It was a quiet night aboard Voyager. The Transporter Room was as dull as ever as Ensign Nagana quietly performed a routine diagnostic. She was startled when the displays came on. Someone was beaming aboard the vessel. She signalled the Bridge, and Lieutenant Hamilton answered. "Bridge."
"Lieutenant, someone is beaming aboard Voyager." Nagana looked down. "Their signal is weak, derezzing."
"Stabilize and bring them aboard." Hamilton ordered. "But put up the security shield before you finish beaming them in."
Nagana was glad he'd said this, she had already taken over the transporter signal. No one was going to die while she waited for orders, whoever they were! "Stabilized." she said. "Security shield in place. Transporter beam-in complete."
The sparkles resolved into a human form. Nagana looked at the individual in amazement. "Lieutenant Paris? What are you doing here? What happened to you?"
Paris was wearing nothing but a pair of dirty and ragged shorts. An ugly bruise covered one cheek and there were scars over his chest, long lines, some clean and faded, but others disclored and ugly. His hair was unkempt and his eyes were wild. He looked at Nagana.
"Oh, God, no! NO!" he yelled and ran, hit the shield and bounced back. Trembling, he stepped into a corner, hunkered down. "No! Nagana, please! Let me out of here! I have to hide! Please!"
Nagana said, "Calm down, Lieutenant Paris. I don't know what's happened, but I'll get you out of there." She lowered the shield. "Now, please, what happened?"
But when the shield derezzed, Paris' reaction was immediate. He dove off the transporter pad and at Nagana. She screamed, startled, then went into defensive posture. Paris, however, had made a feint, he ran past her and out the door.
"Nagana, report!" came Hamilton's call.
"It was Lieutenant Paris." Nagana said. "I lowered the shield and he ran out of here. Sir, someone's hurt him, badly. He's acting like a hunted fugitive."
She shouldn't have lowered the shield. She grimaced. But was she supposed to keep a ship's officer behind a security shield? Especially one in his condition?
* * * * *
On the bridge, Lieutenant Hamilton said, "Computer, locate Lieutenant Paris."
"Lieutenant Paris is in his quarters and in Corridor Three, Section Seven, Deck Two."
Hamilton whistled. "An alternate." He turned to Ops. "Wake up the Captain and Commander Chakotay and inform them of the intruder." A thought occurred to him. "Better wake up Lieutenant Paris as well."
* * * * *
Captain Janeway was out of her quarters within five minutes. "Computer, locate Lieutenant Paris."
Lieutenant Paris is in his quarters and in Cargo Bay Three."
Janeway hit her comm badge. "Paris, report."
"Paris here. On my way."
"Tom, your alternate is in Cargo Bay Three. You'd better meet me there."
"Meet us in Cargo Bay Three."
Chakotay was first to arrive. "Tom! Tom! Can you hear me?"
"Chakotay, God, what happened?" Paris asked plaintively. "I was supposed to get away!"
Janeway arrived and Chakotay turned to her. "Let me handle this, Commander. Tom! Tom, can you hear us? What has happened?"
"A trick!" was the response. "Chakotay, I don't believe it! God, don't I mean anything to you?"
"Tom." Chakotay said. "No one here's going to hurt you."
"Liar! I've got a phaser here. I'll use it if any of you come any closer!"
Janeway said, "Listen to me, Tom. You're on an alternate Voyager! Wherever you came from, you did escape from it."
"Liar! Bitch! Whore!" was the response. "Slut! Tramp!"
Paris' eyes grew wide and he looked at Janeway almost fearfully.
"You need proof you're in an alternate? Take a look at who's standing here with me." She gestured to Paris.
"Tom, it's me. Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris." Paris said. "Your alternate. You're among friends here."
"Fake! Hologram! Another game! Forget it, Janeway, you don't fool me that easily. Not any more! I know all your tricks!"
"I'm real." Paris said. "Let me walk out into the center of the room. I'm not armed. None of us are." He walked stealthily into the center of the room, casting his eyes around.
Then the phaser beam hit him. Hard! It threw him across the room against a box, leaving him unconscious.
"Security to Cargo Bay Three!" Janeway said. "Transporter, lock onto Paris' comm badge signal and beam him directly to Sickbay!" The transporter hummed.
"I'm sorry!" came the voice. "I had to do that. If it were a hologram, it would have destroyed it. I only used the heavy stun setting. I'm sorry! I believe you now!"
"Good. Throw out that phaser and come out quietly. We'll talk about this."
"Captain Janeway, I am sorry for hurting my alternate. But before I come out, I have to ask one more question. What is the policy of this ship regarding slavery?"
Janeway was startled. "Slavery has been outlawed in the Federation for many centuries." she said.
"Thank God! Captain Janeway, I request asylum." came the voice as the phaser clicked not far from where Paris had landed unconscious. "I am an escaped slave from an alternate universe. Please don't send me back!"
"Asylum is granted." Janeway said. "Welcome aboard Voyager."
The pale figure walked out from behind boxes and over to his alternate. "I, the other me, had on a command uniform. Lieutenant? I'm a Lieutenant on this ship?"
"Yes, and my best pilot."
Paris looked down at where his alternate had fallen. "You lucky devil." he said. "I haven't been allowed to fly anything for over eight years."
Janeway dared to walk closer, grimacing at the abuse his body showed. "You've been badly treated." she said. "I presume slavery is permitted in your universe?"
"Permitted and encouraged for wayward scoundrels like myself." Paris said, looking at her. "If I'd known you harbored such feelings, I'd never have signed over my freedom to you in exchange for getting out of prison."
"Is that what happened?"
