Agony. Sheer agony.
Her face is sweat covered but there is a glint in her eye that catches in my heart. The doctor moves around sickbay, grabbing this and that before coming back to her.
"Hold her hand, Mister Paris," he intones as her screaming intensifies. I look at him as if he is insane. Hold her hand now? I'd be lucky if every last bone wouldn't be shattered.
From my position at the end of her bed I can see everything.
"There's the head."
I spend the rest of my daughter's birth out cold on the floor.
I would have laughed if I hadn't been in such agony. The look on his face when the Doc asked him to hold my hand will be a memory I will carry forever.
To ward off the pain I think of our little girl and what she will look like. I think of the love she will receive from both Tom and myself from the moment she takes her first breath until the day we walk her down the aisle.
"There's the head."
I look towards the end of my bed.
I'm going to kill him.
Over the years I have healed many wounds. I have saved lives. I have single handedly treated almost every member of this crew for some ailment or another. But this, this I have done only once before.
B'Elanna lays screaming on the table as yet another contraction overwhelms her. I ask Mr. Paris to take her hand, but the look on his face tells me his answer. I shrug and move between B'Elanna's legs.
"There's the head."
When there is no response from Mr. Paris I look down to find him face down, unconscious on sickbay's floor.
I've never been banned from a room on this ship. I've been present for every momentous event to happen, yet, here I am pacing the corridors. My eyes trail over Chakotay. What is he thinking, seeing someone he knew so well having come this far in seven short years?
I hear a loud crash and quietly wonder what B'Elanna has thrown. As I hear her scream one last time, I wish I were in there with them, welcoming aboard the newest edition to our family.
My eyes flick to Chakotay again. Given enough time, this could be us.
I hate Tom Paris. I knew that the day I met him and as I listen to B'Elanna scream in agony, I reaffirm that hatred. I pace the corridor and wring my hands as if I were the nervous father. I look towards Kathryn, but she looks as calm as ever. It takes a hoard of aliens to upset that woman's stoic stature. B'Elanna screams again, I jerk my head towards sickbay. I make a mental note to install sound proofing before the next woman gives birth.
Another scream. The baby.
Maybe I don't hate Tom that much.
A new baby. I knew it was coming for months, but today there'll be another child on Voyager. I can hardly wait! Ever since Mezoti left I've had no one to play with. Icheb's okay, but he's kind of a nerd, always stuck studying or working or something like that.
I know the adults love me, but a kid needs company, ya know? Finally, I'll have that again. I can baby-sit, and change diapers, and take care of her. Maybe Neelix'll let me tell the baby some of the stories he once told me.
Yup, I can't wait!
I opened my eyes for the first time, surrounded by faces filled with love. I lived my life surrounded by the same faces, people who cared for me, played with me, watched and helped me as I grew into the person I am today.
I now take my first real steps off the ship I've called home my entire life, my family surrounding me and protecting me from the shock that comes from leaving that part of me behind. I'm not really scared, but all I've known is love. I pray that, on Earth, that will never change.
They lived within these walls for more years then I care to count. I've protected them with my body from everything imaginable. I've nourished them with my energy and watched them grow. I've warmed them and given them the lives they deserved. I've never let them down.
They now file from my walls one by one, some saying good-bye, others not. I feel no anger at their desertion, after all, I am just an inanimate object. Still, as my systems are shut down one by one, and I slowly begin to die, I wish we had never returned.