Forget-Q-Not

Star Trek: `Voyager’
`Forget-`Q’-Not’

Story by
Cindy Brewer & Shalee Stewart

The Continuum

Q was bored.
Q was disenchanted.
Family life was not all it was cracked up to be. AND it was all
HER fault. He had allowed himself to be cajoled. HE! Q the all power-
ful. Q the prankster extraordinaire. Omnipotent. Brilliant. Cowed by a
woman. AND human to boot. Yes, he had a bone to pick with Kathryn
Janeway of the Starship `Voyager’. She and her crew of assorted half-
wits were to blame for his descent into `Mr. Mom, hell.’
“Q!!”
The Godling actually cowered at the shrill sound of his mate’s
voice. Before he could make himself disappear, Q’s beloved was right
in front of him and was holding their rather rank smelling offspring.
“Q, I told you not to leave him alone so close to that primeval
pond.” Ms. Q snarled as she yanked a lock bright red hair out of the
grip of her son. “Now, YOU’RE going to have to bathe him again.”
“ME! I did it last time.”
“Q–”
“Alright! Fine!” Q grudgingly accepted the boy, holding him at
arms length. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going out. Have him cleaned and fed by the time I return.
AND stay out of trouble. Both of you!” With those parting words, she
vanished in a blinding flash. Leaving Q holding the bag, er, boy and
wondering when was the last time HE went out and raised some mis-
chief. With a sigh of resignation, Q went about performing this as-
signed task.
“Now, I wonder what your Aunt Kathy would do in this situa-
tion?” Q asked his son as he playfully splashed in the bath water. The
child smiled shyly at his father and sent a drenching spray over the
adult. “Stop that, Qie.” Q scolded. The boy just giggled as a thoughtful
expression over came Q. “Hmmm . . . you know what? I just had a
brilliant idea.” Little Q grinned knowingly. “Yes, perhaps we should
see how the crew of intrepid `Voyager’ deals with parenthood. So,
they never forget the `gift’ they’ve given me.” Matching his son’s grin
both vanished in a flash of light.
* * * * *
USS `Voyager’
Delta Quadrant

In the Hydro/Airponics Bay, Kes, `Voyager’s’ resident Ocampa
refugee was performing her daily checks. As she moved to a rack of
Talaxian tomatoes, Kes heard something. It was a sound that shouldn’t
be there and at first she dismissed it as her imagination. Yet, some-
thing seemed to draw her to the rack that held the Odeberian cabbage
plants. That was when the sound, a small cry or mewing, came again.
Moving aside several of the plants, Kes revealed the source of the
sound. A baby with tiny pointed ears.
“The Doctor’s never going to believe this.” Kes muttered to her-
self as she lifted the bundle and hurried to Sickbay.
* * * * *
Engineering had been relatively quiet for the past few days and
that was something that unnerved Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres. She
preferred it when things were hopping. A little crisis here and there
kept reflexes and mind sharp. Lulled by the almost monotonous drone
of the warp engines, Torres was on the edge of sleep at her console,
when a piercing cry cut the air. Jumping to feet, B’Elanna moved to-
ward the cry that continued to increase in volume as she neared it.
“Ohmigod–” Torres muttered as she delicately picked up the
squealing child from it’s Jefferies Tube hiding place. The baby fur-
rowed it’s small ridged brow and renewed it’s howling as B’Elanna
made all haste to Sickbay.
* * * * *
Kathryn Janeway had to stifle a large yawn as she sat up in the
command chair. Out of the corner of her eye she saw her first officer
try to suppress a smile. Janeway flashed him a dirty look, which only
made Chakotay’s grin broadened. The Captain couldn’t help but
chuckle.
“Okay, I get the picture,” Janeway replied wryly as she stood
and headed for her ready room. “Let me know if anything exciting
happens.”
“Aye, Captain,” The Native American commander acknowl-
edged as his gaze followed her until the doors slid shut.
Inside her inner sanctum, Janeway smiled to herself as moved to
the replicator.
“Hot Chocolate–” she instructed. A second later a steaming cup
materialized on the platform. As she lifted the brew to her lips, a soft
cooing drew her attention, it was followed by rustling sounds coming
from beneath her desk. Placing the cup down on the desk, Kathryn
pulled out her chair to peer into the cubby hole. Immediately, she drew
back with a startled gasp. Her hand slapped her communicator.
“Janeway to Sickbay”
“Sickbay, this is the Doctor.”
“Doctor, you won’t believe, what I’ve just found under my
desk.”
There was a slight pause before the Doctor replied.
“Let me guess. An infant approximately 2 weeks old.”
“Yes, how did you–” Janeway gasped as she gathered the baby
to her breast.
“I suggest, you come to Sickbay, Captain.”
“I’m on my way. Janeway out.” She answered already headed
out the door that led to the corridor.
* * * * *
Outside the USS `Voyager’

