P/T, J/C, D/7, P&P, P&T&p, Parody
May 25, 2001
The Borg Queen is vanquished, and Voyager has appeared through the burning wreckage of an exploded sphere. The blue marble of Earth appears in the distance as the end credits roll. The crew (and fans) have everything they ever wanted. Or do they…?
To all of us who held on, loved these characters, did the writers’ jobs for them, and believed—up until the end—that they would honor our commitment with a fitting tribute to our favorite crew. Boy were we wrong…! But especially to my J/C and Tom Paris fan friends: LA, Linda, Bobbie, and Liz. This one’s for us.
Screw the disclaimer! We should sue Paramount and the Killer B’s for what they did to us. I’m taking them—you clearly aren’t responsible enough to have pets!
She sat straight up in her bed, her heart pounding and her palms bleeding from where she’d dug her fingernails into her flesh. “Computer,” she called. “Lights.”
Only then was she sure: the gray walls, the view of space, the half-finished cup of coffee on her nightstand. She was home. On Voyager. Still…
“Janeway to Neelix.” She held her breath as she waited for his answer.
“Neelix here, Captain. Is something wrong?” Her morale officer sounded a little groggy.
Thank god. He was still there. “Um, no, Neelix. I’m sorry to disturb you. I was just wondering…Actually, it can wait until morning. Goodnight.”
She could hear the confusion in his voice. “Alright, Captain. Goodnight.”
She swung her legs over the side of the bed and sat there for a moment trying to calm her nerves. Her call to Neelix had helped her relax, but somehow—tonight—she felt she could only trust her eyes and ears. She knew there were a few things she had to do before she could go back to sleep.
She was dressed and out the door in less than a minute.
“What’s wrong, Neelix?” a groggy voice whispered in his ear. “Was that Captain Janeway?”
Lying back down and rolling toward her, Neelix decided his unexpected wake-up call was a great chance to lift his own spirits. “Couldn’t have been important,” he said as he pulled her into his arms. “But, sweeting, since we’re both awake now…”
Kes giggled and leaned over to tug on his whiskers. “Neelix! I’m almost eight years old. Don’t you think I’m getting a little old for this?” She was teasing, of course. Other than a more solid figure and some gray in her hair, the Ocampan was as healthy and happy as the day she’d come aboard.
“You’re as young as you feel, Kessy,” he growled in her ear. And—at least for the moment—she felt not a day over three.
Several of the crewmen she encountered seemed surprised to see their captain roaming Voyager’s corridors at 0300 hours. She’d smiled politely as she passed them—though tonight she wouldn’t even try to call them all by name. Henderson, Hickman, Hendricks, whatever. Her own morale was all she could focus on at the moment.
The doors to Main Engineering had barely closed behind her when she heard him call to her. Again, another silent prayer of thanks.
“Captain Janeway? What a pleasant…surprise. Is there something I can do for you?” He was a little shocked when his normally circumspect commanding officer walked over and grabbed him by the arm.
“Just passing by, Mister Carey. Thought I’d see how you were feeling tonight. Any progress on that little project of yours?” She had that pained furrowed brow look the crew had seen so many times.
“Actually,” Joe answered, happy that his captain had taken such an interest in his hobby—building a scale model of Voyager in a bottle, “I put the last nacelle in place before I came on duty. She’s all finished. I only hope one day my boys will get to see it.”
The engineer wasn’t sure why his captain’s eyes were welling up with tears as she looked at him. “I’m sure they will, Lieutenant. And soon enough.” Her hand tightened on his shoulder before she released her grip and turned to go.
“Um, Captain,” he said hesitantly. “Is everything alright?”
She smiled. “That’s what I’m trying to find out,” she said softly. “Goodnight, Joe.”
Carey watched as his captain headed for the door. ‘Wow,’ he thought to himself. ‘She called me Joe.’
Her next stop was Astrometrics. She needed to see Voyager’s position, to check the starcharts. And she needed to take a long look into the eyes of a certain Borg drone.
She gasped when she walked into the room unannounced: two of her senior officers—her friends—sharing a passionate kiss. She hadn’t even realized they were interested in each other. Stunned, she didn’t know what to think or believe.
