Author’s Note (11/00):  This is a direct sequel to “B’Elanna’s Choice.”  It is not necessary that you read the original story to understand what’s going on here, but it could help.  Written in October, 1999.  Rated PG.

Briefly:  in “B’Elanna’s Choice,” Tom and B’Elanna learn that, as a result of actions they performed while under the influence of the Srivani* in “Scientific Method,” they are expecting a baby.  B’Elanna talks to Tom, the captain, and Samantha Wildman as she tries to decide what to do.

“Mi amor, mi corazon” is, simply translated, “my love, my heart” and “adios” is, of course, “goodbye.”  This is taken out of context from the song, “Spanish Is The Loving Tongue,” by Charles Badger Clark, Jr., and Marc Williams.  The song is best performed by Judy Collins on her 1976 album, “Bread and Roses,” although Emmylou Harris does a fair rendition of it on her 1981 album, “Cimarron.”   If that don’t date me, friends, nuthin’ will.

Disclaimer:  Paramount owns it all.  Always has, always will.  I accept this.

B’Elanna’s Choice 2:

The Bittersweet Smile

by Diane Bellomo

One Month

One of the things B’Elanna did before returning to Engineering was fabricate herself a coverall, a smock of sorts, that would shield her stomach from any sort of drip, leak, failure, snap, crackle, or pop her beloved engine room might have to offer in the course of any given day.  She was damned sure she wasn’t going to stop working, as was daringly suggested by both Tom and the Doctor when she had told them a week earlier that she had decided to keep the baby.  They valued their life and their programming, respectively, and so had wisely refrained from saying anything more when she bellowed some half-remembered string of Klingon expletives at them and stormed out of Sickbay.

The smock resembled very much an Engineering uniform, except it was made of sturdier stuff than the uniforms, and it hung kind of funny on her.  At least now it did.  Although she had studied the information from a couple of data padds, and had measured carefully, she suspected she would be straining the limits of this outfit before it was all said and done.  She hadn’t even begun to consider her personal wardrobe.

This whole thing was just a little too weird for her to believe as yet.  Aside from the nausea and vomiting, occasional lightheadedness, and a desire to eat everything in sight—the good, the bad, and the Neelix concoctions—she didn’t really feel any different than she had four weeks ago.

Another thing she did, reluctantly, was return to Sickbay and endure a thorough pelvic exam, something she couldn’t remember ever having had before, as well as the Holodoctor’s lecture about the care and feeding of a pregnant Human/Klingon body.  She also had to suffer a series of vitamin injections and promise to take daily a huge vitamin tablet, a bottle of which he had thrust into her hands as she was trying to make her escape.  Before she could get out, he also thrust a padd into her hands.

“What’s this?” she asked, unable to contain the growl that surrounded this short question.  As it was, she had only just bitten back the pahtk.  “Haven’t you done enough?”

She noticed the Doctor was doing a fine job of pretending he did not hear her tone, pretending also that she was waiting expectantly for his answer.

Well, she thought, out of the blue, I guess I am waiting expectantly.   She almost moaned aloud at the awfulness of it.  Great Kahless, I have seriously got to stop listening to Tom.  She brought her attention back to the Doctor.

“…a list of foods you should be eating.  Foods you should be eating for the next eight months, give or take a week.  Following the list are several suggested menus.  Since you were not planning to be pregnant, you did not prepare your body in advance for a new life.  Now, we simply must play a little ‘catch-up,’ if you will.”  His left eyebrow stole up his forehead, waiting for her to take a look at the padd.  She complied, glancing down at the first item on the list.

Cow’s milk?  “Milk, Doc?  Gods, I hate milk.  Besides, the only way I can get milk is to replicate it, right?  Where am I supposed to get eight months’ worth of rations?”

Of course, the Doctor was ready for this question.  “Good of you to ask, B’Elanna, because I now have the pleasure of advising you that the captain has permitted you unlimited replicator use for the duration of this pregnancy, provided, of course, you stick with the items on this list, and you supplement it with meals in the mess hall.”  He smiled, pleased with himself for having been able to impart this information to her.

Meals in the mess hall?   Neelix’s multi-colored mashed whatevers?  That green stuff?  Leola root everything?  She was only eating it because she was hungry just about all the time now and couldn’t afford to replicate every meal.  Now she could, or at least every other meal.  She looked at the list again.  Unfortunately, milk was still there, and it was starting to look mighty good to her.  This did nothing but make one of her stomachs threaten rebellion.

