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.

Also, I apologize ahead of time for any typos. I typed this all up at once. And by the end my fingers were starting to cramp and I just wanted it done with.

Part Two: Internal Sabotage

Tom Paris stormed into his quarters. Chakotay had no faith in him at all. With a frustrated sign he recalled his confrontation with Chakotay . . .

~~~~~~

"Commander," Tom said when he entered the office. He hated this office. It reminded him of his high school principals office. Another place he knew well.

"What did you want to see me about, Lieutenant? I don't think you've ever asked me for a meeting before."

"I've come up with a plan to capture Seska. It's procedure to present it to the first officer."

Chakotay immediately straightened up, "Let's hear it."

"You let me go out in a shuttle alone, I'll contact her. Once I'm aboard her ship I'll sabotage it and you and the Captain can bring Voyager and take Seska into custody."

When Tom finished Chakotay was shaking his head. Tom's fists were clenched.

"It's too dangerous."

"Not for me."

"You're not invincible, Paris. You can't just to whatever you want."

Tom stood up, "I always have, it hasn't failed me yet."

"Your luck won't last forever."

"I don't believe in luck, Commander. But then I don't have to, I have skill."

Chakotay made a sound of frustration and stood as well, "God dammit, Paris. I don't want to fight with you. I won't approve this mission. I'll show it to the Captain but I doubt she will either. We won't allow you to do this by yourself. We wouldn't allow any crewman to do alone what you're proposing."

"Just show it to the Captain," he demanded before leaving . . .

~~~~

Tom cursed and slammed his fist into his hall mirror. Blood and glass slide to the floor but Tom never flinched. Without a sound he allowed himself to fall unceremoniously to the floor.

He knew Chakotay wasn't worried about him. Chakotay could care less about him. Chakotay had been involved with Seska. She'd made a fool out of him and he wanted to be the one to bring her in.

But it wasn't Chakotay's responsibility, it was his. He was the highly trained spy who had let her slip from his grasp, not Chakotay.

He paid no attention to his blood covered hand littered with glass shards as he went over his plans once more.

* * * *

Chakotay took Tom's feasibility report and headed to the Captain's ready room. Surely she wouldn't approve such a crazy idea. Of course it was procedure to show her.

"Come in," Janeway called through her door.

He walked into her office and sat across from her, handing her the padd. "It's Paris's answer to the Seska problem."

Janeway quickly read it and looked up with a smile, "It's brilliant. Seska will never expect a trap if Tom's alone."

Chakotay's face went blank, "You're not thinking of letting him do this!" he cried incredulously.

"What else can we do? Seska is a threat to us and don't forget Tom is a Shadow agent. He can handle this. It's what he was trained to do."

"He thinks he can do anything!"

"How do you know he can't? Tom is not reckless, Chakotay. He can do this. I'm approving the mission, that's final."

* * * *

B'Elanna rang the chime on Tom's door.

Tom leaned his back against the wall and ignored it. B'Elanna rang the chime again and began to tap her foot. She knew he was in there. Why wasn't he answering?

Losing her patience she entered his code and walked in. The first thing she saw was the broken mirror, then she saw Tom, sitting under it.

"Jesus, Tom! What happened?"

"I don't remember inviting you in," he said irritably.

When B'Elanna caught sight of his hand her anger evaporated. She led him to the couch and sat him down.

"Where's your medkit?"

He didn't answer so she began to search, finding it on a shelf in the bathroom. She knew she should take him to sickbay but she also knew that was the last thing he'd want. So she carefully removed the glass from his hand and used the dermal regenerator to heal the cuts.

"What happened Tom?"

He smiled slightly, "My fist fell into the mirror."

"Really? Just how did that happen?"

"Bad day."

"Ah, I've had many of those. Now sit up. You lost quite a bit of blood."

Tom nodded and sat up running his now healed hand through his hair. "I guess I'm picking up on your brand of anger management."

"I guess so. Tom, what's wro--"

B'Elanna was cut off as Janeway's voice rang over the com. "Janeway to Paris."

"Paris here," he answered.

"Your mission has been approved."

Tom sat up straighter and smiled. He'd given up hope that they'd allow him to go.

"When will you be ready to put it into action?" Janeway asked.

Tom smiled, "As soon as possible."

Tom could hear Janeway's smile on the other end of the link. "Tomorrow then, Janeway out."

