The Sorrow Within the Joy


By Tommyhawk1@aol.com
(c) 2002 by Voyeur. All Rights Reserved.

Illustration of Sorrow/Joy

Tom Paris walked through the door of Engineering bearing a covered plate in one hand like a waiter, over his head, steering it through the working crew who had tools and their own bodies spread all over the place. Despite two close calls, he made it to where Chakotay was busily discussing the regular maintenance with B'Elenna while Harry ran the computer console. "Once they finish remodulating the warp core I want MacLaughton and Ellis to...Tom, what the hell is that?"
*
"Lunch is served, milord." Tom said, setting the tray down on the computer console, and lifting off the lid with a flourish. Revealed was a sandwich and carrot-stick-shaped purple vegetables and a container of green juice. "The chef is in good form today, I think. You shan't be disappointed."
*
"Tom, I don't have time for this...."
*
"Well, you'll have to make time, husband of mine." Paris said. "If you didn't want me watching what you ate, you shouldn't have put me in charge of the family ration accounts. Every time we do the regular monthly overhaul, you skip breakfast and lunch and eat darned little dinner on top of it. Well, you're my responsibility now and I'm not going to stand for it. So shut up and eat. That is an order, mister."
*
"Hmph!" Chakotay said, but he picked up the sandwich, took a bite, looked surprised, and took another one on top of it. "Hm, ih guh!" he mumbled.
*
"Yes it is good." Tom said. "I shoved Neelix out of the way and made it myself. Not a weird herb in the batch."
*
"Thnkuh vay-ih muh."
*
"You're welcome."
*
"My God!" B'Elenna remarked to Harry. "They're beginning to speak in code!"
*
"Married couples always do that." Harry said. "My mother could look at my father and know right away when his regular secretary was replaced by a gorgeous blonde from the secretarial pool. Dad always shook his head and swore it was telepathy. Mom just said that he had guilty thoughts plastered all over his face."
*
"Fat chance of that with these two." B'Elenna said. "Ever since the marriage there hasn't been a flirt out of either one of them. I don't think it's fair, Tom."
*
"What?" Paris asked.
*
"Voyager's most eligible single man, handsome, debonair, dashing and utterly irresistible..."
*
"Yes?" Paris grinned.
*
"And YOU go and marry him." B'Elenna said. "You, Voyager's second-most eligible single man."
*
"Handsome, debonair, et cetera, et cetera." Paris said. "You had your chance, B'Elenna and you blew it. Both of us are taken, now."
*
"But you've depressed the market. Women on this ship are reduced to dating guys like, like, like Harry."
*
"I thought I was getting dates more easily lately." Kim said. "I figured my inner charms were finally coming to the surface."
*
"Any inner charms you have are still very well-hidden, I assure you." B'Elenna said.
*
"Tom, what are these vegetable sticks?" Chakotay asked. "They're delicious."
*
"N'Gimellian tah'cha stalks." Paris said. "There's a big supply of them in Cargo Bay Three."
*
"Why haven't I ever seen them on the regular menu?"
*
"Neelix keeps boiling them in with those weeds we picked up on the stop just before that." Paris said. "And they're supposed to be eaten raw."
*
"Could I try one?" Harry asked.
*
"Get your own." Paris said, slapping his hand as he reached. "These are Chakotay's. It's past his lunchtime."
*
"It's past my lunchtime too, you know." Harry said, rubbing his hand with an exaggerated gesture of pain.
*
"So spend some of your gambling profits, Ensign Kim. Chakotay, drink the tabrekah juice, too. It's got plenty of carbohydrates for energy and you're going to need it, today."
*
"You sound like my mother." Chakotay said, taking the drink and sipping, then chugging it eagerly.
*
"Actually, I sound like my Great-aunt Esther." Tom said. He took on the accent of a yenta. "Eat, bubbalah, eat! You're so thin!" He laughed. "I was a chubby kid thanks to her song of starvation." His face grew longer. "She died when I was nine, and I couldn't eat a bite for days. Been thin ever since."
*
"You're not thin, Tom." Chakotay said. "You look perfect to me."
*
Tom smiled. "You look really good to me, too, Chakotay."
