AUTHOR:  Bridget Cochran
TITLE:  Life's Challenges© 1998
SERIES:  Voyager
SUMMARY: JuPiter Station Challenge:  What if Tom was the Starfleet 
Bright Star and Janeway was the ex-Fleet, ex-Maquis, ex-con?   Winner of the coveted Crown of Erin Award in the Janeway/Paris Category.

Disclaimer:  I own the ideas, Paramount owns the rest.  Archive at 


Part 1.

Tom roared off the lift and toward the crew quarters on Deck 6.  He 
keyed the chime at his destination.  Keyed it again.  "Computer, 
security override.  Paris Chi 4-7-1-2 Rho."

The door slid open revealing a darkened cabin.  The hair went up on 
Tom's neck.  He knew he should call for some kind of back up, but he 
had no clue who would show up and he didn't want to take any chances.

Right now, the wrong person on the scene could set off a bomb.  A 
bomb Tom could swear he felt ticking.  He stepped into the dark room.

He was clasped from behind, and vaguely heard the door hiss shut 
behind the attacker.  He was pulled backwards down to the level of 
his assailant.  Marveling at the strength of someone so small, he 
grasped the elbows and dropped to his knees, pulling the body up over his head and flipped the small woman onto her back.  For the moment she lay there stunned and winded, Tom pressed his advantage and covered her body with his.

The struggle ceased immediately.

"And I thought you'd come to take me to the brig."  He heard the 
purr, and could imagine the smirk.  She began to grind her hips to 
his.  He began to grind his teeth.

"God damn it, Kate,"  he growled, "stop it."

She didn't immediately, she merely slowed her grind from lewd to 
seductive.  "Isn't this why you're here?"  Her small, rough hands 
worked their way under his shirt to skim the warm skin of his back.

He groaned, reaching around for the seeking hands to wrench them to 
her sides.  Shit, he wished she'd just stop moving.  But she didn't. 
When he finally stilled her hands, he lay his forehead on the floor 
beside her head.

"Kate, you are **not** going to distract me with sex."

"Your prick doesn't agree with you," she murmured into his ear.  Her 
breath was hot, but Tom could smell the alcohol. 

He lay there, dead weight on top of the older woman, determined not 
to give in to her, and the blatant attempt to distract him with her 

Kathryn Janeway was the hardest woman Tom Paris had ever met.  She was mean, and clever, and sometimes the look in her eye chilled him to the bone.  He didn't even think about crossing her.

But she could also be as loyal and steadfast as a Vulcan.

What was she up to now?

"I could have you screaming in five minutes."  Her tongue was 
touching the part of his face she could reach.

"Christ," he breathed, allowing his face to brush hers as he rolled 
off.  "It wouldn't take five minutes," he sighed, aware of what he 
was admitting.

The darkness hid Janeway's reaction to Tom's words.  For one split 
second, she wished he meant it.  She wished he wanted her, really 
wanted **her**--not just the service she was offering.  His stubble 
rough face left a tingle on her cheek.

But he had to get out of here.  She was expecting someone.

"You wanted something?"  she snaked her hand under his shirt, this 
time skimming skillful fingers over the soft fuzz of hair coating his 

"Lights one quarter,"  Tom said as he sat up.  Janeway gave an 
exaggerated sigh as she did the same, turning half away, her profile 
to him.

He studied the profile, as he'd done so often since this Delta 
Quadrant nightmare began.  Her reddish brown hair was shorn pretty 
close to her head, except for a cowlicky outcrop barbing her 
forehead, her jaw was hard, tiny crows feet creased her eyes--this 
one, at least.  He rarely saw the other side of her face.

Because of the scar.  It was a jagged, pink line that zig-zagged from 
the bridge of her nose, nearly to her ear.  It was a reminder of her 
downfall, and their common bond.

She'd kept it.  A lot of Maquis kept scars--sometimes they were 
heroic symbols.  Sometimes dermal regenerators were few and far 
between.  But as far as Kathryn Janeway was concerned, it was a 
reminder of her shame.  Tom often thought of it as the well spring of 
her anger. 

"You've been siphoning rations again," he said, quietly.  The anger 
he'd arrived with had dissipated somewhat, along with his arousal.

"You're pretty good," she allowed.  "Thought it would be a little 
harder than last time."

"It was," he conceded, "took me an hour longer to find it."

She nodded, that hard smile twisting onto her face.  "Good."  She was 
distracting him from things that could get him hurt.

"I've stripped and closed your account," he said, bracing for her 

Her head whipped around, eyes flashing, nostrils flaring.  She 
stopped herself short of lunging for his throat.  "What the hell did 
you do that for?"  She turned away with an angry jerk of her head.

He swallowed, her quick temper always threw him for a minute.  "To 
cut you off--B'Elanna's blowing an artery.  You created so many 
unauthorized interface routes that the neural gel packs were taking 
forever to process commands."

"Poor baby." 

He knew she didn't think much of the hot headed Torres.  That she was too young to have so much power.  But at least she was loyal to 
Chakotay's goal of getting this heap back to the Alpha Quadrant in 
one piece.

"Damn it, Kate.  We're **trying** to work together here."

God damn it, she knew that.  What she was doing, she was doing for 
everybody.  "Uh-huh."

This woman was impossible.  Frustration mounting, he ran a hand 
through his blond hair, only a little shorter than Kate's.  "Look," 
he said, "the Captain said 'no rations'.  He's pretty pissed because 
I didn't tell him about the last time."

She pursed her lips to forestall the smile at his words.  "What about 
the time before that?"