B'Elanna eyed Tom dubiously, "What mission?"

"Ah, the mission I'm going on tomorrow, of course," he said evasively. Tom stood up from the couch and started towards his door.

B'Elanna turned on him and pinned him light against the wall, knowing that he could escape the grip if he wanted to.

"Now, why don't you tell me about this mission. The one you're going on tomorrow."

"Well, I'll be going alone . . ."

"Alone?" she said warily. "What's your mission?"

B'Elanna could see he didn't want to answer her. That wasn't good. That meant it was really dangerous. "Tom?"

"I'm going to get myself put on Seska's ship and sabotage it."

B'Elanna's eyes widened in disbelief, "What? You, you can't, Tom!"

"B'Elanna, it'll be a walk in the park."

"Tom, you don't know that. It's too dangerous. I can't believe Janeway is going to let you do this!"

"B'Elanna, you know as well as anyone that the longer Seska's with the Kazon the more damage that could be done. We need to stop her."

"Yes, we do. But what makes you think you can do it alone?"

"I have to try."

"Why? What makes all of this your responsibility?"

"It's my fault she got away! I had her, she came right to me and I let her get away."

"That wasn't your fault!"

Tom pulled out of B'Elanna's grip, "It was and it is my responsibility to make up for it. And I will. Tomorrow."

* * * *

Tom sighed and leaned back in the pilots seat of the Santiago. He was all set. The preflights had been run. He was just about to ask if he was cleared for flight when he felt someone behind him.

"Chakotay," he said without turning. "You're making a bad habit of sneaking up on me."

"I wanted to see if you were sure you wanted to do this."

"I am. Anything else?"

"Just be careful, Paris? There are a lot of people who care about you."

"I know that. Was that all?"

Chakotay looked like he wanted to say more but simply nodded and left.

"Paris to the bridge."

"Janeway here, Lieutenant Paris."

"Am I cleared for launch?"

"Yes, Tom. And good luck."

Luck. Right. "Paris out."

* * * *

So far the plan was going just as he had said it would. He'd taken the shuttle a safe distance from Voyager to Seska's last known coordinates. Now, however, it was time to add a few last minute touches.

He grabbed a tricorder and sat on the floor against the back of the conn, making sure to be out of view of the viewscreen. He toyed with the tricorder and a hologram of Chakotay appeared in the pilots seat.

What better way to bait Seska than her old flame?

He smiled and attempted to contact Seska. It wasn't long before he ship strayed in range and she appeared. Using Chakotay's hologram as a puppet the games began.

"Chakotay," Seska purred. "Whatever are you doing out here all alone?"

"Looking for you," the hologram responded. "I've had a little run in with the Captain. I couldn't stay on that ship any longer and I've missed you."

"You've missed me?"

The hologram smiled, "Well, you left without even saying goodbye."

"Once you learned the truth I didn't think you'd care much."

"You overestimated my loyalty to the Captain, Seska. I don't care what species you are, I still care about you. Why don't you tractor me in? So we can talk."

"How do I know this isn't some kind of trap?"

"I'm here alone, what would I be able to do?"

Seska eyed him skeptically, "Standby."

She cut the transmission and Tom could feel the shuttle get caught in a tractor beam. It was time to get ready.

* * * *

Seska was giddy. As close as a Cardassian could get to it in any case.

Could Chakotay really be willing to join her? She had never talked to him, she had never dreamed he would.

Flanked by two Kazon Seska entered the small shuttle. Chakotay, who was sitting in the pilots seat turned in his chair and stood. "Hello Seska."

"Hello, Chakotay."

"You look well."

"Life's been good to be," Seska said with a smile. "Very good. Shall we go to my office so we can talk in private?"

Chakotay nodded and preceded Seska from the shuttle. But as he exited he disappeared.

"What?" Seska cried. "A hologram!!"

"But Seska," one of the Kazon said. "We detected human lifesigns."

Seska nodded, "Yes, he's here. Find him."

As her men ran off to do her bidding, Seska's eyes strayed back to the shuttle. With a malevolent smile she entered and examined the Starfleet technology.

* * * *

Tom watched Seska yell at her men from and distance, then he turned away and focused on the task at hand. He had to make it the computer core without being detected.

