P/T, some “mushy stuff”
“Workforce” mostly. Also “Drive,” “Lineage,” “Prophecy.”
I own nothing Star Trek except a few dozen books, a couple of magazines, a growing collection of videotapes, and a life-size cardboard cutout of a certain Voyager helmsman that my sister gave to me as a joke. The characters, ships, and continuity errors are all property of Paramount Pictures, Viacom, and the sometimes brilliant/sometimes careless people who are paid to write the show. No infringement is intended.
To LA, who challenged me to write this, and my sister Linda who has now been fully assimilated. (I told you resistance was futile.) Sorry there’s no J/C in this one, you two. Maybe next time.
Setting the scene
After the bulk of the Voyager crew is kidnapped, had their memories altered, and are put to work at the Quarren power plant, only Chakotay, Neelix, Harry, and the Doctor know the true stories of their lives. Of the kidnapped officers, Seven has become the plant’s efficiency monitor. Janeway, Tuvok, B’Elanna, and the bulk of the crew are low-level plant workers, and Tom Paris has taken a job as a waiter at a local tavern. None of them remember each other, including the newlywed expectant parents Paris and Torres. Only Tuvok has any hint that something isn’t right.
In an attempt to rescue B’Elanna, Chakotay is injured and ultimately captured, his own memories now altered. B’Elanna is returned to the ship and slowly recovers her memories with Neelix’s assistance. Ultimately, Harry and the Doctor—with B’Elanna and Neelix’s help—figure out a rescue plan to bring the crew home. With the assistance of the still-confused Seven, Tom, and Captain Janeway, their rescue attempt has been successful.
As soon as the shield grid went off line, B’Elanna activated the transporters. She was worried that the pattern buffers wouldn’t be able to hold everyone safely in their compromised condition, but she didn’t have a choice. She couldn’t risk leaving anyone behind another minute.
“Got them!” she shouted. As Harry maneuvered Voyager away from the planet and the Doctor checked for hostile ships, she and Neelix headed for the shuttle bay, the only room large enough to beam 145 people into safely. Most of the crew would have no idea what had happened to them or where they were, she realized. She remembered her own terrifying first minutes back aboard Voyager, kicking and screaming as Neelix and the Doctor tried to reassure her. She hoped her crewmates would stay calm until their own memories had been restored.
Of course, when the doors to the bay opened, she could see that Borg efficiency was already at work. Seven was in the process of explaining to everyone the basics of what had happened. “You should not be frightened,” she was saying. “Stay calm, and you will be given instructions shortly.”
B’Elanna was instantly struck by two things: how comfortable Seven seemed in the leadership role she had assumed on Quarra, and how nervous Captain Janeway looked in comparison. Torres could see the captain standing off to the side, acting a little lost and frightened. The sight made B’Elanna sad and a little angry at what had happened to the people she cared about.
She and Neelix had barely stepped into the room before Tom spotted her and ran to her side. “B’Elanna! Are you alright? Did they hurt you?” He was glaring at Neelix, who—as far as Tom knew—had kidnapped his pregnant friend.
B’Elanna resisted the temptation to throw herself into her husband’s arms. She knew he was still the protective-yet-oblivious waiter she had met on the planet. He wouldn’t understand. Instead, she smiled and took his arm. “I’m fine, Tom, and so is the baby. This is my friend, Neelix. He…rescued me.”
Tom didn’t know what to think. “Then it’s all true?” he asked, gesturing at Seven. “That woman said we were all kidnapped from some starship.”
B’Elanna nodded. “It’s all true.”
With that, she took Tom’s hand and smiled. He looked back at her, confused and surprised, but happy. Even after he had finally convinced B’Elanna to talk with him at the tavern, she’d been clear that a romantic relationship was out of the question. Yet now she intertwined her fingers in his as if they’d always been there. It was more than a ‘friendly’ gesture, he could tell.
He was still marveling at the familiarity when she pulled him to stand with her and Neelix at Seven’s side. “Can I have your attention for a moment?” she called out to the murmuring crowd. “First of all, please don’t be afraid. My name is B’Elanna Torres, and this is Neelix. We know this must be frightening, to be brought here with no warning, but I want you to know you’re among friends. We’ll answer all of your questions in time. But for now, I need you to stay here—make yourselves comfortable—and we’ll get to each of you as soon as we can. Until then, Neelix can help you with anything you need.”
