One Child; So Small
Chapter One: Mess Hall Blunders
Summary: The Command team has been secretly seeing each other for some time, and Tom Paris is convinced that they have been. When Voyager hits a rather boring region of space, it is all the command team can do not to be found out. However there secret is son going to be reviled. Kathryn finds herself on the receiving end of a severe case of space sickness, or is it?
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the universe that is portrayed in this story only the story idea, no infringement intended.
Authors Note: This is a revised story that had I started back when I was 17, I began to revise it again when I was 19; I'm now 24 going to be 25 and well still working on it. I hope that you enjoy the story; I have put a lot of effort into it.
Title change: as you may have noticed I added two more words to the title. Originally the title One Child was based off of a song that I'd learned as a young girl. Some of the lyrics were One Child, One Child So Small… and so forth that was where the basic idea for the story came from. Anyway for those that have read this story or are reading it now, there was a question that came up about how the title fit the story… so well I'd had some not so nice plans for it but then I just couldn't bring myself to act upon the idea that I'd had. So well a bit of title editing was needed. That way it fit more to what the story has grown into, because as every artist knows, sometimes things just write themselves!
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Voyager, a collection of particles, a magnificent piece of technology, a star ship, a home, a collection of friends, a family, however you put it, Voyager is a community, one that is full of wonder and excitement, hope or fear, facing a barrage of enemy vessels, or meeting new friendly races, or going through a region of space that would make even a Vulcan bored.
This day was best described as the latter. Weeks had gone by and Voyager hadn't encountered so much as a stray particle. Many of the crew had become restless and decided to start taking entertainment into their own hands, including Tom Paris, much to the dismay of most of the junior staff and his commanding officers. His betting pools were running ramped, sure that they would finally break under the strain of nothingness. He was watching their every move the majority of the time, just waiting for them to slip up.
However they were on to him, knowing where he was and what he was doing. They were always one step ahead, leaving their combadges in their quarters and spending time in the others, and of course faking bio readings. It was more than enough to keep the entertained, when they weren't entertaining each other.
Tom was making his rounds, checking the conversion levels of the warp core to see who had come closest, seeing how many times Neelix said Leola root, and of course checking the whereabouts of a certain command team. Unfortunately for him Chakotay had walked into the mess hall alone, and upon check for Kathryn, he found her to be in her quarters.
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Kathryn was searching feverously for her missing pip, swearing that it had been on her turtleneck the night before. Giving up on trying to locate it, and not having enough replicator rations to replicate a new one, thanks to her coffee addiction, she made her way to the mess hall. She hoped that no on would notice.
From his position in the mess, Tom watched as Kathryn entered, and surveyed the room. He spotted Chakotay almost immediately. He had sat in the furthest table away from where Tom was sitting. He'd done this intentionally so that he would not be able to ease drop without being noticed. Kathryn stood next to the table and asked in an untailored manner, "May I join you Commander?" She'd intentionally used his title in case there were prying ears nearby.
"You certainly may Commander," he stated trying but failing miserably to keep a straight face.
She took her seat and feigned not knowing what he was talking about, "what do you mean?" she asked innocently.
"I thought that you'd decided to demote yourself. You seem to be missing a pip today." He was still attempting to remain straight faced.
Her hand subconsciously went to her neck, tracing the three pips. "I was hoping that no one would notice. I didn't have enough rations to replicate a new one." She paused as Neelix appeared at their table. He'd made his way over when he saw that the captain had arrived.
"Captain, what can I get for you?" he asked in his normally exuberant voice.
"I'll just take whatever your special is today Mr. Neelix," she stated evenly.
"All right Captain, one special coming right up!" He then made his way back to the gallery to prepare his captain's meal.
"You're really taking your life into your hands Kathryn."
"I felt like being adventurous, besides I really don't want to try and decided what exactly is in that kitchen that is recognizable," She smiled.
"Well Commander, I guess that it is your life." It was all he could do not to fall off his chair in a fit of laughter.
She glared at him, her eyebrows just about hitting her hair line, "Would you stop calling me that, someone might hear you." Her voice was a low chiding whisper.
"Sorry, it's just really hard not when you're holding this" He lifted his hand up resting his elbow on the table, slowly he opened it and in the center of his palm was a single radiant gold pip.