“Yeah, that’s great.  Thanks.”

The Doctor looked a little hurt that she wasn’t more excited about the replicator use, but she didn’t spare a speck of sympathy for him.  “May I go now, please?”

“Yes, but I’d like to see you at this same time next month.”

“Right.”  She exited before he could get in his usual parting word.  Gone as she was from Sickbay, she did not hear him mutter “hormones.”

*   *   *

Tom sat at his post on the Bridge, his right leg pumping vigorously, generating enough energy to light a turbolift, to which he was oblivious.  There was nothing going on on the viewscreen, so his mind was elsewhere.  Elsewhere on B’Elanna’s belly.

A baby, a baby, a baby.  She’s gonna have a baby.  Our baby!  He was so excited, he could barely contain himself there in his chair.  As it was, he burst into a wide smile, to which he was equally oblivious.  His fingers danced over the console, making minute and unnecessary adjustments, doing it without thought, still daydreaming about his child.  His child!  He never noticed that Janeway had come up behind him, until she curled her warm hand over his shoulder, causing him to jump in surprise.

“Whatever are you thinking about, Lieutenant?” she asked.  He missed entirely the amusement in her voice, so startled was he by her touch.

He swiveled quickly in his chair, ready for business, the smile gone from his face, but when his blue eyes met her twinkling gray ones, his smile returned twofold.  He wasn’t kidding anyone, least of all his captain.

“There’s nothing going on up here, Tom.  Why don’t you go see how B’Elanna’s doing?  Didn’t you say she had an appointment with the Doctor this morning?”

“Yeah, uh, yes Captain.  I, uh, you mean I can go?”  Not very professional, but at the mention of B’Elanna’s name, his tongue suddenly forgot how to form words.

“Dismissed, Lieutenant.”  He shot out of his seat and into the turbolift.  Janeway and Chakotay exchanged smirks at his rapid departure.  Harry just shook his head.  Tuvok stood stoic, as always, although anyone who knew him well and who looked close enough could see the warm light of understanding in his eyes.

It might very well be a long eight months.

*   *   *

Tom entered B’Elanna’s quarters to the sound of retching.  He went straight for the bathroom, where he found her exactly where he knew she’d be – hanging over the toilet, puking whatever it was she had eaten.  It was odd to him, how she ate everything in sight because she was always starving, and then puked a good portion of it back up.  Had his own mother gone through this three times?

“Bella,” he said softly, so as not to startle her, caressing the back of her head.  It appeared as though this bout was coming to an end, so he reached over her to snatch her washrag from its hook.  He wet it with cool water and ran it gently over her lips and face as she straightened up in front of him, flushing the toilet as she did so.

“Oh, gods, Tom.”  She closed her eyes and leaned into the cool rag.  “That feels so good.”

“B’Elanna, what did the Doc say about this…this nausea?  It can’t be good for you.”  He put the rag down and they walked together to sit on the couch in the living area.

“Well, no, but it isn’t exactly bad, either.  It’s just part of the plan.  He said it might continue right up to the moment of birth.  Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?  Me in labor and puking at the same time.  Ugh.

“But have you noticed I don’t puke every single day now?  The Doc said it would ease, but probably not go away entirely.  It all has something to do with my hybrid physiology, gods, everything has to do with my hybrid physiology, though he did manage to politely add that some fully human women are nauseous throughout the entire pregnancy.  Anyway, I’m hungry, and guess what?”  She reached for a padd on the low table in front of her.

Tom marveled at her recuperative powers and at the fact that she was hungry.  This was going to be a long eight months.  “‘Guess what’ what?”

“The Doc said the captain gave me unlimited use of the replicator, as long as I use it to replicate the food on this list.  If you’re here when I’m hungry, like now, I say you get to eat with me.”  She held the padd out to him.

He took it and looked down.  Cow’s milk, first thing.  Oh yeah, let’s just whip up a couple of nice, big frothy glasses of that disgusting stuff.  He hated it almost more than she did.  But as he continued to scroll down the list, it started looking better and better.  Lots of dairy products. Oh, right, calcium.  But, hey now, there was also beef, chicken, fish, about a million vegetables, including many of his all-time favorites, multi-grain bread and cereal, muffins, eggs, all manner of assorted fruits and nuts, and even, even, chocolate.  Yes!  Chocolate cake was right there, last on the list.  Not even a hint of blood pie or gagh.

