Disclaimer:  The Star Trek Voyager characters, and the Star Trek universe that I borrow them from belong to Paramount/Viacom.  The story belongs to me.  You can link to my story if you want, just let me know first.

Title:  A Long Road Ahead
Pairing: Owen, P, & J
Rating: G
Author:  Peggy Schultz
Email:  thejourneyhome@msn.com
Website:  Star Trek Voyager The Journey Home
Summary:  Immediately following Voyagers sudden return to the Alpha Quadrant, Admiral Owen Paris receives a message from Captain Janeway, that scares him.
Date:  02/03/02 

A Long Road Ahead

Admiral Owen Paris stepped into his personal office, still shocked over the sudden return of Voyager.  Seven years ago, Voyager had gone into the badlands after a Maquis ship, with Owens only son on board as an observer.

After the Intrepid Class Starship vanished, Owen had to inform his wife that Voyager was missing and presumed lost.  The fact that they could not find any debris had given them both a sense of hope that Voyager had not been destroyed and that her crew including Tom Paris were still alive.

But after two years had passed, without a trace of the starship, the Paris’ began to believe that their son had indeed been forever lost.  Owen had taken the realization that he would never see his son again, particularly hard, because of all of the harsh words that they had said to one another the last time that they had spoken.  Owen had never gotten the chance to tell his son that he was sorry.

They had a funeral for Tom.  And after they had learned from Voyager’s EMH that Voyager had not been destroyed, and was trapped in the Delta Quadrant over 70,000 lightyears away, they kept the shrine created in Tom’s honor intact.  Owen had read and reread the reports concerning his son.  He was a Lieutenant.  Janeway had given him a second chance and Tom had taken it, and proved himself numerous times, although putting his own life at risk each time. 

Owen had later led the Pathfinder project, which had been able to establish two-way communications with Voyager in the Delta Quadrant thanks to Reginald Barclay.  Owen had even gotten to speak with Tom and his wife.  He could not believe, Tom had gotten married and was expecting a baby.  Owen had been surprised by the news, but also very proud of the man that his son had become thanks to a second chance that Kathryn Janeway had given him, when no one else, his self-included, would have done so.  Owen realized that he owed Kathryn so much; he owed her his son’s life.

Owen walked over to his desk, and turned the computer that sat on his desk on.  He wanted to contact his wife and tell her that Voyager was home, that Tom and his new family were home.  He smiled; he knew that his wife would be so happy she would probably rush over to Starfleet headquarters to wait for Voyager, and Owen.  She would cry, he knew that she would cry, but unlike when he had to inform her of their son’s disappearance, the tears would be happy tears full of relief, and joy over knowing the possibility of never being able to see their son in person, or hold their newest granddaughter was no longer a worry.

Owen was about to open a channel to contact his wife, when he noticed that he had received two messages.  One was from Captain Janeway, and the other was from Tom.  He had not expected to receive any messages from either of them, since he would see them in person in less than an hour when they reached Earth.  Curiosity getting the best of him, Owen tapped a couple of buttons, and the image of Kathryn Janeway appeared on the screen of the computer terminal.  Her hair was in a bun on top of her head.  He remembered that she had worn her hair that way when Voyager had first gone into the badlands.  But in all of the recent transmissions with her including the one from just a few minutes ago, when Voyager had suddenly flew out of the exploding Borg Sphere, her hair was cut to hang just above her shoulders.  There was sadness in her eyes, as the image had begun to speak.

“Admiral Paris,” Kathryn said, “I regret to inform you that Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris died on stardate 49373.4.  Lieutenant Paris had successfully crossed the Warp 10 barrier in an attempt to get Voyager and her crew home quicker.  Unfortunately due to side effects of crossing the threshold, Tom Paris has died.

“He was a good officer, and had proven himself to myself and the rest of the crew over and over in the short time that he had served on board Voyager.  He will be missed, both in the Delta Quadrant, as well as in the Alpha Quadrant.  I am proud to have had the chance to serve as his commanding officer.