"Yes. Lifetime in prison for the deaths of two fellow officers. Four years of that, and you came to me and offered to buy me from Starfleet if I'd agree. I thought you were my family's friend, and it was a ruse to get me out of that hellhole. So I signed over my life to you. And look at me! This is what I got in return."
Janeway grimaced. "My alternate seems to be very different from myself." she admitted.
"You're mad at my father for raping you some fifteen years ago." Paris said, tears forming in his eyes. "And you bought me to take it all out on me. Well, Captain, I'd say your alternate has paid back the Paris family for what he did to her."
"Let us get you medical attention." Janeway said. "I guarantee you that you won't go back to that."
"What about the other slaves on Voyager?" Paris asked. "Twenty of them still alive. Would you help rescue them?"
Janeway caught her breath. "If they're treated as badly as you are, I promise we'll do all we can."
"Thank you. Please, make the next slave you rescue Chakotay? Please?"
"Chakotay is a slave as well?"
"All the Maquis are, those who are still alive after four years on Voyager. A lot of them were killed by their new owners pretty quickly after we came to the Delta Quadrant."
"Well, the Maquis are treated better here. Commander?"
Chakotay walked over and the alternate Paris' eyes grew wide, lit up. "Chakotay?" he said as if not believing it.
"I'm this universe's Chakotay, yes." Chakotay nodded.
"He's my Executive Officer." Janeway explained.
A sudden rush and the alternate Paris' arms were around Chakotay's neck. Chakotay was startled, but didn't push him away, even when the warm lips were pressed against his cheek fervently.
A tension in the body, and Paris let go. "I'm sorry, Commander." he said, wiping tears from his face. "We knew only one of us could go. You--he insisted that it be me. I begged him to come with me, even if it made the odds so much worse of the transport working."
"You beamed through an interspatial anomaly?" Chakotay asked.
"Yes." Paris said. "We only knew that there was a ship on the other side. Chakotay and I had broken away from the guards taking us to our cell and we made it to the transporter pad. We looked for a planet we could live on, anything. All we found was the anomaly and the ship on the other side. I kissed him good-bye, and beamed out. Only to find myself back on Voyager. I panicked. We have to go back and rescue Chakotay. He'll be hiding somewhere, like I was. But you know how hopeless that is. He'll be crawling through Jeffries tubes, the prey of a hunt by Captain Janeway. Game, amusement. Hunting slaves is a favorite pastime on the ship. He'll keep free as long as he can, in hopes of us rescuing him."
"The anomaly isn't very big." Chakotay said. "If Ensign Nagana hadn't taken over your signal, you would have died in the transport. Getting a signal through without the assistance of the other Voyager is not very good."
"Please, help me rescue him." Paris said. "Please. I--we, we need each other. I would have killed myself long ago if it hadn't been for his sweet love, holding me after the beatings, after the--the gang rapes she arranged for me, if not for him caring for me, sharing his food when she chose to starve me, loving me no matter what she does, how much I cry. We love each other. I only beamed here to ask whoever I found to help me rescue him. I wouldn't have left him if not for that hope."
"We'll rescue him if we can." Chakotay said. "I just don't know how yet."
Janeway hit her comm link. "Bridge, all stop! Return to the anomaly we have just passed."
"Aye, aye, Captain."
"Will you take me to the Sickbay?" Paris asked Chakotay. "I know you're not him, but I feel safer next to you."
"I'll go with you." Chakotay said.
Janeway said, "And I'll see what we can do to rescue him and the other slaves on the other Voyager." She didn't mention the Prime Directive, and knew that, in this case, she didn't need to.
* * * * *
En route, Chakotay said, "Tell me, Tom, who owns my alternate?"
"Tuvok used to." Paris said. "But Kim traded B'Elanna for him. B'Elanna wouldn't submit to him, and Kim said that either he traded or sold her, or he would have to kill her. So Tuvok and he traded. Chakotay's been treated quite well by Kim. It's why he's been able to help me out so much. But when they catch Chakotay, Kim will have to whip him. I don't know if he'll do it himself, or ask the Captain to have Security do it for him. He'll have to administer a hundred lashes, but you know that a lot depends on who wields the whip, and how."
"What about B'Elanna?"
"Tuvok has been using mind melds on her, so I don't know. She doesn't show any beatings, but I don't know what he's doing to her mind. I think he plans to use her for his pon farr. It's coming due in a few more months, you know, and Klingons can be triggered into the Vulcan mating ritual."
"I know." Chakotay agreed. "What about the other Maquis?"
"Most of the tougher ones are dead. Missing and presumed dead, that is. You look for your comrades every night in the holding cells or in the corridors. Missing one or two days, your owner has just decided to keep you overnight. Missing for two weeks, and we hold a funeral service. We were wrong once, about Dalby, he showed up again. Dalby doesn't speak any more. His owner had cut his tongue out and he was in Sickbay recovering from that."
Chakotay was sorry he had asked.
"Or when we met the Vidians, Captain Janeway negotiated passage for Voyager by giving away ten of the slaves. They're spare parts by now. They looked at me so close, I was scared they'd pick me but Janeway stopped that. I wasn't available, she explained. I was so grateful I smiled at her, and she revenged that smile by arranging for ten Security guards to rape me that night."
"Okay, enough." Chakotay said. He felt sick.
"I thought you should know what you're up against." Paris said. "I think Kim's a closet abolitionist. He's never beaten Chakotay and feeds him very well. Chakotay cleans his room and works with him on exercises and helps him study, and rubs his back for him. Chakotay's the envy of the other slaves, having such a kind master. I was lucky Chakotay chose me for his lover."
