaking his grey turtleneck shirt leaving a dark stain.  He could here the footsteps of his opponent getting closer but what little strength he had before had deserted him.  His other hand still clenched the weapon; it was all he had left.  The lights above him where blocked out as the ten foot ogre loomed above him silently looking at its next victim.  Tom however wasn’t willing to give up just yet; there was another life depending on him and he would not get them killed because he was weak.  Calling upon every ounce of strength left in his mangled frame he swung the weapon at the being.  The blade sliced across one side of the ogre’s face.  Tom rolled away.

The large being had both his hands on his face and Tom couldn’t see the damage that he had done to him.  He leaned heavily on a wall and watched as the ogre brought his hand down.  Half of his opponents face was covered in a dark purple blood, most of it coming from the eye socket.  His right eye was useless.  Tom felt awful for doing that but he didn’t have any other option but to fight.

The ogre was angrier than ever.  He ran full tilt at Tom.  Tom smiled.  It couldn’t be this easy.  A few meters before the ogre reached him Tom darted out of the way and the ogre collided with the hard wall.  The scales had protected his large opponent from being hurt when he crashed into the wall and before Tom could protect himself the ogre was near him and brought one fist crashing into Tom’s mid-section.  Tom could feel his ribs cracking and breaking and heard the sound in his ears.  

The ogre didn’t waste any time.  He picked Tom up and threw him as far as he could.  Tom was airborne for seconds before gravity won out and brought him back to the ground.  His body slid for several meters until he was brought to an abrupt stop by the wall.  His skin was burnt from the friction when he slid against the ground.  

From the stand Miré and Saruli yelled at Tom to get up but Janeway thought that he was unconscious.  After what seemed like an eternity Tom moved.  He was still alive –the giant was approaching –but for how long?  After a struggle Tom managed to stand.  The ogre was getting closer to him by the second.  Tom had a plan though.  It would probably be his last chance and he was going to make the most of it.  

He pushed off the wall and ran towards the ogre.  The ogre didn’t slow at all.    When they were only three meters apart Tom stepped a little to the left and slipped by his opponent.  Tom continued running.  His target was the weapon that he had dropped when he had been punched.  The ogre’s momentum carried him forward for a while before he came to a stop and turned around to go after Tom again.  Tom needed those extra seconds to get to his weapon.  Rather than slowing to pick up his weapon he did a roll, picked up the weapon at the same time and was on his feet instantly and continued running.  He had to ignore all the pain that his injuries caused with every step and every motion.  

Tom continued running to the other end of the ring he had to reach the wall before the ogre caught up to him.  Tom was much slower now due to the injuries and he could hear the other being was gaining on him.  Tom reached the wall.  A quick look back and he estimated that he had about seven or eight seconds before the ogre reached him.  Tom took the weapon and using as much force as he could muster jammed one bladed end into the fine crevice between the wall and the stone floor.  Tom had felt it when the ogre had thrown him against the wall and he was trying to stand again.  His hand had brushed against the junction of the floor and wall and he had felt the small crack.

The weapon was now flat on the ground.  Tom grabbed the weapon at the end that was far from the wall and pulled up in it.  The metal blade at the other end bent but did not break.  Tom stopped when the weapon was angled upwards at about a fifty degree angle.  Tom leaned against the wall and timed his run at the ogre.  He pushed off when the time was right and he ran full speed at the oncoming giant. Before they collided Tom dropped to the ground and slid legs first into the ogre’s feet.  The ogre stumbled and fell right on the upright weapon.  The blade went through the neck of the being and his weight forced him down on the blade.  It came out on the other side in a fountain of lavender blood.  The body stopped sliding down near the bottom of the long bow when the head of the now dead being hit the wall and could go no further.  

There was dead silence in the crowd as they gazed upon their fallen fighter.  One random person began cheering and then the entire crowd was cheering.  Tom looked around.  He was dizzy from the blood loss and the screams and cheers didn’t help.

In the stands the Captain Janeway watched as the being died and then the crowd start to cheer for Tom.  Saruli and Miré who sat next to her were also cheering and Janeway thought that it was a good time to try and get away but before she could formulate a plan that would get both her and Tom out of here she felt a light pressure on the back of her shoulder.  She looked and saw a small device attached to her uniform.  Looking up she saw Tuvok dressed in dark clothing and near him was Chakotay securing a rope so that he could scale the wall.  Tuvok and Janeway disappeared in a transporter beam an instant later.  

In the ring Tom’s vision was blurring and he knew he was loosing the battle to stay conscious.  He thought that he saw a blue shimmer in the area near the Captain but couldn’t be sure.  He saw a figure clad in dark clothing rappel down the wall and start running towards him.  He walked towards them.  He didn’t know who it was but for some reason he knew that they would help him.  He was half way to them when he couldn’t go any further and dropped to his knees.  He would have fallen forward to the ground but strong arms wrapped around him and he was supported by their body.  “Hold on Tom.”  It was Chakotay’s voice.  Tom tried but he was too tired and in too much pain and the numbness of unconsciousness descended on him.

Chakotay felt Tom slump against him and prayed that he was just unconscious and not dead.  He attached the signal booster to Tom and activated it.  A moment later they vanished from the ring.

Kes was working on the Captain when Tom and Chakotay appeared in Sickbay.  The Doc and Chakotay lifted Tom to the main biobed and raised the medical arch.  When she was done with the Captain, Kes went to help the Doctor with Tom.  In the background she could here the Tuvok contacting the bridge telling them to break orbit.  Her attention was stuck on the still form on the biobed.  

 “Captain,” Chakotay’s voice startled her. “Are you alright?”  he asked in genuine concern.  

 “Yes, I’m fine.” She said.  The doors to Sickbay opened and B’Elanna Torres stormed into Sickbay.  She was heading straight for Tom but Chakotay stopped her before she could reach him.  Chakotay knew that she would only get in the way and hinder the Doctor’s attempts to help Tom.

 “Is he alright?” B’Elanna asked when Chakotay wouldn’t let her go.

 “I don’t-” the words were cut off as several sirens went off.  Tom’s lifesigns were weakening.  They were loosing him.

 “Tom!”  B’Elanna fought to get to him but was unable to break Chakotay’s grip.  She gave up after a while and watched helplessly as the Doctor worked over Tom’s battered form.  “Don’t let him die.” She pleaded quietly.

Movement over Tom’s body ceased and the Doctor and Kes looked at each other.  

 “Is he…”  Chakotay couldn’t finish.

 “He’s in a coma.”  The Doctor broke the news to them.  “He’s stable for now but I can not determine when or if he will awaken.  There was extensive damage to his body.  Several broken ribs, a punctured lung, severe concussion that caused haemorrhaging, bruised vertebrae, damaged to his stomach and colon, blood loss and several contusions and abrasions.  I had to put him on life support.  We’ll fix the rest of the injuries and hopefully it will be enough for his body to strengthen and Mr. Paris to awaken from his coma.”  The doctor stated and went back to his patient. 

After a long minute of silence Chakotay spoke to B’Elanna telling her that she should leave and come back later.  With little protest she left sickbay after a less than friendly look at Janeway.  

 “Captain you’re free to go.  You’re fine.” The Doctor said over his shoulder.  

 “I want a full report when you’re done Doctor.”  Janeway said as she got off the biobed.  The Doctor nodded and went back to work.  Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay left Sickbay.

 “What happened to you two?”  Chakotay asked Janeway when they were leaving.

 “I’ll tell you in the ready room.”  

Janeway told them briefly what happened while they were down there.  They informed her of what happened on Voyager while they were gone.  Ensign Swift made it back to Voyager and told them what had happened.  They had started looking for Paris and Janeway but it took a while to track them down.  Not only did people bet on the fights they were also broadcasted to different planets.  

Eventually they found the right planet but they could not beam people to of from the planet unless they were wearing signal boosters.  Tuvok and Chakotay had been on the planet for hours looking for a way to get to Paris and Janeway but they had not been able to get to where the combatants where held so they had to wait until Tom was brought out for another fight and hope that Janeway was brought out with him.  Another problem for them was finding Janeway in the crowd of thousands and then getting to her.  It was near the end of the fight that they found her.  They couldn’t stop the fight until they had located both of them.  

