"B'Elanna, look" Harry said, in exasperation "We've been over this almost every day for the last five weeks. There was nothing you could've done!"
B'Elanna paced agitatedly around the quarters that she shared with Harry, before finally slumping down on the couch in front of the viewport. "I should've transported them to sickbay" she said gloomily.
"And what difference would that've made? Supposing, of course, that you'd had time to do it. They were already dead, B'Elanna"
"If I'd transported Chakotay when he fell, instead of checking his condition, he might still be here!" she snapped angrily.
"And how d'you think Chakotay would've handled that?" Harry asked, sitting down on the couch and looking intently at B'Elanna. "Do you really think he'd have wanted to live without Tom? You know what he was like when Tom went missing, and they'd only been together for a few weeks then. Even if, by some miracle, the Doc had managed to save him, I don't think he would've lasted long. Not without Tom. And Tom would've been the same, if he'd lived and Chakotay hadn't. And there was no way that you could've transported them both, there just wasn't time"
B'Elanna sighed heavily, and leaned back in the chair. She closed her eyes as the truth of Harry's words hit her. "You're right" she admitted quietly "But I still wish I could've done something"
"We all wish we could have" Harry said softly, taking hold of her hand "But there was nothing we could do, it all happened too quickly" He sighed, then continued "It was so frustrating, y'know, not being able to score any hits with the phaser. If only those aliens hadn't had personal shields" He sighed again, and sat up straighter. "This isn't doing us any good, B'Elanna. It's over, there's nothing we can do to change it. Tom and Chakotay are gone and we've just got to get used to it"
"I know" B'Elanna answered bleakly "But it's hard. I keep thinking about that night in the mess hall, and how happy they were"
"At least we had that night" Harry said, smiling slightly. "We all got to be friends again"
"Yeah, at least our last memories of them were happy ones" B'Elanna agreed. "I just really hope they're still together though"
"They are, B'Elanna. Can you imagine the fuss they'd both cause if some deity or other tried to split them up? No self-respecting spirit would want that sort of trouble"
B'Elanna grinned. "You're right. They were both too stubborn to let a little thing like death come between them"
"Come on" Harry said, standing up and holding out his hand "Let's go and have lunch .We're back on duty soon"
"Okay" B'Elanna agreed reluctantly "Perhaps being in a crowd will take my mind off things"
"Yeah, but you don't have to forget about Tom and Chakotay completely, y'know. Remember the good times we all had, just don't dwell on what we can't change"
B'Elanna nodded as they left their quarters hand in hand.
"Mmm, I love being woken up like this"
"Good. I love waking you up like this" came the soft reply, as a warm tongue licked slowly up the pale neck within it's reach, and dark fingers threaded their way gently through silky blond hair.
Smiling blue eyes gazed lovingly up into brown ones, as the man below reached up to brush a stray strand of black hair back into place.
"I love you" he whispered.
"I love you too, Tom" Chakotay replied, as he leaned forward to capture the younger man's mouth.
They kissed slowly and deeply, as they reaffirmed the words they had just spoken to each other. Soft sounds of love filled the otherwise quiet bedroom, as the two men lingered on each other's lips. Tom's hands gently caressed the warm, smooth skin of Chakotay's back as the older man writhed persistently against him, their throbbing erections rubbing feverishly together. Chakotay moaned as Tom let his hands slip lower, grasping his cheeks firmly and pulling him almost impossibly closer. He bent once again to Tom's neck, sucking hungrily, and biting hard enough to cause a small break in the pale skin. He licked lightly at the trace of blood that stood out clearly there, then kissed the spot tenderly. Tom groaned, and closed his eyes, as he arched up beneath the big man.. Their urgency increased then, and they quickened their pace, both men starting to breathe heavily as their release beckoned. Their sweat-slicked bodies rubbed wildly together, as first Tom, then Chakotay cried out their ecstasy as they shuddered and came.
They lay still a long moment, their foreheads touching, as their breathing slowed and their heart rates began to return to normal. Tom lovingly brushed his cheek against Chakotay's, sliding round until their lips met again for a soft, gentle kiss.
"You're my life, Cha" Tom whispered as the kiss ended, and they moved to lay side by side.
"And you're mine" Chakotay answered quietly, as he wrapped his arms around the younger man. They snuggled contentedly together in the silence, drifting in and out of sleep. A quiet chuckle from Tom eventually broke the stillness.
"What?" Chakotay asked, smiling at the sleepy man in his embrace.
"You were supposed to be waking me up" Tom replied, yawning "But it never seems to work properly when you try it that way"
"Are you complaining?"
"No, never" Tom smiled.
Chakotay lightly ran his fingers repeatedly over the base of Tom's spine, until the skin became too sensitive and Tom squirmed.
"Ah, don't!" he groaned as he arched his back "You know I can't stand that"
Chakotay sniggered, and did it again.
"No, please!" Tom pleaded, as a shiver ran through his body "Stop!"