“Before he had made the warp 10 flight, he had told me that he wanted to prove himself, and I suspect in some way make amends for the mistakes he had made in the past.  I believe that throughout his time on Voyager he had more than proved himself to me, and I know that you would have been proud of the way that he had turned his life around.”

Admiral Owen Paris stared at the small screen, after Kathryn’s image disappeared.  He was unable to move.  He had read the reports Janeway had made of that doomed flight.  He knew that his son had died, come back to life, and then mutated into some type of lizard life form.  He knew that the holographic doctor had restored him back to normal, and he was fine.  In fact, he had gone on to save the ship and risk his life again and again.  He had thought that Tom had only been dead for a short time, a few minutes at the most; not enough time for Captain Janeway to record a message to the victim’s father.

Owen suddenly felt the need to see his son, and see for himself that he was ok, before he contacted his wife.  He had seen him on the bridge of Voyager flying the starship home, but he needed to see him in person to be certain.

After opening a channel to Voyager, the image Voyager’s bridge came into view.  Captain Janeway stood behind the conn, her hair cut short just above the red shoulders of her outdated uniform.  Something was wrong though, Tom was not sitting at the conn as he had before, now the Maquis captain, who Janeway had made her first officer, was piloting Voyager.

“Admiral Paris,” Kathryn said.

“Captain, I need to speak with you.  It is about my son,” Owen watched as the first officer turned to look at Kathryn.

“Of course, Admiral,” Kathryn said.

Owen nodded his head and said, “I’ll transport over to Voyager within two minutes.  Paris out,” he cut off the transmission, with Voyager before Kathryn had the chance to tell him what he already knew, that they could have this discussion when they reached Earth.

                        ***     *   ***   *     ***

Captain Kathryn Janeway stared at the view screen for a moment after the image of the admiral had been replaced by the image of Earth.  Kathryn had noticed that there was something desperate in the admirals eyes, and felt she owed him the chance to speak with her in person.

“Commander, you have the bridge,” the captain said, already heading towards to turbolift.

“Aye, Captain,” said Chakotay. 

Captain Janeway could see it in Admiral Paris’ eyes that he was very concerned, and almost looked desperate.  She wondered what was so important that the Admiral could not wait less than an hour to speak with her, on Earth.  Scenarios began to run through her mind, as she rode the turbo lift to deck four.  Could Starfleet be planning to arrest Tom upon their return, and he was transporting over to warn them.  If so what would be the fate of the other former Maquis crewmembers?  If Tom and B’Elanna were both arrested, what fate would the newest addition to Voyager’s family suffer?

As Admiral Owen Paris materialized on a transporter pad on Voyager, Captain Janeway stood at attention in front of the transporter console still running possible scenarios through her mind.

“At ease Kathryn,” Owen said stepping down off of the transporter pad, “I am not here on official business right now,” the admiral said.

“Is everything all right?”  Kathryn asked, as she led the admiral out of the transporter room and into the corridor.

“That is what I came to find out, Kathryn.  Where is my son?  Why wasn’t he on the bridge when I contacted you?”

Kathryn smiled, and the admiral immediately seemed to relax, a little.  “Tom is fine.  Would you like to see him?”  Kathryn asked as they entered a turbolift. 

                        ***   *     ***     *   ***

“Yes,” Owen said.  Despite Kathryn’s assurance that Tom was fine, Owen still needed to see Tom with his own eyes.

Owen was about to ask again, why his son was not on the bridge, when Kathryn called out for the lift to take them to deck five. 

“Deck five,” he repeated, “isn’t that where sickbay is?”

“Yes,” Kathryn answered, with a smirk. 

“What was so urgent that you needed to speak with me about right away?”

“I just want to see Tom before we reach Earth, I don’t know how long it will be until we get to speak, after we reach Earth, with all of the briefings, that he and I will most likely have to attend,” Owen said as the turbolift came to a halt and the doors slid open.  Owen stared at the captain, as she stepped out of the lift and walked purposefully down the hallway, towards sickbay. 

