She was dying.
Her daughter held her hand. She was a beautiful
girl. No, she was a woman now, a Starfleet officer. She was so bright and full of life, so much like her father. How proud
she was of her.
The pain was worsening. It wouldn't be long now. They had talked all night. There was so much that
had to be said. She thought there would be more time for this. The accident had changed everything. She was grateful she'd
been able to say it all. He would have wanted it that way.
A peaceful light gently flowed into the room from beyond
the wall. Its warmth engulfed her, taking away the pain, taking away the heartache.
He approached. As young and vital
as the last time she saw him. He stood there, dressed in full Klingon battle armor, of all things.
She reached for
him with a smile. He smiled back and grasped her hand. She felt her body slip off of her and suddenly she was standing in
his embrace, looking down at herself and their silently crying daughter.
There was a moment, just a small one, when
she wanted to linger. The instinct was to stay and watch over her child. To be there for her. And he knew. He understood.
He had been there as well.
"Come, my love," he implored, gently leading her toward the light." Sto-Vo-Cor awaits."
one last look of longing, she followed.
Tears fell freely as she said goodbye. It was the smile on her mother's face
that finally did it. She had never seen her so peaceful, so happy. She felt an unreasonable anger at her father for abandoning
them. It didn't matter that it wasn't his fault. If he had been there, things would have been different.
cry caught in the back of her throat, as a pair of strong arms turned her into a comforting embrace, holding her close as
She had only him now.
B'Elanna Torres impatiently fidgeted in her chair, trying to find a comfortable position. Captain Janeway
had called a senior staff meeting. They were still waiting for Neelix and the Doctor. Tom Paris noticed his wife's discomfort
as he took his seat next to her. Discreetly he reached behind her and placed a strong hand at the small of her back, applying
the steady pressure that he knew would ease the pain, if only temporally. She looked up at him, annoyed at her weakness, and
ready to snap. His innocent gaze and half smile stopped her; he was just trying to help. Who would have thought pregnancy
would be her downfall.
Unnoticed by the young couple, Commander Tuvok had witnessed the entire exchange. Had logic
permitted a wry grin, Tuvok would have indulged in one. Envy. It had been a very long time since the Vulcan's logic had failed
to block that emotion. But then, it had been a very long time since he had seen his family.
Neelix and the Doctor
arrived, the Captain waited for them to take their seats before she began.
"Mr. Kim has come across a class M planet
about 6 light years from here. It has heavy concentrations of dilithium. Normally I'd send B'Elanna with the away team, but
circumstances being what they are.... Tom, get the Flyer flight ready. Chakotay, Harry and Neelix, you're on this as well.
You leave at 13:00. Seven, they'll need..."
"I'll be back before you know it," Tom whispered in her
ear as he embraced her.
"You better be, Flyboy."
The lighthearted words betrayed the anxiety they both felt.
Routine missions had a way of turning on them. It was a fact of life on Voyager. Tom's hand trembled slightly as it rested
on her stomach. They held their gaze for a long moment, communicating without words.
It begins again....
She ran the pre-fight for the second time, double-checking everything.
The excitement was palpable. So was the tension. He came on board and she felt his presence instantly. Her mind reached out
and touched his.
I'll be back before you know it.
You better be.
She reached back with her
hand. He took it, turned her chair around and pulled her into his arms. Once again, hating what she loved. Wishing, with all
his heart, that she wasn't the best pilot Starfleet had.
Seven watched as B'Elanna's hand pause over the console, shaking slightly as she took a deep breath. It was the third
time in the last hour.
"Lieutenant, you are in labor," Seven lowered her voice so no one else in Engineering could
hear her, but she wasn't going to ignore what was going on any longer.
B'Elanna looked up in surprise. She hadn't
realized Seven had returned from Astrometrics.
"Yes, it started this afternoon. I'm all right. Klingon women labor
for days, not hours. I've got plenty of time," B'Elanna said.
"Perhaps you should go to Sickbay."
this is the early stage. I want to finish here. It will help pass the time until Tom gets back."
"If you say so."
Seven's tone was far from confident.
to Timeship Continuity. You are cleared for departure."
"Acknowledged Enterprise. Departing from Shuttle Bay Two."
It never ceased to thrill her. That incredible rush she got from piloting. It satisfied some need in her to live on
the edge. And this ship, with all the power of time at her fingertips, it was almost overwhelming.
What she could
do. What she could change? It was so tempting...
The mission was an uneventful success, a first for the Delta Flyer. In a couple of hours they would be back on Voyager,
which was just fine with Tom, B'Elanna needed him.
"B'Elanna's in labor," he said to no one in particular.
was about to tell him he was worrying unnecessarily, but thought better of it. Tom seemed to have an uncanny ability to sense
when B'Elanna needed him.
"Someday, you're going to have to tell me how you do that," Harry mussed.
Tom was confused.
"Know things, about B'Elanna."
"I don't know how I do it, I just do." It was a
hard thing to describe--this link he had with her. It was there all the time just under the surface. When she needed him,
he knew it. He could feel it.