*
"Oh, God, I'm going to gag!" B'Elenna said. "Can we get back to work now, Tom?"
*
"Dear, take the last of the tah'cha stalks." Tom held up the tray. Chakotay took it. "I have to get back to the bridge, myself. The Captain thinks I'm in the bathroom."
*
B'Elenna stared after him. "Chakotay, I don't know just what you did to Tom...."
*
"Yes."
*
"But when I get married, will you teach me how to housebreak my husband, too? I want him to bring me MY lunch when I'M doing routine maintenance."
*
Chakotay smiled into the air. "Well, actually, it's an old Indian secret. Not to be shared with outsiders."
*
* * * * *
*
Tom made it back to the bridge. "Sorry I was delayed, Captain." he said as he scooted into the chair vacated by Ensign Galloway.
*
"Quite all right." Captain Janeway said. "How are they doing in Engineering?"
*
"About finished remodulating the warp core." Tom said. "How did you know?"
*
"Neelix called to complain about one too many cooks in his kitchen. Also something about ruining perfectly good food."
*
"I'm sorry, Captain."
*
"Don't be. You're right. Chakotay forgets to eat when he's busy. And judging from what I saw Neelix stirring, I wish you'd made some for the rest of us."
*
"I keep giving him the recipes I find in the N'Gimelii database." Tom said. "He won't touch them. Say, why don't you and Tuvok come to visit us tomorrow night and I'll make a real N'Gimeliian dinner for you. I'll invite Harry and B'Elenna, too. We can play some table games afterwards."
*
"I'd love to." Janeway said, hiding a smile. Tom had become so domesticated in the last three months. It was getting hard to see the wild playboy he had once been.
*
"Great!" Tom said. "What do you think about..." An alarm rang and he immediately went into frozen-faced action. "Vessel ahead."
*
"Can you identify it?"
*
"One moment." Paris said. "Vidian raiding vessel, on an intercept course. It's big, Captain."
*
"Raise shields. Red alert. Evasive maneuvers. Engineering, I need warp drive and I need it now."
*
"Bringing it back on-line." B'Elenna said. "Give me two minutes."
*
"We don't have two minutes, Lieutenant. Bring it on-line now. Phaser control, fire at will."
*
"Aye, aye." B'Elenna said. "Reaching critical mass." An explosion behind her. "Man down! Warp core leak! Get the bafflers over here, stat! Harry, how's Chakotay?"
*
Tom gave a small sound of pain, but he stayed where he was, moving the Voyager on impulse drive alone, making quick moves to evade the Vidian phaser blasts that danced around them. He rocked them left and right, then hit three buttons in quick succession and Voyager moved into a downward spin and suddenly upwards and over their larger prey. Voyager was aimed now right at the Vidian ship and Tom hit his own weapons panel, and three photon torpedos lashed at the Vidian ship. Two missed but one connected, directly amidships. "That's for hurting my husband!" he snarled, never knowing he'd said it.
*
"Got their front weapons array." Ensign Galloway reported.
*
Voyager dived past the Vidian ship, which pursued them, but now no longer firing. Janeway knew that boarding parties would be standing on transporter pads aboard that ship this very minute, ready to be transported all over her ship. She needed warp power, fast! "Engineering, report!" she rapped out.
*
"Core leak contained. Warp engines are now back on-line but don't use them very long."
*
"No promises. Maximum warp. Give her all she's got!" The Voyager shot into warp speed as Paris used his knowledge of the vessel to coax maximum performance out of her engines.
*
Janeway looked at Paris, about to compliment his shooting skills. Were those tears he was wiping from his eyes? "B'Elenna, how's Chakotay?"
*
"Chakotay has been beamed to sick bay. He'll be all right, he just got a bad burn."
*
Janeway watched Paris' shoulders, which had been ramrod straight, slump slightly. He played his controls with renewed vigor. But the Vidian ship was faster, and gaining on them rapidly.
*
"We can't outrun them. Let's play hide-and-go-seek. There's a gas giant in the system ahead." Paris said. "I'm taking Voyager into its outer atmosphere."
*
"Make it so, Lieutenant." Janeway said.
