Disclaimer: Paramount owns the Star Trek Universe, We've just borrowing it for fun, not profit.
By Jan and Jo Monroe
Captain Janeway was looking for Tom Paris. He was not answering his combadge but he was listed on the computer as babysitting Naomi Wildmen. He was not in his quarters or in the Wildmen's. "Computer, where is Lt. Paris?"
"Holodeck 2" The computer quickly replied.
She entered the turbolift, Holodeck 2 She walked to the door and noticed that the program playing was labeled "Paris, Naomi 6." The Holodeck did not have a privacy lock. The Captain walked in and was greeted with the sounds of Naomi giggling. The only thing in the Holodeck was a scuttle with its door open.
"This dampeners keep us from being flung out of our seats when we re flying." The Captain heard Tom explain.
The Captain could not believe her ears. Tom was teaching a three year old to fly. "Mr. Paris," the Captain hurtled at him.
Tom jerked up straight, "Come on Naomi, the Captain wants us." Tom lead Naomi out of the scuttle. "Yes, Captain."
"I need you to lay in a new course, return Naomi to her mother and proceed immediately to the bridge."
"Sorry, Captain, but Wildmen is on duty in engineering, I could leave her with the Doc for a few minutes." Tom replied
"Fine. After the course correction come straight to my ready room." The Captain quickly left the holodeck.
Tom picked up Naomi, She asked, "Uncle Tommy, are we in trouble?"
The Captain heard her call him Uncle Tommy. * I wonder what that's all about? I'll have to ask him, because, she, herself had seen him take a punch at someone who called him Tommy just teasing him. *
"No, honey, We're not in any trouble, but I have to go the bridge so I'm going to leave you with Doc for a few minutes, just like the Captain said I should."
Tom had no problems dropping off Naomi at sickbay. The Doc had agreed to take her as long as he was back in about a half hour. The Doc had her on his lap reading the classic children's book "The Cat in the Hat."
Although the course corrections around the gravity well were complicated, Tom needed less than five minutes for the programing. He then proceeded to the ready room door but didn't. immediately signal the Captain. He took several deep breaths, gathering his courage to go and face his irate Captain.
Tom was back in the position that he had been in far too many times. * But he though it was behind him he had been really good for the last six-month* Standing before the Captain trying to explain his way out of trouble. The day had started out so well. It was Wednesday and he had been looking forward to his afternoon date. Two hours on the Holodeck with a scuttle simulator and his little co-pilot. The Captain had walked in on them and got all the wrong ideas.
"Exactly what were you thinking of teaching Naomi to fly. She's THREE years old. How dare you take her into a pretentiously dangerous situation like that? What if the safety had failed?" She paused just long enough to catch her breath and then went on without giving Tom a chance to respond. "I thought you had grown out of this type of reckless behavior."
"Captain, It's not what you think." Tom started
"What exactly was it than?" The Captain demanded.
"I think that I should start at the beginning. When Naomi was about three weeks old, the doc convinced Wildmen that I would be the perfect choice as a babysitter because of my medical training. I knew how to change a dipper and order formula from the replicater but that was about it. That day I had Holodeck time reserved. I'll admit that was started out by telling myself that I would just take her to a nice sea side park. I got there and I couldn't help my self. I pulled up a flight simulator than I told the computer to create an infant seat capable of class E maneuvers."
"Paris have you lost your mind, a baby along for class E maneuvers?" The Captain fumed.
"I've never taken her on any maneuvers above a class C. Ever!" Tom defended himself. "I just wanted the baby seat to be able to take almost any punishment, to keep her safe.
I strapped her in, she'd been crying and fussing, I didn't know what to do so I
thought that if I was flying that I would calm down and think of something. As soon as I started the scuttle, Naomi calmed right down and went to sleep." Tom paused. "I just did easy stuff, practice. After we recovered Voyager from the Kazons, the doc started to slide my name in as a scheduled babysitter. When ever I got hurt. I stared to reserve the Holodeck for the babysitting time. She loves to fly. Today, before you came in the simulator put in some minor systems failures. We had a bumpy ride. Naomi wanted to know why and then what the dampers did so I showed her. I have never let her touch a bottom on that simulator." Tom finished.