"You know," Neelix began. "When I was researching Klingon traditions. Do you remember
that time when B'Elanna was celebrating The Day of Honor? I came across an old legend that spoke of 'qa'nalq'. The empathic
link sometimes shared by bonded Klingon mates. The word means 'spirit mate.' It's believed that when this happens, it means
the pair is destined for all eternity to be together. I always thought it strange that a race such as the Klingons would have
such romantic tales. Then again, they are such a passionate people, aren't they? Maybe it's not such a strange idea after
all. I've often wondered if you and B'Elanna had this ability."
"Just how much time do you people spend thinking
about my marriage?" Tom asked.
"Hey, it's a small ship," Harry replied. "Sometimes your love life is all we have. You
have to admit; it can be a lot more entertaining than the holodeck. If you ever heard what we hear coming from your quarters,
you'd be wondering too."
"Don't let B'Elanna hear you say that, Harry. Or I'll be bunking in your quarters
until we reach the Alpha Quadrant."
"Tom, I'm picking up some kind of temporal disturbance off the port side. It seems
to be on a direct intercept course with us," Chakotay interrupted, concerned.
"I've got it. Adjusting course. What
the hell.... Is it tracking us?" Tom asked Harry.
"I don't know, maybe the warp core is attracting it."
can't out maneuver this thing, it's coming at us too fast." Tom was desperately trying to get more out of the ship.
for impact!" Chakotay yelled.
The edge of the disturbance reached them a microsecond later. Tom struggled with the
controls, trying to keep the ship from being torn apart. As the anomaly engulfed them he saw another ship fighting the currents
as well. It was on a direct course for the Flyer. Tom tried without success to get out of the way.
"Harry! I need
more power!" he yelled.
"Sorry! This is it, Tom. I can't give you any more."
Thinking quickly Tom saw a plasma
discharge forming off the starboard bow. If he could get close enough it might pull them out of their current flight path.
The other pilot saw it too. Before Tom could try to alter his heading the other ship was riding the plasma charge.
Even in alarm, Tom had to marvel at the skill of the other pilot. He was holding his own against some incredibly forceful
currents. Finally the Flyer came to a stop in the center of the anomaly. All four of them watched as the other ship fought
against the currents.
"Commander, that ship has a Federation signature," Harry announced somewhat shocked.
we get close enough to tractor it out of there?" Neelix asked.
"Not without getting pulled in ourselves," replied
"We're caught in some type of sub-space rift. There is a temporal variance to it. It's almost as if we're
caught outside time and space," Harry told them.
At that moment the other ship broke free of the plasma charge and
was flung past the Flyer.
"This is the Delta Flyer to the Federation Ship, do you require our assistance?" Chakotay
hailed the other ship.
"No response," Harry stated. "I'm reading a single lifesign, unconscious and injured."
get us to within tractor range, Harry get that ship," Chakotay ordered.
Tom brought the Flyer
to the disabled ship and Harry caught it with a tractor beam.
"Tom, you and I will beam over. The pilot might need
medical attention." Chakotay ordered as he rose from his seat. Tom followed closely grabbing the med kit as the headed to
the aft of the ship.
They materialized on the bridge of the small ship. Chakotay noted immediately it was Starfleet
design. It looked more advanced than Voyager, but the similarities were startling.
Tom knelt down next to the pilot,
who was lying unconscious on the floor. It was a woman. Her uniform, like her ship, bore a strong resemblance to the ones
they wore. It too was different enough to take note of, however.
"How is she?" Chakotay asked as he crouched down
next to Tom.
"Mild concussion. Nothing serious. It's the thick Klingon skulls that save 'em every time," Tom jested,
making Chakotay notice that the woman was indeed Klingon. Part Klingon, anyway.
"Can you wake her?"
Tom took out a hypo-spray and applied it to her neck.
Her eyelids fluttered once then opened, slowly taking in the two men who hovered over her.
she asked trying to sit up, groaning as her head protested the movement.
"Easy, you have a concussion," Tom told her
as he helped steady her.
"We were hoping you could help answer that question. Both our ships are caught in some type
of sub-space tear. There's a temporal variance we can't account for either," Chakotay said.
"Well, Commander. Unfortunately,
I think I can," was the grim reply.
"I take it you're Starfleet," Tom said, noting she recognized the rank insignia
on Chakotay's collar.
"From the cradle, Ensign, from the cradle." She paused and looked intently at the two men before
continuing, "Lt. Commander Isobel Riker, welcome to the Federation Timeship Continuity, gentlemen."
asked with dread, he hated Temporal Mechanics.
"Yes, and if you two are who I think you are. I'm in big trouble."
With a sigh, she brushed back the thick red hair that had come loose from the braid she wore.
"Who do you think we
are?" Chakotay asked.
"Commander Chakotay and Ensign Tom Paris of the Federation Starship Voyager. What's the Stardate?"
"53846.2," Tom answered.
"Of course, I should have known," she muttered as she stood up on shaking legs.
"I would like to know how you knew you were in love with Ensign Paris," Seven said, trying to find ways to take B'Elanna's
mind off the situation as they continued to search for the away team. They were six hours over due, and there was no sign
Taken aback at the question, B'Elanna thought for a few minutes. When did it happen?