They heard her hiccup of shock and realized they weren’t alone. He turned to her first, pushing Seven slightly behind him and shielding his lover’s face from the embarrassed glare of their commanding officer.
“Oh, excuse us Captain. We were just…enjoying the view of the stars.”
Janeway knew her mouth was agape. She couldn’t seem to bring it closed. The nervous man in front of her continued.
“I know this is a breech of protocols, Captain, but I hope you won’t take it out on Seven. It was my idea to come here. We just wanted some privacy, and…”
“Doctor,” Janeway interrupted. “What two adults do with their own time is none of my business,” she said quickly. “You might want to be a little more careful about locking the door in the future.”
The doctor didn’t have a subroutine for blushing, so he just smiled gratefully.
Janeway walked to the sensor panel, and to her embarrassed ex-drone. “Seven.” She drew out the ‘ev’ sound in a typical show of curiosity and teasing. “I had no idea…”
Seven could blush and her cheeks were crimson. “We’ve been trying to be discreet,” she said quietly. “And, in fairness Captain, neither of us has our own quarters.”
Janeway smiled. “I’d be happy to rectify that first thing tomorrow,” she said smiling. Hell, she’d consider doing it right now. Instead, she opted for some reassurance about their position. “Seven, can you show me Voyager’s current location in relationship to the Alpha Quadrant?”
“Certainly,” her friend said as she punched up the data. “We are approximately thirty thousand light years from Sector 001.”
Kathryn was almost afraid to ask her next question. “Scan for Borg activity or any signs of wormholes or spatial rifts.”
Seven’s face tightened in concern, but she did as she was told. “Nothing as far as the sensors can track. No transwarp signatures, no tachyion emissions, no nadion particles. Just empty space.”
Just as she was about to ask what was wrong, they heard the frantic page over the com. “Paris to the Doctor. It’s time!”
The three shared a smile as they realized exactly what time it was. “I’ll meet you in sickbay, Mister Paris,” the physician said patiently. “And don’t forget to bring your wife.” The loud howling sound they heard in the background implied that B’Elanna would be difficult to overlook this time.
“If you ladies will excuse me,” he said as he headed for the door. “I think my goddaughter is expecting me.”
The captain joined him on the short trip to sickbay.
Lieutenants Paris and Torres were already waiting when their friends arrived.
“Grrrrrrr!” B’Elanna was grunting as she crushed her husband’s hand in hers. “You are NEVER, EVER touching me again!” she roared, sounding more like a Tarkalian beast than a soon-to-be mother.
“That’s what you said yesterday,” Tom said, reminding her of her last false labor. “And how did we spend this evening…?” Well, he had a point, B’Elanna knew.
“Get this thing out of me. NOW!” she screamed. The doctor was there with a hypospray in a matter of seconds as Kes wiped her friend’s brow and whispered reassuring words into her ear.
The captain watched for the next five hours as B’Elanna pushed and groaned and Tom held her and comforted. Twice she’d almost snapped his wrist. Twice he pretended it didn’t hurt.
But there was soon another sound, rivaling B’Elanna’s for attention. A wail no less soulful but at a significantly higher pitch. And, when she heard her child’s cry, B’Elanna’s moans turned to quiet sobs.
By mutual agreement, Tom cut the umbilical cord, then spoke the first words his daughter would ever hear outside the womb. “Hello, Miral,” he whispered though his own tears. “I’m your daddy. And there’s someone here I’d like you to meet.”
Paris lifted his tiny daughter into his arms, and placed her softly against her mother’s chest. Then he leaned over and kissed his wife’s damp face. “I love you,” he said loud enough for everyone to hear.
B’Elanna took her index finger and ran it gently over her daughter’s brow. “She’s perfect,” they heard her say. “Tom, she’s beautiful.”
Kathryn’s journey though her ship had taken her almost six hours, and the alpha shift was now on duty. Tired, but relaxed, she knew there were still a few stops she had to make on the tour of her life. Stops that were necessary if she were ever to sleep again.