"Let me get this straight, you have been taking her flying every week since she was three weeks old?"
"Yes, Captain." Tom relied, "Every Wednesday, except when I was on an away mission or we were under attack."
"Does her mother know about this?"
Janeway hit her combadge, "Ensign Wildmen report to the Captain's ready room now."
"Captain's this is lieutenant Torres, ensign Wildmen is in a jefferies tube she can't leave anytime soon. Is there something wrong with Naomi?"
"No, but have her replaced and send her now," Janeway ordered.
"Yes, Captain, Torres out." B'Elanna ordered Martin to relieve Wildmen. *B' Elanna wondered what Tom had done now. She knew this was his time with Naomi.*
"Yes, lieutenant you sent for me." Samantha Wildmen reported to Torres.
"Yes. The Captain wants you in her ready room."
"Has something happened to Naomi?"
"No, she's fine. But something tells me that Lieutenant Paris is in trouble."
The door on the Captain's ready room chirped. "Come," the Captain ordered. "Wildmen did you know that lieutenant Paris has been taking Naomi with him in the shuttle simulation."
"No Captain but it sure explains a lot of things. Why she looked forward to her
"dates" with uncle Tommy. Her asking what parts of a ship are for. " At the look of
confusion on the Captain's face, she explained what she meant. "Naomi calls him Uncle Tommy, One day she asked what a nacelle was. I thought she had heard one of the crew talking about it."
The Captain looked at her. "He has been doing this since she was three weeks old."
"I don't think we need to worry, at least he isn't trying to teach her to ski," At the Captain's lost look, "He's broke four bones, got a concussion, and has encouraged B'Elanna to try. The flight simulator seems like a safer place for Naomi."
"Well, if as her mother you don't mind, but I'm not sure it's a good idea. She could get hurt." The Captain commented.
"Well Captain, she could get hurt, even get killed, at any time, look what happened when she was born. I knew when I signed on with Starfleet could be dangerous."
Captain Janeway was surprised by Wildmen's faith in Tom. *Tom, a responsible adult?* She thought *I'm have to ask about the Uncle Tommy* A difficult mental picture to envision.
"Captain, I know that you still have other issues to discuss with me, but I promised Doc that I would be back to pick up Naomi in about five minutes." Tom stated matter of factually.
"Fine, however, you are not to take her flying again until I have a chance to come with you." the Captain ordered.
"Yes, ma'am." Paris responded and promptly left.
"Are we in trouble?" Naomi asked when Tom picked her up from the sickbay. She hadn't been totally convinced on the holodeck.
"Not really, but we can't go flying again until the Captain can come with us. I'll try to get her to schedule us in next Wednesday. Sorry that this week was cut short."
"That's OK, uncle Tommy," Naomi replied, "everyone has to do what the Captain tells them to."
Later that same day B'Elanna Walked into her quarter. "Computer what is lieutenant Paris location?"
"Lt. Paris is in his quarters."
B'Elanna touched her combadge. "Torres to Paris."
"Paris, here." he quickly replied
"Could you come to my quarters?" she asked a little too nicely.
"Sure be right there."
A few minutes later the door to B'Elanna quarters chirped. "Come in." She called.
Tom walked over to her and slowly kissed her, "You wanted to see me?"
"What did you do to get into trouble this time?" she asked without warning.
"What makes you think I'm in trouble?"
"The Captain wanted Wildmen to come to her ready room."
"What does that have to do with me?" Tom turned on his most charming smile but she could see the underlying guilty.
B'Elanna knew that expression. It was Paris', hiding his emotions from the world face. "You look so guilty, So spill it helmboy."