"I'm not sure
exactly when," B'Elanna paused with a grin. "It was a gradual thing, I hated him for a long time. Thought he was a pig, and
that he had betrayed the Maquis to Starfleet."
B'Elanna's smile broadened at the memory and continued, "His behavior
didn't help much. He chased every available woman on the ship the first few months after we were stranded. Or at least that's
what he wanted everybody to think. I'm not so sure it's true anymore. I have the feeling he was putting on a good show, but
it was just that, a show."
Seven listened with interest.
"I think I began to realize I was wrong about him
when the Vidiians captured us and split me in two. One fully-Klingon being and one fully-human. They kept my Klingon half
for experimentation and sent me, as a human, back to the cell. It was very hard for me. I was sick and worst of all, frightened.
A new feeling for me. And Tom was right there. He understood. He listened to me. He held me. He protected me. He kept me going,
without him I wouldn't have made it out of there."
She stopped and took a deep breath as another contraction began
to build. Seven watched her stoically ride the pain out. Never giving in to it. It had become a battle to be won. A challenge
to be concurred. She would not let it beat her.
"Continue," Seven demanded, ignoring the other woman's irked expression.
"Ummm...Tom," B'Elanna began. "Things started to change for us after that. I started to see him for who he really
was. It didn't take long before I realized he was attracted to me. I would catch him watching me when he thought I wasn't
looking. He would get jealous if I was with anybody else. He tried to hide it behind the jokes, but I still saw it. I wasn't
interested him in that way.... or so I kept telling myself," she smirked.
"Although we became friends, I still kept
him at arm's length. Not letting him too close.... but he was persistent, constantly pushing me, never letting me be. He would
go out of his way to make me angry with him!"
Seven raised her eyebrow, lifting the ocular implant in her best Tuvok
imitation. Making B'Elanna mad was not a difficult task. Foolish, but not difficult. Then again, Ensign Paris had never been
known for his common sense.
"We danced around each other for a long time," B'Elanna admitted. "Flirting,
teasing, fighting--generally providing great entertainment for the crew...then Vorik went through the Pon Farr. Things got
a little more difficult for us after that. I guess we were both a little scared of what was happening. We played cat and mouse
for a while. Advancing, retreating, advancing again. It took a crazy dead woman to make me see how much I had come to depend
B'Elanna followed Tom as he
left the briefing room. She hadn't had a chance to talk to him yet. She wanted to make sure he was all right.
she called out. He turned and looked at her in surprise.
"B'Elanna," he said guardedly. He never knew how to take
an advance from her.
"I just...I just wanted to make sure you were all right, and everything."
Why did she
stammer like a nervous schoolgirl when she was alone with him?
"I'm fine, the Doc fixed me up in no time." He smiled
gently at her.
"I was worried about you," she admitted softly, almost embarrassed by it.
"It takes a lot more
than a holodeck malfunction to take me out," he joked in his typical Tom Paris fashion. But a half a smile later he turned
serious. "I'm just glad you weren't there."
He reached up and touched her cheek with the tip of his fingers, brushing
them lightly across the smooth skin.
B'Elanna's eyes closed of their own accord and she felt his lips softly touch
hers. It was just a feather light caress, almost hesitant as if he was scared she would disappear if he pressed too hard.
Then he lifted his head and looked at her.
Her dark eyes shadowing the turmoil she felt. Tom had not kissed her since
Sakari. It was shocking to know how intensely her body responded to him still. He gave her a knowing smile and left her standing
alone in the corridor.
Here in the now....
crews worked on the timeship, trying to repair its systems. Tom and Chakotay were fixing the helm controls. Harry was trying
to get the shields back online and Neelix was helping with anything he could. Which, being Neelix, wasn't much.
ship's Captain was in the back working on the main computer. It was a good thing the Delta Flyer had not sustained any damage,
for the timeship was in pretty bad shape. It would have to be repaired before any attempt could be made for the two ships
to try and escape the sub-space rift.
"You and B'Elanna first met in the Commander's resistance cell?" Neelix asked
Tom, trying to lighten the mood. They were long over due for their rendezvous with Voyager.
"Yes, she didn't like
him very much. Mercenaries rubbed her the wrong way," Chakotay responded with mirth.
Tom laughed out loud. She certainly
had a lot to say about that, back then. He had been the lowest form of life ever to crawl out from under a rock, as far as
she was concerned. He used to go out of his way to upset her, just to see her hackles go up. She was magnificent when she
"Actually, Commander, B'Elanna and I met a few years before that. Although I doubt she remembers it."
But Tom did...
Tom Paris. He still couldn't believe it. He had made it through the academy, with honors. Even his father was impressed with
He walked in the darkness, taking in the academy. It would be a long time before he returned. His first posting was
on the U.S.S. Argentina. Helmsman. Like he always wanted. His thoughts were interrupted by an angry shriek.
form of a young woman tore around the corner of the building and barreled right into him, almost knocking him over.
there. You're going to hurt someone," he said as he grabbed hold of her to prevent both of them from falling.
sir," she snapped to attention, drawing in a shaken breath. The heat of his hand seemed to burn right through the cloth of
Shaking off his hand as soon as she had regained her balance, B'Elanna took a step back from him.
to go, Torres. Right into Admiral Paris' son.