"I wouldn't mention that part to your alternate." Chakotay suggested. "This Paris doesn't have any leanings that way."
"What about you?" and there was the familiar, insolent Paris grin on his face of a sudden.
Chakotay grinned in his turn. "I don't chase people who aren't available."
"You didn't answer my question."
"And I don't intend to. Here's Sickbay."
They walked in and Chakotay said, "Doctor, here's the alternate Paris."
"Very good." the Doctor said. "If you'll climb up on the table, Mr. Paris, I'll see what we can do for you."
"Mr. Paris." Paris sighed. "I like that. No one's called me Mr. anything for a long time."
"We need something to call you, if we're going to have two Tom Parises running around the ship."
"This is his universe. He deserves the name more than I do." Paris gestured to his still- unconscious form. "Why don't I use my middle name of Eugene. No, Gene."
"Gene it is." Chakotay said. "How's Tom, Doctor?"
"As well as can be expected after such a heavy phaser blast. I repaired his neural functions and am letting him revive naturally. You can wake him if you need to." the Doctor said after glancing at the indicators.
"Tom? Tom?" Chakotay said.
"Uhh!" Tom roused. "Did anyone get the number of the shuttle that hit me?"
"I'm very sorry, Tom." Gene said. "I had to be sure you weren't a hologram. Only a heavy phaser stun would disrupt a good hologram. I was fooled by one in the past."
"All right." Tom raised up, groaning. Blearily, he focused on his alternate, who was being repaired by the Doctor. "God, Tom, you look like shit!"
"Call me Gene." Gene said. "I'm going to be staying on Voyager. Hope you don't mind having a new twin brother around."
"I'm sure the Delaney twins won't mind a bit." Tom grinned. "We can double-date."
Gene looked at Chakotay. "We'll discuss this after we rescue Chakotay."
"Huh?" Tom looked at Chakotay. "Oh, the other Chakotay."
"I'll call him Chak from now on. Chak is owned by Ensign Kim. I think he'll be willing to let go of Chak if we can do so without him losing face on Voyager. Hm, the names are going to be confusing. Let's call my old ship Voyager-2 from now on and if we run into any more names, we'll stick a "2" after it as well."
"Janeway's decided to try to rescue the slaves on Voyager-2." Chakotay said.
"Starting with Chak." Gene said. "He's in the most danger. If Kim-2 can't bring himself to whip Chak, he'll be whipped by Security. People have died from a hundred lashes. And Janeway-2 may leave instructions to arrange that. She is not going to like losing me one bit."
"Tom, if you're ready, let's go to the bridge. And Gene, you come to the bridge too, when the Doctor is done with you. We may need you two standing side by side to get this done."
Gene grabbed his arm. "Rescue Chak first. Promise me that."
Chakotay gently pulled his arm free. "I'll tell the Captain. We'll do what we can for all the slaves."
Gene looked after Chakotay and Paris as they left. His eyes showed hurt at first, then a resolution. When the Doctor released him, he stepped off the bed and out the door like a man with a purpose.
* * * * *
When they stepped onto the Bridge, they saw Janeway speaking with Janeway. Janeway- 2 looked at the two arrivals and said, "Well, there he is. Put one of your uniforms on him?"
"No, this one is my Tom Paris." Janeway said. "And Commander Chakotay, my Executive Officer. Lieutenant Paris, take your post, please."
"Well, you're getting more work out of your Paris and Chakotay than we are, I'll grant you that." Janeway-2 said. "Where's my property? I insist he be returned at once."
"Your Tom Paris has arrived in a universe where slavery is outlawed. Not only that, but our directives strictly forbid the return of any slaves into their servitude. He was free the moment he stepped onto my ship."
"How convenient." Janeway-2 smiled. "That leaves me with a substantial loss. Why are we even talking, then?"
"Because you have more slaves on your ship. I'd like to discuss their release as well."
"Out of the question. Slaves are property and I will not deprive my crewmembers of their property without just compensation."
"All right." Janeway said. "What price do you put on twenty lives?"
"Twenty-three slaves on this ship at the moment. Twenty-two now that you have my Tom Paris. Few enough for this size a ship. Why should I release all of them just for your universe's foolishness? And what would you have that we would need?"
"Let's talk trade, then." Janeway said. "I'm sure we can offer something you would like."
Janeway-2 looked at Paris, and he found himself feeling intimidated by that look. "What I would like most off your ship is probably the last thing you'd give me." she said. "Your Tom Paris is in a lot better shape than mine."
"And whose fault is that?" Janeway retorted. "My crewmembers are not for sale, I assure you of that."
"Which is exactly my viewpoint."
"Could we speak to the individual owners? I understand you have Chakotay as a slave there as well?"
"Ensign Kim." Janeway-2 said. "Tell this woman you don't want to sell your slave."
"By the way, how's the hunt going for Chakotay?" Chakotay asked.
"Very entertaining diversion." Janeway-2 said. "He's still eluding us, but we've trapped him on the bottom level. We'll have him within the hour. And I intend to see to his whipping personally."
Ensign Kim-2 had stepped up. "My property is my concern, Captain, with all due respect. What price would you offer me for that slave?"
"What would you like?" Chakotay returned.
Kim-2 regarded him. "A shuttlecraft. We're short on them and it'd be nice to be able to fly around in one of my very own."
"That's a high price."
"He's a valuable slave." Kim-2 smiled. "I'm not sure I'd part with him even at that price. He gives the most wonderful back rubs. Nice to come home to after a hard day's work."
"Yes, I learned massage long ago." Chakotay smiled in return. "I can see how that would increase my value."
