The scent of orange trees in bloom, along with an impressive variety of birdsong, drifted through the open windows of Leonardo da Vinci’s studio. A trickling stream could be heard not far away. Kathryn Janeway, although not entirely convinced that all of the bird species were historically accurate, had to give the holo-programmers credit for their evident appreciation of both nature and art. As she dipped a fine brush into the oil paint on her palette, Janeway found herself reflecting on what a romantic scenario had been created here.
It was certainly not the first place she’d have chosen for a breakup.
But then, of course, Klingon attitudes toward romance differed somewhat from those of humans, and Janeway had to admit to herself that she’d never expected her relationship with B’Elanna Torres to last, anyway. Two lonely women, finding occasional comfort with one another — it had never been more than that. All the same, B’Elanna’s choice of a more permanent partner definitely left a lot to be desired.
Janeway glanced over toward the young engineer, who was standing at the next easel, her attention focused entirely on finding just the right colors to render the nude Tuscan model’s ample curves. Leonardo had left the room a few minutes ago, explaining that he had an experiment in progress in his workshop across the hall.
“I still can’t picture it,” Janeway remarked, as B’Elanna selected a color and continued painting with steady brush strokes. “Can’t imagine you married to Tom Paris. Having his baby.”
“No reason why not.” Torres’ voice sounded a bit defensive. “After all, you did.”
At that, Janeway couldn’t quite repress a sigh. That lizard incident was going to haunt her forever, although it hadn’t even happened the way her senior staff thought. In an attempt to save Tom’s reputation — what little of it there was — she had promised not to tell anyone what really happened. That promise, in retrospect, had definitely been a mistake.
Then it occurred to Janeway that if B’Elanna had enough foolhardiness to marry the guy, it was only fair that she should be told what she was getting into, promise or no promise.
“That’s not quite the way it happened.” Janeway lowered her voice confidentially, although of course there was no one else on the holodeck. “When Tom broke through the transwarp barrier, he began to develop superhuman powers. Sort of like Q, but even more immature and annoying. Of course, being an attention-starved little boy at heart, Tom needed an audience for his new tricks. As his captain and a symbol of Starfleet authority, I was the natural choice.”
“So he didn’t abduct you out of overwhelming lust for your irresistible body.” Torres grinned, setting down her paintbrush as she began to look more relaxed. “What a slight.”
“I got over the disappointment, though,” Janeway rejoined dryly. “Believe me, Tom wasn’t the most desirable guy right about then. After he pissed off the inhabitants of several galaxies with asinine Q-like stunts, he decided to go back in time and have some fun with Captain Kirk and his crew. Although I pointed out to Tom that he might end up creating a fatal discontinuity in the timeline and destroying the entire human race, he didn’t appear to care. He materialized on the Enterprise in the form of a shapely young woman, calling himself Kara — probably because the name sounded similar to Paris — and promptly helped himself to the first officer’s brain. Then, in what he seemed to think was an act of great generosity, Tom gave Spock’s brain to a nearby species that needed a new bio-module to control their computers.”
“That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever,” Torres declared vehemently.
“I don’t disagree in the least. But the idea was your future husband’s, remember, not mine — and he wasn’t exactly at his most rational.” Janeway shrugged. “He did give Spock’s brain back to McCoy after a while, so there was no harm done to the timeline. The only consequence of Kara’s little adventure was that she had become a bit too friendly with one of the Enterprise’s officers. To put it bluntly, we discovered that Tom was pregnant — with triplets.”
B’Elanna spluttered uncontrollably, and her face began to turn an alarming shade of red.
“Tom had some curiosity about the experience of motherhood,” Janeway went on, ignoring her chief engineer’s sudden indisposition, “but he didn’t particularly care for the idea of going through childbirth as a humanoid female, for obvious reasons. After a while, he decided that a good way to deal with the situation would be to transform himself into a reptile and lay eggs. So we returned to the Delta Quadrant planet where we had left the transwarp ship, because that planet seemed to have an ideal climate and ecology for cold-blooded creatures. Tom changed me into a reptile as well, so that he would have someone to help him raise the young when they hatched. Of course, he lost interest in them fairly soon and was just about to move on to another thrilling adventure when Voyager showed up.”
Suppressing another cackle with what looked like a great effort, B’Elanna commented, “I’d have thought the Doctor would’ve noticed if Tom had been a female lizard.”
“It’s sometimes hard to tell with reptiles. Anyway, the treatment restored Tom to his normal self — if you can call it that — rather quickly.”
“Did you happen to notice,” Torres inquired, with a smirk that had by now spread halfway across her face, “who the, um, father was?”
Janeway raised an eyebrow and said nothing.
“Come on, you can give me just a few hints. Did the lizard babies have green blood? Did they have any rudimentary structures that might have been the beginnings of pointed Vulcan ears?”
Torres’ eyes met Janeway’s, and within an instant, both women were laughing so raucously that an astonished Leonardo da Vinci rushed back into the studio to make sure that they were all right.