The Price of Freedom: Shades

The Price Of Freedom: Shades
By Jessica Ferroni

Here it is, the words to the song that
inspired/s this series:

`Somewhere, Somehow’
Michael W. Smith

Standing in our silence
I hear my heart beating
And if only I could choose
I’d stay here with you
But hold me till the train is leaving

Somewhere down the line
After you’re gone from sight
Our love will be the same
And, whispering your name
I’ll cling to you with all my might

Let me dream of you
But it’s true
And wake me up when this is over
Love will be there when this
is over and

Somewhere far beyond today
I will find a way to find you
And somehow thru the lonely nights
I will leave a light in the dark
Let it lead you to my heart

There’s a love inside us
Deep down inside
That goes without saying
Don’t say a word
But I’ll tell you just the same
And that love will fan the flame
And that flame will warm the heart
that’s waiting

You are mine and I’ll wait for you, my love
You are mine and it may take some time
Even if it takes a lifetime
Tell me you’ll wait

And somewhere far beyond today
I will find a way to find you
And somehow thru the lonely nights
I will leave a light in the dark
Let it lead you to my heart

And somewhere alone
I will be praying you home
I know that somehow our love

Our love will lead me to your arms

*****

“Neelix, please?” B’Elanna Torres’ voice
held a slightly pleading note, one the
Talaxian had never heard before. He laid
an understanding hand on her arm.
“Lieutenant Torres, you know I would
do anything to help you — especially
where Tom is concerned. We’re all worried
about him. Of course you are welcome to
use the ship.”
She almost threw her arms around him
in a bear hug, but barely restrained
herself. “Thank you, Neelix.”
Gratefully taking leave from the little
Talaxian, she hurried to her quarters
to collect the few things she would need.

“B’Elanna, you know you’re scheduled to
speak with the brass tomorrow at 1400
hours,” Commander Chakotay’s voice held
a reminder. B’Elanna fervently prayed he
wouldn’t glance past her into the bedroom,
where her half-packed duffle rested on
the bed in plain sight.
“Of course, Chakotay,” she said, trying
to keep the nervousness from her voice.
*Don’t look, don’t look, don’t look,* she
silently chanted to herself.
He, of course, had known her for too
long not to notice something was up.
“You alright, B’Elanna?” he asked cautiously.
“I fine,” she lied. But she knew he wouldn’t
be satisfied with that. “It’s just, just
returning to the Alpha Quadrant….I never
actually thought we’d make it.” *And I
never thought I’d be so lonely when we did.
Why didn’t you stay?*
Chakotay smiled. “Me neither.” There was a
brief pause while he considered if he should
confront her about Paris. He knew she’d
set out after him — that was B’Elanna.
He asked, “You’re not thinking of going
out after Tom Paris, are you, B’Elanna?”
Shock approach.
Her jaw dropped. “Uh, I, um….where
would you get an idea like that, Chakotay?”
“From Neelix,” he replied.
“I’ll kill him,” she growled.
Chakotay actually grinned. “No — B’Elanna.
He was concerned about you.”
“Well, yes. Yes, I am,” she said defiantly.
He had been afraid she would answer yes.
But he had also known she would.
“B’Elanna,” he said gently, “do you know
what the odds of finding him are? He could
be anywhere.” He wanted her to be happy. But
she also needed to realize the near inpossiblilty
of what she was trying to do.
“I don’t care.”
“B’Elanna,” he said firmly, “listen to
me. Think about what you’re doing!”
It must be a deep love that bonded her so
strongly to Thomas Eugene Paris, Chakotay
reflected. And Paris must care about her —
he *had* to care about her for as strong was
the bond between them. “How do you know if he
feels the same way about you?” he asked softly.
She lifted her chin. “He told me so.”

Captain Benjamin Sisko glanced at Kathryn
Janeway over the rim of his teacup.
“Enjoying yourself?” he teased.
Janeway grinned. “Do you have any idea how
long it’s been since I’ve had *real* coffee?”
Sisko laughed. “A long time, if I had to
judge by the three cups you’ve had already.”
“Sir,” Major Kira Nerys’ voice held a tense
note over the comm frequency. “I’m sorry to
interrupt, but the captain of the freighter
Mallion wishes to speak with you. He says it’s
important.”
“You’ll excuse me for a moment, Captain?”
Sisko asked Janeway.
She inclined her head. “Of course.”
“Put it through, Major.”
“Aye, sir.”
“This is Captain Sisko.”
“Captain? This Udin Awynyn, captain of
the freighter Mallion. We’ve recently
returned from a survey of the Gamma Quadrant,
and we’ve discovered something I think you
might want to take a look at.”

“It’s definitely debris from a Starfleet
shuttle,” Miles O’Brien confirmed, scanning
the scorched mass, though he didn’t need a
tricorder to tell him what rested before him.
“And — Captain?”
Sisko rubbed his eyes tiredly. “Yes, Chief?”
“She’s from Voyager.”

