Unexpected Changes
By: R. Mackenzie
Dated:  January 4, 1999

Setting:  Alternate universe, takes place after the fourth season.
          The crew of Voyager must deal with a strange, unexpected
Disclaimer:  Paramount owns them, I'm just borrowing them.

Part 1

Slowly Thomas Eugene Paris tried to pull himself off his bathroom
floor.  How long had he been there this time?  He didn't know,
really didn't care.  He was cold and his body felt like someone had
been using him to mop up the floor after a parises square match.
The shorts and t-shirt he had worn to bed also didn't help any in
the warmth department.

Cautiously, he grabbed on to whatever his hands could find and he
hauled himself to his feet.  *Come on, Tommy Boy, just a little
further*.  He gave himself a few moments for the dizziness and
nausea to pass.  He really didn't think he had anything left to
throw up and the dry heaves seemed even more unappealing.

Slowly he turned to face the bathroom mirror, raising his head to
have a look and then wished he hadn't:  eyes blood shot, surrounded
by dark circles, hair going every which direction, skin the color
of tooth paste.  Not a pretty sight.

*Well, at least you're standing on your feet*.  Tom thought to
himself as his legs swayed beneath him.  The jerky movement not
helping his fight with his stomach.

Tom took a few moments to try and get his body under control.  He
was not looking forward to having to go to sickbay, but didn't see
any other option.  Three days of throwing up was just about more
than anyone could handle.

"Paris to Sickbay," Tom called in a shaky voice.  He closed his
eyes as he waited for the reply.

"Sickbay.  What can I do for you Mr. Paris?" queried the ever
pleasant voice of the ship's Doctor.

Tom took a deep breath to steady himself.  If there was one thing
that he absolutely hated it was sickbay, especially when he was the

"Uh, Doc, do you think that you might be able to come to my
quarters?  I'm not feeling to hot."

"Mr. Paris, normally when someone is ill they come to Sickbay, not
the other way around."  Paris noticed that the Doctor was sounding
a little perturbed.  "Now, what seems to be the problem?"

Tom cringed, oh how he hated having to call the Doc.  He had tried
to take care of things himself, but nothing he tried had worked, in
fact if anything he was feeling worse.  Luckily, he had had the
last few days off or he would have had to make this call even


He closed his eyes trying to block out the Doc's voice and to ease
the headache that was tormenting him.  He figured it was also a
good thing that Harry and B'Elana had started a new project a few
days ago that was taking up most, if not all, of their free time.
Fighting with his friends over whether or not he should go to
sickbay, although entertaining for anyone watching, was not an
argument he wanted to have.


He heard his name being called, but found that his mind couldn't
get his mouth to respond.  Taking a deep breath, he tried again.
Nothing.  Tom felt his legs give out from underneath him and waited
for his body to hit the floor, not caring that it would hurt and he
would be sore for days.  His mind vaguely registered the familiar
sensation of the transporter beam as it engulfed him.


"Doctor, what seems to be the problem?" Captain Kathryn Janeway
inquired as she walked through the doors of Sickbay and headed over
to the main bio-bed.

The Doctor had called earlier that morning to notify her that
Lieutenant Paris would be unavailable for his shift, stating that
he would contact her when he knew something further.  She noted
that he seemed a bit put out at once again have to treat his most
frequent patient.  Janeway had to smile, Paris's ability to injure
himself was becoming quite the frequent occurrence.

She knew something had to happen to bother the peace that they had
been experiencing the past couple of months, and it just figured
that it had something to do with Paris.  Things had been going too
smoothly.  They had made contact with a race called the Stimmums,
a group of humanoids of equal technological advancement that had
been more then willing to trade with and offer aid to Voyager.
They made arrangements to stay in orbit for six weeks to make some
very needed repairs, build up their low reserves and give the
entire crew some much desired shore leave.  In the week since they
had left orbit, life on Voyager had been pretty routine and easy.
Just as Janeway liked it.

"Captain," the Doctor acknowledged his commanding officer as she
approached the bio-bed.  He turned to Ensign Samantha Wildman and
handed her a data padd, "Please see that these are filled and ready
when Mr. Paris awakens."

"Yes, sir," replied Samantha as she accepted the data padd and left
them to their discussion, grateful that she didn't have to be
around for it.

"How is he?" began a curious and concerned Janeway.  *Now what's he
done?*  She thought as she looked down at the bio-bed's occupant,
now clothed in the typical blue medical clothes.  He looked so
young while sleeping and she had to resist the urge to smooth back
the strands of blonde hair that had fallen over his forehead.

"Stable," the Doctor stated.

"What exactly does *stable* mean?" inquired the Captain giving the
Doctor one of her looks, she was in no mood for his games.

"Captain, Mr. Paris..." the Doctor paused, trying to decide the
best way to tell her.

"Spit it out Doctor," the Captain was becoming annoyed by the
Doctor's reluctance to tell her and fearful for the man laying
before her.  She wanted to know what was wrong with her chief

"Mr. Paris is suffering from a case of morning sickness," The
Doctor looked at the Captain trying to gauge her reaction.  When
she didn't reply right away he thought that maybe she didn't
understand, "Captain, Mr. Paris is pregnant."

"H-how can that be?" stammered the Captain after finding her voice.
*Pregnant?*  She looked down to the unconscious man on the bio-bed
then back to the Doctor.

"I have been able to determine that approximately a week ago, an
incision was made in his abdomen, at which time an artificial womb
and a fetus were implanted," the Doctor stated, "the fetus is an
approximately six week old, healthy female humanoid."

"Doctor, I don't mean to doubt your prognoses, but.." questioned
the disbelieving Janeway, while motioning to the still form on the

"Believe me, Captain, I have a hard time believing this as well.
I have run the tests over and over again with every piece of
equipment available to me here, as has Ensign Wildman and Mr.
Paris, when he was conscience.  The fact is, Mr. Paris is going to
have a baby," The Doctor stated emphatically, then softening his
voice, continued, not relishing having to tell her the rest.
"Apparently he is being used to further some type of experiment."

"An experiment?  What experiment?  Who's?" asked Janeway instantly

The Doctor motioned her to follow him to one of the computer
terminals against the wall.  "Captain, shortly after Mr. Paris was
diagnosed, a taped message was received on my computer terminal.
It was from Dr. Heppa, one of the chief medical practitioners of
the Stimmums.  In short, the message contained information on the
procedures that were performed on Mr. Paris as well as scans that
were run on the fetus since it's inception.  Ending shortly after
the fetus was removed from it's artificial environment and
implanted in Mr. Paris."

The Captain couldn't speak.  She watched, stunned, as the Doctor
replayed part of the message for her.  It showed an unconscious Tom
Paris, laying on a bed, prepped for some type of surgery, two
Stimmums standing over him preforming an operation.  The scientist
in her watching in fascination while the command officer watched in
horror.  They had physically assaulted her officer and friend.

"What do we know about the fetus, Doctor?" she turned to him and
asked, not wanting to watch anymore.

"According to Dr. Heppa, the fetus is a hybrid."

"Hybrid?  Of who," she paused and glanced back toward the bio-bed,
"or should I ask of what?" she didn't like the sound of this.

"The scans of the fetus show it to be part human, Klingon and

"Are you sure?" she couldn't keep the shock out of her voice.

The hologram simple nodded his head.  "Sometime during our first
week on the planet, she and her staff were able to *extract*
samples from Mr. Paris and Ms. Torres," the Doctor stated
disapprovingly.  It appalled him that someone in the medical field
would take advantage of people to preform such experiments.  He
also knew that the Captain was not going to like it when she found
out all the details of the extraction.  Dr. Heppa had been quite
thorough in her telling and taping of the events that pertained to
the experiment.

Before Janeway could question him further, movement from the
bio-bed brought their attention back to the person lying on it.
The Doctor moved back to the right side of the bed, picking up a
tricorder on his way.  Janeway moved to the other side, waiting for
the Doctor to complete his scan.

"Everything appears to be normal.  Well, whatever constitutes
normal in a situation such as this," he closed the tricorder and
looked toward Janeway.  "Apparently, Mr. Paris has been
experiencing sever bouts of morning sickness for the last *three*
days,"  Janeway noted the annoyance in his voice.  "I have given
him several injections to raise his nutrient, glucose and vitamin
levels.  Also something to help with the nausea and dizziness he's
been experiencing.  Ensign Wildman is preparing other supplements
he will need after he awakens."

"Is Tom in any danger?" Janeway asked, the concern etched in her
voice.  She would wait to view the tape later to find out all that
had transpired with her junior officers.

"Not at this time, however, this a unique situation.  Although
there are a number of species where the male carries the unborn
fetus rather then the female, humans are not one of them.  Also, we
know very little of Stimmum physiology.  I can treat this as a
normal human pregnancy, following the same guidelines and handle
any differences that arise.  That is if the decision is made to
take it to term," he watched as Janeway nodded her head in

"Also, when Mr. Paris regained consciousness earlier and I informed
him of his condition," the Doctor paused and looked down at his now
peacefully slumbering patient, such a contrast from earlier, "he
didn't take the news well.  After repeating the scans
on himself and finding the results the same, he became quite
*difficult*.  I had to sedate him."

"I can imagine.  How much longer do you expect him to remain

"At least a couple of hours.  He needs his rest."

"Doctor, have you informed Ms. Torres of any of this?" she
inquired.  Telling the half-Klingon that she had been part of an
experiment, without her knowledge or consent, was going to be
difficult enough.  She wasn't sure how she was going to tell her
about Tom's condition, she had no idea how the temperamental
engineer would react to the news.  She and Tom had been seeing each
other for months now, in fact, they had just announced their
engagement about a month ago.

"No, Captain, I felt it best that you be present while I informed
her."  *Hopefully to keep her under control*, he thought.

The Captain nodded her head and then tapped her combadge, "Janeway
to Torres."

"Torres here," came the reply.

"Lieutenant, could you please join me in sickbay."

"Captain, I'm right in the middle of a project, could this wait
until later?"

Janeway lifted one corner of her mouth in a half smile, the young
woman had as much like for sickbay as Tom did.  "I'm sure
Lieutenant Carey and Ensign Kim can handle things, please report to
the sickbay immediately.  Janeway out."  She ended the link before
B'Elana could protest any further.  "Doctor, perhaps this could be
continued in your office," as she motioned to his door.

"Of course, Captain," he followed her across the room.


Lieutenant B'Elana Torres left Voyager's engine room and headed
towards sickbay, not happy about being taken away from the project
she and Harry were working on and even less happy to have to report
to sickbay.  She couldn't think of what the problem could be, all
systems were running smoothly.  Which could only mean that the
Doctor wanted something and Janeway must have made the call because
the annoying hologram figured that she would be unwilling to do
whatever it was.  He was probably right.

B'Elana sighed, rubbing her hand across the back of her neck.  She
hated when there was too much down time, she preferred it when
things kept busy.  But, thanks to the Stimmums, all of the major
and most of the minor ships repairs were completed before they left
orbit of their Home world.  That left only minimal things for her
and her staff to do until the next crisis arose.

After a day of boredom, she decided to keep busy by putting her
staff through numerous drills and assigning them to cleaning
details.  Anything to keep busy.  After a couple of days Harry had
showed up *suggesting* a project for them to work on.  B'Elana
smiled at that.  She figured her staff had done some complaining to
Chakotay about all the tedious work and then he in turn volunteered
Harry to keep her occupied, not only for her own sake but for the
sanity of her entire staff.

The only downside of the project was she hadn't been able to spend
much time with Tom over the past couple of days.  But she figured
if the project they were slaving over worked, he wouldn't complain
for long, there would be more replicator rations for everyone.
B'Elana realized that he hadn't really complained at all after the
first day.  Definitely not like Tom.  She'd have to make time to
see him later that night.

"Captain?" she called as she walked through the doors of the
sickbay.  Scanning the room her eyes came to rest on the only
occupied bio-bed.  *Tom?!  Now, what's he done?* she thought as she
began to move toward him.

"B'Elana," the Captain called as she walked out of the Doctor's

Torres tore her eyes away from Tom's form and turned toward
Janeway's voice, "Yes, Captain?"

"Will you please join us in the Doctor's office.  There's something
we need to discuss."  Without waiting for B'Elana to reply, she
took her by the arm and steered her away from Tom.  "Have a seat."
She gently pushed her into one of the office chairs and motioned
for the Doctor to begin.


B'Elana couldn't believe it, Tom was pregnant.  *Pregnant?*  With
her baby, no, their baby.  *Their baby?*  This had to be a joke,
this just wasn't possible.



*No way.*

Standing by the main bio-bed, she watched him as he slept, absently
fingering her engagement ring and trying to come to terms with what
she had been told.  She and Tom were going to be parents.  Oh, this
was so weird.  How could they be parents?  How could she?  How
could they possibly think that they could raise a child?

It was kind of funny to her, she and Tom had talked off and on
about having kids.  Both had expressed their concerns and fears.
Neither of them had come from the best home life, and both were a
little unsure if they would be able to do a good job of raising
children.  Although, they definitely had the examples of what not
to do.  She sighed, kids weren't suppose to happen for a long time,
they'd talked, nothing more.

She loved him, that was one thing she did know, and she knew that
he loved her, but was that supposed to be enough to get them
through something like this?

What were they supposed to do now?  Did she even really want this
baby?  Did Tom?  Could she live with herself if she chose to walk
away?  If they chose not to go through with it?  Could she and Tom
really raise a child by themselves?  Could their love really get
them through this?  What would their friends say?  How would the
crew react?

What was she going to do?

All the questions running through her head were getting to be too
much, she could feel a headache beginning and brought her hands up
to rub her temples.  She needed to talk to someone, she looked
down, she needed to talk to Tom.

B'Elana noticed Tom was moving more, making slight noises.  She
turned to call the Doctor and Captain out of his office, grateful
that they had allowed her a few moments to herself.

As the Doctor strolled over, he picked up the tricorder again and
began another scan.  The room was silent as he closed the devise
and then called for Ensign Wildman to bring him the hyposprays he
had asked her to prepare earlier.  She quietly walked over, handed
them to her superior and then stood off to the side, just in case
she was needed.

Tom came awake slowly.  B'Elana took his hand in hers, hoping to
offer him some comfort.  They told her how he reacted to the news
before and she knew no one wanted a repeat.  She had no idea what
they were going to do, but she wanted him to know that she was
there for him.

His eyes opened and then closed, surprised by the brightness of the
lights.  He slowly opened them a second time and turned to see who
had a hold of his hand.  His blue eyes met her brown ones and he
offered a small smile which she returned.  He seemed content to
just lay there and look at her and then realization returned.  He
was in sickbay.  He was pregnant.  B'Elana saw his eyes grow wide,
his body tense up.  He tried to sit up.

"Mr. Paris, please lie still," the Doctor put his arms out to keep
his patient laying on the bed.  He didn't want to have to sedate
him again, he didn't know how a second dose would affect the fetus.
He had several tests to still run.

"Tom, relax," B'Elana leaned closer, trying to sooth him.  "It's
all right.  Everything is going to be all right."

He stopped struggling against the Doctor's unyielding arms and
slumped back on the bed closing his eyes.  "It's not just some bad
dream, is it?" he asked softly.

"No, Tom," answered the Captain, *more like some nightmare*.  She
could see the emotions play across his face.  Anger.  Pain.
Confusion.  Fear.  Sadness.  Everything one would expect in a
situation like this.  "How do you feel?"

How *did* he feel?  He was pregnant.  How did they *think* he felt?
He didn't want to deal with it.  He wanted out of sickbay, to run
from everything, pretend none of this was happening.


"I'm fine."  He knew they wouldn't believe him, but he didn't care.
He needed to work it out.  He needed and wanted them all to just
leave him alone.  "Doc, can I leave?"

"Mr. Paris, there are several more tests that I need to run."

"Haven't you run enough tests?  You already know what
the...diagnosis is," complained Tom.  Why wouldn't they just let
him leave?

"I know what your condition is, Mr. Paris, but that doesn't tell me
how you are, other than that you both appear to be healthy.  And if
I'm going to keep you that way, there are some tests that need to
be run.  Preferably with your cooperation," responded the Doctor

Seeing that Tom was trying to antagonize the Doctor, Janeway
intervened, "Tom, we need to know all that we can about your
condition.  Your health is too important."

"But, Captain..."

"That's an order, Mr. Paris," Janeway stated in her command voice,
"You will do as the Doctor says, no argument."

"Yes ma'am," Tom got his budding anger under control and pulled on
his Paris mask, he knew that he had lost this round.

B'Elana felt his grip tighten on hers and immediately voiced a
request of her own, "Captain, could I stay?"  Hopefully she could
keep Tom from killing the Doctor.  And if the Doctor got to be too
much of a pain she could always make some minor adjustments to his

"Captain, I need to run some tests on Ms. Torres as well," the
Doctor injected.

"How long do you think these tests will take?  The rest of the
senior staff need to be appraised of the situation ," Janeway saw
Tom flinch as she spoke, "I would like to call a meeting for later
this afternoon."

"Not more then a couple of hours, with my patients cooperation," he
turned his attention to the hyposprays in his hands, "Mr. Paris, I
have already given you a preliminary group of supplements, I need
to give you the rest."  Without waiting for Tom's approval, he
began to administer the injections.

Tom flinched as the cold metal touched his skin, but said nothing.
He didn't want anyone to know.  He didn't want to have to put up
with the stares and comments.  This would definitely get the gossip
mongers going.  He couldn't understand why this was happening to
him, how could anyone else.

"I'll notify the other senior officers of a meeting at 1800.
Please contact me if there is any change."

"Captain, do you have to tell them?"  Tom tried to keep his voice
even, show no emotion.  He didn't succeed.

"Tom, I know this is difficult," she stated sympathetically,
placing a comforting hand on his leg, hoping to reassure him, "but
considering what has been done, they have to be told.  We have to
discuss the impact this is going to have as well as possible
solutions.  I believe their input will be invaluable."

Tom just closed his eyes, tears were threatening to fall and he
didn't want anyone to see him lose control, to show weakness.  He
was a Paris, nothing was supposed to bother him, crying just
wouldn't do.

Janeway motioned for the Doctor to follow her.  While they moved
toward the door, Ensign Wildman pulled a chair over for B'Elana,
offering her a look of sympathy and encouragement.  She then left
them alone.

B'Elana sat for a few minutes just watching Tom.  She could see the
emotions playing across his face, the tears that he was trying to
hold back, they were almost too strong even for his supposedly
impenetrable mask.  What could she do to help the man she loved?
Needing to have more physical contact with him, she began to caress
his face, running her fingers from his forehead to his jaw line and
back again.

He opened his eyes, turning his head to look at her.  Neither
spoke, their eyes searching for answers and comfort in each others.
Tom pulled their joined hands up to his lips and kissed hers.  She
smiled, letting him know that she was there for him.

Samantha Wildman waited for the Captain to leave and went to
intercept the Doctor.  She could see that Tom and B'Elana needed a
few minutes to themselves.  Hopefully B'Elana could help calm the
emotionally overwrought man.  She steered the Doctor toward the
lab, attempting to give them as much time as she could.


"I apologize for being late, Captain," the Doctor stated as he
entered the conference room and took a seat between Chakotay and
Tuvok.  "Mr. Paris was being his usual charming, helpful self.  I
also needed to gather the test results."

"Is everything okay?" questioned Janeway as she set her coffee mug
down.  She knew when she had left sickbay that Tom was going to be
difficult, but knew they needed the tests run.  They needed more
answers then what the taped message was giving them.

After leaving sickbay, Janeway entered the bridge and called for an
all stop.  No explanation given, simply stating that she would
explain at a meeting scheduled for 1800.  She then retreated to her
ready room and began to watch the message from Dr. Heppa, her anger
growing with each passing frame.  What they had done to two of her
crew members, two of her friends.  It made her feel sick.  How
could someone take advantage of Tom and B'Elana in such a manner?

"Fine.  I have scheduled a few more test for tomorrow."

Janeway nodded, trying to keep her thoughts under control.  She
looked around the conference table, trying to gauge everyone's
mood.  Commander Chakotay was sitting to her right following the
conversation closely.  She usually confided in him when problems
arose, but this was one she needed to come to terms with before
telling him or the others.  Ensign Harry Kim sat to her left,
trying not to look longingly at the empty seats beside him.
Lieutenant Commander Tuvok quietly sat at the opposite end of the
table waiting for the meeting to begin.

"Doctor, will Mr. Paris and Ms. Torres be joining us?"

"I've sent Mr. Paris to his quarters to rest.  Ms. Torres insisted
on accompanying him.  She should be along momentarily."

"What's wrong with Tom?" blurted out Harry Kim, forgetting all
pretense of professionalism and Starfleet decorum.  His face turned
a bright shade of red as he looked at the Captain and realized that
he had spoke out of turn.

Janeway smiled softly at her anxious Ops officer.  She knew he and
Tom were best friends and she understood his concern.  If anything,
Tom spent more time in sickbay as a patient then as a medical
assistant.  She wondered how he would handle the news.  She
wondered how they all would handle the news.

The Captain took another look around the table.  Not entirely sure
what to say, or how to say it, she decided on the direct approach
and called the meeting to order.  "This morning Mr. Paris was
beamed to sickbay and there the Doctor determined him to be
pregnant," Janeway stated.  She looked at each officer:  Chakotay
and Harry were staring at her in shock, trying to decide if they
had heard her correctly.  Harry's mouth was hanging open.  Tuvok's
face showed no emotions, just a raised eyebrow, typical of her
Vulcan security officer.

"Excuse me, Captain, but did you say pregnant?"  It was Chakotay
who spoke.

"Yes, Commander.  Mr. Paris is about six weeks pregnant."

"B-but, that's not possible," exclaimed Harry.

"Thanks to our recent hosts, I'm afraid it has become possible, Mr.
Kim," replied the Doctor.

The doors to the conference room opened and B'Elana Torres walked
in.  She noted the looks on their faces and realized Janeway and
the Doctor had already told them.  Steeling herself, she walked
across the room and sat down by Harry, not meeting anyone's gaze.

