Finding Clarity

© 2007 MultiMapper
All Rights Reserved

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Chapter 6

"Delta Flyer to Voyager. Please come in." Tom said firmly.

"Voy... Delt... ....w.... ...rr..."

"Delta Flyer to Voyager, we have a medical emergency. I repeat. We have a medical emergency."? Tom said firmly.

"Please advise... ....what injuries have you sustained?" Captain Janeway asked professionally.

"Commander Chakotay and Crewman Dalby were knocked unconscious by an unknown force from the dilithium they were trying to collect. The medical tricorder isn't showing any injury, so I haven't wanted to take the chance of administering any treatment. They appear to be stable. Lieutenant Ayala was injured in a separate incident and has two broken ribs and some minor internal injuries. I've administered pain medication to deal with his discomfort and done my best to immobilize his ribs with a pressure bandage. Also we... I lost Ensign Kim." Tom finished quietly as he fought to hold back his tears.

"What do you mean by 'lost'?" Captain Janeway asked carefully.

"I mean lost. Misplaced. Can't find... he's down on that planet all alone and there's nothing I can do about it" Tom said as a tear started gliding down his cheek.

"Excuse me Tom." Gerron said from Lieutenant Ayala's side.

"Yes?" Tom whispered as he muted the comm.

"I think it might be a good time for Lieutenant Paris to take over." Gerron said with a timid look in his eyes.

Tom looked at Gerron with uncertainty for a second, then nodded his agreement.

Lieutenant Paris looked over his controls, then unmuted the comm channel.

"Captain Janeway, as soon as we're in transporter range I would like to transport the injured members of the team to the ship, then return to the surface to search for Ensign Kim." Lieutenant Paris said firmly.

"Our sensors aren't able to penetrate the storm on the surface, please advise of the conditions at the landing site." Captain Janeway said professionally.

"The black fog that we encountered blocks out all light, is difficult to breath and seems to have a thickness to it that makes it difficult to walk through." Lieutenant Paris said professionally.

"You're entering transporter range. Tuvok will be beaming aboard with a security team to take charge of the search party." Captain Janeway said firmly.

"Aye Captain." Lieutenant Paris said without emotion.

"Have the remainder of the away team prepare for transport." Janeway said calmly.

"Aye captain." Lieutenant Paris said, then muted the comm as he turned in his seat.

"Everyone, prepare for transport to Voyager." Lieutenant Paris said firmly.

Gerron looked at Lieutenant Paris with a gentle smile and said, "You're doing fine. Take good care of them."

Lieutenant Paris smiled at Gerron and gave a brief nod.

As soon as everyone was in their transport positions, Lieutenant Paris unmuted the comm and said, "Energize."

* * * * *

"Lieutenant Paris, prepare to take us to the last known location of Ensign Kim." Tuvok said seriously.

"Yes sir." Lieutenant Paris said formally and programmed the reciprocal course.

"Is there any further information you can give that might aid in our search for Ensign Kim?" Tuvok asked as he took the co-pilot's chair.

"The only thing I can think of is that he seemed to be behaving in an unusually... childish manner." Lieutenant Paris said hesitantly.

"How so?" Tuvok asked curiously.

"His manner of speech was different and his reasoning didn't seem to be normal. Come to think of it, Lieutenant Ayala didn't seem to be acting like himself either.." Lieutenant Paris said in concentration.

"If there was indeed an effect from being on the surface, can you speculate why you weren't effected in the same manner?" Tuvok asked seriously.

"No sir. I might have been effected to some degree, but maybe since I wasn't in it as long it didn't effect me as badly." Lieutenant Paris said in thought.

"Thank you Lieutenant. We appear to be nearing the storm." Tuvok said calmly.

"Right. This storm or whatever it is doesn't seem to cause any problem with the Delta Flyer's navigational systems or engines but it blocks our communicators and sensors completely." Lieutenant Paris said as he followed the programmed course.

"Lieutenant Paris, once we have landed, remain with the ship and be prepared to lift off as soon as we have retrieved Ensign Kim." Tuvok said seriously.

"Yes sir." Lieutenant Paris said as he worked his controls to try and make the landing as soft as possible.

* * * * *

As soon as the Delta Flyer had touched down, Lieutenant Paris said, "Ensign Kim's last known location was approximately ten meters to starboard."

"Thank you Lieutenant. Search team, anchor to the ship and begin search pattern alpha. Communicators will not work in this environment so you will have to relay messages to your nearest team member." Tuvok said professionally.