In the corridor on Deck five Harry and B’Elanna were making their way to Sickbay.  It would be Harry’s first visit to Sickbay since he was in command of the bridge when Tom had been beamed to the ship.  B’Elanna was telling Harry about Tom’s condition.

 “It’s not fair.” B’Elanna grumbled.  “Tom might die and Janeway comes back without a scratch.”

 “I’m sure that the Captain tried to help him.”  Harry defended Janeway.

 “Are you sure about that?  It was her responsibility to make sure that the Starfleet crew didn’t go after Tom but-” she quickly shut her mouth realizing that Tom probably didn’t want Harry to know about what happened to him.

 “But they went after him anyway?  I know already B’Elanna.”  Harry said as they reached the entrance to sickbay.  B’Elanna stopped and looked at Harry.  “I found him in his quarters after they had… beat him.”  Harry said.  B’Elanna looked away and after a moment said:
 “You can’t be sure that she tried to help him at all.”  They entered sickbay.

 “Lt. Torres, Ensign Kim,” the doctor greeted. “I’ve been expecting you.”  The Doctor said in a neutral tone.  He wasn’t interested in earning the wrath of B’Elanna Torres by being insensitive. “Mr. Paris is stable but still on life support.  I’ve healed the other injuries.  You may see him and talk to him but I do not know how much he will be able to hear.”  

 “Thanks Doctor.”  Harry said as they walked past him to the main biobed in the surgical bay.  The Doctor de-activated himself.

Tom was still pale when they saw him and there were devices hooked up to him.  They were careful not to touch any of them.  B’Elanna ran a hand through his hair hoping that wherever he was he knew that there were people here waiting for him to come back. Harry and B’Elanna talked to him for a while.  At first it was odd talking to somebody that they knew would not be able to respond but they soon got used to having the conversations.  Harry left half an hour later to get something to eat.  It was long past dinner-time.  He had tried to convince B’Elanna to come with him but it was in vain.  She wouldn’t tell him but she was afraid that if she left Tom would pick that moment to slip away and if he was aware of what was going on around him he would think that he died alone with no one caring about him.

A few minutes after Harry had left Janeway and Chakotay walked into sickbay and they activated the Doctor’s program.  They went into his office to hear his full report on Tom’s condition.  They he told them in layman’s terms the damage to Tom’s body and the effect each would have on his recovery and survival.  At the end of the report after Chakotay and Janeway had asked all their questions the Doctor had a few questions to ask them.

 “Where either of you aware that Mr. Paris had been beaten during his time on Voyager?”  Two startled pairs of eyes where on him immediately.  “I take it that you didn’t know.”

 “How long ago did it occur?”  Chakotay asked.  He had once told Janeway that he still considered the Maquis crewmembers ‘his crew’ because nobody else would.  That was true that especially about Tom Paris.  For all his strength and endurance he was still, only human.  He wouldn’t be able to defend himself from nearly one hundred Starfleet officers and crewmen that didn’t like him.  That’s why they had agreed at the very beginning that Janeway would make sure that her crew knew that Paris was under her protection since he had saved her in the Ocampan tunnels.

 “Approximately one month ago.  It looks like the injuries were partially regenerated.  I’ve also noticed signs of abuse dating back to much earlier years in his life yet they were noted in his medical file.  Were there any computer malfunctions that would have corrupted the file?”

 “None that I am aware of but the injuries may have been sustained after he left Starfleet.”

 “He saw Starfleet Doctors until he was twenty-four did he not?”  An affirmative nod from Janeway, “Then these injuries should have been recorded.”  The Doctor stated.

 “What type of injuries are they?”  Janeway asked.

 “I’m sorry Captain but I can only divulge that information with the patients permission.”  The Doctor stated in a tone that left no room for argument.  The Captain looked to Chakotay to gauge his reaction.  She could tell that he knew something that she didn’t.  The meeting wrapped up and Janeway left the Doctor’s office and then Sickbay.  Chakotay walked over to B’Elanna who was having a soft one-sided conversation.  She looked up when she heard the footsteps approaching.

 “Hey Chakotay.”  She said quietly.

 “How are you?” Chakotay asked knowing Tom’s condition would be affecting B’Elanna as well.  B’Elanna snorted.

 “How’s Janeway?” she asked with a bit of anger.

 “It’s not her fault, B’Elanna.” Chakotay said.

 “What did she do strike a deal with them?  You can take Paris if you don’t hurt me?  Not a scratch on her Chakotay!”


 “Leave me alone Chakotay!”  B’Elanna turned away from him.  Chakotay slowly released a breath.  Tom better wake up soon or tempers will flare.  Tom was a moderating force between much of the Starfleet and Maquis crew.  He feared that without him things would get out hand.

Seven days past and Tom still did not awaken.  Chakotay’s prediction of doom was only half right.  Tom’s absence shook up the Senior staff and created a huge rift between the Captain and Chief Engineer.  The others were careful not to take sides in fear that they would only end up creating permanent divide in the command crew.

The rest of the crew was getting along better though.  There were still those who harboured ill feelings towards Paris but the number was decreasing.  Some of the angry ‘fleeters had been heard in the galley saying that Paris had finally gotten what he deserved.  The Maquis crewmen that were not willing to take anybody bad-mouthing a comrade-in-arms told them about Paris’ time in the Maquis and how he had helped them and that despite his past he’s a valuable member of any crew.  Several ‘fleeters were willing to let go of their hatred long enough to listen and found that there anger was not necessary nor did Tom deserve it.

In sickbay, totally ignorant to the occurrences around him, Tom lay in the same place in Sickbay only now there a few gifts on nearby stools.  Friends, acquaintances and just people who had come to respect Paris visited.  Gerron, Ayala and most of the Maquis came at some time or another to visit Tom and update him on the latest happenings on the ship.  Kes who usually visited with Sam Wildman left flowers near Tom’s bed.  Harry visited often and played his clarinet sometimes.  Tom had always enjoyed listening to it before and had once told him that he wished he had learnt to play an instrument.  B’Elanna was in Sickbay the most often.  As soon as her shift in Engineering was over she would go to Sickbay, an hour or so later Harry or Chakotay or Henley would try to get her to leave and go eat something (sometimes they actually got her to go eat) and a few hours later she would leave Sickbay for her quarters destined to repeat the same routine over and over again until Tom woke up.  Tom received several visitors daily both Maquis and Starfleet, each hoping for some news, preferably good news.  They had never received any news until nine days after Tom initially fell into the coma.

 “Doctor to Captain Janeway please turn to your holographic medical channel.” The Captain obliged and the Doctor’s face appeared on the console on her desk.  “I felt I should update you on Mr. Paris’s condition…”

Five minutes later Janeway was talking with Harry and Chakotay in her ready room.  “The Doctor can’t give any physical reason for it but Tom’s condition is getting worse.  The only thing he can think of is that Tom has given up.”  Silence surrounded her words.  Chakotay got up.

 “I’ll tell B’Elanna.” He said solemnly.  Janeway nodded at his retreating figure.

 “I’d like to go to Sickbay if it’s alright with you.”  Harry said not looking at Janeway but rather at the base of her desk.  

 “You can go see him Harry.”  He got up and left.  Harry walked in a daze to Sickbay.  Tom was dying?  How is that possible?  He had heard plenty of stories about his time in the Maquis and with the Mavericks and Tom had been in tough scrapes before and survived.  Why couldn’t he pull it off one more time.  Why now would Tom give up.  After everything that has happened to him and after all he’s been through he would let this beat him.  

He entered Sickbay and found Kes sitting on the stool next Tom’s bed.  She was talking softly to him and Harry couldn’t here what she was saying but figured that it was probably a private, one-sided conversation.  Harry walked into the Doctor’s office where Doctor was sitting behind his desk and looking at Tom’s latest scans.  He pushed it to the side when he saw who had entered.

 “Ensign Kim,” the Doctor greeted.

 “Hey Doc,” Harry slouched in the chair across from the Doctor.  There was silence for a short time while the Doctor decided how best to approach a topic.  At Kes’ suggestion he has been trying to improve his bedside manner.

 “His prognosis isn’t very good.  You may want to say your good-byes to him now.”  He said gently.  

 “How long do you think he has?”  Harry asked.