She paused to gauge their reactions. If this group rioted, there was very little she and Neelix would be able to do alone. But the shock of what had happened to them mixed with some sort of vague deja vu, and the crew stayed orderly. B’Elanna took a deep breath.
Still holding her husband’s hand, she turned to Seven. “Tom says you’re aware of what happened to everyone.”
Seven nodded, “I believe our memories were altered. We were taken from a starship called Voyager.”
B’Elanna was confused. “How did you find out?”
Torres was surprised at the soft tone in Seven’s voice as she answered. “One of the workers, a man called Tuvok touched my face and told me I was not who I thought I was. Soon after, I started having strange memories. When I began to investigate, I learned that another man had been taken into custody after claiming we were kidnapped members of his crew.”
“Do you know what happened to those men?” B’Elanna asked, now worried about her two friends.
“They’re over here.” They turned to see a timid Kathryn Janeway, gesturing at the prone bodies of her first officer and chief of security, lying on the floor of the shuttle bay.
B’Elanna dropped Tom’s hand and rushed to the unconscious men. “Chakotay…” She kneeled next to him and felt for a pulse.
The captain knelt beside her. “Are they alive?” Janeway asked nervously.
“I think so,” B’Elanna answered. “I’m going to get them some help. Tom!” He moved to join her as she slapped her combadge. “Torres to the Doctor. I need you in sickbay.” She turned to Paris and the captain and spoke softly. “I’d like both of you to come with me. Tom, put your hands on my shoulder.” Tom did as he was told. B’Elanna placed Janeway’s hand on Tuvok’s leg, then touched Chakotay and Kathryn’s arms. “Computer, initiate site-to-site transport. Five to beam directly to sickbay.” With that, they shimmered and were gone.
The doctor, or more precisely the Emergency Command Hologram, was waiting for them when they arrived. B’Elanna called out to him, “They’re unconscious, but I’m not sure if they’re injured.”
The Doctor scanned Chakotay, then Tuvok. “Their vital signs are strong, and I’m not reading any injuries. Mister Paris, help me get them onto biobeds.” Tom wasn’t sure how this man knew his name, but he moved to help.
B’Elanna led the captain to the third bed, and motioned for her to climb up. “This is our doctor. He’s going to help you just like he helped me.”
Janeway still felt like this was all some bad dream. She looked sadly at Torres. “Did you want to come back here?” Janeway asked.
B’Elanna smiled. “Hell, no. I kicked and screamed the whole way. But they did the right thing. Our lives are here. We’re home now. This is who we are.” She put her hand over the captain’s to reassure her.
Before Torres could turn back to help the doctor, Janeway grabbed her arm. “Was I happy here?” she asked solemnly.
For a moment B’Elanna wasn’t sure how to respond, for it was a question she had hardly considered before. “Nothing is more important to you than this ship and your crew. We’re your family. I can’t imagine you being happy anyplace else.” She smiled reassuringly, but the captain seemed unconvinced.
The Doctor was examining Chakotay’s engramatic patterns, and—out of habit—instructed Tom to check on Tuvok. “Lieutenant, begin a cortical scan on the commander.” Tom didn’t even acknowledge the order.
“Doctor,” B’Elanna reminded him, “I’m pretty sure Tom has no idea how to do that, am I right?”
Paris realized then that the instructions had been meant for him and looked perplexed. “Of course,” the doctor sighed. “Just when he was turning into a moderately competent medic…. I guess you’re nominated, Lieutenant.” He adjusted and tossed her a hypospray. “Start with your husband, then the captain.”
Tom’s eyes widened as she moved to inject him. “Your husband?” he said, in disbelief. B’Elanna was afraid for a minute that the idea would upset him, but he quickly broke into a broad grin and she saw a familiar twinkle in his eyes. “Is he serious?”
She pushed the hypospray into his neck as she answered. “Turns out I am married,” she kidded him, remembering their first conversation in the tavern. “And so are you.” She leaned up to give him a quick kiss. She was relieved to see the happy—if stunned—look on Tom’s face.
She wished she could finish this conversation, but she was filling in for the doctor’s indisposed medic. She winked at Tom before she moved to the captain, then went back to help with Chakotay and Tuvok.
As he watched her work, Tom could only stand there and smile.
Chakotay recovered quickly, the first officer having received a less radical treatment than the rest of the crew. Tuvok was also back to normal, his superior Vulcan mental powers finishing the recovery he had begun spontaneously on the planet.