"What's the matter, Tom?" Chakotay asked innocently, as he propped himself up on one elbow, and peered down at his wriggling lover.
"It gives me a really weird feeling" Tom explained, moving to lay on his back. "It's like, if I had a tail I'd be wagging it"
Chakotay laughed, and stroked Tom's cheek.
"It's not funny" Tom insisted "It's a really odd sensation. Sort of nice, but unbearable at the same time"
"Anyone would think you were ticklish, Tom" Chakotay grinned, as he leaned towards him.
"Don't you dare!" Tom warned "Because two can play at that game"
"Okay, I won't. I promise" Chakotay said, as he gently ran his fingers over Tom's hip and down to the warmth of his thigh.
"I don't believe you" Tom said warily, and he edged out of the bed and stood up, his arms crossed in front of his chest.
Chakotay grinned up at him. "You seem to be awake now" he observed. "I shall have to remember this method for future use"
Tom snorted. "Yeah, well, now I'm out of bed you can get up too" he said, grabbing hold of Chakotay's hands and pulling at the laughing man.
"Okay, I can take a hint" Chakotay said, chuckling. "I need a shower anyway. So do you, by the way"
"Yeah, I know. Some crazy man got me all sticky this morning" Tom replied as they headed for the bathroom.
"You could have told him to stop" Chakotay suggested, as he turned on the water, and they stepped under it.
"No, I don't think I could've. I never can" Tom answered quietly, as he wound his arms around the older man's neck. The warm water rained pleasantly down on them as Tom pulled Chakotay close, and kissed him lovingly..
"We've got to limit the number of showers we take together" Chakotay stated as they dried off, half an hour later. "We're getting through far too much soap, it's taking all our rations"
"We could just leave extra lubricant in the bathroom" Tom grinned, as he threw his towel aside and followed Chakotay into their bedroom.
"Yes, but we get through too much of that too" Chakotay grinned back. "If we're not careful, we're going to be eating every one of our meals in the mess hall for the rest of the journey home"
"So we have to choose between decent food from the replicator, or sex" Tom summarised. "Mmm, now which would I rather have?"
Chakotay grabbed the younger man around the waist, and peered into sparkling blue eyes. "I dare you to say 'food'!" he growled playfully.
Tom laughed, and shook his head. "No way. We've just got out of the shower. If I said 'food' we'd end up in a wrestling match, and y'know what that always leads to! Then we'd need another shower, it's a vicious circle!"
"You're right" Chakotay agreed, smiling and kissing Tom lightly on the cheek. "Well then, let's agree on food this time, and use the rations we've just saved on a nice breakfast"
They dressed quickly in old, comfortable pants and shirts, and wandered into their living area.
"Computer, lights fifty percent" Chakotay called out, then frowned as nothing happened. He tried again, but still the computer failed to respond. "You try it, Tom" he suggested.
When Tom's commands also failed, they crossed the room to their computer terminal. It was dead.
"Chakotay to Janeway" Chakotay called out, as he retrieved his comm badge from his uniform and tried to activate it. There was no response to that either. Nor to Tom's attempt at hailing Harry.
"I wonder what's going on?" Tom mused "D'you think everything's off-line?"
"No, not everything. There's obviously still life support, and we have low lighting and water, but something's definitely not right. Let's go to the bridge, and find out what's happened"
Tom nodded, and they walked towards the door. It failed to activate, and refused to budge even when Chakotay tried the manual override.
"It looks like we're stuck here" he commented. He looked across at the replicator "See if that's working, Tom" he suggested.
"No, nothing" Tom reported, after he'd repeatedly tried both stating his requests, and then keying them in manually.
Chakotay sighed, and sank down on the couch, his hand absently rubbing his chin as he tried to think. Tom walked over and sat next to him.
"What do we do now, Cha?"
"There isn't much we can do" Chakotay replied, shaking his head slowly. "The Captain probably knows where we are, as she gave us the morning off. If we're needed, I'm sure she'll send someone along to get us out of here"
"Yeah" Tom agreed. "But if it's just system problems, it's gonna be up to B'Elanna and her team to sort everything out. We probably wouldn't be much use in that case"
"Probably not. At least we're in our own quarters, and not stuck in some little-used part of the ship"
"And we have food" Tom grinned, as he pointed to a stack of containers on the dining table.
"Where did all that come from?" Chakotay asked, puzzled.
"Neelix. He called by last night when you were asleep. It's the leftovers from the reception. He said there wasn't enough for everyone, but he knew we both enjoyed those dishes, so he dropped them off"
"That was nice of him" Chakotay said, then stopped as he took in the strange expression on Tom's face. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing really, just a feeling of deja vu" he replied, frowning. "I could've sworn I'd told you about the food before"
"No, you hadn't" Chakotay informed him. "Have you had any other moments like this recently?"
"No, not that I can remember" Tom replied, still frowning slightly as he leaned back in the chair.