"I treat Chakotay well." Kim-2 said. "He doesn't have any complaints. Today will be the first time I have ever whipped him. I'm not looking forward to it, but I feel that I should punish my own slave. And despite what my comrades may think, it won't be love taps I give him. He broke my rules, and he will be punished. I've already replicated the whip I'll use."
"If we have to buy slaves with shuttlecraft, we'll never make that price." Janeway said. "We don't have any to spare, ourselves. Mr. Kim, perhaps you'd consider something we could transport through this anomaly, instead of a shuttle that would never fit through this tiny wormhole between our universes?"
"An unstable wormhole." Kim-2 agreed. "There is little time for bartering. We calculate the wormhole will collapse within five days' time. And who knows when it'll go unstable and move on us? No, any exchanges of property will have to be done right away. You have no time for stubbornness on the values we set."
"We have instituted a replicator rationing system on our vessel." Janeway said.
"As we have on ours." Kim-2 said. "Transmit the system for comparison purposes."
Janeway gestured, and the information was received. Kim-2 regarded it. "Close enough to ours to make no difference, Captain." He pointed out to Janeway-2.
Janeway said, "Then we can speak in numbers. Let us agree on a number, and we will replicate whatever you choose up to those values and transport it to your vessel. Agreed?"
"Agreed." Janeway-2 said. "Now let's speak price. I'd say that 10,000 rations apiece would be a fair price on the slaves."
"I wouldn't let Chakotay go for less than 15,000." Kim-2 chipped in. "And I don't know if Tuvok will let B'Elanna go at any price. He has plans for her."
Gene walked on the bridge.
"Bring the slave owners in one at a time and we'll speak." Janeway said wearily. "Mr. Kim, you have asked 15,000. I feel that the 10,000 price is fair for Chakotay. Rest assured I won't offer even that much for the others."
"Losing those back rubs matter more to me than you may think." Kim said. "I don't want to embarrass your Executive Officer, but there is something he does after he rubs my back that I'm going to miss even more." The leer on his face made the meaning unmistakable.
"12,000." Janeway said, not looking at Chakotay, who had blushed dark purple, she was sure.
"No, Captain, I've hit my low number." Kim-2 said. "13,750."
"But he'll have to be whipped first, when we catch him."
"Whipping decreases the value." Janeway said. "I will lower my price."
"As I said, Captain, I hit my low number. The whipping cannot be avoided. It is one of our laws, and not at all cruel when you consider the crime he has committed. I could add strokes as I choose, but I will permit it to remain at a hundred when he is caught. And by whipping him myself, I can be sure he doesn't die under the lash. I have chosen a whip which will hurt, but do minimal physical damage. I think I'm being more than kind under the circumstances."
Janeway sighed. "Very well."
"There is one other problem." Janeway-2 said. "We haven't agreed on a price for my slave, who I see you've fixed up very nicely. I left the scars on him to remind him not to be so insolent. I spent a very long time making him an obedient slave."
Janeway sighed. "Inform all crew members that replicator rations will be suspended until further notice. What price, Captain?"
"Don't do it." Gene said. "She can't get me any longer. The very fact she's allowing this trade to go on proves that."
"As Captain of this vessel, I can suspend any agreements with my crewmembers." Janeway-2 snapped. "And that remark just made me decide to do that. Until my slave is returned, no negotiations can be undertaken."
Gene made a few gestures. Janeway-2 looked at them, he repeated them, she nodded. "I think we should wait twenty-four hours and consider the problem. Janeway out."
Janeway was furious when she turned to Gene. "Mr. Paris, you just sabotaged our chances of getting the other slaves free."
"My fault." Chakotay said. "I told him to come to the bridge. I thought we might need him."
"Now we have to start all over again." Janeway said. "Not your fault, Commander. Or yours, Mr. Paris. I apologize. You were trying to save me replicator rations, and I appreciate that. I'm sure we can take up tomorrow where we left off."
Gene asked for quarters, and when assigned, went directly there. Inside, he opened the communications panel and made adjustments, so that he could signal without the signals being recorded in the main computer. Done, he made his signal.
Janeway-2's face appeared on the console. "Well, did I understand you right." she asked.
"Yes, Mistress." Gene said. "You must be tired of me by now. I saw how you kept looking at the Tom Paris of this universe. New, unbroken, untrained. You could start all over again."
"In exchange for Chakotay."
"Yes, but without the whipping." Gene said. "If he shows a single mark on his body or his soul, I won't go through with this. The Captain of this ship is buying Chakotay, as you know. I'll just wait for her to get him for me."
"You may be surprised to hear this, but I'm a woman of my word." Janeway-2 said. "The chance to start all over again with a new Paris is very enticing. You will get your lover without the whipping. I will pay Kim myself." The signal interrupted briefly. Then Janeway reappeared, "By the way, Chakotay's just been captured. Roughed up a little in the capture, but I can't help that. Only a bruise or two, no broken bones."
"See to it that he isn't hurt any more." Gene said. "We'll do a simultaneous exchange. I'll put this Paris into transport, holding back 20% of his information until Chakotay is beamed to this ship. Then I'll send the rest. Warn your Transporter Chief that they'll have to clean the signal before concluding the beam. And remember that there has to be cooperation before any transport between the universes will work. Don't do anything foolish like beaming Security personnel to this ship. They'd never survive. Shall I transmit the logs of my beam-aboard for your confirmation?"
"No need. I understand. We have a deal."
"I'll arrange it in a few hours' time. As soon as I'm sure he's alone, I'll signal you again."
"We'll be ready. And Tom? I'm going to miss our little games."
