Three Minutes

Disclaimer - Paramount and Viacom own the characters from Voyager, although they didnít often treat them right. The story line belongs to me. 
 
 
 

BíElanna Torres slowly opened her eyes. It was dark in the room and she wondered what had awakened her. She rolled onto her left side and found an empty space where her husband, Tom Paris, usually slept. 
 

Slowly, BíElanna sat up in bed and listened in the darkness. She heard Tomís voice from the living quarters of their cabin. Rising from the bed, she walked quietly into the other room. Tom was faintly silhouetted by the star light coming in the viewport. He was staring into the starscape. 
 

"Admiral, itís good to see you again. No...no.... thatís not right. Well, Dad, itís been almost ten years. How are you?" BíElanna walked up quietly behind Tom and gently slipped her arms around his waist. 
 

"Youíre still nervous about today? Itíll be fine, Tom. He loves you. You know that." 
 

"I....I guess so. Itís just that we havenít really spoken since he threw me out of our house after I was discharged from Starfleet." Tom answered as he turned around in her embrace and kissed her forehead ridges. 
 

BíElanna tilted her head up and brought her arms up around his neck. She pulled his head down and captured Tomís mouth with hers. Tom put his arms on BíElannaís shoulders and returned the kiss. "Letís go back to bed. Weíre on duty in two hours." BíElanna said as she slowly led him back into the bedroom.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Tom entered the turbolift after leaving his quarters. "Bridge." he commanded the computer. ĎWhy am I so nervous about a simple talk with my family?í Tom thought as the turbolift started to move. 
 

It was just over six weeks since the crew began to talk with their families through the Transgalactic Com Link. Seven and Harry had thought of bouncing a Tachyon beam across the quantum singularity which afforded them the opportunity to speak directly to the Alpha Quadrant. Neelix had handed out the 146 isolinear chips. One for each member of the crew. Tom drew number 6 but had traded with Harry who drew number 130. Harry was so anxious to speak with his parents and Tom was in no hurry to face his family. They were only able to access the link for 11 minutes a day so, only a few crew members could speak with their families each day. 
 

Suddenly, the six weeks were over and it was Tomís turn to receive a call from home. Now that the day was actually here, Tom was not sure if he wanted to go through with it.
 

Tom entered the bridge and took his station at the helm. The first half of his shift was uneventful and his relief pilot appeared at his side before he knew it. "Join you for lunch?" Harry asked, as they left the bridge. 
 

"Sure, Harry." Tom quietly replied. Harry could see that something was bothering his friend but wasnít sure if Tom wanted to talk about it. He often kept things inside when he was upset. They rode quietly to deck 5 and headed to the mess hall for lunch.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Neelix was bustling around behind the counter, stirring several large pots on his stove. "Is that Plinka Rind Stew, Neelix?" Harry asked as they approached the counter. 
 

"Oh yes, Mr. Kim. I know it is one of your favorites. Iím also working on a surprise for dinner." 
 

"Arenít most of your dishes surprises?" Tom questioned the affable cook with a small smile on his face. 
 

"Why, Tom, one would think that you donít appreciate my cooking." Neelix grinned at the two men as he served up ladles of the stew. They took their trays and went to a small table next to the viewport.
 

"So, todayís the day you get a call from home." Harry remarked as they began to eat. 
 

"Yeah. Todayís it." Tom answered with an apprehensive look on his face. "I donít know what to say or if Iím up to facing them after all this time. I havenít seen anyone since my trial." 
 

"Itíll be fine, Tom. Just tell them how you are now and listen to their news." 
 

"Thatís just what BíElanna said this morning."
 

Harryís com badge chirped suddenly. "Ensign Kim, please report to Astrometrics. I require your assistance." came Sevenís voice. Harry gave Tom a faint smile as he got up and left the mess hall. 
 

Tom quietly resumed eating his lunch. He was pushing the food around on his plate when Neelix came up to the table. "May I join you, Lt.?" 
 

"Sure, Neelix. Have a seat." 
 

"Lt., I noticed how quiet you were earlier. Lt. Torres told me, this morning, that today you get your call from home.." 
 

"I guess the whole ship must know that itís my turn today." Tom answered softly. 
 

"If Iím not being too bold, Lt. Torres also said that you were uneasy about it." 
 

"Yeah, I am. Itís been almost ten years since Iíve spoken to anyone in my family. I wasnít exactly the favored son when I last saw them. I donít know what Iím going to say to them." 
 

"Tom, theyíre your family. No matter what happened in the past it doesnít change that. Youíre a fine officer and a good man. They know that and they love you. Just tell them that you love them too. Not having a family to go back to, I know how important family is. Reach out to them and I know theyíll reach back to you." 
 