A lot of his training had been based around reconnasance work so getting to the computer core wasn't extremely hard. Dodging the guards was like a game, hiding in alcoves and vents until they passed.

What worried him was that if Seska was as smart as he thought she was there would already be guards protecting the core.

It was the only fail safe way to disable the ship without destroying it. He was ready for her though, whatever she may have in store.

He entered the core room by the Kazon equivalent of a Jeffries tube, first checking for guards by looking through the grate. It concerned him more that there were none than it would have if there had been. Seska wouldn't make it this easy. It was a trap and he wasn't about to walk into it without a backup plan.

Taking an explosive from his pack he set a charge, putting the timer on 5 minutes and placing it on the wall of the Jeffries tube. If he wasn't able to disable the core in a more discreet manner the explosive would surely compensate.

With nothing to lose he pulled out his phaser and removed the grate. He stepped out into the room, his eyes scanning everything.

"Hello, Chakotay."

Tom twirled around, his phaser aiming his phaser at Seska as he caught sight of her.

"I want to thank you for providing me with this entertainment, Chakotay. The hologram was genius and I've already found a use for the holo emitters."

He could see that. It wasn't Seska talking to him but a programmed hologram. What was the point of the hologram?

"I hope we'll get a chance to reminisce when you wake."

Wake? Tom looked up as he heard a hissing sound. Purple smoke swirled out from the vents, filling the room.

Tom covered his mouth and nose with his jacket, knowing he was only delaying the inevitable. He quickly pulled another device from his pack, and as he collapsed near the entrance of the Jeffries tube he used it to send a message to Voyager.

One way or another this mission was over. His eyes closed as he looked at the countdown on the explosive. It was at two minutes.

His last conscious thought was a prayer that the Kazon would not make it here in time to stop it form going off.

* * * *

"Go in there and get him!" Seska roared to two of her lakkies. "I only want the gas to knock him out, not kill him! He can't be exposed too long."

The two ran into the smoke filled room, moments later they dragged out an unconscious Tom Paris.

"Tom," Seska gasped upon seeing him. Seska clenched her fists in anger. Of course, Chakotay had not come to face her alone. She should have known only Tom Paris was foolhardy enough to try something like this. "Take our 'guest' to his new quarters, boys. And inform me when he wakes. I'd like to have a few words with him."

The guards nodded obediently and began to drag Tom off. Seska followed but came to a stop as she felt a shudder beneath her feet. Turning she saw the doors to the computer core fly off their hinges and hit the bulkhead. Fire exploded from the room, ignited by the gas it began erupt towards her, like snow in an avalanche.

Quickly she turned back around and began to run. She pushed one guard to the ground and grabbed Tom's arm, pulling him with her as she left her guards behind.

She reached the end of the corridor and jumped through the door. She dropped Tom to the floor and erected a forcefield in front of the door. Fire pulled the doors from the wall, knocking them into the forcefield, Seska sighed with relief when it held.

She sat down by the unconscious Tom and tried to breath regularly again. She was glad she had kept Paris alive. With her ship disabled and no other Nistrim ships nearby he was her only leverage.

* * * *

"Captain," Harry called. "Tom has sent the locater beacon."

"Can you pinpoint the coordinates of origin?" Janeway asked.

Harry nodded, "I've got them."

"Transmit them to the helm, Hamilton, lay in a course."

"Aye, Captain."

Janeway sat in her command chair and noticed Chakotay glaring at her. "What?"

"It's too soon, something's happened."

"You don't know that."

"You never should have allowed him to go on this mission, Kathryn."

Staring stonily at the forward viewscreen, she didn't respond.

* * * *

Seska stood, arms crossed, eyes glowing fiercely. She stepped in front of the unconscious Paris. He was tied to a chair and finally beginning to show signs of waking up.

In an attempt to keep Paris from becoming hostile she hid her own rage and leaned lazily back against the wall. She smiled as he opened his eyes, "Tom Paris," she said in a sort of 'long time no see' tone of voice.

"Seska," he responded flatly.

"You know you've really caused me quite a bit of trouble."

"Sorry for the inconvenience," he said sarcastically.

"Yes, well, you should be happy you didn't cause too much damage or I might have just killed you right off. Lucky for you we were able to deactivate your bomb before it went off."

Tom tilted his head, his eyes narrowed as he studied her, "Then how did the edges of your vest get singed?"