Was the Doctor getting soft?  Well, bully for him!  They were gonna have one heck of a meal!  And these next eight months might not be so bad after all.

*   *   *

Three Months

Time continued to pass on the good ship Voyager, and B’Elanna and Tom continued their workday routine and their lives, same as everybody else.  B’Elanna even consented to allow Tom to start a betting pool on the sex of the baby, which they had not learned since she wanted to be surprised.   Tom swore he would not cheat and went around collecting replicator ration credits.  It was about fifty-fifty now, and he was having a ball.

Near the end of the third month, B’Elanna began to seriously wonder when she would fully come to realize she was pregnant.  Certainly, she had thickened around the middle, and her breasts were getting larger, to the drooling delight of Thomas Eugene Paris, but she still didn’t feel pregnant, at least not like she thought she was supposed to feel, which she really didn’t have a clear idea of, anyway.  Having nothing to compare it to, she studied data padds.  But their information was clinical, and the darn padds didn’t hold any information on the specific genetic blending she carried.  There was a program that would enable her to extrapolate possibilities if she so desired, but the program cautioned that each woman’s pregnancy was unique and results could vary greatly from reality.

She found this to be true, as well, when she talked to other crew members.  In the first place, there were precious few for her to talk to.  Some of the men had families back home, but there were, in fact, few women aboard who had experienced their own pregnancy, and certainly no other Human/Klingon woman who had carried a child three-quarters Human and one-quarter Klingon.

She talked for a while in the mess hall with Anna Cellini, the young Maquis woman who had been the one to openly challenge her about ending the pregnancy.  Anna had long ago apologized for all the horrible things she had said to B’Elanna in the engine room on that fateful day, but she admitted now that she had absolutely no idea what B’Elanna might expect, as she was an only child of very strict, religious parents.  Which was, she confessed, why she had joined the Maquis in the first place.

Even Samantha Wildman, who had been so very, very helpful when B’Elanna had first been faced with the choice of whether or not to terminate, could not give her specifics about what she might experience or when, since a Human/Ktarian pregnancy was light years away from a Human/Klingon one.  About the only thing they had in common was that they both carried the fetus in their uterus.  After that, things went in unlike directions, and even Samantha herself repeated what the data padd had stated, that each woman’s pregnancy was unique unto itself, no matter who created the baby.

Talking to the Doctor was out.  In spite of his genuine effort not to, he tended to sound like a data padd himself.  Besides, she was already seeing plenty of him, nevermind how much of her he was seeing!

She allowed herself one contemplative moment for her mother.  It had never occurred to B’Elanna to ask her anything about her pregnancy.  She wondered now if her mother had experienced any specific health problems, or if any aspect of her pregnancy and birth had been hard for her.  Of all the things her mother used to regularly blame her for, or accuse her of, she never once mentioned the occasion of her birth.  B’Elanna considered that.  Her mother was a full Klingon, a strapping specimen at that, and she carried a half-human child.  Perhaps her birth had hardly made a difference to her.  B’Elanna snorted softly.  Just another reminder of how weak humans were.  Ha, B’Elanna thought, with insight she did not know she possessed, shows how much you know, Mom.  This is making a big difference to me, and there’s nothing at all weak about it.  It’s really a shame you’ll probably never get to meet your only grandchild.

She sighed.  One more new experience to chalk up to life in the Delta Quadrant.

*   *   *

One evening, a few days after her musings about when she would start to really feel pregnant, B’Elanna was lying on the bed by herself in the quarters she now shared with Tom.  Gazing vacantly at the crib in the corner, she was absently fingering the baby blanket Sam and Naomi had given her, which was presently draped across her midsection, when a very strange thing happened.

She felt a subtle fluttering in the pit of her second stomach, or somewhere very nearby it.  But it wasn’t so much a fluttering, as a purposeful stirring, an intentional movement within her.  She sat up slowly and placed her hand on her abdomen.  The movement came again, and she was enchanted by it.  Tears came to her eyes as she sat alone in the dark.  She thought briefly about calling Tom, but she just didn’t have the desire to hunt up her commbadge.  Instead, she just sat there, tears streaming down her face, her lips curved into the bittersweet smile of the ages, her gaze focused inward.