The Captain acknowledged her with a nod and continued with the
conversation.  "I know this seems incredible and before we allow
this discussion to go any further, I want the Doctor to tell us
what his examination of Mr. Paris has determined."  She noticed
B'Elana shifting uncomfortably in her chair and wondered what the
Doctor was going to tell them.

"Captain, I have run several tests and reviewed more of the tape
from Dr. Heppa.  Several possible solutions were tested by myself,
with the help of Ms. Wildman, that I thought would be safe to the
fetus and Mr. Paris.  Such as removing the fetus and placing it in
a artificial environment again or in another host, preferably the
mother," he unconsciously gestured to B'Elana causing all eyes to
turn toward her again.  She continued to shift uncomfortably under
their gazes.  "However, the tests have shown that it's not going to
be possible to remove the fetus without causing irreparable damage
to it and Mr. Paris."

"What do yo mean irreparable, Doctor?" questioned Janeway, she
didn't like the sound of this.

"I am uncertain of exactly how, and Dr. Heppa offered no definitive
explanation, other then to say that in a Stimmum pregnancy, a
physical bond of some sort is naturally established between mother
and child.  This bond cannot be severed without destroying them

The occupants of the conference room were silent as the Doctor
finished speaking.

Chakotay was the first to find his voice.  "But Tom's not Stimmum."

"True, he is not Stimmum, but the fetus is, in part.  The tests I
have run show the bond does exist.  The only option I can suggest
at this time is that the pregnancy will have to be allowed to go to
term and Mr. Paris will have to carry it."

"Are you saying that if you try anything that Tom will die?" Harry
blurted out disbelievingly.  This was the twenty-fourth century,
removing an unborn fetus from one environment and placing it in
other had been done for years, no complications.  There had to be
something that could be done for his friend.

"Yes," The Doctor stated, offering no further explanations.
Everyone quietly tried to digest this latest bit of news.

"I guess the next question then would be, how's Tom dealing with
the news?" inquired Chakotay.  Even though he was looking at the
Captain, it was B'Elana that answered.

"He doesn't want to talk about it."


Tom Paris sat pensively on the couch in his darkened living room,
legs curled underneath him, staring out the view port.  After hours
of test and antagonizing the Doctor, he was finally released to his
quarters with orders to rest and report back to sickbay first thing
tomorrow morning for more poking and probing.  Tom cringed.  He
hated sickbay.  And the thought that the rest of the senior staff
were gathered at that moment talking about him was not helping his
How could he be pregnant?

A chill ran up his spine at the thought, his recently settled
stomach starting to churn again.  This just wasn't possible.  It
had to be a dream.  Or someone's idea of a sick joke.  He ran a
shaky hand over his tired face.  He had spent the last four plus
years trying to get his life in order, get back what he'd lost
after Caldick Prime, and now something like this happens.  It was
like everything and everyone was out to get him, like no one wanted
him to make something of himself.  Tom shook his head, that wasn't

Janeway didn't have to give him a field commission.  Didn't have to
make him chief conn officer.  Didn't have to give him the
responsibilities she had, show him that she had confidence in him.
Maybe she saw something in him that not even he could see.  Tom was
sure that it was her faith in him that had eventually turned the
attitude of his sworn enemy, Commander Chakotay.  The day that
Chakotay talked to him without anger flashing in his eyes had
surprised even him.

Then there was Harry Kim, his best friend.  Even with everyone
telling him to stay away, including himself, Harry stood his
ground, not letting his friend stand alone.  Harry was the first to
get past Tom's walls, not letting Tom scare him away.  His strength
and persistence helped Tom overcome a lot of the emotional baggage
from his past and he had realized a long time ago that Harry Kim
was the best, most loyal friend one could ever have.

And then there was B'Elana, his beautiful B'Ella.  Tom remembered
her holding his hand while in sickbay.  She was his rock, the
steady part in his life.  He wondered what thoughts were going
through her mind.

He wished that she was there now to wrap her arms around him, tell
him that everything was going to be all right, that they would be
together.  But he wasn't sure that she would ever come back.  She
had helped him back to his quarters, silently seeing to his needs
and tucking him into bed.  But he didn't feel like he deserved the
help she was offering him so he had ejected her from his quarters.
To wrapped up in his own inner turmoil to see the pain and
confusion she was also trying to deal with.

Tom felt the tears well up in his eyes as he remembered the pained
look on her face.  He loved her so much and all he could do was
send her away when all he really wanted was for her to hold him.

He was such a idiot.  Why couldn't he just accept someone's help,
someone caring for him?  Tom knew.  He was raised to be a Paris and
a Paris never showed their emotions, it was a weakness.  A member
of the Paris clan was expected to be perfect, to excel in
everything.  Unfortunately, Tom had never been able to live up to
those demands, as his father never had any trouble telling him.
Especially when he fell short of his  father's expectations.

After years of being told that everything you did wasn't good
enough, that you could always do better, it was hard to believe
that he amounted to anything.  That anyone could really care for
him.  Tom knew that was his problem, he couldn't handle someone
caring for him, he didn't feel he was worth the effort.

And the idea that the rest of the crew would eventually find out
about his condition was depressing him.  It was one thing to have
his close friends know, to come to terms with their help.  But to
have everyone know, what was he going to do?  He wondered if
Janeway would allow him to hide out until it was over.

Seven and a half months.  What was he going to do for seven and a
half months?  The Doctor had already placed him on restricted duty,
stating that any excess physical strain could create complications.
Complications, he was pregnant, that in itself was a complication.

Tom didn't seem to notice the tears that had begun to silently fall
down his pale face.


He had been asking that question repeatedly since he first awoke in
sickbay.  Why had the Stimmums done this?  Why had they chosen him
and B'Elana?  With all the shuttling he had done between Voyager
and the moon's mining sites, he had spent very little time on their
home world.  Same with her.  She had been in charge of the ship's
repairs and refining of the minerals they'd gathered.  There had
been little time for rest and relaxation for them.

Then there was the question of how they could have preformed major
surgery on him and him never know about it.  He'd looked at the
scar, it was almost non-existent and aside from feeling a little
fatigued of late, he had no other symptoms of someone having under
gone a surgery of this magnitude.  It seemed the only way he was
going to figure it out was to watch the tape the Doctor had
mentioned, but he wasn't sure that he was ready to do that yet.  If
he ever would be.

And why did they make *him* pregnant and not her?  Tom shook his
head at that thought, he wouldn't wish this on B'Elana.  He
couldn't even wish something like this on someone he didn't like.
This was a type of violation that no one should be able to think
about let alone accomplish.  He was grateful she didn't have to go
through this, especially since they weren't even sure that the
child was going to be normal.

He shuddered at that.  The thought that the baby would be some type
of monster, some type of genetic mutant terrified him.  How could
someone do this?  He sighed, wishing that he felt better, that his
body didn't ache everywhere, that it wasn't so difficult to keep
his thoughts coherent. He shifted positions, bringing his arms to
rest on the back of the couch, pillowing his head.  He was so

Thoughts of B'Elana raced through his mind.  He again recalled the
look on her lovely face as he sent her away, telling her that he
didn't need anybody's help.  What were they going to do?  Tom found
himself believing that there was no way that she would be able to
handle his condition.  Even though the baby was part of her too,
she had previously made it quite clear that she wasn't ready for
kids.  It took him months just to get her to accept his marriage

He knew that she was having a hard time with this whole mess as
well, but he wouldn't, couldn't force her to stick around.  He
loved her, dearly, but he couldn't make her take on something she
wasn't ready for.  Something that he wasn't sure he was ready for
either.  He would let her know that he understood her fears and
that it was all right.  He would not make her feel guilty, he loved
her too much to ever make her feel like that.  If she didn't want
anything to do with him, he would let her go.  It would be the
right thing to do.

As his eyes slid shut, Tom made his decision.  He didn't seem to
realize that he had made up his mind without ever talking to her.


B'Elana sat in the conference room oblivious to the conversation
going on around her.  They were planning and organizing, everyone
trying to give their opinions on what would be best for Tom and the
baby.  Their baby.  She really wished that it would just be over so
that she could get back to him.

She was a little hurt when he had ordered her to go away, but she
knew him, understood that he needed time to think, pull himself
together.  She just didn't know how much time she could give him.
They really needed to talk, decide what they were going to do.

She thought back to the pained look in his eyes, first while he was
in sickbay and then while he ejected her from his quarters.  She
had walked around before heading to the meeting.  She needed time
to get her anger under control before facing her fellow officers.
Anger that was directed at the Stimmums, especially that Dr. Heppa
character, for what they had done.  If she could get a hold of them
she would rip them apart, tear them into little pieces, for causing
harm to her mate, for putting them both in this situation.

B'Elana was so deep in thought, she didn't see Harry sneaking
concerned glances at her.  He was becoming worried as he watched
her face contort in anger, her hands tightly gripping the arms of
her chair.

"Hey, B'Elana," Harry leaned over and whispered, "are you okay?"

B'Elana blinked, focusing on her surroundings at the sound of his
voice.  She raised her head and found everyone looking at her.
Harry blushed as he realized that he had spoken louder then he had
intended to.

"Sorry," she replied, putting forth the effort to look as though
she was paying attention.

Janeway looked at her for a moment and then turned her attention
back to the conversation at hand, part of her mind trying to
imagine what B'Elana must be thinking.

"So, we don't know why this Dr. Heppa would warn us not to return
to their home world once Tom's condition was found out," Janeway
continued with the conversation that they had been having, "just
that she was adamant about it."

"It would help if we knew why they began this experiment in the
first place.  The vague references to *genetic compatibility*
doesn't tell us much of anything," Chakotay responded.

"Agreed.  But it doesn't appear as though we're going to be able to
get answers from them.  I have no desire to put Tom or B'Elana in
any further danger, real or otherwise,"  Janeway stated.  Her two
crew members were being put through enough, she didn't want to see
them hurt further.

"Mr. Tuvok, I want you and Mr. Kim to go over the tape.  I want to
know if there's something we've missed," she waited for them to
acknowledge the order, "Doctor, set up a schedule to have everyone
checked out.  We need to know if this has happened to anyone else
and to what extent."

The Doctor nodded.  With Paris relieved of duty for the time being,
he and his remaining staff were going to be very busy for the next
couple of days.

"This matter will be kept to the senior and medical staffs.
Medical being the Doctor and Ensign Wildman," since Samantha
Wildman already knew, she would be able to help the Doctor take
care of Tom.  Also, she didn't seem to aggravate him as much as the
Doctor tended to.  "After the Doctor clears Tom for duty, he will
begin restricted duties unless his condition or the Doctor dictate
otherwise.  Although I doubt Mr. Paris will appreciate everyone
looking out for him, he has a pension for finding trouble.  I think
it in his best interest that we try to keep it to a minimum.  Any

"Uh, who's going to tell Tom?" Harry asked.  He knew that Tom was
ferociously self reliant, he did not like interference in his
personal life.

"I see no need to tell Tom that he is being *looked after*,"
replied Janeway.  She noticed Chakotay and the Doctor nodding in
agreement, she had to try very hard not to laugh.  This was not
going to be easy.  Tom didn't like having people think that he
needed help, with anything.  "Whatever else he is told is fine."

"As long as he doesn't get himself so worked up that it does more
harm then good," injected the Doctor.  "Emotionally he has a lot to
deal with.  The hormonal imbalance in his system alone could cause
any number of reactions.  You may think he'll react one way and
instead he'll act the complete opposite."

"We'll keep that in mind, Doctor," Janeway replied tartly.  That
had been the fourth or fifth time he had interrupted with the same
comment.  "If there's nothing else?  Dismissed."

The occupants of the room filed out, B'Elana practically running
for the turbolift, not wanting to have to field any questions or

Chakotay turned to his Captain after the door closed.

"You know he's not going to appreciate us *looking after* him,
regardless of the situation."

"I know," she looked up to meet his gaze and smiled, "but this is
one instance where Tom Paris is just going to have to put up with
someone other then himself taking care of him."

"I have a feeling you're going to be repeating that, many times."

Janeway laughed as she deposited her coffee cup in the recycler and
then headed toward the door.

"So, Kathryn, care to join me for some dinner?" Chakotay ventured.

"I think I could manage that.  Mess hall?" she suggested, not
really wanting to have to stomach one of Neelix's famous creations,
but she was the Captain, she had to suffer through them for the

"Nope, my quarters.  Dinner's on me tonight," Chakotay replied as
the doors opened.

Janeway gave him a curious glance but said nothing until they were
in the turbolift, doors closed and Chakotay had called for their
level.  "Chakotay, I'm grateful for the offer.  Of course I can't
refuse," she smiled up at him, "but what's the occasion?"

"No occasion, Kathryn.  I'm going to need some help thinking of
ways to look out for Paris without him thinking that I'm just out
to get him and you get to help me come up with them."  His eyes
danced with amusement.  Hopefully, they would be doing more then
just talking.

Janeway laughed, her eyes full of anticipation as they made their
way to his quarters.


B'Elana entered the turbolift, called for Tom's level and then
stood quietly in thought.  Harry, who had silently joined her,
watched as she folded her arms and started biting her bottom lip.
He wanted to say something to help his friends, but he couldn't
think of anything that didn't sound really stupid.

Her mind so focused on the situation with Tom, B'Elana didn't even
notice Harry or the concerned looks he continued to give her.
Regardless of how it happened, she and Tom were going to be
parents, they were going to have a baby.  That sounded so weird to
her.  They were going to have a baby and she wasn't the one that
was pregnant.

She wished she was, it would have made things easier.  Wouldn't it?
She couldn't believe she was thinking about being pregnant.  Her.
The person who said she would never have kids, never be married,
never find anyone to love her.  But she had found someone, her soul
mate, her true love and they were getting married.  Wouldn't it
make sense that kids would just fall into all that?

She sighed, so much to think about.  So much they needed to talk

She knew Tom was scared about being pregnant and worried about what
everyone would say.  Voyager's crew was famous for their gossiping.
And even though they had come to accept the really strange as part
of their lives, this one was going to be hard for everyone.  A
pregnant Tom Paris just wasn't normal.

She shook her head, Tom tried to put on this persona that was hard
as rock and impenetrable by anything, he had his walls built high
and they were well fortified.  In the beginning she thought the
same way, wanted nothing to do with him, thinking him a coward and
a traitor.  But after taking the time to get to know him, she knew
that he was a sensitive, caring man who only wanted to be accepted
for who he was, not for who he felt he had to pretend to be.

The lift doors opened and she moved down the corridor, oblivious to
everything and everyone.  She stopped in front of Tom's door, still
debating the issues in her head.

"Do you want me to open the door?"

B'Elana jumped and turned in shock to see Harry standing beside
her, "Where did you come from?"

Harry looked at her warily, "I was in the turbolift with you.  I
wanted to make sure that you were okay and to ask you how Tom was."

"Sorry, Harry," she apologized while reaching past him and entering
Tom's door code.

As the door opened, Harry reluctantly followed her into Tom's
darkened living area.  B'Elana ordered the lights on full and
headed toward the bedroom, where she had left Tom earlier.  Harry
placed a hand on her arm, stopping her.  As she turned to ask him
what he wanted she noticed the unmoving form on the couch.

Quietly she moved forward, not wanting to startle him.  "Tom?" she
asked as she gently placed a hand on his shoulder.  He didn't

"Is he asleep?" whispered Harry as he moved to the opposite side of
his unresponsive friend.  The Doctor said he needed a lot of rest
and if he was asleep Harry didn't think that they should disturb

B'Elana shrugged her shoulders and gently shook the shoulder she
had a hold of.

"B'Elana," Harry reached out to stop her.

"He needs to get up.  He hasn't eaten dinner yet and since he was
stuck in sickbay, he really hasn't eaten anything all day," B'Elana
explained to her friend, "Besides, his legs have probably fallen
asleep with him sitting like that."  She gestured to Tom's legs
crunched underneath him.

After a couple more shakes, Tom began to stir.  Slowly he turned
his head away from the back of the couch, blinking against the
bright light.  Both B'Elana and Harry noted his tear stained face
and red, puffy eyes but said nothing.  Slowly Tom became aware of
the two pairs of brown eyes staring at him in concern.

"Hey, what's up?" he asked, trying to sound as though nothing was
wrong.  He ran his hands over his face in hopes of wiping away any
evidence of his emotional breakdown.  He then tried shifting his
position and grimaced, his legs had fallen asleep.  Knowing he
needed to get up and get some circulation going in his lower
extremities, he ignored the pain and slid his legs out from under

Realizing that Harry and B'Elana were just staring at him, Tom
sighed and asked, "Something I can do for the two of you?"  He put
his weight on his arms to push himself up.  Instantly they were on
either side of him, helping.  "Thanks."  He said softly while
steadying his legs.  After a moment he realized that they weren't
letting go.  "I can walk by myself, guys, I've been doing it for
quite some time now."

"Sorry," mumbled Harry as he quickly released his grip and stepped
away.  Tom noticed how unsure he seemed and inwardly cringed.  If
Harry couldn't handle the news, how was the rest of the crew going
to react.

B'Elana released her hold on his arm, but continued to stand close
by.  As Tom went to take a step, his legs betrayed him and he began
to fall.  Instantly, B'Elana grabbed his arm to help steady him,
Harry was there a moment later helping her gently lower Tom back to
the couch.

"Maybe next time you'll think twice before you decide to jump up
and go for a walk after having your legs pinned under you for who
knows how long," B'Elana chastised him.  Tom's fair skin, pale from
the events of the day, couldn't hide the shade of pink he was
turning.  "You sit here, Harry and I'll get dinner going.  That
should give your legs time to recuperate."

Tom just nodded, leaning his head back and closing his eyes.
B'Elana stood, motioning Harry toward the replicator.  She stood
there a moment watching him try to relax, thinking how vulnerable
he looked.  Bending down, she placed a kiss on his forehead and
watched as his eyes opened in surprise.  She smiled at him,
brushing a hand across his cheek.  Tom opened his mouth to comment,
and was silenced as she put a finger to his lips and then placed
another kiss on his forehead. Smiling once again, she straightened
up and went to help Harry with dinner.

Seeing him sitting there, no walls up, no barriers between them,
she realized just how much she loved him.  They were going to be
okay.  Together they could get through what the Stimmums had done
to them.  Besides, they were going to have a baby, they were going
to be a family.

Harry watched the smile spreading across B'Elana's face as she
ordered dinner and he wondered what was going on in that Klingon
head of hers.  He had expected her to be yelling, throwing things
everywhere.  Instead she was the picture of calm, she even seemed
happy.  Maybe he didn't have to be so concerned.  Maybe his friends
were going to be all right.

Tom pulled his eyes away from her retreating form and closed them
once again.  He tried to get his warring emotions under control.
He loved her so much, wanted her so badly, but he knew that she
wasn't ready for any of this.  She'd be gone before the night was
through, he was sure of it.  But could he really let her go if
that's what she wanted?  His mind played back the conversation he
had had with himself earlier.  He knew he couldn't force her to
stay.  Couldn't force her into a family she wasn't ready for.  What
was he going to do without her?


"What?" he sat up, eyes wide.

"I called you three times," B'Elana stated patiently, "Are you all

"What's for dinner?" he asked, brushing off her question and her
concern.  He stood up, with a little unasked for assistance, this
time his legs held him upright.  A look down revealed that he was
still in the medical clothes Doc had made him put on earlier.  He
had to change.

"Go ahead and start without me.  I'm going to change," he
cautiously turned to head toward his bedroom.

"Tom, you need to eat.  You can change later," B'Elana insisted.

"I'm not that hungry," he lied, "and I would really prefer not to
have to keep these hideous clothes on any longer."

"Tom--" she stepped in front of him, she was not going to give into
him that easily.

"B'Ella, please, I just want to go change."  No fighting, no
arguing, just soft pleading.

B'Elana couldn't say no to that.  "Five minutes, then I'm coming in
after you."  She might have been mistaken, but she thought she saw
the corners of Tom's mouth slightly curve upward.  If she could get
him to smile, then maybe he would relax and then they could talk,
really talk.

He cautiously walked past her and into the bedroom, shutting the
door behind him.

B'Elana joined Harry at the table and sat down to wait, asking the
computer to notify her when his five minutes were up.

Exactly five minutes later Tom walked out of his bedroom in his
favorite T-shirt and sweats.  B'Elana noticed that he had a little
more color in his face, not much, but a little.  He sat down
between his friends, picked up his spoon and started to eat his
dinner, not saying a word.  Realizing that he wasn't going to say
anything, Harry and B'Elana started in on their own meals.

"Do you want me to leave?" Harry ventured after a few minutes of
awkward silence.

Two sets of eyes looked up at him quizzically.

"Why would we want you to leave, Harry?" asked B'Elana.

"Well, it's obvious you two need to talk, yet you're not talking.
The only reason could be me," he started to stand up.

"Sit down, Harry," ordered B'Elana.

He obediently sat down, but wasn't willing to let it drop.  "I
don't want to keep you two from talking."  Tom kept casting
sideways glances at B'Elana but he didn't seem able to met her
steady gaze.

"Maybe you could help us figure some things out," suggested Tom,
focusing his attention on the bowl in front of him.  He figured
that when B'Elana decided to leave that at least Harry's presence
would help to shore him up.  He didn't think he would lose control
and cry if Harry was there.  "Besides, you haven't even finished
your dinner yet."

"Figure what things out?" questioned B'Elana.  Things seemed pretty
straight forward to her, and she wondered what things Tom could be
talking about.

Slowly, Tom raised his head and finally met her gaze.  He wanted to
take her in his arms and just hold her, but knew that he couldn't.
He knew she wouldn't want him, not under these circumstance, not in
his present predicament.

Seeing the fear and uncertainty in his eyes, B'Elana took the spoon
from his clenched fingers, set it aside and then she took his hands
in hers.  "Tom, what is it?"

