Title: Hat Full of Stars
Disclaimer: ST:VOY and all related characters owned by Paramount Studios. No copyright infringement intended.
Note: I just want to point out that this is NOT my fault. No way, no how.
Blame monkee, and the backlog, and a stupid J and P Cyndi Lauper challenge. You people KNOW I can't resist a challenge to completely
screw up the Trekiverse in prose. 'Prove it.' comes from a JuPiter challenge.
Hat Full of Stars
by C.Lauper and N. Holland
I was folding up your letters
When all I had
I'm trying to live in the present
Tom Paris hated good-byes.
Flopping down on the bed he and B'Elanna Torres had shared for what seemed an amazingly brief time, he stared at the surrounding mess. Moving onto Voyager had been easy for both of them. A duffel for him, zilch for her. Moving off was a different story. Sighing, he dug into a storage box, pulling up a handful of holos...nothing unusual. The crew, each other, alien scenery...
His hand paused on the encoded one. Disk type, special security. He well remembered wanting the privacy, there was no way in hell he was willing to explain the contents to anyone, but now...maybe a look while he was alone. Sitting at the table, he plugged the chip into his personal terminal, calling up the recorded image.
Indiana. Snow-swept winter. A cabin, a beautiful woman, asleep on a sofa before a warm fire, her chestnut hair falling about her bared breast, a newborn child drowsily suckling.
He remembered, all right. It had been a temporal screw up, an unbelievable roll of the dice. He'd first gone onto Voyager's holodeck, had been helping Torres clear out unused files. He had been put in charge of Janeway's Indiana simulation. Pretty place, her home retreat. Then, that alien farce. They'd rearranged time, swept him right out of the scenario and into the reality. Nine months and some few days before Kathryn Janeway's birth.
Gretchen Janeway had been beautiful
back then (still was, according to the updated feeds he'd peeked at almost
guiltily). Young, beautiful, and lonely. She hadn't known who he was, of
course, she'd had no
Glancing up from the picture in faint
surprise, he met the gaze of his
He glared. "It's not like that."
"I'm assuming my mother certainly didn't send you that. You've been hacking into files."
"You mean you have a copy too?" He had left one...in the cradle, tucked up with a note.
She didn't seem amused. "Mr. Paris, where did you get this picture?"
"I took it." Fair enough, up front.
Maybe he didn't achieve the smug look he wanted. Something in her eyes said she was taking him too seriously. "Prove it."
"You don't really want the story."
"Oh, I do. I'm not sure which is more upsetting, the possibility that you've hacked into my private files or the possibility that you were telling the truth when you claimed you were really in Indiana all those years ago. You say you took a picture of me as a newborn. Prove it."
He leaned back, neck tensing. Easy enough to call it off, admit to hacking, stave away the drill. Throwing him in the brig the last day aboard ship would really thrill Tuvok. Still, dammit, he couldn't afford to take another fall. Not with B'Elanna and Miral in the balance. Especially for this.
"I was there for nine months.
"Are you implying that you were swept off a holodeck, into my past, and impregnated my mother?"
Well, that was clear enough. He winced. "Let me explain, I WAS there. You were born on May the 20th, in Indiana."
"Common knowledge, Mr. Paris. Any computer database has it." Her eyes were blazing now.
"You were also in critical condition
at the time of your birth...away from a hospital, snowed in. Your survival
was reckoned a miracle. The best technology of the times rarely saved infants
with your condition,
"I was lucky."
"You had a specially trained medic in that cabin overseeing your birth and saving your life. Me."
"That's damned ridiculous."
"I couldn't stay. I left you and
Gretchen..." He shook his head as she
"Now you're crossing boundaries, Mr. Paris. Invading personal memorabilia is an offense, and using it for stories like this is a criminal one."
"If you showed this image to your mother and introduced her to the person who says he took it, do you think she'd call it manipulation?"
Captain Janeway hadn't put him in the brig. She wasn't entirely sure why. For Miral's sake, she told herself. It was just a holoimage. She'd confiscated it. He hadn't argued.
His claim, it was damned ridiculous, didn't bear further contemplation.
