Recognition And Enlightenment

Author: The Passionate Admiral

Rating: K

Disclaimer: I own nothing in the Star Trek universe, including the characters. I just own this story.

Plot: About a week after the USS Voyager gets home, there is a special welcome-home ceremony held for the entire crew at Starfleet Headquarters.

Captain Janeway and her crew sat in their front row seats. They were waiting in great anticipation for Admiral Owen Paris to walk out onto the stage in the massive room.

The one hundred and fifty people from the USS Voyager all had on dress uniforms. Everybody from the starship had been given the standard uniform and the dress uniform (the one with a gray-shouldered jacket). Even the Maquis crewmen had been thrilled to put on the new dress uniforms. Thousands more people had assembled there, but the crew of the Voyager took up the first five rows.

There were three files of seats with ten chairs to a row. Captain Janeway and her senior staff sat in the front row of the middle section. Icheb and Lieutenant Barclay had joined them. They were sitting in the two seats farthest to the right, talking about their recent work.

The Doctor had taken the other seat next to Icheb. He had modified his programming to include the updated dress uniform. He had been looking forward to this event for many years. Ever since he acquired his mobile emitter, he had been excited to reach Earth and see the planet in its current state of pride and glory.

Harry Kim was seated to The Doctor's left. All that was on his mind at that moment was his promote. For almost seven whole years he had been an ensign, but that was about to change. He would finally get a position of higher respect and pride.

Next to Harry was Tuvok. Naturally, Tuvok, being a Vulcan, did not feel any significant excitement over the events about to take place. However, being away so far from home for such a long time could bring serious depression even to those with intense resistance to emotion. He was, nonetheless, satisfied that he had made it home.

Chakotay was seated next to Tuvok. Chakotay was looking forward to receiving his new assignments from Starfleet Command. He had already been told that his request to be officially reinstated into Starfleet had been confirmed. He was looking forward to spending some time with his fiancée as well.

Speaking of which, Seven of Nine was seated next to the Indian Commander. She put her hand- the one without the Borg coverings- onto his hand and looked at him, smiling. Thanks to The Doctor, she had come so close to reacquiring her human emotions. Within one or two months, she would mentally be as human as anyone else on the planet. Chakotay had offered to help her make her emotional transition, and she had accepted his offer happily.

B'Elanna Torres was seated next to Seven. She held baby Miral in her arms delicately. B'Elanna looked down at her infant daughter and held her close, smiling at her. Just a few years earlier, she had thought she would never be happy again because all the Maquis in the Alpha Quadrant had been eradicated by the Dominion. But when she held Miral in her arms, all her problems just seemed to go away.

Seated next to her was Tom Paris, her husband. He had his right arm around his wife and his left arm rubbing the back of Miral's head. At that moment, he felt that nothing could make his life better. He had a beautiful adoring wife, an adorable daughter, his confirmed requisition to be reinstated into Starfleet, and he had made his father proud of him. He remembered the last time he had seen his father; they had not been on the best of terms. But now he knew that everything would be alright and the unpleasant past forgotten.

Finally, there was Captain Janeway herself seated next to Tom at the end of the row. She was preparing herself for her presentation in front of the large mass of people gathered in the room. She was the last one still unable to grasp the extraordinary fact: she had finally gotten her crew home from their long voyage. Incredibly, their intended seventy-five year flight plan only took seven years to accomplish. She was about to address that issue itself to one of her favorite former commanding officers from her first days on a starship.

At long last, Admiral Paris walked out onto the stage. He was met with thunderous applause by everyone seated before him. When he reached the podium, he announced "Thank you all for that ovation. Now, we have assembled here today in celebration of a special occasion. As you all may know, we consider our entire fleet of starships to be a type of family. One week ago a member of that family returned home after being lost for seven years. I speak, of course, of the USS Voyager."

There was much applause in the rows behind the first five rows. When it subsided, the Admiral continued with "Based upon what the Captain told me, their journey was very difficult at first. There were Starfleet and Maquis people working together. Tensions were high between the two, but over time, the Maquis put aside their hatred and became closely involved with their Starfleet colleagues."

There came more applause.

