Author: Jan Monroe
Series: Voy, Design Team 6
Codes: P/T, K/7 Hints of JC
Summary: Starfleet loves Voyager's new engines but doesn't want to live up to Harry's bargain.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns the Star Trek Universe. I own my story. I just took the characters just play for fun, not for profit.
Thanks: I have several thank you I need to make. My beta readers, Lesa and Summer, who have been wonderfull about helping me. A special thank you goes out the PJ in NH. She makes sure that my stories are readable.
Warning: It has one scene that is very PG but it's not too graphic.
Is this any way to welcome home a hero?
Copyright by Jan Monroe 1998
The security personnel that met Voyager at space dock were not there just to deliver the orders but to keep the Voyager crew from leaving. Security seemed to think that Voyager's crew was not to be trusted.
"Captain, we need to debrief your crew before they leave," the Lieutenant Commander stated.
"I understand that, I just want to know when we can plan the homecomings and notify our families. We have been gone a long time and want to go home," the Captain stated.
"We believe that three days will be enough time for the debriefing. You can make any plans you wish for after that." The unidentified security officers tried to placate them.
"So, if I call down to headquarters now, I can set-up the celebrations for Friday?" Janeway pressed, wanting a firm commitment.
"Yes," was the only answer.
"How do you want to do the debriefings. We were just going to point out that the engines are classified and the official story is an unstable wormhole," Janeway commented.
"We want them to understand that but also, they need to know about the Dominion and our war with them. The situation with your Maquis and Tom Paris should not be any problem, we will take them into custody as soon as possible."
"You will not take anyone into custody. We have a contract with High Command. No one is going to arrest any of my crew." She was furious. How dare those people threaten her.
"My orders are..."
Janeway interrupted him, "I don't care, you are not going to arrest any of my crew."
"You have been out of the loop a long time, I have to follow my orders."
Janeway paused, "I want to speak to your superior officer."
"That would be Admiral Islan, ma'am."
Janeway tapped her commbadge and called to the OPS officer, "I want to speak to an Admiral Islan."
"Yes, Captain." There was a pause as the ensign made the connections, "Admiral Islan is ready, patching him through."
She waited for the signal. "This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the starship Voyager. I have a lieutenant commander here who is threatening to arrest members of my crew."
"Captain, we are just trying to make your life easier by removing your prisoners," the admiral stated.
"No, you are not. We have a deal with Admiral Smyth, signed by the President of the Federation. No one is going to arrest any of my crew," Janeway stated.
"Yes, I heard about that deal, but since they haven't finished the project, then the deal is off."
"No, they have finished the design. You have no jurisdiction under this agreement," Janeway stated.
"I don't believe you but if that is how you want to play it then fine, We'll discuss this with Smyth. No matter what he says, I'm still going to take the Borg," Islan stated.
"No, you are not. I refuse to allow her to spending any time with security before the contract is verified. She has a job to do on the design team. You have to schedule times when she has time to have discussions with you. She will also have a someone else with her during these discussions," Janeway was firm, no one was going to mess with Seven without someone there to help protect her from manipulation.
"The contract you hold so dear, gives me the right to the Borg, designation, Seven of Nine," blasted the angry voice over the commbadge.
"Her name changed before the contract was signed. The old designation is not applicable," she hoped.
"I want her," the admiral yelled.
"No, she is not a prop or war booty. She is a person with rights." Janeway was adamant. She knew that she would have to fight this fight but she had hoped to get the rest of the crew taken care of first.
"Commander, disregard the Captain's orders, find the Borg and bring her back," the admiral ordered.
Janeway tapped her commbadge and called to Chakotay, "They are trying to take the Borg, you know what to do."
"Yes, Ma'am," Chakotay replied, breaking off communications. The plan was simple, they were going to turn off the internal sensors and have Seven remove her commbadge. Seven was then to use the Jefferies tubes to make her way to the quarters that she shared with Harry. Her name had been removed from the housing assignments in the computer.
This simple plan was just a stalling tactic. Janeway was planning to contact Admiral Smyth. Smyth wasn't going to let a member of his design team to be taken away to disappear into the hidden recesses of security. Less than five minutes later, Janeway's commbadge beeped.
"Chakotay to Janeway."