"I won't." And Gene cut the connection, indulged in a brief fit of trembling. Hunkering on his new bed in fetal position, he waited ten minutes before he stopped it, got up. "Tom, I'm sorry." he said. "We'll buy you back as soon as we can." Gene looked at the chronometer, 0450. "Computer, where is Lieutenant Paris?"
"Lieutenant Paris is in his quarters. He has left orders not to be disturbed."
"Very good." Gene said. "No time like the present."
He made his way to the transporter room. In these early morning hours, no one was awake. Probably only a handful of people aboard this ship even knew there were two Tom Parises aboard this vessel. He could use that fact to his advantage.
Making his way to the transporter, he sneaked up and subdued Ensign Nagana. A quick blow to the back of her head, and she was down. He signalled the other Voyager.
* * * * *
Tom Paris awoke to the feel of cold steel deck. Startled, he looked up. He was wearing only his briefs, which he had worn to bed. He looked up. "Captain?" he asked.
"Hello, Tom." Janeway smiled. Three Security guards were with her. "Nice to see you again."
Tom understood immediately where he was. "Oh, God!" he said. "You won't get away with this, you know."
"I already have." Janeway-2 said. "You're one slave who won't be traded."
"I'm not your slave."
"Prove it." Janeway-2 said. "Better yet, prove it when I say you are. I have your signature on a voluntary assignment, conditional upon your getting out of prison. You belong to me."
"How did you get me?" He was stalling now.
"Bind him to the bed for me. Face down, at first." Janeway-2 said. As Tom was manhandled into position, not even struggling, Janeway-2 said, "You did it to yourself, you might say. I had to buy Chakotay off of Kim and turn him over without a whipping. One hundred lashes, is what Chakotay was due. But he's not here to get them. So guess who's going to take them instead?"
"Sure you want to do that?" Tom said quickly.
"What do you mean?"
"I'm not this universe's Tom Paris." Tom said as enticingly as he could manage. "The thought of being your love slave doesn't bother me quite so much as it did my alternate. And I've spent the last few years becoming a much more, um, courageous person. Let me just say that I don't see why these chains are necessary. Surely a compliant lover is better than one who is chained up?"
"Well, you're partially right." Janeway-2 said. "Of course, I did promise these three men a chance at you. They get so lonely on this long trip, with no shore leave worth counting. They have to find their fun somehow."
Tom looked at the men. He knew them all, Security officers on his own ship. Baxter, McKenzie, Rollins. But he'd never seen that look in their eyes.
"All right." he managed. "The more, the merrier. I'm always ready for some fun."
"This I have got to see." Janeway-2 said. "Go ahead, boys."
Tom held his chin firm as the three surrounded him. Please, God, let them use some lubrication, he begged the universe.
But as always, the universe wasn't listening. His yells of agony rebounded through the room and down the corridors.
And Janeway used the whip on him anyway. He passed out after the tenth stroke, but it didn't stop her.
* * * * *
Janeway was furious, looking at the two men. Chakotay and Paris. Neither of them hers.
"I can't believe you sacrificed my officer like this."
"You can buy him from her." Gene said. "I couldn't let Chakotay be whipped. I owe him too much for that."
Commander Chakotay looked at his alternate, who looked at him. "We'll have to buy him back fast."
"You shouldn't have done it, Tom, Gene." Chakotay-2 said. "I understand why you did it, and I appreciate it, but it was wrong. I keep telling you, you have to follow your head and not your heart."
"I did it for you." Gene said. "I owe you so much. Please, Chak, love, forgive me."
"I do forgive you." Chak said. "And I do understand. But these people may not."
"It's been so easy for you." Gene sniveled. "Kim has been so good to you. I used to dream sometimes that they had, that they had swapped us and it was me with him instead of you. God, I wanted it to be anyone but me under her whip, and her games. Even you, Chak."
"I know, baby, I know." Chak embraced Gene. "It's been so much worse for you. Now what are we going to do to rescue the other Tom Paris?"
"I don't know." Gene said. "I thought we'd buy him back. I'll go without replicator rations the rest of my life to do that. Work at any task you give me. Anything, Captain. Please rescue him for me."
"She's set her price on getting Lieutenant Paris back. 250,000 ration points. We don't have that. Even if I leave everyone else on that ship in slavery, we can't do it."
"She doesn't want to turn him back in." Gene admitted. "She wants a Tom Paris, to break all over again. Like she broke me. The last few years, I did anything she wanted me to. Whether it was take on ten Security guards one after the other, or to eat my own excrement, or to dance and sing while she whipped me, I did it. I never protested. She was getting bored at the end. It's why I started going to the cells with Chakotay this last year. Now, she can play all the games all over again, watching me, him, scream in pain and agony, begging for mercy. She'll keep at him and at him until she breaks him down into the snivelling mess you see before you right now. You think I don't know what I am, what I've become, because of her?"
"No one here is blaming you for your actions." Janeway said. "If anyone, I blame her. Alternates are so disturbing, to see yourself doing such things or hear of such things. I hate her."
"Maybe there is a way." Chakotay said. "We'll negotiate for the other slaves, then transport all of the material over at one time. Plenty of boxes and other items. Easy enough to slip one person inside."
"I'll go." Gene said. "I owe it to him."
Chakotay-2 shook his head. "Me."
"You're both wrong." Chakotay said. "But you were closer, Chak. Me."
"Because Tom needs me." Chakotay said. "And I don't think I need to explain it any better than that to you two."
Chak smiled and put his arm around Gene's waist. "I do understand." he said.
"Thank you." Gene said.
"I'll be ready to go in a few hours."
"I'll call Voyager-2 and negotiate for the other slaves."