Lieutenant Paris looked back at the group of three men and one woman who were paying Commander Tuvok their full attention. Inwardly, the Lieutenant felt a spark of admiration for the respect and trust that Commander Tuvok had earned from his team.

"Proceed." Tuvok said firmly and watched as his security team made their way into the blackness.

As soon as the last one had gone, Tuvok attached his harness to the rope by the Delta Flyer's door and followed them into the dark.

* * * * *

Lieutenant Paris went through every possible system check on the Delta Flyer trying to make sure that everything was in top operating condition.

Finally he sat in the pilot's chair and looked back at the empty ship.

{Tom?} Lieutenant Paris asked quietly in his mind.

//Right here.// Tom answered immediately.

{Would you like to check the med-kit to see that it has everything you need?} Lieutenant Paris asked cautiously.

//I know what's in there. Besides, if there's something missing, there's not much I can do about it now.// Tom said frankly.

{Yes. I should have thought of that.} Lieutenant Paris said with distraction.

//Do you want to talk about it?// Tom asked quietly.

{About what?} Lieutenant Paris asked cautiously.

//About why you're making up excuses to talk with me.// Tom said in a playful voice.

{I'm not usually... out here like this.} Lieutenant Paris said in a lost tone.

//Yeah. You usually take care of the duty shift and let the rest of us handle the down time.// Tom said frankly.

{I don't know how to do... nothing.} Lieutenant Paris said helplessly.

Tom chuckled, then said, //Lou, we're going to have to work on getting you a life outside of duty.//

{Lou?} Lieutenant Paris asked cautiously.

//Yeah, short for Lieutenant. What do you think?// Tom asked happily.

After a moment of thought, Lieutenant Paris smiled and said, {I think I like it. I never even thought about getting a name of my own before.}

//Well, if you're anything like me, you were probably thinking that you're just one of Tommy's defenders. But I had a long talk with Chakotay and he explained it to me. We're all real.// Tom finished in a firm voice of certainty.

{But, how can we be?} Lieutenant Paris asked in wonder.

//I don't know how or why. I just know that we are real. From the moment we awoke as separate people we've been learning and growing. Lou, I love my life and I want you to love your life too.// Tom said happily.

{I don't know if I can. Up to now I just assumed that I was Tommy's duty. His professional persona. But if I'm more than that... I don't know how to be more.} Lieutenant Paris said helplessly.

//Well, I happen to know a few people who can help you with that.// Tom said in a leading tone.

{Commander Chakotay?} Lieutenant Paris asked cautiously.

//That's one. But don't forget about me and Tommy. I bet Flyboy might even kick in some suggestions to liven things up for you.// Tom said warmly.

{I'm going to need to think about this. I just don't know what to believe.} Lieutenant Paris said in a lost voice.

//Believe in what your heart tells you. Maybe when you're ready, you can get Chak to take you on a spirit walk. It really helps put things in perspective.// Tom said with an internal chuckle.

{Spirit walk?} Lieutenant Paris asked cautiously.

//Yeah. Don't worry about it now.// Tom said in an encouraging voice.

{Thanks Tom. You've given me a lot to think about.} Lieutenant Paris said quietly.

//I think that's my cue to leave. I think you know where to find me if you need me..//

{Thanks Tom. But I'm going to try to handle this mission for myself. I've got to learn how to do something more than be a pilot.} Lieutenant Paris said cautiously.

//I understand, but here's one more thing to think about.// Tom said in a leading tone.


//We all share one body. Maybe instead of learning how to do everything by yourself, you might think about being a real leader and delegating the tasks that need to be done to those with the best talent for doing them.// Tom said, then faded from Lieutenant Paris' mind's eye.

* * * * *

"Lieutenant Paris, please scan Ensign Carlson to determine his condition." Tuvok said firmly as he guided one of his security men into the Delta Flyer.

"What's wrong with him?" Lieutenant Paris asked quickly as he scanned the young man with the medical tricorder.

"That is what I would like for you to determine." Tuvok said firmly.

{Tom, can you handle the medical thing? You've had a lot more practice than I have.} Lieutenant Paris asked hopefully.

//I'm on it.// Tom said as he moved forward.

"His blood chemistry is going crazy. The tricorder can't make sense out of what's happening to him." Tom said as he examined the readings carefully.

"He was exhibiting child-like behavior. Others of the security team seem to be likewise effected to a lesser degree." Tuvok said darkly.

"Any sign of Harry?" Tom asked with concern.