"Now, without further ado," said Admiral Paris, "I will call up each member of the crew with the exception of the senior staff to receive special commendations. The senior staff shall all be addressed at once after everyone else."

Admiral Paris called out "Anderson, Lydia."

A female crewman stood up from the third row to the left and walked to the steps connecting the ground to the stage. She walked up them and approached the Admiral. He handed her a certificate and shook her hand. As Anderson walked off the stage, everyone applauded for her.

Next the Admiral called "Andrews, Ernest."

A male crewman stood up and ascended onto the stage just as Anderson had done. He received his certificate, handshake from Admiral Paris, and his round of applause from the audience. As he returned to his seat, the Admiral called out "Ashmore, Raymond."

Subsequently, each and every member of the crew was called up by Admiral Paris. He finally ended with "Yosa, Donovan."

After Yosa received his award and sat back down, Admiral Paris cleared his throat and announced "Each and every person I have just called up has played a significant role in getting his or her crew home. Right now, I shall call up the ones who played the biggest roles in this challenge. Would the senior staff please come up?"

Then the middle front row stood up and went up the stage. B'Elanna asked Icheb to hold Miral while she went up, and he agreed to do so. Miral was sleeping soundly at that moment. Icheb and Barclay were the only persons still seated in the middle front row.

As the senior staff stood on the stage, the Admiral said to the audience "There is another that I wish to call up. He is the man who played the most key role in the Pathfinder Project. Lieutenant Reginald Barclay, please come up."

The nervous lieutenant walked up onto the stage. Admiral Paris walked over to Barclay and put his hand on his shoulder. Then he turned to the crowd and announced "Without this man, we would never have been able to make contact with Voyager from 30,000 light years away. Therefore, Lieutenant Reginald Barclay…" the Admiral paused and then took a black pip out of his pocket. Then he attached it to Barclay's collar. Then he finished with "I promote you to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and I appoint you as my liaison to the Federation Council."

There was much applause for Barclay, who was almost on the verge of blushing. After the applause subsided, Admiral Paris walked over to Harry. He announced "Ensign Harry Kim, operations officer aboard the Voyager. For exemplary conduct, enforcement of regulation, and looking out for friends whenever they were in danger…" Admiral Paris took out a silver pip and attached it to Harry's collar. Then he finished "I promote you to the rank of full Lieutenant, and I give you the authorization to work on whatever project you please."

As Harry received his round of applause, the Admiral approached Tuvok. He announced "Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, security chief and second officer aboard the Voyager. For upholding all protocol, reinforcing order, providing guidance to those who needed it, and serving as a superior role model, I instate you as assistant chief of Starfleet security."

Tuvok received as much applause as Harry did. The Doctor was the next person to be approached by Admiral Paris. He proclaimed "The Doctor, Chief Medical Officer and the EMH aboard the Voyager. For multiple medicinal discoveries, exceeding your original programming, and keeping the crew in fabulous health, I give you clearance to teach about medicine at Starfleet Academy."

The Doctor received a bit more applause than either Harry or Tuvok. He just stood there, smiling at the audience. Admiral Paris moved on to Seven of Nine next. He announced "Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01, also known as Annika Hansen, Astrometrics Officer aboard the Voyager. For providing extraordinary aid in fending off the Borg on multiple occasions, developing innovative ways to conserve power, and creating highly advanced technology to enhance resources, I give you field commission aboard the Station Deep Space 9 as the new Chief of Operations."

Seven of Nine received a large ovation from the audience. Chakotay was approached by the Admiral after she was. The Admiral declared "Commander Chakotay, First Officer aboard the Voyager. For embracing your old principles, helping all the Maquis on your crew to accept Starfleet, and demonstrating clear competence of your duties in assisting your captain…" here he removed Chakotay's "enlisted" badge from his collar and replaced it with three silver pips. Then he continued "I reinstate you into Starfleet, provide you with the rank of Commander, and appoint you as the Federation ambassador to Bajor."

As Chakotay received his applause and the Admiral moved on, Chakotay and Seven looked at each other and smiled. They both knew that Deep Space 9 orbited Bajor, so they had requested these commissions to be in close proximity to each other.