 “Two days at most if this current slide in his health continues.  He may not make it through the night.” Harry sighed and got up.  Kes was just finishing.  She kissed Tom on the cheek before retreating to her own quarters.  

A few minutes later B’Elanna ran into Sickbay with Chakotay on her heels.  She came to a sudden stop when she saw the grim faces.  Even the Doctor looked less perky.  She walked slowly over to Tom.  Harry said his good-bye and left.  He went back to the bridge but he didn’t think that he would be of much use in his current state but he was still on duty.

B’Elanna took the seat that Harry had just vacated.  She looked over Tom.  He looked paler, more sickly, there were also more devices attached to him.  They were loosing him.  She held his cooler hand in her own and was silent. 

 “She’s been there for three hours.  She won’t leave.”  Chakotay said as he walked with Janeway to Sickbay.  

 “It must be hard for her.” Janeway said with no real feelings.  Chakotay looked at Janeway and wondered what was going on inside that head.  Tom had fought and killed only so that she would not be killed, they had shared a horrible experience together and yet her feelings for the young pilot did not seem to change at all.  Tom had killed to keep her safe and yet she was still so cold towards him.

They walked into Sickbay and next to Tom’s bed, just as Chakotay had said, was B’Elanna keeping a silent vigil at Tom’s side.  Chakotay could read B’Elanna’s body language and she looked like she was either going to cry or rip somebody to shreds.  Knowing B’Elanna it would probably be the latter.  He was beginning to think that bringing Janeway here was not the brightest of ideas.  Lately talking about the Captain anywhere near B’Elanna would trigger her anger.  She had enough trouble keeping her anger in check during staff meetings.  With the added stress of Tom’s deteriorating condition Chakotay was afraid B’Elanna would not hold back any of her more violent impulses.

Janeway and Chakotay walked over tom B’Elanna.  She looked up to see who was approaching.  You could almost see the storm clouds behind B’Elanna’s eyes when she caught sight of Janeway.

 “What are you doing here?”  B’Elanna asked venomously.  The Captain ignored her tone and answered.

 “I wanted to see Tom.”  She said calmly.

 “When he’s about to die you finally decide that you should visit.  It’s a little late don’t you think!”  Her voice was growing louder.

 “B’Elanna I‘m sorry for what’s happening to him-”

 “You might be sorry now but what about at the beginning of this journey?  Wasn’t it your responsibility to keep your Starfleet crew in line and protect Tom?  You didn’t seem to care when they were beating him senseless or when they tormented him about his status as a crewman!  But now all of a sudden you care?”

 “B’Elanna-” Chakotay wanted to stop her from going on but B’Elanna ignored him.

 “You may be a Captain but you’re no better than anybody else!  You judged him before you knew him and treated him like a plague and he never once said an unkind word about you!  You don’t know him and you still don’t!  You don’t know what happened at Caldik Prime or what he went through after!  You don’t know what his father did to him!”

 “B’Elanna!”  Chakotay was worried that B’Elanna would tell Janeway what Tom had only told the two of them. “That’s enough!”

 “He’s given you nothing but his best and to this day I don’t know why he thinks you deserve it.”  She ended her tirade softly.  B’Elanna stormed out Sickbay leaving Janeway to digest her words.

 “Captain-” Chakotay was going to make an excuse for B’Elanna’s outburst but Janeway stopped him.

 “It’s okay Chakotay. I understand what she’s going through.”  Chakotay nodded once and left Sickbay to find B’Elanna.  The Doctor who had been listening to what was happening went back to the console on his desk leaving Janeway pretty much alone to confront one of the greatest enigmas she had ever met.  She walked to Tom’s side and took her first look at him in over a week.  He looked remarkable innocent and fragile.  She had not been able to bring herself to visit Tom while he was in here but had received daily updates on Tom’s condition.  There was apparently a lot about Tom that his file left out; some very important points it seems.  She didn’t quite understand what B’Elanna was talking about.  No she didn’t know about what Tom’s life was like after Caldik Prime but she knew what happened there –the report where there for anybody to read –and she knew Admiral Paris a bit.  

The Doctor turned to look at the Captain as she stood over his patients form.  He saw her whisper something to him and then she left Sickbay.  Not one word to him to update her on his condition, she just left.  A quick visit but the Doctor was learning more about feelings and humanoid behaviour, though he would have gladly passed up this lesson to have his patient wake up alive and well.

That night B’Elanna returned to Tom’s side.  The Doctor tried to convince her to leave but she would not.  She eventually fell asleep with her head resting on her folded arms on the biobed.  The next morning she awoke only to be greeted by the Doctor’s chipper voice.

 “Good morning Lt.” he said to her and then went back to the bio-monitors.  She looked at Tom hoping that he was awake but he looked the same as he did the night before but not quite so pale.

 “What’s so good about it?”  To her everyday that Tom was in a coma was worse than the one before. 

 “Well for one, Mr. Paris is doing much better.”  

 “He…he is?” she looked up to the Doctor.

 “Yes.  I’ve been able to take him off life support.  If this miraculous recovery continues he’ll be awake in a matter of days.”  B’Elanna couldn’t keep the smile off her face and didn’t try.  She knew that Tom was not a quitter.  The good news spread through the ship ten times faster than the bad news that had been spread the day before.

Two days later a pair of bleary blue eyes opened to the world that was Voyager for the first time in nearly two weeks.  His vision was blurred and he could not focus on the figures that moved above him.  He felt so tired though.  He closed his eyes wanting to go back to sleep but a voice penetrated the haze around his mind. “Tom open your eyes again.  Wake up. Please.”  He recognized B’Elanna’s voice.  It was the pleading tone in her voice that really got his attention.  He opened his eyes again and after considerable effort he could see her features above him.

 “B… B’El…” was all he could manage to say but it put the first real smile on B’Elanna’s face in twelve days.  As awareness and clarity returned to him.  He felt the slight pressure on his hand and he squeezed back.  

 “Mr. Paris, welcome back.” The Doctor said with a satisfied smile.  Tom didn’t know where he had been that they were welcoming him back from but he was too tired to care.  “Do you know where you are?” the Doctor was running a tricorder over him.

 “…sick…bay,” he answered after a moment.  A yawn escaped him.

 “There is no lasting neurological damage.  You’ll be as good as new and bothering me again in about ten days.”  He closed is tricorder and looked the group of assembled people: Kes, Harry, Chaktoay and B’Elanna who was at Tom’s side.  “You may see him for a few minutes but then I’ll have to ask you to leave so that Kes and I can run some more scans.”  They nodded and walked over to Tom’s bed.  He was more awake now and was conversing with B’Elanna already.  Soon they would have Tom Paris back again.  The Doctor moved away and contacted the Captain with the good news.  

Four days later Tom was itching to get out of Sickbay.  He never enjoyed being in sickbay and it wasn’t the company.  He and the Doctor were actually getting along but Tom still preferred his own quarters or even a cargo bay to being a patient in Sickbay.  

 “What about Mackenzie?  That’s a good name?”  Tom was staring up at the ceiling while talking to the Doctor who was doing some more tests.  “I think that you’d be a Mackenzie.  Or how about Wilfred.”  Tom snickered. “Okay maybe not Wilfred but what about William or Richard?  Those are good names?”  The Doctor thought about it for a moment but then shook his head.  Tom sighed and Kes giggled.  “Are you interested in non-human names?  How about-”  Tom turned his head and the doctor turned it back the way it was.

 “Mr. Paris, please.  This scan is very sensitive.  You can talk but do not move.”  The Doctor started the scan again.  Tom was silent for a while until he said:

 “I still think you’re a Mackenzie.  Then I could call you ‘Mack’ for short rather that ‘Doc’.”  Kes giggled again and the Doctor rolled his eyes and lowered the medical arch.  “So, may I leave now?”  Tom asked as he pushed him self to sit up.  

 “No you may not.” The Doctor forced him back down.  Tom sighed.  He would be out of here in less than six more days.  That Tom knew for sure.

Three days later Tom was resting comfortably in his quarters.  He had managed to convince and annoy the Doctor enough to get himself out of Sickbay three days early.  In another week he would be as good as new again and back on duty.  He had seen several people since he’s been awake but he had not seen the Captain.  The Doctor and Chakotay assured her that she was all right.  His last memories before loosing consciousness were jumbled and unclear and he wanted to make sure that she was alright. 

