Captain Kathryn Janeway came to slowly. For a few minutes, she was disoriented. Her own body felt strange to her, unfamiliar. Then everything came back to her at once. Warp 10. A mutated Tom Paris coming up behind her outside a turbolift, and regaining consciousness in the shuttle just beyond the threshold. It was her groan that alerted the Doctor she was up. Within seconds he was standing over her, ever-present tricorder in hand.
"Welcome back, Captain." He began. "How do you feel?" Kathryn was silent for a second, taking a mental inventory.
"Strange." She finally decided on. The Doctor nodded.
"I'm not surprised. You just spent the last few days in an evolved amphibious species. Fortunately, I was able to transform you back with no trouble and no trace of the amphibious DNA." The Doctor seemed quite proud of himself, and Kathryn had to resist rolling her eyes.
"I also don't anticipate a repeat reaction of Mr. Paris' initial transformation." He said. Kathryn sat up at the mention of her Conn Officer.
"Tom? Where is he?" She glanced around. The rest of the bio-beds were empty. The Doctor sighed and stepped aside, offering a full view of the surgical bay. Tom was there, his back turned to the two of them.
"Captain," The Doctor began softly, "How much do you remember of the ordeal?" She raised an eyebrow
"Most of it. Why?" She had barely finished the sentence when it hit her. She slid off the bio-bed and made her way across Sickbay. Tom glanced at her as she came to his side.
"Congratulations, Mom." He said softly, but without a trace of his usual humor, "Two boys and a girl." She didn't respond. Quite frankly, she wasn't sure how to. She just stared into the containment bin that held three small 'lizards', for lack of a better word. Two were asleep, curled against each other. The other was wandering around, exploring his surroundings. For whatever reason, she and Tom had mated on that planet and the results were sleeping (or in the ones case escaping) in front of them. She heard Tom chuckle at the wayward one that figured out how to climb the wall as he reached across and gently pulled him (or so she thought, they all looked alike to her) back in, much to its protest. Tom set the little one down in front of him, but didn't let go. He stroked its head and back lightly, as if he were petting a cat. It calmed down at once and arched his head back, soaking in the attention.
Both Tom and Kathryn started in surprise when the Doctor spoke again. They had forgotten he was there.
"I should be able to transform them into humans shortly. There are traces of human DNA that I can work with, however, they will probably retain a bit of their current DNA. At the time, its too soon to tell what kind of side effects that will bring in the future." He said.
"What do you mean?" asked Tom. The Doctor glanced at his PADD.
"As they grow, they may or may not retain some things from this form. It can be something as extreme as being able to shape shift or as mild as having an affinity for plant foods and vegetables. They may grow to be excellent swimmers. This young man already seems to enjoy climbing things." he stated, nodding down at the one that had Toms attention. "Whether that trait will remain is yet to be seen. For all we know, you could find him walking across the ceiling as opposed to the floor. As I said, only time will tell."
"Thats one of the males?" Kathryn asked, finally getting an answer to her unasked question, "What about the other two?" To her surprise, it was Tom that answered.
"The one with the flicking tale is the girl. Doc says the boys are identical. If you look closely there are some markings across the boys backs and their feet. She has the back markings, but not quite as pronounced." He explained. Kathryn looked carefully, and after a few seconds she could see the differences. Barely.
The Doctor laid his PADD on the table beside them.
" There are a few things that need to be done before we change them, and I'm sure you have much to talk about." He said. "This PADD contains everything we have on them so far, and Kes just fed them shortly before you both woke up. Ill be in my office if you need anything." He turned and disappeared into his office. Both were silent for a few minutes after, lost in there own thoughts.
"So many things, I don't have the slightest idea where to start." Began Tom. Kathryn had to strain to here him. "I suppose its a little late for 'I'm sorry'." Eyes narrowing, she put her hand on his shoulder, squeezing it lightly until he looked at her.
"You have nothing to apologize for," she said in all seriousness. "You had no control over your transformations or your actions. As far as these three go, theres no telling who 'seduced' who, as it were. There is nothing to be sorry for." She insisted. Tom just stared at her, and slowly a look of relief spread across his face.
"Thank you, Captain." Kathryn raised an eyebrow at him.