"I found Admiral Smyth. He is on the space dock and his aide said that they will be boarding Voyager within the hour." Chakotay reported. He wasn't thrilled that Starfleet Command had become the enemy, again. He had known that many in command had thought the design assignment was too big, and no one could finish it in time to fulfil the contract. But the design team, with a little help, had finished it. They had contacted Smyth before Voyager had even entered the system. He was taking his time getting to Voyager.
"Have Tom set-up the main conference room for the design presentation. Don't forget to post the security officers on the conference room door. I suggest that Harry take lunch in about a half hour, so he can help Tom with the presentation." The Captain was careful about what she didn't say. Harry would give his commbadge to Seven, he would beep the bridge and they would turn on the internal sensors. Harry would then ask for a site-to-site transport. Seven would be transported to the conference room. When Tom had devised this plan, the others, including herself had thought that it was a farce. She at least never thought that she would have to hide Seven from Security.
The security officers on the door were ordered that only specific people were allowed into the conference room due to the nature of the project. Everyone on Voyager knew about the new design but only six people on the whole ship knew all the details and no one else was to know. The new class had been nicknamed the "Freedom Class" because it would set so many people free.
Janeway met Smyth and his party at the airlock. "Welcome aboard, gentlemen." She noticed that the party included The Attorney General, a high ranking senator, two other admirals, including Owen Paris, and a group of lieutenant commanders who were aides--she thought.
"Voyager's log makes it sound like you had an interesting trip." Smyth commented, making small talk.
"As one of my crew would say, 'it's been one heck of a ride,'" Janeway replied, starting to move the group toward the turbolifts. "I know that you may think that we are rushing you but the design team is setting up for the presentation as we speak. They would like to start this meeting as soon as possible. Who will be attending this meeting?"
"Our aides will not be attending," Smyth stated.
Janeway smiled. She tapped her commbadge, "Janeway to Neelix."
"Neelix here," he sounded as jovial as ever.
"I need a guide for a ship tour. They can see everything but Engineering. We are at turbolift 2," Janeway informed him.
"On my way," Neelix stated.
"Gentlemen, your guide for this afternoon will be Neelix our ship's cook and moral officer. My only suggestion is if he tries to feed you, take very small bits," Janeway commented. She was concerned that Admiral Paris was included in the group. "Admiral Paris, I didn't think that you would be included in this project. As I understand the contract, you were specifically asked not to be included in any of the design team's projects."
"Kathryn, you know that the contract isn't valid. No one can design ships that fast. I'm just here to watch them fall on their face," Owen Paris stated.
"Sorry, but the contract is valid. My design team is the best, they spent three weeks on the project full time. The designs are done," Janeway stated. She didn't realize that to these bureaucrats, three weeks was less than one percent of the time needed to design a new class of ships.
"You have got to be kidding, no one could design a ship to those specs in just three weeks," Smyth waded in.
"No, they changed the specs. According to them, the specs weren't advanced enough," Janeway stated, enjoying the shock on the officials' faces.
"What wasn't good enough?" The Attorney General asked.
"Almost everything, the simplest was sickbay. Tom doubled its size, added Paris-Seven II biobeds, and an after-care unit of battle injuries. Tom stated that a rapid assault craft spends as much time picking up the wounded as dropping off the replacements. He wanted a sickbay big enough to handle the load." She could talk about the size of sickbay because it was not classified.
"What are Paris-Seven biobeds?" Admiral Paris asked.
"Dr. Paris and Seven developed the first biobed for sickbay. Our EMH still had the prototype Paris-Seven bed. He wants them to build him a new P-S II but the team has been too busy. It is a biobed that is equipped with a much better stasis unit that allows seriously injured people to be put in stasis as long as is needed to get medical help. The old beds would allow limited stasis only, less than 24 hours. This version is unlimited." Janeway explained.
"I didn't know you had a Dr. Paris on board. Anyone that I would know?" Owen asked.
"Your son, Tom, is now a doctor. He worked hard studying, with his duty assignments in sickbay and on the bridge," Janeway was proud of Tom's accomplishment, "he went well beyond the call of duty."
"Are you going to ask for him as you ship' doctor for your next cruise?" the admiral sniped, snidely implying that Voyager and her crew were somehow not good enough to have a mission.
"I couldn't have him. He is Smyth's for the next two years but after that, I want the entire design team back," she stated.