Tom closed his eyes.  "I didn't tell him about the time before."


"No.  First officer's prerogative."

"Uh-huh."  Sarcasm dribbled from her lips.

How do I keep from strangling her?  He had given her a warning the 
first time he caught her siphoning rations from the computer.  She'd 
offered him a blow job to forget about it.  He'd politely declined, 
she did a faux pout that didn't become her--and he scheduled her to 
two duty shifts in sick bay, training in exo-virological research. 
If they were traveling like Maquis, they'd better have something 
marketable to trade.

That was the brief moment of satisfaction he found in his turbulent 
relationship with the former Starfleet, former Maquis Kathryn 
Janeway.  Her eyes briefly caught with the fire of curiosity.  Only 
to be doused by the suspicion that usually clouded her face.

She and the doctor fought like cats for supremacy, until she 
deactivated him.  When he was reactivated, his nose was where his 
penis should have been, and his penis was….

The next time he caught her sucking rations, she spent a week in 
waste recycling.

"So, how is Tonto punishing you for keeping my secret?" she smirked.

"I'm here now."  He braced for impact.

But, she didn't move, didn't come at him in a body tackle.  Instead, 
she dipped her head, raised her chin and swallowed.  Tom cocked his 
head.  She'd done that before.  But, when?  Tom frowned and let it 

"How long?"  she asked.

"Your rations are cut 60 days."


Tom heaved himself up from the floor and offered a hand up, which was ignored as she moved lithely to her feet.  "You know the way out," she said and turned her back on him.

He did.  Tom leaned against the wall in the turbolift and scrubbed 
his face with his hands.  Mental jousting with Kate Janeway was 
exhausting.  Add a little martial arts and sexual tension, and he was 
worn out. 

Christ, this woman was harder than B'Elanna and Seska combined, and Tom had such a headache from dealing with her.  His father told him 
there would be days like this. 

But his father had also told him about Kathryn Janeway, and what a 
smart, aggressive officer she was going to be.  How it was her and 
Tom that were going to shape the future of Starfleet.

He left the lift and keyed into his quarters, still thinking about 
his dad and Kate Janeway.  And the Cardassians.

His dad had wept when he told the story.  Tom was disgusted, and 
riveted.  Kate and his dad had been captured and imprisoned.  Owen 
Paris had protested vigorously when they came for Kathryn, an ensign 
fresh from the Academy.  She didn't know anything of value.

Tom undressed and tossed his delta onto the night table.

'She doesn't know anything,' the Admiral had protested.  The scaly 
bastard just smiled and said, 'I know.'  They raped her for hours. 
His father was forced to listen of every minute of every blood 
curdling scream and plea for mercy.

Tom sat in the bathroom with his father when he had returned from the mission, holding a wet cloth and a glass of water while his dad 
retched into the toilet after describing the genital, anal and rectal 
reconstruction that Kathryn had gone through.  Tom nearly lost it 
himself, but he didn't have the visual images his dad was stuck with.

The former Starfleet Lieutenant Commander stretched out in bed and 
laced his fingers under his neck.  The shit really hit the fan for 
Kate during her six months post trauma leave.  Her father was killed 
by Cardassians. 

That was when she snapped. Resigned Starfleet.  Left Earth.  Joined 
the Maquis and never looked back.  Fought hard and well, but drank 
anything short of warp plasma.  A loose cannon with a wild temper.  A 
resourceful guerilla for years.  Until she got ring fever and landed 
on the bottom of the barrel.

That's where Chakotay met her, at the bottom of the barrel.  Selling 
dated technology scavenged to be retrofitted by her into any vehicle 
for rock bottom prices.  He figured out she was ex-Starfleet when he 
and B'Elanna bargained with her for some equipment.  His engineer 
could use the help of someone who could make something from nothing. Seska didn't like her on sight, which bothered Kate little.

Didn't matter much, Kate ratted them out to the Feds, and was sent to
jail on a technicality.  That's what Chakotay said.  Tom didn't know 
if he totally believed that side of the story.  Sometimes, not often, 
he saw the Kate his father used to see.


Always careful, Seska had checked the cabin's occupants before she 
keyed the chime.  "What did the Star Scout want?"

Janeway looked at her straight on.  "To cut off my rations."  She 
moved to the bathroom for a glass of water.  "Sorry, I can't offer 
you anything, I'm locked out of the replicator protocols."

"That could be a problem."  Seska had followed her and stood in the 
doorway.  Arms folded.

"I doubt it," she said and drank deeply.  "I'll just cause a 
disturbance somewhere else."

"Aren't you worried about what they'll do to you if they catch you?" 
Seska wanted to know.

Janeway set the glass down and looked at the bitch squarely.  "What 
could these Starfleet bleeding hearts do to me that's worse than what 
the Cardassians did to me?"

Seska shrugged and moved toward the bed.  "Let's get undressed."

"Not tonight."  And never again.  Janeway moved back into the room. 

Seska wasn't perturbed.  "Then I'll do you."

"No."  She moved through the small room into the day room.  "If I 
don't give, I don't get.  Observation Lounge on Deck 9 tomorrow at 
2330.  I'll have your communications meshed by then."

Seska nodded, back to business, and left. 

Janeway visibly sagged.  What a God damned, miserable night.  She 
stripped as she headed for the bathroom and a shower.

She screamed invectives in several languages when she called for a 
water shower and was told, "Ration account is closed" and the sonic 
heads engaged.  The things she wouldn't put up with to keep these 
ingrates headed toward the Alpha Quadrant.

End of Part 1.