This is a one chapter story made for Christmas. It was written so I could have a change of scenery from my usual storylines about NCIS. So here it is... R&R and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Tom Paris tapped away at his console on the bridge he stared boredly into the endless expanse of stars and planets which lay before them. They crew of the USS Voyager were tired. They were tired of being attacked and being kidnapped and being starved and having only emergency lighting and being accused of things they didn't do and being threatened and put under pressure and most of all they were tired of their meandering lives on this floating barge which seemed doomed to never return home.
They needed a change of pace. They needed... a holiday. Tom sat bolt upright in his chair, "I have a brilliant idea!" he exclaimed as he spun in his chair to face his friend Harry Kim on the upper side of the bridge. They were the only two bridge officers on duty at this time of night. No one wanted the grave yard shift.
"It's time we had a celebration." tom said loudly.
Kim looked up from his own panel, one eyebrow cocked knowing Tom had another harebrained scheme up his sleeve. But still, he was listening. Tom knew so because Harry stopped tapping at his screen and kept his eyes trained on him.
"We should have Christmas."
"What's that?" he asked in a confused tone.
A yellow coat working on a panel looked up from her work and piped up "It used to be celebrated on earth for centuries in the month of December." Kim and Tom stared at the ensign for a moment. Kim looked to Tom for more information.
"That's right." he nodded his agreement. "It started out as a celebration of the birth of Christ, whom we all know about, and then became more about family and sharing. That's how Santa was born."
"Santa?" Kim queried, his face doubtful.
"Santa! How can you not know who that is?" he was taken aback but not totally surprised. He explained the concept to him.
"So what are you planning to do?" Kim asked him cautiously.
Tom grinned playfully. "You'll see."
(A while later)
"It would be great for crew morale." he bargained with the captain. She sat comfortably in the chair of her ready room, her fingers steepled and her mind taking in the idea and processing the information. A smile played on her lips as she wasn't surprised that he had come up with such an idea considering the age of the holiday.
"Well," she paused thinking. "I suppose its not too bad an idea." she agreed cautiously but she quickly laid out the boundaries, "But this can't go too overboard Paris." she shook a finger at him in warning and got up from her chair. She started to get excited about the idea, pacing the floor she waved her hand about. "This could be very good for the crew." she looked up at him, her eyes bright from across the room. "Get Neelix to make the food, give him a menu of what they used to eat on Christmas day. Enlist Mr. Tuvok for the decorating..." Tom grabbed a padd from the desk and jotted down what she was saying.
Their excitement was contagious, soon most of the crew was talking about this wonderful thing called Christmas.
Tuvok was decking the halls under strict orders from the captain. He wouldn't do it otherwise. He had however made a note in his personal logs that he thought the entire exercise to be "Frivolous and wasteful" The captain had countered "A holiday such as this which promoted family and sharing and good values would be an efficient way of maintaining high morale on the ship"
Tom was the busiest of all, he was busy finding recipes and sending them to Neelix in his kitchen via Kes, he was making the decorations and telling Tuvok where and how it should be hung, he was directing ensigns about trees and trimmings, he had several meeting about presents, he was in the middle of creating a holodeck program to surprise the crew and he was making sure there was Christmas music and plenty of cheer.
The Captain was enthralled by it all and it was she who decided that Santa should be involved and it was Harry Kim who volunteered to life toms load and make him on the holodeck. Tom was quick to point Harry to a file of data he'd made concerning the concept of Santa.
Kim got right into the program, he spent hours perfecting his Santa Claus. Working with the specifications Tom had given him Harry tried to make him the most realistic he possibly could with the information.
Belanna Torres stood in her engineering, hands on her hips looking up at the decorated warp core and scowling. She muttered under her breath at the Christmas decorations and how they were in the way. But her teams were in surprisingly good cheer though she didn't seem to notice. This was Tom's fault. She scowled harder.
The Captain surveyed the ship, her eyes wide like a child taking in the happy crew wearing Santa hats and taking in the lights that glittered in the halls. She couldn't help but wear a happy smile as the Christmas bug swept Voyager.
Neelix was working away in the kitchen, reading Tom's recipes for gingerbread men and Christmas puddings and Turkey. But he didn't have those ingredients on board and Neelix refused to make a banquet from the replicator. He said that wasn't real food and the crew needed some real nutrients. Neelix always took his job very seriously and when there was a party he was under even more stress to get things together. Tom entered and looked over the kitchen whilst Neelix toiled. "Try one of these gunger men Mr Paris." he grinned.