* * * * *
Janeway held her head wearily. Dalby was standing in the viewscreen, his owner beside him. Lieutenant Jenny Delaney. "All right, Delaney, 5,500. Have him ready to be transported with the others."
"I want the rations in the forms of dresses for myself and my sister, and cosmetics. And other clothing, don't forget lingerie. Talk with my alternate and Megan's, and have them select." Jenny Delaney almost slavered. "I feel sure we're that much alike. Oh, and by the way, we assigned 10% of our rations to..."
"Ensign Harry Kim." Janeway said in synch with her.
"Yes, how did you know?" Jenny-2 asked.
"Your Ensign Kim has been very busy negotiating with the other slaveholders."
"Well, gosh, a person needs some rations in the bank and he's offering that. I made a profit on the deal. I got 600 ration points from him and I'm only losing 550 to do it." She giggled.
"Agreed. Tuvok, contact both Lieutenant Delaneys and have them make the choices and the replications."
"Thank you, Captain." Jenny-2 said. "A pleasure doing business with you. Frankly, owning a slave wasn't as much fun as I thought it'd be. I'm not the one who had his tongue removed, please tell my alternate that. It was Ensign Gennaro."
"Warn Ensign Gennaro of the actions of his alternate." Janeway said. "In case there are repercussions from the alternate Dalby, or our own, for that matter."
Ensign Kim worked the pad. "Total of 118,450 ration points so far, Captain."
"How many are left?" she said.
"That was the last of them." Kim said.
"Thank God! Janeway out." She fell back in her chair and sighed. "I feel like such a heel, buying human beings. And bargaining them down. Every time I had to reject an offer, I was terrified I'd lose one of them. Chell's owner frightened me, walking away like she did."
"You're buying them to free them, Captain. No complaints out of the crew. Certainly none out of me. Was I really that oily?" Kim asked suddenly. "When you were buying Chakotay from me, uh, him?"
Janeway smiled. "Well, your alternate is certainly a good trader. When your alternate asked for a shuttlecraft, for a time, I thought we'd have to dismantle one and beam it over piece by piece."
Kim cocked his head. "Well, Chakotay would be a valuable property." he said. Then he caught the look on Janeway's face. "Sorry, Captain, just a joke."
"And a poor one." Janeway said. "I wonder how much we have buried the desire to own other human beings. I dreamed last night of being that other Janeway, torturing Tom Paris. It scares me how much I enjoyed that dream." Then she started. She hadn't meant to tell anyone that. "That's confidential, Ensign, crew. I'm tired and didn't mean to say that."
"It's all right." Kim said. "We're all going to have to adjust to having these people on our vessel. I'm not sure how to look the other Chakotay in the face, him being my alternate's love slave like he was. I feel a little nauseated. Would I have done that, if that had been my universe?"
"We'll all be answering those questions for a long time. Their Tuvok surprised me, releasing B'Elanna as he did. I thought she'd be a hard one to buy." Janeway admitted.
"Captain, I assure you." her Tuvok said. "I feel confident my other self took B'Elanna only to save her life. She doesn't display any of the aspects of a dominated individual."
"Of course, that didn't keep your alternate from getting a good price for her." Janeway grinned.
"Well, Captain, a purchase is a purchase." Tuvok agreed. "I found my alternate's actions quite logical for his universe."
Janeway said. "I'm not sure what we're going to do with the nine-year-old boy-child we bought. What's his name, Tobias? It hadn't occurred to me that there'd be any slaves other than former Maquis aboard Voyager, and as for child slaves." She shuddered.
Tuvok said, "I've spoken with the members who have alternates beaming over. All have agreed to help their alternates through the transition, see to it they get counseling and support. As for the others, I will ask for volunteers."
"What about the alternate Chakotay, uh, Chak, and, uh, Gene."
"We'll assign them quarters. Joint quarters." Tuvok said. "They have expressed a desire to raise Tobias themselves. They were caring for him in the cells at night."
"We'll decide on that after they both pass their psychological reviews. Gene shook me up badly, arranging that trade. Speaking of which," Janeway raised herself up. "Commander, are you ready?"
"I'm ready, Captain." Chakotay said.
"When the replicators have finished, we'll add your box to the supplies and send them as quickly as we can. Question is, whose property are you being labelled as?"
"Ensign Kim's." Chakotay said. "His purchases are the bulkiest, and I can hope he doesn't get to my box before I have a chance to escape. Also, Gene indicated a sympathetic personality. At worst, I will ask for his assistance."
"Be careful, Chakotay." Janeway said.
"I'm going to my ready room and lie down a while." Janeway said. "I feel very fatigued after buying twenty-two human beings."
"Only one left." Kim agreed. "Tom."
"Don't remind me." Janeway said. "That negotiation stunk worst of all, because it failed. Now I have to worry about losing Chakotay as well."
* * * * *
There were no protests from Voyager-2 at the heavy frequency of the beam-overs. As quickly as the purchases arrived, the slaves were beamed back. Each of the Maquis met their alternates, and were escorted back to their quarters. Some insisted on sharing quarters with their alternates, and many times, significant glances went back and forth between alternates and her own crewmen. Janeway decided that the less she knew of what was going on in the days ahead, the better. Everyone who had an alternate who had been a slaveholder was aware of that fact, and all were prepared to deal with the problem. She hoped.
Kim's bundles were the last. Chakotay counted on the corridors being jammed with boxes of all shapes and sizes, and the confusion helping him. His beam-over went through at 2200 hours, another hope he'd be unmolested until morning.