*
Voyager danced and skipped through the orange atmosphere. The Vidians tried to follow, but their ship, designed for outer space, caught the atmosphere rather than using it, and their speed slowed, their outer hull heated. Voyager finally had put the planet between them and Paris was straining his eyes for what he knew had to be there. A moon, small and jagged, smaller than he wanted. It would have to do. He brought the Voyager out in a sharp curve from the atmosphere of the gas giant planet and was behind the moon in short order, and he cut the engines, brought them to a complete stop, nearly touching the tiny moon's surface.
*
"Cut all power except for life support." Janeway ordered, understanding.
*
A loud note always playing, so that they couldn't hear it until now, when they shut off the systems and the sound faded into lower notes and died. And they waited in silence and darkness but for a few panels and the viewscreen.
*
"Have we fooled them?" Janeway said.
*
"They're cutting their engines. They're scanning."
*
"Cut all power." Janeway ordered. And in utter darkness they waited again.
*
"They're coming for us." Paris reported after a time. "They've got us spotted. Sorry, Captain."
*
"It was a good gambit." Janeway consoled him. "It should have worked. Power on. All hands, prepare to repel boarders. Computer, initiate self-destruct sequence--Wait!"
*
The Vidian ship lit from explosions that seemed to come from nowhere. The ship rocked, kicked and with a soundless blast, turned into fragments of molten metal and shards of machinery wending through the cosmos.
*
"What the hell just happened?" Janeway muttered.
*
"We're being hailed."
*
"On screen."
*
A grinning face appeared. "Ah, my child, you are all right!" it said to Paris.
*
"Father!" Paris shouted. "Thank God you saw us!"
*
"And why shouldn't I?" N'Gah said. "I've been following you ever since your marriage."
*
"You have?" Janeway asked, surprised.
*
"But of course." N'Gah said. "This is a dangerous sector for such a small ship as yours. I haven't interfered, I merely have arranged to be nearby in case of danger. If the Vidian ship hadn't found you, I would have come calling soon anyway."
*
"You are welcome, of course, N'Gah, but may I ask why?" Janeway asked.
*
"Why?" N'Gah said. "The answer is obvious, I should think. Child, stand up."
*
"Father?" Paris said, puzzled.
*
"Stand up." Paris did so. "Turn to the side." Paris obliged. N'Gah seemed disappointed. "You've been making love to your husband with the proper frequency, haven't you?"
*
"Yes, Father." Paris conceded. "More than that, actually."
*
"I would have heard from N'Dim if you hadn't." N'Gah said. "I know he has been watching you, and from the miserable look on his face, I don't think you've left any doubt about the counting. Do your loins still burn, my child?"
*
Paris grinned. "They do, Father. And my dreams are now my reality. I am happy."
*
"Excellent! I am glad. I know you and your husband plan to leave this quadrant, but I do wish to see my grandchild before you leave our space. So when may I expect to hold him in my arms?"
*
"Your grandchild?" Paris asked, his face blank.
*
"Certainly." N'Gah said. "Aren't you pregnant yet, my child? You've certainly had enough time."
*
Gently, Paris explained things to N'Gah. Who promptly became angry and issued both orders and an ultimatum to his adopted child.
*

* * * * *
*
Chakotay was in the sickbay, a nasty burn on his left arm and shoulder, which the Doctor was working on when Paris walked in. "Chakotay, we've got problems." Paris said.
*
"What kind of problems?"
*
"Family problems." Paris informed him. "N'Gah is here and he wants to know why I'm not pregnant yet. He seems to think it's something to do with you, he wants to download your complete medical file."
*
"My medical file?"
*
"Yeah. And the Doctor is ordered to do a sperm count on you right away. Not the Captain's orders, N'Gah's. Tuvok agrees that he's entitled to do it under N'Gimelii laws regarding the family. When it comes to his potential grandchildren, he can still order me--and you--around."
*
"Very well." The Doctor said. "I'm almost finished here. When I'm done, Commander, if you'll step into that room there and order the screen to display, you'll receive proper visual and audio stimulation for assisting you in creating a proper sample. May I recommend 'Rizan Nights?' I hear it's quite--arousing."
