Purity Control

Written by Soar.

Disclaimer. I do not own any of the crew of the USS Voyager. They belong to the people at Paramount. I am only borrowing them. You can have them back afterwards. I am making no profit from their use, so please don't sue.

Rating: PG-13 some sex, but not much, a little angst.

Summary: Voyager encounters a friendly telepathic race, but someone isn't happy about their arrival. An old buried talent of Tom's means that his life is about to change forever.


Captains log stardate: (errrm after The Disease)

We have entered an orbit around the planet Kevarus by invitation of the natives. They appear to be a peaceful telepathic race, whose technology is on nearly the same level as that of the Federation.

We were told that our passage through their space was noticed by our unwittingly tripping their outposts' sensors. After determining that we meant no harm they cordially invited us to their homeworld.


In her ready room, Captain Kathryn Janeway sat reading a padd when her communicator beeped.

"Yes?" she responded.

Ensign Harry Kim's voice came through. "Captain, we are being hailed by the Kevarans."

"Very well, patch it through to my ready room please," she responded and activated her computer station.

"Acknowledged," Harry said before ending the communication and sending the hail through to her ready room.

"Ah! First Tallah Katar. Greetings," Janeway said facing the screen, a smile on her face.

The First Tallah, supreme leader of Kevarus and its colonies, smiled paternally in return. "Greetings to you also Captain. I see you have arrived at our homeworld. We extend our greetings to you, and my wife would like to invite you and your senior officers to a small dinner party tonight. Please don't decline, or I fear it is I who will suffer the consequences. My wife does not like to be disappointed." The First Tallah winked conspiratorially.

Janeway laughed in genuine amusement. "In that case First Tallah, how could I possibly refuse."

The First Tallah's smile became a grin. "Splendid. In the mean time, please feel free to come down to the surface, I'm sure we can arrange an impromptu tour of our humble capital."

"Thank you. I'll bring a few of my senior officers along. We'd be very interested in a tour," Janeway said.

"Wonderful. I'll transmit the co-ordinates to you now."

"Thank you, and I shall see you very soon. Voyager out." Janeway rose from her chair and walked out onto the bridge. "Commander, you have the bridge. I've been invited to the surface for a small tour. Tuvok, Tom, you're with me. Janeway to Torres. Please meet me in transporter room two."


Tom Paris exchanged a quick grin and a loving look with B'Elanna as they took their places on the transporter pads. Tom resisted the urge to scratch as he felt the tickle of the transporter, before his molecules were taken apart and beamed down to the planet below.

When the transport had been completed, Tom looked around him. He was in a large hallway with the other members of the away team around him. He moved quickly over to B'Elanna who already had her tricorder out and was scanning the surrounding area. She looked up at him and smiled. He smiled back, his heart full of his love for her.

Since the incident with the Caatati, their relationship had progressed further than he could ever have hoped. The bond of love they now shared was unbreakable. Although he admitted he had come close to losing everything he had at one point, and in a way he owed Steth big time for giving him the chance to realize how much he had both in his life on Voyager and in B'Elanna. For the first time in a long time, they both felt content and safe in the warmth of the love of the other.

Tom turned around quickly as a door opened. Three Kevarans entered, including the First Tallah. As a race they were tall and humanoid in appearance. Their skin, a pale golden brown, and their eyes were large with pupils like that of a cat. Their heads were covered in a thick golden mane. However, for all of this, each member of the race seemed distinctly different from the others.

The First Tallah approached them, his hands out in greeting. As he reached the Captain he clasped her hands in his much larger ones, and embraced her. The Captain, after her initial surprise quickly recovered her composure.

"Greetings Captain Janeway. It is good that we finally meet face to face. Please allow me to introduce my associates, Second Tallah Teras, and Second Tallah Mukhari."

Both Second Tallah's bowed gracefully to the Voyager away team.

"And please allow me to introduce three of my senior officers. Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, my head of security. You may be interested to know that his race are telepaths."

At this the three Kevarans looked at Tuvok with some interest. Tuvok endured this in typical stoic Vulcan fashion, only the slight raising of an eyebrow indicating any feelings he had on the subject.

"This is Lieutenant Torres, my Chief of Engineering," Janeway continued. "And finally, my Chief Helmsman, Ensign Paris."

"Ah you are a pilot Mr Paris? My own son is one of the best pilots we have, perhaps you would like to visit the hangars first?"

Both the First Tallah and Captain Janeway smiled like indulgent parents at the eager look on Tom's face. They set off and it didn't take long to reach the hangars.


Tom whistled appreciatively as he got his first real look at a Kevaran flight craft. "She's beautiful," he remarked to anyone who was listening.

The First Tallah led the party over to a young Kevaran dressed in a flight suit. "Metaro!" he called out.

The young Kevaran grinned when he saw who his guests were. "Father, how are you? And these must be the Voyagers."

The First Tallah smiled. "Yes Metaro, this is Captain Janeway, and some of her officers. Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Lieutenant Torres, and Ensign Paris. Crew of Voyager, this is my son Metaro. Metaro, Ensign Paris is Voyager's Chief Helmsman."

Metaro's face broke out in a grin. "A pilot? Would you like to see inside my ship?"

Tom nodded enthusiastically and walked quickly along with Metaro, as the rest of the party followed more sedately.

"She's really more of a pleasure craft than anything else. Flies like a bird though," Metaro paused, looked at Tom and then at the rest of the party. "I can take you up for a short flight if you would like?"

The First Tallah looked at Janeway. "It is a good way to see our city."

Janeway smiled and nodded her consent.


"Get ready," Metaro said to Tom, who sat next to him in the cockpit. "I'm handing control of her over to you now. Just remember what I showed you and you'll be fine."

Metaro touched his panel lightly to give control of the craft to Tom. Tom felt the craft shudder slightly but he quickly got her back under control. She seemed to fly more like a glider. She was light, and Metaro was right, it was just like a bird. Tom felt his consciousness merging into the ship itself. Feeling the wind buffeting his own body.

This feeling didn't come over him often, except for when he was flying. This feeling of his consciousness expanding. He loved flying Voyager, but because she was so much bigger it was harder for him to immerse himself in her. The vacuum of space didn't help either. That's why he preferred flying smaller planetary craft. This feeling of becoming one with the ship helped him to fly more instinctively. He felt the thermals that would carry the craft higher.

In the passenger section, the Voyager crew were busy looking out over the beautiful scenery below, all except B'Elanna. She was watching Tom's obvious enjoyment. A fierce pride overwhelmed her. Pride in Tom. He was her mate. She marveled at his flying skill, and knew that few could equal it.

Back in the cockpit Metaro also marveled at the offworlders skill. These ships were notoriously hard to handle, but there was such a look a concentration and enjoyment on Paris' face, as he seemed to effortlessly maneuver the craft. Metaro didn't want to break that concentration but they had to get back down now.

Paris turned suddenly to Metaro. "That was fantastic, but I think we should get back down to the ground now. I think your father has a lot more planned for our tour." Tom sighed in obvious regret though.

Metaro's eyes narrowed, had this offworlder just read his mind? No. He couldn't have. Their captain had told his father that their species were not telepaths, except for the extremely rare genetic anomaly, or crossbreed. He shook off these thoughts and concentrated on bringing the craft down gently to the ground.


After leaving the hangars the First Tallah led them next to the city's power plant.

"What do you use to power your technology?" B'Elanna asked, her natural engineers curiosity taking over. "This place seems to be creating enormous amounts of energy."

"We use Solarion crystals," Second Tallah Mukhari said, as deeply interested in engineering as B'Elanna was. "What do you use?"

"Dilithium," B'Elanna stated. "Our engineers at home looked at the use of Solarion, but it was thought to be useless for powering technology."