Tonight B’Elanna, Harry and Chakotay were supposed to be coming over for the evening.  Tom had insisted that they go out but didn’t agree so instead they were spending the night in his quarters.  By 2000 they were in his quarters and filling him in on what happened while he was ‘sleeping’.  Neither B’Elanna or Chakotay told him about what happened between her and Janeway but Tom could tell that B’Elanna wasn’t pleased with the Captain right now.  His first day back on the job went well but he noticed that B’Elanna was still mad at Janeway for something.  Janeway treated him with the same professional detachment that she had always treated him with but there was something else lurking beneath the surface of her façade.  

The evening of his first day back on duty Tom entered B’Elanna’s quarters and found her at her desk terminal.  She tapped one button and the message on the screen was delivered to the recipient.  It was a short apology to Janeway for the way she had acted about two weeks ago.  She joined Tom on the couch and he asked her about what happened between her and Janeway.  She played dumb for a minute but Tom was not going to forget the issue so she told him what she told him in general.  

 “Oh.”  Was all Tom could say.

 “It wasn’t fair Tom!  You nearly die and she comes back smelling like roses!”  B’Elanna started.

 “B’Elanna, you don’t have to defend yourself.  I’m sorry I put you through that.”  He kissed the palm of her hand and held it in his.  

 “Don’t try an make this your fault.” She warned him.  He had a tendency to do that.

 “It’s not anybodies fault,” He said.  B’Elanna relaxed.  They spent the rest of the evening just enjoying the other’s company.  

The next day Tom had a check up with the doctor and was declared officially ‘all better’.  That same day at around 1730 the chime to Tom’s quarters sounded.  He called for the person to enter expecting it to be B’Elanna.  They were going to get dinner in the Mess hall.  It was Captain Janeway that stood in the entrance to his quarters.  Tom called for the computer to stop playing the music selection and he stood at attention before her.

 “At ease, Mr. Paris.” Tom relaxed marginally and waited for her to state her reason for coming.  “I wanted to talk to you.”  She paused, “I wanted to apologize for how I’ve treated you since you’ve been on the ship.”  She waited to see if Tom would say anything but he just looked at her, his face a perfectly emotionless. “I can’t say that I understand you or that I even like you, but I have no reason not to respect you.” She looked briefly down at her feet before looking to Tom again. “It’s been brought to my attention that you’ve not had and easy time on Voyager and I want to apologize for not helping you earlier.”

 “Does this have something to do with what B’Elanna said?”

 “In part, yes.  I can’t say that I understand you or that I even like you but I do respect you as I imagine your father would-”

 “You don’t know Admiral Paris as well as you think you do.”  Tom interrupted.

 “I obviously know him better than you do!”  Janeway nearly yelled.  Tom stepped close to her and looked down so that he could see her eyes.

 “If you knew him as well as I did, you wouldn’t be so keen on speaking about him.”  The chime to his quarters rang. “Enter.” 

 “Tom, you ready to go?”  B’Elanna said as she entered.  She stopped when she saw who was in the room.  The air was thick with tension. “Tom?”  He stepped back from Janeway. 

 “You know where the door is.”  Tom said frigidly.

 “You’re father was right about you and I was a fool to think that you had changed at all.”  Her words hung in the air like ice and the temperature of the room seemed to drop several degrees in only a few seconds.

 “Good day, *Captain*.”  Not sparing a glance at Torres, Janeway exited the room.

 “What was that about?”  B’Elanna asked.  Tom let out a harsh breath.

 “Let’s just get something to eat.”  B’Elanna let the topic go but promised herself that she would ask him about it later.  Right now food sounded like a good idea.

Captain Janeway walked through the corridors of Deck three heading to her own quarters.  She was fuming but controlled her anger.  She keyed in her access code and entered her quarters.  Who does he think he is?  ‘If you knew him as well as I did’ his words echoed in her mind.  She knew Admiral Paris.  He was a good father to Moira, Kathleen and… ‘When Emily Rodell-Paris died, so did my father’ his exact words from their time together in the cell after his first fight.  She collapsed to onto her couched her thoughts still a scrambled mess.  ‘You don’t know what his father did to him!’  B’Elanna’s angry words.  ‘…signs of abuse dating back to much earlier years in his life…’ the Doctor’s words.  She remembered Chakotay’s expression when the Doctor brought that up.  She remembered his reaction when B’Elanna was yelling at her in Sickbay after B’Elanna told her she didn’t know what his father did to him. 

Kathryn got up and went to her console to do some research.  They knew something that she didn’t.  She called up Tom’s file dating back as far as was recorded.  She looked in his old medical file there was never any mention about injuries other than the occasional scrape and malady that all children get.  She looked through more of his medical file and came upon the Doctor’s notes.  They were, however, under restricted access.  She could easily open the file and read what the Doctor had said but unless it threatened the ship or crew she had no authorization to look through it so she went on.  It took her three and a half hours of searching a speculating to come to a conclusion.  Not the conclusion that she wanted but with her memories of Admiral and Captain Paris and what she’d learnt from Tom, his file and his friends it was the only conclusion that made sense.  

She didn’t sleep well that night.  Images of a little blonde boy being hit, yelled at and tortured entered her dreams.  The child just stood their and took it all and she just stood their watching she couldn’t help him but in the dream she didn’t seem to want to.

The next morning at 0758 all of the senior staff was there except Janeway but she wasn’t late so they didn’t worry.  At 0800 exactly she walked in and the meeting began and half an hour later it ended.  The officers filed out but Janeway sat at head of the table not moving, seemingly lost in thought.  Tom noticed her there and delayed his return to the helm.

 “Captain,” Kathryn looked up and saw Lt. Paris standing next to her.  His face was not the unfeeling mask that she had expected of him but rather it displayed his genuine concern about her condition.  He hoped that what he said yesterday was not the cause of her melancholy.  “I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for snapping at you yesterday.  I don’t talk about Admiral Paris often and it’s by choice.  I’m glad that you have good memories of him I just can’t share in those.  I… I’m sorry.”  His words were sincere and it came through in his voice but Janeway didn’t respond, she didn’t even look at him.  Tom didn’t understand what was bothering her.  He had no intention of apologizing for anything that he said the night before until he noticed her mood.  He expected her to be angry at him, he didn’t expect her state of depression.  

He turned away from her to leave but before he could take a second step she called out to him.  He stopped and turned back to face her.  She still sat in her chair.

 “Tom, I have to ask you something.  You don’t have to answer me at all since it’s none of my business…but I have to ask you.”  She swallowed and looked down at the carpeted floor.  “Your father Tom… did… did he… hit you?”  There was no response for a few seconds.  Kathryn looked up and her grey eyes locked with blue and she couldn’t look away.  

 “Yes.”  She still didn’t look away and neither did he.  His gazed seemed to hold her like a spell.

 “He beat you didn’t he.”  She stated and Tom responded again.

 “Yes.” His features didn’t exhibit any emotions and she could remember Captain Paris with the same emotionless mask in place.

 “I’m sorry Tom.”

 “Don’t be.  You didn’t know and I would have liked to keep it that way.”

 “It’s nothing to be ashamed of.  It’s not your fault either.” She got up from her chair and approached him but stopped when she noticed that he backing away form her.  

 “How did you find out?” he asked quietly but she had not trouble hearing his words in the quiet room.

 “I looked in your file.  The doctor also said that he noticed that signs of abuse on you from before Caldik Prime, long before.” She didn’t tell him about what she had inferred from B’Elanna and Chakotay’s reactions.  She didn’t want him to blame them.  Tom was generally a very understanding person but he was also a very private person and she now understood better than ever why that was.  There were things about him that he didn’t want anybody to know.

 “The doctor knows?” It was more of a statement than question but Kathryn confirmed it with a single nod.  Tom took a deep breath and recomposed himself.  “Excuse me Captain I need to get to the bridge.”  He left before she could say another word to him.  

