Child's Play
By: Amy Michelle Bitter (

(c) 1997 Star Trek and it's characters are property of Paramount. Everything not owned by Paramount is owned by yours truly!

The great white glowing entity began to move closer and closer to Voyager.

"Report." Captain Janeway ordered.

"Captain, the entity is moving towards us at a speed of warp two." Harry Kim explained.

"Tuvok, shields." Captain Janeway ordered.

"Harry, what can you tell me about this thing?" The Captain asked turning herself to face his station.

"It's a life form as far as I can tell." Harry explained. The glowing
white entity still continued to move closer and closer as everyone on the bridge watched in amazement.

"A life form? What kind?" Janeway asked.

"I can't tell exactly." Harry said. "These censor readings are like
nothing I've ever seen before."

"I need facts, Mr. Kim." Janeway said.

Just then the entity rammed into Voyager with a force that caused the crewto shake. "Shields are at maximum." Tuvok reported.
"Good, keep it that way." Janeway said.

"If this is a life for, why would it run into our ship?" Chakotay asked.
"Maybe it couldn't see where it was going." Tom Paris suggested
sarcastically and received a stern look from Chakotay.

"You may have something there." Janeway said. "Tom' back the ship away from the entity, one half impulse engines."

Voyager slowly backed away, and the entity gave no pursuit.
"I'm going to my ready room." Janeway said. "Keep me posted."
The Captain turned to watch of the bridge, but before she could reach the door of her ready room, the creature reattached itself to Voyager's hull. This time the force was even greater.

"Shields are down to 93%." Tuvok said.

"Janeway to Torres." She pressed her commbadge. "What's going on down there?"

"I don't know, Captain." B'Elanna answered. "This thing is penetrating
our shields. I'll try to transfer power from the backup systems to compensate."

"Captain, shields are back up to maximum." Tuvok reported.


By 0900 hour, the senior staff had assembled in the briefing room.
"We've got to figure out what that thing is, and what it wants." Janeway

"It doesn't seem to be hostile, just curious." Harry Kim said.

"That thing penetrated right through our shields. It seems hostile enough to me." B'Elanna interrupted.

Suddenly the Doctor appeared on a small view screen in the briefing room, "Captain, you better get down here," was all that he said.


Captain Janeway walked into Sickbay. "What is it, Doctor?" She asked.
"It's Kes." He said. "She seems to be communicating telepathically with the alien."

Captain Janeway walked over to where Kes was sitting on the biobed.
"Kes," she asked, "What is it communicating to you?"

", says that it does not want to harm us." Kes said holding her

"Can you tell us what kind of life form it is?" The Doctor asked.

"It's hard to describe." Kes began. "It doesn't have a gender or a race.
It's like a state of being."

"A state of being? Like an emotion?" Janeway asked.

Yes, exactly," Kes said. "Like an emotion."

"What emotion?" Janeway asked.

"The best way that I can describe it is innocence. Pure innocence."

"Innocence? Like naive?" Janeway inquired.

"No, nothing like that. It's very intelligent, but very gentle. It's like
a child." Kes explained.

"What does it want from us?"

"It..." Kes started. "It wants us to be exactly like it."

The lights flicker and a great force shook Voyager. Janeway pressed her commbadge. "Janeway to bridge, what's going on?"
"The alien has penetrated our shield again." Tuvok answered.
"I'm on my way." The Captain stormed out of Sickbay.


Janeway stepped out of the turbolift and on to the bridge.
"Report." She ordered.

"Shields are down to 47%." Tuvok answered his Vulcan face emotionless.

*How does he manage to stay so calm at a time like this?* Captain Janeway wondered.

She often envied Tuvok in times of crisis.

Janeway pressed her commbadge. "Janeway to Torres."
"Torres here." B'Elanna responded.
"What is happening with the shields?" Janeway asked.

"I don't know how, but the alien has penetrated our shields. I'm trying to compensate, but it's not working."

"What if we fire phasers?" Chakotay asked. "Maybe that would stop it."
"We can't fire at it. It's been communicating with Kes, it means us no
harm." Janeway said.

"Shields are off line." Tuvok reported.
"Now what?" Chakotay asked turning to face the Captain.


Captain Janeway walked back in to Sickbay.
"Doctor, how's Kes?" She asked.

"I'm fine, Captain." Kes answered walking out of the Doctor's office.
"Has the alien tried to communicate anything more to you?"
"Only that it wants us to be like it." Kes answered. "But I don't know
what that means."

"I think I may have the answer to that." The Doctor interrupted. "I've
been monitoring the crew's brain waves since the entity penetrated the shields.

As far as I can tell, their brains are reverting."
"Reverting? Back to what?" Captain Janeway asked.

"To a time of innocence." The Doctor explained. "In less than an hour
the minds of the whole crew will have reverted back to their childhood."
"So," Captain Janeway said, "I will have a crew full of children. Is that
what your saying?"

