Identity by Layton Colt

Takes place before 'State of Flux' the episode in which Seska is revealed as a Cardassian. Chakotay begins to investigate Tom's past. What he finds will shock everyone.

Author's Notes: This story takes place in the first season before Tom and B'Elanna were even really friends. But in my story they are friends, okay? That's just how I wrote it. This story is already an A.U. because I change what happens from State of Flux onwards.

Part One: Shadow Agency

Tom Paris tried to suppress a groan. Another away mission with Chakotay.

"Hey, Tom," Harry said as Tom entered the shuttle bay. "What's wrong? I thought you would be happy we had a mission together. We're hardly ever assigned to the same team."

"It's the other member that is bothering me, Harry."

"Chakotay? Why?"

Tom looked to the door of the shuttlebay. The last thing he needed was for Chakotay to walk in and hear him talking about him. "It's nothing. Lets get ready, we leave as soon as our team leader arrives."

Harry nodded and they entered the Cochran to run preflight tests.

Tom was at the helm and Harry was at the small ops. station when Chakotay entered. Harry turned around to greet the Commander. Tom barely glanced up.

"Lieutenant," Chakotay said coldly as he slid beside Tom into the co-pilots seat.

"Commander," Tom shot back, just as coolly.

The two had never gotten along. Tom had been posted to Chakotay's ship during his brief time in the Marquis and they had always butted heads. When they were first brought into the Delta Quadrant Tom had saved Chakotay's life. But not even that had been enough to ease their hostile relationship.

"Began the preflight sequences," the Commander ordered.

Tom didn't look up as he responded, "Already done, we're ready to depart."

Chakotay gritted his teeth. The damn man was always one step ahead of him. One step ahead of everyone, it sometimes seemed.

"Chakotay to the bridge,"

"Janeway here."

"Are we cleared for launch?"

"Yes, Commander and be careful. All of you."

"Aye. Chakotay out. Take us out Tom."

"No problem."

'No problem,' Chakotay thought angrily 'not aye or yes sir but 'no problem' '. What made him ever more irate was that Tom's statement was perfectly valid. It was no problem for him. Tom could fly blindfolded.

This did nothing to improve their relationship since Chakotay was also a pilot but never quite as good. Tom started up the ship and flew out of Voyager with a finesse that Chakotay could never attain.

There was a deathly silence in the shuttle that Harry felt it was his duty to fill. Unfortunately, he picked a sore subject for conversation.

"So, what was it like in the Marquis?" Harry paled a moment after the words left his mouth.

Chakotay stiffened and Tom stifled a surprised laugh. 'What could have made Harry say *that*?'

"Well, Har. I wasn't in the Marquis long so I'll let Chakotay answer."

"We don't have time for idle conversation," Chakotay said glaring at Tom. "We're on a planet survey. We need to stay focused."

"Yes, of course. You're right, Commander," Tom said turning to Chakotay. "I'm sorry I brought it up."

Chakotay looked down at his console when he realized that Tom had done nothing wrong and he'd been yelling at him. Harry hadn't really done anything wrong, either. It was just being around Tom put him on edge and the defensive. The last thing he wanted to do was discuss the Marquis.

"No, I'm the one who's sorry. Neither of you have done anything wrong."

Harry's eyes widened at his commanding officers apology but Tom seemed to have expected it.

This only irritated Chakotay further.

"We're within range of the planet," Tom announced. "Should I set us down?"

Chakotay nodded and a wolfish smile spread across Tom's handsome features. This is what got him through all those dull shifts at the conn. Real flying.

"I'm detecting an ion storm!" Harry cried out unexpectedly.

"Pull us out of orbit!" Chakotay ordered.

"It's too late," Tom responded quickly. "I need to set us down."

"Can you?" Chakotay asked grabbing a console to keep from falling."

"Only one way to find out."

Chakotay wondered fleetingly how he could still be flip as their shuttle spiraled downward toward an alien planet's surface.

He didn't get to wonder long, however because the ground was coming up fast. He sent a distress signal and then it went black.

* * * *

Chakotay slowly came to. The first thing he felt was the blood, it didn't take him long to figure out it wasn't his.