“Well, my boy. Don’t you think this is more fun, than playing in
the mud?” Q asked his son. The child chortled as he pointed toward
the interior of the ship.
“Fun, Da.”
Q just smiled as father and son took in the show.
* * * * *
In Sickbay, `Voyager’s’ Holographic doctor looked more than a
little out of sorts as the infant Torres had brought in continued to howl,
intermittently bringing in Kes’ infant and Janeway’s.
“Doctor–” Kathryn Janeway shouted over the noise. “What can
you tell us about these children? Whose are they? Where did they come
from?”
“Preliminary scans show they’re about two weeks old. The in-
fant Kes found is a male with both Ocampa AND Vulcan DNA.”
“So, the child shares Kes’ genetic makeup and–”
“Mr. Tuvok–”
“Oh, Neelix is going to love that,” Torres deadpanned. The
Doctor turned to her.
“And as to the infant you discovered, Lieutenant, which is also a
male but shares both Klingon and Human DNA.”
“Which human?” Janeway prompted gently.
“Mr. Paris–”
“Oh great, I can just hear his ego expanding,” Torres groaned.
“Okay, now drop the last bomb, Doctor.” Janeway sighed as
somehow she knew what was coming.
“The female infant you found, Captain, is completely human.
She has DNA from both you and–” The Doctor paused for effect.
“Commander Chakotay.”
Janeway nodded mutely as she silently pondered the situation
and it’s ensuing implications. Taking a deep breath, she hit her comm
badge.
“Janeway to Bridge”
“Bridge, Chakotay here, Captain.”
“Commander, would you, Tuvok and Mr. Paris, please report to
sickbay immediately. There’s something you need to know.”
“Captain?” Chakotay answered quizzically, hearing the quiver
in Janeway’s voice and the wails in the background.
“Just come and you’ll see,” Janeway said quietly as she closed
the link and turned to the others with a lost look on her face. Com-
mand school had never prepared her for something like this.
* * * * *
As soon as Tuvok, Chakotay and Paris stepped off the turbolift
their ears were immediately assailed with the same unpleasant cries
they had heard on the bridge.
Tom Paris winced involuntarily as he recognized the sounds for
what there were, he cast a glance at his superiors.
“Did I miss a memo? When did `Voyager’, become a nursery?”
The Vulcan merely raised a quizzical eyebrow as Chakotay
shrugged.
“Beats me, I musta missed the same memo. Let’s go find out
what’s going on.”
* * * * *
Q nearly dropped his son as his mate suddenly appeared at his
right shoulder, just off `Voyager’s’ bow, furious expression on her
face.
“Q! What’s gotten into you?! Dragging our son out in the middle
of nowhere?!”
“This isn’t a battle zone, dearest. Just thought, I’d drop in on
some old friends.”
The female Q could’ve heard the wails ensuing from the ship, a
billion miles away. Must be her mothering instincts kicking in. She
looked at her mate with an angry frown.
“Q, what have you done this time?”
Q reached to put his arm around her shoulders, drawing her
close as she tried to flinch away.
“Something, you’d be proud of, my dear. These human couples
need each other, they just don’t know it yet.”
The anger finally draining from her as she leaned back into his
embrace. Taking her son in her arms as she did so.
“I just hope you know what you’re doing.”
Q grinned.
“This is going to be fun, my pet. Just sit back and enjoy the
fireworks.”
* * * * *
As he stepped across the threshold into Sickbay, the image of
B’Elanna holding a sleeping infant struck a part of Tom Paris’ soul he
didn’t know existed. It brought the feelings, he had for her since the
incident with Ensign Vorik, flooding to the surface. Her dark eyes
locked with his gray ones. Whatever was going on, Paris decided, was
going to be very interesting.
“Ah good, you’re all here,” The Holographic doctor commented
as he bustled around the infants. “How do the three of you feel about
Fatherhood?”
Kathryn Janeway winced as she avoided Chakotay’s eyes. The
Doctor could be blunt, she knew, but this was definitely not how she
wanted the situation handled. Chakotay walked to her side, a mixture
of concern and confusion in his dark brown eyes.
“Captain, what’s going on?”
Janeway sighed and finally looked at him.
“That’s what we’re trying to find out. B’Elanna found one in-
fant in Engineering. Kes found another in the Hydroponics Bay and
the last one, I discovered in my ready room.”
“Who’s babies are they?” Paris asked fighting to keep his dis-
tance from B’Elanna. He didn’t want to say or do something they’d
both regret.
The Doctor looked at him like he had suddenly grown two
heads.
“As I just told the others, Lieutenant, the children are yours.”
“What?!” Paris yelped before he could stop himself. Fighting
down the panic, he asked. “How is that possible?”
“From the preliminary scans,” The Doctor began taking the baby
from Torres, “this infant has a mixture of Klingon and Human DNA.”
He placed the squirming infant in Paris’ arms. “The Human part be-
longing to you, Lieutenant.”
Tuvok repressed a very un-Vulcan smile at Tom Paris’ expres-
sion. The young helm officer was holding the baby like it was a snake
that would bite him at any moment.
The Doctor walked over to Kes and gently took the baby boy
from her arms then crossed to the Vulcan security officer.
“And this infant’s genetic makeup blends yours and Kes’
DNA.”
After carefully taking the infant, Tuvok looked at Kes with what
could only be surprise. Not a Vulcan-type reaction.
The Holographic doctor then crossed back to the medical bed,
where the last infant lay. Picking up the now quiet child, the doctor
turned to the commanding officers of `Voyager’.
“And last but certainly not least. This little girl is entirely human
and has a genetic profile that combines your DNA, Commander, with
the Captain’s.”
Cautiously accepting the sleeping infant from the Doctor, Cha-
kotay stared down at the baby, not quite believing what was happen-
ing. How was it possible that this beautiful, perfect thing was HIS
`daughter’, his AND Kathryn’s? They had never– Chakotay shook off
the thought. No, this was someone’s game. Someone or something was
playing with them. He looked up at that moment and found himself
looking into Kathryn Janeway’s blue-gray eyes. Then he watched as
Janeway gently brushed her fingers over the auburn down that covered
the baby’s head.
“You know, she does look like you,” Chakotay said softly.
Janeway looked away from him, startled, it seemed by the comment.
“But how can she? She’s not. We haven’t–” Kathryn whispered.
“I know, but somehow she’s here and that’s the point we have
deal with at the moment.”
Janeway shook her head as she started to back away.
“I don’t know if I can–” she murmured, meeting Chakotay’s
dark gaze for an instant before she turned the fled Sickbay. The darkly
handsome Commander stood there for a moment with babe in arms,
then gently but quickly gave the infant back to the Doctor and hur-
riedly followed the Captain.
“Curious–” Tuvok commented at the exchange.
“Yeah weird–” Tom Paris concurred as he looked down at his
`son’. “Too weird for my taste.”
“You have no taste.” B’Elanna Torres shot back disdainfully.
“Now, is that any way to talk about the father of your child.”
“THAT is not my child.” Torres growled menacingly. “And if it
were, YOU would certainly NOT be his father.”
Paris opened his mouth to retort, but Torres had already turned
on her heel and stalked out of the room.
“Close your mouth, Mr. Paris.” The Doctor advised deadpan at
the gaping Lieutenant. A moment later, he was holding two infants in-
stead of one. The Hologram then turned to Kes and Tuvok, who were
exchanging identical looks. “Look, I’ll save you the trouble. Put the
baby on the bio-bed.”
Tuvok complied muttering something about getting back to his
duties, while Kes professed her apologies as she went in search of
Neelix. The Doctor could only stand there in arch discontent as the
three infants once again began to wail.
* * * * *
“Now, isn’t this a revolting development.” Ms. Q drawled.
“Interesting to say the least, cupcake,” Q supplied undramati-
cally.
The flame-haired Q gave him a chill look, “It would seem your
little play, isn’t going quite as planned.”
“Actually, I had no set course for this drama. It goes as it wills,
according to the players performance.”
“Well then, shall we just tune in and see what happens next?”
“Most definitely.” Q proclaimed as he widened their perspective
to include a birds-eye view of couple Number One–Janeway and Cha-
kotay.
* * * * *
Kathryn Janeway couldn’t catch her breath, the air in her quar-
ters seemed stifling. Pacing back and forth, she tried to think but no
answers came. Dropping to the sofa, Janeway pulled her knees to her
chest and wrapped her arms around them. Slowly, she began to rock
struggling to keep her emotions in check. Lost in her own turmoil,
Kathryn never heard the door buzzer, but wasn’t surprised when the
door slid open to reveal Chakotay’s stocky build filling the opening.
“Kathryn–” Chakotay called to her softly.
Janeway glanced up and shook her head at him, in a gesture to
leave.
`Voyager’s’ second-in-command didn’t budge.
“We should talk about this.”
“I can’t, Chakotay. I can’t do this. It’s not right. It’s not fair . . .
not this way.” Janeway whispered her voice gravelly with unshed
tears.
Chakotay nodded his understanding but stepped across the
threshold into the room. The door closed silently behind him.
“I know how hard this is for you . . . it is for me as well.” Cha-
kotay said as he knelt down next to his captain. “Kathryn, you know, I
care about you. I would do anything to make things right. But I’m just
as much at a loss about this as you are.”
Janeway looked down at him, seeing both hurt and concern in
his dark brown eyes.
“I’m sorry, Chakotay. I–I don’t mean to sound selfish.”
“You don’t,” The proud warrior denied vehemently. Kathryn
couldn’t help the small smile that crept to her lips.
“Oh yes, I do. So, stop trying to protect me from my own self-
absorption. I’ve lost that battle many times.”
Chakotay smiled back.
“Okay, so what’s the problem?”
“The problem? There’s no problem, I have the child I’ve always
wanted. THE PROBLEM is I had no hand in her creation, nor in the
choice of her father.” She caught the commander’s gaze in that mo-
ment and had to struggle to for the right words to express what she was
feeling. “Not, that you couldn’t be my choice–”
“BUT, you at least, wanted some sort of say in the matter.”
Chakotay provided the finish.
“YES! I mean, haven’t I been through this before with Tom
Paris. Three offspring, unplanned and left behind. Children, I don’t
remember nor will I ever see them again.” Janeway exclaimed loudly
startling herself as well as the good commander with fervor behind her
words. When she continued in was in a markedly lower tone. “God, I
hate being helpless. Being manipulated this way, it drives me crazy.”
“I know. I felt the same way with Seska.” Chakotay murmured
solemnly as he rose and joined her on the sofa. The Captain’s own out-
rage seemed to drain away as she realized this wasn’t very easy on her
first officer either. Relaxing her self-protective position by dropping
her feet to the floor, Kathryn half turned to look at Chakotay, her hand
caught his naturally.
“Again, I’m sorry. I’d forgotten what you’d been through. This
must seem like a slap in the face.”
Chakotay squeezed her hand gently.
“Something like that,” he murmured thoughtfully. “Kathryn,
what do you really think is happening here?”
Janeway looked thoughtful for a moment. Then drew on a grim
smile.
“If I had to guess, I’d say this smells of `Q’.”
“That was my thought.” Chakotay agreed matching her expres-
sion. “The next question is . . . why?”
“In Q’s case, it’s probably pure malice.”
“Maybe he just wants to see how we react to sudden parent-
hood.”
“You mean, because of his recent predicament with the Contin-
uum and the outcome. You think perhaps, he’s feeling the pressure.”
Janeway theorized her blue-gray gaze still troubled.
“Could be. With Q, can you really be sure of anything?” Cha-
kotay asked as they both pondered the significance of the Godling’s
interference.
“Only that he’s probably enjoying watching us squirm.” Kathryn
muttered.
“No doubt.” Chakotay flashed a crafty smile. “You know I
really would like to see him squirm for once.”
Janeway looked intrigued as she leaned in a little closer.
“What exactly did you have in mind, Commander?”
“Nothing really, I just–” The former Maquis was abruptly cut
off by the chirp of Janeway’s communicator.
“Sickbay to the Captain–” The Doctor’s disembodied voice
filled the room.
“This is Janeway–”
“Captain, I’ve discovered something about these children you
should know. Could you please, come down here?”
“Of course, Doctor. Janeway out.”
Chakotay and Janeway looked at each for a long moment before
they rose from the sofa. Then together they headed back to Sickbay.
* * * * *
“Well, that was an interesting exchange.” Q mused as he
watched the Captain and first officer leave Janeway’s quarters. His
spouse nodded shifting Q the younger to a more comfortable position
in her left arm.
“Agreed. Shall we see what’s happening with couple number
two?”
Q smiled as he snapped his fingers. In a flash of light his Star-
fleet uniform was replaced with that of a hotel bellman.
“All aboard! Next stop, Engineering, featuring warp cores, im-
pulse engines and a very complicated Chief engineer.”
Ms. Q returned her mate’s smile and raised her hand; in an in-
stant the Q family was transported to the catwalk just above the anti-
matter reaction chamber.
* * * * *
If there was one thing `Voyager’s’ engineering crew had learned
in the last three years, it was how to read their Chief’s mood. Seeing
the half Klingon storm from the turbolift and over to her station, the
crew quickly got out of her way.
Whether or not, B’Elanna Torres noticed the skittish behavior of
her crew, she didn’t let on. Whenever her life was turned upside down
she always found comfort in her work. Today was definitely one of
those times. If she allowed herself to think of what had occurred in
Sickbay, B’Elanna didn’t know what would happen. So, she kept her
human side well under control and threw herself into her work. Intent
on her task, she didn’t notice Tom Paris’ quiet entrance.
Frowning at her data padd, Torres addressed at a young Bajoran
woman standing a few feet away.
“Ensign, I thought I told you yesterday, I wanted the diagnostics
on the impulse engines done by 0800 this morning!”
The young woman tensed but held her tongue as she walked
over to her superior.
“Yes Lieutenant AND I did as you requested. They should be
over here.” She said picking up a small computer padd at the right of
Torres station. B’Elanna snatched the pad from her. Slim fingers
pounding the keys until she determined the data was to her liking.
“I apologize, Ensign. Your work is just fine. I have a lot on my
mind and shouldn’t have taken it out on you.”
The woman nodded smiling.
“No apologies necessary, Lieutenant.” She replied exchanging a
glance with Paris before returning to her station.
Torres caught the look and frowned as she saw Paris lounging in
the alcove near where she had found the baby. Absently, despite her
recent resolution, she began to wonder what the ship’s rumor mill had
begun to crank out but this whole mess. Nothing stays a secret on this
ship for long.
“Look Tom, I’m not really in the mood for a discussion.” Torres
said before Paris could even open his mouth.
Tom Paris curbed the curt retort on the tip of his tongue. Care-
fully, he assessed the half Klingon’s body language, then he took a
deep breath and jumped in.
“B’Elanna, I know this is a difficult situation–”
“Difficult–” Torres challenged, “You didn’t know the meaning
of the word. How could YOU understand how I’m feeling?”
“Have you forgotten? I’ve been through forced parenthood be-
fore, with the Captain.” Paris replied sounding remarkably calm com-
pared to the Chief Engineer. “AND it hasn’t exactly been the easiest,
having to face her every day after what happened.”
“But neither of you had any control over what happened.” Tor-
res insisted as she moved to check readings on another console.
“Yeah, but that doesn’t make it any easier.” Paris murmured as
he glanced behind to gauge the whereabouts of on-duty engineering
personnel. He smiled slightly as he noted the wide berth he and
B’Elanna had been given. “I guess, I’ll always feel I’m to blame for
what happened. But you and I both know, we had nothing whatsoever
to do with this present situation. I mean, it’s not the child’s fault why
should he suffer just because we can’t deal with this.”
Torres stopped what she was doing and stared at Paris, feeling
both surprised and a bit betrayed by his insight and truthfulness.
Shaking her head, B’Elanna drew closer, “Maybe, you’re right. This is
all so strange.”
Paris nodded, “I know, it feels like we’re being set up.”
“Yes, that’s it exactly but by who or what?”
“Could be that Q guy?”
“But why would he go to so much trouble?”
“From what I’ve heard, the more complex the scheme, the more
likely it that Q is involved.”
Torres nodded, “So, you think we should go along until we find
what his plan is.”
Paris shrugged, “Do we really have anything to lose?”
Before Torres could respond the Doctor’s voice came over both
their comm badges simultaneously.
“Lieutenants, could you please come to Sickbay? It’s about the
children.”
Torres and Paris exchanged glances and after B’Elanna’s acqui-
escence Tom acknowledged, “We’ll be right there, Doc.”
* * * * *
“This little drama is running a bit long, don’t you think?” Ms. Q
complained as she and Q watched Paris and Torres depart Engineer-
ing.
“Patience, my dear. Just one more little scene with our final
couple, then we move on.” Q assured his mate with a smile.
“Oh, very well–” And a split second later they were seated on
the counter in Neelix’s kitchen just as Kes entered the Mess Hall.
* * * * *
“Kes sweetie, what brings you by in the middle of the day.”
Neelix asked before the Ocampa could get out a word.
“Neelix, I need to tell you something. It’s important.”
“Of course, that’s why I’m here.”
Kes sighed and wrung her hands, this wasn’t going to be easy.
Even though she and Neelix had broken up, they still cared a great deal
about each other.
“Neelix, something has happened me. To us– I mean, Tuvok
and I.”
The Talaxian looked hurt almost at once, “I didn’t realize that
you and Mr. Tuvok–”
“Neelix, we have a child.”
`Voyager’s’ moral officer looked confused but just as he was
about to speak, Tuvok entered.
“Kes, the Doctor just contacted me. We’re needed in Sickbay.”
“Is something wrong with the baby?” Kes asked immediately
concerned. Something she regretted as she saw the look on Neelix’s
face.
“The Doctor was vague as usual, but suggested we come to hear
him out. Along with the others.” Tuvok supplied noting the Talaxian’s
expression but not the emotion behind it.
“The Captain and Commander Chakotay–” Kes continued her
inquiry.
“Also, Lieutenants Paris and Torres, apparently it involves all
three infants.”
As Kes and Tuvok started for the door, Neelix regained his
voice.
“What’s this about infants? What’s going on, Kes?”
“I’ll explain later, Neelix. I promise–” With those words they
swept out, leaving Neelix to stew over what had been said.
* * * * *
“You know, I almost feel sorry for the little guy with the bad
hairdo.”
Q said in a tone that was far from compassionate.
“Mmmm–” Ms. Q agreed as she skillfully provided a bottle for
Little Q. “So, what’s your next trick?”
“Come with me, the best is yet to be.” A second later they were
in Sickbay.
* * * * *
The holographic doctor had to do some fancy footwork to avoid
being trampled by the three pairs of would-be-parents who suddenly,
crowded into Sickbay. Immediately, he took them to the area that had
been converted in a nursery of sorts. As the couples looked down at
their supposed progeny, there were startled gasps from all around.
“Doctor–” Kathryn Janeway prompted the hologram for a ex-
planation.
“I’m afraid what you’re seeing is true, all the infants are dying.”
“But it’s only been two hours, how could it have happen so
fast?” B’Elanna Torres challenged.
“I am still trying to discern the cause but it appears as though
without contact with their parents . . . the six of you; the infants cannot
survive.”
“But why, most children have an inborn instinct to live, with or
without parents.” Chakotay asked as he was distracted by the sallow-
ness of his `daughter’s’ complexion.
“I have a theory about that.”
“Well, don’t keep us in suspense, Doctor.” Janeway prodded as
she unwillingly moved to stand next to her `child’s’ bedside.
“I believe, that what is happening now is connected with how
these children came into existence.”
“And how DID that happen?” Tom Paris questioned as he
moved with Torres to stand by his `son’.
“It is myself belief, based on the few facts I DO have, that these
children took on the characteristics of each of you the moment you
touched them.”
“Imprinting, you mean.” Janeway summarized.
The Doctor nodded, “Yes, but more than that. For example in
your case, Captain. You said, the child made sounds that drew you to
locate it. Did you get a good look at the infant BEFORE you touched
it?”
“No, it was completely covered in a blanket.”
“Ah, I thought as much. So, the child could have only a shell, so
to speak and the moment you touched her, Captain, your genetic
makeup was passed on.”
“But I DIDN’T touch her.” Chakotay said, “Until after you said
she carried my DNA.”
“Yes well, that part I haven’t completely figured out yet. But my
guess is once the Captain became her biological mother, you as the
person nearest to her emotionally become the father. This undoubtedly
happened with the others as well. The fact is . . . anything is possible at
this point.” The Doctor muttered but before he could elaborate further,
Neelix burst into Sickbay.
“Mr. Neelix, you look somewhat distraught.” The Doctor replied
stating the obvious.
The Talaxian ignored the Holographic doctor as he made a bee-
line for Kes. She hated seeing the pain in his eyes.
“Neelix–” Kes began softly trying to urge him to a quiet corner.
The little man wouldn’t budge, his gaze flickered from her to the
baby to Tuvok and then back to her, “So it is true–” He sputtered ac-
cusingly in a voice barely above a whisper, “Kes, I know we broke up
but I thought, I would’ve at least heard it from you.”
Kes placed a hand on his arm, “Neelix, this isn’t what you
think.”
Neelix waved his arms toward the make-shift nursery.
“It’s not what I think? Kes, these babies had to come from
someone!”
“That’s precisely what we’re trying to figure out, Mr. Neelix.”
Janeway said stepping away from Chakotay. “Why don’t you give us a
moment to explain?”
“Explain, Captain–” Neelix challenged, “Explain what? That
I’ve somehow missed what’s been going on between Kes and Mr. Tu-
vok.” The Talaxian shook his head, “On the other hand, I suppose it’s
not really any my business. Not any more–” He said then abruptly
Neelix wheeled and exited Sickbay.
Kes called after him, “Neelix–”
Paris grabbed her arm, “Let him be. He’ll come around.”
Kes looked torn but in the end returned her place beside her
`son’.
With the interruption over the Doctor turned to face the pro-
spective parents, “Now until I can figure out just how these infants
came to be. You as their genetic parents will have to care for them day
and night.”
“How are we supposed to do that on our schedules?” B’Elanna
asked glancing at Paris.
“You’ll have to make sacrifices just like all parents do. Now,
I’ve implanted a tiny subcutaneous monitoring device in each of the
infants to alert you of any changes in their conditions. I would suggest
at least one of you be with the child at all times. Perhaps even share
quarters to make it easier to provide care.” The Doctor advised as he
hovered around the children making a final check before he released
them into their `parents’ custody.
“You expect us to live together?” Tom Paris asked instantly re-
gretting the way he phrased it when he saw the hurt flash across
B’Elanna’s eyes, “Not that under different circumstances I wouldn’t
enjoy it but–”
The Doctor cut him off, “But nothing, this is the only way to in-
sure the health of these infants, and THAT is the most important thing
at the moment, Lieutenant. Not the crimp it puts in your social life.”
Finally, Paris relented and when there were no more objections,
the Holographic doctor handed each child over to it’s `Mother’. After a
couple of awkward moments, all three newly formed `families’ moved
out of Sickbay. Watching them go, the Doctor began to ponder his
next step.
* * * * *
Unheard applause, echoed through the plane of existence in
which the Q family sat. Hardly as bored as she thought she would be,
Ms. Q handed her son to her mate as they both watched the screen be-
fore them. The screen, something called a TV and they were sitting on
a cushioned seat, a sofa. Q had thought this was a better way to view
coming attractions. And for a change he was correct.
“You were right, my love. This IS proving to be quite interest-
ing.”
Q bounced his son on his knee as he smiled, “Think it as an ex-
periment in human behavior. Always, unpredictable.”
* * * * *
Walking through the corridors of `Voyager’, Captain Kathryn
Janeway tried in vain to ignore the curious glances from members of
her crew as she and Chakotay passed them. But then again, seeing
their captain and her first officer parading through the ship with a baby
was quite a strange sight indeed. Still musing and without realizing it,
both Janeway and Chakotay came to a stop at a crossroads in the cor-
ridor. The Native American Commander looked at his Captain with an
unaccustomed expression of indecision and amusement.
“Well . . . and forgive me for asking but– Your place or mine?”
That brought a chuckle from Janeway, “Good question– Well,
how about my place? It’s closer.”
Chakotay nodded and followed. In his opinion, the sooner they
got behind closed doors, the better. A dozen or so steps finally brought
to Janeway’s quarters. The Captain used voice authorization to open
the door and after thinking about for a moment, instructed the com-
puter to recognize Chakotay’s voice for admittance.
The first officer was genuinely surprised by the gesture, “Are
you sure?”
“It seems only right.” Janeway confirmed. Once inside they both
stood there wondering what to do next.
Chakotay finally broke the tension.
“Look, why don’t I go see if can find something to use as a crib
and bring us back something to eat.”
“Sounds like a good idea. Just don’t be gone too long.” Janeway
expressed.
“I’ll make as fast as I can.” Chakotay assured her, sensing the
uneasiness behind her words as he went to the door. “Hang on–” He
flashed her a smile and was gone.
Janeway stood there for moment staring after him, until a sound
from the baby captured her attention. Drawing back the blanket that
covered the infant, Kathryn saw dark brown eyes gazing up at her.
“Well, hello there–” Janeway murmured, “I’ll bet you’re won-
dering what’s going on. Believe me, I wish I knew.”
The little girl cooed softly in response to Janeway’s voice, it
went straight to the captain’s heart. Deciding that she couldn’t fight
her emotions, Janeway began the slow process of bonding with her
`daughter’. Taking the infant into the bedroom, she placed her on the
bed a pillow on either side to protect the baby from rolling off.
Changing out of her uniform into something more comfortable, Kath-
ryn removed one of the pillows and lay down next to the child. Care-
fully removing the blanket from around the infant and began a slow
inspection. `She’s absolutely perfect.’ Janeway thought as her fingers
gently caressed the baby’s cheek.
“Well, little one–” Janeway stopped and smiled, “We can’t call
you that forever, can we? I suppose, a name is in order. We’ll have
discuss that with your `daddy’ when he gets back.” The infant cooed
again as her tiny hand curled around her `mother’s’ finger and brought
it to her mouth. “Hmmm . . . hungry are we.” Getting off the bed
Janeway padded over to the replicator and called for the formula the
Doctor had recommended. A bottle appeared on the platform and mo-
ments later, `Voyager’s’ captain was curled up among the pillows on
bed and the baby was feasting on her supper.
* * * * *
Kes, with infant arms, led a reluctant Tuvok into her quarters,
the Vulcan still seemed unable or unwilling to accept the circum-
stances they were in. Of course, the Ocampa couldn’t really blame him
any. Their situation was strange to say the least.
As the doors slid shut behind him, Tuvok put some distance
between him and Kes. They were so different, Kes was emotional and
always there to help others with their problems. Tuvok by his nature
and upbringing always logical, never allowing his emotions to interfere
with any decision. No matter how personal. Yet, fate or `Q’ had
thrown them together in this unique situation.
Shifting her sleeping `son’ to her right arm Kes looked at the
Vulcan for a long moment not sure of what to say. When the Security
Chief remained silent Kes realized, standing in her living room wasn’t
going to get any thing accomplished. Walking into the small bedroom
Kes made a nest out of a blanket and several pillows. Gently, she
placed the infant inside. Turning she nearly collided with her mentor,
not having heard him approach. Automatically, Tuvok’s hands shot out
to steady her as she started to fall.
“I’m alright, Tuvok,” Kes said softly as she recovered and took a
step back from the Vulcan.
Tuvok’s hands remained on her upper arms for a moment longer
before he too stepped back.
“We need to come up with a plan that will be efficient for both
of us in taking care of the infant until the Doctor can figure out, some
other way to deal with them.”
Kes bristled slightly as she put more distance between them. She
walked around to the opposite side of the bed, her attention once again
focused on the sleeping baby.
“Tuvok, this is a baby not a security drill.”
The Vulcan stiffened, if he was hurt by her words his face
showed no reaction, “I am well aware of that fact.”
The couple realized they were at an impasse. Neither one sure of
what to do next or how to handle the situation. Perhaps, time and the
task at hand would aid in making things clearer.
* * * * *
B’Elanna Torres returned to her quarters after her shift and al-
most walked back out in surprise. After their talk in engineering earlier
in the day, she and Paris had made some headway, agreeing to have
him temporarily move into her quarters for the baby’s sake. Now, the
sight that greeted her upon entering warmed her heart. Both Klingon
and human.
Tom Paris had fallen asleep in a wooden rocking chair he had
managed to find or replicate somewhere. Their `son’ was asleep in the
crook of his right arm. As if sensing her presence Paris jerked awake.
Remembering the precious bundle in his arms he carefully stood,
smiling at B’Elanna as he walked toward the bedroom.
“Hi, how long have you been standing there?”
Torres allowed herself to return his smile, “Long enough to see
you’re getting pretty comfortable with this father thing”.
Paris looked at her in surprise, “Me? Don’t bet on it. He just fell
right asleep after I fed him and I didn’t have the heart to move.”
B’Elanna laughed softly as she placed a gentle hand on his left
shoulder as they both looked down at the sleeping infant.
“You can deny it all you want, Tom Paris, but you are growing
up.”
Paris unconsciously slipped an arm around her waist drawing
her close. He was mildly surprised, when she didn’t resist.
“To quote Peter Pan– I’ll never grow up.” Paris replied softly.
Part of him realized B’Elanna might be right, but he was nowhere near
ready to admit that to her or anyone.
* * * * *
Soon after rather greedily consuming her meal the infant nestled
next to Kathryn Janeway, fell quickly asleep. Realizing she was some-
what hungry herself but wanting to wait for Chakotay. Kathryn cau-
tiously rose and walked to the replicator in the other room, ordering a
cup of tea. Taking the steaming mug out of the slot, Kathryn turned to
walk over to the small sofa and nearly dropped the hot liquid at the
same moment she saw him–
“Q!”
With her preoccupation with the baby, she hadn’t even seen the
telltale flash of white light.
The alien smiled, still clad in a Starfleet command uniform he
leaned against the door frame of the bedroom.
“My apologies Kathy, did I startle you?”
Janeway kept her gaze focused on the mug, fighting to keep
from spilling the liquid as she sat it down on the small coffee table.
Only then did she face her nemesis.
“Why are you doing this Q?” She demanded as she folded her
arms across her chest. “What do you hope gain?”
Q smiled as he moved away from the door, “Gain? Why would
you think I–?” At her dubious look he continued, “Alright, I just
wanted to return the favor you and your crew did for me.
Janeway blinked, “Favor? What favor?”
“Have you forgotten so quickly? I’m hurt, Kathy.” He snapped
his fingers and a photograph of `Q’ Jr. appeared, “You helped give me
save the Continuum and in the process provided me with a challenge. I
just wanted to return the favor.”
Just then Janeway heard a familiar hiss as the doors slid open
and she saw Q turn as Chakotay entered the room carrying a dinner
tray. Very nearly dropping Neelix’s casserole surprise when he saw
Janeway’s guest, the former Maquis’ dark gaze narrowed in concern.
Quickly, he set down the tray and took several steps forward to come
to a protective stance next to his Captain.
“Is everything alright, Kathryn?”
“Kathryn?” Q parroted, “My haven’t we gotten familiar. Have I
missed something?”
Janeway gave the Godling a cold look the would have withered
most of her crew, while Chakotay just glared.
“Oh my, you two are just made for each other. Kathy, the Great
Starship Captain and Commander Wilderness, the Mystic Warrior. It
makes one wonder how you’ve withstood temptation for so long.”
“It’s not so hard to understand. It has to do with something,
someone like you would never consider– respect and honor. It’s only
binding tie we need.” Chakotay proclaimed as he took a step toward
the Godling.
“No–” Janeway murmured softly as she placed a hand on the
first officer’s arm. She settled angry eyes on Q, “I want you to send
these children back where they came from. NOW–”
Q looked stunned, “But Kathy, isn’t this what you always
wanted.”
“What I wanted?”
“Yes, you told me you would like to have children someday, just
not with me. So, I thought–”
“So, you thought I would be a good choice.” Chakotay finished
coldly as he advanced a couple more steps, in spite of Janeway’s hold
on him. “What the hell, gives you the right–”
“Chakotay, please. He’s not worth it.”
“I’ll second that–”
Janeway and Chakotay could only watch in bemusement as Q’s
mate or at least her hand, appeared behind him from a glowing portal.
The hand snagged the omnipotent one by his collar and yanked him
backward into the gateway that winked out in his wake.
“There appears to be a bit of domestic trouble in the Q house-
hold.” Janeway mused as she sank down on the sofa.
“Yes, I just wish we could have gotten more out of him first.”
“I don’t think we’ll have to worry. Knowing Q’s nature, he’ll be
back.”
“Right, the question is– When?”
Kathryn shook her head and dropped her face into her hands.
Concerned Chakotay sat down next to her, when Janeway looked up at
him, he saw her eyes sparkling with unshed tears. He was about to
speak when waking cries were heard from the bedroom. In moments,
Kathryn had the her `daughter’ in arms as was making soothing sounds
as she paced the room. From Q’s former vantage point in the door-
way, Chakotay watched as `mother and child’ performed what was to
become a ritual. In the days that would follow, a routine would be de-
veloped among the parenting couples. When one was on duty, the
other was with the child. But what happened when they faced a situa-
tion that required both parents to be gone at the same time. Chakotay
could only hope that time was a long way off.
“What are you thinking?” Kathryn asked in a low tone as she
noted the first officer’s faraway look.
Chakotay smiled slightly, “Just the future–” he murmured. Then
after a moment he snapped his fingers, “Oh, I almost forgot.”
Kathryn followed Chakotay into the living room with the baby
and watched as he stepped outside into the corridor to retrieve some-
thing. It took her a moment to realize what it was– a wooden cradle.
“Oh Chakotay, it’s beautiful. Where did you ever–”
“I started carving it, when I learned about Seska’s baby.” He
admitted as he carrying the cradle into the bedroom and set it at the
foot of the bed. “And then, even after the Kazon were defeated and I
found out the child WASN’T mine, I kept working on it. It was a kind
of therapy, I guess and maybe a hope of the future.”
“I understand, it’s perfect.” Kathryn told him as she gently laid
the now quiet infant inside, making sure she was comfortable and se-
cure among the pillows within. Kathryn gently brushed her fingers
over the intricately carved headboard before moving lightly along var-
nished and sanded sides. They felt smooth and warm beneath her
touch, a great deal of love had been put into this creation of wood.
“Do you think she likes it?” Chakotay whispered as they stood
watching the infant sleep.
“There’s not reason why she wouldn’t, she’s your `daughter’.”
“Yes, I guess she is,” He agreed, then he looked at Janeway. “I
suppose, we should give a name. I have feeling, she not going to be a
`little one’ for long.”
Kathryn smiled at way, he had picked up on her endearment for
the child. She looked up at him in the subdued lighting, his eyes ap-
peared darker than she had ever seen them.
“Okay, you can name her anything you like. BUT–” Janeway
held up a hand as Chakotay started to speak. “You can’t name her after
me.”
“Spoil sport–”
Kathryn chuckled as the two of them remained in silent vigil for
awhile longer.
* * * * *
The Continuum