"Ginger men" he corrected, Tom picked it up off the tray and bit into it. Soon after putting it in his mouth his face started to turn red and he coughed violently. "What did you put in this Neelix?" he wheezed.
Neelix looked distraught "Noaralian root. It's the closest thing to ginger I could find."
Neelix couldn't tell him Tom was angry or just red. "Why don't you replicate some Neelix?" he said slowly between gulps of water. Neelix could tell Tom was trying not to yell at him.
"Is it too spicy?"
Finally the big day arrived. Each deck was a sea of red and gold and silver and green. Even Tuvok had to admit that his own decorating was quite festive. Tiny white lights sparkled through the halls and the Captain ordered the lights to be dimmed slightly so their twinkling could best be seen. Harry Kim had put the finishing touches on his holographic Santa and had even made a temporary holoemitter to travel around the ship so that Santa wasn't confined to the holodeck. The entire crew was aglow. Neelix had dulled his spices and the gingerbread men were now edible. Even Belanna wasn't so cheerless when she was eating.
The Captain looked around the mess hall and saw all the people who had become her family, all in one place. And she realised just how good the idea had been. She found Tom Paris racing around with a red sack bursting with beautifully wrapped boxes. But he didn't look happy like everyone else. She stopped him running and lay a hand on his arm.
"Tom, there's no need to rush everyone's having a great time." But even her words and her touch didn't change the worried look on his face.
"What is it?" she suddenly lost her cheer.
Tom's eyes darted about and he lowered his voice. "Harry's holographic Santa has gone on a bit of a rampage." The Captain lowered her voice now also.
"A rampage?" she turned her head on one side and crossed her arms. "What do you mean a rampage?" Tom dropped the sack of presents on the floor beside him.
"Can't you just turn him off?"
"We lost him."
There was a long silence. "I have to go and stop him." Tom left the sack on the floor and looked back at her as he ran "Can you take care of that for me?"
The captain stood with her mouth open not knowing what to say.
Tom caught Harry's arm in the hall as he was running in the opposite direction, a frantic look on his face. He stopped suddenly as Paris stopped him. "Harry!" he shook him.
"Santa was in engineering when the tinsel caused an arc of electricity to fuse some of the bioneural circuitry in his mobile emitter I had rigged up. It's caused his subroutines to reboot and now he thinks everyone is naughty!"
"Naughty?" Tom said confused.
"The information you gave me said that Santa didn't give toys to the children who were naughty he gave them coal." Tom nodded at Harry's statement.
"And that is how I created him, except his thought process has altered so now he thinks that everyone is naughty. He's pulling down decorations and terrorising the children."
Tom nodded again. Voyager was transporting some Talaxians under Neelix's watchful eye. They had liked his version of gingerbread men. He thought carefully for a moment.
"Can't we just shut him off?"
Kim shook his head, "Well maybe, if I could find him!" he tried to pull away but Tom held him back.
"We need Santa to hand out the presents in the mess hall in about five minutes so lets fix this problem quickly." he slapped Harry on the shoulder "Relax Harry. We've face harder problems then this."
Tom didn't want to alert Tuvok because he would lock down the entire ship and take away all the good cheer so he enlisted the help of some younger ensigns to track the Santa down.
Several minutes later Tom and Harry had Santa cornered. The fat man in the red suit launched himself at one of the ensigns. "What the..." the ensign hit the floor with a thud. Tom didn't hesitate, he had to shoot Santa. His phaser disintegrated the fat man fairly quickly and Tom let out a sad sigh.
"Now how will the crew get their presents?" Tom moaned.
Kim saw the look of dismay on Tom's face and made a decision at that very moment. And he scooted off before tom had a chance to notice.
Tom walked slowly back to the mess hall expecting sad cries of dismay and adult chatter. But as the mess hall doors open he heard the delighted cried of the children and saw the beaming faces of the adults. He looked up in surprise to see the Doctor his image was a little more rotund and he sported a rather large red and white suit with a hat. Harry had even created some white hair and a long curly white beard for him.
The Captain immediately came over to him as soon as she saw him enter, his jaw was almost hitting the floor and she gave him a puzzled look. But he closed his mouth and tried to regain his composure when she began to speak.
"Well done Tom." she patted him on the back and looked out over the happy crowd who were busy unwrapping their presents. "It's perfect."