"It is, unless you reconfigure the harmonics," Mukhari went on into detail about how backward Dilithium was and the obvious advantages of Solarion. B'Elanna listened avidly, mentally taking notes.

First Tallah Katar turned to Captain Janeway. "Perhaps later on I could have some of our scientists show you our methods on reconfiguring harmonics on Solarion crystals. It sounds as if it would make things a lot easier for you journey back to your home system."

Captain Janeway smiled in sincere thanks. "Any help would be welcomed immensely, but what can we do for you to make this a fair trade?"

"Hmm. There is not much that we require here. Most of us are content with out lot, but there are some that wish to explore more. At the moment we have only limited star charts of the systems around us, you have traveled far, perhaps you could share with us your star charts of your journeys."

"That wouldn't be a problem, we are more than happy to help fellow explorers," Janeway said smiling.


The rest of the tour involved looking around the city itself. It was very beautiful and seemed to be so relaxed. Moving at a sedate pace of life. On the way back to the state building the Kevarans were curious to hear more about Tuvok and his race.

"Mr. Tuvok, Captain Janeway told us that your kind are telepathic, is this why your mind is so guarded?" the First Tallah asked.

Tuvok raised his eyebrows. "It would be logical to assume so." he stated in his matter of fact voice.

"So it would be impossible for someone to force a telepathic bond on you Mr Tuvok?" Second Tallah Teras enquired.

Janeway cleared her throat as she saw Tuvok's eyebrows raise higher. "If you would excuse us First Tallah we must return to Voyager and prepare for dinner tonight."

The First Tallah grinned. "Of course, of course. If you'll follow me, I'll take you back to where you beamed in."


"Come in," B'Elanna called out as her door chimed.

Tom entered and whistled appreciatively when he saw the outfit B'Elanna was wearing for tonight's informal dinner. It was red, long and very clingy. B'Elanna laughed as Tom had trouble raising his eyes to meet hers.

"You look amazing," he said before pulling her close and giving her a long kiss.

When they finally emerged from their embrace B'Elanna took a step back and looked Tom up and down. "Looking good yourself helmboy," she said smirking.

Tom did look good. His rich, deep, blue shirt emphasizing his cerulean blue eyes and his black trousers smoothly outlining his narrow hips, lean waist and long legs. B'Elanna felt a possessive thrill run through her as she though to herself that this man, was all hers. "I'm glad the Captain made this informal dress," she said grinning.

Tom pulled her into a quick embrace again before sighing and stepping away. "We have to go if we don't want to be late," he said regretfully.

B'Elanna sighed too, "I know, I know, but you just look so damn good." A familiar gleam entered B'Elanna's eyes and Tom's breath caught.

"We have to go now B'Elanna, otherwise we're never going to get there." Tom winked.

B'Elanna laughed throatily but she grabbed her purse and left with Tom to join the other senior officers in the transporter room.


"That was extremely delicious Mekalo," Captain Janeway said to the First Tallah wife.

"We have thoughts of kidnapping you for the rest of the voyage," Chakotay smiled, and then looked to the other end of the table to see if Neelix had caught that last comment.

He hadn't. He was loudly regaling the others with a tale of an adventure on Patary IV. Chakotay sighed in relief, and thanked the spirits that he wasn't stuck down at that end of the table.

He glanced around the table. Neelix was down at the other end with the First Tallah, Seven of Nine sitting opposite. She wasn't saying much, her lessons on social etiquette with the Doctor weren't progressing very well.

Tom and B'Elanna were seated together. Probably holding hands under the table Chakotay though stifling a snort. He was slowly becoming used to their relationship and he had to admit it had been good for them both. Of course his growing respect for Tom helped.

Harry was talking to a female Kevaran, and seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. That boy has come far on this voyage he thought. Chakotay cast his mind back to when he had first met the young Starfleet officer. He had retained most of innocence, and that just added to his charm.

Chakotay brought his attention back to the present and to Tuvok. He was talking quietly with the First Tallah own Chief of Security. The only difference between them being that the Kevaran seemed to be far more laid back, and had a propensity for smiling. Probably because there was so little crime on Kevarus.

Chakotay though to back to another telepathic race they had encountered, the Mari. The Mari, though, had suppressed all violent thoughts. Here most violent thoughts were ignored or did not exist because the people were so content. Also the Kevarans seemed to have more control over their thoughts, bot to mention their buildings. They were shielded with some special material that kept out unwanted psychic intrusions.

A light laugh brought Chakotay's attention back to Janeway and Mekalo.


As the dinner party left the table and moved on into a more comfortable room, Tom pulled B'Elanna's hand and guided her out into the state gardens. As soon as they felt the night breeze hit their faces B'Elanna heard Tom sigh in relief.

"Ah B'Ella, at last, I have you to myself." Tom smiled and pulled her into a close embrace. They stood like that for a few minutes, each content to merely be in the presence of the other. They finally broke away but continued to hold each other as they walked slowly around the gardens.

Their peace was interrupted when a Kevaran approached them. He halted before them.

"Hello," Tom said, a smile on his face. "Enjoying the night air too?" he asked.

"I have been waiting for you," the Kevaran said.

Tom looked in surprise and horror as he saw B'Elanna slumping to the ground, blood running from her nose and ears. He felt the echo of a silent scream in his mind. He opened his mouth to call her name but nothing came out. Instead he stared in shock at the small dart protruding from his chest. He slowly sank to the floor, the darkness quickly rising to meet him.

The Kevaran hefted the offworlder male onto his shoulder, he cast a dispassionate glance at the female lying unconscious on the ground before walking off into the night.


Janeway glanced around the room. She noted the absence of Tom and B'Elanna but smiled as she thought of the couple, probably taking a romantic walk around the gardens.

Second Tallah's Teras and Mukhari had been called away on state business.

"Don't you think so Captain?" she heard Neelix asking and quickly turned her attention back to the conversation at hand.


The party was winding down and Janeway felt that it was time for her crew to make their departure.

"First Tallah Katar, Mekalo, this evening was delightful, and I would like to reciprocate by inviting you to Voyager for a meal, but I think that now it is time for us to depart for the night."

The First Tallah and his wife smiled understandingly and shepherded them towards the main group where most of her crew were standing. Janeway stood together with her crew members, when she noticed that Tom and B'Elanna had not yet returned. She tapped her comm badge.

"Janeway to Paris," she received no answer.

"Janeway to Torres," Still no reply.

Janeway shared a quick concerned glance with Chakotay.

"There is a problem Captain?" The First Tallah asked.

Janeway forced a smile. "It appears that we've lost two of our crew."

The First Tallah frowned. He signaled to one of his people and said something, telepathically Janeway assumed, because he uttered no sounds yet the young Kevaran nodded in answer to some unspoken order. The young Kevaran left with more Kevarans following.

They did not have to wait long to see what was going on. A distant look came over the First Tallah face. Then he looked up at Janeway and frowned again. "My men have located Lieutenant Torres."

"Where?" Chakotay asked before Janeway could open her mouth.

"Please follow me."

Janeway and her officers followed the First Tallah and his family out into the gardens. They walked down several connecting paths lined with beautiful flowers, but Janeway took no notice in her urgency.

They came across the Kevarans and Janeway held back a shocked gasp as she saw the state of her Chief Engineer.

"First Tallah, I hope you do not mind but I would like to get my officer to our sickbay immediately."

"Of course Captain."

"Janeway to Voyager, prepare for emergency medical beam out. Lock onto myself and Lieutenant Torres."

"Acknowledged. Voyager out."


"The only thing that can explain Lieutenant Torres' injury is a severe brain trauma." the Doctor said.