Tom had been thrown from the helm and was lying a few feet away. A piece of the debris had lodged itself in the young lieutenant's side.

When he saw Harry attempting to stand by his station he took control again. "Harry," he ordered. "Can you get me the med kit?"

Harry nodded vaguely, obviously shook up and brought it over. He kneeled beside Chakotay. "How is he?" he asked shakily as Chakotay ran the tricorder over Tom.

"He's lost a lot of blood," Chakotay told him distractedly.

"Can you treat him?" Harry asked.

"I think so, but I only took the basic required med course," he said.

"Me too."

"Here, help me get his jacket off so I can treat his side."

They carefully removed the jacket, and then Chakotay ripped the gray undershirt to reveal the entry wound. Both Harry and Chakotay experienced an involuntary shiver.

Thankful that Tom was unconscious Chakotay reached down and pulled the piece of shrapnel from his side. He then grabbed a piece of equipment from the med kit and turned it on. A stream of blue light appeared and he aimed it at the shoulder, running it over the flesh the blood disappeared and the wound closed.

That's when he noticed it. On Tom's shoulder, just barely visible beneath the shreds of his undershirt there was a small tattoo.

It was a picture of the blue glove that serves as the federation logo with the silhouette of a humanoid crouching in the middle of it. He'd never seen the symbol before and it intrigued him.

"Did you know about this?" he asked Harry, pointing out the tattoo. Harry looked at it.

"No. Do you know what it means?"

Chakotay shook his head. With Tom, it could mean anything.

"Janeway to the Cochran."

Harry sighed with relief as Chakotay answered. "Chakotay here. We need an emergency beam out to sickbay."

"Understood, standby."

* * * *

Chakotay sat propped up by his elbows on the biobed. Watching the Doctor work on Tom but listening to Janeway and Tuvok talking nearby. Harry had already been released but Chakotay had to stay since he had received a mild concussion.

"How were they able to land at all?" Janeway asked.

"I believe we have Lieutenant Paris to thank for that Captain, he somehow regained some control and landed as best he could."

"And he saved my life again," Chakotay muttered.

* * * *

Chakotay sighed and collapsed on his couch. He'd been released with orders to rest for the night, Tom had already talked his way back to the helm, claiming his shift at the conn was all the relaxation he needed.

He was thinking in circles and he always ended up back at that tattoo.

Once at a dinner with the senor staff they'd been talking about Chakotay's tattoo and Tom had said 'I'd never voluntarily have something inscribed into my skin'. Did that mean that this tattoo was placed against his will? And if so, why hadn't he had it removed? There was so much he didn't know about Tom. That none of them did. He certainly wasn't the man he'd thought he was.

"Computer, display file on Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris."

The file popped up on his screen but it didn't tell him anything he didn't already know so he pulled up Tom's academy grades.

They were all A's the first two years but went down at the beginning of the third, right before Caldik Prime. This didn't sit well with Chakotay, it felt . . . artificial. It seemed as though nothing else was in the computer about Tom but Chakotay kept digging and he found some comments by Tom's teachers.

Commander Braddock- Tom is brilliant. He seems to already know everything I teach, he's never answered a question wrong. His potential is unlimited.

Chakotay frowned, he'd never heard Tom Paris described as 'brilliant' sure the pilot was quick but things very scientific usually needed to be explained to him.

Admiral Shay- The boy's a genius. I'm sure it won't be long before he steals my job and he'll become a Captain younger than James Kirk.

The others were just the same and Chakotay's frown deepened. These reports didn't match up with the rumors of Tom or how his Starfleet career was ended.

And why had these been hidden in the database? Then he saw something that confused him even more.

Admiral Paris- He is a slacker who has no respect for authority and does not belong in Starfleet.

This was the kind of report he had expected to find but he was beginning to think it was the false one. Maybe Tom just tried to make his father angry. But then he'd gotten a B- and that's considered a good grade in a class with Admiral Paris.

"Computer, provide a list of all documents pertaining to Thomas Paris." It was the hundredth time he'd asked that but each time he might find something that hadn't been there before.

He was surprised it was so hard to find things on Tom. He'd always seen him as one of those people who were involved in everything.