The data padds had said this much.  That she would feel a movement.  And they had a name for it, called it a quickening.  But nothing in the padds came anywhere near describing how beautiful a feeling it was, how alive and full it made her feel.  Nothing quickened except her heartbeat, and she imagined she felt the baby’s heartbeat quicken as well.  She was pregnant, and the baby had finally alerted its mother to its presence within her, making it more than just a word, more than some vague occurrence six months hence.  It was real.  She carried life.  She entered bliss.

*   *   *

This was where Tom found her a short time later, on the bed, teardrops still staining her face.  He was immediately on alert, ready to call the Doctor, when she shook her head and told him to relax.  He crawled up onto the bed and sat facing her.

“It moved, Tom, the baby moved.”  She placed her hand on her abdomen again, reached for his to cover hers, and gazed into his eyes.  He didn’t feel anything, but staring into her liquid brown eyes, he would have been perfectly content to drown there.  “It was the most beautiful thing I have ever felt.”  She paused and then asked forthrightly, “Do you love me?”  Adding softly, “Dad?”

His heart soaring and his gaze still lost in hers, Tom answered with the only words in his head.  “I love you more than life itself.”

She leaned forward and kissed him full on the lips, passionately, startling the heck out of him.  But he wasted no time in returning the kiss with matching passion, bringing his arms around her and pulling her as close as he could.

To his further surprise, she uncrossed her legs and wrapped them around him, effectively sitting on his lap on the bed, her lips never leaving his.  A certain portion of his anatomy eagerly responded to her body’s siren call, and it wasn’t long before a pile of clothing lay on the floor at the foot of the bed.

*   *   *

Six Months

As the second trimester came to a close, the damned smock finally stopped hanging so funny on her.  B’Elanna was swelling into a glowing, very pregnant lady.

The entire crew, transformed over the years from a crew to a family, was aglow as much as B’Elanna herself.  She and Tom could not go anywhere, either together or separately, without someone stopping to talk to them.  The only thing B’Elanna had trouble understanding was other people’s wanting to touch her.

With the patient help of Samantha and Naomi Wildman, B’Elanna came to learn to allow people into her personal space enough to touch her belly.  This was perhaps the hardest thing she’d ever had to get used to, as she never cared for anyone to get too close, unless, of course, she was trying to rip their lungs out.  She was amazed at this phenomenon, this sudden desire people had to touch her.  But she recognized that the rest of the crew saw this baby as their baby, too, and only wanted to share her happiness.

The saving grace was that everyone, except for Neelix, who apologized profusely when he realized what he had done, asked and received permission first before tentatively reaching out to lightly place their palm against the increasingly-firm mound of baby.

After a while, to her own astonishment, she actually came to look forward to these shy, precious connections.  She was always careful to speak to her stomach during these hand-to-belly meetings, introducing whoever it was to her baby.  Sam Wildman had told her this—that it was a good thing to talk to the baby—and she discovered she enjoyed it very much.

Maternity suited B’Elanna Torres, though people knew better than to actually say that to her.

*   *   *

Nine Months, six days

B’Elanna was standing in front of a console by the warp core, ignoring yet another stab of discomfort and urge to pee, when her head started to pound.  She picked her right hand up from its resting place upon the vast expanse of her stomach and rubbed her temple.  Sue Nicoletti, standing to her left, spoke up immediately.

“Lieutenant?  Are you all right?”  She placed her hand on B’Elanna’s arm.

The pain subsided as suddenly as it had come and she dropped her hand.  “What?  Oh, yes, Lieutenant, yes.  I’m…I’m okay.”  She frowned because she had never felt that sort of pain before.  The cramping she was getting used to, but this was something new.

It was Susan’s job to watch B’Elanna for signs of labor, although B’Elanna did not know that.  Susan was good at her job, being one of the few women on Voyager who had given birth herself.  She had long since recognized that B’Elanna was probably already in labor, and while she had been ready to allow B’Elanna a little more time, she did not care for this new development.  Susan had no formal medical training, but she knew a swift, painful headache in a very pregnant woman was not a good sign at all.  Risking disciplinary action, she ignored her superior’s claim that she was “okay.”

“B’Elanna, how about if we go to Sickbay now?”  B’Elanna jerked her arm back and scowled at the lieutenant.  “Watch it, Nicoletti.  I told you I’m fine.”  She turned her back to Susan and lumbered towards her office.  She hadn’t taken three steps before a terrific pain sliced across her abdomen and a gush of warm liquid fell from her.  She staggered and the pain in her head returned with a vengeance.