Seska resisted the infantile urge to stomp her feet. So much for running a bluff. She should have known to change her clothes before questioning him. Now he would now how valuable he was to her. Without a working ship she needed him as her hostage.

"At what point did you decide you were smarter than me?" she asked him coolly.

"The moment you began to underestimate me," he responded smoothly."

"You -are- my prisoner!"

"Yes, but I'm your prisoner on a useless ship and Voyagers on its way. This ship has never been a match for Voyager, now, you might as well surrender and be done with it."

She smiled evilly, praying he was bluffing but suspecting he was telling the truth. "Janeway would never destroy this ship with one of her crew on board. Especially when it's you."

"The Captain and I both knew when I went on this mission that I most likely wouldn't be coming back. I'm nothing but a glorified chauffeur, Seska. They won't jeopardize this quadrant over me."

"I don't believe you. We both know you're much more than a chauffeur, Tom. As long as you're alive and my hostage Janeway can't touch me."

"Seska, Seska, Seska, use your head! Do you really think if I was so valuable she'd have sent me on a suicide mission? I mean nothing to them. Janeway will take you out whether I'm dead or alive."

Seska stared at him. By all appearances he seemed to be telling the truth. It even made sense but she knew better. She didn't believe him and he could tell. It was a battle of wits, each trying to gain the upper hand but always ending up where they started.

Tom was clever and he'd been right. She had underestimated him and it had made him better. She wouldn't make that mistake again. She knew now any one mistake could be fatal because that would be all Tom needed to turn the tables on her. One mistake and she could be the one tied to a chair.

* * * *

Tom silently cursed himself. How had he let Seska win again? Sure he'd completed his mission and disabled Seska's ship but being taken prisoner to be used as leverage had not been part of the plan.

He groaned and felt his restraints. Ropes. He could easily untie them but the two big Kazon guards standing across from him did complicate the matter of escape.

Carefully, he freed his hands from the rope, letting them fall loosely around his wrists - at least some of his training was coming in handy.

The guards were talking and paying little attention to him so he allowed the rope to slip from his left wrist, he grabbed it quickly with his right hand. He needed to get one of the guards to come up closer to him.

He decided his best bet was to play troublemaker. That was second nature to him, anyway.

Once again being careful the guards didn't see his hands were free, he began to rock back and forth, making it appear he was trying to break the chair.

One of the guards ran over yelling. Swiftly, so that if you'd of blinked you'd have missed it, he jumped from the chair, pulling the rope that had bound his hands around the Kazon's neck and holding the large alien in front of him.

The other guard in a panic began shooting, he hit Tom's Kazon shield in the chest. Tom grabbed the phaser from the limp hand of the Kazon he was holding and aimed across at the other guard and fired.

Tom pulled the phaser from the Kazon's grip and allowed the guard to fall to the floor. Deciding it was too risky to exit the door he ran to a Jeffries tube. He crawled through the small opening and began to make his way through the ship.

He just needed to stay out of sight until Seska was taken into custody. Easier said than done, he knew. She'd taken all of his technology and now he had only his only two hands and the stolen phaser. On the bright side, the ship was entirely disabled and only systems attached to backup generators such as lights and life support were functioning. That meant no internal sensors and no access to filling rooms with deadly gases.

Not to mention he'd probably not have to face Seska while he was hidden in the access hatches. He had a feeling she wouldn't lower herself to crawling through the bowels of this excuse for a ship and that left only her less than intelligent Kazon goons to worry about.

Tom smiled and cocked the Kazon rifle. Things were looking up already.

* * * *

Seska angrily stormed onto the bridge of the Kazon ship.

"Maj Cullah,"

The Maj turned to greet her, "Seska, what has happened?"

"Voyager has set a trap and now they are on their way."

"We are defenseless."

"Yes, but I have a plan. I'm going to take our hostage and board the federation shuttle. I'll take him into the Nevar nebula."

"What will that accomplish?" the Maj asked skeptically.

"You must trust me, Maj. I can fix this."

The Maj reluctantly nodded his assent, "Very well, woman. But do not let my faith in you be misplaced."

* * * *

Tom tapped his fingers on the phaser in his hand. He was not exactly a patient person, being a spy he was used to constant excitement and sitting in a Jeffries tube was driving him nuts.