"Caused by what? A blow to the head?" Janeway enquired.

"Not a direct physical blow no. There is no evidence of such an occurrence. However, it seems likely that the Lieutenant was attacked psychically."

"Dear God!" was all Janeway could utter.

A hiss signaled the entrance of someone into sickbay. Janeway turned to see Chakotay striding towards her, a grim look on his face.

"How is she?" he asked.

"She's in a coma. The Doctor said it was probably caused by a psychic attack. Report."

Chakotay sighed and Janeway's spirits sank.

"There's no sign of Tom anywhere on the planet. Too much interference. However we were informed by the First Tallah that all building materials on Kevarus have some special quality that blocks out everything. I don't pretend to know how, but they say it's been working for centuries. Mostly for telepathic privacy I believe. There's been a planet wide search of all departing vessels but no luck there."

"Keep searching," Janeway said.


Tom came back to awareness slowly. His head throbbed and he groaned. He tried to sit up but found himself restrained.

*Struggling is futile. You cannot free yourself* a voice said.

*Who are you? Why am I here?* Tom asked his invisible captor, and then realized that this had taken place without him opening his mouth.

The Kevaran grinned in glee. This was a better start than he'd hoped for. The offworlder had responded telepathically without thought or effort once a minimal link had been formed. He could still be purified.

"Who are you?" Tom asked again, although this time orally.

In response he felt a sharp pain in his mind that made his body jerk in reaction.

*Do not sully my home with your offworlder speech* the voice said harshly in Tom's mind.

"But I don't know how to speak telep --- argh," Tom cried out as another sharp pain lanced through his mind.

*I will not tell you again. You are going to be my guest for a while so you might as well acquiesce quickly*

The Kevaran moved in to Tom's line of sight and Tom hissed in recognition.


A pain shot through Tom's mind causing little spots to dance before his eyes. The pain subsided eventually and Tom watched warily as a glint of madness shone in the Kevaran's eyes.

*I must leave now. State business. I shall return soon enough though*

With that the Kevaran left the room, leaving Tom to the silence of his thoughts. He pulled at the restraints again, but all he managed to do was chafe his body as the restraints kept him firmly in place.

He was in trouble, he knew that. He saw that he was still in his own clothes but his comm badge was missing. Still he was sure Voyager would be making every effort to locate him.


A sudden noise roused Tom from his doze.

*Ah! You are awake, good. Now we can begin*

"Begin what? Voyager will --- argh!" Tom cried out in agony at the psychic assault. It felt like a million little knives stabbing his mind.

*How many times must I tell you. Come now, do you want to needlessly cause pain to yourself?*

"I'd rather do that than submit ----argh." Once again Tom was cut off as pain ripped through his mind.

Finally the pain ended and Tom lay exhausted and trembling. The Kevaran got a wet cloth and tenderly wiped Tom's forehead like a parent with a child. Tom twisted his body away from the Kevaran as best he could in the restraints. The Kevaran continued, oblivious to Tom's body language.

*Don't you wish to know why I chose you from amongst your companions?*

Tom was about to reply that he didn't care but felt the warning tingle in his mind.

*You have one of the strongest minds of your species, and untrained too. What a find! It will make you so much easier to cleanse. Of course I suspected nothing until you went flying with Metaro. As soon as you took control of the craft your telepathic abilities flared into awareness to anyone watching closely*

Tom was confused now. He hadn't been able to shut out the Kevaran's voice inside his mind nut what was he talking about.

*I am going to take advantage of your undisciplined state to gain full access to your mind. Soon you will thank me for your purification*

Tom recoiled in revulsion and unconscious barriers went up in his mind.

The Kevaran started briefly at the exclusion but then he laughed. *You will submit in the end, there is no other way*

The pain exploded suddenly in Tom's mind as the Kevaran tried to forcibly remove the unconscious barriers guarding his mind. Unconsciousness claimed him quickly but not before he heard the Kevaran cry out in vexation.

How dare he the Kevaran thought to himself. He had access to Tom's memories, and most of his thoughts but there was a part in Tom's mind that he couldn't access at all. That guarding the control of his talent. He sighed. He would just have to come back later and try again.


Tom forced his eyes to open and then wished he hadn't as the light set off a fearful pounding in his head. He groaned, and tried to hold his head, but something was holding him down. He looked down, he was being restrained but why?

*You have awoken, good. I must ask you some questions* a voice said in his mind and then a figure strode into view.

Recognition and realization flooded Tom and he cried out in frustration. "Why are you doing this?" Tom asked and for once received no retribution for speaking audibly.

*I must know why a talent as strong as yours was not detected. I learned from your mind that there are standard tests your Federation conducts in all its cadets, that detects telepathic abilities*

"I didn't have the tests," Tom answered without thinking.

*Why not? If it is standard procedure*

Tom tried to look away, feeling uncomfortable with this line of questioning. Then he felt a presence in his mind and a memory was drawn forth. It was Tom as a child, playing with the Betazoid daughter of a colleague of his fathers. Tom had forgotten this incident. His father and Captain Pretella came out and discovered the children having a telepathic conversation. Nothing had been said in front of Captain Pretella and her daughter but as soon as they'd left, Tom's father had dragged him into his study.

The small fair-haired, blue eyed child looked up innocently at his father, and then cried out in pain as his father grabbed his shoulders. His fingers digging in painfully.

"Tommy, I never ever want to see you do that again, you understand?" the then Captain Paris had bit out forcefully.

"But Papa why?" Tom Paris asked in confusion.

"Because it's bad for you. It'll send you mad, you understand. They'll have to take you away from us and lock you up because you'll be dangerous. You might hurt someone." Captain Paris said to the bewildered child, and then he played his trump card. "Do you want to hurt your mamma?"

Tears filled little Tommy's eyes, "No sir."

"Good, then promise me, you'll never do it again. And never tell anyone you can, and I'll make sure they don't take you away okay?"

Tommy nodded solemnly and his father pulled him into a rough hug.

Tom was brought back to the present again as the Kevaran cursed.

*Defiler. Why would your father deny you the purification of mind speech?*

Tom shrugged. "I guess he thought it would interfere with my career. I don't know. He pulled some strings and I didn't have to take the tests."

Tom wondered why he was telling the Kevaran this. Perhaps it was because the Kevaran was a stranger and did not know his father, or his father's distinguished Starfleet record.

The Kevaran looked thoughtfully at Tom. There must be some way to force open the core of his talent, maybe ... but yes, of course. A grin lit up his face at the thought of what success would bring.


Chakotay looked at the Kevarans assembled before him. "Is there no way that a house to house search can be initiated?" he asked.

"Impossible I'm afraid," the First Tallah replied. "After the civil war, the most violent and bloody period in our history, our constitution was rewritten to guarantee privacy for every Kevaran individual unless there is evidence that would warrant such a breach of civil rights. This was facilitated by the discovery of Tel ore, on one of our mining colonies. We discovered it's telepathic blocking abilities and put it in all of our building materials. Of course, telepathic control is still taught from an early age." The First Tallah sighed and hung his head. "This has never happened before, we are at a loss."

Second Tallah Teras stepped forward. "Perhaps your Chief of Security would like to remain here. He could help us in our efforts to locate your missing crewman."

Janeway looked at Tuvok who nodded slightly. "It would be logical Captain," he said simply.

"Very well. We shall return to Voyager." She pulled Tuvok to one side. "I want you to report daily to me okay? Take care of yourself my friend." Janeway squeezed his arm.

Tuvok nodded quickly and stepped away.

Janeway tapped her comm badge "Voyager, beam myself and Commander Chakotay back to Voyager."

"Acknowledged. Voyager out."

Tuvok looked round at the Kevarans. "Where would you like to begin?" he asked.