Chakotay waited in silence for almost two hours. Harry Kim-2 was still moving about his quarters, opening and unpacking material. Chakotay waited with increasing despair. When the lid on his crate was opened, he stood up with a sigh. "Hello, Mr. Kim."
"Commander Chakotay I presume." Kim-2 said.
"Yes." Chakotay stepped out. "Are you going to turn me in?"
"You're here to rescue Tom Paris?"
"Fair enough." Kim-2 said. "It was despicable of the Captain to agree to that trade. Only one item is left."
"The price for my silence." Kim-2 said.
"What do you have in mind?"
"Just the services of my former slave for a few hours." Kim-2 smiled. "Beginning with the back rub."
"I can rub your back." Chakotay admitted.
"After the other service I miss most." Kim-2 unfastened his fly. "It's a small price for letting a spy loose on Voyager, don't you think?"
Chakotay looked down, licked his lips. "I guess that's fair."
"You have my word of honor."
"That's a funny word under the circumstances." Chakotay knelt down.
"I know my Chakotay well." Kim-2 said. "He enjoyed this as much as I did. I'm betting you're not that bothered by the concept." He waggled his cock at Chakotay.
Chakotay looked a little longer and then dove to his task. Kim-2 was right, he didn't mind it that much. He'd been living like a monk aboard Voyager. And he'd never see this Kim again.
A few moments, and Kim-2 exploded into his mouth. From the pressure on the back of his head, Chakotay knew he was expected to swallow, and he did, though he gagged as he did so.
"Now for the back rub." Kim-2 said. "I'm good and relaxed. When you finish, you can sneak out. Remember that the door commands on all levels will not work for you. Not even this one. You can leave, but you won't be able to re-enter."
Chakotay climbed aboard Kim-2 as he lay on the bed. Rubbed his hands together, took the oil proferred by Kim-2 and began the back rub. Kim-2 fell asleep during it, and Chakotay looked down at the strong body. An extraordinary individual here, sleeping while an enemy sat atop him. Now if his universe's Kim was as self-confident....
He went to the door and it opened. It was past midnight, the corridors were empty.
Up a Jeffries tube to the Captain's quarters. Thank God these Voyagers were identical in layout. He was able to enter the Captain's quarters through a panel in her living room.
He made it in, looked around. Had she sent Tom to the slave cells? Gene was sure she'd keep him in her quarters for months on end, as she had Gene.
He stepped stealthily to the bedroom. The door opened and he stepped in. Janeway-2 was there, asleep. He looked around. Where was Paris?
"Looking for someone, Commander?" came the voice from the bed. Chakotay looked around. Janeway-2 was holding a phaser aimed at him. "This phaser is set to kill. When you have a slave society, you learn to sleep with a phaser under your pillow."
"Looking for your boyfriend?"
"He's a friend and fellow officer aboard my ship." Chakotay said.
"He screamed your name while we were making love." Janeway said. "I was riding him after I had given him the hundred strokes due your alternate, and had to drench him with water to wake him up. But he woke up erect. God, the sex drive in that family! So I climbed onto him and bounced on him. He loved it, the feel of my pussy on his cock, riding him, giving him no choice. Then he began to moan, 'Oh, God, yes, oh, god, yes, oh, CHAKOTAY!'" Janeway laughed. "What do you think of that, Commander?"
"People yell all kinds of things while in the passion of sex." Chakotay said. "I see no significance to it."
"No? Then here's the agreement. I'll let you live and both of you transport back to your Voyager. On one condition."
"I'll open the cupboard where I'm keeping Tom Paris. You say not one word to him, not one gesture. Just take him and fuck his ass nice and hard. You can stroke him any way you want. If he has an orgasm while you're fucking his ass, then I'll release both of you. If he doesn't, I'm keeping both of you."
"Another game, Captain?" Chakotay asked.
"The stakes are quite high, yes. Frankly, I find that breaking in a new Tom Paris not to be as much fun as I had thought. This one tried to pretend he would be happy as my slave. I proved him wrong about that in a hurry. But then he just kind of crumpled up, like a damp sponge. No fun to him at all. I'm perfectly willing to turn him over to you if you win the bet. You've already risked your life and liberty coming here. Afraid to put it a little more obviously on the table? All I need to do is keep you three more days and that wormhole will be gone."
"I see your point. Agreed." Chakotay said.
Janeway-2 pressed a button on her table and a section of wall slid away. As it did, another section slid down to make an open-framework table. And on the table, face-down, was Tom Paris. Nude, his body covered with blood from the whipping he had received (all over his body, even his face bore slash marks).
Tom looked over at him, Chakotay, dressed in black, and hope blossomed in his eyes. Chakotay wanted more than anything to tell him what was about to happen. But he couldn't.
He pulled open his pants and stroked his cock, and panic appeared in Tom's eyes. Gagged, he still managed the words, "No! Please! No!"
Not a word, Chakotay! He told himself. He felt like a monster. If this wasn't to save Tom's life, and his own.... He walked over and shoved his cock at Tom's face while he removed the gag.
"Suck it." Janeway-2 ordered.
Tom's face crinkled in despair, and he obeyed, taking Chakotay's cock into his mouth and sucking on it. Chakotay didn't dare be gentle here. He had to entertain this dangerous Janeway, as well as stimulate Tom. He reached under the table and grabbed Tom's cock, finding it confined in a cruel binding of leather strap. He undid the strap and caressed Tom's cock as he got it free. Come on, Tom, he thought as strongly as he could. Get into this. Enjoy it. You've got to!
"That's enough of that, Commander Chakotay. Now fuck him!" Janeway-2 ordered.
So he wouldn't be spared even this here. No chance to pretend he was another Chakotay. Between his garments and Janeway's phaser, Tom knew who was about to fuck his ass.
