Part 6

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Tom Paris had blown off Harry's worries as the products of a very bored, yet very imaginative mind. He wasn't so sure anymore. He had just watched a procession of Maquis enter B'Elanna Torres' quarters, over the last hour. Chakotay was last. Tom heard Jenny Delaney call someone "Commander Shithead," from where he was lurking. The Maquis did not have a weekly poker game. This was bad beyond words. He didn't even know if this was a usual thing. How long had these meetings been going on? How could he not have known something was up? He had to find out what was happening in Torres' quarters.

He had a lot of experience with the Jeffrey's Tubes, having used them as safer, alternate routes through the ship, back when the crap was being kicked out of him on a daily basis. He easily found the one situated directly above where he guessed the Maquis were meeting. He could hear a muffled voice, which meant whoever was talking, was talking very loudly inside. He pressed the amplifier he'd grabbed on his way, against the floor of the Jeffrey's Tube.

"-by our hand, and we end it now!" Chakotay's voice boomed into his ear.

No, this was no poker game. Goddammit, how could he have not known about this?

"In one hundred forty-four hours, Voyager will reach the Planet designated Alpha 634. The end of the line," Chakotay continued.

Tom recognized the powerful tone in Chakotay voice. It was the same one that he used when motivating his people against the Cardassians. It screamed authority, power, and occasionally just screamed. This was getting worse by the moment.

"Any last questions, this is the time."

Tom had a few questions alright. Like, what the hell was happening in a hundred forty-four hours on Alpha 634?

A different voice piped up to Tom's ears. It sounded like Dalby, but he couldn't be sure.

"What if there is a member of Star Fleet who has never been one to fight against us, and is willing to live under our rules. Would she or he be allowed?"

Allowed to what, Tom thought furiously.

"Have you told anyone, Mr. Dalby?" asked Chakotay. The question was harmless, but Tom heard the danger in it.

"No!" Dalby answered quickly. "She, this person's very intuitive. She, this person feels something in the air that's what they told me. The fact that she hasn't told anyone else is a tribute to her cooperative nature."

"Who is it?" Chakotay asked.

There was a pause, while Dalby debated whether to reveal the person to the Commander. Tom already knew who it was. The woman Dalby had been sleeping with for the past eight or so months. How was it that Harry and someone else had sensed this, whatever this was, coming, and he hadn't? Maybe Harry was sleeping with one of the Maquis. If that's what it took to keep on top of the Maquis, Janeway should be able to nip this in the bud. Except Harry definitely wasn't sleeping with anyone, and Janeway wasn't sleeping with Chakotay, he saw that now.

"It's Samantha Wildman," Dalby finally said. "She asked me to try to ensure the safety of her child."

"We don't hurt children," replied Chakotay.

A female voice interjected, Tom thought it was B'Elanna Torres.

"You said so yourself. This isn't going to be organized. People might get hurt in the chaos."

"Very well," Chakotay decided. "The Wildmans will be removed to Alpha 634, first. Whether or not they return will be decided later."

"Okay," said Dalby, sounding like he knew it was the best he could get for his lover.

Okay, it sounded to Tom like the Maquis were indeed planning a mutiny, to what end he didn't know. Assassinating Janeway, like Harry thought? Maybe. Taking control of Voyager? More likely. Killing him? Might happen in any mutiny orchestrated by the Maquis. He wasn't about to stick around to find out. Things weren't all that great for him under Star Fleet, how much worse could they get under the Maquis? He could end up dead, which was quite a bit worse. He'd just be given a very short time in which to fulfill his plan to flee voyager. A hundred forty-four hours was five days, and he had to be out of there before the Maquis' plan came together.

Tom started crawling out of the Jeffrey's Tube. He didn't have time to hear about anymore of it. Besides, he couldn't really glean anything from the conversation. Chakotay had started talking about the importance of Step Gamma, without explaining what Step Gamma was. Tom didn't have time to try and decipher little bits of information; he had to get a move on.

First, confirm his transportation off Voyager. He knew Torres had been working on the shuttles a lot, of late. Now he suspected it had something to do with what they were plotting. Were the Maquis planning on leaving Voyager? Well, they'd have to do it with one less shuttle.

Second, he'd go tell Harry his suspicions were somewhat right. He'd ask Harry to come with him, even though he knew his young friend would want to stay and fight the insurrection. He'd have to ask Harry to keep it quiet until he left Voyager, or somehow the leak of information would be traced back to him, and the Maquis would come after him.

Third, he'd have to get a check-up from the Emergency Medical Holograph. Who knew how long it'd be until he had access to decent medical care again?

Lastly, he would have to say good-bye. Good-bye to Harry, who he knew wouldn't come with him. And good-bye to Neelix, the friendly little Talaxian didn't deserve to watch the ship go to hell. But Neelix wouldn't come with him, either. His two friends would want to stick it out, God knows why.

But Tom knew, once he left, he would never see them again.

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