Life With a Paris: A Time for Play

"Delta is going to be thrilled. I don't think he's ever seen the outside of a ship."

"Neither has the baby, Tom. There is so much we have to pack for her."

Tom nodded as they began putting the baby bag and the puppy bag together. Blanket. Blanket. Pacifier. Purple targ. Rattle. Rubber ball. Bottle. Water container. Carry seat. Leash. Diapers. Baggies.

It had been over a week since Delta's latest attempt at the coffee bean supply, and the Paris' felt that Delta deserved a reward for behaving. 

Tom reached for a small box on top of the dresser, and called Delta to him.

"Delta, this is so that Mommy and Daddy will always be able to find you, okay?" Tom opened the box and pulled out a communicator, pinning it to the puppy's collar before activating it. "Paris to Delta." Tom nodded as his voice came in loud and clear.

Delta craned and cocked his head, trying to get a look at the toy Daddy had put on his collar, but it was no use. Before the puppy knew it, however, his leash was attached and his entire family was walking with him towards some weird room he had never seen before.

Tom made Delta sit and stay on the transporter padd, checking to make sure B'Elanna and the baby were situated, before he, himself, took position. A nod at the chief activated the transporter, and in an instant Delta found himself somewhere other than Voyager.

Wind blew through his fur, knocking his ears this way and that. Grass grew under his feet, making him itch to dig. As far as the puppy could see there were grassy fields, big wonderful trees, and so many new smells!

His legs nearly gave out as his excitement overwhelmed him, and he just had to run. And run he did, fast and far, over hills, around trees, and then right back to his daddy, leaping high through the air, knocking Daddy to the ground.

Tom laughed good naturedly, retrieving the puppy's ball from the bag, throwing it across the field for Delta to chase after. Back and forth the puppy ran, glorying in the wind and the feel of nature around him. 

He chased that ball for hours, tossing it in the air and catching it himself when his daddy grew tired of the game and had retreated to a quiet family moment with B'Elanna and the baby.

Finally, exhausted, Delta collapsed on a blanket and fell asleep at the feet of his family. He was awakened a while later, hearing distress in his mommy's voice.

"I know I packed it, Tom. You watched me!"

"Fine, B'Elanna. Just calm down, we'll find it. A gust of wind probably just blew it away, it can't be far."

The baby began to cry, and Delta climbed to his feet in concern.

"She's not going to calm down until we get it back for her!"

Tom rubbed his temples. "I will find it. Besides, it's just a pacifier, we
can replicate another."

"She likes this one. I have others, she refuses to take them."

Tom got to his feet and began searching the immediate area. Delta sniffed the air lightly, smelling the scent of his baby all around him. He put his nose to the ground and could smell her there too. He snuffed and glanced up at his parents. Neither Tom or B'Elanna were paying attention to him, so with a narrow look ahead of him, Delta returned his nose to the ground and began following the baby's scent.

Delta found himself walking a zig-zag pattern, following the path where the pacifier had been caught in the wind and had bounced across the field towards the woods. The tree-filled area was darker now than it had been earlier, this planet's sun had begun to fall, casting eerie shadows that made the puppy nervous. Still, he didn't give up; he was on a mission!

It seemed like forever to the puppy, as he could hear his baby crying in the distance. All she wanted was her toy, her sucky thing, and the puppy was determined to find it for her. In reality only ten minutes or so had passed before his nose touched the piece of plastic that exuded his baby's smell.

Delta clutched the pacifier gently in his teeth and turned around, heading back towards his family. He sat down proudly, dropping the baby's soother into his mommy's lap, and waited for the praise.

Hands on his head and body, gentling him, loving him. He cast his head backwards, his tongue lolling out to the side as his mommy told him what a good boy he was, and his daddy told him what a good tracker he was. Delta's tail wagged furiously, but he stayed calm as they spoke to him and stroked him lovingly.

As they packed up their picnic, Delta looked around one last time. He was going to miss this planet with its grass and trees, but at least at home his baby wouldn't be upset. He leaned his head against his mommy's leg as that funny tingly thing picked him up and moments later he found himself back home.

He wiggled his body happily as the person in the room greeted them, and they walked out into the corridors. He was glad he was a good dog today, he loved hearing those soft words meant only for him. Yet, something was missing.

Checking to see where his daddy was looking, Delta glanced over his shoulder and wondered where they'd hidden those wonderful beans today.

Daddy tugged on his leash, and Delta picked up speed.

No, he supposed, he wouldn't look today. 

But there was always tomorrow.