He turned away, unable to look at her and tried to pull his hands
away.  All he could think was that he couldn't have her touching
him, not if he was going to be strong enough to let her go when she

"I'm not going anywhere," she stated while keeping a hold of his
hands.  His eyes met hers in surprise.  "That's what you're afraid
of, isn't it?  You're afraid that I'm going to leave," she asked

"I wouldn't expect you to stay," Tom replied, his voice barely more
then a whisper.

"Tom, we're in this together."

"You're not the one that's--" he couldn't say it out loud.  Instead
he abruptly pulled away, moving to stand by the view port, arms
folded defensively in front of him.

B'Elana sighed in confusion and went to stand by him.  She put a
reassuring hand on his arm, but he wouldn't look at her.  "What
they did to us, and I do mean the both of us, is unforgivable.  But
it's happened, we can't change it, all we can do is try and deal
with it."

"Deal with it!  How would you suggest we deal with it?!  I'm
pregnant.  That's not something that's just going to go away," his
voice rose in anger as he started pacing, arms gesturing wildly as
he moved about the room.  "I want to take that Dr. Heppa person,
all of them, and strangle them.  They had no right to do this.  No
right to use us.  I want them to understand that, they had no right
to do this."  As quickly as his anger had flared, it was fading,
his voice becoming softer as he spoke.  He came to a stop in the
middle of the room, feeling numb.  He tried to keep the tears that
were threatening to fall from doing so.  He had already cried
enough that day.

B'Elana slowly moved over to him, not sure if he would let her
touch him.  She felt the same way, why couldn't he see that.

"I'm scared," he whispered it with his head hung down, eyes
studying the floor.  "I'm afraid that I'm going to loose you.
That--" his voice caught as he chocked back a sob.

B'Elana immediately wrapped her arms around him, burying her head
against his neck.  Tom's arms just hung to his sides.

"You're not going to loose me, Tom.  I love you."


"No buts," she pulled back slightly to get a good look at his face,
"I love you.  There's nothing that you could do or say that would
make me leave.  You couldn't scare me away with your past, I'm
certainly not going to leave over this.  This wasn't your fault."
Finally his blue eyes met her brown ones. "And I'm scared too.  But
I'm not going to leave," she smiled at him, "sorry, but you're
stuck with me.  I *love* you."

He slowly wrapped his arms around her to return the embrace.  "I
love you too," he stated softly, bringing up one of his hands to
caress her cheek.  They both noticed that his hand was shaking.

"You're right, they had no right to do what they did to us, but
it's done.  We can't change it," she turned her head and kissed his
hand.  "I love you and we're in this together.  You and me."

Tom just stared at her, the tears that he had tried to suppress
earlier were now streaming silently down his face.  He brought his
other hand up to caress the other side of her face.  She tightened
her grip around his waist, being careful not to squeeze to hard.
She would definitely have to talk to the Doctor about any future
physical contact.  She didn't want to hurt him or their baby.

"I do love you."  He took her face in his hands and gently brushed
his lips across hers.  She closed her eyes, giving into the

She noticed the tremors coursing through his body and not wanting
him to collapse, she stepped back from him and took his hand in
hers.  Silently, she led him over to the couch, sitting down so
they were facing each other, with as much contact between their two
bodies as they could manage without one of them actually sitting on
the others lap.  Neither of them noticed when Harry silently left.

B'Elana leaned over and placed a firm kiss on his lips.  Tom
responded in kind, some of the tension leaving him.  He couldn't
believe that she was still there, that she wanted to be with him.

Finally, they broke apart, both slightly out of breath.  Tom
brought his hand up again to continue caressing her check.  He
loved the feel of her skin, he loved being able to touch her and
know that she loved him.  She began to wipe away the tears from his

"Now what?" he asked.

"Well, I was thinking that we should make it official," noting the
quizzically look Tom was giving her, she clarified it for him, "I
think we should get married."

"We are getting married," he stated simply.  With his free hand he
grasped her left one and brought it up between them.  His finger
running over the engagement ring he had placed there just a few
weeks ago.  He remembered how she had fought the idea of a human
wedding, stating that they were already mated, why did they need to
bother with another ceremony.  But Tom wanted to have a human
wedding as well, to make sure that there would be no doubt in
anyone's mind that they were a couple.  Finally after several
months of persistence on his part, she relented.  Tom had
ecstatically knelt before her and placed the simple diamond ring on
her finger before she could change her mind.

"I don't want to wait.  I never want there to be any doubt that we
are a family.  I want our daughter," she rested her free hand on
Tom's stomach to make sure he was understanding her point, "to know
that we love each other and we will love her.  We will always be
together," she leaned over and kissed him again.

Deepening the kiss, he moved his hand over hers, intertwining their
fingers.  It all sounded so easy.  He wanted to believe that it
really could be true, but his mind wouldn't let him give in, not
yet.  "B'Elana," he pulled away from her, "I do love you and I do
want to marry you.  I want all of those things, but--"  A finger
pressed to his lips, silencing his doubts.

"I know it's not going to be easy.  We have a lot of things to
still work out, especially what they did to us.  We're going to
need some help to sort everything out," she had removed her finger
from his lips and began caressing his face, taking time to gently
trace every line, outlining each feature as she spoke.  "I know you
feel awkward, but we're going to get through this.  Together."

She stopped the exploration of his face as he wrapped his arms
around her bringing her head down to rest on his shoulder.  He laid
his chin on top of her dark brown hair, relishing in the feeling of
just holding her.  His fears and doubts were still running around
in his head, but she hadn't left him.  Maybe they would be able to
work everything out.

"So, how long do you think it will take to plan a wedding?" he
asked softly.


B'Elana awoke and looked at the chronometer on the night stand.
Seeing that there was still time before the alarm sounded, she
quietly told the computer to shut it off so as not to awake the
other occupant of the bed.  Carefully, she rolled over to look at
the sleeping form of her husband.  He was laying on his back, arms
thrown over his head, one leg hanging out from under the covers.

She was still amazed at how innocent and young he looked while he
slept.  There were no masks in place, no walls he was hiding
behind.  She reached over and brushed back the hair that had fallen
over his forehead.  He stirred slightly, mumbled something
unintelligible but didn't wake up.  With a smile, she moved her
hand down to rest on his slightly protruding stomach, knowing that
their daughter was there, growing bigger every day.

The last months had been strenuous, difficult and even joyous.
They found they were both happy at the idea of being parents, but
were leery about getting too excited.  They still had no idea why
this had been done to them and the idea that the baby was not just
a part of each of them but was also part Stimmum frightened them.
Although they were humanoid, there were subtle differences in the
alien's appearances- violet eyes, yellow skin tone, small in
stature.  What would their baby look like?  Their concerns were
somewhat stilled the first time the Doctor let them hear the baby's
heart beat.  It didn't matter what the genetic code said, she was

Deciding to give him a few more minutes, she bent down to gently
place a kiss on his forehead and then quietly climbed out of bed
and went to shower.

They had been married for almost three months, a fact that still
amazed many of the crew.  B'Elana smiled as she thought of the
reactions they got when the announcement had gone out.  Bets were
immediately placed on if they would actually make it down the aisle
and then, if they were able to accomplish that feat, how long would
they actually stay married.

When they had heard about the betting, she had become angry,
threatening to dismember half the crew.  Tom just laughed, he
thought the whole thing was funny.  It was contagious and before
long, they were both joking about it.

The first couple of weeks after the discovery had been the hardest,
a lot of time spent trying to deal with the myriad of emotions that
kept springing up.  One minute they'd be laughing, delighting in
the fact that they were going to be parents.  The next, the anger
and uncertainty over what had been done to them would take over.
For Tom the fear that they wouldn't be together, that eventually
she'd tire of him and leave, would seize him.  This led him to
withdraw into himself more and more each day.

Their counseling sessions were the only thing that saved them some
days.  Talking through their feelings, having someone else point
out the things that they were blowing out of proportion, helping
them see that no matter what, they could work things out.  They
left some sessions feeling on top of the world, others just barely
talking to each other.  Tom had commented that if he had wanted to
go on a roller coaster ride, he would have just programed one on
the holodeck.  B'Elana had to have Chakotay explain that one to

On the day of their wedding, once their vows were taken, most of
the tension and apprehension dissipated.  Tom seemed to finally
accept that she wasn't going to disappear on him and stopped
agonizing over it.  He also stopped antagonizing her.  They were
both able to relax, much to everyone's relief, especially the
Doctor's.  He had been threatening to lock Tom in sickbay, under
sedation, until the baby was born if he didn't calm down.

She had to admit though, after the wedding night, Tom was
definitely relaxed.  She shook herself, deciding not to bring up
those images knowing they'd just lead to her wanting to do other
things and they had meetings and duty shifts to get to.

Quickly finishing her shower, she turned off the water and climbed
out.  Time to wake up Tom so he could get ready.  She pulled on her
uniform and walked back out into the bedroom.  Standing by the side
of the bed, she again thought about just letting him sleep.

The Doctor had told them that he needed his rest, emphasizing on no
more late nights at Sandrine's or the resort.  Janeway had
supported the Doctor by telling him if he needed a break to just
let her know.  Tom had just shaken his head and muttered under his
breath.  He was following the Doctor's orders and instructions
thoroughly, just not obviously.  He would openly grumble at them
but she could see the humor in his eyes.  Couldn't let the Doc
think that Tom Paris would willing do as he was told.

"I'm getting up."  She jumped slightly as Tom spoke.  He opened his
eyes and smiled up at her.  "Morning beautiful."

"Morning sleepy head," she replied while bending down to give him
a quick good morning kiss.  She brought her hand back to rest on
his expanding stomach.  "How are you feeling this morning?"

"Just fine," he said then returned the kiss while encircling his
arms around her to bring her down on the bed.  She always smelled
so good after showering.

"Oh no you don't," she pulled out of his embrace, smirking down at
him.  "Neither one of us can afford to be late today.  Computer,
lights on full."

He groaned, blinking against the light and sat up.  "That was
cruel," he moaned and pushed himself off the bed.  He quickly
wrapped his arms around her waist and gave her a long, deep kiss.
After a few moments of intense exploration, he released her and
walk into the bathroom.

Shutting the door so she couldn't see the smirk on his face, he
quickly undressed and climbed in the shower.  He knew that she had
let him sleep in, even if it was only for a few extra minutes, and
he didn't want to make them any later then usual.  They had several
meetings that morning alone.

As the warm water cascaded down his body he willed himself to
relax.  He had been feeling closed in the last several months with
everyone *looking out* for him.  The idea that people would care
enough to take the time to make sure he was all right was something
new.  He was having a hard time reconciling himself to being
constantly watched.  Although he understood their motives, it was
still unnerving for him.

The four months since the discovery of his pregnancy life had been
full of many ups and downs.  He had tried to keep his emotions
under control, not wanting to hurt any of his friends feelings.  In
the beginning he had withdrawn from everyone, needing time to work
out what he was feeling.  His distancing worried his friends, but
he needed to come to terms with everything by himself before he
could deal with them.

Looking down at his growing stomach he wondered how much longer
they were going to be able to keep it a secret.  He was actually
becoming quite use to the idea of being pregnant.  It wasn't
something that he would have willingly chosen to do, but since
there was nothing that could be done to change it, he found he was
enjoying himself.  The only thing taking away from his pleasure
were the looks that everyone was starting to give him.  They
definitely weren't ready for the crew to find out.

The more he thought about the looks and whispered comments, Tom
considered asking the Captain if he could stay in his quarters
until after the baby was born.  At least that way he wouldn't have
to see anybody outside of his few close friends.  And the Doc would
be thrilled that he wasn't out roaming the ship's corridors looking
for trouble.

Shaking his head, he reached for the soap.  No use thinking about
something that was never going to happen.

B'Elana stood there breathless for a few moments and then shook
herself.  He loved stirring up the emotions and then walking away
leaving her wanting, craving more.  There was just something about
the way he kissed her that always made her melt, sending a tingling
sensation all through her.  Even after all these years, from
friends to lovers and so on, he could still kiss her in such away-
*Enough!*  They had places to get to.

She quickly made the bed and then walked into the other room and
began collecting the reports she would need for her staff meeting
later that morning.  She looked around their new quarters, making
sure she wasn't forgetting anything.  They had been given a week
for their honeymoon and spent the first few days in blissful
solitude on the holodeck, the rest trying to settle into their new
space.  The fact that they had requested larger quarters, one that
had more then one room sent the rumor mill in a frenzy, everyone
guessing that she was pregnant.  She shook her head, if only they

Setting down the padds, she walked toward the room on the opposite
side of the living room.  She keyed open the door and called for
the lights.  This was to be the nursery, their baby's room.
Quietly they had started to gather or replicate things that their
newborn would need.  Luckily, Samantha Wildman still had all of the
baby things she had used when her daughter, Naomi, was born.  She
had shown up one night with a few boxes of things, telling them
that it was about time that the baby items would get more use.

Tom and she had been grateful for Samantha's thoughtfulness.  They
had been a little hesitant on where to begin on what clothes and
toys to get for a new baby.  Samantha had laughed at them, she
found it cute that Voyager's know it all couple was clueless when
it came to babies.

B'Elana, however, didn't think it was all that funny.  It was
unsettling to her that she didn't have any idea what she was doing.
And the thought that she could turn out to be like her mother
turned her stomachs.  Samantha had stopped laughing and reassured
the couple that they were not their parents and they would know
what to do when the time came.  And if they had any questions they
could always come talk to her.

"Penny for your thoughts," Tom whispered in her ear as he slid his
arms around her, resting his chin on top of her head.

She jumped as his arms slid around her waist, then relaxed back
into his embrace.  "Just thinking of what we still need to get
before the baby gets here," she turned in his arms to return the
hug and noticed that he was standing there in a towel.

"Tom, we're going to be late!" she exclaimed in exasperation.

He gave her his lopsided, cocky grin.  "What's wrong with a little
tardiness?" he asked mischievously while bending down to give her
a kiss.

Pushing him away, she turned him around and shoved him toward their
bedroom.  "Go get dressed," she ordered, ignoring the crushed look
he was giving her.

Standing in the doorway, arms crossed over her chest, she watched
him enter the bedroom and begin getting dressed.  She shook her
head and found herself smiling.  He could be such a clown.  Taking
one last look around the nursery, she called for the computer to
turn off the lights.  As she keyed the door shut, the door chime
sounded.  She called for their visitor to enter knowing who it
would be.

"Morning, Starfleet."

"Hey, Maquis," came Harry's bright greeting, "Ready to go?"  He
walked into the living room and looked around.  "Where's Tom?"

"He's not ready yet," she stopped by the table to pick up the

Harry just rolled his eyes.  "Hey Tom, hurry up, or we'll miss

"Hey, Harry," Tom called from the bedroom.  It was followed by some
mumbling, a thud and a curse.

"Tom?" B'Elana dropped the padds and ran to the bedroom, Harry
right behind her.

They found him sitting on the floor, dressed except for one boot,
rubbing his head.  B'Elana knelt beside him trying not to let her
fear get the better of her.

"What happened?" she asked while moving to check the spot on his
head he was rubbing.

"I fell," grumbled Tom while allowing B'Elana to inspect the

"You fell off the bed?" questioned Harry incredulously.

Tom gave his best friend a dirty look and then sighed.  "I went to
pick up my boot.  I guess it was further away then I had thought
and I lost my balance.  I bumped my head on the night stand," he
stated sarcastically.  He tried to move only to have B'Elana wrench
his head to keep him still.  "Hey, B'Ella, that hurts."

"Harry, grab the medical tricorder off the other night stand for
me," she asked while releasing the vice hold she had on her
husband's head.

Tom rolled his eyes and sighed as Harry handed her the tricorder
and she ran the scan, starting at his head and moving downward.  "I
hit my head, not my stomach."  Frowning, he pushed the tricorder

B'Elana didn't seem to notice his annoyance.  "Everything shows
okay.  Any pain anywhere?" she asked as she closed the instrument
and laid it on the bed.

He took a deep breath and tried to keep his emotions under control.
It wouldn't do any good to get upset, he knew that she was just
concerned.  "Maybe a little headache.  I'll take something if it
gets worse," he answered while offering a reassuring smile.

"Maybe you should go see the Doc?" suggested Harry.

Tom moaned.  "No.  I don't need to go see the Doc."  He refused to
make another unscheduled trip to sickbay.  He'd had enough of
those, especially thanks to his ever concerned and over cautious

"Tom--" began B'Elana.

"No!" he stated vehemently while trying to climb to his feet.
Seeing he was going to be stubborn, B'Elana and Harry helped him
up, both ignoring the icy look he was giving them.  "I have an
appointment with him later today anyway," he stated once he was
sure his feet were steady beneath him.  He then started to bend
down to pick up his missing boot, wondering yet again why wouldn't
they just trust him to take care of himself and his baby?

B'Elana sighed in resignation and pushed him down to sit on the
bed.  He looked at her funny as she picked up the boot.

"I can dress myself."

She humphed at him, knelt down and slid the boot on his foot.  He
noticed Harry was trying not to laugh.

B'Elana moved to kneel in front of him so he had to look at her.
"Are you sure you're okay?" she asked softly.

Tom leaned his head down until their foreheads touched.  He looked
into her eyes and smiled softly.  She had been trying so hard not
to hover, not to be overprotective.  It wasn't easy for her to stop
herself from dragging him to sickbay or locking him in their
quarters every time something happened.  He gave her a lot of
credit, she was showing a lot of self control for his sake.  He
loved her more for trying not to push him, trying not to drive him
crazy over every little thing.

Harry looked at his two friends.  It was funny, in the beginning he
never really thought that they would be able to keep their
relationship going, like it was all some sort of game.  But looking
at them now, he could see how much they really cared for and loved
one another.  He felt like a voyeur.

"Uh, you want me to leave, guys?"

Reluctantly B'Elana stood and than helped Tom stand up, placing a
quick kiss on his lips.

"Let's go," she stated while taking his hand and heading for the
door, "We wouldn't want to miss out on Neelix's cooking."

Tom rolled his eyes and his stomach did a somersault at the mention
of the ever interesting food.  Hopefully he wouldn't throw up this
time.  Neelix had been so upset the last time Tom had a bout of
morning sickness, thinking that it was his choice of food mixtures
and spices.  Tom felt a little guilty at letting Neelix believe it
was his cooking, but they still weren't ready to announce the
pending birth of their daughter.  No, that wasn't right, they were
very happy about the impending birth of their daughter and wanted
to tell everyone.  It was the fact that Tom was the one pregnant
that they weren't ready to make public knowledge.  He hoped Neelix
would understand the little lie.

The trio walked to the mess hall, Harry and B'Elana engaged in a
conversation about the sensor relays while Tom concentrated on
keeping his feet moving ahead of him.  He didn't find it very funny
that as his pregnancy progressed, his equilibrium digressed.  Some
days he would go to walk across the room and he'd just fall over.
It was okay when he was in their quarters when it happened, like
the incident earlier, he could live with that.  But when it
happened in public, it was extremely embarrassing.

Like the day it happened on the bridge, in front of the Captain and
the rest of the bridge crew during shift change.  He had wanted to
crawl into a hole somewhere.  The situation was made worse as the
senior officers made a big deal over him.  Once assured that he was
okay, he noticed that they were trying very hard not to laugh.
Harry told him he had turned a lovely shade of bright red.  Tom
couldn't blame them for laughing, if it had been someone else, he
would have been laughing too.

They entered the mess hall, gathered their trays and sat down at a
table to the back of the room, unaware that they were being

"I tell you, Paris has totally given in to married life," stated
Gerron Tem, the young Bajoran, as he watched the three friends
select their breakfast and head to a table on the opposite side of
the room.

His breakfast companions looked over at the trio as they sat down.

"What do you mean?" replied Lieutenant Joe Carey who was turning
his attention to his food.  The green stringy stuff actually didn't
taste half bad.  "He looks the same to me."

"Yeah," added Crewman Dalby.

"Besides, he looks happy.  They both do," added Carey.

Gerron snorted and then continued.  "Have you looked at him

Both turned to look again and then turned back, shrugging their

"Look at him," Gerron gestured at Paris in frustration, "it's like
now that he's married he cares nothing for his appearance.  It's
only been a few months and he's getting fat," began Gerron.  He had
never been able to put on weight, a fact that he liked.  But if
Paris could put on the pounds after marriage, what was going to
stop him.  A thought that had been gnawing at the young man.  "And,
everywhere he goes Torres is always right there with him, like she
can't stand to have him out of her sight.  They're always turning
in early--"

"I think we can figure out why that is," smirked Dalby.

Gerron ignored the interruption.  "Doing everything together in
their off time.  And when they're not together, she's always
checking up on him, calling to verify where he's at or who he's
with.  It's like he no longer has a life of his own.  Like he's not
his own person anymore."  A thought that scared Gerron even more
then the idea of gaining weight.  He had fought so hard to find
himself, discover his own identity, he didn't want to lose that
just because he decided to share his life with someone else.

"They're married, Gerron, some people just become a little
obsessive when it comes to their spouses.  It'll calm down.
Besides, he hasn't gained all that much weight, maybe a few extra
pounds," responded Carey.  "What did you expect?  That after the
ceremony, they'd ignore each other?  That they'd continue on like
nothing had changed?"

Gerron shook his head.  "No, of course not.  But the fact that he
no longer seems to be able to do anything without her or her
permission is unnerving.  It's not painting a good picture for
those of us that think about getting married one day."

"Well, Torres isn't the only one that doesn't seem to be able to
let him out of their sight.  Harry, the Captain, the Doctor, even
Commander Chakotay and Tuvok seem to always be watching him,"
volunteered Dalby.  It seemed strange that so much attention was
being paid to one man, especially when that one man was Tom Paris.
He and Paris wouldn't be considered close friends, he had come to
respect him and his abilities over the years, but he couldn't see
what could be so important about him.