Tom gave her an appraising look. She wore the uniform of a first year cadet.
Long dark hair, dark eyes and if he wasn't mistaken, Klingon cranial ridges. He was intrigued.
"That's all right,"
Tom was loath to remind himself that he was her superior so he didn't use her rank when he addressed her. "Is there something
"Cadet Torres, sir. B'Elanna Torres. No, sir. Just a little misunderstanding."
B'Elanna looked up
at the young officer before her. He was something to behold. Every blond haired blue eyed inch of him. No wonder all the cadets
were enthralled with him. An admiral's son to top it off, she would bet his bed was never cold for long.
on then, Cadet." He watched her retreating form with a small twinge of regret. There was a nagging feeling that something
important was slipping away.
It would be more than two years before he saw her again. By then, they were different
Tom leaned insolently against the door jam as he watched the engineer work. She was bent at the waist, the
upper half of her body inside an access panel, providing him with a spectacular view of her backside.
back out the access port and was startled by the man who was there. How long had he been watching? By the look in his eye,
she didn't have to guess what he had been looking at. She felt her ire rise.
"What the hell do you want,
"Chakotay sent me down to see if you needed any help with the Nav Array."
"Well I don't, so you can
be on your way." She turned her back on him, hoping he would get the point.
The hairs on the back
of her neck rose, when his hands came to rest lightly on her waist. His breath warmed her cheek as he bent down to whisper
in her ear.
"How about you and I take a little break? Find something more...stimulating to do?" he all but purred
in her ear.
B'Elanna slowly turned to face him. His hands stayed at her waist, tightening his hold and pulling her
full length against him. He bent his head to take her mouth but she turned and his lips grazed her cheek, coming to rest next
to her ear as she ran her tongue along his jaw.
"Well, Paris," she whispered in his ear. "If I ever feel the need
to go slumming, I promise, you'll be the first one I call."
His hands gripped her waist painfully for a moment, and then he released her with a chuckle and replied
"You do that, Torres."
B'Elanna never saw the flash of hurt in his eyes, and Tom never noticed
just how shakily she drew in her next breath.
Now and again....
Isobel had come to the bridge of her ship to work on the secondary computer interface. Helm control was still off-line,
but Harry had managed to get the shields repaired. Things were, at least, looking up a little.
"You're young to have
made Lt. Commander. Your parents must be very proud," Tom said to her.
She was a remarkable pilot and her grasp of
Temporal Mechanics was far beyond his.
"I never knew my father. He died before I was born," she replied quietly, not
looking at him.
"I'm sorry," Tom apologized. He recognized the pain, B'Elanna was still haunted by her father's desertion.
"Your mother must be very happy with your accomplishments."
She turned to him, now. There was a heart wrenching sadness
about her as she spoke.
"My mother loved me very much. She was proud of me in whatever I did, but.... I don't think I ever saw her
truly happy until the day she died, Mr. Paris."
"Tell me.... how is it someone so young is test piloting a prototype?"
Chakotay asked her.
"Hell, I'm the best pilot you could have," she flashed the Commander a brazen smile with the arrogant
In the back of the ship Harry began to choke on the cup of coffee he was drinking.
Tom frowned. Why
did that sound so familiar? Losing the thought, he turned to the sputtering Ensign.
"You okay?" he asked. Harry didn't
reply. He was looking at Isobel as if she had sprouted wings.
"Harry! You, okay?" Tom tried again.
fine. I guess inhaling this stuff is the wrong way to go."
"B'Elanna. I can give you a pain reliever,
it will help relax you." The Doctor told her. After 30 hours of labor she was still nowhere near delivery.
women do not take pain medication in childbirth, Doctor...," B'Elanna stopped momentarily to ride the contraction through,
taking short breaths and squeezing Seven's hand to help her through it. "We're much stronger than that."
your human half could take the medication, then," Seven suggested in a pained voice as B'Elanna released her hand. When B'Elanna
shot her a look of annoyance, Seven continued, "Or, maybe, I will just take it."
"You're just being stubborn about
this Lieutenant," said the Doctor. "There is nothing shameful in getting pain relief in childbirth. You could be at this for
another full day, you will exhaust yourself if you continue like this."
"I can handle this Doctor, thank you." She
had made up her mind.
"Very well. You may continue to labor here in you quarters, if you like. As long as you wear
the fetal monitor at all times. Understood?" He would rather she stayed here, she would be more comfortable and he would be
out of her line of fire.
"I won't take it off, I promise. Is there any word from the shuttle?" she asked.
not yet. I'm sure the captain will let you know as soon as we hear from them." The Doctor's gaze met Seven's over B'Elanna's
head. Seven interpreted the situation correctly.
"I have no doubt Ensign Paris will be here for the birth of his daughter.