"Yes. Ensign Kim's boots have been recovered. Based on the location of that find we are instituting a new search pattern." Tuvok said professionally.

"You can leave Ensign Carlson here with me if you want to get back to your team." Tom said as he watched Ensign Carlson carefully.

"Yes. It would be advantageous if you could find a treatment for Ensign Carlson's condition." Tuvok said seriously.

"Without knowing the cause, there's not much I can do. Maybe it'll just wear off now that he's inside." Tom said as he looked at the readings again.

* * * * *

"Ensign Carlson, what's your first name?" Tom asked quietly.

"I'm Terry. You want to play a game?" Ensign Carlson asked with a big hopeful smile.

"It's nice to meet you Terry. I'm Tom. I would like to play a game, but not right this minute. Right now I want to be sure that you feel okay." Tom said slowly.

"Are you a doctor?" Ensign Carlson asked suspiciously as he began to back away from Tom.

"No. I'm not anything like a doctor. I just want to make sure you didn't get hurt when you were outside in the dark." Tom said as he discretely scanned the young ensign again with the medical tricorder.

"I'm hungry." Ensign Carlson said in a grumpy tone.

Tom saw that the readings hadn't changed, then said, "Let's see what we can do to fix that Terry. Do you want to help me look in these storage crates to see if we have some food in here?"

Ensign Carlson got a big smile as he happily followed Tom.

"What do we have in this one?" Tom asked as he pointed to a storage crate.

Ensign Carlson carefully opened the crate and looked inside.

"Salad." he said with a crinkled nose.

Tom looked in the crate and recognized it as some of the plant samples his team had collected.

"Yeah, salad. Let's see if we can find something better. What's in this one?" Tom asked and led Ensign Carlson to the next container.

"Lieutenant Paris. I require your assistance." Tuvok called from the door of the shuttle.

Tom hurried to the door and heard a whimpering cry just outside.

"Terry, will you come here and help me?" Tom asked as he stood by the door.

The young ensign scrambled to the door, nearly tripping over his own feet.

"Tuvok, what is his first name?" Tom asked seriously.

"This is Ensign Douglas O'Donnell." Tuvok said and seemed to be surprised at the irrelevant question.

"Terry, help me get Doug into the Delta Flyer. He's probably scared of being in the dark." Tom said quickly.

Ensign Carlson looked out the door into the complete blackness, then screamed, "Doug! Don't be a baby! Come in here and help me look for food with Tom."

Tom smiled and said, "Doug, if you'll follow my voice, you can come in and we'll see if we can find you something to eat."

A timid pair of eyes could finally be seen from the edge of the door.

"We'll be fine Tuvok. Go find Harry." Tom said as he held out his hand to the timid Ensign.

"It's okay. He's nice." Ensign Carlson said happily.

Slowly, the dark haired Ensign crept into the shuttle.

"It's okay Doug. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm here to keep you safe." Tom said gently.

Doug looked over at Terry with question and received a nod of confirmation.

In the space of a heartbeat, Tom was nearly tackled by the 6'2" security officer.

Tom chuckled at the move and hugged Doug in return.

"Okay Doug, calm down. You're here and you're safe. Do you want to help us look for food? We have a bunch of crates to go through and I'm sure that there are emergency rations in here somewhere." Tom said gently.

"I'm Terry." Ensign Carlson said from beside the pair.

"That's right. He's Terry and I'm Tom." Tom said as he coaxed the large man to release him.

"I need to poop." Doug said seriously.

"Oh. Well, then I'm glad I built a lavatory in the Delta Flyer. Come with me Doug and we'll get you taken care of."

"Can I come too?" Terry asked hopefully.

Tom smiled and said, "Sure. Come on."

* * * * *

Within half an hour the rest of the security team were brought back to the Delta Flyer.

Tom would comfort them, feed them and get them settled.

Terry and Doug were chatting quietly, cuddled together by the door.

Tom had an older security Ensign named Milo snuggled against his left side and a junior grade lieutenant named Karla on his other side.

"Lieutenant Paris. I have located Ensign Kim, but I require assistance in retrieving him." Tuvok said firmly.

"Okay Tuvok. I'll be right there." Tom said and shifted the two security officers off his chest.

"You're leaving us?" Milo asked in a whimper.

"I'm just going outside to find a friend of mine who is lost in the dark. If you were out there, I'd go out to get you." Tom said in a soothing voice.

Milo reluctantly nodded as tears filled his eyes.