*
"Doctor, you don't need to do that!" Paris said. "We both know why I'm not pregnant! I'm not female!"
*
"Really?" the Doctor said. Then he gave that odd smile again.
*
"Great!" Paris said. "Everyone's a comedian on this ship! But if we don't convince N'Gah to change his mind, he's going to invalidate the marriage. And that means I go back to his ship, and N'Gah gets to pick my next husband! Doctor, this is an odd request, but can you help me get pregnant with Chakotay's child? Like, right now?"
*
"Certainly, Lieutenant." the Doctor said. "If both of you will step into that room and order the screen to display."
*
"Mind if I ask how this is going to work?" Chakotay asked. "Last time I looked, one of us was missing some essential equipment. And it isn't me."
*
"Science will have to fill in for Mother Nature on that point." the Doctor said. "You give me the sperm samples I have asked for twice already and I will take care of the rest."
*
"Come on, husband." Paris said, taking Chakotay by his uninjured hand and leading him to his feet. "You and me have some baby-making to take care of."
*
The Doctor buzzed Medical Supplies. "Ah, Ensign Treganno, please pull 3GAW525 from storage, please. I need it in Sickbay at once."
*
"Very well, Doctor." Treganno said, paused. "Who do I charge this item against?"
*
"Lieutenant Paris." the Doctor said. "Ensign, may I ask why you're laughing?"
*
* * * * *
*
N'Dim snarled at the patchwork equipment he was using to watch Paris and Chakotay. Damn N'Gah's alien child anyway! How was he supposed to know that humans had another opening that two males could use to have sex with each other? Only the hope that these two males would tire of one another and their deviant behavior and seek out proper female companionship kept him alive in the increasingly restricted atmosphere he and his family now shared. And the images weren't clear enough!
*
"N'Ber, can't we get a better resolution?"
*
"I have used the family's entire mechanical ration." N'Ber replied reproachfully. "We must wait four more months before we petition N'Gah for more equipment."
*
"What about the market?" N'Dim said.
*
N'Ber paled. "Father, please don't make me go back among the despised ones again." he begged.
*
"You are my oldest child." N'Dim replied haughtily. "I am trying to gain you an empire and you refuse to do my bidding?"
*
"No, Father." N'Ber replied, lowering his head. "I am your child, now and forever, until death and beyond, I am your son." By adoption, he reminded himself silently.
*
"Then get me the ability to read these alien's lips. I have suffered learning their language so I could do just that these many months. Don't you know that I cannot restore my family's honor until I can displace this alien who has seized N'Gah's heart?"
*
"I will need tachyon optical enhancers, at least four of them." N'Ber judged. "What may I take to trade for the items?"
*
"What is left of your sister's and mother's jewelry?" N'Dim asked.
*
"Nothing." N'Ber replied. "My sister has not a single adornment to wear among her few remaining friends, and is the object of ridicule every day."
*
"More for which we must punish N'Gah and this alien O'Tah-Em." N'Dim said, casting his eyes about the meager apartment for anything that might do for the trading. "Well, go into the kitchen and take the cookware. The despised have to cook the same as we do. If you trade well, they should be willing to part with the enhancers."
*
"Yes, Father." N'Ber said. "Shall I feed the prisoner before I go?"
*
"No." N'Dim said. "I have suffered her taunts long enough. Let her feast on her own upper lip and see if that teaches her politeness."
*
N'Ber gave a short obeisance and went to the kitchen. Wailing sounds came from within, but he came out with a large bundle of their dishes and cooking ware. As he passed by the room to the side of the front door, he turned to look at his father. N'Dim was watching the fuzzy images of the aliens and snarling. N'Ber quickly raised the morsel of food he had filched from his family's table and kept hidden in one hand, and slipped it onto the ledge to the small opening in the door. A small hand, trembling, reached and took it immediately and snaked back. N'Ber went out as quickly as he could.
*
* * * * *
*
"Everyone about ready?" Kim said as he slipped on the jacket. A dark suit, mid Twentieth-century style, it matched the obsolete hairstyle he was wearing. "B'Elenna? Hurry up, they'll be here any minute."
*
"Coming." B'Elenna said, as she slipped on her red-haired wig. She was wearing a dress made from the same period.
