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All The News That's Fit To Print

All the News That's Fit to Print
Ginny — 20 Sep 1998, 5:18 PM

Tom was standing next to the door to the Marshal's office when the Gunslinger informed Tuvok of Neelix's death. The young man was nonplussed. How the hell had Kathryn known Deputy Neelix was already dead? Tom thought in amazement. And what was in that notebook? Would it be enough to clear Seven? Or, at the very least, enough to change Kathryn's mind about the jailbreak? Tom really hoped so. He'd already done a couple or three stints in jail and wasn't anxious to repeat the experience. The last time, he and Harry had spent several horrific days in the Los Akriteria city jail. What a hellhole that had been! The food was terrible, the inmates were all crazy as bedbugs, and Harry had gotten his hair mussed pretty badly in the "My manifesto is better than your manifesto" free-for-all that had broken out the first day they were there.

At thoughts of Harry, Tom's eyes welled up. If only he were still alive. Tom blamed himself for the accident that had taken his little brother from him. He should never have allowed Harry to take his clarinet on the cattle drive. Dashing away his tears, Tom decided he needed a drink. He turned to make his way back through the press corps gathered in front of the Marshal's office and across the street to Sandrine's, when he came face to face with Jason Canuck, cub reporter for the Voyager Chronicle. Oh, great, Tom thought. Just what I needed.

Jason looked even unhappier than Tom. Oh, great, he thought. Just what I needed. There was no love lost between the two young men. Jason, as a young boy, had once been a great admirer of Voyager City's Big Man on Horseback, but as he grew older, he had begun to find Tom's considerable self-involvement less and less appealing.

Tom, on the other hand, had always thought of Jason as just another snot-nosed brat, treating him with the same amiable disdain that he directed toward all the other youngsters who followed him around. It was a measure of Tom remarkable self-involvement that he hadn't actually noticed that Jason had grown into an adult--until now.

"Tom," Jason said neutrally.

"Jason." Tom nodded in acknowledgement. The two men stood staring at each other awkwardly, neither with anything further to say. "I, uh, was just going to Sandrine's to get a drink," Tom continued. "If you'll excuse me." And he shouldered past Jason and pushed his way through the swarm of reporters.