"He's right," agreed Carey, "They're not out right obvious about
it, they just always seem to be watching him.  Checking up on him,
making sure he's where he's supposed to be.  Like he needs
specially handling, to be watched out for.  Things like that," Joe
added to the conversation while continuing to eat.  B'Elana Torres
was his boss, as long as she was happy he was happy which made for
a happy engine room.  It didn't really matter to him how Tom was
*settling* into married life, he was just glad that his boss hadn't
been yelling and throwing things of late.

"Hey, everyone," Megan Delaney called as she and her sister joined
the group.  Megan sat down by Gerron and gave him a quick kiss.
Jenny rolled her eyes at the couple as she sat down next to her

"What's everyone talking about?" Jenny asked unabashedly.  She was
notorious for her nosiness, if there was something to be known she
wanted to know about it and went to great lengths to ensure that
she found out all the details.

"Paris," offered Dalby, pointing with his head.

Jenny looked over at her friend.  "What about him?"

"Gerron seems to think that married life, or more precisely the
person he married, has taken Tom over.  He's afraid the same thing
will happen to him if he ever decides to tie the knot," Joe
explained while winking at Megan, who proceeded to turn a nice
shade of pink.

The Bajoran scowled at the engineer.  "It isn't funny.  I don't
want to become fat and submissive, everyone watching my every move,
telling me what I can and can't do," he retorted.

"Actually, they've been watching him for months.  Before they even
got married."  Jenny had noticed the extra attention months ago.
She thought about it for a minute.  A possible explanation coming
to mind.  "Now that you mention it, do you remember when Tom was
sick a few months ago?"

The people around the table had to think about it, Tom was well
known for his numerous days missed due to illness or injury.

"You know, shortly after we left that planet with all those short
people."  She couldn't remember the name of them.

Joe laughed, "The Stimmums."

"Yeah, them.  Remember, he was sick for a couple days, but no one
ever found out what was wrong with him."

"Just that he was on sick leave, supposedly resting in his
quarters," added Dalby.

"He *was* resting.  I was working in sickbay at the time," Megan
interjected.  "The Doc had him monitored 24 hours a day.  Believe
me, he made sure Tom followed his every order.  In fact he
threatened to have him confined to sickbay, strapped to one of the
bio-beds if he didn't.  And we all know how much Tom likes
sickbay."  There was a general agreement from everyone at the

"Hey, wasn't that when everyone had go to sickbay and be tested?
I thought the Doc said everyone was fine?" Gerron questioned.
Maybe there was something they weren't being told.

"Supposedly it was some virus.  Everyone checked out fine," Jenny
affirmed, she had been recruited to help with the scans.

"Or so they said."

"What do you mean, Dalby?" asked a curious Gerron.

"Think about it.  Tom is out sick and everyone has to be tested for
some unknown virus.  Then B'Elana and he decided to get married,
rather abruptly if you ask me.  All of the senior staff are paying
a lot of extra attention to him, pretty much mothering him.  And
he's been on restricted duty since the Doc released him and that
was months ago."

The people at the table glanced back over at Tom, realization
hitting them.

"Maybe not everyone checked out fine," Dalby voiced what everyone
was thinking.

"Come on, something would have been said if he were that sick."
Joe couldn't believe that something that important would be kept
from the crew.  He had forgotten his breakfast at this point.

"Not if he wasn't a danger to the crew.  There would be no need to
say anything.  Besides, Paris is a pretty private person, if he is
sick, he probably doesn't want anyone to know," Gerron replied

"I can't believe Tom could be sick and us not know about it.  He
would have told his friends at least."  Megan was beginning to
think the worst.

"Maybe he didn't want anyone's pity," Gerron stated.

"Pity!  How about sympathy, companionship.  Someone to talk to or
help out."  Megan was becoming angry.  How could her friend be sick
and she not know about it?  She wondered why he wouldn't have said

"Shhh!" was chorused from the people around her.

"You want him to hear us?" Jenny slugged her sister's arm.  "This
is all just speculation."

"Well, I'm going to find out the truth."  Gerron and Jenny both
grabbed an arm as Megan stood to leave the table.

"Come on, Meg, sit down," Gerron hissed as he pulled her down.  "Do
you really want to cause a scene with Torres and Kim over there?"

"Besides, Torres would kill you if you did anything to upset her
man."  Jenny had jokingly said something to Tom a few days ago
about his slight weight gain.  B'Elana had found out and reamed her
but good.  It was not an experience she wanted to see repeated,
especially on herself.

Megan reluctantly sat back down.  "Fine.  I'll find out later."

"Good morning," Samantha Wildman said as she walked over to join
the group noting the uncomfortable silence that had fallen over
them.  She slid in by Joe, giving him a good morning kiss.

"How's sickbay?" he asked, hoping to change the topic of

"Boring," remarked Samantha, "there have been no patients so the
Doctor decided to spend the night in the holodeck with his family,
leaving me all by myself."

"That can't be a bad thing.  The Doc can be a bit of a pain."
Megan had been on the receiving end of his sarcastic bedside manner
more times then she cared to remember, especially now that she was
being trained as a field medic.  She tried to get her mind off of
the trio on the other side of the room.

Samantha ignored the comment.  She liked the Doctor, sarcasm and
all.  "And he left me with tons of study material, like he thinks
I'm going to be taking over for Paris or something," she joked.

Her comment was followed by silence.  Everyone exchanging looks.

"What?" Sam noticed the concerned glances being passed back and
forth.  What had she interrupted?

"Some reason Paris won't be able to preform his duties?" Gerron
asked for the group.

"What do you mean?" she looked at the faces studying her intently.
"What have you guys been talking about?" questioned Samantha
suspiciously.  She knew that Dalby and Gerron, as former Maquis,
didn't care for Tom, but she thought that was all behind them.  No
one answered.

"What's going on?" Sam demanded, she was getting an uneasy feeling
about this.

Jenny spoke first.  "Nothing.  We've just noticed that Tom doesn't
seem himself lately."  Jenny looked at Sam and noticed that she was
on the defense.  Everyone knew that Sam considered Tom like a
younger brother and looked out for him as such.  *Especially so the
last few months*, she thought.  If Sam was being trained to take
over for Tom, then something really must be wrong.

"You know something," Jenny blurted out, pointing an accusing
finger at the Ensign.
"Know something?" Sam was totally confused.  "Know something about
what?" she looked around the table noticing that everyone was
watching her.

"About Tom and the fact that he's sick."

"Sick?  What are you talking about?" Sam looked quickly over to the
object of their conversation.  He didn't look sick.  If he was, she
was sure the Doctor would have had him tied down in sickbay running
all sorts of tests on him.

She scrutinized him.  He looked a little tired, but that was to be
expected, especially with the senior staff constantly hovering over
him.  Physically the only difference she could see was that his
condition was beginning to show slightly, all in the front.  Other
then that, she could see no outward sign of any illness.

Sam turned her attention back to the people at the table.  "He
doesn't look sick to me.  Now what sort of rumors have you all been

Megan shrugged her shoulders, believing that her sister was right.
Sam knew something and she wanted to find out what.  "We've just
been compiling some observations we've made over the past few
months or so.  So, what have you got to add?"

Samantha shook her head and forced out a laugh, she hoped it didn't
sound as nervous as she felt.  "You guys are horrible.  The only
thing I know about Tom is that he and B'Elana are very happy
together and they don't need anyone trying to spoil that for them,"
she spoke in her mother tone, chastising the group.  "Besides, I'm
sure you all have something more important to do other then
scrutinizing the lives of two of our senior officers."

After a few more glances back and forth and noting that they
weren't going to get any information out of her, the group began to
break up.  Gerron and Dalby picked up their trays and headed for
the recycler, Megan quickly got up and followed them out.  Jenny
looked at Sam for a few moments, trying to decided if she should
just confront her.  Finally she stood up and left, not saying
anything.  She wanted to catch up to the others, there were things
they needed to discuss.

Joe looked at Samantha as she watched the other woman leave the
room.  He noted the sigh she gave as the doors closed.

"Something *is* going on," he stated, holding up his hand before
she could begin protesting.  "As long as they're happy, it's none
of my business.  I just hope it's nothing serious and they have a
long time to enjoy their lives together.  Got to go."  He gave her
a quick kiss and picked up his tray.

Samantha watched him recycle his dishes and then leave.  She
wondered how he would react to the news.  Seeing everyone talking
about Paris had not helped her feel any better about the situation.
She hoped the crew would be accepting when news got out.

"They keep looking over here."

"Tom, stop playing with your food and eat," scolded B'Elana.  He
apparently had every intention of being difficult this morning.

Harry glanced over to the group in question while chewing another
mouth full of food.  "It's nothing, Tom.  You know that the crew
are always watching everybody, it gives them something to do."

Tom shifted in his seat and continued to toy with his food,
becoming more and more uneasy about the scrutiny.  His ever
expanding figure was making him very self conscious about every
little look.  Starfleet uniforms weren't known for their ability to
conceal much of anything and the looks everyone kept giving him
weren't helping.  At five and a half months pregnant he was just
now barely starting to show and he wondered, with dread, how he was
going to get through the next three months.

B'Elana, seeing his unease, reached over and took his hand in hers,
offering him a comforting smile.  After a glance toward the group,
and seeing that they were leaving, Tom squeezed her hand back and
gave her a half smile.  He forced himself to relax a little.

"Now, Helmboy, eat," she ordered while releasing his hand.

Tom gave her a dirty look but took another bite.  She had proven
quite forceful when it came to his eating habits.  And he had no
desire to see her Klingon side today.  He had taken a few bites
when a shadow fell across the table.

"Hey, Sam."  Tom quickly set his fork down, grateful for the
distraction.  He had to keep reminding himself that he was eating
for the baby, most days that helped him get the food down.  How
Harry could just dig in and eat most of the things that came out of
Neelix's kitchen mystified him.

"Sirs," she acknowledged her seniors officers.

"How goes sickbay?" Harry inquired between bites.

"Well, when I left, the Doc was showing Ensign Nicolette how to run
a bio-bed diagnostic."

Tom's face scrunched up as if he was in pain.  "I feel for her."
Samantha and the others laughed.  "The Doc can be quite *thorough*
when it comes to his medical equipment."

"No kidding," Sam agreed, her laughter turning to a smile as she
turned to why she was there bothering them, "Doc wanted me to
remind you about your appointment this afternoon, Tom."

He sighed and gave her an annoyed look.  "That to go with the dozen
reminders he gave me personally yesterday and the ones he sent to
my computer terminal throughout the day."

Sam's smile turned sympathetic, "Well, he's nothing, if not

"How about just irksome," Tom stated sarcastically.

B'Elana lightly slapped his arm and scolded, "Be nice.  He's just
looking out for you."

"As is everyone else.  Thanks for all the concern, but I can take
care of myself."  He stood, gathered his tray and left.  Between
the stares from everyone in the mess hall and everyone *looking
out* for him, Tom felt like exploding.  He wasn't a little boy, why
couldn't they understand that he didn't need everyone watching him
constantly, he could take care of himself.

B'Elana growled at his retreating figure and stood to go after him.

"I didn't mean to upset him," apologized Sam, remembering her own
emotional days.

"Don't worry about it Sam.  He's having one of his bad days."  She
patted her arm in understanding and then followed after her
husband's retreating form.

"Hey, did he eat all his breakfast?" queried Harry as he watched
B'Elana leave the mess hall.  He seemed not to have noticed Tom's
agitation a few moments prior.

"I didn't notice Ensign.  If you'll excuse me."  She wondered how
much longer Tom would be able to take the senior staff's not so
inconspicuous attempts to look out for him before blowing.

And now the fact that the crew were starting to figure out that
something was going on.  She hoped that when they found out that it
would not be the disaster that the couple kept envisioning.  She
decided to talk to them, warn them that their secret probably
wasn't going to be a secret much longer.


Tom and Chakotay walked to the turbolift in silence after leaving
the commander's quarters.  B'Elana had been called away to
engineering and said she would join them at the staff meeting, for
the two of them to continue the session without her.  The two spent
the remaining time not really talking about anything, Tom's mind
seemed focused elsewhere.

The turbolift doors opened and both men entered.  Chakotay called
for the bridge and noticed that Tom was rubbing the back of his
neck, his eyes were closed and he looked to be having some

"Are you all right, Tom?" he asked innocently.

Tom flinched.  He was so tired of everyone asking if he was all
right.  Four months of his *friends* watching his every move,
always checking up on him, nagging him about his eating and
sleeping habits, it was getting to be too much.

"Computer halt lift," he turned to glare at the older man, folding
his arms in front of him.  "Commander, permission to speak freely."

Chakotay was a bit startled, normally if Tom had something to say,
he just said it regardless of the consequences.  "By all means,
Lieutenant," he stated and turned to face the young man before him,
keeping his posture relaxed.  He didn't want Tom to think that he
was looking for a confrontation.

"No offence, Commander, but how I'm feeling is none of your
business.  And that goes for everyone else, too.  I don't need to
be watched as if I were a three year old.  I am quite capable of
looking after myself, even in my present condition.  So butt out."

"First thing, Lieutenant," he began, trying not to show his
amusement.  He knew that eventually their *looking out* for him
would get to him.  But he had to give Tom credit, he lasted four
months, a lot longer then he thought he would.  Somehow keeping a
straight face, he continued, "as the first officer of Voyager, the
welfare of every member of this crew is my concern.  Second, we
know that you are capable of looking out for yourself.  However,
given your pension for finding trouble and in your present
condition, everyone was simply concerned for your well being.  And
third, as your friend I have no intention of butting out.  None of
us do."

Tom sighed in resignation and shook his head, "Commander, with all
due respect, you are all driving me crazy," he started pacing
around the small space.  Chakotay backed up to the wall to give him

"Lieutenant," Chakotay called, keeping the discussion formal, "if
it bothers you that much, why haven't you said anything?"

Tom was silent.  Chakotay began to wonder if he would answer.  "I
didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings."  He had stopped pacing and
was again facing the first officer, one hand unconsciously rubbing
up and down his stomach.

Chakotay tried not to show his concern or watch the stroking motion
of Tom's hand.  The fact that they didn't know how Tom's pregnancy
would effect him physically, made the first officer a little
nervous.  But, Tom needed to talk, not have someone panic on him.
"Tom, we both know the Captain and B'Elana can be very stubborn
people.  We all are, to some extent," Tom snorted in agreement,
"but, we would not do anything intentionally to invade your
personal space or that would drive you crazy.  We care about you.
You can't expect us not to."

He threw his hands in the air.  "I know.  B'Elana has been trying
so hard not to hover.  I know she wants to take care of me, protect
the baby, I just--"  his voice trailed off as he turned to the
wall, unable to express himself.  He brought his hands to his head,
the headache that had begun during breakfast was starting to get

"You just don't know how to handle people showing concern for you,"
Chakotay speculated.

Tom turned back around, a distant look in his eyes.  "I was raised
to be a Paris, never show anything that you didn't want people to
see.  Especially never show your real emotions."  Chakotay noticed
that Tom was shaking slightly, the hand was back caressing his
stomach, as if the motion was comforting him.

The Commander remained silent, amazed that Tom Paris was opening up
to him about his past.  He tried not to let the shock show on his

"My father," his voice was strained as he spoke, "I loved him
dearly, Chakotay, but he could never accept me for who I was.  I
was expected to follow in his footsteps, carry on the Paris
traditions.  And for him I tried.  I wanted him to be proud of me.
But, I could never live up to his ideals and expectations.  I
learned to fend for myself, only caring about myself because no one
else would, not unless it concerned my career."  He paused as he
tried to gather his thoughts and emotions.

Chakotay noticed the unveiled sadness in the blue eyes.  "Tom, you
are not the same person you were back then.  You have a wife,
friends, a life here on Voyager that is of your own making, not
your father's."  He rested a tentative hand on Tom's shoulder.  "We
care about you.  If we're hovering too much, tell us.  It probably
won't stop," there was a smile playing at the corners of his mouth
as he continued, "but at least you will have gotten it out in the
open and not kept it bottled up inside."

Leaning against the wall, Tom folded his arms in front of him.
"Gee, Commander, sounds like you're saying I have a hard time
expressing myself," he joked, deciding it was time to lighten the

Chakotay laughed and stepped back.  Neither said anything for a few
moments.  Even after almost five years together, the two rarely
talked to each other about anything other then work.

"Thanks, Commander," Tom said uncomfortably.

"You're welcome," he smiled, knowing that Tom was uneasy about
revealing so much about himself to his one time enemy.  "Now
lieutenant, do you feel up to attending the staff meeting?"

Tom looked at the Commander questioningly.  Once again rubbing his
hand over his expanding stomach.

"I just wanted to make sure you were okay.  As a friend.  I noticed
you rubbing the back of your neck when we got in the lift and that
you've been rubbing your hand across your stomach off and on since
we started talking."  Chakotay gestured to the continuing motion of
the pilot's hand.

Tom looked down and realized that the Commander was right.  He
quickly stopped and again folded his arms across his chest.  "I'm
fine, just a bit of a headache," stated Tom, waving off any

Chakotay ordered the computer to resume, not really believing him,
but after this little talk, he had no intention of pushing the


Tom sat on the couch in his quarters trying to focus on the data
padd in front of him.  After his *talk* with Chakotay that morning,
the rest of the day had gotten progressively worse.

B'Elana's summons to engineering resulted in the news that their
dilithium and deuterium supplies were contaminated, due to some
particle cloud they had inadvertently passed through during the
night.  She and the Captain had spent the rest of the day trying to
come up with possible solutions to save some of their reserve
supplies.  Tom hoped for the best, but when his wife was unable to
join him for lunch or dinner, he knew things were not looking good.

Since he was on his own for lunch, Tom thought that he would be
able to eat in relative peace and quiet and catch up on some conn
reports.  Instead he found himself under the curious gaze of a
everyone entering or leaving the room.  Even Neelix had gone out of
his way to checkup on him about every five minutes.

Quickly finishing his meal, he reported to sickbay for his weekly
checkup, more then a little uneasy.  There he found the Doctor in
one of his impatient moods and was quickly ushered into one of the
private rooms.  Tom had hoped that by having the exams behind
closed doors, it would lessen the chances that someone would
accidently walk in and discover his condition.

Once he was settled on the bio-bed, the Doctor began his scans,
complaining the entire time about how no one ever seemed to be able
to follow his instruction.  He then proceeded to ream Tom for his
not gaining enough weight, which the overbearing medical
practitioner took to mean that he wasn't eating properly.  Which
could only mean that there had to be other instructions that Tom
was ignoring.  No matter what Tom said to reassure him that he had
been following the diet and everything else that he had been told
to do, the Doc didn't seem to believe him.

When Harry came by sickbay to get something for a headache and
stopped by to see how things were going, Tom thought that he might
be saved.  Turned out that Harry ended up helping the Doctor,
bringing up his fall off the bed and that he hadn't seen Tom finish
his breakfast that morning.  Harry quickly left sickbay when Tom
threatened to shoot him out an airlock and accused him of no longer
being his friend.

After a half hour of constant lecturing, Tom was finally released
back to duty.  He scurried out of the Doctor's lair, thankful that
Harry's big mouth hadn't gotten him an extended stay.  As it was,
he was going to get his best friend back for the half an hour of
torture he had been put through.

Now sitting in his quarters, waiting for his missing spouse, he was
trying to organize a training schedule for his student pilots.
When Janeway had made him chief conn officer, she also gave him the
responsibility of training and re-certifying Voyager's pilots.  The
beginning had been difficult, no one wanted to give him a chance,
but orders were orders and despite what they thought, they couldn't
dispute his abilities.  Not that they didn't try, but he knew what
he was capable of, no matter what they threw at him, he just threw
it right back.  He had been given a second chance, one he was not
going to waste by letting trivial remarks and threats get to him.

He looked at the padd in his hand and again tried to concentrate.
With three different work schedules and his trainees working in
every department on the ship, setting up a schedule that didn't
interfere with their normal ship duties took time and patience.
Unfortunately, Tom was finding it difficult keep his mind on the
arduous task.

"Time," Tom called to the computer while trying to rub the kinks
out of his neck and shoulders with his free hand.

"The time is 21:30."

He sighed and set the data padd aside.  He was getting nowhere,
especially while he was so tired.  The downside of being pregnant,
even if you had free time, you were to tired to do anything other
than sleep.  He walked to the replicator and asked for a cup of
tea.  Not the same as a good cup of coffee, but caffeine was one of
the Doctor's no-nos.

With tea in hand, he sat back down on the couch, taking time to try
and make himself comfortable.  Once settled, he picked up the data
padd and started reviewing the information while sipping his tea.
Somehow he had to come up with a tentative schedule to present to
the first officer that would appease him and the captain.

After some more intense scrutiny and shuffling, Tom sent the
information to the respective computer terminals and dropped the
padd back on the coffee table.  He hoped that they would be happy
with the proposed schedule.  Setting the tea cup down, he turned to
gaze at the stars moving by.  With their mineral supplies so low,
they were trying to limp to the next star system in hopes of
finding enough of the minerals they needed to keep Voyager

He took a deep breath and realized that he was stroking his stomach
again and looked down.  Ever since that morning in the turbolift
with Chakotay, he had been very aware that he was constantly
rubbing his hand over the small bulge there.  He didn't know why he
was doing it, just that he found comfort in the motion and

The Captain's favorite saying was that in Starfleet, weird was part
of the job.  He, Tom Paris, was having a baby, things couldn't get
much weirder than that.  The thought continued to send chills up
his spine, he was still having a hard time believing it all.  If
there was one thing that he never thought he would have the
pleasure of enjoying, it was the prospect of being a father.  Not
with the way he had messed up his life.

Turning back to watching the stars he wondered what his father
would think of his current situation.  Would he be happy for him?
That he had found a new life here on Voyager?  He was a
commissioned officer?  A member of the senior staff?  Found love?
Was now married?  That he was going to be a father?  Tom wondered
if he would be a good father to his daughter.  Would he stand by
her, no matter what?