Neelix put his hand on Tomís shoulder as he stood to return to the kitchen. "Thank you, Neelix. Youíre a good friend."
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Tom stood, took his tray to the recycler and left the mess hall. As he neared the turbolift, his com badge chirped. "Lt. Paris, could you please report to sick bay." the Doctorís voice requested. 
 

Tom entered the turbolift. "Sick bay." he instructed the computer. 
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Tom entered sick bay to find BíElanna sitting on the edge of a biobed. "Are you OK?" he asked as he rushed over to her. 
 

"Lt. Torres is just fine." The Doctor stated as he returned to the biobed. "I just wanted to inform you both that the latest scans reveal that the pregnancy will likely be longer than I first anticipated." 
 

"What!" BíElanna exclaimed. "You already said that it would be longer than normal Klingon pregnancies. Now youíre telling me it will be even longer?" 
 

"Iím sorry, Lt., but it does look that way." the Doctor replied as he walked towards his office. Tom held BíElannaís hands with his and leaned his forehead against hers. 
 

"Weíll get through this, ...together." 
 

"Just like weíll get through your call this evening, Tom. You supported me when I spoke to my father. Now, itís my turn to stand with you." BíElanna gave Tom a quick kiss on the cheek and got off the biobed. "I have to go back to engineering. See you at 1700 hours?" 
 

"Yeah, 1700 hours."
 

"Lt. Paris, may I speak with you a moment?" the Doc asked as he came out of his office. 
 

"Sure, Doc. What is it? Youíre sure BíElannaís OK?" 
 

"Yes, sheís just fine. Itís you Iím worried about. Youíve been much too quiet the past few days. Iím beginning to miss your acerbic wit." 
 

"Iím fine, Doc. Just have something on my mind." 
 

"Maybe I could help, if youíre willing to talk about it?" 
 

"My number came up today. My call from home and Iím not sure if I want to go through with it." 
 

"Mr. Paris, Iíve seen how the crew has looked forward to their time with their families. Surely you want to speak with your parents, let them know all the things youíve been doing over the past seven years, and introduce them to your wife." 
 

"Yeah..... sure, Doc. I want to do all of those things but Iím not sure how much they want to talk to me." 
 

"They would not be making the call if they did not want to see and talk to you. You, at least, have family to speak to. I only had that unscrupulous publisher." 
 

"But that was resolved, Doc. You were found to be an artist with complete control over your work. You did find another publisher, didnít you?" 
 

"Yes, I did and the revised work will be published soon. Tom, I respect you as an officer and value you as a friend. Go through with the call and give your family a chance to know the new you that everyone here on Voyager knows." 
 

The Doc put his hand on Tomís shoulder as they walked to the doors. "Thanks, Doc. Iíll do that. See you tomorrow for Alpha shift." 
 

Tom walked to the turbolift and headed back to the bridge. ĎI guess everyone is right. I need to give them a chance just like Iíve been given one. I wonder if Dad will be there too.í Tom thought as the doors opened onto the bridge and he walked down to take his place at the helm.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

BíElanna came around the corner and looked toward the doors of Astrometrics. She saw Tom leaning against the wall, his arms folded across his chest and his eyes closed. "Hi. Itís almost 1700. Are you ready to go in?" She greeted her husband and took his hands in hers. 
 

Tom opened his eyes and gave her a slight smile as he answered. "Yeah, might as well get this over with."
 

They waited until the doors opened and an Ensign from telemetry passed them. Holding Tomís hand, BíElanna gently pulled him into Astrometrics. Seven stood at the back console. "Good afternoon, Lts. Your call is starting to come through, Lt. Paris. You have three minutes." 
 

"Thank you, Seven." he replied hesitantly. 
 

Tom and BíElanna approached the view screen and he unconsciously assumed a position of attention. The static on the screen cleared and two women could be seen, seated on a royal blue couch in a very comfortable looking room. They were similar in appearance with familiar blue eyes, soft blonde hair and nervous smiles on their faces. The older womanís eyes began to tear as she reached her hand out to the image of her son. "Oh, Tom, you look so good." 
 

Tomís face paled, as he gripped BíElannaís hand tightly. "M...Mom...." he whispered. "You look wonderful. Iíve missed you." 
 

"Weíve missed you too, Tom, ...so very much. ....... So, ....this must be BíElanna. Welcome, dear, to the Paris family." Elizabeth Paris looked warmly at BíElanna. 
 

"Thank you, Mrs. Paris." BíElanna replied with a small smile on her face. 
 