Smyth was not pleased to hear that she wanted the design team back. While Voyager had been making its way home, he had given similar specs to a team on Earth with the technical information from the Kes. They hadn't even finished redesigning the interior. If the design team was any closer to completion, he was ready to approve the contract as fulfilled. Smyth jumped in again, "Could you tell us about the design team?"
"The design team consists of four members. Lieutenant Thomas Paris. Tom, is the defacto leader and a full medical doctor, as well as one of the best pilots in Starfleet. Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres is the chief engineer and can make any engine purr like new with time and a few spare parts. Ensign Harry Kim is Voyager's OPS officer. Seven operates Astrometrics and is an expert on Borg technology. Separately, they are good officers, however together they work magic," Janeway stated.
Neelix arrived at the turbolift where the officers were waiting. "Gentlemen, let's start with a tour of sickbay. Doc would love to meet you." Neelix lead off his group and started in on a story about the Demon Planet.
The group left with the Captain was much smaller, only six members. They entered the lift and she gave the location to the lift. No one spoke.
They were not surprised to see the security officer at the door. The filed in and took their seats. Admiral Paris was still with the group and nothing short of insubordination could stop him from staying. Tom was the first person to see him. Tom wasn't sure why HE was here but that wasn't going to make him make mistakes. Tom admitted that he would have to deal with him but not at this meeting. After the dignitaries were seated, Tom began the presentation.
"I would like to introduce you to Starfleet's newest rapid assault craft. We have tentatively named it the 'Freedom Class.' It's range is. . ." Tom talked for about an hour. He gave all the generalities about the design. Size, range, weapons capacity, manpower requirements, and many other statistics. He seemed to hold his audience in the palm of his hand. He turned the meeting over to Harry to talk about the specifics of operations, weapons and astrometrics. Truthfully, Seven should have done the astrometrics but she was shaking so much that Harry had told her he would do it. He spoke for another hour. Harry turned the meeting over to B'Elanna for the power and engine information. She spoke for almost two hours since she had to explain in simple language what slipstream was and how it worked.
Janeway had listened to the entire meeting and finally signaled to B'Elanna to turn it back over to Tom for a wrap-up. Tom suggested that they adjourn for two hours for dinner and some rest before continuing.
Admiral Paris interrupted at that point, "How did you get all this done is such a short time?"
"We worked at it. We have always worked well together and that translates to increased speed," Tom explained, he knew that his father was just throwing up road blocks. Before they could lock horn anymore Tom's commbadge chirped.
"EMH to Paris."
"Paris," Tom acknowledged.
"Naomi is hurt. I need you down here." Doc stated emphatically, Tom could hear Naomi crying in the background.
"On my way," Tom told Doc. "Gentlemen, I have other duties to attend to. I have to leave."
Tom was out the door before anyone could object.
Janeway stood up, "Harry, Seven, B'Elanna, do any of you have anything that you need to add?"
The each answered no in turn.
She turned to dignitaries, "If you have no questions, I suggest that we go to the mess hall and have dinner. Tom's duties shouldn't take that long." They started towards the promised dinner.
Admiral Paris grabbed Janeway before she could exit, "Is Tom always this casual about his duties?"
"Naomi is six years old. Tom has been apart of her life since she was three weeks old. He babysat her, taught her how to build sand castles, and the alphabet. His priorities are simple. If the choice is an adult or a child, the child wins." Janeway wasn't concerned. Naomi wanted "Uncle Tommy" whenever she was hurt.
Dinner wasn't as bad as the Captain had feared. No one else was in the mess hall so they had the place to themselves. The Captain ordered her favorite meal with a double cappuccino. Extra caffeine was exactly what she needed to keep awake for the rest of the evening.
Harry and Seven sat at the large family table with B'Elanna, as far from Admiral Paris as they could get. Smyth went over and sat with the design team. "How far do you have to go to finish?"
"It's done. Quent approved the specs and we designed the Freedom from those specs," Harry stated.
"I have to ask, why did you change the specs so much?"
"Safety and speed. The ship goes so fast that we had to make everything else work with the speed. It main defense is that it is so fast, it is a surprise vessel. It makes sense that we should make the rest of the craft support that speed," Harry wasn't really surprised that question was asked. B'Elanna and Seven suddenly became very interested in their dinner, not wanted to answer questions.
Smyth looked at three-fourths of the design team, "How do you work together?"