Chakotay was about to got to bed, thinking his imagination had run away with him and the tattoo didn't mean anything when something made him stop. In the corner of the screen was a small logo. It was identical to Tom's tattoo. He clicked on it.

"Please give your authorization," the computer chirped.

"Authorization Chakotay Gamma Pi."

"Authorization denied. Level 20 clearance needed."

20! Admirals eyes only. Lucky for him he knew the authorization of one of the Admirals from his Marquis reconnaissance work.

"Firay gamma pi delta twelve."

"Authorization granted."

A picture of Tom appeared and the logo at the top of the screen with the word Shadow written under it. He began to read with wide eyes.

Agent Thomas Eugene Paris.

Admiral Paris recruited Thomas to the Shadow Agency when he was fifteen years old. Agent Paris graduated with honors when he turned twenty one.

All Shadow agents have no identity. The people who they were prior to becoming an agent are 'killed' never to be heard from again.

Unfortunately, Tom Paris was too well known to become a shadow so Admiral Paris had come up with a way to hide him in plain sight.

In his third year at the academy we set up an 'accident'. Tom Paris, along with three other new agents will be involved in a shuttle crash.

Agents Meridian, Siler, and Mist will be pronounced dead, when actually they will be given their assignments.

Tom will finish his formal training at the academy, and after he graduates he will claim responsibility of the accident and admit to perjury. He will be expelled. And then begin his work with Shadow.

Chakotay was stunned speechless. It was all a ruse? Caldik Prime never really happened?

He's a shadow agent.

Chakotay tried to focus and read on. Tom's first assignment had been carried out before he was an official agent. At only seventeen he had been sent to stop the assassination of an Admiral teaching at the academy. They believed with Tom's status as cadet he had been the best choice for the job.

Another assignment that caught Chakotay's eye was one where Tom had been sent to uncover a smuggling operation. He had been sent to a little bar in Marseilles, France called Sandrines.

He'd spent his nights there acting as a drunk while listening in on the smugglers plans.

Then Chakotay saw a more recent assignment. Gather information on the Marquis. To be posted on ex-Commander Chakotay's ship.

Chakotay gasped, just like Tuvok. It'd been an assignment.

'Agent Paris completed the assignment' writes Admiral Shay. 'He has told us he has suspicions that there is a Cardassian spy on board Chakotay's ship and requested to stay longer. Though I trust Tom's instincts the idea is ridiculous and I've denied the request'.

A Cardassian spy? Chakotay thought incredulously before reading on.

'Tom got off Chakotay's ship brilliantly without being discovered by getting himself caught by a Starfleet ship. He is currently at the New Zealand Penal Colony and we've decided its best he stays their until his next assignment.'

His next assignment was Voyager, Chakotay realized.

Admiral Shay writes, 'We've discreetly told Janeway to take Paris on her mission as an observer. Something wasn't right about the way the Marquis ship disappeared and there is a Starfleet Lieutenant on board. Tom's mission will be to see that Voyager recovers the Marquis ship and to find out what happened to it.'

That of course was his last assignment.

* * * *

"Captain," Tuvok said from his station on the bridge. "Someone has just given the authorization of an admiral."

Janeway stood, "Who?"

"I cannot track it unless I access the files they are viewing."

Janeway nodded, "Put a mirror image on the forward view screen then find out where it's coming from."

Tuvok typed away at his console, finally discovering the files that had been hacked into and bringing them up on the view screen.

The Shadow logo appeared along with a picture of Tom.

Sitting at the helm, Tom jumped up, "Captain," he said.

But she wasn't paying attention to him. She was reading the file in disbelief.

Everyone was.

* * * *

With two of the ships most notorious gossips having been on bridge duty that day it wasn't long before everyone knew who Tom Paris was.

And now he was sitting around the conference table with the rest of the senor staff feeling like a stranger with his closet friends.

B'Elanna looked angry, Harry looked in shock, Janeway and Chakotay looked confused and Tuvok looked . . . well, Vulcan.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Janeway asked, her voice tinged with hurt.

"I took an oath," Tom said simply. "No one is even supposed to know Shadow exists."

"Well now that we do, why don't you tell us the rest?" Janeway asked.