*
"Musicians?" The five crew members smiled and waved. "Computer, where are Lieutenant Paris and Commander Chakotay?"
*
"Corridor Two, Section Seven, Deck Three."
*
"They're just around the corner. Places, everyone!" Kim said to the mess hall occupants. B'Elenna touched her bright red lipstick to be sure she had applied it, then ran to stand in Kim's arms, facing away from him.
*
The door opened and Captain Janeway walked in. "What is going on here?" she demanded.
*
"Hssst!" Kim said, waving her aside. "Please, Captain, to one side."
*
Captain Janeway obeyed her junior officer with a sigh.
*
"Who are we going to ask?" came Paris' voice.
*
"I don't know!" Chakotay said. Janeway had never heard that tremor in his voice before. Something was up, that was for sure, and not the regular high-jinks of Voyager's resident cut-ups. "Maybe we could ask the Captain for volunteers."
*
"Do you think the Captain might volunteer herself?" Paris said.
*
"I wouldn't dream of asking her." Chakotay said. "And neither should you, uh...."
*
"Chakotay, what...." Then Paris saw it. "What the hell?"
*
Kim gave the signal and the musicians struck up a reasonable imitation of a big-band sound. Kim and B'Elenna began to rock back and forth as Kim sang out. "We're having a baby! My baby and me!"
*
"Oh, Ricky!" cooed B'Elenna, gave a hideous cackle of laughter. "You're so wonderful!"
*
"...cause we're adding a branch to our family tree!" Harry crooned.
*
"All right, all right, knock it off!" Paris shouted.
*
"I think they know." Chakotay said after the music died, and the laughs.
*
"I'm going to kill our Doctor." Paris said. "I figure a few hundred watts through his memory chips ought to teach him a little respect for the doctor-patient privilege."
*
"It wasn't the Doctor." Kim said. "Treganno was working Medical Supplies when the request came in."
*
"So he naturally came running to get the next pool going." B'Elenna said. "He's won so many bets on you guys that Kim had to set entirely new odds on bets about you guys."
*
"Yeah." Kim said. "Tom, are you feeding him inside information?"
*
"Who, me?" Paris said. "I think the guy's made a deal with the devil. But he doesn't worry me, you guys do."
*
"Us?" Kim said, wide-eyed.
*
"Yeah. You two had just about run out of material." Paris explained. "And then this comes up and you're off and running again."
*
"You're absolutely right." B'Elenna agreed. "We were really beginning to have to stretch to come up with remarks to get under your skin."
*
"Fortunately, N'Gah came along and gave us a fresh batch of material by asking a single question." Kim said.
*
"A most reasonable question, I think. And what he wants to put under your skin is better than anything we could have imagined." B'Elenna concluded.
*
"I'm shuddering just thinking of how Tom's going to look as a woman." Kim said. "We got a glimpse of him at his best at his wedding but if he's actually going to have the surgery...."
*
"'The unkindliest cut of all.'" B'Elenna agreed, laying a dramatic hand over her bosom.
*
"....we're going to see him slouching around his quarters with three or four kids screaming and crying, his hair up in curlers and wearing some old housecoat. Brrr!" Kim shuddered.
*
"And Chakotay will grow an enormous beer gut and sit watching the video all the time." B'Elenna agreed.
*
"Just one big, happy family." Kim concluded.
*
B'Elenna pounded her chest with one fist and managed a surprisingly loud belch.
*
"Hold on a minute, guys." Paris said. "Much as I hate to burst your little bubble, I am not going to be having that kind of surgery. I happen to be very fond of that particular portion of my anatomy and I am not going to let our good Doctor any closer to it than I have to."
*
"I'm pretty fond of it, too." Chakotay agreed. "It's not going to be touched."
*
"Not by the Doctor, anyway." Paris smiled.
*
"Ahem!" Kim said, actually blushing for a moment. "Excuse me, but I'm confused. Did you or did you not requisition an artificial womb, Garvey's Model 525, from Medical Supplies less than three hours ago, suitable for turning men into child-bearing members of our species?"
*
"We did." Paris said.
