In Whatever House I Enter
This started as an answer to a PTF challenge regarding Tom's 30 days in Sickbay during the episode "Lifesigns". It ended up something entirely different. What did you expect? I never do anything the easy way. This takes place sometime in the near future, say early season seven.
As always, Voyager and her crew belong to Paramount. I just like to play with their lives.
Thanks to the PJs for the beta reading. And special thanks to Marianne for "sitting through the whole stinking episode, looking for 10 seconds of dialog."
In Whatever House I Enter
by: Tracy L. Sobieski
Captain Kathryn Janeway and Tom Paris walked side by side through the busy market. They would be leaving Aldan IV in a few hours, their trade mission completed.
Tom was eager to leave, political tensions were running high in the capital city. The pilot wore his side arm at all times, it was not something he usually felt the need to do, but he felt uneasy since they arrived. Something threatening hung in the air now for days. Tom Paris had been in enough hot spots over the years to recognize people on the edge of drastic acts. He was so focused on his surroundings that he didn't hear the Captain speaking.
"Mr. Paris, did you hear me?" Captain Janeway tried to get the pilot's attention. His tenseness was making her nervous, not that she'd ever let him know it.
"What.....oh, I'm sorry, Captain. My mind was someplace else." He replied, still a bit distracted.
"I asked if you wanted to leave a little ahead of schedule. We've concluded our business and could depart now if you have nothing else you wanted to do while we were here."
"Yes, I think leaving early would be a good idea. Let's get back to the shuttle." Tom instantly headed toward the space port.
Then it happened. The explosion was deafening. Tom dove at the Captain, rolling her onto the ground and covering her with his body as debris rained around them. Another explosion tore through the air. People were screaming and running. More debris fell. Then silence.
Slowly Tom rose from their semi-protected spot. Keeping his hand on the Captain to prevent her from rising just yet, he quickly surveyed the area. Others were beginning to get up as well. Rising to his feet he held his hand out to help the Captain up.
The devastation was incredible. Bodies littered the street. Two entire buildings were gone. Tom headed toward the nearest casualty. It took only a moment to confirm that he was dead. Most of them were, as Tom and the Captain soon discovered. He tore off the sleeve of his uniform jacket to bind a leg wound on a child. They did what they could until the local medical personnel arrived. Without a medkit it was not much.
Kathryn Janeway watched her officer work. When the medics arrived -he- took over. Triaging patients. Treating wounds. Deciding who went first, who couldn't be saved. And they all obeyed his commands. They had no idea who he was, just that he was the one to listen to.
Then the military police came and told them they had to evacuate. There were more bombs. Tom refused to go, he was needed.
"Mr. Paris, I'm giving you an order. We are leaving, now!"
"I'm sorry, Captain. I can't." He spoke with determined regret and a sad smile. Then he continued to treat the wounded.
Captain Janeway hadn't spoken to Tom since he disobeyed her order. The minute they were on the bridge she turned to him and motioned to her ready room. "You and I need to have a little talk, Mr. Paris."
"I should throw you in the brig again, Lieutenant!"
In a calm quiet voice the pilot asked, "Do you want the pip back as well, Captain?"
"What I want is to know why you disobeyed a direct order. After all you've been through. Why?" She just couldn't understand it.
"Because I had a higher oath to keep." Was all he said.
"I deserve a better explanation than that, Mr. Paris."
"Sorry, it's the only one you're going to get."
He was anything but sorry and she could read it in his face.
"I don't appreciate the attitude, Lieutenant."
"And I don't appreciate the disparity in treatment around here." Finally, he'd said it.
"I don't have to justify my orders to you or anyone else on this ship." Janeway straightened her shoulders like he'd seen her do so many times on the bridge when she needed to steel herself against an attack.
"No, you don't, but I deserve an explanation."
"Tom, I'm not going to get into this with you....."
"You owe me that much!" Tom couldn't hold the anger in any longer, this time he was going to have his say. "Why do I get the brig and a demotion? B'Elanna, Seven, Tuvok, Harry, even Chakotay have -all- disobeyed direct orders from you. Some of them have even violated the Prime Directive! Nothing! No demotion, no brig, no punishment other than a reprimand. Why am I different?"
The Captain watched the younger man as he yelled at her. He was right, she couldn't deny it. She didn't want to.
"Because they'll never command a starship," she said quietly. "You will."
"What?" Tom was taken aback at the soft spoken revelation.
"Someday, Tom. Someday, you will command a ship of your own. I know it, I can see it. I don't want you making the same mistakes I have. Do you have any idea what I face when we return to the Alpha Quadrant?"
Janeway got up from her desk, grabbed a PADD from her book shelf and tossed it at him.
"Go ahead, read it. It's a list of charges against myself for violating Federation law. I've kept track of every single one of them. From murder to the denial of basic human rights. Turn it on, read it."
Tom turned the PADD over. His eyes widened as he read the list. It was all there, the Caretaker, the Kazon, the Borg, Crell Moset, Tuvix, and so much more. All of it, every questionable decision, every blatant violation of law, every minor infraction. He was stunned. Even her excessive punishment of himself for the Monean incident was listed.
"Captain, you can't seriously believe they will hold you responsible for all these. There were extenuating circumstances. We're out here alone, it doesn't matter...."
"It matters to -me-. I'm the one who made those decisions. All of them. They are my responsibility and I will face them."
"You're dismissed, Lieutenant." Kathryn Janeway said wearily and sat back down at her desk. God......she was so tired of it all.
Paris looked at her for a moment then turned to leave, dazed at what just took place. When Tom reached the door he stopped. Without turning to look at her he cocked his head to the side and spoke softly:
"I swear this oath by Apollo physician: "By Aesculapius, by health and by all the gods and goddesses. In whatsoever place that I enter, I will enter to help the sick and heal the injured. And I will do no harm.""