Series: Voyager
Season: 3
Pairing: P, All, hints of P/T
Part: 1/?
Rating: PG

SYNOPSIS: AU. Alternate ending to *Real Life*, Tom fails to get
out of the astro-eddy and disappear in front of the bridge crew

By Synbou and Leone


3 years earlier...

*I have given this some careful thought, Captain, and the only
way that I can get out of here is the same way that I got in,*
Tom concluded.

*Through one of the astro-eddies? If I had a better idea I
suggest it, but I don't. It's your call, Tom,* Janeway told him.

*It doesn't like seems that I have much choice,* Tom said.

*Another eddy is forming,* Harry informed them.

*Captain! I suggest that you take Voyager away from here. This
one seems to be whopper, the biggest eddy we've seen so far,*

*We are not leaving, Tom,* she said. *We have to stay close if we
stand a chance of beaming you out of there.*

*Captain,* came Tuvok's voice from behind her. *The eddy is
starting to dissipate.*

*Tom, how long before you clear the eddy?* she asked with a
strained voice.

*It'd better be soon!* he replied. *The hull is starting to
buckle,* he told her. *... Captain! I'm being pulled back in.*

*Report!* Janeway demanded.

*The eddy, it's gone ... and so is the shuttle,* Harry said with



Ensign Kim's personal log

They say that it gets easier after awhile. Adapting to the loss
of someone you cared about, I mean. I must be different because
it has been three years since Tom's disappearance and I certainly
did not got used to not having him around anymore. True, I never
got used to not having my parents and Libby in my life anymore
either. However, it did get better once I received news from
them from the Hirogen communication array. At least, I know that
my parents are well, and that Libby moved on with her life and is
happy. It surely helped me moved on with my life. Now, that is a
funny concept...

Losing Tom was a different matter. When the Caretaker's array
propelled us into the Delta Quadrant, *we* were ripped away from
our families. When the astro-eddy closed onto Tom's shuttle,
tearing it apart, Tom was taken away from *us*. Suddenly, I had a
taste of what my folks back home most have been through. Then
again, they had not been there to see us being helplessly ripped
away as we saw Tom disappear into that spacial typhoon, leaving
only debris behind.

Tom had also received news from home. And not from just anybody
I might add, from his father.  Captain Janeway had allowed me to
read the letter, hoping that I could find some closure in the
Admiral's words.  The letter's format had been a little too
formal at first, but it had turned out to be a very warm and
compassionate one. It was meant as truce during which the Admiral
was admitting that turning his back on his beloved and only son
was the worst mistake of his life. The news of Tom being still
alive, after all these years of thinking that he was dead, was
like an answered prayer for a second chance. The Admiral hoped
his letter would have been seen as the first step of many in the
reconciliation process. God knew that both of them had a long
way to go, but Owen Paris intended to hold on to his second
chance as firmly as he could.

But Tom, like to many others, was gone. There would not be any
second chances. It broke our hearts as we knew how much Tom would
have liked to make amends with his father, even if it would have
scared the hell out of him -- not a fact that Tom would have
readily let known. Still...

The letter from the Admiral had affected the Captain the most. As
she had  taken onto herself to redeem the rebellious Thomas
Eugene Paris, a friendship had grew between her and Voyager's
Chief Pilot. It had been the same special kind of affection,
always kept at a respectful distance, that had developed between
her mentor and herself. She had sincerely hoped that she would of
have a chance to reunite the father and the son together.

Now, as I think back to our fortunate encounter with the T'Ejil
freighter early today, I'm starting to believe that there is such
a thing as answers to hopes and prayers.

On the screen of my monitor, there is a picture of my best friend
taken on that very same freighter only a month ago.  His
appearance changed a bit, but his blue eyes are still the same.

I haven't felt this happy in a long time.  Tom is alive out
there, and he has been searching and waiting for us.


3 years earlier

The doors leading to Terminal Three opened and Prefect Em'Aris
walked on the upper level of the huge cargo bay. From his
particular position, the director of the International Space
Station Brass'Ka had a good view of the activities on the lower

A small vessel had been pulled into the cargo bay moments ago. In
spite the fact that it was heavily damaged, the Prefect could
tell with certitude that it was not a regional design. Sensors
had indicated the faint presence of life signs on board, he could
only hope that it was not too late to save the pilot.