Harry smiled and kicked B'Elanna under the table. She yelped but started talking, "We are good friends, we know our areas of expertise and we respect the other team members' abilities."
"How did you get started designing the Kes?" Smyth asked. He knew that they had to have a story.
"Actually, it started in this room. Harry asked what he must have thought was a rhetorical question, 'why can't we build a shuttle that travels at slipstream?' . . . B'Elanna started. Harry and Seven both jumped in when they thought that she left an important bit out. They did not even notice that the room had suddenly became quiet as the others listened. They tried not to mention Nick in the telling, but Janeway prompted them to include him and some of the funny details that the team would rather of not included.
During the telling, Tom had came in, sat next B'Elanna and started eating. At the end of the story, while most of the group was laughing, one of the admirals spoke up for the first time, "When was the biobed tested?" Tom told that story.
The impromptu questions and answer secession last another three hours. Afterwards, the Voyager crew members were invited to leave.
The delegation's problems were now more complicated than when they arrived. The public relations aspects of the contract were going to be a nightmare. They were going to let traitors go under this contract and then invite them into Starfleet. Many people in the government would object. The other problems was the Borg. She wasn't controlled in anyway. Janeway had control of her, maybe. They still hadn't meet her but they were looking forward to it. They had sat in a room with her for nine hours and hadn't even realized it. Janeway seemed to want the design team to return after the contracted two years, so since they could request and be transferred back to the fleet, the design team may only be a short-lived phenomenon.
The designs were another stumbling point. Starfleet's plan was to listen politely, declare the plans incomplete, nullify the contract, and renegotiate. Even the most diehard officer had to admit that the design that they requested were done. If fact the design they received was much better than they had a right to expect. They had surpassed every one of the specs. It was impossible to declare the designs flawed when the craft was better than the Fleet's specs and more advanced than even the most theoretical crafts on the drawing board.
Now the big question was could they live with the contract. Unfortunately, the Federation had no choice, the design team had fulfilled their end of the contract. The Federation could only swallow hard, smile and pretend that the heros' welcome that the Maquis would receive was their idea.
Admiral Paris took this extremely hard. The Maquis were traitors but they wouldn't pay for it. They had fired at Federation vessels and Tom was going to help them get off. The Admiral didn't care why Tom was willing to work at designing for two years. That Tom could have destroyed the contract by refusing to work on the project. It make the admiral feel like his son was once again a traitor to the Federation.
Janeway asked after they left the mess hall, "What happened to Naomi?"
"She was showing off and jumped off the end of the couch. She caught her foot and literally fell on her face." Tom told the Captain. Tom didn't have any ethical problems with telling the Captain about Naomi's latest adventure. Naomi would be telling everyone about her "achy" tomorrow. She had been getting more and more reckless since they had increased speed toward the Alpha Quadrant. The Alpha Quadrant meant home to the adults but to her, it was destroying her world. Everyone was going off in their own direction, leaving just her and mom. Wildman would need to take Naomi to a good child sociologist to deal with her adjustment problems. "She will need help adjusting."
"She isn't the only one. I have had a few thoughts of the good old days in Delta Quadrant where I only had to fight the Borg," Janeway laughed.
Harry looked over at Seven, she looked to be asleep on her feet. Harry started, "I'm going back to my quarters and go to bed."
Tom looked at the chronometer, "The last time I had a 20-hour day. . . I don't remember the last time I had a 20-hour day. Harry's suggestion of sleep sounds like a good one."
While Seven and Harry were walking towards their quarters, two security officers stopped them, "Have you seen a Borg?"
"No, I haven't seen a Borg since the Delta Quadrant," Harry answered.
"Thank you sir," they left without even questioning Seven. They didn't even recognize her as being a former Borg.
The homecoming for Voyager's crew wasn't just family, but the press from many different worlds sent reporters to document all the events. Chakotay wasn't surprised to see so many people, just that more than half of them were reporters rather than family members.
The Federation had released a carefully written press release giving the amnesty to the Voyager's Maquis. That was the only part of the contract that ever became public knowledge. Their career choices were not made public, neither was the design team. The press release only stated that because of their valuable service to Voyager, they had redeemed their past crimes.
The families had received messages the day after Voyager had made contact with the first Federation ship. They had fourteen days notice of Voyager's arrival to prepare. Janeway was apprehensive about taking Seven into that crush of people but Seven was determined. She would hang onto Harry and everything would be all right.