“Q– Just what did you think you were doing?” Ms. Q de-
manded of her mate.
“I-I just wanted–” Q stammered.
“I KNOW what you wanted. You just can’t get that woman,
THAT pathetic excuse for a lifeform out of your system, can you?
Maybe I should do it for you.”
“NO–” Q bellowed, startling himself as will as the female Q.
Her face turned crimson in shock, she really hadn’t expected this sort
of reaction. Perhaps, she was closer to the truth than she had thought.
Deciding now was not the time to challenge his apparent infatuation
with Janeway, the red-headed Q backed down.
“I’m sorry, dearest. Perhaps, we need a bit of time apart.” Be-
fore Q could answer his mate, she was gone. Sighing, Q looked down
at his forgotten son, who was playing in an asteroid field. Picking up
the boy, Q began to plan his next move.
* * * * *
Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 49967.9–
In the two weeks, that have passed since the arrival of the three
infants, life on `Voyager’ has been anything but normal. Fitting a
child into your life isn’t easy under the best of circumstances, but
when that child is thrust upon you it’s challenge just to keep going on
an even keel. Yet, against seeming all odds the three children seem to
be thriving and are becoming fixtures in their parents lives. To this
end, the infants in question shall hence forth be called– Hunter Torres
Paris, `son’ of B’Elanna Torres and Thomas Eugene Paris. Kevok,
`son’ of Kes and Tuvok, and lastly, Alaura Kolopak Janeway,
`daughter’ of Kathryn Moira Janeway and Chakotay.

