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Too Good To Be Q
Voyager once more has unwelcome visitors, only these ones are dangerous...ly cute.
14th & 15th September 2017
15th April 2001
B'Elanna had mostly tuned Tom out so far, being buried head to shoulders underneath a station helped for ten minutes of it. His latest remark though had gotten her full attention. She studied him carefully to see if he was serious. Five minutes later and the only change to his demeanour was a wink, setting her off.
"We're not even married yet, we can't have a child now," she somehow reigned her temper in. Knowing that her staff would be eavesdropping was a big incentive.
"Well it wouldn't be now. It'd be months later," Tom said.
B'Elanna didn't look impressed, "not if you're sleeping alone on the sofa for the next year."
Tom's cheerful facade began to break down. He laughed nervously. "Come on B'E, we'd make great parents. Haven't you thought about it?"
"What's the sudden rush? Unless you're dying I'd prefer to take this one step at a time," B'Elanna said.
"Fine," Tom's voice turned bitter, which surprised her. "Have it your way." He stomped off.
B'Elanna shook off her surprise easily enough, his tantrum hadn't helped her already sour mood. Everyone trying to eavesdrop knew better and quickly pretended to get back to work before they were spotted. Some of them were though, she scowled at them on the way to her next destination; the Jeffries Tubes. She grabbed a couple of tools from someone elses' workstation.
A few steps away a squeak followed by a small clatter echoed from the tube. She quickly pulled it open to see what was causing it.
"What the? Is this some kind of sick joke, Tom? You're definitely not going to change my mind with this, quite the opposite!" More than a little annoyed B'Elanna swung around, expecting a smirk or sniggering but only saw a few confused staff members looking at her.
The tiniest of giggles echoed behind her. B'Elanna glanced around at the inside of the tube and the little figure sitting inside it, just in time to see a bio-neural gel pack come flying out and land by her feet. She quickly knelt down to pick it back up, only then to be greeted by a cheeky raspberry being blown in her face by another much smaller one directly in front of her.
The blue eyes, the obnoxious smirk reminded her of someone and it didn't help her calm down in the slightest. Neither did the prominent Klingon ridges on his forehead.
"When I get my hands on him," she growled while reaching forward to search the intruder's jackets for a mobile emitter. They responded with giggles and trying to do the same back to her. After a few minutes she found nothing, her face drained of all its colour. "What the hell's going on?"
The tiny face studied her carefully, slouching their head to one side. "Hell," they said in the cutest voice, only ruined by the cheeky glint in his eyes.
Harry wandered over to her with a chirpy smile on his face and a PADD in his hands. "Hey. Slow day so I thought I'd bring it down myse... holy moly!" he froze mid strode when he spotted the intruder. "Just how long was I away?"
B'Elanna threw a glare back at him, "this isn't mine."
"Um," Harry whimpered. "I don't mean to sound bigoted or anything, but you're the only Klingon on board, or you were," he shakily pointed.
"I'd definitely remember if I... this is some sort of practical joke," B'Elanna grumbled.
"Okeydokey, I'll report it and um, go," Harry stuttered before running back the way he came. As soon as the doors opened he was greeted by another angry woman, luckily this one was far less terrifying.
"Alright," Triah grumbled as she lifted up a laughing toddler which she shoved almost into his face. "Is this yours?"
Harry's eyes widened more than they usually could. "What? No, why would you think that?"
Triah's shoulders slumped in disappointment, at least until a man tried to walk around her. She hurried in front of him to do the same thing. "Is this yours, my quarters looks like a bomb's gone off!"
"Excuse me. We've never met before," the man stuttered with some offense. He escaped back the way he came.
Triah rolled her eyes, "someone's not listening." She hurried after him.
"This is weird. And not weird part of the job, or this ship weird," Harry mumbled, struggling to narrow his eyes back to normal. "I didn't think that was possible."
"What?" the Doctor shouted over the noise.
Sickbay had turned into a nursery. Four very young children were occupying most of the biobeds and they weren't too pleased about it. A fifth had already slid off one and made himself at home on the floor with the Doctor's tool tray.
B'Elanna, Triah, three other women huddled around the Doctor. Each one had a mixture of fear and anger in their eyes pointed accusingly at him.
"What or who are these kids? Where did they come from?" B'Elanna asked a lot louder than before.
