No Easy Answers by Ronda

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Title: No Easy Answers
Author: Ronda Sexton
Summary: AU look at 30 Days.

Tom sat nervously on his cot in the brig. He tried to slow his breathing as he thought of spending the next 30 days confined in this tiny room. Unlike the two times he had spent in solitary confinement in Auckland, there would be no recreation breaks that Federation Penal colonies were required to give. Those one hour breaks during the two four day terms he had served in solitary had help to ease his claustrophobia. He didn't know if he could take thirty days in the tiny brig cell and still be sane.......

He looked up as the forcefield deactivated and the Doctor stepped inside.

"Hey, Doc, what's up?" he asked.

"I have to give you a check up. As I will once a week until you are out of the brig, Tom," replied the Doctor softly.

He began scanning Tom, watching the readings carefully. "Hmm, your blood pressure is slightly elevated, but considering the confrontation with the Captain, that is not to be unexpected. I will see you in a week."

The guard deactivated the forcefield and the Doctor strode out. He was concerned that Tom seemed to be very stressed. Much more so than would be expected. Time would tell......

Ayala watched in concern as Tom Paris beat the air with his hands, evidently caught up in the throes of a vivid nightmare.

"Daddy, I'm sorry, please let me out." Tom cried as his hands seemed to beat against something as he lie prone on his back. "Daddy, I will study. Please, I'm scared! Let me out!" Tom let out a terrified scream and sat bolt upright on the cot. He was breathing heavily and Ayala thought for a few minutes that he might have to summon the Doctor.

"You okay, Paris?" he asked softly. Orders were no non-essential conversation with the prisoner, but he needed to know.

Tom nodded shakily and walked to the semi-hidden cubicle to relieve himself and splash some cold water on his face. It had been a long time since he had that particular nightmare. He forced the horrible memory back down and returned to his cot.

Ayala logged the incident. He hoped that it was going to be an isolated occurance, but if it wasn't, it would documented.

Tom buried his face in his pillow. He was tired and wanted to sleep, but he also had no desire to relive that nightmarish experience again. Eventually exhaustion won out and he dozed off.

Ayala watched him carefully for signs of restlessness........

During the Gama shift, Ayala witnessed Tom going through the same nightmare two more times. He logged each incident and sent the report to Lt. Tuvok.

Tuvok read the report carefully. Tom's first night in the brig had been less than pleasant. He wondered if the event Tom was reliving had been real or just from the stress of the brig. He knew Admiral Paris had been very hard on his son after he had been rescued from the Cardassians. The Doctor's initial health assessment had shown a slightly elevated blood pressure and a significant elevation of Tom's stress levels.

Every night it was the same. Ayala had to watch helplessly as Tom suffered through more nightmarish episodes. He was now having them almost hourly. It had been a hellish week. Ayala had enjoyed Gama shift before this. He logged each nightmare and sent the end of shift report to Tuvok. The Doctor would examine Tom on Alpha shift. Perhaps there was some sort of medication the Doctor could give him. Ayala didn't think Tom could take much more. He was deathly pale, and the dark circles under his eyes made him look as if he had been beaten. Something had to give.