The captain became their primary focus, and she was making some progress in regaining her memories. She stayed in a funk the entire time, though, and had asked to go back to her quarters. Neelix had escorted her there. They began concentrating on the key personnel, starting with Seven, Icheb, and the engineering staff.
With Chakotay and Tuvok assisting the doctor, B’Elanna was free to see to her own ‘patient.’ She started his tour as Neelix had: in their quarters.
“Welcome home,” she said as she lead him inside. Mindful of the Doctor’s warnings, B’Elanna wanted to be careful not to overwhelm Tom with memories too quickly, but he seemed hungry to find out about their lives.
“We live here?” Tom asked excitedly. “Together?”
She laughed. “Yes. We moved in about six months ago, right after the wedding.”
He looked surprised. “Only six months? And already a baby…”
She took his hand and put it on her belly. “Well, we have known each other for a long time. We’ve been together for a few years, though it took us a little while to realize that we really loved each other and that neither of us was going anywhere.”
He was staring into her eyes now in a way that made her forget he’d lost his memories. “I don’t believe it,” he said, throwing her a little off guard. “I fell in love with you the moment I saw you in the tavern. I can’t believe there was ever I time when I wouldn’t realize that.”
B’Elanna was almost in tears as she saw how sincere he was. This was so strange. Ever since his first flirtations during their time in the Maquis, she hadn’t been able to shake her lingering doubts about Tom’s true feelings. Ending up in love with him only made it worse. Mostly out of her own insecurity, some small part of her always feared he would move on someday. She had come to expect men to leave.
But the past few years had proven her wrong time and again. Still those doubts recently led her to try to end their relationship; Tom immediately proposed marriage. When her own painful childhood led her to try altering their baby’s genetics, she finally realized her true fear was of Tom abandoning her. He swore he’d never leave her that day, and she decided to believe that he meant it.
Neither that pledge nor Tom’s gallant defense of her honor in a Klingon bat’leth fight fully allayed her fears, though. Some tiny part of her was still afraid and on guard, not sure he could love all of the complex and conflicting parts of her. Only reading Tom’s personal logs a few days earlier—which she justified as a way of regaining her own fractured memories—had put her doubts to rest forever. One particular passage began to run though her head now:
She’s sleeping here—in our bed. My wife. Before I met B’Elanna, the thought of being married to anyone was…well, it was something other people did. People like Harry and my parents. But I remember the first day I saw her, with the world’s biggest chip on her shoulder, biting off the head of anyone who got in her way. I think I knew I loved her that instant, but I never, ever dreamed she’d let me near her. Hell, she wouldn’t even talk to me, and I didn’t really blame her.
Now here I am lying next to her watching her sleep, holding her, remembering how it felt to make love to her tonight, and all I can think about is that I never want this moment to end.
It’s not just the way her eyes twinkle when she’s furious at me, or those lips I dream about every night. I think what I love the most is the fire inside her. The way she fights with me. The ways we find to make up. I could spend the rest of my life battling with her. I just don’t know what I’ve done to deserve her, but I know I’m going to try to keep doing it.
Maybe he did always know that he loved her. Maybe she shouldn’t have doubted that. “Well,” she said. “I guess it just took us a while to admit it.”
She smiled, and started to lead him on a tour of their home. Before she could take two steps, he pulled her back toward him. “B’Elanna, could I…? I mean, there’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I saw you sitting at that table in the tavern, and, since it turns out that we’re married and all…”
He didn’t finish the sentence before she put her arms around his neck and pulled herself up to meet his face. “Sure,” she said softly, and kissed him with everything she had. From the way he responded, she had clearly guessed right. “Anything else I can do for you?” she teased.
His reply warmed her from head to toe. “Tell me you love me,” he said with total sincerity.
“I love you, Tom Paris,” she said equally sincerely. This time he initiated the kiss.
Ten seconds later, he pulled away from her—startled. “I’m going to be a father!” he said, as the full realization hit him for the first time. He laughed and grinned and took B’Elanna’s face in his hands. “That’s our baby!” he said with awe and an uncontained enthusiasm.
“Our daughter,” B’Elanna corrected. His hug practically lifted her off the ground.
Tom’s head was swimming, but he wasn’t worried. B’Elanna told him his memories would come back over the next few days, but he didn’t care. The most important things—he now knew—he had never really forgotten.