"Terry, will you be in charge while I'm gone?" Tom asked seriously.

"Only if Doug can be in charge too. He's my bestest friend." Terry said firmly as he clutched Doug to his side.

"Alright then. Everyone, Terry and Doug are in charge while I'm gone. Listen to what they say." Tom said seriously as he looked around.

"You be back soon?" Karla asked in a small voice.

"I'll be back just as soon as I can Karla, I promise." Tom said, then gave her a kiss on the forehead.

"Lieutenant Paris." Tuvok said in an urging tone.

"Yes sir." Tom said, then internally called to Lieutenant Paris to take over.

{Are you sure?} Lieutenant Paris asked cautiously.

//I really think you're better at dealing with Tuvok. I'll be here when you need me. Go get Harry and bring him back.// Tom said seriously.

{Okay Tom. I'll take care of it.} Lieutenant Paris said with apprehension, then stepped out of the Delta Flyer and into complete darkness.

* * * * *

"Ensign Kim has lodged himself into a small space between some rocks. Were I to attempt to extract him alone, I would, in all probability, break some of his bones." Tuvok said as he led the way along the rope.

"Is he conscious?" Lieutenant Paris asked cautiously.

"Yes. But his mental faculties seem to be those of a very young child." Tuvok said gravely.

"I'll see what I can do." Lieutenant Paris said as he continued to follow.

"We are nearing the outcropping of rock. Be cautious, the terrain is uneven from this point on." Tuvok warned.

"Where is he?" Lieutenant Paris asked quietly.

"Approximately two meters ahead and half a meter down." Tuvok said seriously.

"Let me see if I can get him to come out on his own." Lieutenant Paris said as he got on his hands and knees and felt his way ahead inch by inch in the blackness.

"Harry?" Lieutenant Paris called gently.

A whimpering cry was his response.

"Harry? How are you doing?" Lieutenant Paris asked quietly.

"Daddy's mad at me." Harry said in a whisper.

Lieutenant Paris thought for a moment, then realized that Tuvok's Vulcan demeanor could be mistaken as anger from a young child’s point of view.

"Would you like to make Daddy Tuvok happy with you?" Lieutenant Paris asked as he felt around and finally found Harry's arm.

"Uh huh." Harry said quietly.

Lieutenant Paris quickly felt around to survey the small crevice where Harry had wedged himself to try and get an idea of how to get him out.

"Then you need to come with me now. Daddy Tuvok is unhappy because you're hiding from him. But if you come back to the ship with us he'll be happy again." Lieutenant Paris said gently.

"Really?" Harry asked cautiously.

"Well, Daddy Tuvok doesn't laugh and smile like some people when he's happy. But if he get's to complete his mission, then he's happy and he'll be able to complete his mission if you come with us." Lieutenant Paris said in a slightly urging tone.

There was a long moment of silence as Harry considered the words.

"And if you'll come with me, I'll take you to my ship where there are a bunch of other kids your age. You'll have lots of friends. I know they'll all like you." Lieutenant Paris said with a smile.

"Lot's of friends?" Harry asked quietly.

"That's right." Lieutenant Paris said gently.

"Is Tom going to be there?" Harry asked in a trembling voice.

"Do you want him to be?" Lieutenant Paris asked cautiously.

"I was stupid and mean and now he hates me." Harry said then started crying.

"Tom doesn't hate you. He's the one who got all of us to come here to look for you." Lieutenant Paris said gently.

"Really?" Harry asked cautiously.

"I swear. He's really worried about you and misses you a lot." Lieutenant Paris said quietly.

"I'm stuck." Harry said in a small voice.

"Well, if you'll give me your hand, I'll try to unstick you." Lieutenant Paris said with a smile.

After a moment, Lieutenant Paris felt Harry's questing hand.

"I've got you Harry. Take hold of my wrist and I'm going to hold onto yours." Lieutenant Paris said quietly.

Harry shifted his grip around until he was gripping Lieutenant Paris firmly by the wrist.

"That's good. Now see if you can give me one of your ankles." Lieutenant Paris said as he slid his free hand down Harry's side and tried to catch his ankle.

After a moment, he was finally able to take hold of it.

"Now it's time to unstick you. I need you to lay as flat as you can, then I'm going to pull on your wrist and ankle. Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you, I'm just going to slide you out of there." Lieutenant Paris said in a gentle voice.

"What's your name?" Harry asked curiously.

"My name is Lou. Are you ready?" Lieutenant Paris asked in an encouraging voice.