Second Tallah Teras stepped forward. "I am heading into our central area, I would be honored to take Lieutenant Tuvok to the Security station and explain the situation." Teras signaled to a Kevaran guard and a telepathic exchange took place before Tuvok was led away.

Tuvok was taken with Teras to a transportation vehicle and he quickly stepped inside. He settled himself in his seat. Teras climbed in next him and stumbled slightly knocking Tuvok's arm. Tuvok steadied the Second Tallah and they both arranged themselves comfortably for the trip.

Tuvok noticed Teras watching him and was about to ask him why when the world suddenly started to dim. He realized he'd been very cleverly drugged, but had not time to act as darkness swiftly fell.


Tom awoke slowly. He breathed a small sigh of relief that his head didn't pound half as badly as it had the last time he'd awoken. When was that anyway? He had lost all track of time. Then he sensed something different in the room. He felt the presence of another person. He was no longer alone. He lifted his head slowly and saw someone else strapped to a bed much like his own.

"Tuvok?" he called out as loudly as he dared without attracting attention. Tuvok stirred at the sound of Tom's voice so Tom called out again. "Tuvok."

Tuvok's eyes snapped open and awareness seemed to hit him immediately, although he felt weakened after being drugged.

"Ensign Paris! You are well?" Tuvok still sounded calm and that amazed Tom more than anything else.

"Just fine," Tom said, his voice filled with irony. "How did you get here?"

"It appears that I was drugged. I presume by Second Tallah Teras, as it was he who 'accidentally' stumbled into me." Tuvok put heavy emphasis on the accidentally. "Until that time I had had no physical contact with any of the Kevarans since yesterday."

"It was Teras who attacked B'Elanna and me." Tom paused. "Did you find B'Elanna? Is she okay?"

"We found Lieutenant Torres in the gardens after the dinner party. However, I regret to inform you that she is currently in a coma."

A low moan of pain came from Tom.

"Ensign Paris, Have you discovered the reason for our imprisonment?"

*I fear I had not gotten around to fully explaining that part* Teras' voice joined them before his physical presence did.

Tom and Tuvok turned to face Teras.

"Then please, explain it to us now," Tuvok said.

Once again Teras gave no heed to the audible speech, clearly too excited about explaining his 'vision'.

*You were brought here because I deemed you the only two of your kind capable of being saved. Of being purified*

"What do you mean?" Tom asked warily.

*You are the only ones with any telepathic potential that have thus far been discovered among your kind. To mind-speak. To be capable of perfection. For a long time I have watched and despised as our people opened up our world to outsiders, learning to speak their ways. Our young have come to like the filthy noises made by offworlders. Our race is in danger of losing the perfection of speaking only in mind-speech*

"You're wrong Teras. In the Federation there are telepathic species who speak audibly for their colleagues who cannot communicate mind to mind, and yet this has not detracted from their birth gifts," Tuvok tried to explain, but Teras began to grow angry.

*Enough, I have deemed you worthy of saving but do not make me change my mind and treat you as one of the inferiors. Now is the time to let go of your offworlder friends and join us. We begin, I grow tired of waiting*

A frail, sickly looking Kevaran lady walked into the room. Her eyes were glazed and she did not appear to be aware of her surroundings or of the other occupants of the room. She moved between Tuvok and Tom and her hands shot out quickly taking a vice like grip on both Tom and Tuvok.

Tom's senses were suddenly turned in on themselves and he felt the presence of three other minds in his own. He realized quickly that some sort of link had been set up between himself, Tuvok, Teras and the woman. He felt Tuvok struggling to block out the unwanted psychic intrusion, but Tom knew it was useless. Even someone as telepathically strong and as experienced as Tuvok couldn't stop Teras. Tuvok was still weakened by the effects of the drug.

White fire suddenly raced through Tom's mind as Teras channeled his energies into the link. Tom felt his mind dragged closer to that of Tuvok and the woman. He sensed the woman's heart beginning to slow, yet all the suffering she should have felt was being inflicted on Tom and Tuvok somehow.

He felt a sudden change in the link. At the moment the woman's heart stopped he felt Tuvok finally pull himself free of the link. Then Tom had no more time to think about it as his mind was pulled into the violent death of the woman. Fire ants raced through his head, eating him alive. His body jerked tightly in spasms and finally his mind shut itself down, no longer able to cope.

Teras laughed to himself. It had worked, he could feel the core of Tom's talent open itself to him. In his moment of triumph he did not notice Tuvok's absence from the link or Tuvok himself wrenching himself free of his body. As he manipulated Toms mind he did not notice until too late the Vulcan's grasp on his neck, or the pinch that rendered him unconscious.

Tuvok, the last of his carefully hoarded strength nearly leaving him made his way as quickly as he could into the adjoining room. Thankfully this room had a communications terminal. He staggered over to it, and quickly manipulated it to send a message to Voyager.

Captain Janeway's face suddenly appeared. "Tuvok?" her face seemed to release some of its tension and she smiled in nervous relief.

"Captain," Tuvok rasped. "Teras..."

Tuvok collapsed into the darkness that welcomed him with such open arms.


The security teams burst quickly into Teras' home. It wasn't hard to locate the bedroom, and, finding no danger, they called an all clear.

The First Tallah rushed into the building followed by Captain Janeway and the Doctor using his holo-emitter. Janeway gasped audibly upon first sight of the scene before her. The First Tallah paled noticeably and his mane seemed to quiver slightly.

Janeway saw Tuvok slumped near the communicator and then reached the occupants of the hidden room. The Kevaran female on the floor. Second Tallah Teras slumped against the wall, but what shocked her most was seeing Tom still strapped down, his body still jerking slightly and blood still trickling from his ears and nose.

The Doctor rushed in quickly. He pronounced the Kevaran female already dead and set to work on analyzing the needs of his other patients.

Teras he announced, was merely unconscious, from a Vulcan nerve pinch no less. He was quickly taken into custody by the First Tallah's own guards and medics. "Captain, I would like to get Commander Tuvok and Ensign Paris up to sickbay as quickly as possible," the Doctor stated.

Janeway nodded her assent and watched as the transporter took hold of her injured crew members, and beamed them up to the orbiting Voyager.

"If you'll excuse me First Tallah, I'd also like to return to my ship and check on the progress my Doctor is making."

"Of course captain," the First Tallah said. "I am so sorry that this happened."

"So am I," announced Janeway grimly.


Captain Janeway entered Sickbay. The sight that greeted her was not an encouraging one.

"Doctor. Report."

"Ah, Captain. Well god news first. Lieutenant Torres has come out of her coma. Apparently with no ill effects other than the normal weakness and fatigue. She is sleeping under a sedative now, so I can monitor her. Also I thought it best that she wasn't informed of the current situation right now."

The Doctor indicated the unconscious forms of Tuvok and Paris. He walked over to Tuvok's side, Janeway following.

"Mr Tuvok is the least of my worries. He is in a very good physical state. Just after effects of a drug in his system, and some stress on his brain. But even that seems to be settling down pretty quickly. I think the control he has over his mind protected him from the majority of the psychic assault. Mr Paris on the other hand was not as lucky."

"Why?" the Captain asked anxiously.

"As you know, his captivity lasted a lot longer. It appears that he was subjected to several psychic assaults over the past few days, culminating in this last major one today. The effects have been quite serious, and at the moment undeterminable. When we brought him up, his body went into cardiac arrest. There was no reason why it should have. Anyway, it took my considerable expertise to stabilize him. And then there are his brain waves. They appear to have changed quite noticeably and there is still a high amount of seratonin in his brain."

"What does that mean Doctor?" Janeway asked impatiently.