When she got off the turbolift at the bridge, she was met by a sea of happy faces. One in particular was almost giddy.
“Well, Uncle Harry, have you seen your new niece yet?” Janeway asked.
“Not yet, Captain,” Kim laughed. “Permission to be excused?” he asked.
“Granted, Lieutenant,” she said smiling. “Take your time.”
Kathryn nodded to Tuvok—sitting comfortably in her chair—as she headed for her ready room. “You have the bridge, Commander,” she said as she passed him. “Oh,” she turned back for a moment. “And congratulations on winning the baby pool.”
Her friend looked straight ahead as he answered. “There were many variables to consider, but in the end, it all came down to simple logic. Date of conception, percentage of Klingon and human genetic material, and an observation of Lieutenant Torres changing moods were all I required.” If Janeway didn’t know better, she’d swear Tuvok had done extensive research on the equation, clearly the sign of a mind working on all burners. Still, she wondered for a moment how B’Elanna would feel about his little calculation.
“Well, congratulations anyway,” she said as she smiled at her old friend. Then she turned and headed into her office.
“Good morning, Captain,” Chakotay said from the couch by her viewport. I hope you don’t mind that I began reviewing our morning reports without you.”
Kathryn stood at the door for a longer-than-normal moment. She didn’t want him to realize she was nervous about this most common of morning routines. But she was still shaken and—despite all evidence to the contrary—she needed to indulge her desire to prove her eyes right.
“Not at all, Commander,” she said sincerely. Then she moved to sit next to him on the couch.
“You may be surprised to hear that Crewman Chell has volunteered to take over for Neelix in the mess hall.” Uh-oh. This sounded frighteningly familiar.
“Take over for Neelix?” she asked, suddenly worried.
“Yes,” Chakotay reminded her. “While he and Kes are on vacation in the holodeck. It’s their fourth wedding anniversary and I gave them the weekend off. Don’t you remember?”
Pshew. That was eerie. “Oh, is that *this* weekend?” she covered. “It must have slipped my mind.”
They spent the next three hours reviewing performance reports and catching up on the gamma shift’s observations. In the middle of a conversation about the warp core, Janeway’s stomach let out a loud growl. She’d skipped breakfast again, and her body was not pleased.
“Join me for lunch,” she asked Chakotay before she realized what she had said.
“I’d love to,” he answered. “But I have other plans. Can I have a…” He’d barely gotten the words out before she interjected.
“Then break them. You’re eating with me. Captain’s orders.”
Chakotay looked shocked, but shook his head in agreement. “Alright. Is something wrong, Kathryn?”
She patted the sofa next to her, indicating for him to move closer. “Yes,” she said, trying to explain her ‘order’ that he have lunch with her. “You see, last night I had this terrible nightmare…”
They’d decided to take it slowly—as if seven years hadn’t been slow enough. But still, Kathryn had asked for another chance to fix the horrible mistake she’d made by pushing Chakotay out of her life. They’d have to be discreet, they both knew (the captain stealing an idea from her nightmare and beaming directly to the commander’s quarters for their ‘dates’), but their commitment to a life together had been made. And somehow, if they survived the Kazon, the Vidiians, the Borg, the Hirogen, the Vaaduar, the Malon, and Species 8472, surely the whispers of their crew couldn’t do them much damage.
In fact, it seemed to give their people permission to acknowledge their own needs and feelings. The number of engagements in the past month alone had tripled—including the rather unconventional pairing of a former Borg drone and a sentient hologram. Kathryn would have to check to see if there were any limits on her ability to conduct a legal wedding ceremony…
Even Lieutenant Kim and Ensign Gilmore seemed to be making their long romance more permanent, despite the uncertain futures of the former Equinox crew.
So, when the wormhole appeared, somehow it was icing on the cake. As if finally, by acknowledging that their dreams lie in the journey more than the destination, they’d been shown their way out of Oz. Their ruby slippers, in the form of a quantum singularity pointed right at Sector 001, had arrived.
The datastream had been clogged with messages as families prepared to reunite. Still, some homecomings would be more difficult than others.