"Well if it happens again, let me know" Chakotay advised. "It's probably nothing, but with all the unusual things that happen out here, it's best to keep track of anything odd"
"Yeah, I suppose so" Tom agreed. "Anyway" he continued, shaking his head to clear it "shall we have breakfast now?"
Chakotay nodded, and they walked across to the dining table, seating themselves in the chairs there. They opened the various containers, and discovered a variety of colourful, but nutritious, substances.
"Do you think we should ration this out?" Tom asked, as they took stock of what they had.
Chakotay looked thoughtfully at the food "We've got enough here for about two days, but yes, perhaps it might be an idea to ration ourselves. I doubt it will take that length of time to solve basic problems such as door mechanics, but to be on the safe side, I think we should stretch out what we have for at least an extra day"
"I was thinking the same thing" Tom concurred, and he began dividing the various foodstuffs into three. "Some of this won't keep very well, so we'd better have the perishable stuff today"
Chakotay smiled as he watched Tom concentrating on the task at hand. "So what delicacies do you suggest we have right now?" he asked grinning, as Tom placed the last container in its allotted place.
"Well Sir, I suggest we start with this wonderfully exotic purple mush" Tom replied haughtily. "Followed by the rather piquant orange and red plat du jour"
"And for dessert?" Chakotay asked, chuckling.
"I would recommend the Paris Special" Tom answered, smiling teasingly at the older man.
"Paris Special? Is it good?"
"Yes, Sir. Once tasted, never forgotten"
"Too true" Chakotay murmured, as he pulled Tom towards him. "Let's start with that instead"
"We're being hailed, Captain" Harry Kim announced from his station.
"On screen" Janeway ordered, sitting upright in her chair. The viewscreen sprang to life, and a bright, smiling face peered out at them.
"Greetings. My name is Grenyee. To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?" the relaxed looking alien asked.
"Greetings, Grenyee. I am Kathryn Janeway, Captain of the starship Voyager. May we be of assistance in any way?" Janeway enquired, smiling at the pleasant humanoid.
"It is most kind of you to offer, Captain, and yes, I am in need of help. I have been experiencing problems with my shuttle's engines. I have been away from my home quite a while, and I am trying to return there. Unfortunately, I had to make my journey alone. I am not an engineer, and these difficulties are beyond my capabilities. Perhaps you have someone who could help me"
Janeway glanced across at Harry, conveying what she wanted done in that brief non-verbal communication. Harry ran a scan of the alien shuttle, checking the truth of Grenyee's claims, and searching for anything that could possibly cause Voyager problems. He nodded at the Captain, and she returned her attention to the viewscreen.
"I'm sure we can arrange something" she said, smiling. "Are you familiar with transporter technology?"
"Yes, although my shuttle is not equipped with it"
"That's okay. I'll send over a couple of people to help you, shortly" Janeway replied.
"Thank you. You are most gracious" Grenyee answered. "I will await their arrival" The alien bowed his head, and the viewscreen went blank.
"What is it you're hoping to find?" Harry asked, as he and B'Elanna stood in the corridor.
B'Elanna had just returned after an hour on Grenyee's shuttle, and was now keying in the entry codes to the quarters formerly occupied by Tom and Chakotay.
"A special tool Tom used on the Delta Flyer. It's just what I need for this job" B'Elanna replied. The door to the cabin slid open, and they stepped through into the dimly lit and silent interior.
"Full illumination" Harry commanded. The computer complied, and they found themselves blinking at the sudden brightness in the room. They stood still a moment, contemplating the surroundings that had remained unchanged since their friends' deaths. No-one had wanted to occupy the cabin, preferring instead to leave it untouched as a mark of respect.
"So where do we start looking?" Harry asked, as he gazed uncomfortably around. The cabin still had a homely feel to it, as though it's residents had just stepped out and would return shortly. A chill ran through him, and he looked across at B'Elanna. She appeared to be experiencing similar thoughts and reactions.
"Tom had a box of things he only used on the Flyer. It's probably in one of the cupboards" B'Elanna answered quietly. She hesitated briefly, then stepped towards the first one. Her fingers rested on the door handle a moment until, mind made up, she gripped it firmly and opened the door.
Inside, on the bottom shelf, was a collection of curios from various cultures that Voyager had encountered. Above that, Tom's vids sat, all stacked in a neat pile. A few tattered family photographs were alongside them. B'Elanna's gaze travelled to the top shelf, and she found herself staring at Chakotay's medicine bundle, still carefully wrapped as he'd left it. She sighed sadly, and closed the door.
"I know I need this tool, but it doesn't feel right going through their personal things" B'Elanna remarked as she turned to look at Harry.
"I know what you mean" Harry agreed. "Is there nothing else you can use?"
"Not really. It'll take days without it" B'Elanna said, as she walked across to the other cupboard. "If it's not in here, though, I'm not sorting through anything else. I can't"
Harry nodded his agreement as he joined her. She opened the cupboard, but they found only more private treasures filling the shelves.