Silently he took his station not even glancing to his friends.  A minute later the Captain walked out of the conference room and took her place to the right of Chakotay.  Chakotay noticed Tom’s behaviour and noticed the Captain’s reflective state.  He would talk to both of them later.  Or he would try to.  When he tired to talk to the Captain she only told him that it was a private matter and that she could not discuss it with him.  He went to Tom’s quarters later and found him sitting on the couch with his feet on the small coffee table.  He wasn’t reading anything or listening to anything and the lights were off.  The only lighting was provided by the stars outside and it was only enough to outline Tom’s long frame on the couch and a few other objects.  “She knows.” Was the response the Tom gave to Chakotay’s enquiries.  At first he didn’t understand but it soon hit him.  She knows.  

The next days on the bridge were…tense.  Almost everybody could tell that there was something going on between the Captain and the chief helmsman but only Chakotay and B’Elanna knew what it was.  Chakotay had told B’Elanna the same two words that Tom had told him when she had asked what was going on.  

Kathryn wasn’t sure whether to regret asking Tom about his abuse during childhood.  She wanted and needed to know the truth but she didn’t want it to affect Tom.  She should have expected it though.  The Captain was probably the last person Tom wanted to know about what his father did to him.  Tom’s mood did not change but if they thought Tom was stoic before he was worse now and none of his friends knew what to do about it.  He didn’t smile as often and even before he didn’t smile a lot.  Physically he was fine and on the surface he looked all right but his friends where still worried about him.  After eight days of that behaviour B’Elanna had enough and decided to do something about it.  She needed to get an emotion out of him even it was anger and even if it was directed at her.

Torres rang the chime to Tom’s quarters.  She waited to get a response but none came.  She rang it again and after a few seconds she received permission to enter.  The room was at only about seventy percent illumination.  She walked in far enough so that the sensors allowed the doors to slid closed.  Tom greeted her briefly.  He was sitting on the couch reading a padd and sipping on drink. Torres sat down on the couch with one leg bent under her so that she could face him.  
 “What are you drinking?” she asked.
 “Some fruit concoction.” He said.  “You want anything to eat or drink?”  He asked.
 “No thanks.  But I would like Tom Paris back.”  She said casually.  Tom looked at her.  There wasn’t an emotion on his face and that only made B’Elanna more determined.  “What been going on with you lately?  You’re like a robot.”

 “There’s nothing ‘going on’.”  Tom dismissed her worries.

 “You more emotionless than Tuvok.”  She moved closer to him and turned his head so that he was looking at her.  Tom had once told her that Captain Paris (currently an Admiral) had told him that emotions make people weak and predictable in battle so it was imperative that emotions be concealed.  She was afraid that Tom was reverting back to his father’s lessons and trying not to appear weak in Janeway’s eyes.  He had always had a tendency to close himself off when he felt threatened by another.  The last thing he wanted to be considered was some helpless victim.  “Your emotions don’t make you weak, Tom they make you human.”

 “So what’s wrong with being Vulcan.”  He said.  It was a joke but it lacked his usually tone.  

 “Damn it Tom!”  B’Elanna got up off the couch.  He was the one making her angry.  It was supposed to be the other way around.

 “B’Elanna,” Tom stood as well.  B’Elanna was pacing. “B’Elanna listen to me-”  Tom stepped in her path to stop her pacing.

 “No you listen to me!”  She pushed him against the wall and pinned him there.  

 “Ow!  B’Elanna do you mind easing up.”  Tom wasn’t feeling particularly threatened by B’Elanna though most people would be, but her grip on his upper arms was pretty tight.

 “I don’t understand you.  You’re so strong for others and you’ll always help them when they ask and even when they don’t but you won’t let anybody help you.”

 “Because I don’t need their help.”

 “How about right now?”

 “I don’t need anybodies help.  Now let go of me.”  Tom could probably force her off but he wanted her to let go and end this conversation.  If he ended it she would only bring it up again and again.

 “I think that you’ve relied on yourself for so long that you don’t even know when you need somebody else’s help.”

 “Why rely on somebody else?  I’m just setting myself up for disappointment.”  Tom stated flatly.

 “Is that what your father taught you?”

 “That’s what experience taught me and leave the Admiral out of this.”  Tom tried to move but B’Elanna still held him against the wall.

 “That’s what this is about isn’t it; you and the Admiral.  What I don’t understand is why you let him hurt you until you left home?”

 “What do you want me say?  I’m stupid!  Now let go of me!”  Tom broke her grip on him and moved away from her but didn’t turn his back to her.

 “Tom you’re not stupid.”  B’Elanna retorted. She thought quickly of what to say when a thought hit her.  “You think that you deserved it?”  She took a step towards him but he took a step back.  Their eyes were locked. “You think he was right?”  Tom didn’t say anything.  He had never really analysed what he felt towards Admiral Paris and just summed it up as anger and resentment.  B’Elanna’s questions were getting awfully close to something important that Tom believed but it was hidden from his conscious mind.  “You’ve never told anybody all of what he did to you and I doubt that you ever will.  I don’t know what goes on in your head and I doubt I ever will fully understand but there are some things that I am absolutely sure of.  That you Tom Paris are a good man and you are more than your father ever deserved.  That what he did to you was unforgivable and I hope that you know and understand that none of it was your fault and you did not deserve any of it.  Of those I am absolutely certain.”  B’Elanna had taken a few steps forward as she spoke and Tom had take that same number of steps backwards but was running out of space.

 “I know that.”  Tom said quietly and with a bit of anger.

 “Do you?”  B’Elanna took another step towards him and Tom took one back. “It’s not your fault Tom.”  Tom was utterly confused.  Her statement was simple but it caused so much turmoil in him.  He took another step back and his back hit the wall of his quarters.  B’Elanna walked up to him slowly and in a soft voice continually whispered that it wasn’t his fault and that he did not deserve what happened to him.  Tom shook his head from side to side and tried to block out her words and the memories.  
 ‘Yes sir!’ a crisp and strong response from a seven year old Tom Paris as he stood at attention and his father circled him and drilled him on tactical scenarios.  Tom shook his head. 
 ‘You don’t know me.’  Tom’s voice.  The last words he said to his father when he was leaving his home after Caldik Prime.
 ‘I know exactly what you are: a liar and a killer!  And I know exactly what you aren’t: you are not my son!’  Tom shook his head as the memories flooded back to him.
 ‘You should have died in the hospital that day, not Emily…’ Captain Paris to his ten year-old son.  ‘It’s your fault.’

 “It’s not your fault Tom.” The soft voice continued to tell him.  She was now directly in front of him.  His eyes where closed and he was shaking his head slowly side to side.  She placed her hands at the side of his face and made him look at her.  His blue eyes opened and B’Elanna’s eyes began to water.  He looked so lost and alone and it saddened her.  “None of it is or was your fault.  Not your mother’s death, and not what your father did to you.”  He shut his eye tightly but a tear escaped and travelled a silent trail down is face.  B’Elanna had never seen Tom cry before and she probably would never again.  One of the cardinal rules that Captain Paris had engrained into Tom’s psyche was that crying was a sign of weakness.  No other tear escaped his eyes but B’Elanna had broken his last barrier.  Maybe now Tom could truly move on.  He had coped for so long, he had been strong for so long but now it was time for someone to be strong for him.  
 B’Elanna wrapped her arms around him and held him.  She ran a comforting hand through his hair and every so often she would whisper to him that it wasn’t his fault.  Tom could finally let go of the terrible burden that he wasn’t even aware that he carried.  He may never speak of this day or what his father did to him ever again but at least now he could move past it.  It was his father’s sins he was paying for.  Maverick, Lt. Paris, her Tom was free of those sins.  It wasn’t his burden to carry any longer.  

Alliances –after the death of a Maquis crewmember and numerous attacks on the ship by the Kazon Janeway decides to try a forge an alliance with the Kazon (it failed)
Manuevers –Chakotay takes unilateral action to get the transporter module that was stolen from the Kazon (no Seska in these episodes).  Jonas, however still want to try to form an alliance with the Kazon.
Parturition- Tom and Neelix are on more friendly-like terms 

 “I don’t think that it’s important.  In fact it’s probably nothing but….”

 “But it doesn’t add up.”  Tom said finishing B’Elanna’s sentence.  She nodded her agreement.  They sat silently on the couch for a while. Tom studied the information on the padd while B’Elanna studied him.  Tom had never spoken of the night almost a week ago except once.  She thought back to that moment….

 “Hey.”  Tom said as he entered her quarters.  She smiled at him.  He stopped a meter inside her quarters and looked around.  He seemed almost…. Nervous.  

