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I am become hollow - a ST: Voyager fic

Fandom: Star Trek: Voyager
Title: I am become hollow
Characters/Pairings: Paris/Kim, Paris/Torres
Full header info posted with Chapter One


After four times through the bulkhead, and countless separate explosions each time, The Contraption is a little more streamlined. Baytart has a fish tank, so we used some of the tubing from his supply to replace the chain of straws. And the next set of quarters belonged to Lieutenant Susan Nicoletti, so now there are two people to trade off blowing through the pipe. I’m not sure how, but I guess playing a wind instrument develops better breathing control. Because both she and Harry seem to be able to control the flow and force behind the water with a lot less effort than I did.

So now, I’m simply the Horta Chow Man. I affix a package of potentially explosive nutritional supplement to the wall and stand back to let Harry and Susan do their part. William Chapman prepares the next ‘bomb’ and passes it to me so we can start the whole process over again. Mandy Cabral, who was in Nicoletti’s quarters, has taken over with Baytart, keeping him occupied and, most importantly, awake.

We’ve gathered enough information to determine that there’s been a Maquis takeover of the ship, although no one knows anything about B'Elanna so far. The Maquis appear to have thrown everyone Starfleet into their quarters, then sealed the doors. Those who were already in quarters, like Nicoletti and Cabral, were apparently sealed there, regardless of whether they were actually in their own living areas. The two women weren’t aware that anything was wrong until they tried to contact the bridge and inquire why someone was blowing a hole in the bulkhead. Luckily, their com badges were disabled along with the rest.

“Okay, this should do it.” I step back while Nicoletti does her thing. When the smoke clears, I can see a small hole into the next room. I nod an affirmative at Chapman, and together we work on the wall, tearing out huge chunks of the bulkhead.

Only one more time, and I can forget about The Contraption. We’ll get to Baxter, whose quarters we’re working on now, and then the one after that should be Lieutenant Ayala. Since he’s Maquis, we’re counting on his quarters being unsealed and unoccupied. From there, we can access the corridor and get to sickbay. If his quarters are sealed…

But they won’t be. They have to be open.

I step cautiously through the opening, calling out, “Walter?” Chapman comes through right behind me, ready to provide backup if necessary.

“In here.” I track his voice toward the bedroom. “My leg’s fucked up; you’ll have to come to me.” Cabral, just leading her charge through the opening, hears in time to look at me with concern.

I flash a sliver of a smile at her, then call out to Baxter, “I’m coming.” Damn good thing I have medical training. “Just stay still.”

Harry signals everyone else to stay in the main living area, then enters the bedroom with me. I examine the leg and determine that the fibula is fractured. “Har, find me something long, flat, and inflexible to use as a splint.” He nods, and disappears. I smile at Baxter, who hesitantly returns the expression. “Your leg should be fine. It’s fractured: painful, but easy to repair. I’m going to make a splint to keep it immobile. For now, just stay off it and keep it elevated. I’ll send someone back as soon as we locate a medkit.”

He nods, accepting without an argument that he can’t help us in his condition. “Do you need anything before we move on?”

“Something to drink?” I order him a pitcher of water from the replicator, and pour him a glass, leaving it within reach. He gulps about half the glass, then restrains himself. He sets the glass down, then leans over to grab my arm, eyes flashing with intensity. “And since I have to stay behind, get one of those Maquis bastards for me.”

I stare at him for a moment, not sure how to respond. Harry comes in with something for the splint, and I use the opportunity to free my arm from his grasp. Still staring at Baxter, I take the material from Harry. Only then do I look down.

I’m holding what appears to be a wooden paddle. I look to Harry, and he shrugs, answering, “Apparently Lieutenant Chapman likes to canoe.” I smother a grin, finding it hard to picture William Chapman doing anything physically active or aggressive.