Susan was there instantly, grabbing her, taking all her weight, keeping her from falling hard to the floor.  She freed one arm and viciously slapped her commbadge, even as she eased B’Elanna down.  Her overloud voice echoed in the sudden quiet of the engine room.

“Nicoletti to Sickbay!  Medical emergency!  It’s B’Elanna!  Doc!”  Before the words were completely gone from her, she felt the transporter take them.

*   *   *


B’Elanna was crying, moaning his name when Tom came tearing into Sickbay, nearly an hour and a half after she had been beamed there.  His delay had only been because Susan, who had contacted Joe Carey in Engineering for permission to take time to tell Tom personally, had ended up having trouble locating him.

He had been off duty and out of uniform, helping Neelix take inventory in cargo bay two because he couldn’t seem to keep his mind on anything more complex than counting the Delta Quadrant equivalent of cabbages.  As the Fates would have it, his communicator was not stowed away in his pocket like he thought, but lay by itself on the bedroom floor in his quarters, which is where Susan went first. 

Though Nicoletti tried her best not to alarm him, he was quaking with adrenaline and fear by the time he got to Sickbay.  Hearing B’Elanna only kicked his fear into warp.  She should have been cursing, not crying.

“Lieutenant Torres, please, push for me now,” the Doctor started again, trying to get her attention.  He had not been successful up to this point, and he still wasn’t, but he tried anyway.  B’Elanna’s labor so far had been rapid and very hard.  Now, having reached the resting phase, her body was reluctant to continue, and B’Elanna was not cooperating, too exhausted to listen to him.  In addition, her blood pressure had been rising since her arrival and she was not responding to medication to bring it down.  Her half-Klingon physiology was asserting itself in all the wrong ways, and the Doctor found himself feeling oddly fearful, concerned not only for the life of the baby, but for B’Elanna herself.

He had quickly realized his mistake in allowing Lieutenant Nicoletti to leave, as he could have used another pair of hands, trained or not.  He was, therefore, more than a little relieved to see Tom arrive, certain his presence would be able to bring her around and that his field medic training would be put to the true test.  This child had to be delivered.  Right now.

Tom skidded to a halt beside B’Elanna and picked her limp hand from the birthing chair, bringing it to his cheek.  He bent low to her face, but her eyes were closed and she did not acknowledge him.

She sighed his name, still showing no sign that she knew he was there.  “Tom…Tom…I don’t want to do this anymore.  I can’t do this.  It hurts.  It hurts so much and I’m tired.”

The Doctor spoke.  “Tom, you must get her to concentrate and push, or we won’t have a live birth here.”  He did not have time to mince words.  “We won’t have much of B’Elanna, either.”

Tom had never been so scared in all his life.  He and B’Elanna had read up on possible complications during labor, but since B’Elanna’s check-ups were always sterling and she was as strong as a horse, he foolishly thought it couldn’t happen to them.  No data padd could have prepared him for the sight of her, anyway.

She was slumped in the chair, soaked with sweat, taking ragged, uneven breaths, eerily sedate, and so unlike her usual spitfire self that his brain was actively lying to him, telling him it wasn’t her.  His heart, hammering in his chest, told him better.  He brought her hand to his lips and held it there, her familiar, half-human saltiness exploding on the tip of his tongue.  He put his other hand gently into her damp hair, praying silently to a God he had not sought in many years.  Please, don’t let her die, don’t let the baby die, don’t…don’t…

“B’Elanna, Bella, look at me, look here at me.  The Doc says you have to push.  You remember what we practiced, don’t you?  You can do this.  Look at me.  Push now.  Push.”  He kissed her hand again and she turned dull eyes to him, finally focusing on his pale face.

“Tom, thank gods you’re here.  I feel so strange.”

Was she not lucid?  He cast a frightened look at the Doctor and then quickly returned to her, struggling to keep his voice from trembling.  “C’mon, sweetheart, push, like we practiced, okay?”  To his immense relief, she nodded in response to his encouragement.  He drew in a breath and pushed himself, willing her to copy him.

She took a deep, measured breath, held it, and sent a mighty push through her body, releasing the captured breath with a full-throated Klingon roar.

The Doctor visibly relaxed.  “That’s good, B’Elanna, very good.  Relax a moment now.”