Admiral Paris approached B'Elanna. The Admiral proclaimed "Lieutenant Junior Grade B'Elanna Torres, Chief Engineer aboard the Voyager. For developing new methods of warp technology, creating new breakthroughs in space travel, and showing incredible aptitude to accept Starfleet principles a second time around…" the Admiral removed her "enlisted" badge and replaced it with two silver pips. He went on "I officially instate you into Starfleet, promote you to the rank of Lieutenant, and give you the position of Chief Engineer on the starship of your choice."

As B'Elanna's round of applause came, Tom was waiting anxiously as his father approached him. He was practically on the verge of sweating, but was able to contain it. Finally, Owen Paris announced "Lieutenant Junior Grade Thomas Eugene Paris, Helmsman and Medic aboard the Voyager. For getting the ship out of numerous hopeless situations, doubling superbly on the bridge and sickbay, breaking the Warp 10 Threshold, and always taking care of those closest to you…" The Admiral's eyes had glimpsed over at B'Elanna for just a moment when he stated that last part. Then Admiral Owen Paris fastened a silver pip right next to his black pip and the other silver one. He finished with a noticeable amount of pride in his voice "I promote you to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and give you the position of Flight Controller and/or Second Officer on the starship of your choice."

Tom just could not stop grinning at that point. He was receiving the loudest applause yet. Apparently he had left more friends behind than he believed he had.

Finally, Janeway was approached by her former captain. She was waiting for what he would say about her. It was even better than she had expected. Admiral Paris declared "Captain Kathryn Janeway, Captain of the Voyager. For always sustaining Federation ethics, making first contact with over seventy species, and displaying hardcore dedication towards getting your crew home, I promote you to the rank of Vice Admiral, and give you the position of working in all matters as my subordinate."

This time he did not put the decoration on Janeway's collar. Instead, he held it out in his hand. She looked down at it and then back up into his eyes. He grinned and told her "You earned it, Kathy" as the audience erupted in thunderous applause.

Kathryn Janeway took the badge and removed the four pips from her collar, replacing them with the Vice Admiral badge.

After the applause subsides, Admiral Paris made a closing speech, and then everyone was dismissed. Icheb handed Miral back over to B'Elanna and approached him, saying "Excuse me, Admiral, do you have a moment?"

Owen Paris turned toward the ex-Borg Brunali and responded "How might I help you, Icheb?"

"Did Captain Janeway submit the report confirming my entrance into Starfleet Academy?"

"She did just this morning." replied the Admiral. "I had it entered into the database just before attending this ceremony."

Icheb grinned and said "Thank you. When do I begin my freshman year?"

"In about three or four months, the next year begins." Admiral Paris answered. "During the time between now and then, you will be debriefed on everything you need to know or possess to properly address the Academy."

Icheb nodded and said "Have a nice day, Admiral." Then he left.

Finally, the entire room was empty except for Tom, his father, B'Elanna, and Miral. Tom approached his father and said "Dad… I just want to say something."

"Go ahead, Thomas." said Admiral Paris.

Tom took a deep breath, and then he said "Thank you. Thank you for all of this." He held his right hand out to his father as a gesture for him to shake it. But Owen ignored the hand and hugged his son firmly. Tom hugged him back, noticing a tear of joy in his father's eye.

When they came apart, Tom said "Now, there is one more accomplishment I achieved that you need to be made more aware of."

"What might that be?" asked Owen.

"I've made you a grandfather." Tom replied proudly. At this, B'Elanna came over to the two and she showed the Admiral their daughter Miral, bundled up in her arms. He said "Dad, this is Miral. You've seen her over the viewscreens during our messages from the Voyager to Starfleet Command. Now you get to see her in real life. B'Elanna gave birth to her last week, just as we were coming home."

"She's beautiful." said the Admiral, smiling at his sleeping granddaughter. "May I hold her?"

"Of course, sir." said B'Elanna, handing Miral over to Owen. As he carefully took his granddaughter in his arms, he said to his son's wife "B'Elanna, given the circumstances, I would say it would be appropriate for you to call me Mr. Paris or Owen. And just because I'm an admiral does not mean you have to interpret everything I say as an order."

"Sorry, Mr. Paris." B'Elanna quickly added.

"It's no problem." he assured her.