"Not exactly." The EMH explained. "The crew will not be changed
physically, just psycologically. It will be as if the crew has the mind of children, but a body of an adult."

"Will everyone be affected?" The Captain asked.
"No," The Doctor answered. "I will not be affected because I did not have a childhood, I have a program. Lieutenant Tuvok and the other Vulcans on board will not be affected as much. Mostly because Vulcan's are taught almost immediately from birth to control their emotions."

"Doctor!" Kes interrupted. "I can't hear the entity anymore."
The Doctor scanned her and reported, "Your mind has reverted back to a time before your telepathic abilities were matured."

"Doctor, since it appears that you will be the only one completely
unaffected, I'm putting you in charge." Janeway said. "Find a way to fix the crew as fast as you can."

By the end of the hour, Voyager's crew had completely reverted. The Doctor had ordered everyone to remain in the Mess Hall so he could get some work done. Of course, having the minds of children, not everyone listened.

Kes strolled into Sickbay and asked the Doctor, "Whatcha doing?"
"I'm running some tests." The Doctor answered, "And I thought I told you to stay in the Mess Hall."

"Why are you running tests?" She inquired. Ever since her mind had
reverted she had questioned everyone with her continuous, 'why?'
"So I can get this crew back to normal." The Doctor told her, "Now please go back to the Mess Hall."

"I don't wanna go back there!" Kes pouted, "It's loud in there and
everyone is throwing food."

"Throwing food?"


The Doctor stormed into the Mess Hall, via his holo-emitter, just in time to witness the food fight.

"What is going on here?!" He demanded.

The room became silent and all eyes focused on the hologram. Remnants of the crew's lunch was scattered all over the Mess Hall and on certain members of the crew.

"Oh no," Tom whispered to B'Elanna, "it's that bald man again."
"I demand that this behavior stop at once!" The EMH shouted, "I am a
doctor, not a baby-sitter!"

"You snitched!" B'Elanna shouted at Kes who had wandered into the Mes Hall behind the Doctor.

"I did not snitch!" Kes shouted back. She got a confused look on her face and turned to the Doctor and asked, "What does 'snitch' mean?"
"But, I'm sick of staying here." Tom Paris whined, "It's no fun!" Tom
seemed to be the smart-alec type since he reverted, he always had a comment.

Neelix nudged Chakotay and pointed to a table in the corner of the Mess Hall. On the table, were morsels of food left from the food fight, and one completely intact pie. A triple chocolate pie. One of the only decent things Neelix knew how to prepare.

Chakotay went and whispered something into Tom's ear which made him give a devilish laugh.

"I don't care if it isn't fun, I have work to do. I need you to stay here."
The Doctor ordered.

"Hey, Baldy!" A voice from behind him yelled.

"Now, there's a name I haven't thought of." The Doctor said, turning around to be hit in the face with the pie, by none other than Tom Paris. "Mr. Paris," The Doctor said wiping the gooey chocolate mess from his face, "stop it right now, or I'll throw you in the brig!"

"You can't do that!" B'Elanna yelled, "You're not the Captain, she is!"
B'Elanna said, pointing at Captain Janeway. Even with the mind of a child, B'Elanna had a raging Klingon temper that her young mind was incapable of controlling. Captain Janeway rose from the table where she was sitting with Tuvok. "I may be the captain, but right now, he's in charge." She spoke with a wisdom beyond her years for having the mind of a child. She had always been a mature child, her parents had always said that.

"Thank you, Captain." The Doctor said, "I'm going back to Sickbay now. Everyone behave!"

"Man, I'm sick of being cooped up here." Tom Paris whined when the Doctor had left the Mess Hall.

"But, Tom," Harry said timidly, "He told us not to leave." Harry had been a spectator through the whole food fight. He sat shyly in the corner trying hard not to be noticed while the other members of the crew pelted each other with food.

"We don't have to listen to him." B'Elanna said displaying a evil grin.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked.

"I'm outta here!" Tom yelled, "Who's with me?"
"I am!" B'Elanna said.

"Me too." Chakotay answered. For being a serious adult, he sure was an unserious child. He was the typical class clown type, always trying to make everyone laugh.

"Count us in!" Neelix said, referring to Kes and himself.

"You coming, Harry?" Tom asked.
"Uh, I don't know." Harry blushed realizing that everyone was looking at him. "We're supposed to stay here."

"Oh, come on, Starfleet!" B'Elanna said. "It's boring here. Let's go have some fun."

"OK, I'll come." Harry said quietly, not wanting to be left out.
"How about you guys?" Tom asked, turning to face Captain Janeway and Tuvok.

"It is best to remain here, and wait for the Doctor to find out what is
wrong and how to correct it." Tuvok answered in a very precocious, condescending way. Even with the mind of a child, he spoke in a demeaning tone of voice.

"No one is going anywhere!" Captain Janeway said.
"You can't tell us what to do." Neelix scoffed.