"The Captain found out I was taking Naomi flying on Wednesdays. She went
ballistic that's all." Tom shrugged.
"I can see why." B'Elanna had turned to go to the replacater when the significance of what he was telling her hit her. She whirling around, "You did what with Naomi?"
"I took her flying."
"You actually took her out in a shuttle?" B'Elanna asked in disbelief.
"No, in the holodeck simulator. What is the big deal I've been doing it since she was a baby. Her mom said it was ok with her as long as I wasn't' t trying to teach her to ski. Wildmen seems to think that I'm a klutz."
"What was the Captain reaction to all this?"
"We can't go flying again until the Captain can come with us. I asked her to set aside 1500 to 1800 next Wednesday. Hopefully we can start going on our own after that." Tom told her
"Why are you babysitting Naomi?"
"I like it. She is the second person in my life that only cared about what I was doing right now, no past to live down, just the now. I started taking her flying when she was a month old, fun relaxing and she had a great time. She is the only person that calls me Tommy and I don't want to kill them."
"I always wondered why she called you Uncle Tommy." B'Elanna commented.
Tom sat on the couch and relaxed. "I knew that the flying might end soon any way. Naomi's starting to want to push buttons. She is so cute when she asks all her question about why I'm doing what I'm doing."
"Is she going to be the next chief helmsmen?" B'Elanna couldn't help asking as she tried to hide her laughter.
"No. Flying is fun but she is much more at home in the hydroponics bay. She loves to watch the plants grow and the pick the vegetables. We just have to teach her which plants need to be killed off, like the leola root." Tom told her with a straight face. B'Elanna collapsed onto the couch next to him in fits of laughter.
After enduring a week of teasing and baby jokes, Tom was setting in the Captain's ready room with Naomi setting on his lap. They were waiting for the Captain to complete reading a report before going to the Holodeck. Naomi was excited about being in the ready room. A forbidden place, like the bridge and engendering, potentially dangerous locations.
The door chirped, "Come" the Captain called. Chakotay entered.
"I need Mr. Paris to come to the bridge for a moment." Chakotay stated calmly. He was trying to hide his smile form the picture Tom the babysitter.
"Mr. Paris, go, I can read and watch her at the same time."
Tom and Chakotay left the ready room. Tom went to the helm, checked his readings and made a course correction. He checked the sensor again to review the effectiveness of the changes and was about to turn the helm over to his relief helmsmen when he heard Naomi start yelling. He quickly turned over the helm and walked to the ready room. The door opened to the sight of Naomi having a temper tantrum.
"Naomi Wildmen, What are you doing?" Tom asked her.
She didn't answer but Tom walked over to her, picked her up and set her in an empty corner.
"You know that tantrums are not allowed." He stated calmly. "You are going to set in this corner for three minutes so you can calm down and then think of an apology to the Captain for your actions."
"Aunt B'Elanna does it and no one makes her sit in a corner," Naomi stated mutinously.
"Aunt B'Elanna's behavior right now is not your concern, Your behavior is. Any more statements like that one and you will not be going flying later." Tom stated. "Computer set a timer for three minutes, signal every thirty seconds."
He than turn his attention to the Captain. "Sorry about that, she has only been doing that for the last three weeks. I think that one of the sitters is letting her manipulate them with tantrums."
He glanced around the room, catching sight of chakotay standing in the open
doorway. Both the Captain and Chakotay had a look of amazed respect on their faces. Tom Paris has stopped a child's temper tantrum and apologized for it. He was acting remarkably like a parent.
The Captain smiled faintly, "I understand. I still have more of this report to finish. Please be seated." She sat at her desk to finish the report.
Tom sat on the couch near Naomi.
Chokotay returned to the bridge. Still, shaking his head in amazement. Tom as a responsible adult was easier to picture but knowing a child's behaviors, and acting like a parent suddenly became easier that Chakotay has ever thought possible. The only sound in the room was the computer counting of the time remaining in Naomi's timeout.