He has talked of nothing else for the last two months," Seven told her.
"You two are the worst liars
on board this ship. You know that, don't you?" If B'Elanna weren't so worried, she would have laughed at their expressions.
Turning to Seven she said, "Get your Borg butt back down to Astrometrics and see if they've found anything."
Harry walked into the aft of the timeship where Isobel was working once again; she was intent on her calculations.
The others were still trying to get navigation and helm control back on line; it would give him the opportunity to talk to
her. He saw a picture of a man holding Isobel in his arms fastened to her workstation.
"Is this your husband?" He'd
noticed the wedding band on her left hand earlier.
"Yes, that's Lucas," she replied with a small smile.
her mind called, almost automatically.
There was no answer of course. He hadn't been born yet. He was a couple of
months younger than her, and she hadn't been born yet. It was disconcerting though. Her head may have understood the silence,
but her heart didn't.
"I see Will Riker finally married that Betazoid councilor of his."
Lucas Riker was the
very image of his father. The only visible genetic concessions to his mother were the piercing jet black eyes. They were a
mark of his Betazoid heritage. Harry Kim was a smart man, she should have been more careful. The picture should have been
"I really can't..."
"How long have you been married? Was B'Elanna still alive to see it? Did I give
away the bride?" Harry pinned her with a sharp look, there was no getting around it. He had figured it out.
into a resigned smile that he knew all too well, she cocked her head to the side and spoke.
"When I was a little girl,
I could fool my mother, I could fool the captain, I could even fool Neelix, but I could never pull anything over
on you, Uncle Harry." She shook her head laughing derisively.
"The others don't see it, you know. I can't figure out
why not, you look just like the two of them. Tom doesn't even realize you're using his mother's name."
"It's my middle
name. It was the first one that came to mind when I realized what had happened. I knew if I used my first name it would be
She was violating the Temporal Prime Directive more with each word, but she didn't know what else to
do. From his expression, she didn't think he was going to drop this. With a sigh, she began to tell him.
we're in big trouble. I'm not supposed to be here. I was only supposed to travel 10 years backward, not 28, not to the Delta
Quadrant, and not to this date. It's my fault. Kahless, it's all my fault." She struck the edge of the panel in frustration.
There were tears in her eyes as she looked up at him.
"What's your fault?" He was confused.
died the day I was born," she told him, voice shaking. "This day, in a temporal anomaly. Voyager never figured out what happened.
The rest of you barely made it back to the ship alive. I must be the cause of the anomaly. There's no other explanation. It's
my fault. When I entered the temporal stream I was wishing I could go back and prevent my father's death, thinking how wonderful
it would have been to grow up with him and my mother still together. When the computer asked the destination date, I must
have given this one. I don't remember doing it, but I must have."
"How did you end up in the Delta Quadrant?" Harry
didn't believe a simple miss entered date could have created this paradox. Something more was at work here. There was definitely
some type of intelligence here, too. Not just a coincidence.
"I don't know," she replied, thinking fast and furiously.
"What if Crusher's Theory of Time and Space is correct? What if 'thought' is part of it? What if my thoughts created
this paradox?" It was a stretch, but it was all she had. "You came to see me last night. It was late. We were just finishing
up the last of the temporal calculations. You weren't making a whole lot of sense, talking about paradoxes and such. I thought
you were just being over protective. I didn't understand what you were trying to tell me...."
Before and after....
K'Leena and Lucas worked side by side in the small timeship, making
sure all the last minute preparations were done properly.
She could feel his unease.
"I don't suppose I could
get you to reconsider?" he asked quietly.
She chuckled. "It's a little late for that, don't you think?"
you don't have to do this, K'Leena."
Stopping her calculations, she glanced up at his concerned expression.
want to do this, Lucas," she stressed. "I want to be the first. Just like he was."
"Is that what this is?"
he demanded. "You proving yourself to a dead man?"
"No! This is about me and what I want!"
Her eyes flashed dangerously. He may be her husband, but this was her life and her career.
Lucas' jaw clenched
with the effort to hold back his anger.
"Permission to come aboard, Commander?" a voice from the hatch interrupted.
"Uncle Harry!" K'Leena jumped up, relieved at the intrusion. She hugged him fiercely. "I didn't expect to see you
"I wanted to talk to you, alone." Harry tossed Lucas an apologetic look. "Nothing personal, Lucas.
I just need to speak to K'Leena."
"No problem. We were just about done here anyway." Turning to his wife he continued,
"I'll meet you back in our quarters, okay?"
"I'll be there as soon as Uncle Harry and I are done." She held on to
his hand briefly as he passed by her.
I won't be long.
"What's the matter, Uncle Harry? Is Aunt Ani
"Yes, she's just fine. She sends her love. I needed to talk to you about tomorrow's time jump." He sat
down in the co-pilot's chair as K'Leena took her seat.
"What about it?" she asked, he was so serious.
want you to think about your actions tomorrow. Double check and make sure everything goes as planned, okay? Temporal Mechanics
can be a messy thing to deal with. Small mistakes can result in huge consequences. Paradoxes destroy lives, K'Leena."
know that, I'm not going to take any reckless chances. I'll be careful, I promise," she reassured him. He worried about her
so much, especially since her mother's death.