"That's it" she said, shutting the door. "I'll let the Captain know my feelings about this, and she can decide what to do"
"Come on then" Harry responded. "Let's leave the cabin as we found it, and go see her now"
They left quickly, nodding greetings to the other crew members they passed on their way to the bridge. They eventually found the Captain in her ready room, in conversation with the genial Grenyee.
After B'Elanna had explained their understandable reluctance to delve further into Tom and Chakotay's personal effects, it was agreed that Grenyee's shuttle would be brought aboard Voyager. His home world was only two days away, so Janeway decided it wouldn't be too much of an inconvenience to take him there.
"I must inform you that you will encounter a defence grid on your approach" Grenyee advised. "It will cause you no problems, though, I can assure you"
"It won't consider us a threat then?" Janeway queried.
"No. It was put in place because of the attacks we were subjected to from unseen enemies" Grenyee replied, his face reflecting his honesty.
"You mean cloaked ships?"
"Yes, exactly. My world experienced many unsettling incidents with these vessels until the barrier was deployed. But how do you know of these ships?" Grenyee enquired, as he looked at Janeway sitting in the chair opposite.
"We were attacked recently, and two of my officers were killed. It was a totally unprovoked and unforeseen assault" Janeway said bitterly, memories of the event bringing her emotions to the fore. "Do you know where these ships are from?"
"Yes, they are from Galtar. We tried on many occasions to bring their reign of tyranny to an end, but always they had the advantage. We could not detect their vessels, but they had no such problems with ours. It was only when our researchers discovered how to track them, that we could once again live without the threat of attack"
"I've not heard of Galtar" Janeway commented, frowning.
"Perhaps you have heard of Ilvarek? The Galtarians often ally themselves with the people of that world"
"Yes, we know of the Ilvarekians. We had problems with them also" the Captain confirmed.
"It would seem you were lucky to escape with as little loss of life as you did" Grenyee replied, running his hand through his short, white hair, and down the side of his pale pink face.
"Lucky isn't a word I'd use" Janeway said quietly "But I understand what you mean"
"Excuse me for intruding, Captain" Tuvok apologised as he entered the room "But I thought you would want to see this immediately"
"What is it, Tuvok?" Janeway asked, as her First Officer handed her a small black object.
"It would appear to be some sort of information gathering device. I was moving the last of Commander Chakotay's belongings from my office, when I discovered it. It was concealed on one of the shelves"
Janeway frowned as she turned the object around in her hand. "Where would it have come from?"
"I can only surmise that it was placed there by the Ilvarekians during one of their tours of the ship" Tuvok answered. "I believe it would be prudent to check everywhere they went, for further devices. Perhaps there is more to the subsequent attack than meets the eye"
"Do we have a record of the parts of the ship that they visited?"
"Yes. I noted all their requests as they made them" Tuvok informed her. "They mainly wished to see places that seemed fairly innocuous; the mess hall, holodecks and the like. They also toured the bridge, and Commander Chakotay showed them his office and cabin"
"Captain" B'Elanna interrupted "I know I said I didn't want to sort through Tom and Chakotay's things, but.."
"You'd rather do it than someone else." Janeway finished for her. "I understand. You and Harry check their cabin, and Tuvok" she continued, turning again to the dark Vulcan "you can organise a search of the other places"
"Yes, Captain" Tuvok nodded "I will see to it immediately.
"How many of the devices did you find?" Janeway asked B'Elanna as they sat together in the mess hall several hours later.
"There were four in Chakotay's quarters. Two in the living area, and one each in the bathroom and bedroom." B'Elanna replied, before taking a sip of her coffee.
"Why so many, I wonder? And for what purpose?" Janeway pondered, taking a drink of her own coffee.
"I don't know, but it makes me think Tom and Chakotay weren't just random targets for those other aliens"
"I agree, it's too much of a coincidence. But why them? And what sort of information were the Ilvarekians trying to obtain?"
B'Elanna shrugged, and shook her head. "Beats me" she remarked. "Although, with the devices we found on the bridge, I'd say they were probably tracking Chakotay and Tom. I think they knew exactly when to strike at them"
Janeway nodded. "It's starting to look that way" she agreed. "I just wish I knew why they were singled out"
"Grenyee said that his world had suffered attacks, perhaps someone there might be able to shed some light on this" B'Elanna suggested.
"That's possible. It would make me feel a lot better if we could get to the bottom of it"
"Me too. How long now until we get there?" B'Elanna asked.
"We'll reach the defence grid tomorrow morning, then there will be another four hours travel after that" Janeway replied, finishing her coffee. "Perhaps we'll get some answers then"
Janeway looked around in fascination, as she and B'Elanna materialised, along with Grenyee, inside his home. There were paintings everywhere, all portraying scenes of his family's life. In front of the two women stood an almost exact copy of Grenyee, although a little older looking.
"Greetings! Welcome!" he enthused. "You have brought my son home to me, I am in your debt. My name is Greven, and I am honoured to make your acquaintance" he stated, bowing low.
