Part Three

Tom remained in sickbay for the better part of the day with the help of a mild sedative the Doctor gave him upon arrival. The time allowed the Doctor to catalogue the injuries both still on Tom's body and those stored in the dermal regenerator he confiscated form Tom's personal quarters. Chakotay found time to respond to the Doctor's request for a meeting at the end of the duty shift and regarded sickbay quizzically, unaware of the subject matter the Doctor wished to discuss with him other then that it had to do with Tom Paris. It had been a while since the subject of Tom Paris could make the Commander bristle with instant enmity, but he felt the familiar dread creeping up on him now. What did the Lieutenant do this time?

He saw Tom laying on a biobed on his back, one arm folded up and behind his head for comfort. He didn't look any worse for wear. The Doctor greeted him immediately and out of the corner of his eye he saw Tom sit up.

"Commander." Tom greeted him.

Chakotay nodded his greeting to the pilot but focused his attention on the EMH. "What can I do for you?"

The Doctor looked around sickbay as though to ensure that they were alone, he then passed Chakotay a data padd. "I am obligated to bring this matter to your attention."

"I told him it wasn't a big deal Commander." Paris chimed in. He stood up and walked closer to where the two stood.

Chakotay looked down at the padd and studied the information detailed within. "When did this happen."

"Nearly ten hours ago."

He looked at Tom. "I was unaware any one was injured in the mu- incident."

"I'm fine. I tried to tell him it wasn't a big deal." He looked at the EMH and smirked. "See?"

Chakotay eyed the pilot. "Who did this?" He accessed the visual display of Tom's injuries recreated by the EMH by the data available. It wasn't pretty, and Chakotay could hardly believe the injuries only occurred ten hours earlier.

Tom glared at the EMH, and for once the Doctor seemed to be taking a less then enthusiastic approach to being the bearer of bad news. "It is my understanding that it was Lieutenant Torres."

"Tom?"

Tom turned toward the Commander, looking defensive and hostile. "It wasn't her fault."

"Of coarse, as you've already explained she was provoked." The Doctor mocked. "I have examined Lieutenant Torres and she bears no injuries."

Tom snatched the data padd from Chakotay and tossed it across the room. "This wasn't her fault, and I don't give a damn what the Doctor thinks he knows. You knew perfectly well that none of the Maquis are responsible for their actions while under the influence of that god dammed mind meld!"

The Doctor glanced at Tom again quickly, then addressed Chakotay. "This isn't the first time." The EMH added hesitantly.

Tom's reaction was immediate. "What the hell are you talking about? This is about the damn official incident report, not anything else!"

The Doctor continued as though uninterrupted. "I have been aware for quite some time now that Mr Paris has been the recipient of numerous unexplainable injuries."

"That's ridiculous." Tom paced the room.

"Today is the first time I've had authorized access to the Lieutenants quarters, and I took to opportunity to confiscate his dermal regenerator."

"Crew aren't supposed to have access to regenerators outside of sickbay."

"Nonetheless, this is what I found." The Doctor handed Chakotay a second data padd detailing a record of injuries that were treated over the last six months.

"How did you get those?" Tom asked softly.

The EMH looked at Tom triumphantly. I suspected something like this was going on and Tuvok assisted me in adding an extra security protocol blocking complete erasure of records."

Chakotay read the information detailed within carefully. "Tom, is this true? Did B'Elanna do this?"

Tom glared at the Doctor but calmed down considerably. "No sir. All injures were obtained through the use of Holodeck combat training programs."

"But the safety protocols on the Holodeck..."

"Can be disabled." Tom answered for the Doctor.

Chakotay and the Doctor both frowned, but the Doctor spoke first. "You have records of these programs I assume."

"I erased them along with what I thought were the records contained in the regenerator." Tom answered. "B'Elanna has nothing to do with this."

"Then use will correspond with allotted Holodeck time." The Doctor countered.

"I overrode the commands, the programs were used outside of my allotted time." Tom sat back down on the biobed, waiting for the Doctors next accusation.

"But the injuries, they correspond with..."

"Humanoid opponents." Tom supplied.

Chakotay watched the interplay, not knowing who to believe. "I'll need to see these programs."

Tom nodded. "Now?" He watched Chakotay nod and led the way through the corridor to the holodeck. He stood at the panel for a moment considering the file he was about to open.

"Tom Paris authorization beta-gamma-zero, initiate program Outside." He ordered, and the holodeck opened. They walked into the dining room of Sandrine's. Tom waited for the doors to close and led them out the front door. He walked down the street, and then turned down an alley away from the lit areas. The air smelt of rotten garbage, and Chakotay could hear cats fighting somewhere in the background. "It's here." Tom stopped and waited, and sure enough two men approached moments later. They were both Kazon. "Computer freeze program." He leaned against the wall and waited for the reactions.

"Computer, state last access to this program." Chakotay ordered.

The impersonal voice of the computer answered. "Last access occurred on stardate -----."

Chakotay turned to Tom. "That was five years ago."

Tom shrugged. "I delete the access records after using them." He reminded them.

"Are there others?"

"Computer, open program paris-redo." The scene around them disappeared to be replaced by one that looked like it belonged more in a horror movie. In the dim light a circle formed, featuring one man holding a knife and waiting. "Freeze program." He looked around. He waited for the Commander to ask for the last record for access to this one, and knew it would be several years ago and only accessed once, but he was prepared to offer the same excuse as for the last one. He watched the Commander and Doctor study the surroundings and took in their confused expressions. "It's the prison satellite. End program. Would you like to see the rest?" He watched the room return to the hologrid.

"Not right now. Is B'Elanna aware of your past time?" Chakotay asked.

"Not that I'm aware. So what now?"