It had taken B’Elanna a while to coax Tom into the shower, especially after she refused to join him, but she had something on her mind and she needed a few minutes alone. She could hear the water running—Tom always preferred a real water shower, even though B’Elanna liked the feel of the sonic variety better. Yet, when he would come out of the bathroom, his hair still damp and curling up at the ends, she liked the moist feel of his skin on her fingers…. Surprisingly, the thought actually brought her back to reality.
She moved to the replicator and called up a file from their personal database. She wasn’t sure why they had kept it—they never anticipated needing it again. Still, the Delta Quadrant was full of possibilities, many unpleasant, and she was glad they’d thought to save it. She pressed in her ration account code—thankful that credits had continued to accumulate while they’d been on the planet—and hit the button to start. She gathered her creations from the unit just as she heard the bathroom doors open.
Tom was standing there, damp all over, wearing only a towel, and looking at her with a sly, evil grin. This wasn’t the innocent guy she had sent to the showers a few minutes before. He wiggled his index finger in her direction, silently asking her to come to him. How could she resist? As she reached him, he rested his arms on her shoulders and linked his hands behind her head. “You remembered something,” she could tell.
He grinned like the Cheshire cat—god, she loved that smile. “What do the words Delta Flyer mean to you?”
Hmmm. Lots of things, she thought, but she said, “Oh, I see you’ve remembered my competition for your affections.” He looked a little confused. The words ‘just friends’ were popping into his mind, but he wasn’t sure why.
“Actually,” he said, “what I was remembering makes me think it was a contest you won fairly easily.”
This was interesting, B’Elanna thought. “Exactly what did you remember?”
Tom slid his arms down her back, drawing her closer to him. “You. Me. A bottle of champagne. And the pilot’s seat. Then the floor. Then the cargo bay. Then the jump seat. And then the floor again…do I need to continue?” He was practically growling now, and she couldn’t help but laugh.
Until he started reminding her, B’Elanna’s own memories of that trip had been more on the romantic side. His were clearly more carnal. Maybe she was still a little foggy on the details herself. But, without knowing it, Tom had just given her the opportunity she needed. She pulled back slightly, and motioned for him to sit on the bed. “That reminds me; I have something I want to show you.”
She walked to the dining area and reached for the photo Neelix had shown her when she had been struggling to remember her life. A picture of her on Tom’s lap in the pilot’s seat of the Flyer, sipping champagne, and looking very happy. She walked to the bed and handed it to Tom. “Is this what you’re remembering?”
A look of wonder passed over his eyes. “Yes. Although in my memories we were wearing a lot less than this.”
She smacked him gently on the arm. “You’re right,” she said. “As I recall, we were wearing only these…” She opened her palm revealing the wedding rings she had replicated just before he appeared in the doorway. “That picture was taken on our honeymoon. On the Delta Flyer.”
Tom’s expression changed, and he looked up at her wistfully. “They took our rings…”
Until that moment, he hadn’t even realized. B’Elanna watched as he went through the same sense of mourning she had felt at the loss. She sat down on the bed next to him. “I know. But I’ve been thinking. We gave each other those rings as a symbol of our love. But they were just a symbol. So I replicated us knew ones. They won’t be exactly the same, but neither will we. Personally, I think we’ll be even better.
“So…,” she took his left hand in hers. “I, B’Elanna Torres, take you, Thomas Eugene Paris, to be my husband.” She slipped the new ring on his finger, then handed him hers.
“And I, Thomas Eugene Paris, take you, B’Elanna Torres, to be my wife.” He did the same.
She leaned over to him and said softly, “You may kiss the bride.” And so he did.
She hated to leave—she had spent the afternoon watching her friend the waiter slowly start to turn back into her husband the pilot, and had to admit she enjoyed them both. The “new” Tom had all of his same qualities: a great sense of humor, an easy-going nature, and an obvious love for half-Klingon women. The memories that were returning were all the happy ones. For now, he was missing all the baggage and the pain. There was something easy and uncomplicated about the time they spent together.
She had to admit, though, she was looking forward to getting her “old” Tom back. The memory of everything they had survived was part of what made their relationship so satisfying. She looked forward to seeing the friend who had held her in the Vidiian mines and the caves of Sakari, the guy who stayed up late for a week programming holographic Klingons for the Day of Honor then fought with her when she wouldn’t go though with it, the man who had teased and battled and prodded and loved her. Slowly as the day went on, she could see this Tom reemerging. Just as much, she loved watching him rediscover himself and the life they shared.