Miral slowly woke up from her deep sleep and opened her eyes. Owen looked down at her and smiled at his grandchild. She was trying to smile back, but of course she had no teeth to accomplish that yet. Tom said to his father as he handed Miral back to B'Elanna "I like to think of her as my greatest accomplishment."

"So do I." B'Elanna agreed with her husband.

Suddenly, there was a voice from the entrance of the room. It was The Doctor's. He was yelling impatiently "B'Elanna, when I said you could be up on your feet for two hours I meant two hours, not two hours and eighteen minutes!"

"I'm coming, Doctor." she called back. Then she muttered under her breath "I'm coming to 'fix' your mobile emitter as well."

Tom whispered to his father "Because B'Elanna gave birth the same day we got back, The Doc wants her in bed for at least another week before returning to work. No matter how hard he and I try, she always insists she does not need the rest."

"You can order her to rest, seeing as how you formally outrank her now." suggested Owen. Tom could never tell if his father was serious or kidding about those sorts of comments.

"I could give it a try." Tom said. He said to B'Elanna "'Lieutenant,' I have a task for you."

Detecting the frivolity in his voice, she went along with him and said "What is it, 'Commander'?"

He responded with "I need you to go to our apartment and get some rest. I'll be along in about five minutes. Then I'll replicate dinner and see to Miral's needs."

B'Elanna smiled up at her husband and nodded her head. She then walked to the exit. Tom and his father heard a transporter beam from outside the room, indicating that B'Elanna had transported back to the apartment she and Tom had acquired just that afternoon. He and the grand majority of the crew had been residing on the Voyager that past week, but he and B'Elanna were among the last members who found a place of residance on Earth.

Tom said to his father "If you ever want to stop by, here's the address to our apartment" as he gave him a small PADD with an address on it. He then told his father "B'Elanna's father is coming to visit us tomorrow. She's trying to arrange for her mother to come and visit as well."

"Did she suggest that, or did you?" asked Owen.

"I did." Tom answered. "After all, Klingons aren't exactly one of the more social races. But you don't hear me complaining."

Owen nodded at his son's analysis of Klingon social interactions. Owen noticed something in his son's eyes. Looking up at him, he said "I'm sure you didn't wait around just to tell me where you would be staying."

Tom answered "You're right, I didn't. I wanted to take a moment to ask you… What did I do to make you tell me you were proud of me last year? You see, I'm referring to the transmission that was sent from Starfleet Command to Voyager nineteen months ago. Why did you suddenly become so proud of me after all we've been through?"

Owen patted him on the shoulder and told him "Tom, in spite of how we may not have gotten along before your time in the Delta Quadrant, I want you to know I have always been proud of you."

"But why did you never tell me that before that one transmission?" asked Tom.

"I noticed that when you believed I was not proud of you, you always worked harder." Owen explained. "I found that you were so determined to make me proud of you that you would continue to put more effort into your tasks in order to do so. Don't get me wrong, Tom, I wanted to tell you many times before that I was proud of you, but first I wanted to see how much you could accomplish before I would be too compelled to hide my feelings any longer."

"So you wanted me to know you were proud of me when it seemed you would not have another chance ever again?" asked Tom.

"Exactly." Owen answered, looking slightly up at his son.

Tom looked slightly down at his father. Then he told him "You have always been a great role model for me, Dad. I want you to know that I have always looked to you when I want to better myself. I regret making that one mistake involving those three deaths. But now that I've been given a second chance in Starfleet, I am not going to blow it this time around."

"I'm sure you won't." Owen agreed.

"You can trust me this time." Tom reassured his father. He was about to leave, but instead he stopped and turned back to his father, telling him "There is one more thing I want you to know, Dad." Here he took a long pause. Then he said straightforwardly "I just want you to know… how proud I am to have you as my father."

Owen smiled and embraced his son. Tom was a little surprised, but then he joined his father in their hug. Finally, the two of them pulled apart. Tom headed for the transporter pad and stepped on top. Then the man at the station beamed him to his apartment, where he would be having his first meal on Earth in nearly seven years. It would also be the first meal he would be having with his wife and daughter off of a starship. When he materialized into his living room and headed for the bedroom, he was finally able to fully grasp the concept: he was home, and his family was home too.