He glanced at the chair’s readings.  Blood pressure still nowhere near where it should be.

“Push for me one more time, B’Elanna, all right?”

“C’mon, Bee, you’re doing great, you’re doing just great.”  Obediently, and without hesitation or doubt, she pushed and roared again.

The Doctor’s computer brain scanned rapidly through what other options there were at this point, all of them invasive and unpleasant, all of them guaranteed to put baby and mother at further risk.  What he wanted to do most, and what he knew would be the best thing, was to deliver this baby the way babies had been delivered for centuries. Childbirth was not a disease, it was a natural function of life, and the process was at its healthiest when allowed to occur without medical interference. 

Besides, he and B’Elanna had discussed this, months earlier.  She specifically did not want medical interference, and she was adamantly Klingon about this.  If Tom could keep her focused, things would turn out all right.

However, if Tom could not keep her focused, he was fully prepared to violate B’Elanna’s wishes and interfere medically to the very end of his software to ensure that things would, indeed, turn out all right.  Suffering B’Elanna’s wrath while cradling a squalling infant was much preferable to the alternative and a very small price to pay.

Not for the first time, he fervently wished for Kes, for her gentle, soothing ways, and allowed one second’s hope that her loving spirit was present in the room.

It was not long before B’Elanna felt a strong contraction building.  In better control now, she closed her eyes, took several deep, cleansing breaths, and waited for it, but what she waited for, she never felt.

Instead, pain exploded behind her eyes, scattering shimmering sparkles of light against her eyelids.  She heard the chair squeal a harsh warning and felt a sudden rush of movement from the two men around her.  She heard the Doctor shout sternly to Tom, and then everything slipped away from her, the pain, Tom, Sickbay, the baby…

…She was a child again, giggling in her father’s arms as he danced her around the living room to a salsa beat that delighted her and angered her mother.  He was murmuring to her in Spanish, words of love she did not quite understand, along with her pet name. “Mi amor, mi corazon, Little Bee, mi amor.”  And then he spoke a word she did understand, as she felt her mother’s strong arms grab her and pull her from him.  “Adios, mi amor.”

“Daddee, Daaddee!!!”

Then she was standing in a sunlit clearing in the forest.  Chakotay was there, sitting cross-legged on the ground at her feet, his animal guide sitting next to him.  She was a stunning beast, an aristocratic wolf, but sitting there as she was, with her jaw hanging open and her tongue lolling out the side of her mouth, she looked for all the world like she was about to burst out laughing.

“Chakotay?  Why are you here?”

“I might ask the same of you, B’Elanna.  I thought you were having a baby.”

“I was, er, I am—at least I think I am.  Okay, why am I here?”

“I think she,” Chakotay began, nodding his head towards the wolf, “has something she wants to show you, but she’s a little bit afraid.”

“She’s afraid?”

“Yes, B’Elanna, all animal guides are afraid of you.”  He flashed her his dimpled, lopsided grin.

She snickered in resignation.  “I won’t try to kill her or whatever it is she wants to show me.  I promise.”

“Good enough.”  Chakotay rose and stepped back, fading into the forest.  The wolf got to her feet and stepped aside, allowing a tiny gray pup to bound forward, barking and nipping playfully at B’Elanna’s ankles.  “Oh my gosh!  Look at you!”  She bent and scooped the pup into her arms, laughing as it applied its tongue to her face and thrust its cold wet nose into her ear, huffing and yipping, sounding painfully loud…

She returned abruptly to awareness, and with it came a magnificent pain that took her breath away.  The chair’s alarm was at top volume, but she could also hear Tom and the Doctor talking in low, urgent tones and could feel hands upon her.  Responding instinctively to a primal urge deep within her, she arched her back, relaxed, took in a huge lungful of air and bore down as if she were trying to expel every bit of her insides through her birth canal, the sound escaping her not a roar but a scream.

The baby slid into the Doctor’s outstretched arms and began wailing at the top of his miniature lungs.  Grinning like a fool, the Doctor deftly severed the cord, wiped him off, diapered his tiny behind, wrapped him securely in a blanket, and transferred him to the waiting incubator.  He returned to B’Elanna to take care of the last of the business of birth.