Tom sighed, "I'm on a need-to-know basis. I don't know anymore than you do."

Janeway also sighed, there was nothing she could really do. Nothing she had to do. Tom was no longer a traitor or an ex-con but a dedicated agent. If anything she should be happy that Tom's always been the person she had thought he had the potential to become.

The rest, he would just have to deal with on his own.

"Then you are all dismissed," Janeway said and they all departed.

"Tom! Wait up!" Harry called as he and B'Elanna tried to catch up with Tom.

Tom reluctantly stopped and turned, smiling falsely. "Yes?"

"I think the three of us need to have a talk," B'Elanna growled.

Tom nodded, "Let's go to my quarters."

They walked in silence, no one speaking until they reached his quarters.

"Would you like something to drink?" Tom offered.

"What we'd like," B'Elanna said harshly. "Is to know our best friend."

"You do know me," Tom said.

"No," Harry said quietly. "We only thought we did."

"I'm the same Tom as I always was, I haven't been Agent Paris for almost a year now."

"How could you lie to us!" B'Elanna exploded.

"How could I tell you the truth?" he countered. "And would you have believed me?"

"Of course we would have," Harry said but Tom could tell by B'Elanna's face that she wouldn't have.

If the 'drunk' traitor Paris had tried to tell them he was really a secret agent from a covert part of Starfleet they'd of laughed him off the ship.

"I swore an oath and that's not something I take lightly. I'm glad you know. That you know I'm not a traitor or a drunk. That at least I have only one loyalty. But I suppose I am a liar. That I've been lying to you all along. I'll understand if we can't be friends anymore but I hope at least we'll be able to work together. If not, I could resign . . ."

"Resign!" B'Elanna blurted. "You can't get off that easy. This ship needs you! *We* need you!"

"You're our friend," Harry said. "That's not something we take lightly."

Tom smiled. Something familiar in a situation so strange.

"Well, that makes two of you. Now to deal with the rest of the ship."

"They'll understand, Tom. You were only doing your job."

Tom laughed mirthlessly, "When I was seventeen an assassin pinned me to the floor with a knife, you know what he said? 'Sorry, kid. I'm just doing my job."

"That was different!" B'Elanna cried.

Tom nodded, "Maybe, but by how much? We both hid behind our jobs, used them as an excuse. I lied to all of you, even if it was for my job how can you forgive me?"

"Because you're our friend," Harry said. "And friends forgive each other. Just know, Tom, however the rest of the ship reacts. We'll always be behind you."

* * * *

Tom entered the mess hall and everyone immediately went silent. Watching him discreetly. Trying to ignore the attention he was getting Tom walked over to Neelix. "Hey, Neelix," he greeted.

"Hello, Lieutenant," Neelix said distantly. He quickly handed Tom a meal.

"Neelix, are you mad at me?"

"What? Of course not, it's just . . ."

"Just what?" Tom asked impatiently.

"I feel like I don't know you anymore."

Tom grabbed the tray, "I don't think that's all that's wrong," he said icily. "You've never been this cold to strangers."

Tom sat down alone. He was sitting there staring at his food and feeling as though he didn't belong when Kes came and sat across from him.

She smiled widely at him, "Mind if I join you?" he shrugged. "I guess not," she said brightly. "How are you doing?"

"Fine," he said sarcastically. "Everyone hates me."

"No one hates you, Tom. Least of all me. They just don't know how to act around you anymore."

"Just the same as always," he said frustrated.

Kes nodded, "I know that but I think you're going to have to tell everyone else. Find a way to reconnect with them Tom. I know that it isn't your fault but you're the one who will have to make the first step."

Tom was just digesting what Kes had said when his combadge chirped.

"Janeway to Paris."

"Paris here."

"Report to my ready room."

"Aye, Paris out," he said as he stood. "Excuse me, Kes. Enjoy your lunch."

"I will, bye Tom."

"Goodbye."

* * * *

Tom warily entered the Captain's ready room. Janeway was behind her desk and Tuvok was standing by her side.

"You wanted to see me?" he asked pleasantly.

"Tom, I read in your file that at one point you had suspicions of a Cardassian agent aboard Chakotay's ship. If that were true, they could be on Voyager now."