"Yeah." Harry whispered.

"Okay. Here we go. One, two and threeeeeeeee."

Harry giggled as he felt himself being pulled free of the confined space.

Lieutenant Paris smiled at the happy sound and pulled Harry into a joyful hug.

"Well done Lieutenant Paris." Tuvok said from behind them.

Harry's breath caught in his throat as he froze with fear.

"It's okay Harry. Tuvok isn't mad at you, are you Tuvok?" Lieutenant Paris asked in a leading tone.

"On the contrary. I am pleased to know that you are safe. Now we must return to the shuttle." Tuvok said firmly.

"Come on Harry. Can you walk?" Lieutenant Paris asked as he coaxed Harry to stand.

"Will you carry me?" Harry asked hopefully.

Without giving it a second thought, Lieutenant Paris picked Harry up and carried him toward the shuttle.

"You're nice." Harry said as he rested his head on Lieutenant Paris' shoulder.

"I'm glad you think so Harry." Lieutenant Paris said gently, trying to keep the strain of carrying a full grown man out of his voice.

"Do you have any kids Lou?" Harry asked quietly.

"No Harry, but if I did, I'd want them to be just like you." Lieutenant Paris said, and gave Harry a hug.

* * * * *

Lieutenant Paris, Tuvok and Harry entered the Delta Flyer to find complete chaos.

The security team were in various stages of undress. Most of the contents of the storage crates were scattered throughout the ship and Karla was laying back, laughing hysterically while Milo was drawing smiley faces on her bare breasts.

"I told them not to." Terry said in a small voice as he held close to Doug who was naked from the waist down.

Lieutenant Paris looked around the ship for a moment, then said, "They're still alive. So you did a good job. Thanks Terry, you too Doug."

Both men moved toward Lieutenant Paris, wanting to hug him.

"Hold on. Guys, this is Harry. Harry, this is Terry and this is Doug." Lieutenant Paris said carefully.

"Lou, why do you look like Tom?" Harry asked curiously, then brought up a hand to feel Lieutenant Paris' face.

"Because we're brothers. Harry, will you sit with Terry and Doug while I take us all back to Voyager?" Lieutenant Paris asked quickly.

Harry looked at the two men, then back at Lieutenant Paris with uncertainty.

"Terry and Doug are my friends. And if you'll let them, they'll be your friends too... won't you guys?" Lieutenant Paris asked with a smile.

Terry and Doug nodded simultaneously.

"Go on Harry. I'll be at the front of the ship if you need me for anything." Lieutenant Paris said with a gentle smile.

Harry reluctantly released Lieutenant Paris and took a tentative step toward the two men.

"Come on. I want to show you the bathroom." Doug said happily.

Harry looked back at Lieutenant Paris with question.

Lieutenant Paris nodded with a gentle smile, then watched as the three ran to the bathroom.

* * * * *

"I fail to see why you praised Ensign Carlson and Ensign O'Donnell when they failed to maintain order in our absence." Tuvok said seriously as he took the copilot's seat.

"Because if I scolded them, they'd be unhappy right now. This way they're happy and we don't have to worry about them as much." Lieutenant Paris said as he went quickly down his checklist.

"I also do not understand why you claimed to be 'Lou' while you were talking to Ensign Kim." Tuvok said curiously.

"I just thought that because we had a disagreement earlier, he might not trust me as Tom. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time." Lieutenant Paris said frankly, then started the engines.

"Regardless of the logic behind your decisions, the result is favorable. Well done Lieutenant Paris." Tuvok said formally.

"Thank you sir. I'm ready to lift off on your command." Lieutenant Paris said with a smile.

Tuvok looked back through the ship at the chaos his security team were causing, then said, "Proceed."

* * * * *

"Karla, find your shirt. Doug, find your pants. Everyone else, get ready because we're about to leave the Delta Flyer and go to sickbay." Lieutenant Paris said? with a smile.

Groans and shaking heads filled the room.

"Your objections do not negate the fact that the doctor will need to see you." Tuvok said firmly.

A sea of tear filled puppy dog eyes was the only response that he got.

Lieutenant Paris was trying to figure out what to do, when Tom sent a wicked little thought his way.

"Why don't we take them to the holodeck?" Lieutenant Paris asked with a smile.

A cheer rose up through the Delta Flyer at the suggestion.

"I'll take the kids to the holodeck and do something fun with them until the Doctor is ready to see them. Then he can transfer his program over to the holodeck and examine them in a less threatening environment." Lieutenant Paris suggested with a smile.