He briefly considered trying to retrieve his shuttle but he knew better than to attempt it. Seska would have guards there and he couldn't let her gain a hostage again. Readjusting his grip on the phaser he stayed put.

* * * *

Seska exited the room in which her two best officers lay dead.

If Tom hadn't killed them during his escape she certainly had when she'd shot them repeatedly in a fit of anger. FOOLS!!!

Letting him gain free range on the ship once more. Voyager could be here at anytime and she didn't plan on being here when they arrived. But she wasn't about to leave behind her most valuable commodity, either. She needed to come up with something.

* * * *

The Voyager bridge crew were all tense as they raced to retrieve their friend and crewman. However in accordance with their usual luck, it wouldn't be that easy. The lighted consoles began to flicker and Janeway jumped from her seat.

"Janeway to Engineering, what the hell is going on down there?"

"We barely evaded a core breach!" cam Torres' panicked voice. "We've lost warp engines. It will take hours to get them back on-line. A plasma injector burst and we have to replace it."

"Hurry, B'Elanna. Janeway out."

"Captain," Chakotay said as he came to stand beside her. "Paris can't stay there for hours."

"Tom can take care of himself, I need you in engineering."

"Aye, Captain," Chakotay responded icily as he headed for the lift.

"Damn you, Kathryn," he muttered. "Deck 11, Engineering."

This was his fault. He'd trusted Seska, fallen for her. It should have been him to go on this mission. He knew he'd never forgive himself if something happened to Paris because of this. No matter how much a pain in the neck he was.

Chakotay knew he had to do something. "Wait.! Belay that. Deck 8, Shuttlebay."

* * * *

Seska was at the point where she was getting desperate enough to consider the unthinkable. Joining the search for Tom herself in those blasted tunnels.

But she didn't have to. All the answers to her problems were delivered directly into her waiting hands. It came in the form of another Federation shuttle. This time it was the Cochran and it really was carrying Chakotay.

"Chakotay. What has brought you here?"

Chakotay exited the shuttle, "I'm here to strike up a deal."

"A deal?" she purred.

"Yes, this is between us, let Tom go and I'll stay here."

"How honorable. But what makes you think I'd rather have an old washed out Maquis Captain instead of a young handsome intergalactic spy?"

"I thought you would choose me, of course. We had something, Seska."

"You're wrong," she said coldly. "Restrain him."

Two guards grabbed each one of his arms and pulled them behind his back.

"Don't look so sad," she purred. "You'll be used as a hostage as well. Would you like to be present for negotiations?"

"Janeway will never negotiate with you."

Seska came closer so they were nose to nose and smiled evilly. "Who said anything about Janeway?"

* * * *

Janeway wanted to kill someone. Preferably Chakotay.

Of all the nerve. Stealing a shuttle, trying to take things into his own hands. And it would be at least two hours before she could get to him. Or to Tom.

* * * *

"Oh, Tom?"

Tom didn't jump at the voice but he was startled. He looked around only to see the tunnel was empty. The comm. was down and he had locked down the Santiago.

"How about you and I make a deal?"

"I'd like to keep my soul, thank you," Tom muttered to himself.

"You turn yourself into me and I'll allow Chakotay to live."

"Don't do it, Tom!" he heard Chakotay cry.

Chakotay? Stupid bastard. It wasn't a hologram, the ship didn't have the power to work it. That meant Chakotay was really here. Seska must have tapped into the comm. system of Chakotay's shuttle. Damn him. He'd had everything under control and then comes along Chakotay to save the day.

"You have one minute before I shoot him."

Oh he had no doubts that she would. He also had no illusions that she'd let Chakotay go free if he gave himself up.

The question was could he sit here hiding while Chakotay faced Seska's wrath alone? He sighed. Of course he couldn't, he'd go join them. Let Seska tie him up again. At least he wouldn't die alone, even if his company would be Chakotay and Seska.

He laid down his phaser and started towards the exit. As he came out of the tunnel he was instantly surrounded and roughly dragged to the shuttlebay.

As he entered Seska smiled and raised her phaser. She shot him without pausing.

"No!" Chakotay cried as he tried to break free of the hold the guards had on him.

Tom felt as if he was being attacked by a thousand tiny knifes but didn't show it. He'd felt worse.

"You invite me over and then shoot me?" he said with a sickly smile. "That's not very hospitable."