Sitting, Kathryn Janeway stared around the Janeway retreat in Indiana. Snowy. Not snowed-in, as her birth had been. Her mother had confirmed that aspect of the story for her hours ago. Neither of them had spoken of any third party to the birth, but her mothers gaze had followed her all afternoon, puzzled, worried. Guilty.
Suffocating, terrifying darkness.
Ridiculous, Kathryn Janeway decided, wrapping her robe more tightly and pacing over to her communicator. "Janeway to maintenance. My lights are down."
Silence. Rain shattering against a tin roof.
She glanced up, eyes taking in the rafters, to the side, taking in the firs and bare limbs beyond the glass. She looked to the sofa. Her mother slept, tired.
No crew to help. Only the cabin. No light. No light.
There, fire. A candle. Nothing man hadn't been doing for eons. Nothing of the 24th century. Another candle, a growing circle of light, timeless.
She had asked her mother for the cap. Gretchen had told her she didn't have it.
Kathryn Janeway's gaze fell on the cradle in the corner. Her cradle. Tired eyes took in the dips and contours anew, the worn wood awkwardly put together, the initials carved into an obliging angle.
She sat heavily, in defeat, and fiddled
with the communicator. No way to get Voyager, but there were other frequencies,
always open. Settling on the floor and curling an arm over her bent knees,
she sighed and
A pause, and then the connection cut through, his voice clear and faintly relieved. "Aye, Captain, on my way."
He was prompt, but not prompt enough. Her mother had woken to the tail end of the hail. "Him, Kathryn?"
"Just my former pilot."
"Just your former pilot."
"You ever met him?" There were holes, a lot of them, in the Janeway-Paris history. Kathryn had been Owen's mentoree. She wasn't entirely sure Tom Paris had ever meant anything to her parents, had even met them. Maybe at a gala. At a distance.
"A very long time ago."
The calm warmth of her mother's tones
chilled. Janeway straightened,
"I wouldn't say that."
"Do you know why I requested his presence?"
"I have an idea or three." The smile was amused, knowing.
"He told me a story..." There, she felt inadequate again, back to the child at an adults knees stage.
"I'm sure he told it well."
"Stop answering in riddles."
"I don't think you'd listen to anything
but riddles at this point, dear. You want a supposed truth either confirmed
or denied, but the thought of that confirmation terrifies you." The older
woman stood, sweeping
"Captain?" The door slammed open
and shut as quickly, leaving snow on the floor. Tom Paris stared in, eyes
restless, lips lined with worry. He stared at a point somewhere on the
ceiling. Kathryn watched her
She moved, motioning him to a seat. "We need to talk, Mr. Paris."
"Yes." Gretchen took the seat opposite. "We do, Kathryn."
He swore lightly. His former captain
let her shoulders sag, rubbing her
"Mr. Paris." Smoothly, Gretchen interceded,
turning her attentions to the guest, who was studiously avoiding looking
at them both. "I'm here to defend your prowess in all matters relating
to the intimate
Kathryn's ears curled. "Mr. Paris." Her voice fell by degrees, eyes narrowing as she approached. "I'm giving you two minutes. Two minutes to back out of here and never set foot in my presence again before I have you arrested for temporal violations..."
"Temporal violations?!" He all but yelped, finally meeting her gaze as he stood. "How the hell can you do that? If I hadn't 'temporally violated', you never would've been born to HAVE me arrested!"
"Or, of course, perhaps I would have been born and the timeline would have been carried on just right, with no odd goddamned Tom Paris as my father quirks..."
"Kathryn..." Gretchen stepped to his side, glancing uneasily between them. "He may have a point. You might've been born, but you wouldn't be the same. Whether you enjoy admitting it, many of the little quirks that make you who you are come directly from Tom Paris..."
"Oh, shut up." She HATED temporality. More than that, she hated the fact that they were probably right.
"I beg your pardon?" The older woman's lips thinned.
"I wasn't talking directly to you, Mother." Pressing a hand to her forehead, Janeway pursed her lips.
"I beg to differ."
"I'm just glad somebody has control over you..." Paris began heatedly.
His former captain wheeled, driving a fist into his stomach with brute force. "I WAS talking directly to you!"
"Kathryn!" Gretchen cried, grabbing her arm. "Look at you, resorting to violence over a little frustration...hitting your father, at that!"
"Tom Paris is not, and never will
be, MY FATHER!"