He tried to stifle the jaw wrenching yawn that caught him off
guard.  Sighing in resignation, putting his doubts and questions to
the back of his mind, he climbed to his feet and deposited the tea
cup in the recycler.  Apparently his wife was going to be gone a
bit longer.

Fighting back another yawn, he carefully made his way into the
bedroom and quietly got ready for bed.  He looked at the
chronometer, hoping that B'Elana would make it back before too much
later.  But he knew his wife, she would stay until every possible
solution had been thrown out or a resolution had been found.  He
felt for her staff, when she got fired up about something, she took
them along for the ride, no matter how bumpy.

Calling for lights out, he crawled under the covers and tried to
make himself comfortable.  He hoped that tomorrow would be a better
day, he wasn't sure how much more he could take and he had no
desire to hear another lecture on stress management from the
Doctor.  Once settled he quickly forgot his worries and fell sound

Tom awoke sometime later to the sound of Klingon cursing.  He
turned his sleep filled eyes to the door to see B'Elana stumble
into the darkened room, her form silhouetted by the dim living room

"Computer, lights up one quarter," he said while trying to rub the
sleep out of his eyes.

"Sorry," B'Elana said softly while moving to the bathroom rubbing
her head.

"What time is it?" asked Tom, propping himself up on his elbows.

"Late.  Go back to sleep, love," she replied while changing into
her pajamas and getting ready for bed.  She really had tried to be
quiet.  Finding her husband already asleep, she had been watching
him rather than where she was going.  She proceeded to trip over a
chair leg and while trying to regain her balance and not yell out
in pain, she ran into the wall.  Luckily Tom hadn't noticed, he'd
never let her live it down.

"Is everything all right?"

B'Elana mumbled something to herself, threw her uniform into the
refresher and climbed under the covers.  She called for lights out
and wrapped her arms around her husband, forcing him to lay back

He tried not to laugh as she made herself comfortable, ending up
with an arm draped over his chest and her head resting on his
shoulder.  Teasingly, he asked, "Don't want to talk about it?"

"It's been a long, depressing day.  I'll tell you about it in the
morning.  Right now I just want to go to sleep.  Now close your
eyes and pretend that I didn't wake you up."

Tom snuggled down, wrapping his arms around his wife.  He planted
a kiss on the top of her head and closed his eyes.


"Alarm off."

Kathryn threw the pillow over her face, not wanting to get up.  She
didn't want to have to deal with any more problems.  They had
managed to drag themselves to the next star system and had found
several uninhabited planets rich in mineral deposits, finally
something going their way.  They were now orbiting the first planet
and were ready to begin the arduous task of mining what they
needed.  Their scans showed that there was more than enough for
their needs, she just prayed that they were able to complete the
mining before any trouble came alone.

Sighing she moved the pillow back behind her head and called for
the lights.

She heard a sigh of exasperation followed by grumbling from the
other side of her bed.

"Sorry," she said unrepentantly.  Only to find herself enveloped in
the arms of her first officer, her lips captured by his.  The kiss
long and searching, neither one wanting to break away.

Finally, when the need for air became too much, Kathryn pulled her
lips away from his and snuggled down to rest her head on his
shoulder, allowing herself a brief moment of reprieve as the

"Good morning to you too," she said to him as her hand began to
draw circles on his bare chest.

Chakotay closed his eyes and rubbed his hand up and down her back,
losing himself in the feeling of the woman he loved lying next to
him.  They had had so little time for themselves lately, it felt
good to just lie there, holding her in his arms.

After a few minutes of silence, he sighed and made the first move
to get up and begin the day.  "Come on, Kathryn, time to get up."
He moved to detach himself and get out of the bed.

Janeway latched on to him, trying to keep him on the bed.  She knew
that he could easily break her hold, but he allowed himself to be
held down.  "Just a few more minutes," she begged.

Chakotay laughed and kissed the top of her head.  "Thinking about
playing hooky, Captain?"

Kathryn sighed and looked up at her lover.  She hated it when he
referred to her as *Captain* when they weren't on duty, especially
when they were in bed together, it reminder her that they were
breaking the rules.  "Maybe.  But somehow I don't think we'd be
able to find any place to hide."  She released him and sat up.

"You're right, no ship can do without it's Captain."  He gave her
a quick kiss on the cheek and climbed off of the bed.  "Mind if I
get cleaned up?" he asked while heading into the bathroom.

Janeway didn't even bother to respond, just watched as he removed
what little clothing he still had on and climbed into the shower.
She gave him a few moments to get the water going and then climbed
off the bed.  Dropping her nightgown, she walked over to the
bathroom with a mischievous grin on her face.  She quietly opened
the shower door and joined him.

"Well, that certainly didn't save any time," remarked Chakotay as
he watched Kathryn comb out her short, red hair.  They were both
finally dressed and ready to begin another day.

"Who said anything about trying to save time," she stated with a
devilish grin.  She set down her brush, gave him a lecherous once
over and headed into the living room.

Chakotay just shook his head and followed her.  "Mess hall?"  With
their power supply so low, they were unable to keep the replicators
fully operational.  They were all but shut down except for

Janeway sighed.  All she really wanted was a good, strong cup of
coffee, not a Neelix wannabe substitute.  She fleetingly thought
about ordering half a cup, Captain's prerogative.  Shaking her
head, she quickly threw that thought out.  She was a member of the
crew and she was not going to take advantage of her rank.

Noticing her longing look, Chakotay tried not to laugh.  "Kathryn?"

"Right, mess hall."  She moved to the door.  "But first we need to
stop by sickbay."


Janeway walked out the door, followed by her first officer.  "The
Doctor asked to speak with me this morning.  I have a feeling it
has to do with Lieutenant Paris."

Chakotay cringed.  He had spoken with the Captain, Tuvok and the
Doctor after Tom's out burst in the turbolift the other day.
Everyone had agreed to back off, not be so obvious about watching
him.  The Doctor, especially, wasn't happy about being told to let
up on the man.  Chakotay could just imagine what he had planned for
Tom now.

Janeway saw her first officer tense up.  "Don't worry, Commander,
I haven't forgotten our talk.  And I'm quite sure the Doctor hasn't
either.  He probably wants to remind us what Tom can't do while the
rest of us are re-supplying," Janeway tried not to smile at the
memory of Chakotay chewing the Doctor out when he didn't see the
need to comply with the Commanders request.  It had been quite a
sight.  "However, it doesn't stop me from worrying about him."

"I know."  They entered the turbolift and she called for deck five.
He gave her a small smile, hoping that this visit wouldn't turn
into a yelling match.  "So, let's see what the Doctor has been
plotting now."

As the lift doors closed, Gerron stepped out of the alcove he had
been working in.  After overhearing the conversation of the ships
commanding officers, he quickly gathered his tools and headed out
to find Megan.  Another piece to add to the puzzle they were trying
to solve.  Most of the crew had offered up their own observations
and concerns over the past week, adding to the growing list.  They
were all determined to find out what was going on with Voyager's
chief helmsman.


End Part 1
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By: R. Mackenzie
Dated:  January 4, 1999

Setting:  Alternate universe, takes place after the fourth season.
          The crew of Voyager must deal with a strange, unexpected
Disclaimer:  Paramount owns them, I'm just borrowing them.

Part 2


The next few days passed quickly for everyone but Tom who was
unable to help with the manual labor per the Doctor's orders.  That
left him in charge of the skeleton crews assigned to the bridge
while everyone else put in time on away teams or in engineering.
And unfortunately for him, boredom had set in after the first
couple of hours.  There wasn't much to do while in a standard
orbit.  He tried to look busy while sitting at the helm,
occasionally cracking a joke to liven up the mood, but it was
becoming increasingly more difficult as the days went by.

By the fifth day, Tom was trying his best not to fall a sleep at
his station.  The fact that he had been having trouble sleeping the
last few nights was not helping him conquer the stagnant time on
the bridge.


Tom turned to Jenny Delaney who had been assigned to Ops for the
morning, thankful for the distraction.  "Yes, Ensign?"

"The scanners are picking up a ship entering the system."

Tom stood and walked toward the upper bridge section, motioning for
another crew member to take the helm.  "What type of ship?"  Their
scans of the four major planets and several orbiting moons in the
system had shown no intelligent life forms.  He wondered where the
ship could have come from.

"Unable to determine, sir.  They're on a direct course for
Voyager."  Jenny tapped a few more buttons, anxious to make sure
she had gathered all the information her superior would need.
"They're hailing us."

"On main viewer."  Tom turned his attention to the incoming

As the screen shifted to show their visitors, he tried not to laugh
out loud.  They looked like pigs.  Their faces were round and pink.
Their eyes were large, dark orbs and their nose looked like a pig's
snout.  He wasn't sure that the fuzz on their heads could be
considered hair, but there wasn't really enough of it to worry too
much about it.  The only thing they didn't seem to have were the
big floppy ears that he had seen on normal pigs.  In fact, it
didn't appear that they had ears at all, just indentations on
either side of their faces, toward the back of the head.  Very

Quickly putting on his professional face, not wanting to offend
them by staring, he addressed their unexpected visitors.  "This is
Lieutenant Tom Paris of the Federation Starship Voyager."

The two men looked at each other, and then responded.  Tom was
mildly surprised that they didn't start grunting.  "We are
Tugstens.  I Re'Ebb," he pointed to himself and then his companion,
"this Be'Agg."

"Is there something we can do for you?" Tom stood in the middle of
the bridge, back straight, hands behind his back.

"Need help.  You have food?" Re'Ebb asked.

Tom was grateful that they got right to the point, he hated having
to bother with diplomacy.  "I can check our stores.  How much food
do you need?"  They had found an abundance of edible fruits and
vegetables on the planet, there was plenty to spare.

"Just us two.  Couple weeks worth.  Long trip to go."  He looked at
Tom expectantly.

"I'll see what we can do and contact you in a few minutes.  Paris
out."  Paris motioned for Jenny to cut the transmission.

"I wonder how much a couple weeks supply will be," commented
Crewman Miller who was filling in at tactical.

Tom smiled as he contacted the Captain.  She would have to approve
any aid given, not that he foresaw a problem, but she was the boss.

A few minutes later Tom contacted the Tugstens with the Captains
agreement to give the requested aid.

"Good.  We come see what you got."

"If you could let us know what is acceptable and how much, we will
transport it over."  Tom found the two very amusing in their
nervous interaction with each other and him, but he wasn't entirely
sure that he wanted them on his ship.

Re'Ebb turned and quickly spoke to his companion.  Tom waited
silently for them to respond.  "We need see what you got.  We
tr-tr-tr...we come there."

Tom tried not to laugh at Re'Ebb's inability to pronounce the word
transport.  "One moment please."  He motioned to Jenny to mute the
transmission.  "Paris to Janeway."

"Janeway here."

"Captain, our visitors would like to check out our supplies for
themselves.  Apparently they don't think us capable of picking
their food for them."

"Have the sensors picked up anything?"

"Our scans show nothing out of the ordinary.  They do have weapons,
but nothing that could harm Voyager."  He had turned to look at
Ensign Miller as he spoke.  If there had been any changes in the
status of their visitors while he was relaying the information to
the Captain, the ensign would have let him know.

"Your discretion, Mr. Paris.  Janeway out."

"Oh, this could be fun," commented Jenny, "I wonder if they walk on
all fours?"

Paris tried hard not to show his own amusement as he motioned for
her to re-establish the connection with their soon to be guests.
As he turned back to the screen, he noted that they were sitting
closely together, gesturing wildly while speaking softly to each
other.  To Paris it looked like they were arguing over something.
He cleared his throat to get their attention.  "Re'Ebb, we would be
honored to have you as our guests.  When would you like to
transport over?"

"We come now.  You show us."  Re'Ebb pointed at Paris with his
stubby, three-digit hand.

Tom gave them his professional Paris smile, the one that showed he
was preforming his duty and not going to find much pleasure in it.
"I think that can be arranged.  Please stand by for transport.
Paris out."  He ran a hand across his face and wondered how he
always got himself into situations like this.  "Miller, you have
the bridge.  I'll be escorting our guests."  He ignored the smirk
on Miller's face as he entered the turbolift.

Entering transporter room one a few minutes later, he ordered the
on duty crewman to beam their new friends over.  As they
materialized Paris fought down the wave of nausea that passed over
him at the stench that filled the room.  Apparently their guests
didn't believe in regular bathing.

"You Paris?" Re'Ebb pointed at him.

Tom cleared his throat, hoping that he would be able to make it
through the trip to the cargo hold.  "Yes.  Welcome aboard the
Starship Voyager."

"Good.  We go see what you got."

Wanting this whole experience to be over as soon as possible, Tom
motioned for Re'Ebb and Be'Agg to follow him out the door.  He
heard a sigh of relief from the crewman left behind as the air
filtration system kicked in.  Tom wished that he could be so lucky.


"Emergency Medical Hologram to Captain Janeway."

"Janeway here.  What is it Doctor?" Janeway tried not to show her
annoyance at yet another interruption.  They were a day away from
having their mineral supplies completely restocked and she was
tired of the interruptions.  She noticed Ensign Kim trying not to
smile at the tone in her voice.

"Captain, I have been unable to locate Mr. Paris.  He is ten
minutes over due for his appointment."  The annoyance in the
Doctor's voice was evident.

"Have you tried contacting him?  I believe he was escorting a
couple of guests to the cargo hold," Janeway responded, trying not
to sound totally peeved at the hologram.  She was, after all, the
Captain.  Menial interruptions were part of the job.

"He's not responding to my hails and the computer is unable to
locate him."  The Doctor was put out that the Captain would think
that he hadn't exhausted all attempts to contact the troublesome
Lieutenant before contacting her.

Janeway sighed and hit her combadge.  "Janeway to Paris."  She
waited for a minute, no response.  "Lieutenant Paris, respond."
Still no answer.  "Computer, what's the location of Lieutenant

"Unable to comply."

Janeway noticed Kim's anxious face as he turned to face his
commanding officer.  "Computer, what was the last know location of
Lieutenant Paris?"

"Cargo hold two."

"How long ago did his combadge signal last register?" Janeway
didn't like the sound of this.

"Eighteen minutes, thirty-two seconds."

Kim began an internal scan of the ship, hoping that his best friend
was okay.  "Captain, I'm detecting an unknown energy signature
coming from transporter room one.  It's scrambling our sensors," he
tapped a few more buttons, "our scans can't penetrate it.  But our
guests are there, getting ready to leave."

"Janeway to bridge," she called as she headed out of engineering,
motioning Kim to follow her.

"Bridge.  This is Miller."

"Mr. Miller, I want a security detail to transporter room one
immediately.  Our guests are not to be allowed to leave.  I'm on my
way there now," Janeway ordered as she broke into a run for the
turbolift.  She tried to keep her mind from imaging any number of
horrible things that could have happened to her helms officer.
"Also, send a detail to cargo hold two.  Have them report anything
they find to me.  Janeway out."

Janeway and Kim reached the room to find two security officers
already there, phasers trained on the two aliens who were cowering
behind two rectangular storage containers on the middle of the
transporter pad.

"What mean this?" Re'Ebb demanded of Janeway as she walked into the
room, his eyes darting between her and the security officers.

"Where is Lieutenant Paris?" demanded Janeway, ignoring question
asked of her.  She noticed the anxious looks that pasted between
the two.  They became more agitated as they watched Ensign Kim pick
up a tricorder and begin a scan of the room.

"We no know.  Left in hold, left by food."

"Captain," began Crewman Carter, their guests had led her to
believe that Paris had given them what they needed and then left
them alone, assigning her to return them to the transporter room.
"Lieutenant Paris wasn't in the cargo hold when I arrived.  These
two were standing by these two storage containers and said that the
Lieutenant had already given then what they needed.  I just assumed
that he had begun without me and had then been called away."

"Captain, the energy signature is coming from the second storage
container," Kim interrupted, stopping his scan and looking toward
his Captain for further instructions.

"Open it."

As Kim took a step toward the transporter pad the two aliens
started mumbling and gesturing frantically.

"Ours.  You give.  Ours."  They went to step around the containers
to stop them, then remembered that there were weapons pointed at
them.  They quickly returned to their previous positions of

Janeway motioned for Carter and the transporter operator to help
move the top container so they could get to the bottom one.  The
security team ushered the aliens to stand against the wall just
incase they actually got up the nerve to try and stop them.

The room was silent as Janeway, Kim and the crewmen labored to
complete their task.  The containers were about four feet long,
three feet wide and two feet deep, Kim wondered how they could have
stuffed Tom into one.  The thought that a dead body was easy to
fold turned his blood cold.  He worked faster to get the lid off.

Once removed, Harry gasped as Janeway quickly knelt down to feel
for a pulse on the twisted body within.  Janeway turned to the
transporter operator.  "Beam him to sickbay.  Now!"  She stood back
as the crewman quickly returned to his station and began to
manipulate the controls.  "Janeway to sickbay.  Medical emergency.
Mr. Paris is being transported to you."  Taking a deep breath as
she ended the transmission, she walked over to address the group
against the wall.

"Would you be so kind as to tell me what you thought you were going
to do with my lieutenant?" Janeway glared at them as she spoke, her
voice icy.

The eyes of the two Tugstens were riveted on the angry woman before
them.  Harry could see them see shaking in fear, their arms wrapped
around each other.

"We take prize.  Much want for him."  Re'Ebb didn't like the short,
fiery haired woman, her eyes were mean and they made him afraid.


"He wanted back.  We return for much."

"Who wants him back?"

"Stimmums.  He wanted back much.  No harm meant.  Need what give
they.  Much need."  Re'Ebb hoped that he could convey that they
didn't mean any harm, they just thought that since the opportunity
had presented itself, why not try and take advantage of it and
collect the reward.  It had seemed like a good idea at the time.

"I don't care what your reasons are.  You had no right to assault
and then try and kidnap one of my crew."  Janeway took a step
forward, hands on her hips and green eyes blazing with anger.  She
watched as they tried to move themselves closer against the wall.
Musing that if they could, they would have become apart of it to
get away from her.  "This is your only warning.  NO ONE harms a
member of my crew.  Now get off my ship."

She motioned for everyone to clear off the transporter pad and then
ordered the Tugstens to be beamed back to their ship.

"Gentlemen, I suggest you get as far away from my ship as possible
before I have a change of heart and have your ship incinerated."

The transporter beam whisked them away before anything further
could be said.

"Thank you, gentlemen, you can stand down.  Crewman, have the first
container beamed back to the cargo hold.  Beam the other to the
security office for analysis.   Mr. Kim, you're with me."  Janeway
quickly made her way out of the transporter room, anxious to get to
sickbay and make sure that Tom was all right.

The four crewmen watched as the two senior officers practically ran
out of the room.  They had quite a bit to add to the on going
mystery of Tom Paris and what they weren't being told.

"Report," ordered Janeway as she and Harry stepped through the
doors of sickbay.

The Doctor, just completing his initial scan, waited for the two
officers to reach the bed before responding.  "Luckily Mr. Paris's
head is as thick as it is.  He has a concussion."

"The baby?"

"I have not yet finished my scans, Mr. Kim," the Doctor replied as
he moved his scans to cover all of Tom's prone figure.  "Would
someone care to tell me how Mr. Paris came to be in the condition
he is now in?"

"Someone tried to kidnap him.  They knocked him out and stuffed him
in one of our storage containers," Kim replied anxiously.  He hoped
that they had been in time.

No one saw a stunned Megan Delaney retrace her steps back into the
store room she had just exited to offer her assistance.  She stood
quietly, listening intently to all that was being said, the pieces
of the puzzle that they had been gathering were now making perfect

"When will he regain consciousness?" inquired Janeway.  She
realized that she let the would be kidnappers go before finding out
exactly what they had done to her pilot.  If his condition was
anything other then okay, Janeway was more then prepared to hunt
the slimy assailants down and let them have it.

"The blow to his head was severe, however, I expect that he will
awaken any time now.  No doubt to bless us with his witty charm,"
the Doctor replied while continuing his scans.

The sound of people running down the corridor stopped Janeway from
asking any further questions.  She had contacted Chakotay as they
made their way to sickbay to appraise him of the situation.  She
smirked at the thought that it didn't take him long to relay the
information and for he and B'Elana to return to the ship.  As the
doors opened, she was surprised to see not only her first officer
and B'Elana, but also Ensign Wildman and Tuvok.  B'Elana didn't
stop until she was by her husband's side, his hand clasped in hers.

"Is he all right?" she asked breathlessly.  When Chakotay informed
her that Tom had been attacked she had nearly crawled out of her
skin while waiting for him so they could return to the ship.  She
nervously waited for the Doctor's reply.

"As I was just telling the Captain and Mr. Kim, I have not yet
completed my scans.  However, Mr. Paris has received yet another
concussion.  Nothing that my skills and some rest can't take care
of, as he is well aware of..."  The Doctor stopped commenting
further as his attention was drawn to the tricorder in his hands.

"What?  What's wrong?"

"If appears that Mr. Paris's assailants were not very gentle with
him.  I'm detecting some slight tearing away of the womb from the
abdominal wall."

"How serious is it?"  "Will they be all right?"  Janeway and
Chakotay asked at the same time.

"I'll need to repair the damage," he stated matter-of-factly as he
looked at the people surrounding the bio-bed.  The concern and fear
on their faces made the hologram realize that once again he had
failed in his bedside manners.  He softened his voice as he
continued speaking.  "The damage is minimal and the surgery to
repair it is minor.  All scans show the baby and Mr. Paris to be
just fine."  He noticed the relief pass over their faces.  "I'll
preform the surgery as soon as the surgical bay is ready."  Sam
left the group to begin preparations before the Doctor could voice
the order.  "Mr. Paris will have to be relieved of duty for a few
days to recuperate."

"Thank you, Doctor."  Janeway noticed the tears beginning to
silently fall down B'Elana's face.  She quietly put her hand on the
young woman's shoulder.  "B'Elana, we need to leave so the Doctor
can begin."