"Get him in the shuttle," Seska growled. "The other too, and tie them up. Tightly this time."

* * * *

"Why did you shoot your hostage, Seska?" Chakotay asked sat he sat bound on the floor next to a now unconscious Paris.

She was sitting at the helm of the Cochran flying the shuttle out of the shuttlebay. "He's caused me a lot of trouble. I figured if I injured him severely but didn't let him die he'd be less of a nuisance."

"He'll also be a less valuable hostage. Janeway won't be happy you've injured him."

"I don't plan on talking to her, not yet anyway."

"What are you talking about?"

Tom lay motionless but he was lucid, listening to every word.

"I've made a deal with the Kazon Ogla. I plan to use you both as hostages once I'm on a ship that is functional."

"Don't you have any loyalties?" Chakotay asked disgusted.

"Not in this Quadrant. Not anymore. Janeway can have Maj Cullah and his petty band of thieves but I've got both of you. And with Tom in that condition I don't foresee an escape by either of you. Once I'm back on my feet I can use you to take over Voyager."

"As I said before, Janeway won't negotiate with you."

"We'll just see."

* * * *

"What's the status of the Kazon ship?" Janeway asked as they reached their destination. B'Elanna and her efficient crew had been able to get the warp engines up in only an hour and half, they had left immediately to try and catch up with there lost crewmen.

When they'd made it here, they'd found the ship dead in space.

"Completely disabled," Harry reported. "Tom did it."

But at what cost? Janeway asked herself.

"Locate Seska and our crewmen with sensors."

Harry gulped, "None are on board."

"What?"

"The Santiago is in the shuttlebay but the Cochran is gone."

"Transport the Santiago aboard and begin a search for the Cochran."

"What about the Kazon ship?" Tuvok asked.

"We'll let them handle their predicament themselves. We have enough to worry about."

* * * *

"You need to stop her before we rendezvous with the Ogla," Tom whispered groggily.

"In case you've forgotten, we've both been tied up."

Tom allowed himself a small smile as he pulled his right had out form under him. "An obstacle easily overcome. Now, turn around so I can untie you too."

Carefully watching Seska Chakotay turned slightly and Tom quickly got his hands free.

"Seska has erected a forcefield blocking us from her," Chakotay told Tom.

"It doesn't matter. I need you to get the med kit."

"I don't know how to treat your injuries . . ."

Tom rolled his eyes, "It's not for me, you can rewire the medical tricorder to send a plasma surge through her console."

"Of course," Chakotay said sarcastically. "And I'm supposed to do this without Seska seeing me?"

"Well, I don't think you'll be able to do it if she sees you as she'll probably kill you, so yes," he replied flippantly.

"You could be a little nicer, I did come here to rescue you."

Tom stifled a laugh, "Don't get me started on this so-called rescue mission of yours Chakotay," he said as he grabbed his side.

Chakotay grabbed the med kit and carefully pulled out the tricorder. "Everything was fine until you showed up," Tom continued. "Why are you here, anyway? Where's Voyager?"

"A plasma injector burst, at the moment, they're dead in space."

"B'Elanna'll fix it," Tom said groggily. "You should never have come. I was doing fine on my own."

"I didn't know that, for all I knew Seska had a phaser to your head."

Tom sighed, "And you cam here to take my place? Not the brightest of ideas, but thanks, I didn't know you cared."

"How do I rewire this tricorder?" Chakotay asked.

"What are you doing?" Seska roared.

With everything hidden behind Chakotay and Tom feigning unconsciousness nothing looked amiss.

"Just talking to myself," Chakotay said. "Wondering why I came here."

Seska smiled, "You came here because you missed me. Don't worry my love, we'll have plenty of time to catch up. Right now I'm flying a ship so SHUT UP!!"

Chakotay let out a sigh of relief when she averted her attention to the conn.

"Here," Tom gasped, "Give me the tricorder," as he reached out for it he gave a sharp intake of breath and grabbed his side.

"No, I'll have to do it," Chakotay said in an authoritive voice.

Tom told Chakotay step by step how to rewire the medical tricorder to have the basic functions of a regular tricorder, growing closer and closer to unconsciousness as he talked.

"Stay with me, Tom, I need you to tell me how to rig Seska's console."

Tom nodded groggily, "First you need to freeze the readings on her console so she won't see the plasma surge and before you send the surge make sure at least one of her hands is touching the console."