"Now we talk to B'Elanna." Chakotay answered. He activated his COM and asked her to meet him in the holodeck. Five minutes later she arrived.

The first thing she saw was Tom's uncharacteristically morose expression. "What's wrong? Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." He reached out his hand and she walked up to him. They stood as a unified front against an unknown threat.

Chakotay tossed the data padd the Doctor showed him earlier to B'Elanna. She let go of Tom's hand and caught it easily. "What's this?" She looked down and read some of the entries. She felt Tom's hand on the small of her back.

"I walked in on your husband earlier this afternoon healing a variety of injuries with a stolen dermal regenerator. Upon recall of the usage logs, I found a list of injuries over the last six months." The Doctor explained.

Tom could feel B'Elanna tense under his hand. "I told them about the holo-programs I've been using." He said softly and deftly manoeuvred his hand under the back of her tunic. He watched Chakotay closely.

"What holo-programs?" B'Elanna asked him, caught off guard. Her eyes scanned the list of injuries. "What's going on?"

Chakotay stepped forwards. "Are you aware Tom has been running combat programs without safety protocols enabled?"

She looked down at Tom, she knew he was trying to communicate something to her by the pressure of his fingers on her back. "No, I- we haven't discussed it. No."

Chakotay nodded, apparently accepting her answer. "Tom, your holodeck privileges are henceforth revoked unless the program is approved by myself or the Captain."

"You don't have to tell the Captain." Tom said quickly. Chakotay narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "I'll get any authorization I need from you. Captain Janeway has enough to worry about." He added.

"And I'm taking you off the Conn until further notice."

Tom took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I understand. How long?"

Chakotay watched the pilot's reaction, it was all the proof he needed. "Until you prove to me you won't be taking any more unnecessary risks. You're duties will focus on sickbay until such a time that I deem appropriate."

Tom nodded. "Can we go now?"

Chakotay watched B'Elanna. She looked like she wanted to say something but didn't. He nodded and watched the two of them walk out, leaving himself and the Doctor alone in the holodeck.

The Doctor started at the ground for a while. "I apologise Commander, apparently I jumped to the wrong conclusion. But I've witnessed no signs that the Lieutenant has been suffering from psychological distress. I was sure..." He let his sentence drift off.

Chakotay patted the Doctor on the shoulder. "It's okay, we all make mistakes." He said and walked out.

B'Elanna remained silent the entire way back to their quarters. Once inside she turned to Tom and watched as he tiredly sat down on the couch.

"What that hell was that about? Are you aware of what you just did?"

He nodded. "You think it doesn't bother me he took me off the bridge?"

She stopped. "Why did you just let him do that? What programs did you show him?"

He shrugged. "Old stuff. The Sandrine one, you know the one with the muggers in the back alley?"

She nodded. "And?"

"One from four years ago. I only used it once. I recreated the prison Harry and I were trapped in so I could fight the bastard who almost killed me. Good thing he didn't ask for any more, I'd have had to start going into your programs."

"Good thing you didn't, seeing as they don't exist anymore." She paced the room. "How did he find the dermal regenerator?"

"I wasn't feeling so great during my shift on the bridge, so Harry helped me back here then sicked the Doctor on me without warning."

"Why didn't you just tell them the truth?"

"I didn't tell them because it's none of their business." He stood up and wrapped his arms around her and kissed the side of her neck. "B'Elanna, it's okay, it doesn't matter what they think."

She turned away from him. "No it's not okay."

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Chakotay sat in his office going through the injury logs from the dermal regenerator. It was a mistake to talk to B'Elanna with Tom in the room, the other man led the conversation in exactly the direction he wanted it to go. Of coarse now he also had another difficult task, just how could he inform the Captain the Chief Con officer would no longer be serving on the bridge, and how would he explain why?

He decided not to. He called B'Elanna to meet him in his office instead.

She wouldn't meet his eyes as she sat down. "This is about Tom?"

He nodded. "I know he's lying. I think I know what's happening." He said.

She looked up. "Then why did you take him off the conn?"

He ignored her question and stood up to replicate two cups of coffee, he gave one to her. "I know it's you, I just want to know why. Tom doesn't come across as the kind of guy who'd just let this happen."

"He isn't." She answered. "If you knew he was lying, why did you go along with the holodeck scenario?"

"That was for the Doctor's benefit. I also noticed that Tom is the only one useing the dermal regenerator. Does he ever hurt you?"

She shook her head. "Tom would never hurt me Chakotay."

"So then why do you hurt him?"

She was thrown by the question. "I don't." She answered clumsily. "I mean I don't try to. Tom understands."

Chakotay stood up and paced. "I thought Tuvok was helping you control your anger. Are the meditation sessions helping at all?"

B'Elanna's eyes opened wider and she too stood up. "Is that what you think? That I lash out at Tom at the end of a bad day? That I would use him like a punching bag and he'd just stand there and take it? It's not when we fight that these things happen. I've never hurt Tom deliberately, it's when we're together." She emphasized the word together hoping Chakotay would catch on to her meaning without her having to spell it out for him.

Chakotay blinked. "When..."

B'Elanna nodded. "It's all in the Starfleet medical database, somewhat exaggerated by overenthusiastic anthropologists, but some of it's close enough to the truth."

"Oh. So then," Chakotay paused, trying desperately to think of something to say. "It's just a cultural thing? Why did Tom lie and make up the holodeck story? The Doctor would have understood."

B'Elanna sighed. "It was bad enough when Seven was spying on us, imagine have the Doctor to contend with! And you know how much the Doctor loves gossip, how long do you think it would take for this to make it's way around the ship?"

"I don't want to hear anything about this ever again." Chakotay sighed. "Either be more careful, or something, and tell Tom I'm not taking him off the conn. Goodnight B'Elanna."

"Goodnight."