B'Elana silently nodded her head then bent down to place a kiss on
her mate's forehead and placed his hand back on the bio-bed.  She
then allowed the Captain to escort her out of the sickbay.  Once in
the hallway, B'Elana wiped away her tears and demanded to know what
had happened.

"Let's discuss this in my ready room."  She had no desire to add to
the gossip that was no doubt already working it's way around the
ship about the latest incident involving the ever unlucky helms


Tom didn't want to wake up.  He was tired and he wanted to sleep,
however, the hand persistently shaking his shoulder wouldn't let

"Come on B'Ella, just a few more minutes," he mumbled, pulling the
covers tighter around himself.

"Mr. Paris."

Realizing that B'Elana's voice wasn't that deep, he quickly opened
his eyes to find himself staring at the ever pleasantly drab
ceiling of sickbay.

"Not you again," Tom stated as the Doctor's face came into view.
He closed his eyes hoping that he was just having a bad dream,
unable to recall what could have happened to land him in sickbay
yet again.

"Mr. Paris, please open you eyes."

Reluctantly, detecting the tone of the Doctor's voice, Tom did as
he was asked, this time letting his eyes rove around the room.
"What happened?" he asked noting that B'Elana and the Captain were
standing on the other side of him, B'Elana had her hand wrapped
around his, trying hard not to look overly worried.

"What is the last thing you remember, Tom?" questioned Janeway.  He
could hear the concern in her voice and see the worry etched on her
face as well.

He took a moment to organize his thoughts before answering.  "I was
walking those smelly pig guys, the Tugstens, to the cargo hold.
What a treat that was," the sarcasm evident in his voice, "we were
waiting for Ensign Carter to join us to show us what supplies were
what.  That's about it."  He looked at the faces that were
surrounding his bed.  "Why, what happened?  Did I pass out or
something?"  It hadn't happened yet, but he figured it was bound to
happen eventually.  Just another embarrassing side effect of his

"Tom, you and the baby are going to be fine," B'Elana stated.  She
sounded like she was trying to reassure herself of that fact as she
said it to her husband.

"What happened?" he asked with more urgency, noting the tone in her
voice.  His free hand automatically moving to his stomach for
reassurance.  His movements seemed sluggish and when his hand came
to rest on his stomach he noticed the slight pain the contact

"It would appear as though you have a price on your head, Mr.
Paris," stated the Doctor, glad for once to know something before
the know-it-all-pilot.

The Captain shot him her sternest, disapproving Janeway look.  The
Doctor shrugged his shoulders and said nothing further.

"It seems our *guests* decided to take you for a trip.  They hit
you over the head and stuffed you in one of the storage containers.
We were able to stop them before they could leave the ship."
Janeway noted Tom's eyes growing wider as she spoke.

"This is some kind of joke, right?" he asked as he looked to the
faces surrounding him.  The look on their faces affirmed that it
wasn't.  He closed his eyes, needing a moment to digest everything
that had been said.  "What's this about a price on my head?" he
asked while tightening the grip on his wife's hand.

He opened his eyes in time to see Janeway shoot daggers at the
Doctor.  "The Tugstens were trying their hand at bounty hunting.
Trust me, they didn't know what they were doing."

"Bounty hunting?  Who would put a price on my head?"  Although
still trying to take everything in, they could see that Tom was
becoming agitated.  B'Elana noticed the Doctor moving closer to
monitor Tom's vital signs, while casting glances at the hypospray
sitting on a nearby medical tray.

"Tom, stay calm," she stated softly.

"Stay calm?" he asked incredulously.  "You tell me that someone has
assaulted me, tried to kidnap me and that there's a price on my
head and you want me to stay calm.  You've got to be kidding.  Why
would someone put a price on my head?"  Even though he could think
a little more clearly, his mind still seemed to be in a fog.  Who
could possibly want to put a price on his head, out here 50,000
light years from his past?

"It was the Stimmums, Tom," B'Elana stated as she began to run her
fingers through his hair.  By accident she had discovered that the
feel of someones fingers running through his hair had a calming
effect on him, it seemed to take the stress and agitation right out
of him almost every time.  She hoped that he wouldn't fight it now,
the Doctor was starting to get that annoyed look on his face.
"They want you back."

"Why?  What's going on Captain?"  His concerned eyes focused on
hers in hopes of finding answers there.  Whatever they wanted, the
Stimmums couldn't have it.  They were never going to get their
hands on his baby or them again.  He'd see to that.

"I'm sorry, Tom, the only thing we got out of the Tugstens was that
the Stimmums were offering a reward, to apparently anyone, that
could return you to them."

"Great," he sighed.  Tired of laying there, he tried to sit up only
to have three sets of hands immediate try and hold him down.  "You
said I was fine.  Why can't I at least sit up?"

"You *are* fine, Mr. Paris," came the Doctor's clipped reply,
"however, you've just been through minor surgery.  You're body
needs time to recuperate."

"Minor surgery?" Tom's eyes grew as big saucers again.  "What minor
surgery?  What happened?"  Just what had those pig guys done to

"Tom," the Captain tried to keep her voice soothing, "when the
Tugstens put you in the crate they weren't exactly gentle about it.
Apparently, the Stimmums haven't mentioned your condition.  The
Tugstens didn't know you were pregnant."

"There was some tearing along the abdominal wall," the Doctor
picked up on the explanation.  "I have repaired the damage but you
need to rest.  You and your daughter are going to be fine."

Tom's hand started caressing his stomach, ignoring the slight pain
it caused, needing the comfort.  "So, how long am I down for?" he
asked in a resigned voice, wondering what else could possible

"I'll keep you here overnight to make sure there are no
complications.  You will then have four days of complete bed rest
in your quarters.  I'll determine if any more recuperation time is
needed then."  The Doctor's tone gave no room for argument, but
this was Paris he was talking to, he always had to argue.

"Four days in bed?" gripped Tom.  "What am I going to do for four

"Rest," the Doctor stated emphatically.  "This is not open for a
debate, Mr. Paris.  Your body needs time to heal.  If necessary, I
will put you in one of the private rooms and supervise your
recovery myself."

Tom glared at the hologram.

"I didn't think you'd agree to that," he stated smugly.  "Also, to
help me monitor your condition, I have implanted a fetal monitor.
Based on past experiences with you, I have resorted to other
methods of making sure you and your daughter are all right."  If he
noticed the peeved look on Tom's face, he ignored it and addressed
his two visitors.  "Now, my patient needs to rest.  Ms. Torres you
can pick him up tomorrow morning.  If anything changes I'll be sure
to contact you both."  The Doctor nodded to them and then moved to
his office to make yet another entry to the ever expanding Paris
medical file.

"That man is annoying," Tom stated disgustedly as the doctor walked

"But he's very right.  You do need your rest."  Janeway smiled at
him sympathetically, "Please, try to not drive each other crazy.
Just remember, you'll be out of here tomorrow if you can behave."
With a motherly pat on his arm and a nod to B'Elana, the Captain
returned to her duties, leaving the couple alone.

B'Elana pulled a chair over, took his hand back in hers and offered
him a comforting smile while continuing to run her fingers through
his thinning hair.  "Close your eyes, Helmboy."

"Who says I'm tired?" he teased, then tried to hide the yawn that
snuck up on him.  "Maybe I want to talk some more."

"Not if you want the Doctor to release you tomorrow.  He said you
needed to rest, so close your eyes and rest."

Tom continued to look at his wife, wishing that she would crawl up
on the bio-bed with him.  He fought the shiver that tried to
consume him and felt B'Elana's grip on his hand tighten.  The only
reason he could see that the Stimmums would want him back would be
because of the baby and he had no intention of letting them have
her.  But what was he going to do?  It was apparent that they were
going to a great deal of trouble to get them back.

B'Elana leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on his lips.  "Close
your eyes, love," she whispered.  They would sort everything out
when he was feeling better.

Tom finally did as he was told, giving in to the calming effect of
her fingers running through his hair.


"Ensign Kim, may I ask you a question?"

"Seven,"  Harry continued to work at the consol in the astrometric
lab while responding to the ex-Borg's latest inquiry.  With the
news that the Stimmums were trying to get Tom back, they quickly
finished their mining and left, at the same time the Captain
ordered complete diagnostics on all systems.  If someone tried
anything again, they were going to be prepared.  "You know you
don't have to ask permission to ask me a question."

"Yes.  But this is a question of a personal nature."

That peaked Harry's interest.  He turned away from his work to look
at the woman that constantly occupied his thoughts.  "Okay.  What's
your question?"  Having to answer personal and often times
uncomfortable questions could always be expected with Seven.

"As you are best friends with Lieutenant Paris, I wanted to know if
it was true that he is expecting a child?" Seven asked bluntly.

Harry nearly fell over, his eyes bugging out.  "W-W-What?"

"Is Lieutenant Paris pregnant?"

"W-W-Where.."  He closed his eyes and willed his mouth and tongue
to behave.  He needed to find out how she knew.  "Where did you
hear that from, Seven?" he demanded.

Seven raised her implanted eyebrow, curious as to why Harry had
become so upset.  "This morning I over heard a conversation between
several crew members.  They were planning a surprise for the
Lieutenant.  They said that he is pregnant.  Is it true?"

"Oh, man.  Oh, man."  Harry mumbled while pacing and tapping his
finger to the side of his head.  "Think.  Come on, think."  Tom and
B'Elana weren't going to be happy about this.  "Who was it, Seven,"
he turned to face her, "who did you hear talking?"

"Ensigns Delaney and Nicolette, Crewmen Dalby and Gerron and
Lieutenant Carey.  Is something wrong, Ensign?"  She was often
saying things that the crew found offensive or inappropriate.  By
Harry's reaction, she figured she had unintentionally done so

"Computer, location of Lieutenant Torres?"

"Lieutenant Torres is in engineering."  Ignoring her question,
Harry took a hold of Seven's arm and started for the door.  Harry
had no desire to tell a volatile half-Klingon that her secret was
out.  At least not by himself.  However, he knew that it would be
better if she heard it from him and not through the rumor mill and
then hopefully he could keep her from killing anyone.

"Ensign Kim, I do not understand.  What is wrong?" Seven asked,
while allowing Harry to drag her out of the lab.


Tom sat quietly at one of the beach front tables at the holoresort,
engrossed in a mystery novel, grateful to finally be out of the
confining space of his quarters.  He had finally been declared fit
and released after the four days of enforced bed rest and the
Doctor's constant hovering.  Thankful for a chance at some peace
and quiet, he immediately sought out a place that he could relax
and not have to worry about seeing too many people.

The public holodeck program wasn't the best place, but since alpha
shift wasn't due to end for a couple hours and the staff assigned
to gamma and beta shifts were either getting ready for duty or bed,
Tom figured the holoresort would be pretty deserted.  He now sat
contentedly by himself enthralled in the words scrolling before

Nicolette, Gerron, Dalby and both Delaney sisters walked through
the arch and scanned the room.  When Tom didn't answer his door
chime, they queried the computer as to his location and thus
determined, they were now on a mission.  They found him sitting
toward the far end of the resort, facing away from the door,
oblivious to everything going on around him.

Tom felt someone sit down on either side of him and tore his eyes
away from his padd to see who his visitors were.  "Hey guys, what's
up?" he asked trying to sound at ease with the situation.

"Just wanted to see how you were doing?" Megan asked from the seat
to his right.

"Yeah, you know after being almost kidnaped and all, we wanted to
make sure that you were all right," Sue explained from the seat to
his left.

"So, how are you?" asked Jenny who stood across from him with
Gerron and Dalby on either side of her.

"I'm just fine.  Thanks for asking," responded Tom congenially,
keeping his tone light and friendly. "Something I can do for all of

"How 'bout opening this?" Megan reached for the box Gerron had
behind his back and laid it in front of Tom.  She hoped that the
shaking of her hands wasn't obvious as she set the package down on
the table.  They had decided to do this, but now she was feeling
very nervous.

"What is it?" he asked suspiciously.

"Open it," prodded Jenny.

"Okay, sure."  Tom complied after a moments hesitation.  He reached
for the box and removed the lid.  Sue swiftly set it aside allowing
him to reach inside.  Tom's chest suddenly felt very tight.  He
took a moment to scrutinize the pink baby blanket, hoping that they
didn't see how nervous and uneasy he'd just gotten.  *How did they
know?*  "What is it?"  Maybe, if he didn't acknowledge what it was,
they would let it drop and he could make a hasty retreat.

"We wanted to offer you our congratulations," Megan explained,
placing a kiss on his cheek, hoping that they just hadn't done the
wrong thing.

"And let you know that the crew is very happy for you and B'Elana,"
added Sue placing a kiss on his other check.

"And if you need anything," Gerron began.

"To just let us know," finished Dalby.

Jenny walked around the table and wrapped her arms around him from
behind, giving him a big hug.  "We love you, Tom, and nothing makes
us happier then to know that you're going to be a daddy."  Placing
a quick kiss on the top of his head, she released her hold on him,
but not before noticing the shaking he was trying to control
throughout his

"Besides, it's about time there were more kids on this ship,"
stated Sue.

Megan saw that Tom looked about ready to faint.  "Now remember, if
you need anything, don't hesitated to ask."  She gave him another
kiss on the cheek followed by a hug and then with a jerk of her
head, the five well wishers left the holodeck.  Megan prayed that
they had made the right decision in confronting Tom.  It was more
than apparent that he had not intended for anyone to know.

Tom just sat there looking at the blanket in his hands.  It was
beautiful.  But how could they have known, they had been so
careful.  Who could have let it slip?  He began to run through the
names of the people that did know:

B'Elana?  No.  Besides, she was just as afraid as he was about
letting the crew know.

Harry?  No.  He maybe a huge gossip, but if he was asked to keep a
secret, he would.  Especially one such as this.

The Captain?  No.  She'd never betray a confidence.

Chakotay?  No.  They may not see eye to eye, but the commander
would never break a promise.  Against his heritage or something.

Tuvok?  No.  Too Vulcan.

The Doctor?  A definite no.  Against his ethics and programming to
say anything about a patient.  Besides the threat of having his
program permanently rearranged.

Sam?  Tom shook his head.  She had been there for him over the last
several months allowing him to talk, helping him understand the
little and emotional things about his pregnancy.  She had been
nothing but supportive and helpful.

So how had they found out?

He continued to look at the pink blanket.  It was obvious that not
only did they know that he was expecting, but they knew what it was
going to be.  Raising his head, he  noticed that he was being
watched by the crew members still on the holodeck.  Quickly putting
the blanket back in the box, he gathered his things and left.  He
needed to think things through, away from curious, prying eyes.


Janeway was trying her best to keep her chief engineer from killing
Seven.  When Lieutenant Carey had called to say that they were
coming to blows, she figured it was over one of their normal
disagreements.  However, when she and Chakotay had entered
engineering they quickly realized that there was nothing normal
about this argument.  Chakotay immediately stepped in to help Harry
restrain B'Elana who was getting ready to strike the very confused

"B'Elana, please," the Captain pleaded.  She was trying her best to
question Seven only to have B'Elana continually interrupting her to
throw out curses and insults. "Seven, where did you hear about
Tom's condition?"

"As I have already told Ensign Kim, I overheard a conversation
between Ensigns Delaney and Nicolette, Crewmen Dalby and Gerron and
Lieutenant Carey," Seven noticed the look the Captain sent Carey,
the only member of the group present in engineering, "Since Ensign
Kim is friends with Lieutenant Paris it made sense to question him
as to the validity of their claim."

"Lieutenant Carey," Janeway motioned for the lieutenant to join the
group.  She noticed him eyeing his immediate supervisor warily as
he moved toward the group making sure Janeway was between himself
and her.  "Would you care to enlighten us as to how you and the
others came to know about Mr. Paris's condition?"

Before Carey could respond, the doors to engineering opened to
admit Megan Delaney, who stopped just inside the room, unsure of
what she should do.

"Ms. Delaney, please, join us," Janeway ordered, while motioning
her to move into the room, "May I ask what brings you down here to

"Um, reporting for duty, sir," she stated warily.

"Since you're here, maybe you could help Lieutenant Carey explain
how it is you found out about Mr. Paris's condition?"

Megan tried to swallow her fear at the look on the Captain's face.
She began to explain, speaking very rapidly.  "I was in sickbay
when Tom, I mean Lieutenant Paris was beamed in after that botched
kidnaping attempt.  I didn't mean to listen in, but I was stuck in
the store room and I, we," she waved her arm to encompass not only
Carey but the other crew members that were at their stations
pretending that nothing was going on, "have been so concerned about
Tom, I mean Lieutenant Paris lately.  He hasn't seemed himself in
weeks and the Doc has him on restricted duty and you guys," she
pointed toward her superior officers, "I mean the senior staff has
been constantly hovering around him.  And well, I, we, the whole
crew, figured that something was really wrong with Tom, I mean
Lieutenant Paris and that it was pretty serious because no one was
talking.  I, we didn't mean to hurt Tom, I mean Lieutenant Paris,
Captain, we really didn't.  We just wanted to let Tom, I mean
Lieutenant Paris know that we are really happy for him and B'Elana
and that I, we, think it's really neat that he's having a baby.
I'm mean it's weird, a guy having a baby, but this is the Delta
quadrant, and we're in Starfleet, weird is part of the job, right,
and as long as Tom, I mean Lieutenant Paris is happy, who am I, we
to say anything bad.  And we are really happy for Tom, I mean
Lieutenant Paris, Captain.  Really, truly.  I, we didn't mean to
upset him or for the whole crew to start talking about it, but
well, you figure with a ship as small as Voyager, I guess it really
couldn't stay a secret long.  I mean, have you looked at him
lately?  He looks like he's pregnant, not that he's showing all
that much, because he really isn't considering how far along he is.
But he has put on some weight, and these uniforms don't hide
anything, and it's all focused in one spot pretty much.  Tom, I
mean Lieutenant Paris is my, our friend, we just wanted to let him
know that we support him.  So, I'm really sorry that I was the
reason the secret got out, I was just so excited, I mean I, we
thought that Tom, I mean Lieutenant Paris, was dying or something
the way all the senior officers kept such close tabs on him, even
Chakotay, I mean Commander Chakotay and Tuvok, I mean Commander
Tuvok.  So..."  Megan finally noticed the stunned looks on the
faces of the people in the room.  She quickly closed her mouth and
waited for her punishment.  She figured it was probably well
deserved, even though it was never her intent to hurt anyone,
especially her friend.

Trying not to show her amazement at the lung capacity of the
Ensign, Janeway gave her and Carey a disappointed look, as she
asked, "Am I then to assume that your announcement of Mr. Paris's
condition was not intentional, Ensign?"

"No, never Captain, I..."

Janeway cut her off with an upraised hand and turned to address her
chief engineer.  "B'Elana, has Tom heard about any of this yet?"

B'Elana quickly regained her senses, she had been just as stunned
as the others at Megan's rambling discourse.  Throwing a scowl at
Chakotay, she wrenched her arm out of his grip before addressing
Janeway.  "I don't know.  I haven't had a chance to talk to him

"Um, Captain," Megan called nervously.

Janeway tried not to roll her eyes.  "Yes, Ensign?"

"Tom, I mean Lieutenant Paris knows, I mean I, we kind of mentioned

Chakotay and Harry both grabbed B'Elana as she lunged at the
Ensign.  Megan, feeling a definite threat to her life, moved closer
to Carey who was feeling his own fear and nervousness about the

"Lieutenant, contain yourself or I'll have security escort you to
the brig until you can remain calm."  Janeway waited for B'Elana to
acknowledge what was being said before addressing Megan once again.
"Would you care to elaborate, Ms. Delaney?"

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Megan began her explanation
while keeping one eye on B'Elana, thankful that Chakotay and Harry
still had a hold of her.  "Well, when word got out, the crew wanted
to throw Tom, I mean Lieutenant Paris a surprise baby shower.  You
know, to say congratulations and all that.  But I, we figured that
since Tom, I mean Lieutenant Paris is..."

"Ensign, Tom is fine," interrupted Janeway.  Maybe if she had fewer
words to say, it would speed her up.

"Yes, Captain," Megan acknowledged the suggestion and continued
without missing a beat, "Well, since it was obvious that Tom hadn't
wanted people to know about his preg..his condition and all, I, we
didn't think it would be a good idea to throw him a party just yet.
So, I, we decided to let him know, easy like, that we were happy
for him.  And we are, Captain, really we are, the whole crew is.
Anyway, we hoped that by giving him a small gift and telling him
that that was the case, that he would understand.  We left him on
the holodeck just a few minutes ago."

Janeway ran a hand over her tired facial features.  This day was
turning out to a very long one.  "Ensign, I understand that it was
not your intent to let the proverbial cat out of the bag, but that
is exactly what you have done by your actions.  In the future might
I suggest that when you hear something that is obviously not yet
for the general knowledge of the crew, you refrain from passing the
information along.  Talk to the parties involved before speaking to
anyone else.  Consider yourselves on report and..."

"Emergency Medical Hologram to Lieutenant Torres."

Pulling her arms free again, B'Elana tapped her combadge.  "Torres

"Lieutenant, you're presence is required in sickbay."

"Is there a problem, Doctor?  I'm somewhat occupied at the moment."
She looked back and forth between her commanding officers.

"Ms. Torres, I have beamed Mr. Paris to sickbay.  I need to speak
with you regarding his condition."

Chakotay, seeing the distress on his friends face, spoke for her,
"Doctor, what seems to be the problem?"

"I'm sorry, Commander, I need to speak with Ms. Torres in person.
I don't think either one of them need any further information added
to the rumor mill."

"Doctor," intervened Janeway, "We'll be right there.  Janeway out."
She ended the connection before the hologram could comment any
further.  "Ensign Kim, I assume that this incident interrupted your
assignment this morning?"

"Uh, yes, Captain," stammered Kim, shocked that he was being
addressed about work when it was apparent that his friend was in

"Then might I suggest that you return to your duties.  I expect a
report on my desk by the end of shift today.  You and Seven are
dismissed," ordered Janeway.