Kathryn Janeway paused in her narration to observe Chakotay
trying without much success to feed their `daughter’, Alaura. The child
having been named for her paternal `grandparents’, Alaura and
Kolopak, at Kathryn’s request. In turn, it had been Chakotay, who in-
sisted on Janeway for the baby’s surname. Kathryn chuckled softly to
herself as another squeal from the child resulted in Chakotay’s shirt
bearing the striking resemblance to a paint splattered smock. The child
had obviously inherited a mischievous streak from somewhere. After
watching a while longer, Janeway returned to the log–

But of course, I must note that these are infants no longer. The
growth of the children is accelerated, they seem to age two weeks for
every day. Given that they were, according the Doctor, approximately
two weeks old when they arrived, each infant is now eight to ten
months old. If this pattern continues, in two to three more weeks
they’ll be talking up a storm and needing even more supervision. It’s a
little overwhelming to me still, I–

“Kathryn–” Chakotay called out.
“Yes, what is?” Kathryn asked as she rose from her desk in the
ready room and moved over to the commander’s side. She saw imme-
diately what was wrong. “What happened? Where’s Alaura?”
“I don’t know. One minute she was here, the next– Poof– She
was gone.” Chakotay and Janeway exchanged looks of dread as they
spoke in unison.
“Q”
* * * * *
In the Hydro/Airponic bay, Kes was busy planting new seed-
lings. A few feet away her `son’ Kevok, played on a blanket, while
Tuvok worked at console nearby. They had, over the last two weeks,
achieved a balance between them. Yet, at times communications was
strained as well as patience.
Spurred by a flash of intuition, Tuvok glanced up suddenly, in
time to see Kes loose her balance and drop to her knees next to their
son. Her eyes squeezed shut in pain, her small hands pressed against
each side of her temple.
“Kes, what is it?” The Vulcan asked concern clearly in his dark
gaze as he quickly crossed the space between them. His hands grasped
her shoulders to steady her.
Fighting against the strange sensation Kes struggled to regain
control of herself, “I-I’m not sure. I’ve never felt anything like this.”
“I’ll alert the Doctor, and we’ll get you to Sickbay.” Tuvok said
as he reached for his commbadge.
Kes stood as her hand shot out to stop him, “No, Tuvok, I’m al-
right. It’s passed now.”
Though they were both now standing Tuvok didn’t release his
hold on her, “Are you certain? This could be something more serious
than it appears.”
Kes shook her head as she forced herself to take a step away
from the security chief, “I appreciate your concern, Tuvok, but I’m
fine now.”
As if sensing his `mother’s’ unbalance Kevok began to cry.
Kes grateful for the distraction leaned down and scooped up the
child rocking him gently, “I think I’ll take Kevok to visit his `Uncle’
Neelix for a little while. It might do us both some good.”
Tuvok nodded and was about to reply when his commbadge
beeped distracting both of them.
“Tuvok–” Chakotay’s concerned voice came back, “There’s
been an incident in the Captain’s Ready Room.”
Tuvok glanced at Kes before nodding as he hit his commbadge,
“I’m on my way, Commander.”
* * * * *
In the Continuum