"I'm the Captain, and I say that everyone is staying here." Janeway ordered.

"But you said that the Doctor was in charge." B'Elanna said, "So we don't have to listen to you."

"You did say that." Tuvok said to Janeway.
"Let's go." Tom said heading for the door, followed by the others. They reached the door, but realized it would not open and came to the conclusion that the Doctor had placed a force field around it after he left, to ensure that they would stay in the Mess Hall.

"Now what?" Neelix asked.
"Let me take a look at that door." B'Elanna ordered, "There's not a force field that can keep me out, or in for that matter." She went to the door and opened the control panel on the wall next to it. After one try, the door did not open. B'Elanna became enraged and kicked the panel, causing it to shoot sparks everywhere. "Stupid door!" She yelled.

"Let's go through the Jeffrey's tubes!" Tom suggested. They all rushed
over to the Jeffrey's tube on the opposite side of the room. Tom opened the panel and went into the tube.

"No force field!" the sound of his voice echoed through the tube. "C'mon, let's go!"

One by one, the rest of them entered the Jeffrey's tube. They crawled
aimlessly for a few minutes until Kes asked, "Where are we going?"
Everyone stopped and stared at each other. They had been so concerned with getting out of the Mess Hall, they didn't even know where they were going.

"Let's go to Sickbay and hit the Doctor with another pie." Chakotay

"We don't have another pie." Neelix pointed out to him.

"Let's go to the holodeck!" B'Elanna said. The crew nodded in agreement, and they started to crawl towards holodeck two.


The Doctor entered the Mess Hall holding a hypospray. "I've found a
remedy." He announced and began administering it to the crew. He had just finished administering it to the last person in the Mess Hall when he realized, "We're missing six crew members."

"Some of them crawled through the Jeffrey's tube." Tuvok told him.
"Why didn't you stop them?!" The Doctor asked, "We have six people with the minds of five-year-olds running loose on this ship!"

"Finding them will be simple." Tuvok reassured him, "Computer," Tuvok said, "locate the members of the crew not in the Mess Hall."
"The other members of the crew are in holodeck two." The computer responded.

"I wasn't worried about finding them." The Doctor said, "I'm worried about what they've done to the ship!"

Captain Janeway entered the Bridge.
"Aft view screen." She ordered. The alien had detached itself from the hull of Voyager but was still close by.

"Tuvok, report." She asked.
"The entity has moved to a stationary position 1/2 light year away.


The Doctor stood in front of holodeck two, hypospray in hand. He tried to enter, but the door would not open. "Computer, open holodeck door. Security override, EMH alpha five."

"That security code is invalid." The computer responded.
"What?" The Doctor shrieked, "Doctor to Janeway." He said pressing his commbadge, "Captain, I need your help at holodeck two."


"The best engineer in the quadrant is in there." Captain Janeway explained, "If she wants to keep you out, she will. Have you tried talking to them?"

"Well, no." The EMH replied.
Janeway pressed her commbadge, "Janeway to Torres."
"Torres here." She said.

"B'Elanna, open the doors." The Captain requested.
"No way!" Tom suddenly cut in, "We're having fun." The six members of the crew had occupied themselves with a game of Parisis Squares.
"That is an order." Janeway said in a strict tone of voice, "Come out
here now."


The entire crew had now been administered the treatment and were all manning there stations.
"Kes, can you communicate with the alien?" Captain Janeway asked.
"Yes." Kes answered.
"What is it saying?"
"It is say that it does not understand us." Kes explained, "It is very
confused with why we wanted to convert back to an existence with hate. It wants to know why we have polluted lives that could have been so simple with such awful emotions."

"Explain this to it for me, Kes." Captain Janeway started, "Tell it, that
in life, everyone must prepare themselves for the worst. When you are traveling among hostile races you must become aware of them and learn to deal with them in the most peaceful way possible. Unfortunately, during our journey, we've done too much
of anticipating the worst and not enough of looking for the good in others. We do not wish to appear hostile in any way. Our main goal has always been peaceful coexistence with other races. But, when you encounter so many races and cultures full of hatred, it is easy for your mind to become clouded with hatred also."

"Captain, the entity is moving away at a speed of warp three." Harry Kim reported. All eyes on the Bridge remained on the view screen until the great grlowing white entity could no longer be seen.


"Hi, Doc." Tom Paris said as he strolled into Sickbay.
"Hello, Lieutenant." The Doctor replied, "Is there something I can help
you with?"

"I just wanted to apologize." Tom said uncomfortably. He had never been good at apologies, even though it seemed he spent most of his life apologizing.

"For what?" The Doctor asked. He knew perfectly well what Tom had come to apologize for. It was just nice to hear him say it.

"For hitting you in the face with the pie and calling you Baldy." Tom
explained, "I'm sorry."

"Apology accepted," The Doctor said displaying what appeared to be a smile. "but," he continued, "if you ever hit me in the face with a pie again, I *will* throw you in the brig."

***THE END***