Part 15

Naomi was stirring in Harry's arms, not quite awake but no longer completely asleep. Tom had told him that Naomi was a notoriously light sleeper, but exhaustion seemed to be keeping the little girl down. She'd stayed asleep for four whole hours, and shamefully, so had he. It had been completely accidental. He'd been sitting in the dark, trying to think of ways to turn Naomi's incriminating statement about her mother into something innocent. He'd failed, miserably so. And then suddenly he'd been opening his eyes and cringing at the extremely painful crick that had developed in his neck.

When he checked the chronometer, shockingly nearly four hours had passed. Naomi had still been asleep, but he hadn't been willing to stay seated and concoct further virtually baseless suspicions about Samantha Wildman. He knew Neelix had been on shore leave with the Wildmans. Harry was sure that Neelix could disperse his paranoia.

Or, alternatively, confirm it.

Naomi had barely moved when he slid the blanket beneath her and wrapped it around her. He thought she might wake up when he lifted her, but she only snuggled tighter into his hold. Even the bright lights in the corridor didn't bother her, nor the hum of the Turbo Lift.

She'd started to wiggle while he was talking to the Delaney twins, and he'd had to cut the conversation short. He was almost glad, not feeling that comfortable around the twins.

It was all over the ship what had happened. One of the twins had been injured during the mutiny and the other had taken her sister and fled Voyager in an escape pod.

From their nervous faces and uneasy voices it was plain to see that they had been taking much abuse from the rest of the crew, in addition to whatever punishment Janeway had handed down.

Harry was careful not to add to it. It was very easy to understand panicking under those circumstances. He'd been panicking, too, but had had the sturdy and logical presence of Tuvok to remind him to stay sane. If he'd been Jenny and seen a relative, an identical twin -someone with his own face-injured, he was sure he would have seen the appeal of leaving the ship.

Terror in the face of the mutiny he could understand. Prior knowledge, the ability to warn Voyager and maybe even abort it, he could not.

Naomi continued to stir as he walked into the storage area where Jenny had directed him. Neelix rose from a place on the floor. Knowingly, he wordlessly took Naomi out of Harry's arms. He carried her further into the storage room, settling her onto a makeshift cot set on the floor.

He slid a partition shut, blocking off the area.

"She's really tuckered out, isn't she?"

"Yeah," Harry said. "She is."

"She's been waking up five times a night to see if her mother has come back."

"Sam's pretty busy in Sickbay. It might be a while."

"I know. She asked me to wait for her before answering any of Naomi's questions. That doesn't help Naomi, though."

"Sam's pretty upset with what happened. Especially with Ken Dalby's involvement."

"She has a lot to explain to Naomi," Neelix went on.

She has a lot to explain to everyone, Harry thought.

"When Ken Dalby and Lon Suder tried to kill Tom, she told Naomi that he had fallen down." Neelix smiled marginally. "I guess she'll have to do better than that.

Harry had completely forgotten about the attempt by the Maquis on Tom's life. After the attempt on the Captain's life, as well as on virtually every other Starfleet crew member's life, it had seemed pretty normal for what the Maquis had been doing. And since sometime during the mutiny Tom had simply disappeared-Harry chose to believe that his friend had made it to a shuttlecraft and safely escaped-he hadn't thought of it.

Now his only thought was if Sam had known about the attempt on Tom's life beforehand.

She could not have. She just could not have.

Harry become aware that his mouth was hanging open and he was standing there in stunned silence.

He recovered.

"How long was Sam in a relationship with Dalby, anyway?"

"She never really told anyone when it began, understandably. Only later was she more honest about where she was spending her free time. It was probably under a year."


A year. Sam had to have known what the Maquis were up to. How could you spend a year with someone and not know virtually their every move?

The partition Neelix had closed now creaked open. Naomi, hair tousled and face scrunched up, stepped through.

"Neelix." She was not very far from whining. "I'm hungry."

"I'll get you something, sweetie." Neelix turned to head back into the Mess Hall. "Would you like something, Harry?"

"Sure." He really wasn't that hungry, though. His appetite had steadily decreased, right along with his opinion of Naomi's mother.

Naomi and Harry took a seat at the table vacated by the Delaneys. Neelix headed to the kitchen. Harry sat across from Naomi and watched her petulant face.

"So, Naomi, did you have fun on shore leave?"

"No!" Naomi was emphatic.

"Why not?"

"It was raining. Everything was green. Mom was fighting with everybody. No one wanted to go back to Voyager and I did."

That was not quite the evidence against Samantha Wildman that Harry was looking for.

"And they were keeping secrets."

"What kind of secrets?"

"I don't know. They were secrets. Everyone was whispering so I wouldn't hear."

Naomi toyed with her fork.

"And I didn't get to say goodbye to Tom. Neelix said he left with the Maquis."

"Yeah, he did."

At the same time as the Maquis departure, anyway. *With* the Maquis was doubtful.

"I'm going to miss him," Naomi said softly.

"I am too, Naomi," Harry said. "I already do."

Part 16 | Index page