The Captain and Lena hadn't been as hopeful. They had arranged for Lena and her family to stay at the same place as Harry's parents. They had even arranged a room for Tom and B'Elanna there, just in case Seven needed medical intervention. They had asked Tom about the arrangements. He had approved and then replicated several sedatives and medication for anxiety attacks and placed them in his medical bag. He also checked the power supplies on his instruments, just in case.
Tom knew that his farther would be at the celebration, even though he hadn't said anything to Tom except to try and derail the design. Tom was looking forward to meeting his nieces and nephew. They had sounded like regular kids from his sisters last message. He was also sure that his Mother and sisters would love B'Elanna as soon as they met her. They would love the only woman that could keep him in line. He had slightly nightmarish visions of all the women in his life ganging up on him, now they were going to meet and get the chance.
Tom was excited but he wasn't about to admit it to anyone. He had the part of the family back that mattered, his mom and sisters. They had called and stated that they would be there to welcome him home. Tom had even invited Doc down to meet the family. Tom had exacted a promise that Doc would not talk about all time he spent as a patient rather than a helper. No need to worry them about his old recklessness, he had finally out grown it.
The final leg of the trip was the most nerve wrecking. The crew was being met by the Starfleet top brass and the president of the Federation of Planets. They would also get to meet family members privately for about an hour before the party started. The luggage was forwarded to the specified hotels. Tom didn't like letting his medical bag out of his sight but had to. He had slipped a mild sedative into his pocket, just in case the party overwhelmed Seven. He had hinted to Harry that maybe they should volunteer to watch the boys for a few hours in the middle of the party, to give Seven a rest...if watching two 21-month-old tots was restful but they were a very tangible part of Seven's life on Voyager.
Seven felt the pressure, everyone was watching her. The security officers were still looking for Janeway's Borg however they had walked by Seven at least five times on Voyager without recognizing her as a former Borg. She was starting to relax. It appeared that the only photo that was in the computer was one of her before the Doctor had removed any of the implants. The poor record keeping had been a provided by Tuvok. He hackers into the data base and replaced all the pictures of Seven with the oldest picture. The Seven of three years ago bore little resemblance to the Seven of today. Tuvok had not touched her medical records but he did suggest to the Doctor that her records should be misfiled until Security's attention was drawn elsewhere.
The Captain had met with her mother before the party. Mrs. Janeway had welcomed Seven into the family. The idea of getting a granddaughter was appealing, but Seven wasn't what she had in mind. She was more the end result. Usually, you started with a baby and then it grew up to be in their twenties and living with a man. She didn't mind adding Harry Kim to the family, he was a nice, young man that had stamina. He had kept up with her on that shopping spree, she usually wore out her companions on shopping trips like that one.
The Paris meeting went well. The admiral had been called away but the rest of Tom's family was there. The instant bonding of B'Elanna and his sisters was not a shock. They gathered and started telling embarrassing stories about him. B'Elanna had to remember the time when the water main broke and he was homeless on Voyager and related that tale to his family. He turned several shades of red as the women laughed at him. The time passed quickly and the party started without them.
The Wildman meeting was much lower key. Naomi met her father for the first time. He had remarried but he wanted to meet his daughter. Naomi stayed close to Uncle Neelix and her Mom. Her father was a stranger who made Mommy cry.
The Williams' reunion went much better than the Wildman's. Nick and Peter were passed around. They didn't mind too much, they had been passed around before. Lena had brought the pictures that Mitch had requested of the kids opening their care packages. She had also brought pictures of Naomi in the flower girl dress.
The official party was long and rather boring. The press clamored quotes from the Voyager crew and "I'm just grateful to be home" wasn't good enough. The president and other dignitaries made speeches like the welcome home party was a political event rather than a welcome home. That was the crew's first taste of being used as a political tool by the Federation, it wouldn't be the last.
The best part of the evening was that promotions were awarded. The only two people that did not get promoted were Janeway and Chakotay. Harry made full Lieutenant that night, skipping a full rank. Tom and B'Elanna also made full Lieutenant. Technically, they were all the same rank but Tom had to point out that he had seniority over B'Elanna. She shot back with the reminder that it was only three minutes. She did have to acknowledge that she would have been first if she had changed her name when they married.