He held his slick cock to Tom's ravaged butt, and felt a thick crusting of dried blood there. Poor Tom! What did this bitch do to you? But he pushed his cock in, and wanted to cry as he felt the wounds re-open, the hot blood covering and lubricating his cock further.
His hands went around to grasp Tom's cock again. Stroking it. God, Tom's cock was so shriveled up, it was nearly impossible to find. No enjoyment here for Tom. He let go and concentrated on stroking Tom's body. There were so few places unmarred by the lash, but he found some paths he could touch, rows of untorn flesh to touch and caress. He leaned over and kissed Tom's ear.
"Chakotay? Is that you?" Tom asked. "Oh, God, is that you?"
"It's him, Tom. Your own Chakotay, came here to rescue you. Now he's my slave, too. I thought you two should make each other's acquaintance."
Tom began to cry, then, and Chakotay stroked him again, gently, trying to let his fingers tell Tom that it would be all right. Come on, baby! He thought to him. You've got to enjoy this! It's our only hope!"
Tom's body had ceased to protest his cock's invasion, and Chakotay began to gently push in and out of him. Soft, loving movements. Come on, feel the love here! You've got to! Kissed Tom's ear again. Love me, he thought. Love me!
And Tom groaned. Hardly daring to hope, Chakotay reached one hand down to feel. Yes, it was hard! He stroked it.
"Stop stroking him, Commander!" Janeway-2 ordered. "You can't touch him there anymore."
Chakotay released him and concentrated on moving lovingly, reaching with his hands to both nipples and touching them, rubbing them carefully.
"Oh! Oh, God!" Tom said. "Oh!"
"Come on, Commander, you can fuck him harder than that!" Janeway-2 snarled.
Chakotay speeded up. Tom's response was immediate, he groaned, moaned, gasped, and, yes, yes! Tom ejaculated, the sperm making ringing sounds as it hit the metal frame. Chakotay groaned happily, and his own orgasm struck him and he pumped his jism into Tom's body.
Gasping, he lay for a short time atop Tom, then got up. "Well, Captain? Are you a woman of your word?" he panted.
Janeway-2 looked at him. "I should have killed you the moment I saw you. Like I should have killed that other Chakotay. Both of you managed to ruin my fun entirely. Go ahead and take him. I'll call the Transporter Room and tell them you're coming. I don't want to see a Chakotay or a Paris again for as long as I live. I'm going to purge your very memories from our computer. You'll never have existed here. Never!"
Chakotay walked over and began to unfasten Tom's bindings. "You're going home, Tom." he said. "With me."
He carried the abused body himself down the corridor. Halfway there, Security guards began an escort. But it was an escort.
* * * * *
Tom's body took less repairs than you would have thought, from all the blood. Whips cut only a short ways into the skin, and it was all easily repaired. Half an hour after he had arrived, he looked as fit as ever. Only a haunted look in his eyes remained of the ordeal.
Chakotay went to see him and saw him talking with Gene. It had been decided to have all the alternates use hair dye to help people tell them apart at a glance, so the Tom Paris now called Gene was now black-haired, while his own alternate was blond-haired.
"Hello, Commander." Gene said when he saw them.
"Hello, Gene. Chak."
"Commander." Chak said.
"I came to check on Tom." Chakotay said. "How are you feeling?"
"Better, now I'm back aboard Voyager." Tom said.
"I came to apologize once again." Gene said. "I don't know if I can ever say it often enough to you. I owe you a huge debt. Any favors you want from me, just ask."
"Me, too." Chak said. "I have to go speak with Tuvok. He thinks he can use me on the Security team."
"And I get to fly Voyager once I learn her controls. Not that it will take that long. I've dreamed of them often enough, I feel I could fly her already."
"Shorter hours for the rest of us." Chakotay joked.
"How are the rest of my people fitting in?" Chak asked.
"Well enough." Chakotay said. "Gennaro walked over to Dalby-2 and said, 'Dalby, I'm not the man who did that to you, but I know it'll make you feel better.' He then held out his chin and pointed at it and said, 'Go right ahead.'"
"What did Dalby-2 do?" Chak asked, intrigued.
"He punched Gennaro right on the chops, real hard, as offered. Then he picked Gennaro up and bought him a drink. The two of them are friends now."
"Mind if I speak to Tom alone, now?" Chakotay asked.
"Certainly." and the two left, arms around each other.
"Going to feel odd, seeing those two doing that." Tom said. "Walking about like they're the two most important people in the world to each other."
"They are." Chakotay said. "Gene needs Chak. Given what he went through, I'm amazed Gene isn't more of a basket-case than he is."
"We're tough people, we Parises." Tom said.
"That's what I was wondering." Chakotay said. "I came to apologize for what I did on the other Voyager. It was the only way we were getting off that ship."
"I know. Now." Tom said. "I guess I owe you thanks for, uh, doing it."
"Coming to your rescue?"
"No. Your making love to me. I could feel it, how gentle you were. I knew you didn't want to hurt me, even with that Janeway ordering you around."
"I'm glad of that." Chakotay said. "I was thinking thoughts at you as loudly as I could. Hoping you were a bit telepathic. I was ordered not to say a word to you."
"I gathered that." Tom said. "And maybe I did pick up a thought or two at that."
"If you're done with the Doctor, I was wondering if you wanted to have lunch with me?"
"Sounds good." Tom said. "But I don't want to go out in public just now. Too many people know what happened to me. I'm not ready to face the prying eyes just now."
"All right. In my quarters?"
And as they walked out together, Chakotay dared to hope.