"Well, we won't be able to assess what damage was done until he awakens, and I cannot tell you when that will be. I think it best that I monitor him but let his body naturally begin the healing process."

Janeway sighed. This wasn't good. Three of her officers attacked by a member of a seemingly gentle race. But she couldn't blame all the Kevarans. They were as bewildered and shocked by the whole event as she herself was.

"Captain," a voice rasped from behind.

Janeway spun round to see her Vulcan friend trying to sit up, but in too weakened a state to get very far. She moved quickly to his side and gently restrained him.

"Tuvok, you have to rest. You've endured a lot and it has taken its toll even on your strength."

Tuvok sank back. "I understand," he said nodding. "But Teras, he was apprehended? Good. And Ensign Paris?"

A shadow crossed Janeway's face. "He's still unconscious. We won't know the full extent of any damage until he awakens."

"I regret that I was not able to render aid to Mr Paris sooner."

"Enough, Tuvok. You cannot blame yourself. Now get some rest, and that's an order. I need for you to be well again."

Tuvok nodded and closed his eyes.

Janeway moved over to the Doctor. "Doctor, I want to know the instant there's any change in Mr Paris' condition." There was a pause before Janeway spoke again. "Oh, and let me know when B'Elanna wakes. I think I should be the one to tell her about Tom."

"Very well Captain."


B'Elanna awoke slowly. As her eyes focused, the first thing she saw was the Doctor. "Ah! Lieutenant. You're awake," he said.

B'Elanna rolled her eyes at his obvious statement.

The Doctor tapped his comm badge. "Sickbay to Captain Janeway."

"Janeway here."

"Captain, Lieutenant Torres is awake."

"I'll be right down."

"What's going on?" B'Elanna asked confused.

"The Captain wishes to talk to you. She'll be down shortly. Can I get you anything?"

"Just some water please," B'Elanna said.

The sickbay doors opened and Captain Janeway stepped through. "B'Elanna, how are you?" she said as she reached B'Elanna's side.

"Okay, I guess. A little groggy. Captain what's going on? The last thing I remember was walking in the gardens with Tom and then Teras..." Shock came over B'Elanna. "Oh Gods, where's Tom? Teras attacked us and..."

"I know, I know," the Captain placed her hands on B'Elanna's arms. "B'Elanna, Tom is safe, but he was Teras' captive for a while."

"He's okay though?" B'Elanna jumped off her biobed. "Where is he?"

"He's over here B'Elanna," Captain Janeway gently steered B'Elanna to a more private section of sickbay where Tom lay on a biobed.

"Oh Gods!" B'Elanna cried out and rushed over to Tom. "Tom, Tom. It's me. It's B'Elanna. What's wrong with him?" B'Elanna asked becoming more distressed by Tom's continued unconsciousness.

The Doctor came over to join them. "He suffered some sort of psychic attack at Teras' hands. Until he wakes up we have no way of assessing any brain damage that might have been caused."

"He is going to wake up though isn't he?" B'Elanna asked.

"I believe so, yes. But I want to let his body heal itself as naturally as possible. Give him time to recover."

"Doctor, perhaps we can leave B'Elanna with Tom for a while," the Captain suggested.

After the Doctor and the captain had gone B'Elanna lay her head on Tom's chest. "Tom. You have to wake up. I need you. Please Tom. I can't go on without you now. Not now I know how it can be. I love you Tom." Tears fell softly from B'Elanna eyes and rolled off her face to land on Tom.


"Mr Tuvok. I'm clearing you to leave sickbay. However I won't clear you for duty until I'm certain you've suffered no ill effects that I haven't detected. I am sure you understand my concern," the Doctor said to the calm looking Vulcan before him.

"And Mr Paris?" Tuvok asked.

"Mr Paris is still very weak. Although his state of unconsciousness does not appear to be as deep as it was before. I am still concerned about the changed patterns of his brain waves."

"I see. Very well. I shall retire to my quarters, but I shall return later to check on Mr Paris' progress."

The Doctor nodded and Tuvok left.

Once Tuvok had reached his quarters he settled into a meditative trance. He wanted to clear his mind and begin the cleansing that would take away the sense of violation he felt.

Falling into a trance was not hard. It seemed almost instinctive to him now, after so many years of experience. In the trance he felt his calmness returning to him. He felt closer to his homeworld and his family even though they were so far away.

Tuvok felt his mind begin to drift idly in the first stages of his meditation. He would never admit it, but Tuvok actually enjoyed this part of the trance. It seemed to open up his telepathic faculties. At times this comforted him. Right now, he could feel the general happiness and contentment of the crew, but the underlying sadness beneath that also. Tuvok understood the sadness, and in his own way, shared it. He also missed home and the loved ones there.

There were a few minds on board that he could feel quite strongly. Perhaps because of the strength of their characters or from past mind links.

The captain was easy to locate. A steady hum indicating her presence. An aura shone around the Captain. One that was determined and steady, and yet there were strands of sadness interlaced throughout, all carefully covered by an outward display of strength.

Tuvok moved on, and located Commander Chakotay. Chakotay was meditating, and that made his presence much stronger. Tuvok knew that the Commander was a very spiritual man, and he could serve the strong faith that carried Chakotay through most of his troubles.

Something appeared to have caught Chakotay's attention though. Tuvok turned his attention the same way, and saw and felt immediately the wild blazing presence that indicated a powerful yet untrained mind. It seemed to be choking itself though, tendrils of psychic energy wrapping themselves too tightly around the core of the presence. With an intuition born of shared suffering Tuvok knew to whom the presence belonged.

In rising concern he broke out of his trance and made his way to sickbay.


Tuvok entered sickbay to find the Doctor trying to cope with a near hysterical Tom Paris.

"Doctor? What has happened?" he asked.

"Mr Tuvok. Wonderful. Your assistance is required. Mr Paris awoke suddenly, but something's wrong and I can't get him to focus on me long enough for him to tell me what's wrong."

Tuvok moved quickly over to Tom and placed gentle hands on his shoulders. Tom seemed to sense his presence and calmed slightly. Tuvok looked up with little surprise showing as Commander Chakotay looking harried entered sickbay.

"Commander, your help is needed. Mr Paris has awakened, however I fear the consequences of Teras' actions are making themselves know," Tuvok explained.

"What do you mean?" Chakotay asked confused.

"I cannot explain fully now Commander, but I believe that Mr Paris is telepathic."

"That would perhaps explain the change in the brain waves. But I'll need to run more tests to be sure," the Doctor said.

"Do you know what's causing his distress?" Chakotay asked.

"I believe that, upon waking, Mr Paris suddenly became subject to the multitude of thoughts and voices aboard the ship. The feeling would perhaps be akin to standing in the center of a very large crowd, but being unable to shut out the sounds or escape. In the past, experiences such as these have been known to lead to a total mental breakdown, and in some cases, suicide."

"Then let us be as quick as possible," Chakotay said.

"I propose that we sedate Mr Paris for the time being. If that is safe Doctor. Whilst unconscious, the psychic clamor should lessen, as his subconscious raises shields to protect him. Then I would like to arrange a talk with the Kevarans."

"Very well. I shall keep him sedated for now, but whatever you have planned, please be quick. I do not want to keep Mr Paris sedated for too long," the Doctor said.

"Commander, perhaps we should wake the captain. There is much that she needs to hear."

Chakotay nodded grimly, and together, he and Tuvok strode out of sickbay.


"Telepathic!" Janeway exclaimed, "But how? It should have shown up on Starfleet's medical and psych evaluations."

"I am not clear on all the details captain, but during my link with Ensign Paris and Second Tallah Teras, I found enough evidence to reach this conclusion." Tuvok stated.

"Well come one then. I want to hear this," Janeway said and shared a look with her first officer.