Harry looked at her sadly. She didn't understand, and he couldn't tell
her. It was all going to happen again.
"Remember one thing for me, okay?"
"A paradox can't
exist outside its circle of time." He was so intense he was starting to frighten her. She nodded slowly. She would remember.
K'Leena entered her quarters, the conversation with her uncle weighing heavily on her mind. Lucas looked
up from the PADD he was reading. He sensed her thoughts immediately, feeling her distress. His mind touched hers.
He stood up and she moved into his arms. She didn't want to think about it anymore. She just wanted to be with him.
"It's nothing," she reassured him. "Just an overprotective uncle. He worries too much since Momma died."
got good reason to be worried," he reminded her. "Jumping around in time is dangerous."
K'Leena groaned silently.
Not again. He was like a dog with a bone lately.
"No!" he shouted. "Don't tell me everything will
be all right! I have a bad feeling about this, K'Leena. I don't think you know what you're getting into!"
simple time jump. I'll return seconds after I leave. What could go wrong?"
"Anything! Everything!" he raged, pacing
across the room. "You don't know what could go wrong. That's the problem! I don't want to lose you, 'Leena!"
walked over to where he was standing. Placing a hand over his heart, she reached up to kiss him.
"You won't," she
told him. "Of one heart, remember? Not even the gods...."
"Can stop the beat of a Klingon Heart," he whispered back.
"Not even across time and space. You belong to me and I belong to you...for all eternity. You can't
lose me, Lucas."
Leaning down, he pressed his forehead to hers.
"Then why am I so scared?" he asked.
a lithe move, he picked up her petite form, and carried her to their bed.
He made love to her slowly, sweetly, until
their minds and bodies joined so completely he wasn't sure where he ended and she began. It still had the power to take his
breath away, this bond they shared, even after seven years of marriage.
He didn't think it would ever change. He hoped
not, anyway. He didn't know what he would do without her. She was everything to him.
He lay awake long after she fell
asleep, stroking her hair as she lay sprawled across him, praying to any gods that would listen for her safety.
Now the end begins....
"Hey, guys. I think I know how to get
us out of here," Tom poked he head through the doorway, interrupting Harry and Isobel. He was grinning ear to ear.
"No, it won't work. The Flyer will be severely damaged when we break free. If you lose helm control the ship will
be drawn in by the gravimetric eddies." Isobel was adamant, they had been arguing about this for fifteen minutes.
can handle it. You're not the only pilot around here." Tom was just as stubborn.
"I know you can." But you will
die doing it, and she knew she couldn't let that happen.
"If we don't do it this way you'll never get back to
your own time," Tom told her.
She knew that as well. That was the whole crux of the matter. Her time. It wasn't the
timeline that was supposed to be. Her selfishness had altered history. She was at fault. It was she who needed to repair the
damage that was done.
"Maybe I'm not supposed to."
The others stopped what they were doing to look at her.
She faced Harry with a determined expression.
"Harry, how did this paradox occur?"
It was almost a rhetorical
question, but he answered anyway.
"An event in time was caused by the actions of a future event to prevent it from happening," he told her.
will it cease to exist?" she asked him.
"When it completes the cycle of time." Understanding was dawning.
the hell are you talking about?" Tom never did have a good grasp of temporal mechanics. Chakotay and Neelix didn't look like
they understood the conversation any more than he did.
Isobel and Harry stayed locked in the gaze, it was so clear
now. This is what he had been trying to tell her, when he came to visit last night. He had known what was to come. He had
been trying to warn her. She turned to face her father. A sad smile pulled at the corners of her mouth.
Recognize authorization...K'Leena Paris-Riker: epsilon-alpha-0-1-0."
Tom's head snapped back in shock. Two pair of
identical blue eyes met and held. Before he was able to get a word out she continued.
Auto-destruct sequence, ten minute silent countdown. Engage."
--Confirmed Auto-destruct engaged--
you doing?" Tom stared at her in horror.
"What needs to be done," she told him sadly. "Go, you don't have much time."
Nobody moved. It was an almost comical tableau. Neelix and Chakotay exchanged shocked looks. Harry watched his friend
as he tried to take in what had just happened.
Tom was reeling. K'Leena. His daughter. Looking at her with new eyes
he wondered how he had missed it. She was B'Elanna and him from head to toe.
"You're doing this for me, aren't you?
You said your father died before you were born. I must have died today," he realized.
Squaring his shoulder he faced
K'Leena, "I won't let you do this. You are not going to sacrifice your life for mine. I'm already dead."
have a choice." Tom knew that look. He'd seen it in the mirror a million times.
"Don't do this, K'Leena! I couldn't
live with myself, knowing I was the cause of your death." he pleaded.
"Neither can I. You don't get it. I have to
do this. I'm the one who created the paradox. I have to return the timeline to its proper destiny. It can only be this way.