Janeway stepped forward, her hand extended in welcome. "I'm pleased to meet you too" she said, as she shook hands with Greven. "I am Captain Kathryn Janeway, and this is Lt. B'Elanna Torres. I'm glad we could be of help to your son" She looked around admiringly at the various paintings. "These are wonderful. Are they your work?" she enquired.
"Some, yes" Greven answered. "But most were done by my brother Grelik. He will be along shortly, he is most anxious to meet you. Please," he continued, gesturing towards an archway "join us for our meal"
"Thank you, Greven" Janeway replied, smiling.
The two women followed Grenyee and his father through the archway, and into a large, spacious dining area.
"Please be seated" Grenyee said, as they walked towards a food-laden oval table surrounded by six ornately-carved wooden chairs.
"Unfortunately, my wife cannot join us today" Greven said apologetically, as he sat down. "She is visiting her sister, and is unable to return until tomorrow. She will be saddened to miss the opportunity of thanking you personally for your kindness"
As he finished speaking, another small and smiling member of his family appeared . He too was very similar in looks to the others.
"Grelik" Greven greeted him "Come and meet our guests. This is Captain Janeway and Lt. Torres. They are the ones that brought our Grenyee home"
"I am delighted to meet you" Grelik said as he bowed first to Janeway, and then to B'Elanna. "It was most fortunate for us that you came to Grenyee's aid. I thank you sincerely for your help" He took a seat next to the Captain, and turned to face her. "You are human, are you not?" he asked. "Although I do not recognise your species" he continued, looking across at B'Elanna.
"My mother is Klingon, and my father human" B'Elanna replied, a slight frown on her face. "May I ask how you know of humans, though?"
"Yes" Janeway agreed. "How did you know I was human? Did Grenyee tell you?"
"No" Grelik answered, his face flushing slightly. "Grenyee did not tell me. I was visiting a trading colony recently, and I came across some others of your species. Although, I must admit, I wasn't entirely sure if you were human, Captain. You all look so different from each other, how is this?"
"Our species evolved in various parts of our world, under varying conditions. We may all be different sizes, shapes and colours, but we are all human. Tell me about this trading colony, though, Grelik. How could there be humans there? As far as we know, Voyager is home to the only humans in this area of space. Are you sure you aren't mistaken?"
"I don't think I am in error, Captain" Grelik replied, looking thoughtful "I was informed that they were human, but I am no expert. You say your species has differences because of initial variances in location. What conditions would cause a human to become painted?"
"Painted?" Janeway queried. "How do you mean?"
"One of the humans I saw was marked, here" Grelik answered, pointing to his forehead. "He had some kind of pattern on him"
"Oh my God!" Janeway exclaimed, her face showing her shock as she looked at the equally stunned B'Elanna. "It couldn't be, could it?" she said quietly.
"What is the matter, Captain?" Greven asked across the table. "Has my brother upset you?"
"No, not upset, just shocked" she replied, then turned back to Grelik. "Would you recognise these humans from a picture?" she asked hopefully.
"I think so, yes" Grelik answered, nodding. "Are they known to you then?"
"I'm not sure how it could be them, but yes, we may know them. Tell me a little more, Grelik. How many humans were there?"
"Two, both male. The one with the pattern and another"
"Do you remember anything about the other one?" B'Elanna asked, as she leaned on the table.
"He was very different from the painted one" Grelik replied, his mind focused on a mental image. "He was light where the other was dark, and he had no marking. I remember his eyes, though. They were blue, an unusual colour here"
Janeway rubbed her hand across her mouth, as she considered the almost overwhelming information. "How far away is this colony?" she asked, her face pale and serious. "And under what conditions were these men there? Were they free?"
"The colony is about two days journey from here" Grelik informed her. "The humans were in good condition, as were all the other species there. They are all kept in surroundings that are familiar to them"
"I'm not sure I understand. Perhaps you could explain further." Janeway requested. "And maybe provide us with star charts? We would be grateful for as much information as possible"
"Certainly, Captain. I will do whatever I can to help you. I hope I won't embarrass you with what I have to say, but I will tell you everything I know"
"What's the matter?" Tom asked, as Chakotay sighed and threw his cards down on the coffee table.
"I'm bored with cards. I want to do something else"
"Okay" Tom remarked. "I guess we have played long enough" He settled himself across the big man's lap, his knees either side of Chakotay's thighs. "So, Cha" he murmured as he pressed his groin against his lover's. "What do you want to do?"
"You" Chakotay whispered back. He grasped Tom's head firmly, and pulled him down until their mouths were joined in a passionate kiss.
Chakotay let his hands explore Tom's shirt-covered back, before reaching beneath the material to caress his warm, soft skin. His fingers eagerly stroked Tom's sides, as their mouths continued their hot, hungry kisses. Tom's hands found their way to Chakotay's shoulders, and he gripped tightly as he felt his lover's fingers working frantically on his shirt buttons. The material was pushed roughly aside, and Tom groaned as Chakotay broke the kiss and his mouth descended on Tom's left nipple. Tom's body convulsed slightly as he was bitten none too gently. "Oh God" he breathed as he closed his eyes.