"We have three children between us now. I think we're a little beyond the point of calling me 'Kathryn'" she said wryly. Tom only nodded and was about to say something else but he let out a yelp instead. Looking down, he laughed. While one was still asleep, the other had woken up and apparently noticed the attention his sibling was getting and began to crawl up Toms arm. A thought occurred to him.
"Do you think they know who we are yet?" He wondered
"Hard to say," Kathryn said, pondering, "They seem to be familiar with us, but we're the only people they've had any contact with other than the Doctor and Kes."
Tom frowned. As if they didn't have enough to deal with, the crew added even more complications, if that was possible. He supposed it could have been worse, it wasn't as if any of this was planned or in their control. His thoughts were interrupted when he realized Kathryn was speaking again.
"I'm sorry, what?" He turned his attention to her.
"I said that we should at least give them names. We have a lot of things to discuss and I will not keep having them referred to as 'the triplets' for however long."
"Have anything in mind?" He asked. Kathryn was silent.
"Edward, perhaps, for one of the boys." She said after a moment. Tom didn't have to ask where that suggestion came from. He knew of Tau Ceti. Edward was a good name, but he hoped she wouldn't suggest Justin as well. Not that it was a bad name either, but he really didn't want to name one of his sons after a former love. Her next suggestion took him a little buy surprise.
"And Owen for the other. Both our fathers were good people" She tried. Tom winced. Whereas the Captain may have had a decent relationship with her father, his had much to be desired. He said as much. However, Kathryn admired Owen Paris very much, and thought that if they were going to honor one father, may as well honor the other. In the end, the had at least decided on Owen and Edward for middle names, and Kathryn also liked the name Phoebe. Now they just needed first names for the boys and a middle for the girl.
"Ill give you first dibs this time around" suggested Kathryn. After all, she had initially picked out the three existing names. Tom raised his eyebrows at her, but didn't say anything. To be honest, he wasn't all that sure. There were few names he actually liked. Kathryn had suggested Thomas to go with Edward, but Tom shot that down. One Tom Paris was bad enough, he had said. Imagine what two would be. Names like William and Ben and Rebecca were pecked off one by one. Nothing fit.
"How about Marcus?" Tom asked, Marcus Edward didn't sound too bad. Then he caught the expression on the Captains face. "...or not", he trailed off.
"Mark was the man I was seeing before we left." She began. Tom nodded.
"Say no more." he said quickly. Mark was as bad as Justin for the same reason. He was still thinking when Kathryn spoke up again.
"What about Jesse?" she asked. Tom cocked his head to the side. Jesse could work.
"Jesse Owen" he said it quietly to himself, testing it out. Smiling he looked at Kathryn.
"I like it." he said. Kathryn matched his grin. Tom picked the one crawling on his arm and held it in front of him. "What do you think, Jesse?" He heard Kathryn laugh. It must've been a sight. Sighing, he set the newly named 'Jesse' down and looked at the other two. After a few more minutes and debates they had finally settled on Darian Edward and Phoebe Bryce. Not a moment too soon, either. It was then that the Doctor had let them know that he was ready to begin the transformation. Both parents were reluctant to step back, and the feeling was mirrored by the triplets. The started to crawl up the wall towards them, reaching. It tore at both there hearts.
The doctor moved forward with a hypo.
"What are you giving them?" Kathryn asked. The Doctor glanced back.
"A very mild sedative and an agent that will catalyze the transformation. With all due respect, this is not something to do whilst the patient is awake." He said. "They should wake back up within a couple minutes." He injected the boys with no problem, but Phoebe, who had woken up during the naming debate, wasn't too keen on whatever had been done to her brothers. She dodged the doctor twice and even managed to snap at him. In the end, the doctor was faster and soon she was asleep and placed in a section of the containment so that they all had plenty of space. While now they could easily be held in one hand, they would undoubtedly not stay that way. It wouldn't do for them to be on top of each other. The Doctor joined Janeway and Paris behind the console just outside of the surgical bay. He glanced at each of them, as if looking for consent. At Kathryn's nod, he input a command into the console, and a beam that was similar to a transporter came over the bay. It was an interesting sight. Three small bodies slowly grew larger, tales shrunk to nothingness and dark red scales became soft white skin. It took about a minute, and then it was over with. Tom and Kathryn were by their side instantly. Much to their surprise, the infants that wern't even a week old looked to be just shy of a year.