Tom nodded. He'd wondered when the Captain would ask him about that. "I've been investigating that since we have been in the Delta Quadrant. If they are on board, they're very clever because I've detected no evidence of a spy, however I have eliminated a good few of them and lowered the list of suspects to two crewmen. Ken Dalby and Seska."

"Very efficient," Tuvok said sounding almost impressed.

"Not really, it took me almost a year to do it."

"Yes, but no one else has even suspected. What do you think, Tom. Is one of them an agent?"

"I can't say for sure but I think so."

"Keep your eye on it, we'll do the same," Janeway decided.

"Aye, Captain."

* * * *

Sue Nicolleti and Megan Delaney headed to the holodeck.

"Sandrines isn't running," Megan whined.

"No, it's a new program," Sue agreed. "But it's open, let's see what it is."

They entered and gasped. It was Jaspers, a night club the crew had discovered once on shore leave. It was recreated flawlessly.

They noticed Tom in the corner tinkering with the program and smiled. Only Tom Paris could have done this so perfectly.

"Oh, Tom," Megan cooed. "Nice program. Are we allowed inside?"

Tom dusted of his hands and turned around smiling, "Of course, all are welcome here," he said swinging his arms in a wide gesture.

"You never change," Sue said and they all laughed at the irony of the statement.

"You know what, Sue, you're right. I haven't changed. Are you guys still my friends?"

They both smiled, "Of course," Sue said.

"How could we say no to someone so cute?" Megan added.

Tom's program worked like a charm. People came every night and Tom greeted them all getting back in touch with them. Showing them he hadn't changed.

But there was one person he hadn't talked to. The person who had caused all this to begin with and he was in no hurry to.

* * * *

The crowd had cleared from Jaspers leaving Tom alone. Switching the program to Sandrines instead of going to bed like everyone else, Tom sat at the bar.

He was drinking a shot of holographic Vodka when he saw a reflection in his glass. Tom could feel the presence behind him. Less than a second later Chakotay was pinned against the wall held firmly in Tom's grip.

To Tom's surprise Chakotay laughed. "Its things like this that make me wonder why it took me so long to suspect something about you."

Tom released him.

"I've never seen anyone react so quick. What have you been doing, Tom? Asking stupid questions at meetings. Questions you knew the answers to. Letting people think you only knew how to fly and nothing else. You never applied yourself to anything. Why?"

"People would have gotten suspicious."

Chakotay nodded, "Would that have been so bad?"

"Yes. Look what's happened now that everyone knows."

"If you ask me, nothings changed. If anything they accept you more."

"What's this really about, Commander. Why are you here?"

Chakotay sighed, "To tell you, I'm sorry. I never should have went searching through your past. I had no right--"

"No, no you didn't," Tom interrupted. "But what's done is done. Goodnight Commander," Tom headed for the door but stopped when he reached it. Speaking without turning he said. "Chakotay . . . thanks."

* * * *

She watched him discreetly from her corner table.

So he was the Shadow agent she'd been convinced was on board. He was the threat to her.

He was certainly no ordinary Shadow agent, that was obvious, unfortunately, according to his file . . . he was better.

She had to be careful now, she couldn't make any mistakes this late in the game. He'd been investigating for a spy more insistently than before.

She had to stop him. He was the only one on the ship who stood a chance of discovering her . . . if he hadn't already.

He must be eliminated.

* * * *

Tom smiled at his desk. He was closing in on the spy he was now certain existed. Someone had been communicating with the Kazon, brilliantly using the EPS system. It had to be the spy.

But was it Dalby or was it Seska? His gut told him it was Seska. It would be just like the Cardassians to have the nerve to disguise spies as bajorans. But he needed proof and all he had was speculation and traces of communiqués.

Nothing substantial. Nothing concrete.

There was also the fact that Seska worked in engineering and Dalby in security. Dalby just didn't seem smart enough whereas Seska carried around an air of deception.

"Damn it," he said in frustration. He knew it had to be Seska. "I just need proof."

He turned off the computer screen and the reflection of a green uniform appeared. He swiftly turned around.

"Seska."

She smiled, "You needed proof? Here it is. Too bad you won't live to tell anyone about it."