The closer they got to Earth, the more nervous Tom Paris became. Like so many of Voyager’s crew, he had reinvented himself during his long trip to the wrong side of the galaxy. Unlike most of Voyager’s other resurrected souls, Paris had a Starfleet admiral—and a lifetime of dashed expectations—waiting for him at home. Still, the moment of their final triumph set the tone.
As they expected, the admiral and a sizeable portion of the fleet were waiting when they arrived.
As he heard his captain welcomed home by the familiar baritone voice, he took a chance and snuck a glimpse into the eyes of the man on the viewscreen. To his total shock, his father returned his gaze and smiled.
The entire senior staff—and one tiny guest–were waiting in the transporter room when the admiral and his team beamed aboard. After exchanging formalities with Captain Janeway and meeting Voyager’s officers, Admiral Paris made his way to the far end of the room where two officers and a tiny bundle fidgeted nervously at his approach. Owen wondered for a moment who was wriggling more: his son or his granddaughter. He decided to put the young couple out of their misery.
“Welcome home, son,” he said softly, then wrapped his arms around his grown up boy and hugged him like he hadn’t seen him in ten years. “I’ve missed you,” he whispered as he embraced his youngest child. “And I’m sorry.”
They’d been home three weeks when the news came: Voyager’s former Maquis would all be pardoned and offered the opportunity to make new lives as Federation citizens. The officers among them would be allowed to keep their commissions, as was Voyager’s one field-commissioned lieutenant.
They gathered at Kathryn’s new apartment for a quiet celebration, not just the senior staff but all of Voyager’s officers: Sam Wildman, Mike Ayala, Alissa Lang, Joe Carey, Vorik. Megan and Jenny Delaney, and Sue Nicoletti also. Of course Naomi, Icheb and the Tuvok, Ayala, and Carey spouses and children were included on the guest list. Their contribution to Voyager’s success couldn’t be downplayed or ignored.
The party had been going on for almost two hours when the communiqué came. Kathryn called B’Elanna and Tom aside as she read the encrypted PADD.
Miral Torres had been found—alive—on a remote settlement near the Cardassian border. Against all odds, she had survived the injuries she’d received during the Dominion War, and was being transported back to Deep Space 9. She’d learned of her daughter’s return and sent a message: she looked forward to seeing her daughter and the honorable human man she had married. And she had some questions about her grandchild and namesake, and the legend of the Kuvah Magh.
When the celebration finally ended, Kathryn saw her friends to the door, threw the dirty dishes in the recycler then decided to make an early night of it. She’d be getting her new assignment the next day, and she needed her rest.
She lifted the blanket and slipped underneath, grateful that the stars she saw outside her window weren’t moving. As she rolled over, she must have taken the covers with her for there was suddenly a slightly annoyed face an inch from her own.
“You stole my blanket,” the man said to her, his smile proving he wasn’t too upset.
She rolled back over to face him and traced the outline of his tattoo with her finger. “Captain’s prerogative,” she teased.
He answered with a kiss—and a sharp tug on the covers. “Husband’s prerogative,” he laughed. “Besides, if you’re cold, maybe you should move a little closer and I’ll keep you warm.”
Kathryn Janeway looked into the eyes of her best friend and smiled. Maybe she wasn’t that tired.
As she moved into the arms of the man she loved, Kathryn realized two things: sometimes a nightmare was just a nightmare. And, whether on a ship in the Delta Quadrant on an apartment in San Francisco, there was no place like home.
And the new journey begins…
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Okay, so my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek when I wrote this, and, sure, it pokes as much fun at those of us fans (myself included) who wanted perhaps an unrealistic payoff to our favorite show. But, in my fanfic role as Voyager’s answer to Sam Beckett, I had to try to “put right what once went wrong.” My only regret: I forgot to find a home for the Borg baby!
Months ago, I actually wrote an entire opus about an alternate Voyager finale, that has real payoffs (as opposed to these little silly teases) for Tom & B’Elanna, Kathryn & Chakotay, and even, yes, Seven and the Doctor. If you have a few hours to kill, you might want to check it out.