The Captain laid down her pad just as the computer announced "No time remaining."
Tom went to the corner and picked up Naomi. "Do you know why you should apologize to the Captain?"
"Yes." Naomi sniffled, Tom carried her over to the Captain's desk and put her down on the floor. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have got mad because I didn't get my own way. Ma . . . Ma said you might not let uncle Tommy and me go flying anymore. You kept telling me later."
Janeway smiled. "Apology accepted. Well, lets go then." * I guess I forgot how
impatient children can be. *
They left the ready room on their way to the holodeck. Naomi held each of their hands while they walked soon she just picked her feet up. Tom looked down, stopped and reached down and he swung her up on his shoulders. "Sorry toots, forgot you have short legs."
"That's ok Uncle Tommy, I love you" She squeezed his neck.
When they got to the holodeck, Paris lowered Naomi to the floor. "Which program do you think the Captain would like to see?"
"Fifteen." She laughed.
"Fifteen it is," Paris Laughed * he wondered what the Captain would have to say about this one. The asteroids are the alphabet* "Ok Naomi you go on in the Captain and I will be right in. Remember, don't touch anything."
He turned to the Captain "This was work out based on one of her favorite books. "Cha, cha, boom, boom." She must tell me the letter before I hit it. Its set up like an astroid field."
"We better get in there before she decides to start without us," The Captain stated.
They entered, Naomi was already strapped into her rather impressively large
restraint seat ready to go.
"Why don't you tell the Captain what the rules are while I do pre-flight? " Tom
"I have to tell what the letter is, so we can save the ship from being damaged. If we don't damage the scuttle than I get to choose between a story, s'mores, a swim or eating gagh with Aunt B'Elanna."
The Captain looked at Tom questioningly. "Eating gagh?"
Tom shrugged, "She likes it. So Naomi what are we playing for today?"
"All of us having gagh with Aunt B'Elanna!" She said excitedly. She turned and
said, "Captain you can come to."
The Captain looked at her. "Why do you like gagh?"
"It tickles," Naomi giggled.
While they were talking, Tom had started and completed the standard pre-flight checks. "Now, Naomi, your pre-flights. Which side is starboard?" She pointed to the right. "Which way is port?" She pointed left. "Engaging engines." They started to move.
"Coming up on the asteroid field now," Tom announced. "Which way should I go?"
"Port," Naomi stated. They fell into an easy rhythm of Naomi watching the view screen and giving orders of how to connect the alphabet is order. She only made one mistake when she got to the letters "p" and "q." But when Tom asked she quickly corrected herself.
The Captain sat in her seat, softly laughing. If anyone had told her that Tom Paris would be using a scuttle craft to teach the alphabet to a three year old, she would have laughed them out of her office. But she was setting there watching the action. The changes in Tom were never so easy to see as right now. The cocky, arrogant jerk that she had meet in New Zealand had almost totally disappeared.
The trip thought the alphabet took almost an hour. Almost, an hour was
remaining on their holodeck time. "A trip to the sea or to the playground?" Tom asked.
The Captain answered, "The sea."
"Computer, end current program and start Paris treasure island, two." The scuttle disappeared and a coast line with gently swaying sea grass appeared. Near them appeared a beach bag. Tom grabbed it and started to walk towards the shore line. He picked a spot on the sand near the shoreline. "Anyone wants to build a sand castle with me?"
"ME." Naomi yelled.
Tom and Naomi dropped to the sand and started to discuss design. The Captain hung back for a moment but than joined to fun of playing in the sand. The beach bag had contained an assortment of beach toys that they used to build the castle. The time flew by, They had just finished the castle, complete with turrets, out buildings, and a moat when the computer announced it customary five minute warning.
"Arch" Tom ordered as he dusted sand off Naomi. He know the sand would disappear when they left the holodeck but old habits were hard to break.