I know you don't understand it. I wish I had time to explain, but I don't. Go, please, all of you." She smiled at Chakotay
and Neelix, gesturing to the open airlock.
They returned the sad grin and silently left. Harry paused before leaving.
His heart constricted painfully for his best friend.
"Tom...," Harry said softly.
"I'm not leaving, Harry,"
he ground out between gritted teeth. Harry nodded and ducked through the airlock, then, leaving the pair.
the auto-destruct," Tom demanded.
"No," K'Leena refused, squaring her shoulders.
"I'm not moving. If
the ship goes, you'll end up killing me." Tom dug his heels in as well.
"I don't have time to argue with you about
Temporal Mechanics!" she yelled, the command tone of her voice startled him slightly. "You don't understand what's at
stake here! This has to happen! I'm giving you a direct order, Ensign. Get off my ship! NOW!"
Their eyes locked and
battled as the computer silently ticked down. Tom knew he was losing the fight.
"You do a pretty good Janeway, you
know," he said with a wry grin.
"Yeah," her voice softened with emotion, "I know. Aunt Kathryn taught me well. Go,
Daddy, we don't have time for this." She looked at him, her blue eyes pleading for understanding.
"Come with us then,
destroy the ship but come with us," Tom pleaded in desperation.
K'Leena shook her head, "I can't. I'm already there.
You have to believe me. I know what I'm doing. Please...trust me. It will all work out."
Tom looked at the woman who
was his daughter. She had such strength and conviction in her voice, she sounded like B'Elanna. Folding her in arms he hugged
her fiercely, tears gathering in his eyes.
"I hope so," was all he could manage. A second later he was heading through
"Seal the hatch, Harry. Neelix, bring the engines online. Full power to the shields, we're going to need
all the protection we can get," Chakotay commanded as Tom took his seat at the helm. He couldn't at any of them. He was too
caught up in his own misery.
"Wasn't sure you would leave," Harry said quietly.
"She ordered me off her ship,"
he replied laughing softly to himself.
K'Leena sealed the airlock and disengaged the timeship from the Delta Flyer.
She maneuvered the small ship toward the edge of the Innerfold layer. The Flyer was pulling away as far as the gravimetric
fields would allow. Tom was putting as much distance between the two ships as possible. They would need the force of the explosion
to set them free, but if they were too close it could destroy them as well.
"Today is a good day to die," she announced
to the empty ship.
Watching the auto-destruct count down the last few seconds, she thought of her father, her mother,
Lucas, the children she would never have.
Surprisingly it brought her peace.
didn't know if was the explosion, the resulting temporal displacement, or if her mind was just playing tricks on her, but
she thought she heard him reply. Across time and space the last thing she heard was his voice.
I will find you.
After it ends....
K'Leena Paris stepped off the
Timeship Continuity and was surrounded by her colleagues.
The time jump had been a complete success. There was lots
of cheering and yelling going on. Champagne was being sprayed and toasts were being made all around her.
She was the
first person in history to use Temporal Propulsion Drive.
"You didn't cause any paradoxes did you, Paris?"
turned to face the source of the gibe. The tall, tactical officer was insolently leaning against her ship. Kahless,
he was so annoying.
"What the hell are you doing here, Riker?" she snapped back. "I didn't invite you."
"Like I need your permission," Lucas snorted. "I just wanted to be around in case you managed to screw up the timeline,
and we ended up married or something."
She rolled her eyes.
"In your dreams, Lucas. You wouldn't know what to do with me if you had me."
Laughing, she glanced
over at her parents. Arm and arm they stood, watching her with pride. It always amazed her how young they still looked.
Paris name was going down in history once again. Tom Paris had been the first man in Starfleet to break the warp barrier.
It seemed fitting that his daughter should be the one to pioneer Temporal Drive.
Disengaging herself from the crowd,
she walked over to her parents. There was a strange glittering in her father's eyes. Tears? Was he crying?
What was it? Something wasn't right...or maybe something finally was? K'Leena couldn't quite grasp the
feeling that skirted the edges of her mind. Questioningly, she looked up at him.
"A paradox isn't a paradox...," Tom
began, and then she knew.
The timeline that she used to know had almost completely left her, but for that instant,
that span of a microsecond, she knew. With a gasp she looked into the blue eyes that were so familiar, so like her own, and
"Once the circle is complete."
It begins once again....
"Come on, B'Elanna...you have to push. I know you're tired, but you can't stop now." Tom was worried. This had gone
on far too long. She was exhausted.
After more than two days of laboring she wasn't going to have the strength to
finish it. Holding her upright he laced his fingers with hers as he saw the fetal monitor rise in prelude to the next contraction.
"I think I want that pain medication now," she told the Doctor in a weak voice.
"It's too late for that, the
baby is almost here. Just a few more pushes, B'Elanna. You can do it." The Doctor was concerned as well, he wasn't sure she
had anything left to push with.
"I can't.... I can't do it anymore," she told them. She was too tired, there was too
The contraction tore through her with devastating force. B'Elanna lost control of it rapidly. Her
head fell back on Tom's shoulder, if he hadn't been sitting behind her, holding her up, she would have collapsed. An agonized
moan escaped her lips. Tom felt tears prick the backs of his eyes. He couldn't watch her go through this anymore.