"Please, call me Elizabeth, dear." 
 

Tom found his voice and, smiling at his mother, said. "Yes, Mom, this is my wife. The woman who tamed your wild son. BíElanna that beautiful woman sitting next to my mother is my sister, Moira." 
 

"Tommy, you look great!" Moira exclaimed. "Sorry Kathleen couldnít be here. She wanted to come but the doctors at Starfleet Medical wouldnít let her leave." 
 

"Sheís OK, isnít she?" Tom asked with a worried look on his face. Kathleen and Tom were the nearest in age, when they were growing up, and he felt a certain closeness to her. 
 

"Oh, sheís just fine. She gave birth to twins yesterday morning." 
 

"Twins?" 
 

"Yes, she and Patrick have been married for three years now. The twins are as healthy as can be. Thereís one of each. Jennifer Elizabeth and Thomas Patrick OíBrien. ..... Oh, Tommy, we thought you were dead. Kathleen and Patrick promised each other that if they ever had a son, they would name him after you." Moira stated, with tears in her eyes. 
 

"OíBrien?" Tom questioned. 
 

"Yes, he has a brother on DS9, Miles OíBrien." "Heís their chief engineer." 
 

BíElanna spoke up. "Iíve met him before." 
 

"Thatís right. Patrick said his older brother was an engineer. Patrick is a muscian just like Kathleen. They perform in the San Francisco Symphony, right here in town." 
 

BíElanna could feel Tomís breathing slow and his hand relax, as he talked with his sister. "Tommy, I have to go now. I have a transport waiting. I have to be at the Mars base tonight." 
 

"So, youíre still on archeological digs, Sis?" 
 

"Sort of, Tommy." 
 

"Moiraís in charge of this latest dig, Tom." Elizabethís pride in her daughterís accomplishments coming through in her voice. 
 

"Bye, Sis. I love you." 
 

"Love you too, Tommy. Hurry home, both of you." 
 

"Well, Tom. Let me just look at you. I swear you look even taller than the last time I saw you." 
 

"That was at my trial, Mom. I donít think I was standing quite so straight back then." Tom answered with a slight trace of bitterness in his voice. 
 

"Tom, all of that is in the past. Weíve read the reports from your EMH about all youíve accomplished in the past seven years. Weíre all so very proud of you, Tom." 
 

"All of you? Wh....whereís Dad?" Once again, Tomís hand squeezed BíElannaís tightly. 
 

"He wasnít sure if you wanted to speak with him, Tom. Heís afraid to face you after your argument." 
 

"Argument!! Mom, he threw me out of our house. He told me to never come back. That he no longer had a son." Tomís voice began to rise and he stepped back from the view screen. 
 

"Tom, thatís in the past. He regrets what happened between you two. He loves you, Tom."
 

A low beep sounded from the console and Seven turned to Tom. "One minute left Lt." 
 

"Thank you, Seven." Tom could hear Moiraís voice in the background telling someone to sit down now because there wasnít much time left. He let out a small gasp and his hand trembled slightly in BíElannaís as an older version of himself slowly sat down next to Elizabeth. Steel blue eyes looked back at steel blue eyes. "Admiral, youíre looking well." 
 

"Thomas." his father stated. 
 

Elizabeth looked at both of the Paris men and whispered to her husband. "Now is not the time to be a stubborn, old fool. Heís your son. Let him know that." 
 

"Tom, Iím so sorry." 
 

"Dad, Iím sorry." both men spoke at the same time. Tomís grip on BíElannaís hand tightened as he looked at his parents for the first time in almost ten years. 
 

"I was wrong, Son. You didnít deserve to be treated like I did. Then, we thought you were dead. Well, I thought you were dead. Your Mother always believed you were alive and would be coming home to us again." His fatherís eyes began to tear as he looked with pride at his youngest child. 
 

"Dad, itís OK. Itís over now." 
 

A low beep alerted them to Seven, at the console. "Iím sorry, Lt. you have 20 seconds left." 
 

"Son, I love you and Iím proud of you." Owen Paris looked into his sonís face with a sad expression. 
 

"I...I love you too, Dad." Tom replied as the screen faded into static. 
 

Tom and BíElanna slowly walked out of Astrometrics with her arm around his waist and his around her shoulders. "Do you think he heard me? The transmission shut off so quickly." 
 

"Of course he did. Even if he didnít, Tom, he knows you love him and now, you know he loves you too." 
 

"Yeah, I guess he does." 
 

"Iím actually looking forward to the next round of calls." BíElanna said as she turned into the turbolift. 
 

"Me too. ....Computer, mess hall."
 
 
 
 
 

The End