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The Cave

Fire!: The Cave
Vickie T. — 30 Sep 1998, 4:03 PM

Tom and Chakotay landed heavily on a narrow ledge about 15 feet below the surface, rocks and dirt raining down on them from above. At the impact of Chakotay's body, the section of ledge upon which he had landed crumbled beneath him, and he disappeared into the dark.

Tom lay, dazed and gasping for breath, afraid to move for fear he would meet the same fate as Chakotay. As he looked slowly around, he realized that they had fallen through the roof of a large cavern. To his left, the ledge continued out of sight into the darkness. To his right, where the ledge had fallen beneath Chakotay's weight was nothing but sheer cliff. Below, nothing but darkness. As Tom's head cleared, he conducted a brief survey of the damages to his body. "Mmmm. That's going to be a nice goose egg," he thought, as he touched the swelling above his right eye. "Scrapes, bumps, bangs, bruises, but everything seems to be unbroken and in working order." He carefully sat up, trying to determine whether or not the ledge was going to remain firmly affixed to the cliff face. After a few moments inspection, he decided yes, it would. About this time, Tom became aware of the soft moans coming from a few feet below him.

"Chakotay?," he called out, "Can you hear me? Are you hurt?" For a moment there was no reply, then a ragged voice whispered, "I think I've broken my leg. I'm wedged in the rock and I can't move." Tom gingerly inched over to the edge of the ledge and peered over. Chakotay was indeed wedged in a narrow crack between the cliff face and a protruding boulder a few feet below Tom's position. Any attempt on his part to push up out of the crevice might dislodge the boulder and send him crashing to the floor of the cavern somewhere in the darkness below.

In the faint starlight entering the cavern from above, Tom could see another small ledge between himself and Chakotay. If he lowered himelf to that ledge, he would be able to reach Chakotay's hand and pull him free of the crevice in which he was trapped. "I'm coming down to get you, Chakotay."

"No, don't come down here. If that ledge crumbles beneath you, we'll both be killed."

Tom ignored Chakotay's protests and lowered himself to the ledge below. He leaned over and extended his hand to Chakotay. Chakotay just looked at Tom's hand, making no effort to grasp it. "What?," Tom asked with a bitter grin, "You'd rather die than let me save your life?"

The two men gazed into one another's eyes for a full 45 seconds before Chakotay reached up and took a firm grip on Tom's wrist. Chakotay cried out in pain as Tom pulled him up to the smaller ledge, where the two men lay quietly for a few moments, Tom to catch his breath and Chakotay to fight the swirling blackness that threatened to envelop him. Tom then boosted Chakotay up to the ledge above and climbed up behind him.

Yes, a blatant Caretaker ripoff, but by gosh, we were cheated out an important Tom/Chakotay reconciliation scene that should have followed those events, and I'm going to have it even if I have to do it here in Voyager City.

You know, this writing thing isn't so tough. Just freely borrow every dramatic and/or comedic cliche ever used in a TV movie of the week and you've got it licked. :-)