*
"And did or did not N'Gah order Chakotay to knock you up in jig time or he'd be dragging you back to his home and hearth?"
*
"He did." Paris admitted. "We've got one month to manage it or I'm back at N'Gah's side as the dutiful son and heir to a mighty empire among the stars."
*
"Hmm." Chakotay said. "If I'm the one who has the surgery, then could I go with you?"
*
"Of course, my dear." Paris said.
*
"I still don't understand." Kim said. "Who's getting the artificial womb and exactly how is it going to be hooked up?"
*
"I'm getting it." Paris said. The doctor is going to hook it into my lower abdomen and let it expand upward into my stomach cavity. No need to interfere with my own pride and glory at all. We implant a fertilized egg after giving it accelerated growth so that I can skip the first three glorious months of morning sickness."
*
"And get right to the hormonal changes, emotional instability, weird cravings and constant need to urinate." Chakotay said. "Sounds like a wonderful home life I can expect for a few months."
*
"I talked it over with N'Gah." Paris said. "If I can carry the child for two months' time, I will have done my duty and we'll be allowed to take it out and let it finish developing in a tank in the Sickbay. That'll be safe enough. The Doctor is getting everything set up."
*
"But you are going to be..." Kim made a motion of a big-bellied pregnancy.
*
Paris nodded, chagrined. "I'm afraid so. I'll be the one looking like I have a beer belly."
*
"Maybe I'm forgetting my basic biochemistry." B'Elenna said. "But last time I checked, you can mix two men's sperm round and round forever and nothing will happen."
*
"Actually, that's what we were discussing when we walked in." Paris said. "The Doctor has taken a sample of both our DNA."
*
"I must say I enjoyed that part." Chakotay chipped in.
*
"And so did I!" Paris grinned. "So after a brief interlude in a small closet, we both handed our efforts to the good Doctor. He lifted out one of the little wigglers from each of our sample dishes, and coaxed the two to recombine, thus giving us the replicating DNA needed to make a child that's both mine and Chakotay's. But we don't have an ova for the DNA to do its divide- and-multiply act in, so it had to go promptly into stasis."
*
"Which is why we're here." Chakotay said. "We need a female volunteer to donate one of her eggs, the sooner the better. We will remove her DNA from the egg, plant ours in its place and the rest, as they say, is magic."
*
"I'll be damned!" B'Elenna said. "They actually figured out a way to do it! N'Gah will be so thrilled."
*
"Yeah, but I'll have to be careful." Paris said. "After the implant, I can't do any exercise or heavy lifting or anything strenuous. Doctor doesn't even want me at my bridge station. That artificial womb is very delicate being used in me instead of a woman's body." He grinned and stretched. "I'm going to spend two months lounging around, eating chocolate candies and asking Chakotay to rub my tired feet."
*
"He's certainly taking this calmly." B'Elenna commented.
*
"Hasn't sunk in yet." Kim judged. "He'll be screaming in terror any moment now."
*
"Aw, come on, guys." Paris begged. "I'll admit it shocked the hell out of me and Chakotay at first, but once we got used to the idea, we kind of liked it. Now we only have two decisions to make. First and most urgently, where can we get a woman generous enough to donate one of her egg cells?"
*
"I'll do it." Janeway said.
*
"Captain?" Paris said, wide-eyed.
*
"As you said, it won't be anything more than a single cell from my body." Janeway commented. "It's the least I can do."
*
"It's a lot more than that." Kim said. "I am damned impressed with your generosity, Captain."
*
"And second, who are we going to pick to be the godparents." Paris said. "Someone who will help us care for and raise the children if something happens to us." He looked at Kim.
*
"I'd be honored, guys." Kim said.
*
"That's half of the crew we'll need." Paris said and he looked at B'Elenna.
*
"Me?" B'Elenna said, wide-eyed.
*
"You." Paris agreed.
*
"If you'll do it." Chakotay said quickly.
*
"Uh--of course." B'Elenna said. "Of course." She looked at Kim. "You'll have to teach me how to change a human baby's diapers. With Klingon children, the first few years, we just let them run around naked and concentrate on keeping sharp objects out of their reach."
*
"So they won't hurt themselves?" Kim asked.