I shake off the image, returning to my first priority: medical care for the patient. I break the paddle into three pieces, and wrap a few strips of cloth around the jagged ends, getting the materials ready. “I’ll do everything at the same time so we only have to do this once. But I won’t lie to you: this is going to hurt. A lot.” He nods in understanding, setting his jaw in anticipation of the pain. “I’ll make it as fast as possible.”

I confirm that everything is prepared one last time, then quickly go to work. Ignoring the grunts of pain from Baxter, I apply the splint. I place the flat part of the paddle behind his knee, to keep him from bending it, and use the other two pieces on either side of his lower leg, to keep it straight and immobile. Next, I tie it together with cloth strips and prop the leg up with some extra pillows, provoking a choked gasp from the patient.

Only then do I pause to look up at him. His eyes are clenched shut against the pain, and he’s visibly sweating from the effort. But he’s controlling his reaction better than most. “There, I’m finished. No more.” He opens his eyes, his expression still laced with pain, and nods in relief. I wipe the sweat from his brow, wishing I had some kind of painkiller to give him.

I wait a moment, making sure he’s doing all right, then start for the door. We’ve got a ship to retake, and I have to get to B'Elanna. But with that thought, I stop and turn back. With everyone else, B'Elanna was the first thing I asked about. But with Baxter… Well, I’m not sure I want to know his opinion. I just don’t like the man. It’s hard to ignore the hostility coming from him. And he was one of the people who held on to their hatred of me, and for a lot of the new crew, for the longest time.

But I have to ask. If he’s seen B'Elanna, if he knows what happened to her… I have to know. “Have you seen B'Elanna Torres?”

He looks up, eyes filled with rage, and I instantly know I’m not going to like the answer. “She’s the one who did this to me.” I stand numbly, not able to process such an idea. “A bunch of Maquis stormed in with phaser rifles and took my group hostage. I went for a weapon, and she slammed the butt of her rifle down on my leg. She knocked me against the bulkhead, and I blacked out.” His voice drips with hatred and bitterness. “Guess she didn’t want to waste the power cell stunning me.”

My B'Ela? No. She couldn’t do something like that. She’s a warrior at heart, but she could never be needlessly cruel. It’s just not possible. Has to be a mistake.

“Believe it, flyboy. Your little Klingon bitch is a vicious animal and a traitor.” My vision fills with an angry red flash of madness. “How’s it feel? To know you’re fucking a common thug every night.” The color of blood, and I can almost see it pouring from his filthy mouth. There’s a pressure on my arms, and as the crimson seeps away, I realize that it’s Harry.

Holding me back, pulling me away from him, saying something in my ear. As my conscious mind catches up with my rage, I realize that I was going to hit him. To make him take back the accusations and insults the only way I know how. And that only Harry kept me from doing it. From hitting an injured man, and a patient.

“…Not her fault, Tom. Whatever she did, she couldn’t control it.” Harry keeps pulling me farther away, speaking softly to me. And his voice is the sound of my sanity returning. “It’s not her, Tom. She can’t help it. It’s not her fault.” I finally start to relax, letting go of the rage to focus on the sound of his voice. Only then do I hear the panic in his steady repetitions, the fear that he might not be able to reach me.

At this, I turn to him. We study each other’s eyes for a moment. When he speaks again, his voice is calm and steady. “She’s under the influence of the mind meld. We just have to get to sickbay and enact the Doctor’s cure. Everything will be okay.”

I nod numbly, wanting desperately to believe him. He smiles at me, leading me out of the room. “And as for that bastard, we’ve wasted enough of our time listening to him.” The shock of hearing Harry actually say a cuss word brings me back to reality. He’s right. We’ve got work to do. And as for Baxter… I don’t feel so bad about not using a painkiller anymore.

Harry takes over, directing everyone for what should be the crucial stage of our escape plan. I move numbly, wondering if Harry’s optimism could be right this time. I have a feeling that the Paris curse isn’t finished with me yet. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to give in to it. The most important things in my life are Harry and B'Elanna. And they’re worth fighting for. I haven’t been beaten yet.

Continue to Chapter Seven