Tom watched as Kathryn snatched something out of Chakotay's hand. She had a flustered look and he was very curious, wishing that he knew what it was. He could see that she was talking, but was unable to ascertain exactly what she said because of the angle he was viewing from. His view was then blocked when Neelix returned with her plate.
"Here you are Captain" she stated with a smile as he placed the tray down in front of her.
"Thank you Neelix" she said in her, 'I'm being friendly tone.'
"Please enjoy" he nodded his head then made his way back to the galley leaving the two to enjoy their meal.
Kathryn looked down at her food poking at the strange carrot colored stringy globule with her fork, her face scrunching up at the site of it. To make matters worse it had absolutely no smell. "What do you think it is? She asked looking up at Chakotay.
"I don't know, I saw Harry with it and decided to stick with the leola root. I can't believe that you actually want to know what it is." He looked at her his face evident that he was just as appalled as she was.
"Of course I want to know, I mean it's going into my body." She looked down at her plate a second time; she closed her eyes and swallowed hard as a sudden wave of nausea overcame her. "On second thought" she took a deep breath, "I don't think I'm very hungry anymore." She pushed her plate away from her, she swallowed hard again nearly losing what coffee she'd already consumed.
"Hey are you alright?" Chakotay asked, he placed his hand on top of hers. She'd grown pale and looked decidedly unwell. It was a change that had occurred in a matter of minutes.
She took a deep breath then spoke, "Yeah, I think that breakfast was a little more than I could handle." She said not looking anywhere near her plate, afraid that she did then she'd actually lose it.
"Here let me take that, would you like something else instead? I'll use my rations; you're not looking to well." His concern for her was genuine.
She nodded, "perhaps some tea?"
He nodded and stood up, taking her tray and his to the recycler. He was careful not to let Neelix notice that the Captain had failed to even touch her meal.
Kathryn took several deep breaths, trying to calm herself. Her actions didn't go unnoticed by Tom, who by now was more curious than ever before. It was unlike the captain to become ill over Neelix's food. This was the same woman that would have eaten grubs. He decided to go over and see what was up.
Kathryn looked up as she heard someone approach, it was Tom. Before she could speak he did. "Good morning Captain," he had a bit of a goofy grin on his face.
"Good morning Tom," she said trying to sound as if she were fine, "can I help you?"
"Actually I was coming over here to as you that, no offence or anything, but you're not looking well." His grin had disappeared as he realized that it wasn't because of Chakotay that she was acting so strange. He narrowed his eyes, "are you alright?"
She managed to meet the young man's gaze. She gave him a half hearted smile and then calmly stated, "I'm fine Tom, just a little on the tired side."
Tom wasn't fooled but knew that she wasn't about to say anything different. "Okay, now if you will excuse me, I need to get to the bridge, the captain doesn't like it when people are late," He joked but made a hasty exit before she could say anything. As the doors closed behind him he could still feel the burn of a well-placed glare on his back.
Chakotay shot a curious look at her when he returned from the replicator, "what was that about?"
"Tom things that I don't feel well," she stated finally feeling a little better. She lifted her hands and placed that pip back into its rightful place now that Tom was no longer in the room to see her doing so.
"Do you feel alright?" He looked her over, the color had begun to return to her cheeks though it was still muted.
She looked directly at him, "I'm fine, just the site of that breakfast was too much; that's all. I'm fine honest." She placed her hand on his arm.
Looking deeply into her eyes he determined that he was telling him the truth, "well in that case I think we should be heading up to the bridge."
"You're right, I hear that the captain really hates it when people are late," she smiled when he gave her a confused look at the use of Tom's words. She stood up but nearly fell over. Chakotay grabbed her arm making sure that she didn't.
"Hey, are you sure you're alright?" he asked, worry crossing his features.
She regained her balance and pulled her arm out of his grip, noticing that most of the people in the room had their eyes on them. She turned toward him standing up as tall as she could, she stood her full five foot five inches and straightened her uniform, "I'm fine, now I suggest that we get to the bridge commander.
She grabbed the tea that he'd replicated for her; she then turned and walked out of the doors, leaving Chakotay to catch up with her.