Harry and Seven left soon after the promotions. Seven was starting to look too stressed by the oppressive crowd of people. The party broke up soon after.
Tom and B'Elanna had an unexpected visitor later that night. The Admiral had tracked Tom down. Owen was not pleased with his son. According to reports that Janeway had written, the letter commending Tom on his bravery and quick thinking, and the hologram doctor, all spoke of Tom as an good officer. If he was such a good officer, he would have refused to honor the contract that let the Maquis off, the Admiral reasoned. He didn't make the contract so why should he follow it. The idea that to refuse to honor the contract was in itself dishonorable and unworthy of a Starfleet officer never occurred to him.
Tom grabbed his robe and answered the door, just to stop the pounding. He was surprised that his father would show up this late at night.
"Dad, it's very late. Why are you here?" Tom suddenly had visions of a family emergency.
"How could you?" Owen demanded.
"I have no idea what you are talking about. How I could I what?" Tom was not encouraged by the start of this encounter.
"You honored that abomination of a contract. Do you know what you have done to your career?" His father demanded.
"Yes. I don't care if this is my last promotion. B'Elanna is safe from prison and that was all I cared about," Tom stated, his father hadn't changed much. The standards would always be too high for Tom to meet.
"Didn't she get promoted tonight?"
"Yes, she's a Lieutenant. Really she is the chief engineer, that will always be more important to her," Tom walked over and sat on the sofa.
"You throw away you career for a woman? I thought that you had finally grown up."
"Not any woman, my wife. I would do almost anything I had to to keep her safe," Tom did not apologize for his attitude. He was happier with B'Elanna in his life than any other time before, including when he was a child.
"Don't you see that she's just using you to get out of trouble." The older Paris was determined to make Tom think his way.
"Then she must be a mind reader. We have been together for three years. We've been living together for two years. I finally talked her into marrying me about five months ago," Tom dismissed the idea that B'Elanna would be using him. He knew better.
"What do you think that Smyth will let you do?"
"I'll design ships for at least two years. I'm thinking of talking B'Elanna into have a new little Paris. This would be the perfect time, that way when we request ship duty again, she can go back to being chief engineer," Tom suggested. At this point in his life, he knew what he wanted and that didn't include throwing away the first good healthy relationship he had just to please his father.
His father looked like he was going to faint. A quarter-Klingon grandchild, the very thought horrified him. "Babies, are you crazy?"
"No, I was thinking that I could do a much better job raising them than you did raising me. After all, Janeway had to do most of it. She informed me that I was going to be a good officer and then set a reasonable standard, not a low standard but a reasonable one. You know what reasonable is don't you? High enough to encourage you to stretch but not so high that it tears you apart trying to reach it. I refuse to go back to living my life trying to live up to your standards," Tom temper had finally gotten the better of him, he was smoldering in a cold rage.
"Your career is over," the admiral stated, sure of his conclusion.
"You haven't been listening! My career will survive this little detour. It has survived worse. After all how many pilots have ever gone warp 10, or flew the first Federation slipstream vessel. I did both and if it hasn't caught you attention yet, I AM A FULL MEDICAL DOCTOR. I could retire from Starfleet after Smyth's two-year hitch and practice medicine anywhere I want to. I don't plan to be the next Admiral Paris." Tom was calming, he was trying not to wake B'Elanna. She would not be pleased to hear any of this conversation.
The elder Paris turned and left at that. He knew that he couldn't win with Tom. The major problem was that Tom was right, there are those who would forgive almost anything to get the great pilot...Even put up with scum.
B'Elanna came out of the bedroom, "Was that as hard as you thought it would be?"
"Yes. All he ever cared about was rank. Prestige -- rank -- power. He always been obsessed with continuing the long line of the Paris as Fleet royalty. He never let me be a kid. What kind of parent lets a five-year-old fly a shuttle?" Tom asked rhetorically. It really didn't shock him too much that the time when he had the best relationship with his father was when they were a quadrant apart.
"One that doesn't know how to be a parent. Your Dad made you grow up in some areas too fast, neglected the most important areas and mine left. Are you sure that you could do a better job?" B'Elanna teased, walking over and setting beside him.
"Look at Naomi. I may have took her flying as a baby but I never tried to teach her how to fly the shuttle," Tom defended himself.
"If we did do the parenthood routine, will you change diapers?" B'Elanna asked.
