Owen Paris loosened his collar and stepped to the replicator. “Scotch, neat,” he said. Taking the drink in hand, he walked over and sat on the couch. Like all of the Ambassador-Class Vessels still in service, the stateroom was outfitted in the finest luxury. Rigellian silks, Orion-imported Reman room dividers with their intricate scenes of mining life, Risan flowers, the room lacked for nothing in terms of beauty and everything in terms of personality. Owen looked down, frowning into his Scotch. He glanced at his overnight bag and then, again, at the room. He looked at his ring finger and saw only hairs where a callous had once been. He set his drink down and walked over to the communications panel on the wall. “Computer, where is Commander Tom Paris located right now?” “Tommy, I have to go. Come out of your room.” Lt. Commander Owen Paris was in a hurry and he didn’t have time for his son’s tomfoolery. His overnight bag was packed and his orders were in his pocket. “No!” came through the closed door of little Tom Paris’s room. Owen shook his head in exasperation. He dropped his bag and walked over to his son’s door. “I have to go, Tommy,” Owen said. “You need to come out and give Daddy a kiss and hug.” “No!” Even at two and a half, Tommy Paris was a stubborn child. “Fine. I’m leaving. See you in two weeks, Tommy!” Owen stomped back to the door and grabbed his bag. Audrey was there waiting for him. “Honey, he doesn’t understand. Don’t be mad at him.” She looked up at her husband expectantly. “Whatever,” he said, “I don’t have time right now. I have to get to McKinley Station.” Audrey smiled a tight little smile. “Of course you do, dear.” Owen left without a glance back. Tommy Paris wiped the sweat from his brow. Choking up on the bat, he leaned in as the pitch flew at him. With a mighty swing, he whipped the bat into the ball. Everybody in the stands on the edge of the little field stood up as the ball flew towards the backfield fence. Tommy cleared the bases as two boys scrambled to recover the ball. They didn’t even have it to the pitcher before Tommy made home plate. A gang of seven and eight year-olds rushed out of the dug-out and jumped all over Tommy. Pulling himself out of the pile, Tommy looked up into the home team stands. He saw his mother clapping and waving. There was an open space on the bench next to her. Tom Paris glanced out at the surrounding crowd. He could see his mom in the left-side bleachers. He scanned the crowd, but his father was nowhere to be seen. Mitch Peydun clapped him on the back. “Tommy, you ready to hand North Carolina a loss? We are going to kick their asses!” Tommy smiled at the senior guard. “Yeah, let’s go!” He acted enthusiastic, but Tom was feeling hollow as he went out on the court. They beat North Carolina and Tom had fifteen points but Owen didn’t find out until he caught the newsfeed from Starbase Twelve. “My son did what?!?” Captain Owen Paris was furious. Byrmer, his second, looked uncomfortable. “He disobeyed orders, sir, and it led to several deaths.” The Andorian squirmed behind the padd he held. Paris paced about his ready room. “Fine, “he said, “Then he can suffer the consequences. I’m not going to help him out.” Byrmer slunk out of the room, afraid of Captain Paris’s rage. After he left, Paris smashed the glass on the picture of the original Endeavor with his fist. Blood trickled slowly onto the floor as Owen wondered how he’d failed so badly with his son. “Admiral Paris?” The ensign at his door looked so green, he could have passed for an Orion. Owen Paris glanced up from his reports outlining Starfleet’s latest expansion program. “What is it?” His tone was exasperated, at best. “We just got a report from Cerebus Station. The Voyager followed a known Maquis ship into the Badlands. Neither ship has re-appeared. It’s been over twenty-four hours and we haven’t had communication tracking on either ship. Admiral Paris slumped back in his chair. “Tom,” he whispered. “Mr. Barclay, I owe you a debt I can never repay.” Admiral Paris was ecstatic. “You gave me my son back!” “Well, Admiral, I was glad I could help you communicate with your son.” Barclay was nervous to a fault, but he somehow managed to stammer out his reply. “Communicate?” Admiral Paris looked pensive. “That’s like making a pig sing.” Barclay ventured a comment. “Sir?” he said. He squirmed in his seat. “You can try to teach a pig to sing-but it will frustrate you and annoy the pig,” said Owen. “That’s kind of how Tom and I relate and communicate.” “I’m sorry, Admiral,” Barclay replied. “All I did-“ “It’s ok, Mr. Barclay,” Admiral Paris smiled at him, and his smile almost reached his eyes. “That’s between Tom and I-what you did was wonderful. Thank you.” Reg Barclay wasn’t quite sure how to take that and he left the room as quick as he could. “So this is my new daughter-in-law!” The reception for Voyager’s survivors was so top-heavy with brass that Paris would have been very low on the list if his son hadn’t been one of the crew. He grinned at the new Mrs. Paris, who stood with her daughter in her arms. Tom glanced at his dad. “We have to go talk to Admiral Ross. You know how it is, Dad,” Tom said. B’Elanna headed off with Tom’s arm around her. “Oh, of course, Tom,” Paris replied, and watched longingly as the happy couple made their way through the crowd. “Tom Paris is aboard the USS Phoenix.” The computer responded matter-of-factly. “Please connect me with him,” Admiral Paris swished his Scotch around in his glass. “Hey, Dad,” Tom Paris’s image was crystal clear. ”Greetings from the Gamma Quadrant!” Tom seemed enthused to see him. “How long do you think you’ll be in deep space, Tom? I’d like to see my granddaughter, y’know. When you coming home, son?” Owen tried to sound casual. “I don’t know, Dad, but we’ll get together then, Dad,” Tom smirked his winning smile at his dad,” You know, we’ll have a good time then. I gotta go-we have to run past some Videan organ hunters. I’ll talk to you soon.” His image vanished from the screen and Owen was, once again, in an impersonalized room, traveling between assignments. As he walked back over to the couch, he sadly realized something. Tom had grown up to be just like him. His boy was just like him. “Lights off,” he said. The room grew dark. He sat and drank his Scotch alone, bathed in cold starlight from the observation window. http://www.birdsnest.com/catcrad.htm Here's my link.