"I gleamed from Second Tallah Teras that he had chosen Mr Paris because of an incident that took place on the aerial tour of the city. When Mr Paris flew the Kevaran vessel Teras served a sudden telepathic awareness in Mr Paris. For reasons that remain his own, mostly I believe to do with some form of xenophobia he chose Mr Paris and I to be purified as he called it, simply because we have telepathic abilities."

Tuvok paused.

"However, there was frustration for Teras because he could not access Mr Paris' telepathic talent. I believe this stems from a childhood incident of Mr Paris' that I witnessed in the mind link. His father discovered his abilities and forbade Mr Paris from using them. I conclude that this blocking and denial of a talent from an early age led Mr Paris to 'forget' he had any abilities at all."

"But if Teras observed Tom using then, surely Tom himself could sense his abilities," Chakotay said.

"Perhaps not. To Mr Paris it may be a natural part of his flying skills, because it seems they only ever became active when Mr Paris was flying."

"Well, I think we'll need to ask Tom to clear this up for us, but that does sound like a reasonable explanation. The only question now is, what do we do about it?" Janeway said.

"Captain, I have given some thought to this and I believe that two things will be necessary. Firstly tutelage in his abilities to protect himself and the crew from his talent," Tuvok stated.

"And secondly?" Chakotay asked.

"I propose that we ask the Kevarans for their help in using their telepathic blocking materials for integrating in Mr Paris' quarters."

"Hmmm. Okay. I can arrange the second thing but what about the first?" Janeway asked.

"I shall become Mr Paris' mentor," Tuvok said calmly


The Kevarans were quick to help in supplying the necessary building materials and engineers for blocking Tom's quarters. First Tallah Katar had expressed his sincere regret for the actions for one of his citizens, and confirmed that Mr Paris had displayed a telepathic ability on the aerial tour of the city, as reported to him by his son.

B'Elanna had been cleared for duty, and she herself had supervised the new telepathic shielding that was added to Tom's room. She had been informed of Tom's condition, which had only angered her more. Captain Janeway had authorized her to make full use of the holodecks in assuaging her anger and rage with her bat'leth.


"Okay, everything checks out at this end," B'Elanna said to the Doctor.

"Very well, Mr Paris is being transported in now."

B'Elanna watched silently as the sedated body of her mate was beamed onto his bed. Once the transport had been completed she had moved forward and pulled the blanket snuggly around him.

The Doctor walked into Tom's quarters using his holo-emitter, and immediately checked his patients vital signs.

"I'll let Mr Paris sleep off his sedative. When he comes round I'll transfer myself here immediately and notify Lt. Commander Tuvok. If you need anything, just call," he said before leaving.

B'Elanna was left alone with Tom. She climbed onto the bed next to him, and lay as close to him as she could, putting her arm across his chest as if to protect him.


In sickbay a beeping on one of his monitors alerted the Doctor to the fact that Tom was starting to emerge from unconsciousness.

"Sickbay to Tuvok," the Doctor said activating his comm badge.

"Tuvok here."

"Mr Paris is awakening."

"Very well Doctor. I shall meet you in Mr Paris' quarters."


In Ensign Paris' quarters, the subject of concern was lying in his bed. B'Elanna lay sleeping nest to him. She stirred as she heard the Doctor and Tuvok enter the room, then ignored them as Tom moved against her. She watched him closely as his eyelids began to flutter. The Doctor came forward with his tricorder taking readings. B'Elanna held her breath as cerulean blue eyes opened to the world.

He blinked in what seemed to be confusion. Then he seemed to become aware of her presence at his side.

He turned his head slowly and met her gaze. B'Elanna started breathing again as she saw a glimmer of recognition in his eyes.


"Yes Tom it's..." B'Elanna voice trailed off as she realized that Tom hadn't spoken aloud.

*B'Elanna, what is it? What's wrong?* Tom asked in concern, touching her face gently with his hand.

At this point the Doctor thought it wise to intervene. He hadn't heard Tom say anything yet, but B'Elanna appeared to be distressed. "Mr Paris, how are you feeling?" he said.

Tom's head whipped around, noticing for the first time the presence of the Doctor and Tuvok.

*Doc! I'm okay. A little stiff I guess. Bit of a headache. What's going on? What are you doing in my room?* Tom thought to the Doctor.

The Doctor frowned in concern. "Mr Paris, can you hear me properly? How are you feeling?" The Doctor raised his tricorder again in Tom's direction.

Tom's face took on a look of confusion. *What are you talking about Doc? Of course I can hear you, I just answered you.*

*Mr Paris, the Doctor cannot hear you because you did not speak to him* Tuvok spoke telepathically to Tom.

*Tuvok what are you talking about? I just... Why didn't you move your mouth just then Tuvok? And how did I hear you?* Tom asked with dawning suspicion.

*Can you not feel the change in yourself Mr Paris?* Tuvok asked.

Tom was stuck for words, and as silence fell he heard for the first time a difference. He could feel B'Elanna's concern for him. No that wasn't right. It was more than a feeling. He could actually hear the thoughts in her head. He paled.

"Mr Paris?" the Doctor became alarmedly Tom's sudden state of shock, having heard nothing of the exchange that took place telepathically.

*Doc! Am I...* Tom broke off when he realized his own mouth had failed to move.

He looked to B'Elanna in desperation. His mouth opening and closing but no sound issuing from between his lips. *B'Ella help me*

B'Elanna felt her eyes fill with tears as she watched Tom struggle to find words. She pulled him into a fierce hug. "Everything's going to be okay Tom."

Tom felt her reassurance directed at him and calmed slightly.

B'Elanna turned to the Doctor. "It's okay Doc. He can hear you. He just can't tell you how he feels."

"Why not?" the Doctor demanded.

"I believe this is the result of Teras' manipulations. Mr Paris has forgotten how to talk," Tuvok said, his eyebrows raised.

"Hmm. I see. Then we should remove Mr Paris to sickbay imme..." the Doctor began.

"I do not think that would be a wise idea Doctor. You remember what happened when Mr Paris first came around unshielded from the thoughts of everyone on board."

"Of course. Then I'll have to arrange shielding for sickbay as well, possibly also for the bridge. Very well. For now I shall have to conduct any tests within the confines of this room. Mr Paris, I'm going to scan you now. If I ask a question I'll try and restrict it to a yes or no answer, so you can nod. If you need to say anything else, you can tell Ms Torres or Mr Tuvok I suppose. However, first I have to tell you that if I need to get you to sickbay in an emergency I may need to sedate you okay?"

Tom nodded, and the Doctor satisfied moved closer to make an intent a scan as possible with his tricorder.

When he had finished his examination he explained that he needed to get back to sickbay to examine the results, but if Tom needed help at any time he was to get B'Elanna to call him immediately. He would organize for B'Elanna to be given time off duty to assist in Tom's recovery.

As soon as the Doctor had left Tuvok moved closer.

"How much of your time on Kevarus do you remember Mr Paris?" Tuvok asked.

Tom seemed to stiffen slightly.

*I remember the tour in the mooring. Flying Metaro's ship. Then in the evening, the dinner. B'Elanna and I slipped out after the meal. We went for a walk in the gardens. Teras interrupted us, and Oh Gods. He did something to B'Elanna. She was on the floor, and I wanted to help her but he hit me with a tranquilizer dart*

B'Elanna held Tom's hand tightly as he became distressed by his memories. "What else Tom? What else can you remember?" she asked him softly.

*He was in my head. It hurt, and then Tuvok was there, and the old woman, and she was dying. Teras did something. Trapped me inside her mind, and she's dying. I can feel it. All her pain, her heart slowing and I can feel myself been dragged down into the darkness, being sucked down...*

"Tom. Tom snap out of it. Tom please," B'Elanna shook Tom until some flicker of awareness became present in his eyes.

