Disclaimer: The author is not stealing from Paramount but merely 'borrowing' as described by the "Handbook of Playground Possession". A fictional document in which it states"If I was playing with it five minutes ago it's mine. If you aren't holding it tight enough it's mine. If it looks like mine it's mine. If I like it; it's mine. If it's mine; it must never in any way appear to be YOURS." Therefore, seeing Paramount as the big bully who wrote this handbook I acknowledge that only the STORY and none of the characters or ships are mine. On the other hand I haven't got any milk money so don't beat me up for playing with your toys!
References to ST: TNG "Rascals" are intentional.
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
When I Grow Up
"Captain, I think you better get down here." Kathryn heard the words issued from the comlink with fear in her heart. She stood, turned and looked at the empty post to her right. Well, not empty. A crewman stood at Harry Kim's station, performing his tasks until he returned. Her eyes traveled to the adapted Astrometrics station and finally rested on the Bridge Engineering console.
All were occupied by lower deck crewmen. Janeway was in the turbolift moments later, giving Chakotay command of the Bridge as she left, almost as an afterthought.
The lift lights flashed upward, declaring her decent, then switched to a side scroll, letting her know that she would soon be standing in the hall leading to Sickbay, where her away team waited for her, either dead or alive.
'Oh God, please let them be alive,' her mind screamed as the doors hissed open. She tried to walk, but finally succumbed to a full-out run as she heard screams being issued from within the medical bay. The doors slid open at her approach and Kathryn's eyes scanned the room, searching for her officers. Harry Kim: check, Neelix: check, Ensign Parsons: check... B'Elanna and Seven?
Where were her girls?
The screams were odd, and somehow familiar. Janeway ran to the surgical bay, where she could hear the strange cries being issued. The men were fine. Janeway looked at the empty beds, her eyes following them until they rested upon the EMH. He was bent over a single biobed, blocking her view of its inhabitant.
Kathryn blanched. Inhabitant. So one of them hadn't survived. Her hand clenched tightly into a ball and she braced herself for the loss... of B'Elanna... of Seven... her underlings, sometime students, outcast daughters.
She didn't want to know which she had lost; she couldn't bear for it to be either one. But she had no choice-she was the Captain. It was her duty...
"Captain." Janeway opened her eyes, not having realized that they were closed. The doctor was looking at her, a confused expression on his face. She expected grim, reluctant or even sorrowful, but not this look of utter bafflement. She quickly hurried around him and saw-
Two infants. One pink and human, the other red and Klingon-the cause of the young screams. She didn't look happy. Her tiny hands were balled up in fists and gurgling cries issued from her scrunched up face. She waved her hands fiercely, in direct contrast to the fair, alert baby next to her, sucking her own fist peacefully.
Though Janeway had seen neither woman in her earliest form, it was unmistakable who the two babies were. Seven was almost bald, while B'Elanna sported a shock of black hair, falling over the five tiny ridges on her forehead.
"What happened?" Janeway demanded, immensely relieved that she had been wrong, that they were both alive-if somewhat altered.
"I'm not quite certain, Captain," the Doctor answered, continuing his scans of the two babies, Seven fast asleep and B'Elanna still screaming her head off. Kathryn instinctively reached for the baby and looked at the doctor for permission. He nodded his head and Kathryn picked her up. The change was instant. B'Elanna was silenced with the contact and as she banged her heavy little head against Kathryn's shoulder, her fist caught up in Kathryn's hair, which she was wearing down, clutching a fistful.
B'Elanna's huge, black eyes met Kathryn's and they slowly closed until she, too, was sound asleep. Neelix had entered the room by now and smiled at Janeway. He looked like he had been distressed by the infant cries, but relief was obvious on his face that they had passed. Janeway couldn't help thinking that he would have made a wonderful father if the universe had seen fit to allow it.
"W-w-we passed through a-a-an anomaly and suddenly, our shields went out. The next thing we knew, we were here. The anomaly appeared out of nowhere and then was just su-s-suddenly..." His eyes darted nervously around the room; he obviously hadn't found it a very pleasant experience.
"Why were only the women affected?" Kathryn asked, turning again to the Doctor.
"It had something to do with the peculiar radiation emitted by the 'anomaly'-some sort of molecular reversion field. It rejected the Y chromosome and caused the paternal X chromosome in both women to reject-well, actually, this is where it gets complicated-"
"Spare me the details, Doctor. Can you fix them?" Janeway interrupted.
"Not in the sense that you're suggesting. I could stick them in a Borg maturation chamber, perhaps right next to the one that the Borg infant-now toddler-currently inhabits. I could also stimulate certain genetic strains in Lieutenant Torres, but that wouldn't help Seven. And neither would restore their lost memories." The Doctor looked a little miffed at having his explanation cut short and his bad temper was obvious in his responses, both of which he knew would be unacceptable to the Captain.
"I thought I read about an incident where officers on the Enterprise-D were turned into children and restored within a few days?" Janeway said, trying to recall details. The doctor shook his head.
"Their RVN sequences were modified in a transporter accident. It was a simple matter of restoring the links in the chain using the memory in the pattern buffers to add in the missing sequences. This is more than simple genetic information, Captain. They were aged completely in reverse. B'Elanna's aging was more rapid, as she should be a full two years older than Seven. It's baffling."
"There's no way to reverse it?"
"I can no more age them than Naomi." Kathryn dropped her head and little B'Elanna stirred, opening her eyes for a moment. Her tiny nostrils quivered, then she returned to her slumber, drool soaking the shoulder of Janeway's uniform while she stood, oblivious to it.
"How old are they?" Janeway asked.
"Developmentally? I'd say that Seven-er, Annika, is about five weeks and B'Elanna is nine weeks old." Kathryn nodded absently, her mind racing with problems and questions. Finally, one lodged itself in her mind long enough for her to ask...
"Who's going to raise them?"
Tom was out. He was too close to B'Elanna, and Kathryn was also served the unpleasant task of annulling their marriage. Neelix volunteered, but his schedule made it impossible for him to parent them full-time on his own, at their ages. Samantha Wildman stepped forward and offered to take them, with Neelix's help and the matter was solved, logically.
Kathryn believed that it would be years before she would be given the chance to tell the girls about their former lives, and as such, had recorded a personal letter, to each of them, in case she wasn't there when they reached adulthood. But the girls had a few surprises in store for the crew...
To be continued...