As Em'Aris joined the rest of the personnel gathered around the
craft, he was met by the Chief engineer. "Noel, what can you tell

"It's a Federation shuttlecraft from the Alpha Quadrant," the
male ex-Borg told him, his tone reflecting his amazement .

"The Alpha Quadrant?" echoed the Prefect. "It's a long way from
home. Is it secured?"

"It is, Sir. We're about ready to open the arch," the engineer

"Go ahead," he authorized. "I fear for the pilot's life."

Without wasting any more time, Noel opened the shuttle's arch.
Preceded by a security officer, he and a physician entered into
the dark smoky shuttle. Long minutes passed before Em'Aris saw
them exit with the unconscious pilot laid on a stretcher. He was
dressed into a black and red suit. He had fair features on which
dark red blood was contrasting. As the med team quickly rushed
him to the Medical Clinic, Em'Aris stayed behind with Noel.

"He's human," the man voiced, allowing himself a small smile.

"Is he going to be all right?" Em'Aris inquired.

"I don't know. It doesn't look good. He has a severe head
trauma." Noel bit his lower lip. "God, I hope that he'll make it.
I haven't seen one of my own in such a long time..."

"The doctors will do their best, Noel. Have faith," the older man
said confidently, patting his friend on the shoulder. He looked
back at the craft. "Will the shuttle be salvageable?"

Noel sighed heavily. "There's nothing left intact. It's a miracle
the core and hull didn't breach before he got out of that eddy.
I'll have to see what I can download from the computer. With a
little luck, we'll learn who this guy is and where he is from."

"The way he flew through that eddy was impressive," Em'Aris told
the engineer. "He seems to be quite a pilot."



Captain's personal Log supplemental.

We'll be in range of the Van'ski asteroid belt in a few hours. On
the other side, we should find the space station Brass'ka and
with it a long lost friend. Against all odds, Thomas Eugene Paris
survived the spacial eddy that had took him away from us three
years ago. He has been patiently waiting for us to catch up with
him at this space station ever since. Rumor has it that he made a
good life for himself as Brass'ka's Chief Flight Officer, no
less. I am not surprised. Tom proven himself to be a resourceful
and a dedicated officer. Maybe, most of all, a loyal and caring

Losing Tom Paris had a huge impact on this crew. I wonder if Tom
knew just how appreciated he had become over the years. By being
given a little trust and support, the brash young man that had
boarded this ship had revealed himself be the anti-thesis of what
we had thought him to be. The mercenary turned out to dedicated
Starfleet officer. The traitor was in reality a loyal friend
whose sarcastic nature had been hiding a keen sense of humor.

With Tom's disappearance, we also had lost a ray of sunshine
which had kept reminding us that whatever happened, whatever you
did, there was always a bright side to everything. Had Tom not
have this innate ability to bring the worse situations to its
simplest components, to transform dramas into jokes to relieve
tension, I doubt that he would have been the survivor that he is.
This attitude of his had worked for him and many of his
antagonists had to admit that it had worked for them too. It
surely had done so for me.

I haven't felt so much anticipation and enthusiasm in a long
time. I want to have my ray of sunshine back.


3 years earlier

After 8.3 hours of patient waiting, Noel was finally rewarded by
a set of confused blue eyes opening on him. Following the
Starfleet's officer arrival, the engineer had been able to
download what was left of the shuttlecraft's memory core. It had
not told him much, but at least he had a name.

"Tom," he called softly. "Don't be afraid. You're safe."

Tom's eyes slowly focused on him.

"My name is Noel. I'm human like you. If you wonder what this
thing is on my temple," he indicated with one hand. "It's a Borg
implant. I was Borg.  Oh, but don't worry the Borg are not here.
We are on the space station Brass'ka. You got injured in a
shuttlecraft accident. I don't know how you did it, but you
managed to fly through a spacial eddy."

"Noel," came Doctor Lalika's voice. "You're bombarding this poor
man with information. Give him some time to get his bearings

"Oh, I'm sorry," Noel told the tall woman a bit embarrassed.