Q was not used to being angry. He disliked that emotion. It
clouded his mind. However, the antics of his mate earlier had made
him livid. He was glad his son was in another part of the continuum, a
nursery, if you would, so he wouldn’t hear what was about to tran-
spire.
“How dare you talk to me that way!” Q shouted as soon as Ms.
Q reappeared in their home.
His mate’s face turned crimson with fury as she stood toe to toe
with her husband, “How dare `I’ talk to you that way?” She repeated
incredulously, “We need to get some things very clear, dear.” Her tone
was icy. “No one controls me. I do and say as I like.”
Q watched in bemusement as his mate flashed out of their home,
shaking his head as he turned to look at `Voyager’.
“Women–” He muttered as he began to pace, “Oh Kathy, if only
you had agreed to my original proposal. Perhaps, then neither of us
would be in this mess.” Q sighed and plopped down in front of the
television. Tuning into his favorite program as of late, Q was shocked
to hear his name being called by the instigator of his torture. Just what
had his lovely sparing partner gotten herself into now.
* * * * *
“Q–”
Kathryn Janeway called out again as she noted Tuvok’s entrance
to the ready room. “Dammit Q, I want to see you here. NOW–”
“Kathryn–” Chakotay prompted gently, “You know he’s not
going to answer.”
Janeway sighed, “Yes, I know.”
“We are not even sure, he’s behind Alaura’s disappearance.”
“Well, how else could she vanish so suddenly?”
“Perhaps, she was transported by someone on the ship.” Tuvok
supplied as his investigative nature took over. “Or, one of the other
members of the Q Continuum. We cannot be certain it was Q.”
“AND we can’t be certain, it wasn’t. Dammit, I really don’t care
who did it. I just want her back.” Kathryn muttered giving Tuvok a
disgusted took before she turned away from the two men to face the
window and the broad expanse of space beyond. Usually, it was a
view that heartened her, today it brought nothing but pain. Gazing out
into the endless depths a feeling panic washed over her and a voice
screamed in her mind. Kathryn whirled and almost trampled Chakotay
and Tuvok as she plunged past them onto the bridge. And then collided
with Tom Paris as he was moving toward the ready room with
B’Elanna on his heels.
Janeway met Paris’ gray eyes as he steadied her, “Don’t tell me.
Hunter’s missing too.”
“Yeah–” Paris confirmed and did a double take, “What do you
mean, too?”
“Alaura vanished about twenty minutes ago.” Chakotay related
as he came to stand next to Janeway.
“Just what the hell is happening?” Torres demanded, allowing
her emotions to burst forth. Paris put a reassuring arm around her
shoulders . . . AND surprisingly she didn’t flinch away. But his sur-
prise was short lived as B’Elanna moved to stand with Janeway.
“Does it matter . . . we have to find them.” Kathryn extolled as
she headed for the turbolift, B’Elanna was right on her heels. Chako-
tay’s voice caught her as the doors slid open.
“Kathryn, where are you going?”
“To get my `daughter’.” Janeway shot back over her shoulder
and was gone before anyone could react.
“And my `son’– Torres added much to Paris’ own disbelief at
B’Elanna’s sudden motherly concern for Hunter. She had resisted get-
ting close to the child, whereas he, accepted the boy and was more
than welling to love him without prejudice. Now, he was just left in
the dust with his mouth gaping open.
Chakotay, poised to follow, let his shoulders slump in defeat.
`Why did she always have to do that?’ He wondered dispassionately,
`Shut him out, like she was the only one feeling anything. After all
wasn’t HE Alaura’s `Father’–’
“Commander–”
Chakotay turned to face the cool Security Chief, marveling at
his apparent detachment even as the Vulcan’s commbadge chirped.
They listened silently as Neelix informed them of Kevok’s apparent
disappearance. A call to Sickbay told them that Kes had joined in the
`Mother’s’ frantic search. Still Tuvok seemed unruffled, while Cha-
kotay and Paris wanted to climb the walls.
“Mr. Tuvok–” The first officer prompted when Tuvok failed to
react to the situation. The Security Chief blinked once and turned a
jaundiced eye on the former Maquis.
“Shall I instigate a shipwide search?”
“Yes, by all means. We have to start somewhere.”
The Vulcan nodded and moved to his Security board.
“What about the monitors the children have implanted?
Shouldn’t we be able to locate them that way?” Paris asked as he came
forward to huddle with the other two near the turbolift.
“I’m already working on it.” Harry Kim offered from his station
as his fingers skillfully worked at his console. Two long minutes
passed before Kim found something. “I’ve got them, Commander.
Holodeck Three.”
“Tuvok, are the Captain, Torres and Kes in the vicinity?”
“Affirmative–” The Vulcan answered as he continue to consult
his board. “They are directly outside.”
“Let’s get down there,” Paris prompted going for the exit. Cha-
kotay and Tuvok moved to follow, when Kim’s announcement brought
the trio to an abrupt standstill.
“Commander, the safety protocols have been disengaged.”
“How?” Chakotay demanded.
“Unknown–” Kim paused as he worked at his console a frown
furrowing his brow. Then he slammed a fist down on the board in
frustration. “And I can’t re-initialize them.”
“It’s okay, Harry. Keep trying. We’re going down there. You
have the bridge.” Chakotay ordered as he joined Tuvok and Paris in
the turbolift.
Harry Kim’s nod of acknowledgment was wasted as the turbolift
doors closed.
* * * * *
Q sighed as he stood with his gaze fixed on his `favorite pro-
gram’.
“Guess, I better get over there before she does anything both of
us will regret.” With a flash of white light he was gone.
* * * * *
Kathryn Janeway was angry. More angry then she had ever been
in her life . . . but she didn’t really know why. Or did she? Maybe she
didn’t want to admit, even to herself how much this experience with
Alaura had meant to her. Maybe that was why, she wasn’t about to let
Q OR anyone else, spoil what could be her only chance at motherhood.
Whatever the reason or the cost, Kathryn Janeway was NOT going to
fail this test. She looked at her compatriots in this venture. B’Elanna
Torres was pacing, much like a caged animal. Kes was standing still,
only her hands slowly clenching and unclenching at her side showed
her agitation.
Finally, Kathryn had had enough, “Ladies, it seems we all ad the
same instinct to come here. Now, we have the same problem and there
seems only one way to solve it.”
“Let’s get it there.” Torres said as she began to work at the
Holodeck control panel.
“Captain, just what are we going to do once we’re inside?” Kes
asked.
“I haven’t the faintest idea, Kes. I’m sure it will become clear as
soon as the test begins.”
“Test?” Torres queried as her efforts succeeded and the doors to
the Holodeck opened.
“Yes, I believe that we’re being given a challenge and we must
be prepared to face anything to save our children.” Janeway pro-
nounced evenly as they stepped through.
“But Captain, they aren’t REALLY our children.” Kes quietly
as a mist seemingly from nowhere engulfed them.
Janeway turned and looked at her, “Aren’t they–” Then the
women moved out each following her own instincts.
* * * * *
The turbolift doors had barely slid closed before the first hint of
trouble began.
“Commander, I think the best approach to this situation would
be . . .”
Chakotay turned around, when Tuvok’s sentence ended prema-
turely. The Security Chief had vanished
in a familiar flash of white light.
Tom Paris blinked in surprise, “Leave it to Tuvok, to make a
dramatic exit.”
Chakotay smirked in spite of himself, “I don’t think it was his
choice.” The words were barely out of his mouth when the Turbolift
came to an abrupt halt. “Now what?” He muttered.
Paris braced himself against the wall, “Well, this is nice. What’s
that saying about things happening in three’s?”
“I didn’t think you were the superstitious type, Mr. Paris.” Cha-
kotay replied as he tried the manual override.
“Let’s just say my stint on `Voyager’ has made me a believer.”
Chakotay rolled his eyes and hit his commbadge, “Chakotay to
Tuvok–” Silence. “Chakotay to Janeway–” Again nothing. He shot a
glance at Paris.
“Paris to Kim–” There was no response. “Paris to Torres–”
Nothing. Paris sighed, “I’ll bet, Q is laughing his head off right now.”
“Maybe, but we can’t let him stop us.” Together they attempted
to pry open the doors. They were struck tight. Presently Chakotay’s
gaze wandered to the ceiling. “So, Paris, how are you at climbing?”
Paris followed his gaze, “You’ve got to be kid–” Paris never got
a chance to finish as he disappeared leaving Chakotay to his own de-
vices.
* * * * *
Ensign Harry Kim did a double take as Tuvok suddenly reap-
peared on the bridge. Only this time he was hanging upside down in
midair, directly above the Captain’s chair. It took all of Harry’s will
power to keep a straight face as he asked, “Tuvok, what are you do-
ing?”
“It would appear, Mr. Kim, that I am hanging around.” Tuvok
replied in his usual matter-of-fact tone, “Now, would you be so kind as
to find a way to get me down from here?”
The young ensign forced down a barely contained laugh as he
replied, “Yes sir. Right away, sir.”
* * * * *
The moment Kes moved into the mist, away from the other
`mothers’, she found herself on a barren planet. A world much like the
home she had left. Complete, she noted with a Kazon encampment.
Moved slowly, toward the grouping of shelters, Kes heard a muffled
cry.
“Kevok–” She whispered as she saw him surrounded by a group
of Kazon children. They were taunting him mercilessly.
“Mother–”
Kes heard the name but it wasn’t spoken aloud, it was in her
head.
“Kevok, it’s all right.”
“Mother, what do I do?” The boy, looking to be about four
years old, thought back to his `mother.
Kes pondered for a moment, then, “Don’t act frightened. Stand
up. Face your attackers. Show them you’re not afraid.”
Kevok allowed a crafty smile to curve his lips, he spoke aloud,
“You are behaving in an illogical manner. I have nothing of value.”
The Kazon children looked baffled. One sneered, “Then you will
die, Ocampa slave.”
“I am, also Vulcan and that makes me your better.”
“How can you, a weakling and a baby, be MY better.”
“Looks can be deceiving, Kazon.” Kevok changed as he
straightened and stared at his antagonist. “How am I doing, Mother?”
The boy asked mentally.
“That’s excellent, Kevok. They started the war, now you must
finish it. Quickly, use your wits and turn his aggressiveness against
him.” Kes advised as she saw the Kazon boy charge at her `son’.
Kevok neatly sidestepped the onrushing child, who slid and fell face
first into the dirt.
“Anger clouds your actions, Kazon.” Kevok intoned with an
arching eyebrow, a gesture reminiscent of his `father’. The other chil-
dren stepped back for Kevok in awe and fear. The Ocampa had beaten
the strongest of them, without lifting a finger. They were not about to
stick around and find out what else he could do. So, without a back-
ward glance the throng of children scattered.
“Well done,” Kes said as she joined Kevok, putting a hand on
his shoulder. In seconds, they were outside the Holodeck and together
they waited for the others to join them.
* * * * *
“Well, aren’t you just going to stare or are you going to get me
down from here?” Tom Paris demanded as he suddenly materialized
standing atop the stove Neelix’s kitchen each of his feet encased in a
pot of the Talaxian’s special of the day. Neelix was livid.
“What’s this?! Got out of my Easegmonte`!!”
“Oh, is that what you call it. Well, it feels like wet cement.”
Paris groaned as he tried to extricate himself only to have pot and all
come along.
Neelix in a dither was mumbling to himself, “I work my fingers
to the bone to make something special and this big oaf, decides to soak
his feet in it.”
“Neelix, I’d say I was sorry, but it wasn’t my fault. So, could
you just please get me down.”
Still muttering, the ship’s moral officer hit his commbadge to
request assistance.
* * * * *
Q was almost rolling with glee as he watched the predicament of
the `fathers’. He had to give his lovely mate credit, she had imagina-
tion. But she also, seemed to have managed to prevent him from inter-
vening when it came to Janeway and her companions. Of course, he
could watch things transpire but he couldn’t help. Thus he had re-
turned to his spot in front of the television.
“Well, my boy–” Q murmured to his son as the boy joined him.
“I suppose, we just have to wait and see what your mother comes up
with next.
“Dada, play–” The little Q said clapping his hands.
Q smiled and lifted the boy. Bouncing him on his knee, Q kept
one eye on `Voyager’ and the events taking place.
* * * * *
B’Elanna Torres impatiently batted back thick foliage as she
trudged forward. The landscape spread out before her was primeval,
perhaps, drawn from her own Klingon background. At this point,
B’Elanna really didn’t care about the scenery, her only goal was to get
to Hunter. As if in answer, the foliage suddenly thinned to expose a
clearing, just a cry rent the air. B’Elanna ran to the middle of the
clearing to see Hunter cornered against a large boulder by a Klingon
Targ.
Forcing herself to stay calm B’Elanna called to her `son’,
“Hunter, don’t move. It’s alright, I’m coming for you.”
“Momma-” The boy, who now appeared to be about four years
old, whimpered held out his arms to her. The Targ let out a low growl
as the child moved.
“Hunter, listen to me,” B’Elanna said her voice low and as reas-
suring as she could make it. “You have to be still. Don’t talk. Don’t
move. Not even a little.” She instructed edging closer to the pair, while
lifting a large tree branch as a makeshift club. “Please Hunter, look at
me and nod, just once. If you understand.”
The boy found his `mother’s’ brown eyes with frightened gray
ones, his bottom lip trembled as he lowered his chin in the slightest of
nods. B’Elanna flashed him an encouraging smile. Working her way to
directly behind the Targ, the half-Klingon engineer brought her
weapon down with all her strength on the back of the Targ’s head.
Beast let out a roar as it reared back in pain.
“Hunter run!!” Torres yelled as she braced herself for the Targ’s
attack. It never came. All B’Elanna saw was a brilliant flash, then she
and Hunter were outside the Holodeck with Kes and Kevok. Only one
challenge remained . . . that of Kathryn and Alaura Janeway.
* * * * *
After what had to the longest time, Chakotay got himself out of
the turbolift. He climbed back up the shaft for several levels, until he
found a door that opened for him. Not wasting any time, the former
Maquis headed for the Holodeck but this time he took the Jefferies
Tubes, he arrived at his destination at the same moment, B’Elanna and
Hunter appeared to join Kes and Kevok. With Tuvok and Paris arriv-
ing minutes behind, after being sidelined. In silence, Chakotay and
the others listened to the stories of the challenges the two `mothers’
had faced. Chakotay feared for Kathryn and Alaura, it seemed to him
the dangers the `mother’ had to face to save her child were getting pro-
gressively worse. Could . . . would they be able to survive? The simple
fact was only Q knew.
* * * * *
Then again, perhaps he didn’t.
Q was getting antsy. His mate may be going a little to far with
her labors. He really SHOULD do something.
“And just WHAT do YOU think you could do, my dear.” Ms. Q
asked as she suddenly appeared in front of him.
“I could– Well, maybe . . .”
“I think, you should worry about yourself and leave the object of
your infatuation to me.” Ms. Q advised.
“I’ll leave things alone. Just be sure you don’t do any real
harm.”
“It’s all a matter of interpretation, my love.”
Again, Q watched helplessly as his mate vanished to complete
her plans. Q decided he had to do some heavy thinking, about a way he
could intervene if it became necessary. Then, he hit upon an idea, and
with a snap of his fingers he followed his female counterpart into
oblivion with Q the younger in tow.
* * * * *
Kathryn Janeway was in a fine mess. Instead of the mist thin-
ning as she moved out from the other `mothers’, it thickened. So thick
in fact, she couldn’t see her hand in front of her face, much less any-
thing else. Still, she plunged forward as the air turned heavy and took
on a rank, damp smell. It seemed almost . . . familiar. It wasn’t until
Kathryn heard an unearthly howl, that she was convinced she’s been to
this place before. Urtea II, the Cardassian Outpost where she, Admiral
Owen Paris and Justin Tighe had barely escaped with their lives. It had
been over seventeen years, and she could remember like it was yester-
day. Kathryn knew what the howling was now, Toskanar Dogs.
A new kind of fear gripped Kathryn, it made her heart feel like
it was being turned inside out. Was this what happened in that strange
maternal bond between mother and child? When nothing else mattered
but saving that special person, that you–yourself had created and nur-
tured. Alaura–
As Kathryn’s heart whispered the name, a swirling gust of wind
parted the mist and she saw them. Alaura and . . . Gul Camet, it
shouldn’t be possible but there he was. AND he was looking directly at
her–
“Well, if it isn’t, the lovely Ensign Kathryn Janeway of the
United Federation of Planets,” Gul Camet drawled as he kept a heavy
hand on Alaura, who, much to Kathryn’s surprise, appeared to be
about four years old. But she was still equally recognizable as her and
Chakotay’s daughter. “I was wondering when we would meet again.”
He smiled maliciously, “but it isn’t `Ensign’ anymore, is it? You’ve
become one of Starfleet’s finest, Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Star-
ship `Voyager’. The Admiral and your precious Justin would be
proud.”
“What the HELL, do you know about Justin?” Kathryn de-
manded as she took a step closer. Her blue-gray eyes met the little
girl’s deep brown gaze with reassuring look in them. Child hedged a
brave smile for her `mother’.
The Gul seemed not to notice the exchange as he gloated, “I
know many things. And I’m sorry, Captain, that you don’t understand
my presence here. It just makes, what I have to do, that much harder.”
Slowly, he withdrew something for the pouch at his waist. It was the
control for the implant, he had used to torture Admiral Paris, all those
years ago.
Recognizing the object, Kathryn tamped down the sudden rush
of panic that raged over her being. Still, her voice revealed nothing of
her inner struggle as she spoke. To the listener, it was a rich sound
with a timbre that resonated like a cymbal– “I UNDERSTAND, all
TOO well. AND I will not allow you to harm my child.”
“Spoken like a true mother but are you willing to go the distance
for her.” Camet taunted as he ran a caressing hand over Alaura’s
golden-red locks. The child tried to twist away but to no avail as Ca-
met held her fast. “Well, Captain, I’m waiting for an answer.”
Kathryn kept her gaze fixed on Alaura as she mulled over this
situation. Something wasn’t right here, that much was certain. Then
she, hit upon it . . . no matter how annoying or self-righteous Q could
be . . . he was never deliberately malicious or hurtful. No, this wasn’t
Q’s doing at all. It was–
“I wondering, how long it was going to take you.” A disembod-
ied saucy voice said as Gul Camet as well as everything on the
Holodeck disappeared in a blinding flash. And then a second later, she
was standing with Chakotay and the other `parents’ on the familiar
yellow and black grid . . . Alaura was in her arms. The child buried her
face against her `Mother’s’ neck as Kathryn hugged her fiercely. Cha-
kotay wrapped his own arms around them both as they were allowed a
moment of peace. A minute later, Ms. Q appeared in all her impetuous
glory. “How touching to see a family reunited.”
Kathryn pressed Alaura into Chakotay’s arms as she moved to
stand face to face with the female Q, “Why have you done this?”
“It was test. The challenge you perceived it to be.”
“And did we pass?” B’Elanna Torres demanded as she stood
with Tom Paris and Hunter in the tight group they had established with
Tuvok, Kes and Kevok. Chakotay, Kathryn and Alaura were slightly
apart from them.
“Yes–” Ms. Q admitted, “It surprised me that you managed so
well.”
“So, what now?” Kes asked quietly, “Will you repeat, this little
escapade with the children’s father?”
“No, I–” Ms. Q began then canted her head slightly to the side
as she seemed to perceive something that was beyond the humans.
Suddenly, she let out a scream of outrage, “Q!!” And she vanished.
The `Voyager’ group exchanged perplexed looks and Kathryn
Janeway looked fit to be tied, she faced the group with a furious ex-
pression. “Dammit, I didn’t get a chance to–”
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get rematch.” Chakotay told her
as he put a hand on her shoulder. “In the meantime, let’s get this guys
to Sickbay.”
Kathryn stared at the former Maquis for a moment, then her lips
curved into a smile, “Okay–” And with Alaura between them, each
with a hand, followed closely by the others, they headed off the
Holodeck.
* * * * *
In the Continuum