Tom was draped almost fully over B’Elanna, his left arm locked behind her left knee, holding the leg up as instructed by the Doctor.  There was blood, sweat, and other bodily fluids everywhere.  This was not a textbook birth, not by any stretch of anyone’s imagination, but at least the chair had stopped screeching.  He released B’Elanna’s leg, carefully returning it to the chair.  He straightened up and stared blankly at the wall.  What now?

A hoarse whisper brought him back.  “Tom?”  He was instantly by her face, kissing her cheek, wiping sweat from her eyes and her forehead.  His knees were threatening to buckle, but he remained on his feet.

“Bella, Belle, oh my angel, my angel.”

She took his hand, smiling weakly.  “Tom?  My baby?  Is it okay?  What is it?”

He didn’t understand at first and then realization dawned.  “Oh!  A boy, B’Elanna.  It’s a perfect, healthy boy and he’s got a headful of black hair and…and ridges, Bee, he’s got ridges, just like his beautiful…his…beautiful mother.”  He lost his control then, choked, and burst into tears.

B’Elanna’s eyes began to close and Tom’s heart rose to thump wildly in his aching throat.  “B’Elanna!”  Her eyes popped open but immediately began to close again.  “Miguel,” she said, but he didn’t hear her.  Panic was settling in.  He was afraid for her eyes to close again.  He looked frantically around for the Doctor and found him there beside him.

“It’s all right, Tom, she’s exhausted.  She’s just going to sleep this time.”  The Doctor carefully adjusted the chair to a horizontal position and with amazingly tender ministrations, began to wash her.

“Miguel,” she whispered again, her eyes slitting open.

He didn’t understand.  “Miguel?”

“Name..him…Miguel?  Feh…for my fa…father…my father.”  And her eyes slid completely closed.

Tom straightened and swayed.  The Doctor steadied him.  “Lieutenant, how about if you come over here and say hello to, what’s that name?  Miguel?  And then maybe take a little nap?  B’Elanna will sleep for quite a while and I’m sure you can use the rest yourself.”  He led him to the incubator.

Tom peered into it.  His son was gorgeous, a little sweaty and red, perhaps, a little upset, but gorgeous.  An exact image of his mother, though his forehead ridges were even less pronounced than hers and his hair was decidedly curly.  Glancing over at B’Elanna, he wondered for a moment how it could be that the Doctor could stop a grand mal seizure from putting her into a coma, or worse, but could do little to relieve her labor or prevent his son’s traumatic birth, without it causing even more problems.  He had known that B’Elanna had not wanted the Doctor to perform any medical magic tricks, but still, as he fell heavily onto the biobed, he wondered where the balance was in all this.

Just then, the baby let out a resounding holler and, turning his head to again gaze upon B’Elanna’s peaceful, sleeping form, he suddenly found the balance.  He drifted into unconsciousness.

As the new little family lay sleeping in Sickbay—well, as Mom and Dad lay sleeping in Sickbay—the crew of new “aunts and uncles” partied well into the night, exchanging replicator ration credits with gleeful abandon.  They were, in fact, stockpiling most of them as a gift for the baby, since an official baby shower never quite came together in time.  The bell tower Harry had created on Holodeck Two pealed out joyfully over ship-wide communications.


They settled on Andreas Michael Torres Paris.  It was quite the mouthful, they agreed, but B’Elanna had decided that her father’s name would do better as her son’s middle name, and then translated it into the Anglo version for Tom.  She found she preferred the rumbling cadence of “Andreas Torres” over any other combination, pronouncing it in the manner of the ancient, earthy language that was part of her.

Studying the classic, dark features and lightly-ridged forehead of his newborn son, Tom Paris could find no fault with her preference.  From his first lusty intake of Voyager’s recycled air, it was abundantly clear that “Mikey Paris” this kid was not.

So, for the ship’s official birth record, he was an honorable, four-name reflection of both his parents.  For daily use, his name became a fractured, three-syllable reflection of his Klingon/Spanish warrior heritage. 

Possessing possibly the finest set of lungs in the entire Delta Quadrant, it was only when one or the other of his parents hung over his crib and shouted “An…dre…as,” rolling the “r” and hissing the “s” until they were blue in the face, that the baby would stop crying and start laughing.  Mom or Dad would then join him, invariably lifting him into their arms, and all would be very, very right with the world.


*Footnote added 7/01:  Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, in the Star Trek Voyager, Section 31 pro novel, “Shadow,” gave this name to the alien experimenters from the episode “Scientific Method.”  Taking liberties with canon, I use it here.