"Greeting Tom," the doctor said. "I'm Lalika, the director of
this medical center." As she looked over her patient's vital
signs, she went on: "You  have to excuse Noel, he has been
waiting for you to awake for a very long time." She looked down
at him and brushed his pale cheek. "You sustained quite sever
injuries to your head, spinal cord, and abdominal cavity. Most
of it has already been treated. However, it will take more time
for you're spine to heal. So, don't be alarmed if you can't feel
parts of your body right now."

Tom tried to say something, but virtually no sound came out.

"Don't try to speak. You'll be able to soon when you get some of
your strength back," Lalika told him.

"Vo...Vo-ya-ger...?" he finally managed to ask.

Lalika looked up at Noel who came back closer.

"Voyager isn't in this system, Tom," Noel answered him. "It seems
that you traveled quite a bit through that spacial eddy. I'm not
sure how far away Voyager is, but I'm trying to find out, okay?"

Tom responded with a small smile.

"Go back to sleep, now," Doctor Lalika ordered with a gentle
smile. "We will be there when you will wake up."

Tom's eyes close and sleep took him away almost immediately.

Doctor Lalika then walked away, ready to attend to another
patient. Noel followed her with a perplex expression on his face.

"Why didn't you told him about the spinal clamp?" he asked.

"He is still too weak for that Noel," she explained.

"But you have to tell him soon," Noel insisted not for the first
time. "The sooner, the better."

"I am aware of that, Noel. But we can't do it now. Everything is
going to be fine. Do not worry," she assured him.

With that, she moved on to care for someone else.

Noel resigned himself to wait some more. He knew that the human
body was a complicated piece of machinery, with its own quirks
and quarks. Sometimes the best remedy was to let the body heal
itself. If it was what the doctor ordered, who was he to
contradict her. After all, even if he possessed much  of the
Borg's medical knowledge, he was still an engineer, not a doctor.



Commander Chakotay's personal log:

After Tom disappeared and was presumed dead three years ago, Kes
asked the senior staff, the Doctor and Neelix to meet her in
conference room one.  She didn't tell us why, but let us know it
was important.

When everyone was gathered, she told us that Tom had asked her to
give each one of us a memento, something to remember him by, if
anything ever happened to him. He had told her he didn't want to
leave messages, because he thought  they were too impersonal.

I was surprised, and I thought that the others were too, the
exception being Harry Kim, who knew Tom better than anyone else
on the ship. It was standard Starfleet procedure to record an
"After I'm dead" message to those left behind, but obviously Tom
had once again disregarded SOP.

After Kes had told us why she had asked us to be present, she
fulfilled Tom's request and gave us each whatever he had left for
us. Not surprisingly, Kathryn was the first to get her gift. As
none of the things were wrapped, we all saw what Tom had left to
the others. Kathryn received a book of Irish poetry and an Irish
cross. With tears in her eyes, Kathryn told us that the cross was
to wish the bearer good luck.

Next was, also unsurprisingly, Harry Kim. For him, Tom had left
his music collection and a framed 2-D picture of Tom with his
family. Kes told him that Tom had said that if there was anything
else in his quarters Harry wanted to keep, he could have it.

After Harry Kim came Neelix. Tom had left him a cookbook with
recipes for all kinds of different pizzas, something that Neelix
appreciated. He was always pleased to get new recipes. He loved
to cook and new recipes gave him something new to experiment
with. He also got Tom's favorite Hawaiian shirt, the one he had
often worn to the Resort. It was another thing that Neelix
appreciated. He'd always admired that shirt for it was colorful,
and it was only fitting  that he would get it. Also, I couldn't
imagine who else would wear it.

Then it was B'Elanna's turn. She got a small statuette of a cute
little pig, which made us all chuckle. Everyone on the ship knew
how often B'Elanna had called Tom a pig. She also received a
ceremonial Klingon dagger, making us remember how Tom always
tried to make her accept her Klingon side.

I was next. The first thing Kes handed me was Tom's favorite pool
cue. It made me smile, remembering all the times we had played in
Sandrine's.  Especially the first time Kathryn was there and the
little stunt she pulled, making us believe that she had never
played before, then cleaning the table.  And the time when Neelix
and Tuvok were physically merged in the transporter, creating
Tuvix, who had whipped our butts at the pool table.  Other times,
it had just been Tom and me playing; sometimes late at night when
we couldn't sleep.

