Life With a Paris: Ceremonies

Delta sat proudly by his daddy, wagging his tail furiously as people stopped by and pet him on the head praising him for being such a good dog. 

They made him walk up to the front of all the people with his daddy, sit and stay as the Captain leaned towards him and pinned something new onto his collar. He smiled his doggie grin at her, and licked her nose as she moved away from him and laughed. He craned his head and finally got a glimpse of the round shiny thing hanging from his collar. 

His daddy called it an award, but Delta just thought it was pretty. He held his head up a little higher while people clapped and whistled for him. His body wiggled as Mommy brought the baby up to the stage and stood next to him, and his entire being just ached with excitement.

The metallic woman came up to Delta and looked down at him, she wasn't smiling warmly like the others, but that ice cold hatred Delta had witnessed in those clear eyes was no longer present. She inclined her head towards Delta and congratulated Tom and B'Elanna on their raising of him.

"His behaviour recently has been at a level I can accept," she admitted. Again she looked down at the dog. "He is not perfection, but he will do."

As Seven (Delta panted happily as he learned her name) walked away, Tom leaned down and whispered in the puppy's ear. "High praise, Delta-dog."

Harry gave Seven an approving glance as he passed her by on the way towards Delta and his family. He gave Delta a cursory pat on the head, and glanced grudgingly towards the award on his collar.

"She didn't really give him an honorary rank of Lieutenant, did she?"

Tom smiled, "Yea, Harry, she did." Tom sifted through Delta's fur to show Harry the rank pips now a permanent presence on the dog's collar. "He even gets to go on my next planetary away mission. The Captain has decided that Delta's particular talents might be of use to the crew."

Harry sighed, and grumbled softly under his breath, "Even the stupid dog gets a promotion before me!"

"What was that, Harry?" B'Elanna smiled sweetly. The Paris' knew they were torturing their friend, but their odd senses of humor found it amusing.

"Nothing. Congratulations, Delta." Harry spun on his heel and walked away.

B'Elanna couldn't smother the laughter that overwhelmed her, so she handed the baby to Tom, who chuckled softly. "Poor, Harry."

"He'll get over it. I'll let him win our next game of pool and he'll be too
busy gloating to sulk."

Neelix called for attention from the kitchen, and wheeled out a large cake in the shape of a dog bone. Everyone applauded and turned to smile at Delta, whose eyes had gone wide in awe, and whose entire body shivered with anticipation.

Pieces were cut and passed around, the puppy's eyes tracked every tender morsel until at last Neelix came towards him with a plate, a large piece of cake perched upon it. Before Tom could stop him, Delta lunged at Neelix, his head slamming into the plate in the Talaxian's hand, the cake mashing against the man's face. Neelix cried out, lost his balance and fell backwards, landing flat on his back in the middle of the room. Delta perched himself upon the Talaxian's chest and began licking the cake off the man's face, neck and uniform, his tail beating a happy beat against the air.

The room filled with laughter, and Delta's tail beat harder. Finally, Neelix spluttered and managed to push the puppy far enough away that he could sit up.  The dog's tongue remained plastered to his flesh, however, until every morsel of cake had disappeared. Neelix wiped his face against the sleeve of his clothing, laughing good naturedly. Even a hero had to be a puppy sometimes.

Finally, the room began to thin out, until only some off-duty officers and Voyager's senior staff remained. Just as the Paris' were about to gather up Delta's leash and return to their quarters, Chakotay approached the dog, petting his head and congratulating him. 

The first officer raised his head and turned to look at Tom and B'Elanna, straightening to his full height and waiting for them to approach. 

At first he wondered why their faces turned from expressions of amusement to ones of horror, but he understood just as Tom yelled out:


And Chakotay left to find a new uniform.