Ms. Q was seething. Q had really gone and done it this time.
Her son was nowhere to be found. Well, she’s show him. She wasn’t
one to be trifled with. Both Q and the half-wit crew of `Voyager’
would learn a hard lesson this day.
* * * * *
USS `Voyager’

It was a miracle.
That’s all the Doctor would say after the children’s jaunt on the
Holodeck. A miracle, that all of them had come out of it without a
scratch. Still, he decided to keep all three in Sickbay overnight, just to
be safe. With the children under the doctor’s watchful care, the senior
officers regrouped in the conference room.
Captain Kathryn Janeway was furious. If it was one thing she
hated it was being used and manipulated. And that exactly was what Q
and his mate had done. For the last time.
“If anyone has a plan, now would be a good time to speak up.”
Janeway stated as she sat down in her chair at the head of the table
with Chakotay at her left.
“Perhaps I can help, Kathy.”
All heads snapped forward as Q materialized levitating above
the center of the table. His legs were folded Indian style. The Starfleet
uniform was gone in its place was a bright flowered Hawaiian shirt.
The blonde helmsman was instantly on his feet, “You have a lot
of nerve showing your face here, Q! Those children are innocent! How
could you even think of putting them in harms way?”
Q’s chuckle brought Paris’s tirade to an abrupt halt the young
man’s eyes narrowed into slits, “You think this is funny?!”
“Tom–” Janeway said warningly, “This isn’t Q’s doing.”
Q turned so he was facing `Voyager’s’ captain, “Kathy, I always
knew you had brains as well as beauty.”
“Why is she doing this Q?” Janeway asked rising out of her
chair placing her hands, palms downward on the table’s surface.
Q smiled innocently, “Who?”
Chakotay glared at the alien, “She asked you a question, Q.”
The Native American commander didn’t raise his voice but the threat
was clearly there.
B’Elanna Torres placed a hand on Paris’ shoulder urging him to
sit down. Paris glared at her slightly but complied.
Q folded his hands behind his head as he reclined into a more
comfortable position clearly enjoying the power he held.
“My lovely mate appears to be having a little fun.”
That got under Torres’ skin as the half Klingon engineer shot to
her feet walking around to Paris’ right, “Fun?! These are people’s lives
your `Mate’ is playing with!”
“B’Elanna!” Paris whispered urgently as he half stood.
Then before anyone, could move the Chief Engineer disap-
peared in a brilliant flash of white light.
* * * * *
In the Continuum

“There that should get their attention,” Ms. Q mused as she be-
gan to formulate her next move. All the while, her mind was searching
the continuum for the slightest inkling as to the whereabouts of her
son. “One way or another Q is going to pay for his flirtations with that
WOMAN and appropriately, so is she.”
* * * * *
USS `Voyager’