 “Tom, are you alright?”  She walked over to him.  

 “I just wanted to thank you…. For being there for me when I really needed you.”  He said evenly.  She got the feeling that he had been rehearsing this.  She smiled softly at him.  

 “I’ll always be here for you, no matter what.”  He crossed short distance to her and looked down into her eyes.  He leaned forward after a brief hesitation and kissed her soundly. 

 “Hello?  Paris to Torres.  Torres please respond.”  

 “What?”  B’Elanna jerked up right.  

 “Are you okay?  You where in another universe for a moment there.”

 “Yeah I’m fine.  Just thinking.”  Tom raised an eyebrow but dropped the subject.

 “We should take this to Tuvok.”  Tom said, getting back to the subject at hand.

 “We shouldn’t bother him with this. It’s probably nothing.”  Torres snatched the padd from him.  Tom snatched it back.

 “You can’t ‘bother’ a Vulcan.”  Tom stated.  “We’ll show it to him and he can decide whether we should investigate.”  Torres shrugged. Tom gut up pulling her with him.  “Let’s go then.”


 “No time like the present.”  And Tom guided her through the doors of her quarters.

 Early the next Tom met Tuvok in the Security office.  Tuvok had felt that they should investigate further so he set up this time so that they could go over information.  Neither of them where on duty until that afternoon so they had plenty of time to work.  It would have been better if B’Elanna could have joined them but she was on duty on Engineering.
 Tom and Tuvok worked on verifying that it was indeed a transmission being sent and not a recurring error in the ships sensors.  Each diagnostic they ran came up clean and each to the transmissions was verified.  They didn’t get much further than that however.  They could not identify the source of the transmission but they had been able to discern the destination.  The messages where all on frequencies that the Kazon use.  Somebody on Voyager was conversing with the enemy.  To what ends they had yet to discover.

 “Tuvok look at this.”  Tom said.  They were working on the consoles on the upper deck of engineering.  It was the fifth day of their investigation and they had made little progress.  Tuvok walked over to the Lt. and looked at the display.  “Every couple of days there’s a minute drop in the power flow through the relays that run the subspace transceiver.  It’s as if some of the power has been re-routed, where to, I can’t be sure.”  Tuvok tapped some commands into the display.  “I tried that already.”  Tom said.  “I reach a dead-end every time.”  Tom called up the results of the other times he had tried to trace the re-routed power.  “Whoever did this covered their tracks well.”  Tom said.

 “Are there any Maquis methods of disguising this?”  Tuvok asked.  He knew that the Maquis were a resourceful group, he had served with them for a short time.

 “Probably, but you’re asking the wrong person.”  

 “Did you not serve with the Maquis?”  

 “I served on a Maquis ship but I’m a Maverick.”  Tom said.  He looked back to the display.  Tuvok digested this information.  He had assumed that Paris was a Maquis.

 “Are there any other Mavericks on board?”  Tuvok asked.

 “No, just me.”  Tom knew it was a matter of security that Tuvok was asking.  There where already two major factions on the ship, they didn’t need a third one.

 “Are there any Maverick tricks that would be able to hide a power transfer.”  As the only Maverick on board it would have to be Tom who had sent the message to the Kazon.  Tom didn’t take any offence at Tuvok’s question.  Information can leak or somebody could have implemented the same technique.

 “ There are but none of them are used here.  I tried looking for the usual indicators but I didn’t find any.  Whatever this person did I’m not familiar with it.”  They were both silent for a moment. “And I didn’t do it.”  Tom said without taking his eyes off the display.  “If I had I wouldn’t be here trying to incriminate myself.”  Tom said.

 “That would be logical but I have never found humans to very logical.”  Tuvok went back to work and Tom joined him.  There was no point pleading his innocence to the Vulcan security officer.  Tuvok would conduct his investigation and find the guilty perpetrator no matter who it turned out to be. 

 Eight days later Tom was in Engineering once again working on his investigation.  Janeway was now in on the investigation since Tuvok decided to tell her.  She was also aware that Tom was helping with the investigation.  Currently he was looking through the logs.  Engineering was quiet.  There had been a massive problem with the magnetic constrictors and they had been forced to the vest the plasma through the nacelles and burnt away the lining of the warp coils.  Neelix directed them to a planet where there was supposed to be a large quantity of the material need to create a new lining.  B’Elanna had most of the Engineers working some place other than engineering either prepping the warp coils for the new lining or creating the machinery required to refine the material and create the new lining.  Everybody was busy.
 They were approaching their destination when the lighting changed to the red glow that Tom was all to familiar with and the red alert sirens started blaring.  Tom shutdown the console and was leaving when he was stopped by a frocefield that blocked off the upper exit and he heard two voices below him.  One he recognized instantly it was unmistakably Neelix; it took him longer to figure out who the other person was but he soon realized it was Michael Jonas.  He served on the Liberty as well.  
 Captain Janeway’s voice came over the comm. line.  There was something wrong with the weapons and there where Kazon attacking from all vectors.  Jonas was supposed to be trying to get them working but Neelix realized that he was not inputting the proper commands.  When he questioned Jonas, he became violent.  Tom climbed down the ladder to come Neelix’s aid.  Tom had grabbed a phaser from the weapons locker on his way down.

 “Jonas don’t move!” Tom ordered as he aimed the phaser at Jonas.  Neelix scrambled to his feet and moved over to where Tom was.

 “Tom, I was just trying to get the phasers back online.”

 “Save it!”  Tom said sternly. “Move away form the console.”  Jonas backed away. “Neelix,” Neelix understood and walked over to the console to try and bring the phasers on line.

 “I’m locked out.”  Tom moved to the console and gave Neelix the phaser.  He tried but was locked out as well.  He could get through the lock out but it would take time.  Time was one thing that they didn’t have.  Voyager rocked violently as the ship suffered more damage.  Tom tapped his commbadge. “Paris to the bridge.”

 “Lt. why aren’t you at your position?”  Janeway asked.

 “I’m locked in Engineering with Neelix and out traitor, Jonas.  I can’t get the weapons online.  There’s a lock out in place.  You’ll have to try and by pass it from the bridge.”

 “Understood. Janeway out.”  Tom looked back to Jonas and glared at him.  If any harm came to this crew because of him he would-

 “You’re too late.” Jonas said.

 “Why did you do it?”  Neelix asked.

 “If the Captain where smarter we could rule this quadrant.  So the Kazon get some technology, big deal.  We’d have the power.  The Kazon are idiots-”

 “And so are you.  An alliance with the Kazon would never work there too much like Cardassians.”  Tom said.  Jonas was delusional, among other things, if he thought that an alliance with the Kazon would solve all their problems.  Tom went to a console to try and get through the lockouts.  While he was working an alert flashing at the top corner of a consoled caught his eye.  He walked to the next console.  “Kazon have boarded Voyager.”  Tom announced.  

 “Where?”  Neelix asked.  Tom called up the internal sensor scans.  

 “Deck thirteen, deck six….and deck one.”  Tom said.  The Kazon had strategically deployed their forces.  The Voyager crew was locked out of Engineering, half the crew was cut off from the bridge which was no being over run by Kazon and decks thirteen and down where cut off from the rest of the ship.

 “What do we do?”  Neelix asked.  Tom could hear the agitation in his voice. 

 “Paris to the bridge.”  There was no response.  “Damn it!”  He took a deep breath.  “Paris to Torres.” No response. “They must have taken down the comm system.”  Tom deduced.  “We should get to the weapons lockers and more adequately arm ourselves.”  Tom walked over to Jonas.  “Okay *Mike*, here’s what’s going to happen.”  Tom said approaching him.  “I am going to leave you here with Neelix and he’ll keep an eye on you.  If you so much as blink he’ll shoot you.  Now, I want to know everything that you know down to the last detail.  Who’s your contact?  How many ships?  What information have you given to the Kazon? Etc.”  Jonas stayed quiet.  “I don’t think you understand me.”  Tom stepped up so that he was directly in front to Jonas. “If the Kazon harm any member of this crew I will the rest of your life a living hell.  That got Jonas thinking.  Paris was a Maquis and Maverick Captain.  