Chakotay grabbed at the pilot's hips, and pulled him upright in front of him. Tom stood on shaky legs as the older man began to unfasten his pants, his tongue trailing back and forth across Tom's stomach as he did so. Tom's fingers clutched at the dark hair in front of him, as his pants were quickly removed and he was left to stand naked in front of his lover. He gazed down into Chakotay's lust-filled dark eyes, eyes that mirrored his own highly aroused ones. He moaned loudly as Chakotay's tongue lightly touched the tip of his penis, before lapping at it teasingly.
"Please, Cha" Tom begged. Chakotay smiled slightly before his mouth closed around Tom's erection, and he pulled the younger man deep inside. "Yes! Oh God, yes!" Tom exclaimed hoarsely as he felt the suction he'd been desperately craving. "That feels so good!"
Chakotay continued to suck forcefully for a few minutes more, then he suddenly stopped. "I want you, Tom. Turn around" he ordered "Place your hands on the viewport"
Tom complied willingly, and was rewarded with a rain of soft kisses across his lower back. He dropped his head to rest between his hands, as his legs were spread and his cheeks were pulled apart. An inquisitive tongue searched between them, licking its way slowly down before finally reaching beneath Tom's balls and bathing them in saliva. The younger man groaned as the tongue began its return journey, which was punctuated with quick nips, from sharp teeth, to the oversensitive skin of his thighs. "Chakotay, please. Take me, I need you" Tom panted.
"Soon, Tom. Soon." Chakotay promised, as he pushed the tip of his tongue into the younger man's opening. His saliva covered fingers soon replaced it, and Tom's breathing increased as he felt himself being stretched. Chakotay stood up, and pressed his still -clothed body against Tom's back. "You're mine, Tom" he whispered. "Always mine. Only mine" He reached down and unzipped his pants, allowing his hot, hard erection to spring free. He closed his eyes briefly as he rubbed himself against Tom's cleft, his hands grasping Tom's hips possessively. He brought one hand to his mouth, moistening it and running it over his weeping penis. "Mine" he repeated, as he pushed the tip into Tom's welcoming heat. Tom groaned loudly, and pushed back until he was fully impaled. Chakotay's hands gripped his thighs, as the older man began to thrust quickly in and out, his hot breath tickling and teasing Tom's neck.
"So good, Tom. Always so good" Chakotay panted as he reached around to grasp Tom's erection. "I love you so much"
He stroked Tom roughly in time with his own thrusts, his eyes closed and his mouth open, as he felt the pressure building. "Now, Tom. Come for me now!" he demanded. Tom's body reacted instantly to the words, and he shook violently as his climax hit him, his head thrown back in satisfaction. Chakotay felt Tom clamp forcefully around him, and he cried out loudly as he emptied himself deep within his lover's body.
They sank exhausted to the floor, Chakotay still draped across Tom's limp and sweat-soaked form. "I love you, Tom" Chakotay murmured against the younger man's neck.
Tom twisted to face the big man, and ran his fingers through Chakotay's damp, black hair. "Is it being stuck in this cabin that brings out the animal in you?" he asked, grinning and gazing into the older man's eyes.
"No, Tom. You do that to me. Only you" Chakotay stated quietly as he stroked Tom's cheek. "I still can't believe how lucky I am to have you. Sometimes I just have to know for certain that it's real"
"I'm the lucky one" Tom said softly. "You gave me the chance of a new life, a better life"
"You did the same for me, angel. I was lost and lonely without you. I wanted you so much, but never in my wildest dreams did I seriously think we'd be together one day"
"Come here" Tom ordered gently, as he saw the tears appear in Chakotay's eyes. "You're a big old softy, y'know that?" he whispered. He wrapped his arms tightly around his lover, and kissed his neck tenderly. "I love you, Chakotay. I always will" He pulled back slightly, and smiled. "Let's get up off the floor and go to bed, Cha. Come on"
Chakotay smiled, and allowed himself to be pulled upright. They walked hand in hand across the dimly lit living area, and into their bedroom. Chakotay quickly shed his clothes, and they climbed into bed. Snuggled happily together, they drifted into a light sleep, unaware of the coming events.
"Why are we in orbit around this trading colony?" Harry asked, as he and B'Elanna looked out of the viewport in their cabin. "D'you know what's going on?"
"Yes, I do. Come and sit down, Harry" B'Elanna said, as she took hold of Harry's arm and led him to the couch. "The Captain wants to see us both in a little while, but she thought it'd be best if I filled you in as much as I could first. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you before, but I was under orders not to speak about it with anyone, even you" she apologised.
"Speak about what?" Harry questioned, a look of puzzlement on his face.
B'Elanna took a deep breath, and closed her eyes briefly before speaking again. "Grenyee's uncle saw two humans here recently" she began. "There's a strong possibility it might be Chakotay and Tom"
"What!" Harry exclaimed, standing up abruptly. "How can they be here? They're dead!"