“It’s been confirmed that the debris is
from one of your shuttles, Captain.”
That meant Tom. It had to’ve been Tom.
“I never should have let him go,” she whispered.
“Captain?”
“I’m sorry, Captain Sisko. Forgive me,
please.”
“It’s quite alright, Captain,” he said
gently. “I am sorry.”
Janeway shook her head. “It’s not your
fault.” But, Tom? Up until now, she hadn’t
given up hope of seeing his smiling face at
the door. Now she had a double message for
Admiral Paris. But Sisko was speaking….
” — aboard?”
“I’m sorry, what?”
Sisko sighed patiently. “Could you tell me
who all was aboard? For the record. Starfleet
is going to wonder exactly what one of your
shuttles in doing in the Gamma Quadrant, too,
Captain.”
“Oh.” Janeway stiffened. “It was my chief
Conn officer, Tom Paris.”
Sisko straightened in surprise. “Admiral
Paris’ son? The official `observer’?”
Janeway’s eyes were like points of cold
steel. “Admiral Paris’ son, my chief Conn
officer.”
Sisko blinked. “I see.” He rose to leave.
“Please extend my sorrows to the family.
Admiral Paris is a great man. He was heartbroken
after word reached us that Voyager had been
lost.”
“I will,” Janeway grated. “Thank you.” After
he’d left, she tapped her commbadge gently
and brushed the tears from her eyes. She could
mourn later. But first, there was something
she needed to do, though she dreaded it immensely.
These were the kind of things they never taught
you about nor could ever prepare you for in
command school.
“Janeway to Torres.”
“Yes, Captain?” The young woman’s voice was
laced with determination.
“B’Elanna, I need to speak with you. It’s
quite important.”
“But, Captain, I’m really quite busy….”
Actually, she was preparing the liftoff
sequence for Neelix’s small ship. She would
find him, if it took her a lifetime. She
swore to herself, and to him.
“B’Elanna, please. It’s most important.
It’s about Tom Paris.”
B’Elanna’s hand slammed down on the abort
button. “I’ll be right there.”
She hurried to the captain’s quarters.
Janeway’s eyes were red-rimmed and her
demeanor serious, and B’Elanna felt her
blood turn to ice.
“Yes, Captain?” *It’s nothing. I’m sure
it’s nothing. Tom is fine.*
“Sit down, B’Elanna, please.”
B’Elanna sat, fear twisting her stomach.
*Please, please let him be okay.*
“B’Elanna, a freighter has — ” Direct
approach, or gentle slide? With B’Elanna, it
would be the direct approach. ” — has found
the debris….from Tom’s shuttle.”
B’Elanna’s face turned a deadly shade of
white. “How can they know? How can they be
sure it was Tom’s shuttle?” she whispered.
Janeway’s heart went out to her. She’d lost
him twice, now.
“The match is perfect, B’Elanna.”
Janeway’s voice was pained and B’Elanna was
suddenly very glad the captain had requested
she sit. She drew her knees up to her chest and
wrapped her arms around them. “No. He can’t be.”
“B’Elanna, I’m sorry.”
“No….” Her head dropped to rest on her
knees and her shoulders shook as she cried,
murmuring Tom’s name over and over.
Janeway cradled Torres gently as she sobbed,
the captain’s own tears held at bay for
B’Elanna’s sake.

*****

He was marched before the Gul, a leering,
scowling Cardassian.
“I’ll assume you have a good reason for
this,” Outwardly calm, inwardly seething
with anger.
“Oh, I do indeed,” the Gul replied, a
lizard-like smiled flashing across his thin
lips. “For you interest me. A Starfleet
shuttle — a Starfleet shuttle, mind you —
which, sadly, we were forced to destroy.
You wear civilian clothes instead of a
uniform — one might think you were a spy,
but would you be so stupid as to go about
in a Starfleet shuttle if you were? So tell me,”
Gul Evek leaned forward, his face inches from
the man standing silently before him, “Tell me,
Tom Paris, Maquis, what are you doing here?”
“None of your business,” Tom growled back.
Gul Evek leaned back in his chair. “Where
did you get the Starfleet shuttle?”
“I stole it,” Tom spat.
“Weren’t you a member of Chakotay’s group,
Paris?”
“Yeah. I was.”
“What about now?”
“None of your business. And isn’t your
information a little outdated, Gul?”
Evek glared. “Taunts are of little good,
Paris.”
“You didn’t answer my question,” Tom
returned.
“I have no need to answer to *you*,
Paris.” He gestured to the guards. “Take
him away. I’ll deal with him later, when he’s
in a more talkative mood.”

To beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee continued……
(Theatrics provided by Jessica Ferroni.
Thank you, thank you.) 🙂

_____________________________________________________________________________
) Copyright December 1996 by Jessica Ferroni on all original story content.
Not meant to infringe on copyrights held by Paramount or any other copyright
holders of STAR TREK: VOYAGER. Please do not reproduce for anything other
than personal reading use (including fanzines) without written consent of
the author. Comments are welcome at jessica@p24818.cle.ab.com.

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