"I'm waiting for the results at the moment. I just hope there are no more," the Doctor replied. He spotted the fifth kid and his eyes widened with horror. He ran over to snatch the tray and a couple of hypos from the boy, which he responded to with a tongue sticking out and the folded arms loud hmph combo.
While his back was turned the doors opened to Morgan and she wasn't alone. A squirming child the same age as the others tried to get out of her arms.
"Hey, did someone lose a brat?" she asked. While she was saying it she heard then saw the commotion. "Eeew, someone needs to get a snip, dirty creep."
The girl in her arms decided to join in on the wailing, the high pitched screeching went straight through her eardrum painfully to make her shudder violently.
B'Elanna walked over to her while gesturing to the closest biobed. That one only housed one of the toddlers who had discovered the computer screen on the foot of it, so was no longer part of the racket for the time being.
"You too, huh?" B'Elanna said sympathetically.
Morgan looked disgusted, B'Elanna assumed the child had used her nappy or smelled bad. The teen lumped the kid on the bed in the same position she was in her arms; on her side with a leg kicking in the air, arms flailing about.
"I've been saving my rations up for ages, right, so I could buy my new toy," Morgan explained. B'Elanna frowned, not sure why the story was relevant. "I got it and it was like, yey I can eat actual food and not ration portions."
"You'd eat rations?" Triah said in disbelief.
Morgan scrunched up her face, "as if, I mean those measly portions of set meals the replicator give you."
"Okay," B'Elanna said impatiently.
"So my first decent meal in like a day..." Morgan continued, ignoring it. Triah mouthed there it is while B'Elanna was wondering how ages translated into a day. "And I go to get a drink, come back and bam."
"Oh," B'Elanna sighed, finally understanding.
Morgan folded her arms tightly, "little brat's stuffing her face with my chips."
"Chips in a meal?" B'Elanna questioned.
"Yeah sorry, my mum taught me English, not Americmoron," Morgan snapped at her.
"Yes, yes I remember," B'Elanna said through gritted teeth. "Look, there's six kids here, all terrible two's it seems. This clearly isn't normal. No one's hidden their brood and they've escaped. I doubt six pairs of crewmembers have had kids and no one's noticed till now."
Triah raised her hand, "yeah, who do I see about counselling? Cushions flown around and torn, fluff everywhere, pen marks all over my table and wardrobes. Soil or compost all over my bathroom, and I don't even have a potted plant, how?" The other three nameless women were struggling not to laugh. "The worst part is, I caught the sod peeing..." Everyone cringed. "In my shower!"
"That's not as bad as I thought. You can just wash that..." one woman said.
Triah stared at her as if she had two heads. "I don't have a bathtub!" Bemused glances were shared by most of the women, all but Morgan who was cringing.
"Hmm interesting," the Doctor said. Everyone focused on him in time to see him gently lifting the kid who had somehow managed to get onto the station in the centre of the room, and depositing her on the floor. He then noticed everyone's staring. "They're not holograms, they're definitely registering as Humanoid. The DNA tests are matching up. I just need to get Morgan's here."
Morgan gasped, "she's not mine. I've done my bit, bye!" She turned to leave.
"Wait!" the Doctor called for her. He stopped at the first biobed to scan the newest member of the kid's club. "I have a feeling I'll need you to stay."
"But... my food's getting cold. I'm starving," Morgan whined.
The Doctor sighed. He returned to his station to input the scan results. "In the meantime. Sickbay to Paris, Kim, Ayala..."
"Who?" Triah asked genuinely while he said two other names.
"Please report to Sickbay," the Doctor finished. His console bleeped at him. "Ah ha, we've got a match already. Mmmhmm hmm," he mumbled, annoying everyone. "Sickbay to Anderson, you as well."
Morgan snorted briefly, "Craig, really? He has as much chance of being involved in this brat epidemic than I do."
The Doctor smiled very awkwardly at her, "yes, well..."
B'Elanna stared at him suspiciously, "whatever results you have, they're wrong. Let me do a diagnostic of your computer." Even though she said it as a request, she walked over to work on the station anyway.
The unknown women and Triah chatted amongst themselves while she did, with the Doctor complaining about it. The men he had called for started to show up.
