Part 38

The Pelorans didn't seem to have a concept of politeness, for there was no request made to Tom Paris asking if he wanted to or even if he would mind being suddenly transported from his seat on the shuttle to landing with a jolt on his seat in a very small and very dim space.

At least he assumed it was the Pelorans, because he knew this wasn't Voyager and the Maquis didn't have any place to beam him even if they wanted to.

He couldn't find a door. He couldn't find anything. There didn't seem to be anything in the room except him and a few lights in the ceiling.

He was all alone. For a very long time. Warily, he sat down on the hard floor in a corner and kept a quiet vigil for something to happen.

He didn't have a chronometer, but it certainly felt like a significant amount of time was passing.

He really wondered what was occurring that made the Pelorans decide that he needed to be isolated. Visions of a "resolution" being reached that involved his return to Voyager flashed through his mind.

It only took a few minutes considering the likely consequences of such an outcome for Tom to change his mind about sitting quietly on the floor and behaving himself.

He got to his feet and shook out his tensing muscles.

"Hey," he said hoarsely. Clearing his throat, he continued louder. "Hey!"

He didn't even get an echo for a response.

"I said, hey!" he bellowed, and slammed his fist into the wall for emphasis.

Well, that hurt. Tom grimaced.

One had to suffer when one was, for all intents and purposes, throwing a temper tantrum.

He lifted his hand again and was about to bring his arm down when he heard a voice behind him.

"Please do not hurt yourself," murmured a solemn male voice from over his shoulder.

Tom tried to twist around to face the newcomer-just where the hell had he come from, anyway-and nearly tripped over his own feet.

He recovered less than gracefully, managing to remain upright and but not in a particularly authoritative stance. A Peloran he hadn't seen before -well, he'd only seen two-stood impassively against the other wall.

"I wasn't trying to hurt myself," Tom said. "I was trying to get your attention."

The ridge on the Peloran's face tilted a bit.

"And it worked," Tom added, feeling the ridge movement was a Peloran equivalent to a smirk.

His guest let the confrontational comment pass, moving away from the wall and extending a flat device towards Tom.

"Thomas Paris," he said, "I am Elis and I have been selected to represent you in the upcoming hearings."

A little perplexed, Tom took the proffered object.

"You're my lawyer?"

"It is a role similar to that of a lawyer in the judicial system to which you are accustomed," Elis offered. "That is all the necessary information and explanations for our system," he explained, gesturing toward the device Tom now held.

Tom glanced at the text, noticing that it was an incredibly lengthy document.

He, ruefully, had some experience with similar lengthy legal documents. And he'd always had his lawyer explain them to him.

"How does you role differ from a lawyer?" he asked, letting the device drop to rest against his thigh.

"I may only clarify issues. I cannot introduce anything into consideration and I cannot interrogate speakers. My basic purpose is to instruct you on the function of Peloran law and ensure that you are able to adequately support your cause. It is meant to contribute to maintaining order and dignity of the proceedings. I will only interfere when there is a conflict or a misunderstanding in the regulations. If you are incapable of properly representing yourself or your case to the High Council I may step in to clarify your intentions. "

"Oh," said Tom. He paused. "Do Voyager and the Maquis get representatives?"

"Yes, as does Samantha Wildman and her daughter."

Tom nodded, not asking but assuming that Sam and Naomi had also been rudely beamed elsewhere when he had.

"There will be two hearings other than your own," Elis explained, "You do not have to be present for those, but know that their content may influence the outcome of yours. The final decisions will be reached at the conclusion of all three cases."

Tom nodded again. Clearly beginning to conclude, Elis took out a similar-looking device to the one Tom had been given.

"Do you oppose being returned to Voyager?" Elis asked, reading from the instrument.

"Yes," Tom replied emphatically.

Elis marked his response.

"Do you oppose being transferred to the custody of the Maquis?"

"Hell yes!" Tom almost exploded.

Elis quirked his ridge mildly and recorded that response.

"Have the Maquis requested that I be transferred to their custody?" Tom asked, suddenly as unpleasantly apprehensive as he had been when he'd been all alone.

"Not to my knowledge," Elis said carefully. "But they have that right."

"Great," Tom spat sarcastically.

"Do you have any requests relating to Samantha Wildman?" continued Elis.

"Not personally, no." Tom sighed. "Except that she should be allowed to go to whomever she wants to go."

"Noted," finished Elis.

He put the device away.

"I suggest you read the entire list of regulations. I will be available if you have any further questions. I am in the process of procuring you furnishings and provisions. Those should arrive shortly."

"Yeah. Thanks," Tom said.

Elis exited, through a gap in the wall that developed at a seam and then closed quickly.

Hours later, Tom reclined on the bunk that Elis had procured for him. It was just as hard as the floor, but Tom wasn't feeling particularly restful. He scanned the regulations for the upcoming proceedings and felt more and more troubled. The Pelorans intended to have a genuine investigation of the affairs of Voyager, the Maquis, and himself, before, during and after the mutiny. He didn't think anyone was going to come out as innocent and guilt-free.

Unknown to him, the Maquis were engaged in a similar activity on a nearby deck. In their own bunks, set up like a large boarding room, they discussed their likely future, based upon Henley's interpretation of the rules document. It did not seem any more optimistic than that of Tom Paris, but the knowledge that they shared it with so many others, as they always had, made the nervousness less intense and the opportunities for levity more abundant.

And as the feelings of unity comforted the Maquis, they worried Samantha Wildman. She read her own copy of the regulations, delivered by her own representative, and thought fatefully that she could no longer avoid any judgement other than her own forgiving heart. It was not this that bothered her so much, but that it would trickle down to Naomi, curled up in her lap and whimpering about the dark.

On Voyager, its Captain's mind was perhaps the only thing not consciously considering the hearings, as the rest of the crew-if they weren't in sections of the ship with power failures or weren't occupied with repairing those failures-now had the chance to read the list of regulations now being circulated to everyone who had to testify. And everyone had to testify. In her Ready Room, Captain Janeway napped restlessly on her sofa, the PADD of the rules lying against her chest. The grinding of repairs nearby finally caused her to stir, and she awoke. She glanced down at the PADD, sighed deeply, and stayed motionless, staring at a spot on the floor.

***********END PART 38***********

This whole thing can soon be found at the lovely and generous and occasionally filk-inflicting Jemima's website: [Moved to - JP]

This is a sequel to Revolution which can be found at the same site, and the second in a trilogy (I've decided), the third part of which is swimming around in my brain. I have concluded my posting for a while until the stress and busyness of Real Life ceases, but trust that I will be writing the sequel and I will eventually be posting it. I don't think it's fair to you or to me to promise to post the sequel regularly when I don't think that's at all possible, because I'll be breaking promises and I don't like doing that. I remember I finished Rev I on Jan 31, 2000 (or 1999? my memory's going) and like to be consitent on these type of things. I want to deeply thank all of my faithful readers who stayed with me despite my erratic posting, and sent little notes to tell me they were still there. Yes, busy as I am in RL, I remain a feedback whore. I'll post Revolution III: Resolutions in some time. See ya, MJB

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