Then Kes gave me the other thing Tom had left me, and for a
moment I stared at it blankly, wondering where he had gotten a
pair of Ferengi ears. Then I remembered and couldn't help
laughing. It was the incident with the two Ferengi playing gods
on that planet. Now, why Tom had kept those ears was beyond me,
but I was glad he had, and also glad that he wanted me to have
them. It made me remember the fun we'd had on that away mission.
Oh, it had been serious, especially when we discovered what was
going on, but it had its share of funny moments, not something
hat usually happened on away missions.

Tuvok got a Rubik's Cube. It had six different-colored sides,
each one divided into small squares. Kes told him that Tom had
done that, and that Tuvok was supposed to turn the sides so each
one was a solid color. She said that Tom had told her that the
Rubik's Cubes had been quite popular in the late twentieth

When we had all admired the cube, Kes handed Tuvok a padd. We all
wondered what was on it, including Tuvok. He activated it and
read the beginning out loud, realizing, I think, that we were as
curious as he was. It said, "Tuvok, this a collection of jokes. I
hope it will help you to understand human humor a little better.
Live long and prosper. Tom Paris." Tuvok didn't say anything when
he finished reading, but I think he appreciated it.

Then it was the Doctor's turn. Tom had left him several disks and
some chewing gum. Kes told the doctor that the disks contained
all of Tom's secret holoprograms. The Doctor's eyes widened at
this, obviously knowing what kind of programs they were. Kathryn
asked him about them, but the Doctor refused to tell us. He said
that they were private programs that Tom had mentioned but never
shared with anyone; not even Harry.

I thought that it might be some romantic programs, and obviously
B'Elanna did too because she commented on it. The Doctor turned
his head and look at her when she said that. Then he very
seriously told her that there was not one romantic program among
them. They were some things that Tom had used for himself, as a
kind of therapy.

After the Doctor had received his things, there weren't anymore,
which surprised us. Kathryn asked Kes if Tom hadn't left anything
for her. Kes smiled and told us that he had, but she hadn't
brought it with her. Then she told us that she had gotten a silk
blouse, and a table decoration made of lace.

All of the things Tom had left us were thoughtful, some of them
even humorous, and they were so... *Tom*. There was no doubt that
every time we looked at our mementos, we'd remember the charming
and best damned pilot in the Delta Quadrant, also known as Thomas
Eugene Paris. We also knew that we would miss him.

Now, three years later, we discover that Tom didn't die, but was
rescued and is waiting for us at a space station called Brass'ka
and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. Of course, I'm glad
that he didn't die. Before he disappeared in the special eddy, we
had become friends and I've missed him --  we all have. So, yes,
I'm looking forward to see him and have him returned to Voyager
here he belongs.

But, I'm also mad at him. For three years we have thought he was
dead and mourned for him. I know that until we received the news
that Tom was still alive, Harry Kim still grieved for him. I'm
*so* mad at him for doing this to us. I know it's unfair of me.
It wasn't Tom's fault, but a part of me blames him anyway.

So, I'm not sure how I'll react when I see him. I think that
either I'll grab him in a bear hug, or else I'll deck him. I just
don't know which.


3 years earlier

It had been a week since Tom Paris had arrived on Brass'ka. He
had passed the first three days in the Med Center, healing
physically and getting over the shock that once again ripped away
from his home. Being propelled into the Delta Quadrant had turned
out to be a blessing for him. He had been given a second chance.
Away from prison, he could do what he always wanted to do, fly.
He also had great friends. It had taken months for many of them
to accept them. Still, they had. They had become a family. The
best family he could ever have in his opinion. Now, he was 300
years away from Voyager and her crew and he missed them.

Faith was strange thing, he thought. He had never really believed
in it.  Hell, he had cursed it for so many years. It had taken
the life of his friends in an accident *he* been responsible for.
It had also brought him into the Delta Quadrant, where he, of all
people, had become Voyager's chief pilot. There had to be a
reason for his presence of Brass'Ka.

Brass'Ka was a safe harbor in space as its name roughly
translated to. It was a space station that had opened its doors
to people of all kinds not even a year before. It was actually
two distinct stations. Each part was located on different side of
the Van'ski asteroid belt. They were meant to provide assistance
to the ships that needed to cross on either side. It was also a
place where world leaders could come and talk, traders could do
business, and scientists could collaborate and exchange ideas.