The calm of the conference room was now organized chaos.
“A security team is already on its way to sickbay.” Tuvok re-
plied to Janeway’s unasked order.
Paris had to fight to keep a reign on his temper, “Bring her back
Q. NOW!”
Janeway sent a warning glare to her helmsman before focusing
her attention on Q, “I suggest you do as he asks, Q.” Her voice the
calm in the surrounding storm.
“I’m afraid that’s out of my power, Kathy, I can’t.” Q replied
softly.
Tom Paris’ fear for B’Elanna intensified, “What do you mean,
you CAN’T?!”
Q rolled his eyes, “Just what I said, what she does is out of my
control.”
“She’s your mate,” Chakotay interjected.
Q nodded, “Precisely.”
Just as Paris was about to leap onto the table and strangle Q,
when the Comm-system brought a call from Sickbay and at request a
videolink was established.
The Doctor cleared his voice, “If I could have everyone’s atten-
tion?” Once assured that all eyes were on him the hologram continued,
“Good. Mr. Paris, you’ll be relieved to know that Ms. Torres is here in
Sickbay.”
Paris closed his eyes briefly in relief.
Janeway detected something in the Doctor’s voice, “What is it,
Doctor?”
“I’m afraid Lieutenant Torres has fallen into a coma from un-
known causes. Her prognosis is grave.” Paris was out of his chair and
halfway to the door before the Doctor even finished. But it was Jane-
way’s voice and the question she asked, that brought him up short.
“Doctor, are the children alright?”
“The children, I–”
The Doctor was interrupted as support monitors sounded a
medical alert with furious beeping.
“Captain, I think you and the others better get down here now.”
There was only a brief exchange of horrified looks before all
those assembled vacated the conference room. They left, a slightly be-
wildered Q –all by his lonesome.
* * * * *
Tom Paris was at loss. Moments before he had plunged into
Sickbay, only to be halted in his tracks by the sights and sounds that
greets him. B’Elanna Torres on a bio-bed in coma, dying as the Doctor
worked to save her. At the same time, the children, who had been fine
an hour ago, also lapsed into comas one by one. Now, those sights and
sounds were permanently etched in his memory. As he stood out of the
way with the other senior officers, Paris realized just how much the
last few weeks had meant to him. The was nothing he could do, the
Doctor refused to let him near enough to help as the EMH battled to
save B’Elanna. So, Paris turned to the children as did the others –
Janeway and Chakotay to Alaura’s bedside, Tuvok and Kes to Kevok’s
as he moved to Hunter’s side noting the boy had the better vitals of the
three. Having some medical training, Paris did what he could until the
Doctor joined him along with Kes. It was quite a sight, all of them
working feverishly for hours to save the young lives but in the end,
both Kevok and Alaura simply slipped away. Someone would pay for
these. Paris silently vowed as hovered near over Hunter, who was
somehow holding on. One way or another they would pay.
* * * * *
Normally, when he entered Sickbay, Chakotay found it an oddly
comforting place but this day it almost terrified him. Probably, because
what had transpired there in the last few hours. Or maybe, it was the
image of B’Elanna Torres laid out on a bio-bed with Tom Paris at her
side, his hand tightly clinched around the Engineer’s as he quietly
talked her. Then again, perhaps it was the sight of the Captain speak-
ing softly to Hunter Paris who lay on another bed as her fingers
brushed blonde hair from a damp ridged brow. Mostly likely, it was
ALL of the above. Silently, almost reverently Chakotay came to stand
beside Kathryn Janeway.
“How is he?”
Janeway spoke without shifting her attention, “He’s just hanging
on.”
“And B’Elanna?”
“The same . . . she and Hunter appear to be linked. What hap-
pens to one, happens to the other. AND according to Q, for one to live,
the other has to die. It’s like the incident with the two `Voyagers’
drawing from one source of antimatter.”
Chakotay nodded as he heard the sadness in her voice, “I’m sur-
prised, Tom, is sticking this out.”
“Frankly, I think, so is he,” Janeway murmured, “But then he
has an awful decision to make.”
“Yeah, I don’t know if I could make that kind of choice; your
child or the person you love.” Chakotay admitted.
“I know, but we were never given that chance–” Janeway whis-
pered as she looked at him, their eyes meeting for a lingering moment
before she redirected Chakotay’s attention to Kes and Tuvok standing
closely in the Doctor’s office talking with the EMH. The Vulcan ap-
peared almost aloof in his manner, but the hand on Kes’ shoulder be-
layed his true feelings. “They’ve been like that for an hour.” Janeway
commented softly as she dropped her gaze to Hunter.
Frustrated anger flashed across the commander’s dark features,
“Q’s doing this. Why?”
Janeway sighed, “If this were truly Q’s doing, he would not be
showing up so often.”
“I wouldn’t put it past him to stay close, just to gloat.”
Janeway shook her head, “No, not this time. I believe he’s being
genuine in his protests of innocence but I–”
“What?” Chakotay urged gently noting the fatigue reflected on
her face and in her posture. It hadn’t really sunk in yet, that the child
they had sacrificed and cared for, was gone.
“I’m almost sure, he knows more than he’s telling. May have
even had a hand in it all, in the beginning at least. Though I suspect his
mate, wields the heaviest of hands.”
“All this because she’s jealous of Q’s–” Chakotay paused
searching for the right word.
“Fascination–” Janeway supplied simply, her voice sounding
distant.
Chakotay nodded, “His fascination with you. I would think the
Q were beyond that sort of thing.”
“Arrogance and ego are a match, taken to the extreme with these
two.”
“No argument here.”
Janeway didn’t reply and Chakotay wasn’t sure what he should
do but he didn’t want to leave her here. He laid a gentle hand on her
shoulder and felt her tense slightly.
“Look, you’re exhausted. Let me walk you back to your quar-
ters.”
Janeway released another sigh and rose from her seat. Her gaze
wandered to Paris and Torres. The sandy blonde haired man sitting
next to the bio-bed looked up at that moment and offered his brand of
misery to his captain. Their eyes connected blue and blue, one drawing
the strength, the other giving and vise versa. It was a long moment be-
fore contact was broken and a grim smile of understanding was ex-
changed. Then and only then, did Janeway allow herself to be escorted
from Sickbay.
* * * * *
Tom Paris watched the captain and first officer leave then re-
turned his gaze to the woman beside him. “Come-on B’Elanna,” he
urged softly, “you gotta wake up. Please. The ship needs you. Hunter .
. . hell, I need you–” Paris tightened his grip on the small hand within
his own. He was concentrating so hard, he didn’t hear the soft footfalls
behind him.
“Tom–”
Paris looked up startled.
“Kes, I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you.”
The Ocampa smiled slightly and put a hand on his shoulder,
“It’s okay,” she murmured. “Look, I’ll stay with B’Elanna, why don’t
you go get some rest.”
Paris shook his head, “I can’t–”
“Tom, I understand,” Kes tightened her grip on his shoulder and
it made him look into her bright blue eyes. “I really do, but you need to
make a choice. A choice, neither I nor Tuvok had to make. AND you
can’t do that, until you clear your head.”
“Kes, I don’t know if I can. I mean, I love them both, who am I
to decide who lives and who dies.” Paris agonized as he reached up to
grip the Ocampa’s small hand in his. “No matter what I chose,
B’Elanna or Hunter, one of them will die. Why do I have to do this?
You didn’t. The Captain didn’t. Chakotay– DAMMIT! WHY ME?”
He finally cried out in frustration as he suddenly rose and moved away
from Kes.
“At least, YOU have a choice.” Kes returned in a forceful tone,
that shocked Paris.
Instantly, Paris dropped his hand from Kes’ as his expression
turned sheepish. In his own pain and anger, he had forgotten about
what everyone else was going through.
Paris stepped forward and drew the small woman into an em-
brace, gently resting his head on top of hers.
“Forgive me, Kes,” Paris said softly, “I am being selfish. I tend
to get so involved in my own problems, I forget what’s going on
around me.” He pulled back far enough so he could look in his friend’s
eyes, “I’m so sorry about Kevok. If there’s anything I can do for you or
Tuvok–”
Kes smiled warmly as she reached up to gently touch Tom’s
right cheek, “There’s nothing to forgive, Tom. We’ve all been through
a lot the last few weeks.” She paused looking down at B’Elanna’s still
form, “Now get out of here, get something to eat and catch an hour or
two of sleep. I’ll stay with B’Elanna.”
Paris’ feet wouldn’t obey his commands to move, “I don’t want
to leave her.” He replied softly.
Kes gently placed a hand on his right shoulder turning him
around and giving him a gentle shove toward the door, “I understand
what you’re feeling Tom, but you won’t do either of them any good, if
you collapse.”
Paris looked back at Torres, “Alright, I am a little tired.” He
admitted, “AND hungry.”
Kes nodded, “I already told Neelix you were coming and he’s
making up something called `casserole surprise’. You know how
Neelix gets when he’s disappointed.”
In spite of the circumstances Paris grinned, “Yeah, we wouldn’t
want to disappoint ol’Neelix. He might start experimenting again.”
Again, Paris looked past Kes to Torres.
“I’ll be right back, luv,” Tom said softly as he blew her a kiss,
“Don’t even think of going anywhere.”
Kes watched with a bittersweet expression as Tom stopped by
Hunter’s bed for several minutes. The helmsman didn’t say a word to
his son but seemed to give him silent encouragement with a tender
smile.
When Paris finally left Sickbay, Kes sank wearily into the chair
next to B’Elanna’s bed as she looked up at the ceiling sending off a
prayer to whomever may be listening. “Please let this nightmare have a
happy ending for someone.”
* * * * *
Kathryn Janeway took two steps into her quarters and immedi-
ately froze as memories of Alaura came at her with unforgiving force.
Chakotay blocked her escape path as his strong hands gently grasped
her shoulders forcing her to stop, “Kathryn–” He began his own face
etched with sadness.
Janeway shook her head fiercely as she sank to her knees, her
eyes squeezed shut against the tears. As her hands moved to cover her
face Chakotay grasped them within his own as he knelt before her,
“Chakotay, please, just let me go. I can’t stay here–”
“Kathryn, this room holds the same memories for me as well.”
Chakotay began softly as he tenderly placed a hand under her chin
forcing her to meet his gaze, “But it’s not going anywhere, we have to
face the sadness sometime, so we can look back at our `daughter’ with
only happiness.”
The tears started as soon as he began speaking and seemed to go
faster when she heard his voice catch on the phrase `our daughter’.
“Why did this happen, Chakotay? After everything we . . . I– I
tried, I really did.” Janeway whispered between choked sobs as her
head rested against his chest, her hands clutching at his tunic, “For
seventeen years, I allowed Gul Camet to continue his tortures, never
really standing up to an old nightmare. That is until he threatened
Alaura. There was no way he was going to hurt her.” Chakotay was
dumbfounded by these revelations. He had no idea she had ever been
captured by the Cardassians. He realized Q or his mate, had used this
old adversary to test Janeway’s commitment to Alaura. And she had
succeeded in facing her own demons to save her `daughter’ but–
“Why wasn’t it enough for the Q?”
Chakotay gently urged her to stand then moved them over to the
small sofa and sat down rocking her tenderly, “I wish I had the an-
swers, Kathryn, but I don’t.” The former Maquis commander replied
softly as he brushed a stray auburn lock away from her forehead, “I
promise you and Alaura, one thing . . . I will make the Q pay for this,
one way or another.”
“Big words, Chief,” Q mused as he suddenly appeared next to
Janeway on the sofa. “But do you have the means to back them up?”
With lightening speed, Chakotay released Kathryn and grabbed
Q by his uniform and pulled him to his feet, “How’s this?” The God-
ling yelped as he struggled to get loose, amazingly without using the
powers of the Q.
“STOP IT!!” Kathryn yelled at them as she huddled on the sofa.
“Both of you, just stop!” She entreated burying her face in her hands.
“Now, see what you did, Chuckles,” Q moaned impudently.
“What I– You–” Chakotay growled as tightened his hold and
lifting Q several inches of the floor.
“ENOUGH!!”
The two men broke apart as a furious flash filled the room and
Ms. Q made her presence known. Q and Chakotay blinked at her as
they lay on their backs.
The female Q stood over them her hands on her hips, “This has
gone on long enough. Q–” She stared down at her mate. “Bring our
son back.”
“Of course, dearest–” Q complied with a snap of his fingers.
Nanoseconds later, Q the younger, appeared looking much like a
human five year old. He looked at the `adults’ on the floor, then at his
mother finally settling his gaze on Janeway. Without a word, he
climbed up on the sofa and almost hesitantly placed a hand on her
shoulder.
“Aunt Kathy–” Q Jr. started to say but stopped when she didn’t
respond. “Please, Aunt Kathryn, it’s over. Everything’s going to be
okay.”
“No–” Janeway whispered shaking her head.
“Humans–” Ms. Q said icily, “A little emotional trauma and
they crumble.” She looked at Janeway with disdain, “I can’t see how
Q, thought, this woman was any different. It makes me sick to even
think–”
“Shut-up, Mother–” Q Jr. ordered with a hard edge to his voice.
He then turned back to Janeway saying in a softer tone. “Aunt Kath-
ryn, what has happened here is regrettable, but–”
Janeway jerked up her head at that, “Regrettable–” She choked
out, trying vainly to keep herself in check and regain composure. “Re-
grettable, you say, yes, I suppose from your point of view it is.” Her
telling azure gaze centered directly on the young Godling, pinning him
in place. “But consider mine, ours–” She glanced at Chakotay, who
responded with a reaffirming nod. “We were given, a gift. A surprise
to be sure, but never rejected. It tasked us to be our best, to give our
gift, our daughter . . .” Her quavered slightly as she bite back tears, “. .
. all we had to offer. She made us come together in a way, we had been
afraid to and we’ll always to grateful to her part. But understand, with-
out her everything we had is gone. Alaura’s–” Kathryn struggled to get
the name out as Chakotay returned to her side on the sofa. Putting an
arm around her trembling shoulders, he took the entreaty when she
couldn’t continue.
“Alaura’s abrupt departure. The fact that she was unceremoni-
ously ripped away from us, has tainted the gift, that was the child,
whom we had come to love and to cherish as any parent would.”
“Oh please–” Ms. Q taunted.
“Not now–” Q Sr. advised harshly as he sat joined the group on
the sofa, next to his son.
“Right, like you’re the model of parenthood,” The female Q
scoffed under her breath as she folded her arms and leaned against the
wall next to the door.
Q Jr. looked from his mother to his father a smile creeping on
his lips, “You understand now. Don’t you, Father.”
Q smiled at his son, “Yes, finally. I think I do.” He caught
Janeway’s eye and slowly nodded. “You were right, Kathy. Being a
parent, requires more than creating a life and walking away. It’s more
than letting someone else care for it, do the hard part, so to speak. It’s
standing by the child, no matter what. Giving guidance, teaching by
example and sacrificing everything, even your own life for the sake of
that child. This is what love is all about, isn’t it?”
“Oh yes,” Janeway agreed as she now rose, Chakotay followed
her but stayed a discrete distance away, while she moved to stand be-
fore the windows. “But what was the cost for your education, Q? Two,
three, maybe four lives if B’Elanna dies. Tell me, where DID those
children come from . . . really?” She turned to them then, her arms
folded and woeful expression on her face, “Or do I already know?”
* * * * *
Tom Paris felt tired. More tired that had ever been on his life.
But sleep wouldn’t come for him. When Kes had urged him from
Sickbay, he had gone directly to his quarters, showered and changed,
not even looked at the bed or the makeshift crib set up in one corner.
Fifteen minutes after entering, he was striding down the corridor, to-
ward the Mess hall. That’s where Harry Kim found him almost an
hour later.
“Tom–”
Paris looked up blankly. Kim accepted this as recognition and
took the chair opposite him. The young ensign said nothing for several
minutes, not knowing quite what to say.
Paris saved him the trouble, “You know, I never thought things
would end up like this.” Kim nodded obligingly, but didn’t say any-
thing. “B’Elanna and I . . . hell, we were just getting started. Then all
of a sudden we’re parents.” He shoved the plate of Neelix’s something
or other away from him. “Dammit Harry, what am I supposed to do
here?”
“Only the best you can, Tom, you can’t ask more than that. No
one can.” Kim provided with a wisdom that seemed beyond him.
“Paris shook his head, “It’s not enough. Not, for this . . . this
goes past what I want, what I can do. I’m not God.”
“Maybe it’s not God who’s needed.”
Paris met Kim’s soft brown eyes with a furious glint to his own
bright blue. It softened as he considered those wisely spoken words.
Then his eyebrow arched high and that familiar cocky grin spread
across his features.
“Damn Harry, you’ve hit on it.”
Kim looked puzzled, “What?” And could only watch as Paris
got to his feet and sprinted from the room.
* * * * *
Four sets of eyes looked at Kathryn Janeway with varying levels
of surprise at her last statement. Chakotay’s surprise turned quickly to
puzzlement as Q let out a low chuckle.
“Oh Kathy . . . may you never cease to amaze me.”
“It’s the only explanation . . . Kevok, Hunter and Alaura . . .
they’re the children of the Q. Sent here to learn from us, things that the
Q could never teach. Compassion, trust . . . love.”
“Q, you didn’t?” Ms. Q uttered in an astonished voice.
“Yes, and I got to help.” Q Jr. piped up with pride.
Chakotay shook his head, “Why the pretense? Why didn’t you
just tell us what you wanted.”
Janeway stepped up and placed a hand on Chakotay’s arm, “Be-
cause it had to be real, without . . . in our case . . . pretense.”
“Exactly–”
“BUT-it-was-still-wrong,” Janeway proclaimed, pronouncing
each word as if it stood alone.
“Yes, but–”
“Sickbay to the Captain–”
Startled by the call from the EMH, it took Janeway a moment to
answer as she tried to compose herself. Finally, she answered, “Jane-
way here–”
“Captain, I thought you would like to know, Lieutenant Torres
is awake and responsive.”
“That’s wonderful news, Doctor. How’s Hunter?”
There was an obvious hesitation on the other end of the
Commlink, then muffled conversation. Then–
“Paris here, Captain. Hunter is gone.”
Janeway hung her head as her vision clouded. She barely heard
the rest of what Paris was saying.
“It happened, just after B’Elanna woke up. He spoke to us and
then just faded away.” Paris’ voice cracked with emotion.
“Understood, Tom, I’m glad you were able to say good-bye.”
“Me too.”
“Take care of B’Elanna, we’ll be down to see you soon.”
“Aye, Captain–” Paris acknowledged as the link closed.
A deadly silence filled Janeway’s quarters as the exchanged
ended and the Captain directed a shattered look at the `Q’. Chakotay
took the lead.
“There it’s done, now, why don’t you leave.”
Q seemed to balk at the notion until his mate and son inter-
vened.
“He’s right, Q. The novelty here has more than worn off.”
“It’s time, Father–” The young Q advised quietly yet his gaze
never left Janeway and Chakotay. The Commander had slipped his
arms around his Captain, gently drawing her into a comforting em-
brace. The boy smiled slightly as his Mother literally dragged his father
back to the Continuum. They knew, he would follow. After watching
the human couple for a few more moments, the first of a new genera-
tion of `Q’, smiled as he whispered, “Have faith, Aunt Kathryn, you’ll
have your wish.” Then he vanished in the blink of an eye.
* * * * *
Two days later