 “Neelix stay here. With him.”  Tom was working on a console a few minutes later.  The comm. system was still down and could no be brought back online from Engineering it had to be done on the bridge.  Tom got one segment of the force-field surrounding engineering down.  He could have brought the rest of it down or brought the phasers back on line but if the Kazon really where in control of the bridge then he didn’t want to give them weapons capabilities as well.  “I’m going to the nearest weapons locker.  To lower the force-field around Engineering pick the section that you want and then input these commands.” Tom pressed a few buttons in succession while Neelix watched.  “To raise them again press here.” He pressed another button.  Neelix nodded his understanding and Tom brought down the force-field in front of the main exit and left Engineering.

 Tom ran to the nearest weapons locker and armed himself with one phaser rifle and one hand held phaser.  He also replicated a knife and concealed it in it’s sheath in his boot.  He consulted a another console and found that the Kazon had gained access to the transporter controls.  Tom didn’t understand why Janeway hadn’t already blown up the ship until he saw that the Secondary processors had been taken off-line.  Jonas again no doubt.  He shutdown the turbolift system to slow the motion of the other Kazon.  Tom took off his commbadge and ditched it.  He noticed that Voyager crewmembers were being relocated.  Tom tried to shut down the transporter system but only managed to lower the capacity of the buffer so they could only transport one person at a time.  It would slow down the transporting of the crew.  They were being transported to the Cargo Bays.  That is also where most of the Kazon where located, deck Six.  Tom noticed that the commbadge that lay next to him disappeared.  They were transporting people in no particular order.  
 Moving to the nearest Jefferies tube Tom made a decision.  He would need help taking the ship from the Kazon. He needed to get to the Cargo Bays to free the crew.  He turned the next corner and the fist came at his face.  He ducked just in time to avoid being hit.  He aimed the phaser rifle at whoever it was but when he saw them he didn’t pull the trigger.  “Suder!”

 “Paris.”  Suder said in a startled voice.  Tom saw that he had also removed his commbadge.  He must have realized that people where being transported and taken off his commbadge so that they would not be able to get him as well.

 “I’m going to need your help.  Go to the weapons locker and arm yourself.  Go to Engineering and try to shut down the transporter rooms.  Sooner or later they’re going to realize that they don’t have all of us and start looking.  You’ll have to crawl through the Jefferies tubes to get to engineering.  I don’t know if Neelix is still there, he may have been transported out by the Kazon.  Jonas was with him.  Don’t trust him he’s working with the Kazon.  You’ll have to find your own way past the force-fields though.”  Tom started walking away after he had briefed Suder.

 “What force-fields?”  Suder asked Paris’ retreating figure.

 “The ones surrounding Engineering.  Be careful.”  Tom disappeared around another bend.  

 Tom had just crawled through several jefferies tubes from deck eleven to deck six.  When he was getting ready to emerge on the deck but a peek out side showed that there where at least a dozen Kazon in the hallway.  Tom shut the access port and continued climbing until he reached deck five and continued to Sickbay.  Upon exiting he was pretty much attacked by the EMH.

 “Doc, it’s me!”  Tom said.

 “Lt!”  He helped Tom out of the jefferies tube. “I thought that the Kazon had taken over.”

 “Not just yet.”  Tom looked around.  There had to be something of use in here.  He went to the main console in Sickbay.  Sickbay had a direct link to the transporter system in case of an emergency.  He could use that to his advantage. “Doc, I’ll be right back.  Tom ran out of sickbay leaving the Doctor alone for several minutes.  The Doctor paced and paced until finally Tom returned carrying an arm full of weapons.  “Most of the crew is located in the Cargo Bays,” he explained to the Doctor. “They’re under heavy guard and I couldn’t get to them.  What I need you to do is beam the weapons to the Cargo Bay on by mark.  According to the internal sensors there are no Kazon actually in the Cargo bay but I’m sure they make periodic visits to check on their prisoners.  Wait until I signal you before transporting in the weapons.  The Kazon can’t know that there plans are coming apart.”  

 In the transporter room the Kazon where attempting to relocate all of the Voyager crewmembers but there was a massive malfunction in the transporter system and progress was slow.  “I’ll beam some of you to Engineering.  Try and fix the problem” one of the Kazon ordered to the others that stood around him.  One by one they where transported to Engineering.  

 In Engineering Jonas watched as the forms of the Kazon materialized.  Jonas lowered the force fields seeing that the Kazon now had control of the ship, or at least the transporter system.  In doing so he had just made Suder’s job easier but now Engineering was crawling with Kazon.
 In the Cargo Bays Torres and a few officers tried to pry open the hatches to the jefferies tubes but they were all locked.  Janeway and Chakotay where conversing trying to figure a way out.  Neelix materialized in an empty corner of the cargo bay and Janeway went over to him hoping that he had more information about what was going on than they did.

 “Neelix what’s going on out there?” Janeway asked.  She wasn’t liking the idea of the Kazon being in control of her ship one bit.

 “I was in Engineering keeping an eye on Jonas when I was transported here.  The Kazon must be in the transporter rooms.  There are also Kazon on deck thirteen and the bridge, but I guess that you already knew that.”  There was silence for a while as they all tired to think of something more they could do.

 “Where’s Paris?”  Harry asked looking around. “The rest of the Senior Staff is here but not Tom.”

 “He was with me in Engineering for a while but he left.  I thought that he would be trying to get you out of here.”  Neelix said.

 “He may have gotten caught and before he made it here.”  Janeway said.

 “They may have kil-”

 “Don’t eve say it Starfleet!  Tom is not dead.  He’ll get us out of here.”  Torres interrupted Harry angrily.

 “Where’s Suder?” they could here some nameless Ensign inquiring.  “He was with me before I was transported here.  Indeed, where was Suder?

 Suder emerged from the Jefferies tube and into a remote corner on the loser level of Engineering.  He took a deep breath to steady himself and then entered the main part of Engineering firing his phaser rifle at anything that moved.  Suder didn’t even spare Jonas a second glance when he shot him down.  Walking over to a console he began inputting the right commands to cut power to the transporter rooms.  He failed to notice that Jonas was regaining consciousness.  
 In Sickbay.  “Ready.”  Tom stated.  He held his rifle poised and ready.  The doctor would transport him to the Bridge where, there were less Kazon.  If he could get the bridge he could unlock the doors of the Cargo Bay and the Voyager crewmembers would be free to take out the Kazon with the weapons that the Doctor would beam in.

 “Good luck.”  The doctor said and pressed the last command.  Tom disappeared and once again he was left to wait.  Tom materialized near the Tactical console on the upper most deck of the bridge.  He quickly phasered the man at tactical and the two at mission Ops.  He ducked behind the tactical console as phaser shots came in his direction.

 “Give it up!” He could hear Cullah yelling at him but Tom wasn’t about to give up anything.  Crouching so that he could see enough to the tactical console Tom raised Voyager’s shields preventing any more of the Kazon from coming aboard and then the placed a lock out on the shielding systems so that they could take it down.  He tapped some more buttons and rerouted more power than could be managed to the helm controls.  The helm controls exploded and the officer there was knocked out.  Every so often Tom would fire a few shots blindly to the Kazon just to keep them from coming over to him.  There where still three more Kazon that he had to deal with but they weren’t near any consoles so his last trick would not work.  Tom cut power to the lights on the bridge.  The only lighting was now provided from the view-screen that displayed the Kazon vessels waiting on the other side of Voyager’s shields and the lights form the consoles.  Tom let his eyes adjust to the darkness and fired a few shot into the darkness. If he happened to hit a Kazon, good for him but that wasn’t his plan.  
 Peaking around the side of the tactical station Tom could make out the outline of the three Kazon officers.  His night vision was as good as it was going to get.  He poised his finger over the command that he wanted and closed his eyes.  Pushing it the lights came back on and the Kazon’s pupils contracted to cope with the sudden burst of light.  Tom pressed the command again and the lights went off.  That was when he struck.
 By closing his eyes when the lights came on he was able to preserve his night vision so that when he turned off the lights again he would be able to see but the Kazon where virtually blind since it would take their eyes some time to re-adjust to the darkness.  Tom quickly phasered the last three Kazon and turned the lights back on.  He checked the ready room and the Conference room for anymore Kazon before going to Harry’s usual console.  He bypassed the lockouts with ease and got the comm system back online.  