"Sit down, Harry, and I'll explain" B'Elanna said calmly.
Harry sank back down on the couch, frowning in disbelief. "This must be a mistake. They were definitely dead, the computer confirmed it" he said, shaking his head.
"Yes, they were dead" B'Elanna agreed. "But Grelik, that's Grenyee's uncle, told us that it's possible they could've been revived. The cloaked ships belong to a species called the Galtarians. They've stolen a lot of technology over the years, and they're known to be quite advanced in medicine. Unfortunately, they don't use their skills for the good of their people, only for profit"
"So you're saying these Galtarians killed Tom and Chakotay and then brought them back to life?" Harry asked incredulously.
"That's about it" B'Elanna agreed.
"But why?" Harry demanded. "Why didn't they just take them if they wanted them? Why kill them first?"
"Because if we'd thought that Tom and Chakotay were alive, we'd have gone after them. This way they knew we probably wouldn't, there was no point. We couldn't afford to get caught up in a running battle, and they knew it"
Harry sighed, his mind racing as he tried to process the information. "Okay" he finally said "They revived Tom and Chakotay. But what did they want them for?"
"They sold them" B'Elanna stated bluntly. "To an establishment on this colony"
"What sort of establishment?" Harry asked, worriedly.
"To all intents and purposes, a zoo!" B'Elanna replied angrily. "They sold our friends to a fucking zoo!"
The colour drained from Harry's face, and he clutched at B'Elanna's hand. "You mean they're exhibits? They're on display?"
B'Elanna nodded, her eyes filled with tears. "Yes" she confirmed "But they don't know it. It seems those devices we found were used to gather enough information to re-create an exact holographic copy of Tom and Chakotay's quarters. That's where they think they are; in their own cabin"
"But the Ilvarekians planted those devices" Harry stated, frowning.
"Yes, but they're allies of the Galtarians. It seems that the Ilvarekians decided who would be targeted"
"And they chose Tom and Chakotay because they were a couple?" Harry speculated.
"Yes, and because they're both male. Same-sex relationships are unusual here, so the Galtarians would've got a better price for them"
A puzzled look crossed Harry's face as he gazed at B'Elanna. "Tom and Chakotay have been gone for nearly six weeks now" he stated. "How can they think they're in their quarters?"
"I'm not sure. The explanation that Grelik came up with is that they've probably had their memories tampered with. He was at the colony for a few days, and had to visit the zoo on two different mornings. He said Tom and Chakotay's words and actions were very similar on each occasion."
"So he thinks they may be 'reliving' the same day over and over?"
"It's feasible, but until we get them out of there, we won't know for certain" B'Elanna replied, rubbing her eyes.
"So how do we get them out of there?" Harry questioned.
"That's what the Captain wants to see us about" she answered as she stood up. "Let's go and find out"
"This is just degrading!" Harry muttered angrily, as he adjusted the hood of his robe to further cover his face. "These are all higher species, sentient beings, they're not dumb animals!"
"You know that, I know that. The owners of this place obviously don't. Or they don't care, which seems more likely" B'Elanna growled back. "Let's find our friends and get the hell out of here as quickly as we can. I don't want to stay here a second longer than I have to"
"My sentiments exactly" Harry replied, looking around. "We don't seem to have been observed beaming in" he continued, as he finished his visual scan of the area "but we'd better be careful" He pointed to a kiosk selling souvenirs. "That was marked on Grelik's map" he commented.
"Come on" B'Elanna urged him "Let's go"
They steeped forward, away from the shadowed area they'd materialised in, and walked briskly towards the kiosk. They pushed their way through the crowd of unknown aliens that gathered around each 'exhibit', and followed Grelik's directions until they came across a sight that stopped them dead in their tracks.
In front of them, a jeering group stood pointing at another pair of 'specimens'. Harry and B'Elanna edged their way forward, until they were finally at the front of the crowd.
"It's them!" Harry exclaimed in a hushed voice, as he grabbed B'Elanna's arm.
B'Elanna nodded, stunned at the vision of her friends both alive and well. "Why aren't they reacting to the crowd?" she whispered a few moments later.
"I think the walls of their holographic quarters have been designed to act like a one-way mirror" Harry responded. "We can see in, but they can't see out"
"That would make sense" B'Elanna agreed.
They stood and gazed at Tom and Chakotay in bed together. They were lying peacefully wrapped up in each other's embrace, talking and smiling, and blissfully unaware that they were the objects of amusement to a group of laughing spectators.
"I can't stand this" B'Elanna said quietly "No one should be watching intimate moments like this. And they definitely shouldn't be laughing!" She walked quickly away from the scene, Harry right behind her. "Let's get the signal booster set up, and get them out of there as soon as we can" she proposed.
"I wish we could've just transported them from orbit" Harry muttered, as he searched around for a suitable location to place the booster.