"B-but, Captain...."  Kim couldn't believe that Janeway would send
him away without knowing what was wrong with Tom.

"Ensign," Janeway sighed as she saw the look on his face, "Harry,
we'll contact you as soon as we know something.  Tom doesn't need
an army rushing into sickbay.  Besides, we need those sensors
operating at full capacity."

"Yes, ma'am," he reluctantly acknowledged her order.  Motioning for
Seven to join him, they quietly left engineering.  Seven made no
comment as she followed Harry out the door.  She figured that her
questions would be more appropriately asked when they were alone.

"Commander, please see to it that everything is taken care of here.
You have the bridge.  B'Elana you're with me."  Janeway turned to
leave before anyone else could question her orders, B'Elana quietly
followed her out.



"Well, what?" Sam countered Megan's question.

Megan rolled her eyes but continued her questioning, "Is he all

Sam looked over the group that had cornered her on the holodeck.
Megan and her cohorts had been walking on eggshells since the news
that Tom had been beamed to sickbay the day before.  She figured
they deserved to squirm a little after all the trouble they had

"The Doc released him yesterday.  He's in his quarters resting, yet
again, for a couple of days."

"It wasn't serious was it?" questioned Sue wishing that Sam would
just give them the details without them having to beg for them.

"He had some false labor pains thanks to all the stress and anxiety
he'd been put under."  What she really wanted to tell them was the
stress and anxiety they had put him under, but that would only
cause more problems.

"So, can he have visitors?"  Jenny was anxious to see how their
friend was doing for herself.  She felt a little guilty for pushing
her sister and the others into confronting Tom the way they had.
Not that she didn't think they hadn't done the right thing, because
as far as she was concerned they had, but they shouldn't have left
him, they should have talked to him some more, really let him know
that they were happy for him, that he had nothing to worry about
from them.

Sam looked at her incredulously.  If it hadn't been for them, Tom
wouldn't be having the trouble he was now having.  "Why, so you can
get him put back in sickbay again?" she hadn't intended for it to
sound so harsh, but she was seriously wondering if they had any
common sense among the lot of them.

"We never meant for him to wind up in sickbay," exclaimed Megan,
she was hurt that Sam would think that they would intentionally do
anything to hurt the man.  "We just want to tell him how sorry we
are for what happened, that's all."

"I would suggest that you take it up with Lieutenant Torres.
Excuse me."  Sam quickly extracted herself from the group, pulling
Joe away with her.  Somehow she was going to try and keep the man
she loved out of getting into anymore trouble.

"That was rude," Sue stated as Sam and Joe left the holodeck.

The others nodded in agreement, not that they blamed Sam for being
so abrupt with them.  They had caused a bit of a problem over the
last week between the announcement of Tom's pregnancy and
confronting him.

"We need to decide what we're going to do now," Gerron spoke up,
finally finding his voice.

"Whatever it is, we need to be a little more tactful," Dalby added,
"I have no desire to spend any time in the brig over this.
Janeway's not going to hesitate putting us in there and throwing
away the key if we cause anymore confrontations."

"There won't be any brig time, we just have to plan more
carefully," Megan scolded.  They hadn't done anything wrong, their
timing and method just could have been better.  "Come on, let's
find a spot somewhere and discuss what's next."


The next couple of weeks passed without any incidents.  Tom
returned to duty, fielding general questions as to his health but
no one pushed the subject of his pregnancy, everyone seemed to just
except his condition, much to his relief.

He was still leery around the Delaneys and that group, but they'd
pretty much left him alone other then to stop by their quarters and
apologize.  Tom was just grateful that B'Elana hadn't been home,
she still hadn't entirely forgiven them for spilling the news.

All in all, it had been a quiet, relaxing couple of weeks, with the
exception of one over enthusiastic Talaxian.  Neelix had made it
his personal mission to see to it that Tom ate all the required
nutritional elements at every meal.  This led him to question the
Doctor on numerous occasions about a proper dietary regiment.
Which forced Tom to suffer through one strange meal after the

"Come on, Tom, you can't hide in here forever."

"Why not, it's better then having to gag down whatever concoction
Neelix has come up with now," Tom grossed to his wife as they were
getting dressed for work.

"He's just trying to be helpful.  It's his way of showing you he
cares," she continued from the bathroom while brushing her hair.
She found Neelix's meal to be just as disgusting as her husband,
but as the Doctor was fond of pointing out, they were a perfect
balance of the required nutritional elements that Tom needed to be
eating in his condition.

"Fine, then you eat them."

Her response was cut off by a string of curses coming from their
bedroom.  Noting the colorful mix of languages, she wondered what
could be wrong.  Setting down her brush, she walked out of the
bathroom in time to see her husband wad his uniform up and throw it
across the room.

Trying not to smile at him standing there in his underclothes and
socks, she asked, "Something wrong, love?"

"Yeah, the stupid thing doesn't fit anymore," he stated vehemently
while pointing to the heap of material in the corner of the room.
"This is so stupid."

Keeping a straight face, B'Elana walked over and picked up the
discarded uniform as Tom dropped down on the edge of the bed.
"Tom, you knew that eventually you were going to have to go to
bigger sizes of clothes," he huffed at her while she continued
soothingly, "It's not like you've gained all that much weight."

Initially she had been very concerned that Tom wasn't gaining more
weight, wasn't showing a lot more.  Her fears that maybe there was
something wrong with the baby were somewhat mollified after a
thorough exam by the Doctor, much to Tom's chagrin.  He explained
that the baby was developing at a normal rate, she was just growing
more in the abdominal cavity then outward, something to do with how
the artificial womb had been implanted.  The Doctor had also noted
that the initial scans showed that she was going to be small in
stature, much like the Stimmums.  That statement nearly cost him
his program.  The fact that their daughter was taking on traits of
those creatures, as B'Elana referred to them, only enraged her.

"I've gained plenty of weight, thank you very much," griped Tom as
she sat down beside him on the edge of the bed.  He was tired of
her telling him he didn't look pregnant enough.

"It's just one uniform size."

*One too many*.  "Yeah, for now."

B'Elana rolled her eyes.  "The Captain is not going to let you stay
home and sulk just because your uniform doesn't fit."

"Why not?" he asked as he flopped back on the bed.  His wife just
gave him her look, the one that said you don't really expect an
answer to that do you.  "Okay, fine, I'll go order a new uniform
even though it'll probably only last for a couple days and then
I'll just have to order another one."  He pulled himself off the
bed and made his way to the replicator.

B'Elana just shook her head at his grumbling and hung the discarded
uniform in the closet.  He'd need it again in a few months.  She
patiently waited for Tom to finish dressing and then they made
their way to the mess hall, curious as to what surprises awaited


After surviving both breakfast and lunch, Tom reported for his
shift on the bridge, grateful to be away from Neelix and the
Doctor.  Lately his shifts in sickbay had become one big physical
for him.  The Doctor figured since he had him there, why not put
the time to good use, which meant putting him through every test
known and some he was sure the medical officer had just made up for
something more to do.  Tom was tempted to talk to the Commander
about the number of shifts he was scheduled for in the Doctor's
domain, but figured that it wouldn't do much good.  His friends
seemed to be siding with the Doctor more and more lately.

"Captain, I'm detecting a ship just entering sensor range," Harry's
voice filtered down from the Ops station.


"Unknown," he continued to check his readouts.  "They're hailing

Steeling herself for the impending conversation with yet another
new and possible hostile race, she stood and took a few steps
forward.  "On screen."  The screen changed to reveal a humanoid
male, with black hair and eyes.  Janeway noted that he looked
friendly, but as numerous instants in the past had proven, looks
could be deceiving.  He spoke before Janeway could.

"This is Tam'Kal Hevert, you have entered Sa'Ment territory.
Please state your intentions."

"This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship
Voyager.  We're just passing through, simply trying to make our way
home.  We mean no harm."

"And where is home, Captain?"

"The Alpha quadrant," she continued with her explanation, noting
that the man didn't seemed surprised at the disclosure, "we were
brought here to the Delta Quadrant almost five years ago by a
creature known as the Caretaker.  We have been trying to make our
way back ever since."

The man took a report from someone to his right, glanced over it
and then addressed the screen.  "We have heard of you, Starship
Voyager.  You are welcome in our space.  Our ports are open to you.
Please follow us."

"I'm sorry, Tam'Kal, I don't mean to sound ungracious, but..."
Instantly suspicious, she tried to graciously decline the offer.
She didn't want to be walking into a trap.

"Captain, we are a peaceful people and sympathize with your plight.
We want nothing more then to show you our hospitality.  It's not
everyday one comes across inhabitants from the other side of the

Janeway thought he was being sincere, but the man seemed bored with
the whole situation, saying what was required to be done with it
all.  She recalled feeling like that on numerous occasions herself.
"Thank you for your generous offer.  Lead on, we'll follow."

"We will speak again shortly."  He gave what could only be
described as an obligatory bowing of his head and then cut the

Janeway cast a look at Tom before turning to her first officer.

"It could be a trap," Chakotay leaned over and whispered after she
sat down.

"I know, but until we know for sure, I don't want them to think
that we're uncivilized or something," she whispered back and then
spoke up to issue her orders, "Mr. Paris, set a matching course and
speed.  Engage when ready."

"Aye, Captain."


"The only way you are going on shore leave, Mr. Paris, is if you
are accompanied by security.  End of discussion."

Tom looked at his Captain as she made her decision.  They had been
in orbit around the Sa'Ment's principle planet for the last three
days and had been treated as visiting royalty.  The planet's ruling
counsel had opened their arms and planet to Voyager's crew,
offering shore leave and supplies.  They had been nothing but
generous and extremely hospitable and knew nothing of a race called
Stimmum, or so they said.

"Captain, how can I enjoy some shore leave if I have to have an
escort everywhere I go?"

"The matter is closed, Mister.  The Sa'Mentians may be friendly but
this is an open port.  We have no way of knowing how far the
Stimmums influence may have reached.  I will not take any chances."

Rolling his eyes at her over protectiveness, he knew he had no
choice but to agree to her terms.  An hour later, he stood in the
transporter room with his wife, two security guards, Tuvok and the
Captain.  He shook his head at all the fuss being made over him,
preparing to have another go around with his commanding officer
before beaming down, hopefully to sway her decision.

Janeway silenced any comment he might have made.  "Not a word, Mr.
Paris.  Energize."

They materialized on the outskirts of the capitol city's main
market place and were met by one of the Sa'Mentian ambassadors.  He
was a nervous little man but had been nothing but hospitable to
them, making himself available to them for anything.

"I hope nothing is wrong, Captain," he stated while eyeing the
security guards and their weapons.

"No, of course not.  Just a precautionary measure.  My engineer is
here to complete the transfer of some equipment we have acquired
from one of your shop owners.  I want to make sure that nothing can
possible go wrong," she smiled, taking his arm and pulling him away
from the rest of the landing party.  Except for their initial
contact with these people, security had been unnecessary and
Janeway hoped that her explanation would keep them from being
offended.  Diplomatically she was not making the best decision by
having an armed security detail beamed down, but she was taking no
chances where her helmsman was concerned.  If there was trouble to
be had, he would find it, and she hoped to swing the odds of the
trouble being minor in their favor.

"I can assure you, Captain, that we are very honest in all our
dealings," the Ambassador began to stress to their guests.  "Has
something happened that I am unaware of?"

The away team lost the rest of the conversation as they rounded a
corner.  Tom shook his head again, he had just wanted to get out
for a little bit, he didn't see what the problem was.  They were
light years away from the Stimmum home world and where they had run
into the Tugstens.  Besides, Janeway had only allowed him a few
hours of freedom, what could possible happen?

He felt B'Elana pulling on his arm.  With a smile he pushed his
annoyance to the back of his mind and they set out into the market.

"I tell you it's him," the girl stated as Paris and his party
walked by them.

"How can you be sure, Kelti?  Does his image match the picture?  We
don't want to mess this up," her companion stated while craning his
head to see where their target had wandered to.

"Yes, I'm sure.  Now come on, we're not going to have much time."
Taking his hand she dropped the small devise into his open palm.
"Get close enough to place this on his clothes.  I'll take care of
the rest."  With a shove she sent him on his errand.  "Karg," he
glanced back at her, "be careful."  Throwing a smile at his older
sister, he took off.

Carefully weaving his way through the crowd, Karg was able to spot
his target and began to assess the situation.  He noticed that
there were four people with him and they didn't appear to be
willing to leave him alone.  Looking around, he tried to come up
with a way to get the man alone for a few seconds at the most.

He continued to shadow the group, waiting for an opportunity.  It
finally came when the dark haired woman and two of the men walked
across the street into one of the stores leaving his target with
only one other.  Moving quickly, he made his way toward them.  As
his target stepped over to look in a nearby shop window, Karg
easily moved to the other side of the street, swaying as he walked.
Timing it perfectly, he lurched to the side, into his target, and
gently placed the small device on his clothes.  It instantly became
invisible, mimicking the color of what it was touching.

Karg felt strong arms pulling him up and before his benefactor
could ask him if he was okay, he brushed off his grasp, muttered
something unintelligible for their benefit and quickly made his way
around the nearest corner.  He then took off to find his sister,
mission accomplished.

"Sir, are you all right?"

Tom looked up at the security officer standing over him.  He'd
heard him shout to lookout, but by the time his mind had processed
the warning it was too late for him to react, someone was falling
into him, their weight pushing him to the ground.  He took the
offered hand and let the man help pull him up.  As he was brushing
off his clothes, he looked across the street and rolled his eyes,
Tuvok had seen the whole thing.  However, instead of informing his
wife and running out to check on him, the Lieutenant Commander
appraised him and then turned his attention back to the exchange
taking place in the shop.

Sighing in relief, Tom returned his own attention to the shop
window behind him.  Within a matter of minutes, B'Elana had
completed the exchange, signaling Voyager to beam up the equipment
and Tuvok.  She then joined her husband for a stroll around the
market place, completely unawares of the events that had just

None of them noticed the two scraggily teens that began to follow
them through the streets a short time later.

At the end of their afternoon, Tom and B'Elana had purchased a few
things for themselves and their baby and were now on their way back
to the transport site.  B'Elana noticed that Tom seemed more
relaxed and made a mental note to thank the Captain for allowing
them the time away from the confining walls of the ship.

Kelti continued to watch their target.  It had been an uneventful
day tailing him, but they had a job to do and they were going to
complete it.  She motioned for Karg to keep up with her, they
didn't want to lose him.  After a few more blocks, the group came
to a stop and were joined by several others.  Figuring this was the
moment, Kelti pulled a small black box from her pocket.  As one of
the group called for transport, she activated the device.  Mission


"Tom..." B'Elana materialized on the transporter pad and turned to
her husband, he wasn't there.  Trying not to panic she turned to
the transporter operator, "Where's Lieutenant Paris?"

The crew members that had transported back with them looked around

"We lost his signal," the transporter operator stated while trying
patiently to recheck her controls and run the standard scans.
"There's no sign of him at the transport sight."

"What do you mean there's no sign of him, where could he have
gone?"  B'Elana was trying to control her hysteria, but was finding
it extremely difficult.

"I'm sorry, Lieutenant," replied the distraught ensign.  She
continued tapping buttons in hopes of finding the answers.  B'Elana
stalked over and pushed the woman out of the way, running the scans

"Dalby to bridge," he tapped his combadge as he stepped off the
transporter pad and moved toward the Lieutenant.

"Bridge."  Chakotay's voice could be heard over the open link.

"Commander, we've lost Lieutenant Paris."

"What?" everyone could hear the concern in his voice, "What

"After calling for transport, everyone materialized except him,"
Dalby explained.

"Transporter room, standby."  Silence filled the room as Chakotay
muted the connection.

B'Elana continued to stab at the transporter controls.  She would
not accept the possibility that she could have lost her husband.
The others who had beamed up with the couple, had stepped off the
transporter pad and were standing off to the side, there to help
but not wanting to get in the way.  The engineer jumped as the red
alert sounded.

"Red alert.  All hands report to their stations.  Lieutenant Torres
report to the bridge."

B'Elana was already out the door as the Captain's voice issued
orders.  This was not a good sign.  She reached the bridge as
Janeway was ending a transmission with the planet, "....thank you
for your assistance, Ambassador.  Janeway out."


"Lieutenant, my ready room."  Janeway turned from the blank screen
and motioned for the woman to follow her.  She was not going to
have her chief engineer tearing apart her bridge.  "Commander
you're with me.  Mr. Tuvok you have the bridge, contact me if you
find anything."

"What's happened?" B'Elana demanded as the doors to the ready room
slid shut.  Her stomach was tying into knots.  She found not
knowing what had happened to her mate was worse then knowing.  At
least if they knew, she could stop imagining the myriad of horrible
things that could be happening to him.

Janeway motioned for B'Elana to take a seat, she refused with a
shake of her head.  Casting a look toward Chakotay, grateful that
he was there to help, she moved to lean against her desk, needing
something to shore her up.  The Commander stood just behind the
engineer, ready to restrain her if necessary.  "When the transport
was initiated, someone activated another one, essentially
overriding ours and beaming him elsewhere."


"We're still trying to determine that.  We're not picking up any
signal from his combadge, which means he's somewhere where they've
been able to shield him from our sensor sweeps.  Harry and Seven
are working on ways to get around that."

"What if he was beamed to another ship?  They could be long gone by
now," B'Elana exclaimed in exasperation.

Chakotay walked over to put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"B'Elana, we're looking into all possibilities.  We'll find him."

"How can you be sure?  There's no telling where he is, who took
him," she stopped talking as her voice cracked.

"Lieutenant, B'Elana, we will find him," the Captain affirmed.

B'Elana closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  She knew the
Captain wouldn't give up, no one would until Tom had been found,
but would they find him in time?  Opening her eyes, she patted
Chakotay's hand and faced her superior officer.  "Then I'll be in
engineering," she quickly continued talking before the Captain
could deny her course of action.  "I need to be doing something.
Besides, I can help with the sensors from there."

Janeway hesitated a moment, appraising the woman before her.  Would
she really be able to do any good under the circumstances?  The
woman knew how to work under pressure, some of her best work was
produced then, but this was a situation unlike any previous ones.
Realizing that there was no way to stop the woman from doing what
she wanted to do, not without someone getting hurt, Janeway
relented.  "Very well.  Dismissed."

As B'Elana left, Chakotay looked at Janeway and saw her shoulders
slump as she began shaking her head.  "Where could he be?"

Knowing she wasn't really asking him the question, Chakotay walked
over and wrapped her in a hug.  "We'll find him," he said as she
relaxed against his chest.

"How can you be so sure?"

Chakotay tried not to laugh.  "Because you're too stubborn to just
give up on him.  No one pulls one over on the crew of the Starship
Voyager, not as long as Kathryn Janeway is her Captain."

She gave him a squeeze before pulling away to give him a kiss.  He
was right, her moment of self-doubting was over, they had work to


Tom immediately realized that he wasn't where he was supposed to
be.  He quickly glanced around the small room, making note of his
surroundings.  The room was sparsely furnished with a bed, a table
and a couple of chairs.  There were no windows, the room was
brightly lite by flourescent lights on the ceiling.  The walls were
bare, painted a light blue and there were two doors, one by the
foot of the bed, the other on the opposite wall, both were closed.
Not wanting to waste any time figuring out where he was and who had
brought him there, Tom tried the door by the bed first.

He cautiously turned the knob and was somewhat surprised when it
opened.  Disappointment set in when he realized that it was just a
bathroom, and of course there was no window.  Closing it, he walked
over to try the other one and discovered this one was locked.
Taking a step back to think over his situation, he heard the
rattling of a key in the lock and took another step back as the
door swung open.

"I'm Kelti, this is Karg," the young, blonde haired woman stated
without preamble as she and the young man Tom recognized from the
market place entered the room, both were carrying trays in their
hands.  "In case you are hungry or thirsty."  Tom watched as they
carefully set everything down on the table, both acting as though
he were a guest and not a prisoner.  "If you need anything, just
knock on the door."

"How about a way out of here?" Tom ventured.

Kelti smiled.  "I'm afraid that's not possible just yet.  But soon.
Please make yourself comfortable.  The Doctor will be with you

"Doctor?  What doctor?"  The fear began to rise in him.

"Don't worry, she means you no harm," Kelti tried to reassure him.
Although he was trying hard to hide it, she could see the terror in
his eyes.  "She will explain everything."

Tom uneasily watched them leave and pull the door closed, the
rattle of a key confirmed that the door was once again locked.
Ignoring the offered food and drink he turned to sit on the bed.
He had to find away out of here before this *doctor* person showed
up.  Kelti he could probably overtake, but given his current
condition, he wasn't so sure, plus he didn't want to do something
that would harm his baby.  Karg he was sure would be too much for
him to handle, he seemed pretty solid when he'd fallen on him
earlier.  Looking around, Tom continued to think that there had to
be away out, he just had to find it.

A short time later Tom was still trying to come up with a plan when
the door opened, he never heard the key rattle.  He jumped off the
bed at the sight of the person before him.

"Dr. Heppa," he stated incredulously.  She was walking with a cane,
the parts of her arms that he could see were covered with angry
scars and her face looked as though someone had tried to reposition
her features.

"Mr. Paris, I am very glad to see you," she pointed at his
expanding stomach, "and that you are in the condition you are in."

Tom folded his arms in defiance to the woman.  "What do you want?
Why have you brought me here?"  He had no intention of allowing
this woman anywhere near his baby.

Dr. Heppa tried to smile at him, but with her face in it's
distorted condition, it looked more like a snarl.  She slowly
walked over to one of the chairs and eased herself into it,
allowing Kelti to close the door behind her.  The young woman took
up her position against the door, no doubt to deter any escape
attempts.  "I mean you no harm, Mr. Paris.  If I did, you would
never have been allowed to leave my home world."  She motioned for
him to take the other seat.

Refusing to do what she wanted, Tom just glared at the woman.
"Then why have you brought me here?"