The Captain turned to Tom, "Come to my ready room after you drop off Naomi."
"Yes, Captain," he acknowledged, taking Naomi's hand and walking toward the turbo lift.
The Captain walked onto the bridge, catching Chakotay eyes and walked to her ready room, he followed her in.
"Kathryn, I have to know. What did he do down there?"
She started telling him about her afternoon. A scuttle based alphabet lesson and a design lesson in sand. During her description of the day, he lost a valiant attempt not to laugh.
"Who would have thought that Tom Paris would be a closet teacher?" He asked.
"I would never have dreamed it but I saw it. I still have to decide about the flying. It was educational but I really don't know about her being exposed to the scuttle craft."
"I would say let it stay the way it is for now with the firm understanding that he is not to show her any of the controls. Maybe a stern discussion about the dangers of pushing buttons without knowing what they will do." Chakotay suggested.
She sighed, "I'm leaning in that direction. By the way, I've been invited to eat Gagh."
"Gagh?"Chakotay looked as surprised as he was.
"Her choice of treats for going thought the alphabets."
"But, Gagh?" Chakotay grimaced.
"Tom offered her swimming, s'mores, stories or Gagh, and she picked Gagh. Your right I can do without it," Janeway laughed.
"You could always be busy," Chakotay laughed.
"Oh no! She told me that Lieutenant Paris couldn't because he was allergic to it. But that mama made her eat in the mess hall with everyone else most of the time. She asked me if I could teach Neelix to cook better." They both were laughing so hard they didn't hear Tom enter the room.
"Sorry sir. I heard something I thought you wanted me to come in?"
"That's fine LT. come on in. I was telling Chakotay about my afternoon with Naomi." Tom thought it must be ok or they wouldn't be laughing. "I'm glad you enjoyed yourself anytime you want to join us, feel free." He hoped she wouldn't, but what could he do but offer.*
"Paris you may continue with the simulator as long as you follow a few rules. Naomi is not to touch the buttons or are you to tell her what they are for. Do you understand? "
"Yes, ma'am" Tom was happy he started to leave.
"Come back here, Mr. Paris." Janeway ordered.
"You will also give her a lecture on why she can't touch them, understood?"
"Yes, ma'am. By the way, I talked to B'Elanna about the invitation to dinner. She said tomorrow would be fine both her and ensign Wildmen are free. We thought of eating at 1600." Tom told her.
"Why so early?" The Captain asked.
"Naomi has to go to bed at 1900."
"Tell her I'll be there." The Captain said. "Mr. Paris, What other programs are you planning after she can run the alphabets without help?"
"I have a number program we just started but she wanted to show off today. I'll have to check the educational data base for the next one. I don't know off hand what sequence of instruction is recommended." Tom answered honestly.
"I would like you to save those programs, we might need them again someday. I am going to give Naomi holodeck time for educational programs only. Do you have any other programs that are specifically educational?"
"Yes. Colors, numbers, shapes."
"Save those programs and make them available to the crew. Thank you for this afternoon, You can go and inform the Wildmen's of my decision."
Tom smiled a real smile and left
The next evening the Captain walked into the mess hall to meet her dinner companions. She was not surprised to see Chakotay setting at a table near Tom, B'Elanna, Samantha and Naomi. He had a smirk on his face, which said, *I'm just waiting for the show to begin. *
She walked over to her group and took her seat. Naomi had a bowl in front of her that had what looked like six worms crawling in it. She picked up one and put it in her month, giggling the whole time. The adults around her faintly shuddered at the sight of her putting the slimy food into her month.
"What does it taste like?" The Captain asked.
"Uncle Neelix's leola root and onions casserole." Naomi told her.
The Captain cut off a very small piece of gagh and tasted it. It was all she could do to swallow it and not be ill at the table. "Interesting taste." Was her only comment. She could hear Chakotay softly laughing at the next table. She couldn't really hold it against him.