*
"So they won't kill us in our sleep." B'Elenna said. "Feed them from a distance, hose them off once or twice a day, and your work is done. If you're so inclined, you can also try cuddling them and telling them you love them and they look adorable, but I recommend frisking them first."
*
"Human babies take a bit more care than that." Kim agreed. "And human toddlers don't try to kill you. They usually concentrate on annoying you until you're ready to kill them. Not allowed to, unfortunately."
*
"Wonderful." B'Elenna grimaced. "Just how long do they stay in this phase?"
*
Kim shrugged. "Last time I spoke with my parents, I was still getting on their nerves."
*
"Chakotay, can you just imagine about ten years from now. Our children hanging around these two, learning how to behave." Paris said.
*
Chakotay considered it. "We can always shove the children out the airlock and try again with different godparents if it doesn't work out. I say we give these two a shot first."
*
Janeway stood to one side, feeling miffed. After her offer of her own egg for the baby, she felt excluded.
*
"So the child will be named Harold B.K. Chakotay-Paris." Paris announced. "Hal for short."
*
"B.K.?" Harry asked.
*
"B'Elenna Kathryn." Paris explained. "After his two other godparents. Right Captain?"
*
Janeway realized her own leg had been pulled for a short time, from the way he was grinning. "Right, Paris."
*
"With the Captain on board, I feel better about our son's future already." Paris said. "Did we mention we had decided to have a boy for the first one?"
*
The look on Kim's face was priceless. "They opted to choose the sex, and they decided on a boy. Treganno, that's seventy-five more credits to you. You're really beginning to scare us!"
*
"Hey!" Treganno said. "I don't know sports and I don't know gambling odds, but I do know people."
*
"Captain, I do hate to impose on your meal time, but the Doctor will need at least thirty hours to get the child through its first trimester. If I could ask you to go immediately to Sickbay?" Paris said.
*
"Of course, Lieutenant." Janeway walked off, listening to a party start behind her. Well, a captain had to get used to that. Crew don't think of their commanding officer when they're planning their fun. Still, Paris had invited her to dinner tomorrow night. She'd better remember to invite Tuvok when he came out of his mediation period.
*

* * * * *
*
The next night, Paris crawled into bed beside Chakotay and snuggled up. "The dinner tonight went well, don't you think?"
*
"I suppose so." grumped Chakotay.
*
"Oh, come on!" Paris teased. "I can't help it if you lost the game tonight."
*
"I am not upset at losing a stupid board game!" Chakotay protested.
*
"No? Then how did the board end up in the corner like that?" Paris pointed out.
*
"It committed suicide?" Chakotay said, smiling now.
*
"That must be it." Paris said. "You know, it occurs to me that if I get my hormones rearranged to have this baby, I'm probably going to, uh, lose interest."
*
"Really?" Chakotay said.
*
"I can expect to have my voice change back and my hair fall out in interesting places. It'll be like you're lying next to a eunuch. I may even develop breasts."
*
"Yeah?" Chakotay sounded interested.
*
"I don't think I like that tone in your voice, husband of mine."
*
"Sorry, dearest." Chakotay soothed.
*
"No problem. If they spring up, you can play with them. But as I was about to suggest, why don't we try for a night to remember for the next two months." Paris said as he reached down beneath the covers and grasped Chakotay firmly, pumping him up.
*
Chakotay squirmed, chuckled, then said, "All right, all right! I give up! But if I fall asleep while you're having the operation, you're not going to have my hand to hold onto."
*
"I'll settle for what I'm holding right now." Paris said. "Again and again and again."
*
"I'll do my best."
*
* * * * *
*
In the darkness of his room, N'Dim smiled evilly as he rewound and watched the tape again. Reading Paris' lips once again. No doubt about it.
*
N'Gah had driven Paris right into his hands. And with him out of the way, there wouldn't be anything left to do besides clean up. Two bodies out the airlock and he would step into N'Gah's shoes upon his death.
*
A moan came from the prisoner's cell. "Quiet in there!" N'Dim snarled. "You'll be having company very soon. That human you were so fond of. O'Tah-Em."
*

END OF PART THREE

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The Joy Within the Sorrow