"Right," Chakotay nodded as Tom fell unconscious. "I guess I'm on my own now."

* * * *

Seska looked at her readings in frustration. Her console had frozen. Growling with impatience she began tapping at the console, hoping for a response.

As she placed her hand down on the keys she felt it shudder beneath her fingers. It was too late to react. Fire traveled up her fingers and all through her body sending her crashing to the floor.

Chakotay stood up and spent ten minutes using the tricorder to get the forecfield down. He went to Seska's side and knelt beside her. She wasn't breathing.

"Is she dead?" asked a weak voice.

Chakotay turned to Tom and nodded.

"We have to find Voyager," Chakotay said. "They should have her up and running again by now." He made his way back to the helm and saw that he had blown out the pilots console.

"How will I fly this thing?" he muttered.

"Switch to auxiliary power and use the co-pilots console," Tom said as he fought to remain awake.

"Right," Chakotay said as he sat in the co-pilots seat. "We're in a nebula, once I get us out of here we should be able to pick Voyager up on sensors."

"You do that," Tom mumbled as he leaned against the bulkhead. "I think I'll just rest my eyes."

Chakotay spared Tom a glance and prayed the young man would be alright until he was able to get him back to Voyager.

* * * *

"Captain!" Harry cried excitedly. "I've located the Cochran! It's just exited a nearby nebula."

"Hail them."

Janeway finally allowed herself to breath again when Chakotay appeared on the viewscreen. "Commander. Status."

"Seska is dead and Tom is injured, he needs immediate medical attention."

Janeway nodded, "Understood. I'll have him beamed aboard as soon as you're in range. You may land the Cochran in the shuttlebay and them join me in sickbay."

"Aye, Captain," he said before ending the transmission.

* * * *

Chakotay raced into sickbay and noticed the Doctor and Kes working on Tom.

"How is he?" he asked as he came to stand behind Janeway.

"The Doctor said he'll be fine in a few days."

Chakotay smiled in relief.

"I'm going to let this go," she said quietly.

"Let what go?"

She smiled ruefully, "You taking off in a shuttlecraft on an unauthorized mission. I'm going to forget about it because you had been right. Despite the outcome I never should have allowed this mission and I may only have you to thank for getting him back."

* * * *

B'Elanna looked around engineering. She'd replaced the plasma injector but her shift wouldn't end for another fifteen minutes. She was dying to see Tom. Rumors had already spread that he was in sickbay on the verge of death, another source had claimed he was already arguing with the Doctor. She really, really needed to see him.

"Torres to Janeway."

"Janeway here."

"Permission to go to sickbay,"

"Granted, B'Elanna."

* * * *

Tom opened his eyes to see B'Elanna hovering over him.

"Hey."

"Hey yourself."

"I guess I lived."

"Barely."

"I never had any doubts."

A smile broke out on B'Elanna's pretty features, "Me either . . . well, maybe a few but you did it, Tom. You came through. You always do."

At the sound of someone clearing their throat, the two looked up. The Doctor was frowning at them. "You need to be resting, Mr. Paris. Lieutenant Torres, you'll have to leave."

B'Elanna reached out and grabbed Tom's hand. She gave it a brief squeeze and then smiled at him, "Rest, Tom. I'll come see you again in the morning."

With that B'Elanna left sickbay, almost running into Chakotay as he entered.

"Doctor, if I could have a few minutes . . ."

"Very well, you all do what you want anyway," he mumbled as he headed back to his office.

Chakotay cautiously approached Tom's bed. "I'm sorry again, Paris. I seem to be saying that a lot to you lately. I guess I've been making a lot of mistakes."

Tom turned to look at the Commander, "No, you didn't do anything wrong. I'm not sure you ever have," he said with a rueful smile. "You were just being you, some things turned out bad, others . . . not so bad."

"I guess," Chakotay agreed.

When he didn't leave Tom asked, "Was there something else?"

"Oh I was just wondering. . ."

Tom furrowed his brow, "About what?"

"Well, in the Maquis you and Tuvok were working for Starfleet, and Seska for the Cardassians. Was anyone on that ship working for me?"

The End.

I hope you liked it. I don't. But I wrote it a long time ago and I use that as my excuse. I'd like to think my writing has improved some by now.