She's too tired," he said to the Doctor in a tone that brooked no argument.
Nodding in agreement he replied, "Get
the fetal transporter prepared."
Before he could leave his wife, Seven spoke.
"Weakling...what kind of a woman
are you?" she demanded in her most cold-hearted Borg voice.
Tom looked at her incredulously. What the hell was she
"You can't even give birth to your own child."
B'Elanna opened her eyes and looked at the other woman.
Seven saw the anger building. She continued to taunt the half-Klingon. Knowing B'Elanna would never forgive herself
for not being able to do this.
"So much for your superior Klingon strength." That did it, B'Elanna surged forward
ready to tear the Borg apart.
"Why you Borg b...aaahhhh...," she threw back her head and cried out as the contraction
Tom guided her hands to the backs of her knees, covered them with his own and helped her draw her legs
closer to her body.
"One thing at a time, love. You can kick Seven's ass after you've had the baby, okay?"
Tom looked up at Seven with silent thanks.
"Okay, as...soon...as I...have...this...baby...."
With every bit of strength she possessed, she pushed.
"That's it...you're doing great...come on, you
can do this," Tom encouraged.
"I know, it will be over soon...."
is all your fault...."
"no you don't...."
"Hold on, B'Elanna, stop pushing," the Doctor
"Don't push, sweetheart...breathe through it...dammit, B'Elanna, stop pushing or you'll tear...breathe...."
"One more time, now...PUSH!" the Doctor
A keening wail came from B'Elanna as she gave birth to her daughter. She felt an incredible rush of release
as the child slipped from her. Then all the tension left her body and she sagged back against Tom. He let go of her legs and
caught her as she fell in his arms.
"You did it," he whispered in her ear. B'Elanna turned her head and looked up
She just nodded in response, too exhausted to say to speak.
Tom kissed her gently on the lips and
whispered, "I love you."
He held her tenderly as they both watched the Doctor's assistant clamp and cut the umbilical
cord. B'Elanna felt heavy in his arms. He knew she was rapidly drifting. She stiffened and cried out softly as the placenta
"Congratulations, Tom and B'Elanna. She's beautiful," the Doctor said as his assistant placed the child
in her mother's arms.
"K'Leena Isobel Paris, welcome to Voyager." Tom said, looking down on his daughter.
stroked the baby's cheek, tears falling from her eyes. Red hair, who ever heard of a red headed Klingon? And there was no
denying she was a Klingon, she had B'Elanna's cranial ridges, maybe a little fainter but still there.
brushed the tears from her eyes as she viewed the three of them. She wondered if she would ever know what becoming a mother
was like. Feeling something of a voyeur, she moved away from the new family and headed out of Sickbay.
Harry was waiting
outside in the corridor, with the Captain, Chakotay, Neelix, and to Seven's surprise, Tuvok. She was tempted to ask who was
on the bridge, but decided against it.
"I thought it was the expectant father that stood outside the delivery room
doors?" she said to them with eyebrow raised.
As the captain asked her how everything went and how the new family
was, Harry took in Seven's appearance. She was dead on her feet. He didn't think he had ever seen her so worn out, and he
had seen her go a week without regeneration. This was different. She was drained emotionally as well as physically.
the captain's indignant look, he interrupted the interrogation and put his arm around Seven's waist.
"I think Seven
needs to get some rest, Captain. Perhaps the questions can wait for the Doctor to answer them." He led her away as the rest
of the senior staff stood in stunned silence.
Seven turned to him as they entered the turbolift. How did he known
what she needed?
"Thank you, Ensign."
"No problem. Deck 6," he instructed the computer.
cargo bay is on deck 8," she reminded him.
"Yes, I know. You don't need to regenerate. You need to sleep, and you're
not going to be able to do that in the cargo bay. The children are all playing in there right now, Samantha Wildman is with
them. I'm taking you to my quarters, you'll be able to rest and no one will disturb you."
Once again he thought how
inappropriate it was for Seven to be raising a family in a cargo bay. Tomorrow that would change. He was the chief of Ships
Operations, and would see to it himself. For now, however, she would sleep in his bed. So he would know she was resting.
short time later, dressed in a pair of Harry's pajamas Seven of Nine crawled into a bed for the first time in 22 years. As
the mattress and pillow came up and comforted her, she decided that it was a pleasant feeling, however irrelevant. Harry turned
out the light and took one last look at her. She seemed a whole lot younger than him at this moment.
she called out sleepily.
"Seven, when you're in my bed, I think you can call me Harry."
is it, Seven?"
"Don't forget to wake me. Lt. Torres still needs to...kick my ass," she told him.
he left her to her dreams, not knowing that he was playing a starring role in them tonight.
Before, after, then and now....
He watched the sleeping child.
So innocent. So full of promise. He would have to keep an eye on this one. It wasn't often one these mortal beings could best
"I saw that, you know," his mate said to him.
"Don't play the innocent omnipotent
with me," she replied. "You don't do it very well."