But duty called. Voyager was still short-staffed, and with a list of repairs as long as her arm. When Harry Kim came in to “Tom-sit,” she had no choice but to go. “Don’t get him into trouble,” she warned their friend. “He’s an innocent—and I like it that way!”
Harry smiled back at her. “Hey, I think you’re forgetting who gets who into trouble in this relationship!”
True enough, she thought. Besides, she wasn’t worried about Tom picking up some bimbo in the Captain Proton simulation any more than she had worried about him picking up women at the tavern. It occurred to her, at that moment, that he had tried to pick her up in that same bar before he knew who she was. Hmmm. She decided not to think about that for now…
It took Tom a moment to feel comfortable around Harry—he had no memory of ever seeing his best friend before—but the new Tom was even more like Kim than the old, and they hit it off quickly. B’Elanna trusted Harry to keep an eye on Tom, and maybe refresh his memory in ways she couldn’t. Still, the four hours in engineering crawled by.
When she came home, she was happy to see the men sitting on the couch—in true Paris form—eating popcorn and watching cartoons from the ship’s database on the television she had made for him so long ago. Harry was practically asleep, but Tom was like a little boy, giggling at sight gags she knew he had seen fifty times. It was hard to gauge from his behavior how much farther he had come, and she wondered how long it would take before he was totally back to normal.
“You’re relieved, Ensign,” she said to Harry, a little anxious for some time alone with her husband. As she walked her friend to the door, she whispered, “How’s he doing?”
As if to illustrate, Harry called out to Tom, “Hey, I’m thinking of making a few modifications to the helm controls on the Flyer, any objections?”
A piece of popcorn came flying through the air, “Touch my ship and I’ll break your arm.” They all smiled. This was a good sign.
“He’s not 100%, but I’d say he’ll be the same annoying Tom Paris we all know and love by tomorrow.” Kim called out to his friend over his shoulder. “Night, Tom.”
The reply was comforting in its normalcy, “See ya, Harry.”
Tom instantly went back to the cartoon, one B’Elanna knew all too well. Her husband and father-to-be was giggling like a five year old as he watched an animated man with bulging eyes and glasses drop an oversized egg onto the head of an unsuspecting character below. She sat down on the bed and kicked off her boots, shaking her head as she thought about how ridiculous all of this was. And about all she had almost lost.
She got up and started to head for the dresser—anxious to get into more comfortable clothes—but stopped for a second and leaned against the bulkhead. She stood there silently for a long moment, just watching this silly, wonderful man she loved so much. She found herself overcome with a wave of peaceful, happy feelings she was unaccustomed to. Whether a side effect of the memory alterations or just a by-product of her rediscovery of her husband, B’Elanna was more content than she could ever remember being. After a minute, she found herself overcome by a need to be close to him.
Before she could think about it, she moved to sit next to Tom and began kissing him softly from his ear to his chin. “What was that for?” he asked happily.
Her eyes were misty as she answered. “For taking care of me even when you didn’t know who I was.” She could tell she was looking into the eyes of the ‘real’ Tom Paris. The realization gave her another impulse, and she took a shot at his shoulder with her fist.
“What was that for?” he asked, wincing in pain.
She couldn’t help but smile, “For flirting with your customers!”
His mock defense was equal to her mock punch. “I was a victim of mind control!” he said, knowing how lame an excuse it really was. All was forgiven, he knew when she smiled back at him. Tom pulled her closer and wrapped his arm around her waist.
They sat for a moment watching the flickering screen and eating popcorn. Then Tom turned to her. “I’ve remembered a lot more since you left.”
This was good news. “Oh, really?” she asked, “like what?”
She enjoyed the range of emotions that played across his face as he answered. “I remember a time when you would have shoved me out an airlock as soon as look at me. I remember deciding that it was worth it to wait for you. I remember floating in space thinking we were going to die, and being grateful that at least I was with you. I remember how things changed after that night.”
The expression on his face was now morphing again. “And I remember that I know how to get you out of that uniform in under ten seconds.” The look was wicked now. “Want to see me prove it?”
She returned his evil grin. “You’re on.”
Somehow, in that moment, B’Elanna realized that tonight they’d be making some new memories. And she knew they were, finally, home.