*What did he do to me B'Elanna?* Tom asked mournfully.

"I believe Mr Paris, that Teras only gained access to a talent you already possessed. Why did you not tell anyone that you are telepathic?" Tuvok asked.

A shutter seemed to come down over Tom. Tuvok felt Tom's sudden mental distance. Promising he thought to himself. At least he had a place to start. "Perhaps you should get some more rest Mr Paris. Your room has been fitted with telepathic protection. We will begin in the morning," Tuvok stated.

*Begin what?* Tom asked, confused.

"Your telepathic training of course," Tuvok said and then left, leaving Tom with his mouth hanging open in shock and an almost comical look of confused bewilderment on his face.


B'Elanna and Tom sat in silence for a while. Tom trying to come to terms with the sudden change in his life, and B'Elanna simply not knowing what to say. The silence was broken suddenly by Tom's stomach rumbling. B'Elanna laughed in nervous tension and Tom smiled ruefully. He pushed himself out of bed. He was a little shaky but made his way over to the replicator.

B'Elanna watched as Tom stood next to the replicator waiting. Then she saw Tom's sudden anger and frustration and realized that he couldn't speak to order his food. She moved over to join him.

"What do you want Tom?" she asked.

*I want to be able to order my own damn food* he ground out angrily, and B'Elanna winced at the force of his thought. Tom saw this and sighed running his hand through his hair before pulling B'Elanna to him.

*I'm sorry B'Ella. I didn't mean to hurt you. It's just so...*

"I know Tom. It's okay. You know things are going to work out fine. Soon, you'll be speaking so much we won't be able to shut you up. Now tell me what you want to eat."

Tom sighed again. *Tomato soup* he said to her.

B'Elanna ordered the meal and then took it over to the table with Tom following. "Now sit and eat," she said to him.

*Yes Ma'am* Tom said back to her grinning.

B'Elanna growled deeply in her throat. "You and I both know that there's nothing motherly in my feelings towards you."

Tom laughed *Oh I don't know, I haven't been in your company for so long that I've forgotten*

B'Elanna grinned, but her grin looked dangerous. "Then I'd better not waste any time in reminding you had I?" she said. "But first eat your soup."

Tom sighed in mock disappointment but he ate his soup quickly.

As soon as he'd finished he took his bowl and spoon to the refresher and set them into a recycle mode. He turned around and almost walked into B'Elanna who'd silently crept up on him.

*B'Elanna...* he started, but got no further as she growled and pushed him forcefully up against the wall.

Tom stood in bemused silence and growing arousal as B'Elanna ripped his top off and started to bite his neck and shoulders.

Tom moaned in pleasure. His hand reaching out to pull her clothes from her body, and caress her lovingly. B'Elanna's mouth found his and he tasted the sweetness of her. Their movements became more urgent as their passion increased, and they made their way over to the bed, managing to divest themselves of the rest of their clothes but continuing to touch and caress each other as they went.

B'Elanna felt the bed and was suddenly falling backwards onto it as Tom continued to move forward. He toppled forward onto her but stopped himself from crushing her at the last minute by placing his arms on either side of her.

Tom's face was inches from B'Elanna's and the only sound to be heard was their labored breathing as they gazed into each other's eyes. Tom grinned and B'Elanna growled before pulling his head down to hers. Tom's mouth hungrily met hers. Their tongues dancing together.

B'Elanna's thighs went tightly around Tom's waist and Tom groaned in pleasure at the proximity of her body to his own. His hands found her breasts and cupped them lovingly before his mouth found her nipples and suckled at them.

B'Elanna almost screamed at the pleasure this caused. Shooting sparks of energy went from her breasts to her womb and her body screamed for release.

"Now Tom," she called out urgently to him.

In answer to her urgency and his own Tom thrust into her body filling her, uniting them.

B'Elanna felt the sudden change. Her mind seemed to fly and suddenly she could sense Tom's love and desire for her. She felt the intensity of his emotions and also knew suddenly exactly what she meant o him. The knowledge pushed her over the edge and she screamed as the world exploded around her.

Vaguely she heard Tom call out her name, but didn't register that he hadn't done it telepathically.

As the world slowly came back into focus she realized that Tom was lying at her side. She turned and looked at him, and saw that he'd fallen asleep, a small smile about his lips. His thick lashes resting against his cheek, and small tendrils of curly blond hair falling onto his forehead. B'Elanna laughed as she realized that she'd worn him out and then yawned herself. She pulled the covers up over them both and fell asleep resting her head on his shoulder.


B'Elanna felt something tickling her face. Semi-conscious she swiped at it, but it did not go away. She forced her eyes open to met by laughing cerulean blue eyes.

She smiled and reached up a hand to brush Tom's cheek.

All of a sudden his expression changed, became more serious.

"What is it?" she asked.

*I had no idea* he said to her.

B'Elanna became confused. "Tom, what are you talking about?"

Tom sighed. * I had no idea how you felt about me*

B'Elanna frowned. "You know I love you."

*Yes. But I didn't realize how much* B'Elanna still seemed confused. *I guess I'm not explaining myself very well am I? Let me start again. Last night, when we made love, something happened. I think I formed a telepathic bond with you because suddenly I was a part of you, of your thoughts, your very essence. And it humbled me B'Elanna. You are such a beautiful woman, so much more beautiful inside. And I saw the way you feel about me*

B'Elanna smiled. "But Tom, you should know by now that I love you in a way that I've never loved anyone before, or ever will again."

*I know. Part of me has always known that, but I guess a part of me always wondered what you saw in me. How could you possibly love someone like me*

"Oh Tom," B'Elanna exclaimed and pulled him into her arms. They lay quietly for a few minutes until B'Elanna broke the silence.

"I saw into you too Tom."

Tom was startled by this revelation and he looked up at her. His expression suddenly wary and vulnerable.

*And?* he asked.

"I guess I was like you. I didn't believe that you could love someone like me with the intensity that you do."

Tom grinned suddenly. *A regular pair we are*

B'Elanna laughed. "Yes, and I'm glad we found each other. But enough of this now. Tuvok will probably be here soon and I don't want to offend his Vulcan sensibilities by catching us like this."

Tom laughed.


B'Elanna watched curiously as Tom and Tuvok sat facing each other on the floor. Between them was a candle that Tuvok had lit.

"Focus on the flame Mr Paris. Watch carefully, watch the gentle flickering. The floating as a gentle breeze pushes against it. Be the flame. Be the flame as it dances in its endless pattern. Feel the breeze buffeting your skin." Tuvok gently intoned to Tom.

B'Elanna watched as Tom's eyes slowly drifted shut and he seemed to sway slightly. Tuvok seemed to nod to himself, as is satisfied with the way things were going. Then he carefully leant forward and touched Tom's face with his face.

"My mind to your mind, my thoughts to your thoughts."

B'Elanna recognized Tuvok's actions as those of a mind meld.

Tom seemed to start briefly and whimper softly but he quickly settled, sensing that Tuvok meant no harm. B'Elanna was curious as to what was going in that link but any exchange that was made was telepathic and she could hear none of it.

That sat together like that with B'Elanna watching for two hours. Then suddenly Tuvok sat back and Tom opened his eyes and blinked. He seemed at little awed, but B'Elanna could also see the lines of strain and tiredness around his eyes. Tom looked at her and smiled reassuringly, and she wondered whether he'd read her mind.

As if to confirm her suspicions Tom's voice echoed in her head. *It's a bit hard not too B'Ella, I can feel your concern and I can see the image in your mind of you putting me to bed. You know I won't argue with you* Tom winked wickedly and B'Elanna laughed softly.