"I believe I owe you an explanation."

Tom tried to keep his mouth from falling open.  That was not the
answer he was expecting.  "An explanation?" he managed to get out.

She again motioned to the chair, this time Tom slowly walked over
and sat across from her, eyeing the woman suspiciously.  What could
she really be after?

"I see that the child is growing.  Is she healthy?"

Not knowing if he really wanted to answer her, Tom scrutinized the
woman before him.  Why had she brought him here?  Certainly if all
she wanted to know was how the baby was she wouldn't have gone to
such measures.  "What do you want, Heppa?"

"Please, call me Sy'Ell."  When he didn't respond to the friendly,
open gesture, she continued, "I'm sorry, Mr. Paris, I know I have
given you no reason to trust me."  She looked up at him in sadness,
"I just wanted to know how she was."

Noting the availed sadness in her voice, Tom decided to answer,
"She's fine."

"No abnormalities?"

Tom scowled at the woman, wondering what she was getting out.
"What type of abnormalities?"  He had moved to the edge of his
seat, ready to pounce on her if need be.

Heppa gazed at the wall behind him, unable to meet his accusing
gaze.  "Has your Doctor detected any degradation in the fetus'
genetic code?"

"No, why?"  He was trying to control his fear and anger.  What had
they done to his baby?

A look of relief passed over the woman's twisted features.  "You
have no idea how happy I am to hear that.  How long I've waited to
hear that."

"I don't understand."

"No, I don't expect you would," she looked at him thoughtfully
before continuing, "I apologize for what has happened to you.  Your
lady friend, Torres, was the intended recipient of the fetus.  But
when it came time to preform the procedure, she was unavailable.
The child's only chance at a possible survival was to be implanted
in one of the parents and as she was unavailable and her Stimmum
counterpart was unacceptable, that left you."

"What do you mean unacceptable?"  Why would the Stimmum donor be
unacceptable?  The thoughts that something was wrong with the child
he carried were creeping back into his mind.

"That is a long story, Mr. Paris, one that I hope you will allow me
to tell," she again tried to smile at him, "that is after all why
I've had you brought here."

Tom leaned back in his chair and appraised the woman before him.
It was obvious that she meant him no harm and even if she did, she
was in no condition to hurt him, but why kidnap him, why not just
contact Voyager.

As if reading his thoughts, she spoke up, "I could not contact your
ship.  I couldn't chance it that my people would find me.  I sent
Kelti and Karg to watch for you.  I knew this port was on Voyager's
route home.  I took the chance that they would find you and that
you would have good news for me."

Not saying anything, Tom watched her as she spoke.  Whatever the
explanation, it had better be a good one, he thought.

"Centuries ago," she began, "my people decided that what they had
wasn't enough.  They were intelligent, wealthy and were respected
throughout the region.  But they wanted more.  Thinking themselves
above the natural course of things, they decided to toy with the
possibilities.  Their ideas and experiments benefitted all, in the

She paused a moment before continuing, "Children were born, capable
of so much more then
their parents.  It was that way for several generations, until
someone decided that
again it wasn't enough and again they began their manipulations.
Back and forth they
would go only stopping long enough to think that they again needed
more.  And now, after
centuries of manipulations, I guess you could say that nature has
had enough."

Again she paused to collect her thoughts.  "At first the cell
destabilization wasn't even recognized as such, but as time
progressed, what they thought was nothing became so much more," she
looked down at her hands before continuing, "perhaps if they had
stopped then, the damage probably could have been reversed.  But
their arrogance doomed us all."

She shifted in her seat, wincing slightly at the pain the movement
caused.  "In hopes of reverting the breakdown, we began to extract
genetic samples from other races.  It was thought that by combining
the genetic makeup that we could strengthen our own, thus ending
the degradation.  Perhaps if we hadn't been so pompous we could
have admitted that we needed help.  Instead we choose to steal what
we wanted and we used the samples to try and create a new and
improved Stimmum race."

Tom's eyes were wide as saucers by this point.  How could they
think that this was an acceptable course of action?  Did they
really think themselves so superior to everyone that no one else
could have come up with a solution?

"Sad, isn't it.  So much potential, so much to hope for and yet we
destroyed it all."  Tom could see the sadness and guilt in her
eyes.  He tried not to look on, anxious for her to continue.

"Is that where Voyager comes in?"

She gave a sarcastic, calloused laugh, "You fell right into our
hands.  We had what you needed and you had what we wanted."

"So you just decided to keep with tradition and stole genetic
samples from us?"

Heppa nodded her head, she didn't know how to express to him the
guilt and shame she felt over her participation in her people's
thefts and experiments.  "In our initial meeting, scans were run on
the entire crew.  From those, it was determined who would be
donating to our cause."

"Donating to your cause?  You make it sound like we were given a
choice in this."  Tom had moved forward in his chair again, his
anger building.  "As I recall, we were never even asked."

"True," she conceded, "Please, Mr. Paris, you must understand that
we thought there was no other way.  I did as I was ordered.  I now
accept that we were wrong.  Believe me, that is not an admission I
make lightly either."  She leaned forward to emphasize her point.
"My people are all but extinct.  We estimate that within the next
two generations, there will be no one left.  Although not everyone
is willing to accept that news.  They want to continue with more
aggressive experimentation.  But I couldn't be apart of it, not

She pushed herself out of the chair, ignoring her pain.  "The
child, Mr. Paris, showed none of the early signs of our cell
breakdown.  I thought nothing of it at first, not wanting to get
our hopes up, but as the weeks progressed, still nothing showed.
I was ecstatic, finally there was hope.  That was until my
superiors heard of our eminent success."  She ran a shaking hand
over her face, telling the next part was hard, "You were never
going to be allowed to leave.  They laid out their plan and I
realized just how wrong we were.  To take samples was one thing, to
imprison you was something entirely unthinkable."

Her strength began to ebb and she sank down onto the bed.  Taking
a deep breath and watching her captive audience, she continued, "I
falsified the reports, made it look as though the destabilization
was there, just slow in appearing.  Your ship was getting ready to
depart and I had to move quickly.  I preformed the surgery in hopes
of saving all of your lives and then warned you away from the
planet once you knew of your condition.  If you had returned, they
would have done whatever they felt necessary to make sure that you
never left again."

Tom felt ill.  In all his futile attempts to understand why they
had done this to them, he never imagined something so abominable.

"I'm sorry," Heppa said softly noting the man's pale face.  Kelti
quietly poured him a glass of water and placed it in his shaking

He took a drink, trying not to spill it all over himself.  "Why
didn't you just ask for help?"

"Too proud, too arrogant," she turned away, "too stupid."

Taking another drink, Tom eyed the woman he had thought of as his
enemy.  She had apparently gone through a great deal to ensure his
and Voyager's escape.  "Did they do that to you, the scars," he
pointed to her face, not knowing how to describe the twisted flesh
without sounding cruel, "everything?"

Heppa brought her hand up to her face and gently brushed her
fingers across one of her cheeks, her eyes welling up with tears.
"They found out what I had done shortly after your ship left.  They
decided to punish me for my traitorous acts."

Tom set the glass back on the table and lowered his eyes, unable to
look at her face.  She had been tortured for what she had done for
them, for him.  He found himself fighting back tears.  To be able
to do something so horrific to their own people, what would have
happened to him and B'Elana if they hadn't gotten away?

"Thank you doesn't seem like the right thing to say."  He raised
his head and forced himself to put aside the guilt he was feeling
to thank the woman who no doubt had saved their lives.  "Or enough

"I saw no other option.  I did what I knew was necessary," she
pushed herself off the bed and motioned Kelti over to her.  The
young woman pulled something out of her pocket and placed it in the
scarred hand of the woman who turned to Tom, slowly walking over to
him as she spoke.  "These are for you, your Captain and your
Doctor.  They are marked accordingly," she hesitated before handing
them over.  "The other one is for the child.  I realize that you
probably don't want her to ever know about us, but I hope that one
day you can forgive what we have done."

Tom didn't know what to say.  He knew he owed this woman his life
and the lives of his wife and unborn child, but there was still a
lot of anger towards the Stimmum people for putting them through
this.  But as he thought about it, he realized that those feelings
weren't as pronounced as they use to be, at least not toward the
woman standing before him.

"Truthfully, I don't know how I'm feeling right now.  I would like
to think that one day we would be able to forgive what has been
done, put it behind us," Tom spoke softly unsure of his own voice.

Heppa nodded her head, it was actually more then she had expected
from the young man.  "I can ask no more," she handed him the
message chips and then sunk back into the chair she had occupied
earlier, her strength leaving her.  "When you are ready, Kelti will
take you back to the market place.  I'm sure your people are
anxious for your return."

Knowing his wife, they were more then anxious.  "Are you all
right?" he asked as he stood and looked over the woman who had gone
from enemy to savior and almost friend in a matter of minutes.

"Oh, I'll be fine," she stated with a dismissive shrug.  She was
far beyond the help or concern of others.

"What are you going to do?"

She smiled at his concern.  He and his people had fascinated her,
so open, so caring.  Maybe that was why she had been willing to
give up all that she had to help them.  Their compassion had been
an eye opener for her.  "Oh, I'll remain here.  My days are few, I
have no desire to continue running.  I know they placed a bounty on
your head, but as far as we can tell, word has not yet reached
here.  The chip for your Captain contains a quick course out of
this sector.  My people will be unable to follow beyond.  Your
journey should be unimpeded from here."

Tom acknowledged her words while slipping the message chips into
his pocket, she was again saving their lives.  He turned to leave,
part of him demanding that he try and help this woman somehow, the
other still warring over the emotions inside him.  As Kelti placed
a hand on his arm and pulled him out of the room, he did not fight
her letting fate make his decision for him.

A few minutes later, as they walked down the alleyway Tom stole
another look at the girl escorting him.

"If you have a question, Mr. Paris, just ask."  She stopped and
looked at him.  They were close to their destination and the man
had been looking at her curiously since leaving the compound.

"I was just wondering how you came to be with Dr. Heppa."

"Another long story and one I have not the time to relay.  Don't
worry, she is well cared for," she smiled as she spoke, "the Doctor
wanted you to have this."  She pulled a small package out of her
pocket.  "One day, she hopes that you will give it to her

Tom looked at her in confusion.  He didn't know Heppa had a
daughter, let alone who she was.  After thinking about it, he
couldn't hide the shock that crossed his face as he realized what
he was being told.

"I know she did not tell you, but she was the one that donated the
Stimmum part of the genetic code," she held out the package and
waited for the man to take it.

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Tom slowly reached out to accept
the package.  "Why didn't she tell me?"

Kelti looked at him as though he were a little child that she
needed to explain everything to.  "Considering the circumstances,
she didn't feel it was right.  She really did not mean you any
harm."  Tom just stared at the package.  "I must get back."  She
pointed to the opposite end of the alley, "this opens up into the
market place.  There I'm sure you will find your people or someone
to direct you to them.  Goodbye, Mr. Paris."

When Tom raised his head, she was gone, not a trace of her
anywhere.  Reverently placing the package in his pocket with the
message chips, he turned and headed out of the alley.


Trying to gather his things and get to his duty station on time,
Tom haphazardly knocked something off his desk.  As a second
thought he looked down to see what had fallen and froze.  It was
the package that Kelti had given him, the one she said Heppa had
wanted him to have to give to his daughter.

Forgetting his rush to leave, Tom slowly squatted down to pick it
up off the floor.  Reaching behind him for his chair, he carefully
sat down and toyed with the box.

Upon his return to Voyager, things had become hectic.  He spent the
first hours back trying to relay what had happened to him and his
conversation with Dr. Heppa and was then forced to submit to the
Doctor's poking and prodding until the hologram was satisfied that
everything was okay.  When he'd finally made it to his quarters at
some point that night, he must have set it on his desk with the
intent to see what it was the next day.

Only the next day he was dragged to the holodeck where he was
greeted by an enthusiastic group of crew members throwing him a
surprise baby shower.  After getting over his embarrassment of all
the trouble they'd gone to for him, he had an enjoyable evening
eating, socializing and opening gifts.  By the time the evening had
ended, they had everything that a child could ever possibly need
and the father to be was thoroughly worn out.

The next several days passed in the same fashion, anytime he had
remembered about the package and message chip something would
happen to direct his attention elsewhere.  One good thing was that
Heppa had been right, no news of the Stimmums or the price placed
on his head had reached that far out and their continuing journey
had been uneventful.

Guiltily he wondered what Heppa could have wanted him to give to
his daughter?  Their daughter, he corrected himself.  It seemed
weird to him that she was apart of the child he carried.  For
months he had wondered who had helped in the creation of his
daughter and the fact that it was the woman he blamed for
everything that had happened was a shock.  Although, after hearing
her story and seeing what she had suffered so much for them, he
held no more anger toward her.  Some resentment maybe for the way
they had been used, but no anger.  Just a sadness, one that kept
him awake some nights.

When he had broached the subject of the part Heppa would play in
their lives with B'Elana, he had been grateful and a little
surprised that she had accepted her as their daughter's *second
mother*, much to Tom's relief.  Toying with the package he wondered
how he could have forgotten about it and looked around for the
message chip.  He remembered tossing that on the desk too.  After
a few minutes of searching, he found the chip still on the desk,
buried under a pile of data padds.

Placing the chip back down, he thoughtfully opened the package.
Inside he found a note, a small frame with a picture of Heppa
inside and a gold chain with a small charm in the shape of a
sphere.  He took out the picture and marveled at how normal the
woman looked, nothing compared to the tortured, twisted woman she
had been the last time he saw her.  Gently setting the picture on
the desk, he reached in and pulled out the note and chain.  As he
looked closer at the object dangling from it, he noticed that it
seemed to glow, becoming almost translucent.  Hoping to find out
what it was, he opened the note.

   Mr. Paris,

       I wanted to leave something for the child to remember me,
       remember my people.  The picture is to let her know what I
       looked like, I hope that you can remember me like this
       also.  The necklace is a rare stone found only on my
       planet centuries ago.  This one was made into a birthing
       gift and has been passed down through the generations of
       my family, always given to the first born child.  I know
       that I will never have the opportunity to know her, but I
       hope that you would do me the honor of giving her these
       and telling her a little something about me.  I hope it is
       something good.

   Thank you, Sy'Ell Heppa

Tom felt the tears streaming down his face as he closed the note
and again looked at the charm.  After what she had done for them,
how could she think that he wouldn't tell their daughter about her
and her people.

"Sickbay to Paris."

Wiping his eyes, he cleared his throat before responding, "Paris
here, I'm on my way, Doc, Paris out," he quickly ended the link
before the annoying man could begin lecturing him.  He figured he'd
get enough of that during his shift.  Solemnly he put the things
back in the package, adding the message chip to its contents.
Opening his desk drawer, he gently placed the package to the back.
He'd move it to a better place later.

Standing up, he gathered his things, realizing that he was again
late for another shift.

Later while sitting at the Doctor's desk trying to update recent
crew information, he noticed a sharp pain on his side.  It quickly
faded, and he thought nothing of it, returning to the work he had
to do.  When the pain returned a few minutes later, he again
shrugged it off until the Doctor walked through the door, tricorder
in hand.  Without giving him an explanation, the hologram ordered
his patient to one of the bio-beds and began to run a more
intensive scan.

"What?  What's wrong?" he asked frantically while subjecting
himself to the Doctor's scrutiny.  It had been a silent fear that
the cell breakdown Heppa had explained would still show up and he
wondered if this was how it began.

"It appears as though your daughter is going to be as impatient as
you.  You're in labor, Mr. Paris," was the Doctor's peeved reply.
Leave it Paris to have a child as unruly as himself.

"I can't be in labor," Tom shot back, "She's not due for another
ten weeks."  He wondered what was happening, it was to early for
this.  "Can you stop it?"

"Calm down, Mr. Paris, your agitation is not going to help the

As if to confirm that fact, a sharp pain shot across his abdomen,
causing the surprised Lieutenant to double up and gasp for breath.
Quickly picking up a hypospray, the Doctor injected it into his
patient's neck and reran his scans.  It took a few seconds, but the
medicine finally seemed to kick in and do its job.  The contraction
ended and Tom was able to lie on his back pain free.

"That was not fun," Tom stated once his breathing had returned to

"Tom," using his first name, Tom knew the Doc was worried, "you're
going to have to remain calm.  The medicine should work but only if
you give it a chance to do so."  He reached for another hypospray
and administered it to his patient.  "I've given you a mild
sedative, hopefully it will help you relax."

Closing his eyes, Tom just nodded his head at the Doctor's words.
He did not want to have to go through that again.  He knew labor
was painful, just not that painful and this was just the beginning.
Recalling the part in his medical texts that stated that labor
pains became more intense and frequent as the labor progressed, he
entertained the thought of telling the Doctor he didn't want to do
this anymore.

"I'm afraid it's a little late for that, Mr. Paris," the Doctor
replied incredulously.

Tom's eyes flew open and focused on the Doctor's face, realizing
that he'd spoken out loud.

"Try not to dwell on the pain," the Doctor chastised, "How are you
feeling now?"

"It's gone."

The Doctor nodded his head.  His scans showed the contractions had
stopped, he just hoped that it would stay that way.  "All right,
you are not to move from this bed," he ordered.  Taking one last
look at the readings, he moved to his office.  If he was unable to
get them down to acceptable levels, he was not going to have any
choice but to preform an emergency c-section.  Not something he
wanted to consider this soon.  Once out of his patients hearing, he
began to contact the necessary people.


Tom opened his eyes and noticed that the sickbay lights had been
dimmed and there was no one around.  He tried to recollect the last
thing that had happened.  Two days after the initial scare of
pre-mature labor, the Doctor was still working on stopping it all
together.  Nothing he did seemed to be working.  Finally he stated
that he had no other choice but to deliver the baby before they
lost both of them.

He remembered B'Elana whispering something in his ear and then
nothing.  Lifting his head he looked around the room, his eyes
immediately caught sight of the incubator placed a few feet away
from him.  Wanting to see if his daughter was all right, he ignored
his own pain and dizziness, and climbed off the bed.

Slowly making his way over to his daughter, he stood and looked at
the small body inside, she had kicked off the blanket meant to keep
her warm exposing her small body to him.  He checked the monitors
and seeing that she was holding her own, with awe and more then a
little fear, he reached in and picked her up, his hands trembling
as he pulled the blanket around her small form, settling her
against his chest.

A chair had been placed by the incubator and Tom gratefully sank
down on to it while looking over his daughter.  He couldn't believe
that she was finally there for him to hold in his arms and that he
was now officially a father.  He felt the fears and doubts of the
past few months trying to fill his mind, but as the small child in
his arms shifted her position, snuggling against him, he forgot
them all.

Pulling back the blanket he began to count toes and fingers,
checking arms and legs, making sure that everything was where it
should be, that she was all right.  Running a trembling finger over
her face, across the slight ridges on her forehead, tracing each
little feature he took notice of the small monitoring device that
had been placed behind her left ear.  She was so small, he hoped
that she was okay.

So intent was he on familiarizing himself with his new daughter, he
didn't hear the Doctor walk up behind him.

"Mr. Paris, you're not suppose to be out of bed," he scolded.

"Is she going to be all right?" he asked softly.

"Her lungs are not fully developed, but I'm treating that now.  The
monitor is to help her to breath, but I expect her to make a
complete recovery in a few days."  He walked around the man to
remove the child from his arms.  "You both need your rest."

Tom tried to struggle as the hologram extracted the infant from his
arms, but found he had no strength.  After placing his newest
patient back in the incubator, he helped his most frequent and
troublesome patient back onto his bio-bed.  The Doctor waited for
Tom's eyes to slide shut before moving over to check the readings
on them both.  Seeing all was going as expected, he moved back to
his office.



Two days after their midnight meeting, Tom again was gently
cradling his daughter in one arm while using his free hand to trace
her facial features.  He smiled as her eyes opened, blue gazing
into blue.  For being more than two months early, she was very
awake and had shown such remarkable improvement since her birth
that the Doc had even removed the monitoring device that morning.
Allowing her to lightly wrap her hand around one of his fingers, he
looked up at his wife.

"We could name her beautiful, beauty for short," he suggested in
answer to his wife's question.

B'Elana rolled her eyes.  Sitting by him on the bio-bed, she
reached over to caress her daughter's forehead.  Her own ridges had
always seemed ugly to her, but her daughter's seemed so precious.
She wanted to hold her too, but this was the first time Tom was
being allowed to sit up in bed and hold his daughter with the
Doctor's permission.

"Be serious," she scolded him.

"I am," he said with a smile just for her.

Leaning in even closer, she placed a kiss on his lips, not fighting
him when he began to hungrily explored her mouth.

"There will be none of that in here," the Doctor piped in while
moving over to the family.

"Who asked you, Doc?" Tom replied before leaning in for another

Attempting to get their attention off each other, the Doctor asked
the question that the crew had anxiously been awaiting an answer
for.  "So, have you picked out a name yet?"

"Who says we have to pick one right now?" stated Tom, annoyed at
the Doctor's presence.  He'd put up with the man's obnoxious
bedside manner for four days now and he was tired of him.

B'Elana slapped his arm.  "We're working on it."  She ignored Tom's

The Doctor humphed at their indecision.  Checking the monitors, he
moved back to his office, his presence obviously wasn't wanted.

"Tom," B'Elana began.  They had been going over names for months,
they just had to decide on one.

"I know, I know," he continued to meticulously scrutinize the
small, new life in his arms.  "I like Marta."

"Okay, then," B'Elana agreed, it had been one of her first choices
also, "Marta Sy'Ell Paris it is."

The middle name was never in debate, for Tom it was the fulfilment
of a promise, their daughter would forever have a remembrance of
her second mother, the woman who willing sacrificed everything so
that she could experience life.

"Can I call her Marty for short?" Tom asked playfully.

B'Elana growled at her husband.  "No."

Tom smiled at his new daughter, slowly bringing her up close, he
placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

"Welcome to our family, Marta."

The End.