"I'll do diapers, late night feedings, and boo boo repair," Tom replied seriously.
"Boo boo repair? Sounds like a hard job. Are you up to it?" Her hands began to wonder purposely toward his lap.
"I'm up for it." Tom suddenly jumped to his feet and dragged B'Elanna to hers. Pulling her towards the bedroom. "Does this mean that we should let the birth control lapse?"
"I'll think about it. Ask me in the morning." She started to kiss him as the made their way back to bed.
Seven did well for the first two days on earth. The chaos of a shopping trip caused an anxiety attack. It was the first major attack but it would not be the last. Admiral Smyth was inclined to accept the recommendation that the design team be stationed on the grounds of a small research facility south of San Francisco. It was the perfect place to have the design team work in secret and to have specialists help Seven adjust to the huge unconnected society on the outside.
She did finally adjust to the outside world although she always did prefer the inner world of the design team and Kathryn Janeway's commands.
Fifteen years later:
Admiral Janeway and Admiral Smyth were setting on her newest flagship, The Quest, the first of the newest Voyager class, named in honor of her original Voyager. The design team had outdone themselves on this design. It was sleek, comfortable, multi-functional and a joy to command. It was a hallmark of their designs, it was built to survive almost any disaster and keep its people alive.
"I want the team back," Admiral Smyth stated.
"You can't have them. It's the middle of my three years," Janeway stated. The problem is that they both wanted the services of the same four people, Paris, Torres, Kim, and Seven. They had just returned from a two-year stint with the design facility, she was not going to give them up [without] a fight. "What is so important that you want them back now?"
"We need a new Freedom Class II type assault craft design that incorporates the new advances in metallurgy. Now, with the new metals, they can make the ship almost shuttle size."
"No deal. The design team stays. Seven's mental health is stable and she is comfortable right now. The others are not going to go and mess with that without a good reason. A new shuttle isn't good enough." Janeway knew the design teams priorities. They had flipped back and forth between her commands and the design facility for over twenty years. "It's a small job, just asked them to fit the new project in here."
"Can't you suggest that you want another grandchild?" Smyth joked. The team had been remarkably consistent. They transferred from the ship to design whenever B'Elanna was thinking about having another child. She liked having the first year with the new child to be light duty. The Paris clan already had five kids. The Kims' only had two children.
"The kids already run me ragged now. Don't even suggest any more. Between those seven and my son, they have created more trouble than you can imagine," Janeway laughed.
They were all bright, imaginative and almost as reckless as Tom Paris had when she first meet him. The big problem is that the Anna and Katrina Kim just followed Bobby Paris into whatever trouble he could think of. This problem would be cured when Bobby left for the Academy in eighteen months. Her son also followed where Bobby led. KC was a happy kid that was looking forward to taking Bobby's place as leader of the pack. She and Chakotay had never been able to settle down together but they had created a child that seemed to think that the universe should do what his mom and dad said, no matter what.
"I thought that you disliked them turning that little base of yours into a maternity ward?" Janeway quickly brought her thoughts back to the conversation.
"I thought that they would never stop, but it kept them designing for eight years, in two- and three-year stints. Are you sure that you don't want to give them a new, small design project?" Smyth asked. He knew from experience that the design team were tough negotiators when he wanted them to do extra projects while with the Fleet. One year they had talked him out of three months of leave time, on top of the leave they had coming, just for the redesign of the Freedom Class to incorporate a few new features. The big problem was that Tom, Harry, and B'Elanna were all Commanders now. If Tom and Harry hadn't shifted back and forth, they would both be in line for a command of one of these new Voyager class ships.
"You want it, you pay for it," Janeway stated.
They had never played the same games with her as they did with him. She had watched them over the years talk him into almost everything they wanted, including extra leave, promotions, and project control. She wanted them and their talents working for her but he needed them. The team had made his career. Every two years a new class of ship would spring from the drawing board. The reality was that every new class was the brain child of the design team. They had a talent for incorporating technology from multiple sources to form cohesive systems. They knew exactly how much he needed them and how far they could push him. She would never admit it in public but she knew that they specifically designed their own quarters on all the ships they design. There was no way that every ship they had designed was accidentally built with several crew quarters that would handle families with five children. On one ship where high command had tried to stop them, the had renamed the area to be diplomatic delegation quarters. Tom and B'Elanna had then moved their family into the "diplomatic quarters" when they returned to the Fleet.