Had Tom been injured, or had there been other injuries, that Tom was needed to assist the holographic doctor with.  Owen could not find the words to ask either of the questions out loud.  He just quietly followed Kathryn to the doors of Voyagers Sickbay.  Once there Owen felt leery of entering, afraid of what he’d find in side, afraid of his sons reaction to him.

When the doors slid open, Owen followed Kathryn inside.  He immediately noticed the tall man with his back to the door standing beside a biobed.  Laying on the biobed, was the woman that Tom had with him when he had contacted them a month ago.  It was his wife, B’Elanna Torres, and she appeared to be unconscious.  Owen felt his stomach again twist into knots, until Tom turned around, cradling a newborn baby in his arms; Owen’s grandchild.

Tom smiled when he saw them both.  Owen could see the pride in his son’s eyes, as they stared into his own eyes.  In a matter of seconds, the holographic doctor appeared at Tom’s side.

“Doc,” Tom said, as he broke eye contact with Owen and glanced at the EMH.  “This is my father Admiral Paris, Dad this is the Doctor,” Tom looked down at the infant that slept in his arms, and then said, “this is your granddaughter Miral.”

Owen smiled, “She’s beautiful.  How is her mother?”

“She’s amazing,” Tom said.

“She’s resting,” corrected the doctor. 

“I’ll leave you two alone,” Kathryn smiled, and then glanced at the doctor.

“Lieutenant, I’ll be in the lab if you need me,” the doctor said and turned to leave the admiral and lieutenant alone.

“Sure Doc,” Tom said.

Suddenly, Owen did not know what to say, to Tom.

“So how is mom?”  Tom asked.

“She’s fine.  I was going to contact her and let her know that you made it back home, but . . .” Owen stopped talking wondering if he should return to his ship and contact her before she finds out from someone else.

“Why didn’t you?”  Tom frowned. 

Owen noticed his son’s frown, and hoped this conversation would not turn into another of their arguments.  “I, I” Owen stammered.  Why was it so hard to admit to his son that he cared about him, that he loved him?  If he had said those words to him before, maybe things would have been different between them.  Owen took a deep breath and forced himself to tell Tom the truth, after so long he deserved the truth.  “Tom, before I could contact your mother, I received two messages.  One from you and one from Kathryn.”  Owen noticed Tom’s reaction, to his words as he most likely remembered what the message had said that he had sent.

“I listened to Kathryn’s message first.  It was made after you crossed the Warp 10 barrier.  She informed me that you had died as a result.  I did not get a chance to listen to the second one.  I had to come and see you.  I needed to make sure that you were ok, before I told your mother.  I’m proud of you Tom,” Owen said.

Tom nodded, and said, “I was on the bridge when Lieutenant Barclay first contacted us.  I heard you,” Owen could see it in Tom’s eyes that everything he had done too him had not been forgiven.  Owen knew that it would be a long road ahead of them, but now that his son was back after so long he was not about to give up on him again.

“Janeway to Paris,” Kathryn’s voice said over the combadge. 

“Paris here,” Tom and Owen said simultaneously.

“Admiral Paris,” Kathryn clarified, “your ship has just notified us that they are receiving a transmission from your wife.”

“My son and I will take the message in the doctors office, Paris out,” Owen replied.  Elizabeth will be furious if she had received word from someone else first.  Owen looked at Tom, then at his sleepy granddaughter in his son’s arms, and said,  “would you like to say hello to your grandmother Miral?”

Tom smiled, “Mom is going to be surprised.”

“Yes,” Owen smiled, as he and Tom started to walk towards the Doctor’s office.  “Why don’t you talk to her first, son?  She may go easier on me for not being the one to inform her of your return.”

“Dad I think, when she sees Miral,” he looked down at his daughter still sleeping in his arms, “she won’t even remember why she was trying to contact you,” Tom said with a smile as they walked towards sickbay. 

As they walked, Owen noticed the gleam that shown in Tom’s eyes.  It reminded him of the day that he had held Kathleen, his first born for the first time.  Owen smiled, the long road of ahead of them, would definitely be worth the wait.

The End