"It's a federation in the making," Tom said, amazed by all of
what Noel was telling him.

"Yes. There are 320 worlds and communities part of the Axis," his
new friend added. "It's like the first days of the Federation. Of
course, there are not many humans or Vulcans around."

"I've been fascinated by Earth space exploration history from its
beginnings in the 20th century, for as long as I can remember,"
Tom admitted. "I always wondered what it felt like."

"Now is your chance," Noel said. "We could use someone like you.
We are always in need of good pilots that can guide ships through
the belt. What do you say?"

"Well, it's not like taking off by myself to reach Voyager would
make sense," Tom replied thoughtfully. "This place is also on its
course to the Alpha Quadrant."

"They're bound to pass by Brass'Ka eventually," Noel agreed.
"Maybe you'll be able to help them once they've arrived into the
Axis' jurisdiction. God knows what will happen from now until

"I hope so," Tom contemplated for a moment. Then, he sighed
heavily as the reality of who he really was drawn on him. "Noel,
I have to tell you something about me before we even go further."
his new friend returned his serious expression. "It's about what
I did in the past."

"Can it be worse than being an ex-Borg?" Noel challenged with a
small smile.

"I don't know. You tell me."

"If it's about Caldik Prime and your stay in prison, I already
learned that from your file that I found in the shuttle database.
I'm glad that you mention it though. The director likes people
that are honest and forthcoming. Don't worry."

"Thanks, Noel."

Tom had rapidly made a name for himself as he joined the piloting
team. His excellent piloting skills, his experience, and his
medical training had been quickly noticed. He had become the
leader of the rescue squad in less than three months. His first
project with Noel had been to design a new type of shuttlecraft
which would made their rescue effort more efficient in the
asteroid belt. They had called the end result the Sentry. The
little ambulance had somewhat of a Federation look of speed and
manoeuverability . It could treat 50 injured passengers and ferry
20 more.  It was armed and shielded with Borg technology. It was
also equipped with transporters, replicators, and a tractor beam.
By the of the end year, the Sentry had become a class of its own,
with four new ships constructed.


B'Elanna Torres' Personal log

The Pig is alive. I can't wait to put my hands on him. I'll rip
his heart out. He won't know what will hit him! This time, he
will stay dead. I'll make sure of that.

The first time he died, after that warp 10 experiment, he and I
had only started to be friends. Sure, I was sad when we thought
he had passed away.  Tom was a good guy, even though Tom never
made things easy to help change what people thought of him. Yet,
I was only starting to realize just how wrong I had been about

The second time he died - well he didn't really, did he? When he
disappeared, things were totally different. It broke my heart.
Oh, who am I kidding? I was devastated. See, then we were moving
beyond friendship. We weren't dating or anything. But God, did I
ever wished we had been. I don't think his disappearance would
have hurt me more if we had been.  This wonderful man who tried
make me laugh, to give me a social life, to make me feel
attractive, and most of all to make me feel better about myself
disappeared right in front of my eyes one day. There was nothing
I could do help him. He vanished before I had the chance to tell
him that I loved him.

Yes, I fell in love with the Pig.

Tom was always there for me even if I was rude and aggressive
towards him.  He always respected me. Sometimes, he did dispute
the cause of my temper tantrums, but he never questioned my
nature. He welcomed it. He accepted *me*.

Then he left me.

How dare he?! For weeks I resented him for disappearing like
that, for leaving me before I could tell him that I loved him.
For weeks I refused to believed that he had died. I dreamed every
night that he would come back to me so that I could tell him how
I felt. I fantasized that he would swept me off my feet and that
we would make passionate love. I guess that part of my dream is
coming true: Tom is coming back to us.  However, is it too late
for the love part?

It probably is. I moved on over the years as he must have. I
wonder if he is still the same. He changed a lot during his stay
on Voyager. He became less bitter and a lot more confident with
his relationships with people.  Wonder if he has a girlfriend?



End of Part 1

Synbou and Leone thank you for reading. Feedback is always
appreciated at

Our thanks to PJ in NH, Elli and Zappy Zaps for their inputs.

Copyrights @ May 2002