"I do not see the logic in your request, but your instincts have proven to be accurate thus far. Proceed." Tuvok said seriously.

"Okay guys. Daddy Tuvok said yes. So I need for everyone to get cleaned up and ready to go while I get the holodeck set up for us. Doug, will? you show everyone where the bathroom is?" Lieutenant Paris said, then hurried off the shuttle.

Tuvok watched as the child-like adults were chattering with excitement and helping each other to get ready to leave.

He quirked an eyebrow at the scene, then turned and left the Delta Flyer.

* * * * *

"Is it Disney Land?" Harry asked hopefully.

"No Harry, but it's someplace almost as good." Lieutenant Paris said as he led the group down the hall.

"Do we get to eat?" Doug asked hopefully.

"Yes we do Doug." Lieutenant Paris said happily.

"Will we get to play games?" Terry asked next.

"Yes Terry. As many as you want." Lieutenant Paris said as the group approached the door.

"Computer, start program." Lieutenant Paris said happily.

"Program initiated. You may enter when ready." The computer's voice said tonelessly.

"Well, here we are." Lieutenant Paris said as he stood aside and allowed his merry band to enter.

* * * * *

"CHUCKY CHEESE!!!" Harry screamed with absolute joy.

The others ran past Lieutenant Paris, squealing with delight.

Lieutenant Paris smiled at the reaction and could feel Tom laughing in the back of his mind.

"Everyone! Listen up! You see that big mouse over there? He has game tokens for all of you. There is a movie playing over on that big screen and the pizza will be out in just a minute." Lieutenant Paris said happily.

Lou stood just inside the doorway and watched with contentment as the group of child-like adults were exploring all the wonders that Chucky Cheese had to offer.

"Lieutenant, do you think you could explain this?" Captain Janeway asked from the doorway behind him.

"Captain! I just thought that since we have a group of adults who are essentially children, that they should be able to enjoy themselves instead of being miserable while they're waiting to be examined." Lieutenant Paris said, hoping that she wasn't angry.

"It's a unique way of dealing with the situation, but they do seem to be happy." Captain Janeway said as she looked around the room.

"How are Chakotay and Dalby?" Lieutenant Paris asked with concern.

"The doctor says that they're going to be fine. A significant portion of their neural energy was somehow drained. The only treatment is rest and lots of sleep. They should be fit for duty in a few days." Janeway finished quietly.

"I'm glad. I was worried about them." Lieutenant Paris said seriously.

"Captain Janeway. Come here. I want to show you something." Karla called out happily.

"If you're going to run, now's the time." Lieutenant Paris said with a smile.

"Not a chance." Captain Janeway said, then followed Karla to find out what amazing thing she had discovered.

* * * * *

After a time of enjoying the children's company, the Captain excused herself and went about her duties.

Lou watched the children playing and felt a sense of overwhelming peace at the sight.

A new holographic character walked into the room and Lou looked at him carefully, not quite sure what he was up to.

When Lou finally realized who it was, he said , "Doctor, I'm surprised to see you like this."

"The Captain thought I would be less threatening to them dressed like this... though I can't imagine how she came to that conclusion." The Doctor said as he looked with disgust at the rat costume he was wearing.

"It just seems that it would be better to keep them happy than to drag them to sickbay where they'll be bored and miserable." Lieutenant Paris said frankly.

"Given their behavior, I suspect that their conditions are the same as that of Lieutenant Ayala." The Doctor said seriously.

Lieutenant Paris was surprised when the Doctor began to scan him.

"I'm not having a problem Doctor. You need to scan them." Lieutenant Paris said cautiously as he gestured to the room in front of them.

"I'm aware of that, but Commander Tuvok suggested that you might have some sort of immunity to the effect since you were exposed longer than some of his security personnel and have shown no symptoms." The Doctor said frankly.

"If you think it will help." Lieutenant Paris said in resignation and spread his arms to be fully scanned.

After a moment of looking at the tricorder's readings, the Doctor said, "Interesting."

"What would that be?" Lieutenant Paris asked cautiously.

"Your neural activity seems unusually high. When we have this matter resolved, I'd like for you to stop by sickbay for a neurological scan." The Doctor said firmly.

"Just say when." Lieutenant Paris said seriously as he silently sent out the information to his other selves so they could be thinking about it.

"I suppose I'd better begin." The Doctor said with resignation, then quickly said, "You there, Ensign O'Donnell..."

To Be Continued...

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