Tom and Tuvok both rose to their feet, Tom a little shakily, and B'Elanna moved quickly over to push him back to his bed.

"Have you finished for now Tuvok?" B'Elanna asked the Vulcan.

"Yes. Ensign Paris made excellent progress today but he is still weakened from his captivity and I suggest that he immediately rests himself. I shall return tomorrow for the next lesson. In the meantime, Mr Paris is not allowed out of his quarters until I have cleared him. Both the Doctor and the Captain agree with me on this, and I will have the final say as to whether or not Mr Paris is ready to face the rest of the ship."

B'Elanna was quite surprised. She had not heard Tuvok make too many long speeches, and the fact that he had taken such a close interest in Tom's welfare made her think fondly of the Vulcan.

Tuvok turned back to Tom *Once we have built up your telepathic shields we will begin on vocal exercises so that you may regain the use of your voice.* Tuvok paused for a moment and then walked carefully back to Tom. *Do not fear. I sense your mind dwells on your fathers warning to you as a child. You will no go mad or hurt anybody. I promise you*

Tom forced a smile *Thanks Tuvok. I don't know what I'd have done without your help. It's going to be hard enough to be shut up in here for as long as it takes for you to declare me fit. I hate being confined*

Tuvok nodded. *I think that with your determination it will not take long for you to master the lessons* Then he turned around and left.

B'Elanna had been silent through this exchange, sensing that Tom and Tuvok were having a private discussion. She did not worry, she knew that if Tom needed to tell her he would. She just had to give him a little time.


Something woke B'Elanna. She wasn't sure what it was, just that one moment she had been sleeping peacefully wrapped in Tom's arms and the next she was awake and staring into the dark bedroom they occupied. Tom suddenly moved restlessly beside her. She turned in his arms.

"Computer. 10% illumination."

A small amount of light suddenly exposed the troubled expression on Tom's face. B'Elanna put a hand to his face and gently began to stroke his hair back from his face.

Tom suddenly tried to move away from her. Trying to recoil from all physical contact. He began to whimper slightly and B'Elanna was startled by the look of terror on Tom's face.

"Tom," she called out softly. "Tom, wake up."

She tried shaking him gently and was startled when his eyes suddenly flew open and his glazed eyes stared ahead in horror. B'Elanna called his name again and touched his face gently.

Tom seemed to become aware once more when he felt her touch him. His eyes seemed to focus on her and B'Elanna felt no small amount of relief.

*B'Elanna?* he said.

B'Elanna nodded. "Yes Tom. It's okay. You're safe now, here on Voyager. No one will ever take you away from me again," she said fiercely.

Tom smiled softly and his eyes drifted close again. B'Elanna watched as her mate slept more securely. She did not get back to sleep.


Tom opened bleary eyes to face the world. He felt something wrong and noticed that B'Elanna was not in bed with him. He stumbled sleepily out of bed and went into their living room. He found her sitting on the couch with a pile of padds stacked up next to her. He smiled to himself. She must have snuck out early to check up on her precious engines.

She seemed to sense him watching her because her head turned in his direction suddenly and she smiled when she saw him stood there.

"Good morning," she said grinning.

*Good morning yourself* he replied and walked over to sit next to her.

"Hungry?" she asked him and he nodded. She went over to the replicator and made them their favorite breakfast. "The captain has given us unlimited replicator rations while you're confined to quarters," she told him.

Tom grinned. I guess that's one good thing about being like this. At least I don't have to try Neelix's latest culinary creation*

B'Elanna laughed with him and they sat quietly enjoying their food and each other's company.


This time when Tuvok turned up for Tom's lesson, B'Elanna left them to it and went to engineering. Tuvok said he would call her when the lesson had finished and she'd go back to be with Tom then.


The days passed swiftly and Tom was making huge leaps and bounds with his lessons.

However by the end of two weeks Tom was becoming irritable. He was the only one not allowed to leave his quarters. His only visitors were Tuvok and the Doctor. No one else could control their thoughts enough for him to be around them comfortably yet.

His telepathic lessons he been mastering quickly and Tuvok said that as soon as he had a little more practice and was able to speak some basic words he could leave his quarters for short periods during the day.

What relieved B'Elanna the most though was the fact that Tom's nightmares were lessening. They troubled him only once every few days now. He never seemed to remember them though and for that she was grateful, but worried also, because she felt that he really should talk to someone about his captivity.


Tom paced nervously in his room. He was supposed to be waiting for B'Elanna to collect him. Tonight was his first night out of his quarters, and he was going out to dinner with B'Elanna on the holodeck. She was there now just adding the finishing touches she said.

He was nervous. Not about eating out with B'Elanna but finally putting his lessons with Tuvok to the test. The doors opened and he sighed in relief. B'Elanna laughed at the expression on his face, and Tom grinned at himself.

"Ready to go?" she asked.

*Yeah, I guess* Now it was time to go out he wasn't so sure he was ready.

B'Elanna smiled and walked up to him before pulling him into a tight embrace. "You'll be fine. You know that. Tuvok is very thorough. If he didn't think you were ready he wouldn't have let you go out."

*I guess so. It's just...* Tom shrugged not knowing how to explain himself.

"I understand. But you have to do it. Now come on. The foods going cold." B'Elanna said and dragged him towards the door.

Tom laughed and followed her through.

As he stepped outside, he immediately felt the difference. He stopped for a moment to get used to the feeling of a hundred voices pressuring his psychic barriers. But they held and he tried to ignore the feel of their constant presence.

"Okay?" B'Elanna asked.

Tom nodded, and grinned. She grinned in response and pulled him through the corridors towards the holodeck.

There were very few people out and about at that time of night and Tom was relieved that he wouldn't have to face so many curious glances in one night. They arrived shortly at the holodeck and Tom waited while B'Elanna ran a quick check to make sure everything was okay. Then they stepped through the doors.

Tom smiled in delight as he noticed that the setting was an Italian resort overlooking a huge lake. Moonlight shone on the lake and illuminated some of the surrounding countryside.

"Like it?" B'Elanna asked self-consciously.

Tom pulled her close and kissed her tenderly. *I love it* he said. *And I love you*

B'Elanna grinned and pulled him to an outside table. Then Tom noticed who the other occupants of the table were. The senior staff. They all stood as they spotted Tom and B'Elanna approach.

"Tom, it's good to see you finally," the Captain said and smiled in warmth at her Chief Helmsman.

*I guess it's good to be back,* Tom said hesitantly. He felt strange about projecting his thoughts into the minds of his friends, and couldn't wait for his vocal lessons to begin.

"Well your presence has certainly been missed on the bridge," Chakotay commented.

"Yeah, it's been so quiet," Harry complained and gave his best friend a quick slap on the back.

Tom smiled in amusement. *I guess you guys can't wait for me to get my voice back.* Tom said, and this raised a laugh from everyone.

Maybe this would be okay Tom thought to himself as he was seated for dinner.

Dinner was relaxed with everyone making the effort not to let Tom feel left out or uncomfortable in using his natural gifts. He didn't have to answer too much and he was glad. He was happy just to be in their company listening to their cheerful banter.

The dinner lasted long into the night. With everyone staying for coffee and casually talking in small groups. Tom pulled B'Elanna out onto a small dance floor, as slow music played softly in the background. They danced in each other's arms contentedly.

*Thank you B'Ella* Tom said kissing her face softly.

"For what?" B'Elanna asked bemused.

*For making me come here tonight. For organizing this. I'm really glad you did. I finally feel like things are going to work out okay*

"I love you Tom Paris" B'Elanna said fiercely.

*I love you too B'Ella.*


The End.

Back to fiction page.