Kathryn Janeway released a soft sigh as she stared out the ob-
servation window in her ready room. `Voyager’s’ crew was finally
back to normal, more or less. They all had struggled in the past couple
of days to put the incident with the children and Q behind them. Of
course, this was harder for some than for others.
Neelix and Harry Kim, had been left out of the loop. They sym-
pathized with their friends but really had no idea what they had been
through. Not so with, Tuvok and Kes, but they had accepted loss of
Kevok, especially since he had been able to communicate with his
foster parents telepathically. Though Janeway was sure he would not
be forgotten, Kevok would be missed.
Then there was B’Elanna Torres and Tom Paris, neither seemed
inclined to discuss Hunter. Although Paris had related to her and Cha-
kotay that deciding to die himself, rather then let anything happen to
his `family’, had made a lasting impression on him. So much so, that
ship’s rumor had it that he and B’Elanna were becoming quite an item.
Perhaps, there was a true Torres-Paris offspring on the horizon. Faced
with these happening and possibilities Both Janeway and Chakotay
had given their blessing to the relationship.
That left, them, Captain and First Officer, to deal with their own
feelings about what had occurred. Janeway sighed again and closed
her eyes resting her chin in her hand. It would have so much easier if
Q hadn’t interfered. Hadn’t taken it upon himself to give her, what he
proclaimed to be, she wanted. But at what price? Shaking her head
sadly, Janeway opened her eyes and was started to find herself no
longer in the ready room, but was sitting under a tree overlooking a
field.
“Kathryn–”
Janeway got to her feet as she saw Chakotay coming toward her.
“Chakotay, what’s–” She stopped as she saw a strange look in
his eye. The commander was no longer looking at her, but beyond,
over her shoulder. Turning, Kathryn Janeway focused on the grassy
meadow spread out before her and a small figure running toward them,
sun-kissed auburn hair streaming behind her. Kathryn gripped Chako-
tay’s arm tightly as her lips formed a name, “Alaura–”
“Mama. Papa.” The child cried out to them.
And suddenly, she was there in their arms as they dropped their
knees among the tall grasses. The three of them stayed that way for a
long moment, until finally, Alaura, herself separated to sit cross-legged
in front of her `parents’. Kathryn and Chakotay followed the example
of the child who appeared as last they saw her, that of a human four
year old. She regarded the adults solemnly when, she spoke it was in
voice and wisdom that should have been beyond her physical age.
“You have many questions, I know,” Alaura ventured her fea-
tures reflecting an inner a tranquillity as well as traces of her parent-
age. Dark brown eyes looked out from a heart-shaped face, that mir-
rored the fierce spirit of her `mother’ but also the gentle manner of her
`father’. Her surrogate parents could not help be effected.
“Yes, many questions–” Kathryn answered in the same calm
tone Alaura was using.
“But also, we, thank you–” Chakotay responded likewise fol-
lowing his captain’s lead.
The child nodded as she smiled, “I also, thank you and apolo-
gize.”
“Apologize– For what?” Chakotay asked.
“For leaving, the way that I did. But I had no choice, if I had, I
would stayed for as long as you wanted me.”
“But you couldn’t.” Kathryn whispered.
“No . . . as much as this was a lesson or trial for you, it was for
me. To prove I am worthy of the `Q’.”
“And did you pass–” Chakotay challenged bitterness evident in
his voice.
Alaura dropped her head for moment as she sighed. When she
looked at them again there were tears in her eyes.
“Yes, in a way, I suppose. I will be allowed to remain with the
Q and teach along with Kevok and Hunter, what we have learned from
being with you. We will also be allowed to keep the names and physi-
cal traits that you have given us.” The child paused as she reached out
her hands to them.
“But–” Kathryn prompted squeezing her `daughter’s’ proffered
hand. Chakotay did the same.
“This will be the last time, I will be able to speak with you for
many years. And . . . and I will miss you.” Alaura whispered as her
bottom lip trembled. “It can get very lonely in the Continuum.”
“What about your `Q’ parents?” Chakotay asked gently.
“They merely initiated the spark from which I formed. You,
gave me the gifts, that make me who I am.” Alaura paused and seemed
to grow distant for a moment. Then she turned back to them. “I have to
leave soon.”
Kathryn nodded as she wiped tears from her cheeks and glanced
at Chakotay who was doing the same. Grasping both their hands Kath-
ryn got to her feet. “Then let’s not waste any more time. We have some
memories to make.”
Chakotay smiled and nodded, “A run in the grass and a picnic
seems in order.” The women in his presence heartily agreed.
What seemed like hours were spent together mother, father and
child all appearing to be a happy family group and they were, for a
time. Then, it was over and Alaura once again was standing before
Kathryn and Chakotay. They embraced, saying a final good-bye to
each other and finally, Alaura stepped away as Chakotay slipped arm
around Kathryn’s shoulders. She raised a hand in silent salute and was
gone. Seconds later, they were back on `Voyager’. Kathryn was still
holding the flower she had picked in the meadow– a forget-me-not.
Standing wrapped in each others arms, they had concern knowledge
their lives were never going to be the same, for this experience and
they would never–Forget-Q-Not . . .
* * * * *
Epilogue

Tom Paris stood in silent awe as he watched B’Elanna Torres
come toward him. She looked as beautiful as he had ever seen her in
her wedding gown. He vowed then and there, that she was his life and
it would be a happy one.
After the ceremony and the reception came the opening of the
gifts. B’Elanna run her fingers tenderly over the canvassed surface of
the painting she held. It was of herself, Tom and Hunter with a beauti-
ful landscape as a backdrop. Her gaze drifted to the artist, “Captain,
thank you. It’s a wonderful gift.” Janeway only nodded in acknowl-
edgment.
“Kathryn, painted one for Tuvok too, in memory of Kes and
Kevok, and one of Alaura, with us.” Chakotay told them proudly. No
one seemed to notice the informal use of the captain first name. Maybe
that’s because, the crew as so used to seeing them together and were
happy for them.
Kathryn Janeway smiled at Chakotay as she rose from her chair
and picked up her champagne glass.
“Everyone, today is the most joyous of occasions. Please join
me in wishing Tom and B’Elanna the best of wishes for the future.
May their love bring only happiness and be without sorrow. To Tom
and B’Elanna–” The toast was echoed throughout the room. Then
Chakotay rose to join her as she continued, “Chakotay and I are, like
all of you, far from our homes and our families, but now, we’ve come
think of `Voyager’ as our home and all of you as our family. For this
reason, we, would like you to be the first to know that there’s going to
be another wedding in the near future.” Kathryn looked up into Cha-
kotay’s eyes and smiled. Tom let out a loud whoop and they were soon
besieged with congratulations.
Somewhere in the Continuum . . . Q was laughing.

Finis

49

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