 “Paris to Engineering.”

 “Suder here.” Came the voice.  

 “I need you to get weapons back online.  I’m in control of the bridge now.”  Tom said as he tried to get the weapons online.  He had done what he could form his station but the rest had to be done from engineering.  Suder was a pretty good engineer, he would be able to do it although it may take some time.

 “I’ll get right on it.”

 “Paris out.”  He closed that comm link and opened one to sickbay.  “Paris to the Doctor, Mark.”  Tom released the locks on the Cargo bay doors while the Doctor beamed the weapons to them.

 “Paris to the Cargo Bay.  The weapons are fine.  Not rigged or anything.  There are about a dozen Kazon outside the doors to the Cargo Bays.  They don’t know what’s going on so you can take them by surprise.”

 “Where are you?” asked Janeway.

 “On the bridge.  Suder’s in Engineering trying to get the weapons system back online.”
 “Understood where on our way.”  Said Janeway as she picked up a phaser.  

 “On deck twelve there are armed Kazon down there but they’re behind fore-fields.”

 “Acknowledged Janeway out.” The link was cut a few minutes later the weapon’s came back on-line.  

 “Paris to Engineering.”  No response.  “Engineering please respond.”  Still nothing. “Paris to the Doctor lock on to the Betazoid life signs in Engineering and beam him to Sickbay.”


 “Paris out.”  

 A few minutes after being released later Janeway, Tuvok and the rest of the bridge crew made it to the Bridge.  Tom was at the helm.

 “What are they waiting for?”  Janeway asked pointing to the Kazon vessels on the screen as she made her way to the Captain’s chair.

 “The shields are up so they have no idea what’s going on over here.  They’re probably waiting for some signal from our dear Maj, Tom gestured to the Kazon male that lay unconscious on the floor.

 “Ensign Kim beam all the Kazon to the Cargo Bays.  Tuvok deploy your security teams to guard the Cargo Bays.” 

 “Aye Captain.”  Each said and a moment later the Kazon bodies on the bridge disappeared.

 “Charge forward phaser banks and load the forward torpedo launchers”  Janeway ordered.  “Fire at will.”  Tuvok fired several precessions shots and Tom deftly guided the ship through the maraud of Kazon ships giving Tuvok the best shots.  The Kazon ships where beginning to retreat when Janeway ordered that one of the ships be held in a tractor beam.  Voyager’s shields were dropped and the Kazon beamed back to the ship, which was allowed to leave.  Several people sighed in relief.  The Kazon where gone and would think twice before messing with voyager again and they where at the planet where they could get the materials needed to created the new lining for the warp coils.  The new warp coil lining was put on top priority.  They wanted to be gone from here before the Kazon had another chance to regroup and attack them.  Voyager left the systems a few hours later once they had enough of the material.  The entire crew was anxious to get moving.  They had a long way to go and the sooner they got out of Kazon territory the better.  
 The new lining was soon complete and life on Voyager regained the sense of normalcy that had been missing since the accident with the warp plasma.  Suder had died in Engineering when he was trying to bring the weapons on line.  There was nothing that the Doctor could have done for him.  Jonas also died in engineering.  According to the Doctor the second phaser shot that he had gotten was fatal.  Two crewmembers dead.  

 Voyager was warping through space heading to the Alpha Quadrant and leaving the Kazon far behind.  Tom was once again working in Sickbay.  He was re-configuring some tricorders when the doors to Sickbay opened to permit the entrance of Sam Wildman.  Tom smiled at her as she entered and came over to him.  

 “Hi Sam.”  Tom greeted.  “What can I do for you today?”  

 “Nothing I just came to tell you….”

 “Tell me….”

 “I’m keeping the baby.” Her lips curled into a smile.  Tom smiled back at her.  She approached him and gave him a hug.  “Thank you.”  She whispered.

 “Anything for a friend.” Tom said.  She was leaving sickbay when Tom called to her. “If you ever need a baby sitter I’m always free.” she smiled and nodded her understanding.  

 Several officers where enjoying some time to unwind in Sandrine’s.  Tom’s program was quickly becoming the ships official hangout when people are off duty.  The calming atmosphere and the charming (and some less so) characters are a different type of atmosphere than the sterile and drab walls of Voyager that surround them daily.  Among the relaxing crewmembers was Tuvok and Janeway.

 “Are you sure?”  

 “I am.”  Tuvok stated and waited for Janeway to speak.
 “Paris is a Maverick?”  
 “He said so himself and I have hears others speaking of he and his ‘crew’.  I believe that he was a maverick Captain.”  Tuvok stated.

 “Are there any other Mavericks on board?”

 “No.  This would explain why Mr. Paris would not give any information on the Mavericks when approached.”
 “That doesn’t excuse turning his back on Starfleet.” Janeway said.
 “Starfleet turned their back on me and several others first.”  A strong tenor voice from behind Tuvok.  In the next booth was Tom Paris sitting alone.

 “Eavesdropping, Mr. Paris.”  Janeway accused.
 “Talking about me behind my back, Captain.”  Tom said in the same tone of voice.  Tom got up from his table and went to the bar as sat there.  He didn’t have to listen to Janewy bad-mouthing him.  Doesn’t she have anything better to do?

 “What was it he meant by ‘Starfleet turned their back on him first’?”  Tuvok asked Janeway after a long silence following Paris’ departure.

 “I don’t know but that’s the second time that I’ve heard something like that.  He was most likely referring to Caldik Prime.  Lt. torres said to me that I didn’t know what happened at Caldik Prime.”  Janeway said.

 “The events of Caldik Prime are documented in the Starfleet database.”  Tuvok stated.

 “Still, maybe there’s something that we don’t know.”  Janeway said as she pondered what Tom had said.  

 Tom walked into the Captain’s ready room and stood at attention before her.
 “At ease.”  Janeway said.  “Have a seat.”  She gestured to the chair that was in front of her desk.  Tom sat down wondering what she was going to say.  “I wanted to let you know that I’m putting a commendation in your record for your performance as an officer and for how you handled the situation with the Kazon.”  Tom nodded but didn’t say anything.  He waited silently knowing that she had more to say.  “Caldik Prime wasn’t everything that the files say it is.  I’ve been looking through the reports and there are holes in it everywhere.” She paused and looked directly at him.  Blue eyes met hazel.  “I’ve been comparing you to your father.  Every time that you do something I hold it up against what Admiral Paris had accomplished.  You’ve proven yourself many times over on Voyager, to both crews and to me.”

 “Thank you Captain.”  Tom said slightly awkwardly.  He didn’t expect this from Captain Janeway, Admiral Paris’ protégé.

 “You’re dismissed,”  Tom started to get up, “Maverick.”  He looked at her, his face unreadable but he was curious as to how she figured it out.  “Maverick knew every Starfleet and Federation protocol and guideline word for word.  The only other person that knows all that would be you.”  Tom stood and just looked at her for a few seconds wondering if this was going to cause a problem.  “You’re secret identity is safe with me.” She said with a slight smile pulling her lips. She had figured it out.  Tom mentally applauded her.  A slight smile crossed his features.  Tom had never directed a smile in her direction before.  He turned and left the ready room silently.

 Kathryn leaned back in her chair and took in their situation.  More than half way across the galaxy, alone in a hostile quadrant,  one ship with nearly half the crew being former Maquis, the rest Starfleet and Maverick himself sitting at the conn.  If they couldn’t make it home, such a diverse and resourceful crew, then nobody could do it.  She smiled to herself.  They would make it.  She got up from the desk and went to the bridge where she belonged.  

 The lone Starship warped through space running at nearly peak efficiency.  No one could say for sure what would be happen to them next or what was lurking beyond the next star system but as a unites crew they had a good chance a making it home.  

The End

I hope you enjoyed it.  This actually ended up being slightly longer than “Trials and Tribulations…”  I may write an epilogue but I’m out of ideas so if you want an epilogue then I’m going to need some feedback (this isn’t some stupid scheme to try and get fed back I’m absolutely serious).  I could write about when they get back to the AQ or I kill off Tom (just kidding, I probably won’t be doing that).  

Anyway, me ? need some ideas (Your name will be featured it the acknowledgments and stuff). zappyzaps@hotmail.com  please or I’ll just leave it here!  What do you think of that?