He could see that the phaser in her hand was set to kill.

"It won't matter," Tom said. "Once you kill me they'll figure it out on their own."

"Perhaps," her grin was sickeningly sweet. "But I'll be long gone."

"Gone where?"

"Gone to the Kazon. I am sorry it has to end this way, Tom. You're really very clever but I'm afraid you've left me no choice."

The phaser went off and Tom dived behind the couch. A hole was burned through it.

Tom cursed and jumped up, he lunged at Seska before she could fire off another shot and pinned her to the ground.

He was able to knock the phaser from Seska's grip, sending it sliding across the floor but she soon gained the upper hand.

Seska pulled from his grip and began to back away. Tom grabbed the phaser and aimed it at her just as Tuvok and Janeway entered.

"This isn't over, Paris," she growled. "I won't be beat by some amateur."

Before anyone could respond the ship was rocked by phaser fire and Seska disappeared in a transporter beam.

Tom didn't need to be on the bridge to know what had happened. Seska had rigged the transporter to put her on the Kazon ship when it was within range.

And it had worked.

* * * *

Later that night, B'Elanna, Harry and Tom say in his quarters.

"I can't believe this," B'Elanna said. "I thought Seska was my friend."

"You just never know about people," Harry agreed.

Tom shifted uncomfortably.

B'Elanna looked at him. Remembering how just a few days ago she'd been wondering the same thing about Tom. "It's not the same," she said to him.

Tom nodded unconvinced. Seska had been working for her people, spying on the enemy. It wasn't any different. He'd done the same thing to the Marquis.

"Why don't you talk to us, Tom," B'Elanna said. "Tell us about what you do. Help us to understand."

"What's to tell?" Tom asked. "I started training at fifteen, and became a full time agent after graduation."

"Fifteen!" B'Elanna echoed. "Did you ever get to be a child?" B'Elanna asked pointedly. "My god, Tom! Putting a fifteen year old into training. Did you ever play games? Have friends?"

Tom shrugged, "Training was a game to me. One I was determined to be the best at. And I met my best friend when I was sixteen. She was also training to be an agent. Agent Meridian."

His voice was controlled but his friends could sense the pain in it. B'Elanna cursed herself, why had she been yelling at him? What she really wanted was to get her hands on his father.

"What happened to her?" Harry asked quietly.

"She became a shadow. Gave up her name, her identity and devoted herself to the agency. Agents are forbidden from forming relationships or . . . keeping them. I'm the one exception because I still have my identity."

Tom went quiet and his friends realized that he didn't want to discuss this anymore.

With a false smile, Harry stood, "Hey, what do you say we go to Sandrines and play a round of pool?"

Tom instantly brightened, "In the mood to lose, Harry?"

B'Elanna laughed, "Don't be so cocky, Tom. Harry's been practicing."

"Practicing? I should hope so, he needs it. But I'm sure I shall still have no trouble wiping the table with him."

* * * *

Tom walked into his quarters the next day. Relishing in the normalcy of it. Things were finally getting back on track.

"Computer, begin personal log. Well, things are more or less back to normal. People are able to act themselves around me again. All my friends have reconnected with me and I've even made a couple new ones. Alas the thing foremost on my mind would have to be Seska. She knows a lot about Federation technology and she will undoubtably share this with the Kazon, helping them expand their own technology. She needs to be stopped. How is the question . . . She underestimates me. I've given her every reason to, playing the cocky pilot who only knows how to fly routine. But I am no longer that person. I need to think of a trap, need to find the bait that Seska won't be able to resist. Something too good to pass up.

And I know just the thing. But I can't act just yet. We have to let Seska dangle for awhile, waiting for the attack that won't come."

Tom smiled dangerously as his mind fine tuned the plan forming in his mind, "Computer, end log."



End Part One

Only one more part. The conclusion has already been written but it's got to be edited and typed up so it will be awhile. Well if I'm going to be honest with you it will probably be a couple of weeks. I want to finish my Stargate story, 'Tempest of Angels' I've been putting it off but I really need to get it done.

I might be encouraged to go a little faster if I received lots of reviews, however. Not necessarily all good reviews, I like criticism as long as it's constructive.