The team's biggest success was the "Freedom Class." It not only kept Voyager's Maquis free, but in over fourteen years of service, only two of the 112 ships built were lost in war zones. One had taken three direct hits from torpedoes and the other had been flown into a plasm storm to draw in the Cardassians away from civilians. Assault crafts usually had much worse survival records. The other classes were excellent but the first class had earned them a repetition among ship captains, 'the ship will keep going, no matter what you do to it.' Most captains went looking for the names of the designer of their ship, they wanted to see the design team's names on their ship. Everyone wanted the best. The biggest problem was that every Captain in the Fleet wanted them when they returned to the Fleet.
"Kathryn, the last time I had to pay, they demanded three months leave. If I pay, you might lose them for months." Smyth hinted.
"They won't do that to me, but their return to Design Land may be delayed." Janeway smiled. The little think tank facility that the design team originally took precession of fifteen years ago was a small complex built in the 1940s. It had been updated but it was old and for the most part disused. They had harassed the cleaning and repair crews so that they would have exactly what they wanted. The offices were nice, but the living quarters were lovely, large and airy. The complex came alive first with a few support personnel, then a few outside system experts and then finally the entire design staff from headquarters had moved down with their families. Design Land as it was jokingly known, looked old and rustic on the outside. The reality was that it housed the highest ship technology in the Federation. The team had known that security was needed to protect the designs but Tom had lived in one prison and refused to live in another. Security was tighter than at headquarters but it was hidden except for a security office with a cell and the front gate. The design team had drove security crazy the first two years. After Bobby was born, they started working out of the Paris' home. Security and base repair got together and renovated one of the larger houses on the base for the Paris family, three bedrooms and a home office complete with all the basic security that the designs needed. The kids called it the bug room because of the hidden security cameras.
"Why don't you offer them promotions? I seem to remember that they made Lieutenant Commanders in two years," Janeway suggested.
"If I promote them anymore they won't be allowed to the be design team anymore. It's a tough call, if I promote them, I promote them right out of their jobs. I need them in their current job," Smyth was about to give up and go negotiate with Tom. Tom usually didn't make outrageous demands, Harry was much tougher.
"I never realized just how limited their advancement opportunities were by jumping back and forth between the two commands," she had to admit that Harry wasn't likely to make admiral, that would promote him out of the job that the Federation needed him to do most. Promotions had no meaning to Seven. She never joined Starfleet. When she learned that she had to spend at least two years living at the Academy in cadet quarters away from Harry, she decided that she didn't want to join. She ran astrometrics on Janeway ships but as a civilian, not as a Federation officer.
Smyth finally relented, "I'll talk to Tom." They left observation dome on way to the bridge. "I have one question. How did you hide the Borg from security all these years?"
Janeway laughed, "You still don't know. You were a guest at the wedding. I must point out that you are not very observant. Seven Janeway-Kim is a former Borg. Her human physiology rejected the Borg implants went the connection to the collective was severed. I'll admit that we removed the most recent images of her from the records of Seven of Nine, but still..."
The look of shock on his face was priceless. Smyth had a Borg in his command for so many years and never realized it. Janeway said a prayer of thanks for both Tom and Tuvok who had known how to hide her so successfully. They had made sure that Seven had a life that she could control.
They arrived on the bridge to overhear a conversation that made both of them laugh.
The young helmsman was complaining about his performance review. "What did he do memorize the book?"
Harry smiled from the command chair, "Ensign, is that the manual in you hand?"
"Go to the author bio in the front of the book. Now read the page out loud," Harry requested, knowing what it said already.
"Commander Thomas Paris has had a colorful career in Starfleet. He was a member of the Voyager crew that was lost in the Delta Quadrant for seven years. He was the first human to fly a vessel at Warp Ten. He later was the helmsmen for the first Starfleet vessels to use slipstream technology. He was the test pilot for The Kes. Along with long-time colleagues, Commander Paris splits his time between designs space craft and ship duty." The helms men read allowed, "What does this have to do with anything?"
"Congratulations, the man that just did your performance review wrote the book. He could have been much harder," Commander Kim told him. "Give up now and learn the manual. Commander Paris can do every maneuver in that book and a lot of others that he didn't put into that level text."
This is the last story in this series. No more sequel.
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