"That would've been too easy" B'Elanna remarked wryly "And of course, the owners wouldn't want their property just disappearing, would they? Hence the shielding around each cage"
"I just hope we can boost their signals enough for Voyager to get a lock on them"
"It'll work, Harry" B'Elanna said with conviction. "We just have to wait for the right moment"
"Well I hope this crowd disperses soon" Harry replied as he set the booster "We don't want to be seeing anything even more intimate"
"Let's cause a distraction, then" B'Elanna suggested, and she moved swiftly back towards the crowd. "Hey!" she shouted at them, pausing until she had their attention "You should see what the creatures at the end are doing!" She pointed down the path, and smiled inwardly as the group rushed off en masse to view the newest spectacle. "Quick, Harry! Let's do it!" She called to him.
Within seconds, the booster had been activated and Voyager was finally able to receive a strong enough signal for transport. Harry and B'Elanna watched in triumph as their friends disappeared from the mock cabin, just before they too were transported back to the ship.
As soon as all four were on board, Janeway gave the order that would send Voyager away from the colony at top speed. By the time the zoo owners had discovered what had happened, the starship would be nowhere near the scene.
"What are we doing here?" Chakotay asked, as he and Tom both materialised naked in sickbay.
"A bit of a long story, I'm afraid" the Doctor answered as he handed each of them a robe. "But, welcome home, gentlemen"
"Welcome home? What d'you mean?" Tom asked, puzzled "What's going on?"
"I'm sure the Captain will explain everything shortly, but first I need to run some tests" the Doctor replied. "Please take a bed each, and I can begin"
"I don't understand, Doctor" Chakotay commented as he sat on the edge of the nearest bed. "We've only been shut in our cabin for one day, why do you need to run tests on us?"
"As I said before, Commander, I'm sure the Captain will explain. What I will tell you, though, is that you were in what you thought was your cabin for a lot longer than one day. Now, if you would be so kind as to lie down, I would like to check you both over"
The two men gazed at each other in silent bewilderment, as they complied with the Doctor's order. It was only moments later that the sickbay doors swished open, to admit a smiling Captain, and an equally happy-looking Harry and B'Elanna. The three stood quietly as the Doctor completed his examinations, though their joy at seeing Tom and Chakotay was unmistakable.
As soon as the Doctor had finished, Janeway stepped between the beds, a hand on each of the men's shoulders. "Chakotay, Tom. It's wonderful to have you back" She held up a hand as Chakotay tried to speak, "I know you don't have a clue yet as to what I'm talking about, but I'll try and explain. It won't be easy though, and I m not sure how either of you will react to what I have to say. You have to know, though, there's no other option" She turned her attention then to the Doctor "Was it what we thought?" she asked.
"Yes, Captain. Their memories have been chemically suppressed. I would say they probably ingested some type of drug along with their food. I believe, now that they will no longer be receiving this chemical, that their memories will return"
Janeway turned back to the two men, now sitting side by side on Tom's bed. "First of all, I have to tell you that the only people on board that know all the details of what happened are in this room. With the addition of Tuvok. And that is how it will remain. If you're feeling up to this now, then I'll tell you everything that's happened"
At the men's nods, she began to recount the events that had begun almost six weeks earlier.
"How are you, Tom?" Janeway asked as she joined him in the turbolift.
"Fine, thank you, Captain" Tom replied, as he smiled then called for his deck.
"And how's Chakotay? Is he still upset?" she asked, her concern clearly showing.
Tom nodded, his smile gone "Yeah, he's still upset. He's hardly spoken these last two days. He's such a gentle soul, y'know, and knowing that we were on constant display has really hurt him"
"I can understand that" Janeway remarked softly. "That's the reason I limited the knowledge of what happened. I didn't want either of you under any extra stress"
"We both appreciate that, Captain" Tom replied sincerely. "I just wish I knew what to do to take Chakotay's mind of it all"
"How about a small party? Do you think that might help?" Janeway suggested, as the lift came to a halt.
"It couldn't hurt, and... You've just given me a great idea!"
"I have? What?" Janeway asked, puzzled.
"Well, as you know, mine and Chakotay's memories have been coming back quite quickly, and when you mentioned 'party' I remembered something really important. If you've got a few minutes, perhaps we could talk somewhere private"
"Certainly, Tom. Let's go to my quarters"
"Well, Chakotay, are you happy?" Tom asked as they stepped out of the holodeck. He stopped and wrapped his arms around the big man's shoulders, and pulled him close. "Are you okay now?"
"More than okay, Tom" Chakotay replied, smiling broadly. He kissed Tom softly on the lips, as he took hold of his hands. He gazed proudly at the matching gold bands that they both now wore. "I love you, Tom" he said softly. "You do things that I never, ever expect"
"Good" Tom replied, grinning "It's my job to keep you on your toes" He leaned forward, and kissed Chakotay gently. "I love you too, Cha" he added "But now that you're married to Tom Paris, well, you'll just have to learn to expect the unexpected!"