"Ah," he said far too cheerfully when there were six of them present. All of them were bug eyed at the sight of the children now running around, screaming and trashing the place. Harry's though wasn't new, he was still sporting the same expression as before.
Triah glanced at one of the nameless men in particular, who she recognised as the guy who ran from her earlier. He averted his eyes. "I had a feeling this schmuck was at fault here. So all of them are the dads, or what?"
"What?" most of them laughed.
Morgan snickered, "this is so dumb. Are you gonna start nominating mummies too?"
The Doctor avoided her completely by picking up the closest of the kids, she cried as she was torn away from her important task of chewing the edge of a biobed. He handed her over to Ayala, then gestured one of the nameless women over.
B'Elanna cringed, Tom was more curious than anything. "What's happening?" he asked her.
After two more unknown pairs were lumbered with a terror each, the Doctor picked up the one B'Elanna met in the tube and brought him over. "This little man shares both of your DNA, congratulations."
"Uh... whaaa?" Tom's jaw dropped. The Doctor still handed the boy over to him since his arms were free and B'Elanna's were folded. The helmsman looked at his fiance as if he was about to be run over by a shuttle.
"What's wrong Tom, I thought you wanted a kid," B'Elanna smirked. Tom for once was speechless.
Next up was the boy Triah had found, naturally he brought him back to her. The only men left, Harry and Craig, had seen so far what was happening and were bricking it, drowning in nervous sweat.
"Mr Kim," the Doctor said.
Harry squeaked. Craig sighed in relief, earning him a glare. "There's still one kid left you idiot," Harry hissed, stamping on that relief instantly.
Morgan meanwhile kept glancing in anticipation toward the door. She didn't look nervous though.
"This little guy is yours and Triah's," the Doctor said.
"But we're not even a couple, at least..." Harry said, glancing at B'Elanna and Tom. B'Elanna's stare melted him.
Tom though was momentarily brought out of his daze and sniggered. "You've done it again, Harry. First it was a Hologram then it was a..."
"...Then it was giant blob, and now it's a clean freak girl that has Craig for a step brother," Tom said.
"Are you quite finished?" Harry asked.
Triah looked more than disgusted, "you did what with a blob?" Even though she knew better, she still started to dust herself down as if he touched her.
"No you're right. I missed Jessie," Tom snickered.
Harry scowled at his so called friend, "no, that was you!"
Tom acted as if he never said anything. "She should've been before the mermaid and Monkey Island chick. How could I forget them too?"
"What...!?" Harry stammered as his head swung toward Craig. He looked up at the ceiling, trying to whistle. Unfortunately he didn't know how to and was just blowing air. "First the dog incident, then the phaser, and now this. Stop it or I'll start telling everyone about the pink dress!"
Everyone but Morgan looked toward Craig, she only laughed as she stared at the door. "Those big clunky boots, not a pretty sight," she giggled.
"Well then. I'd suggest you take charge of the dressing," the Doctor said as he brought over the last kid to her.
"Oh... woah. I just thought Morgan was here cos she always likes to be around," Tom tried his best not to laugh, failing miserably. Then he thought about Kathryn's reaction, that worked a treat.
The entire room, or the adults anyway, jumped at the sound of a thud. Only the Doctor really saw what caused it. He quickly handed the child over to Craig instead.
"She was here before, probably escaped," Triah said.
Harry cleared his throat and pointed at the ground by the door. There Morgan was splayed out on her back, eyes closed. The Doctor was by her side, already lifting her up to put her on an empty biobed.
"Why didn't I think of that?" Harry asked.
The Doctor looked over his shoulder with a scowl. "You're still here? I have a patient."
B'Elanna stomped over to him arming her best Janeway inspired glare. "That's it? The babies that popped out of nowhere. Guess what, they're yours good luck, get lost? Where did they come from? Why..."
"Well I don't know. I did all my tests and nothing unusual came up," the Doctor replied defensively.
"It could be worse I guess," Tom mumbled, earning everyone's scorn in an instant. "At least they appeared already born. Janeway and Chakotay didn't have such luck."
"Hmm, now that you mention it. This is similar," Harry said thoughtfully.
Triah shivered as she looked around, "what, Janeway's pregnant?"
The Doctor found that amusing. "No, this was years ago. They're talking about Kiara."
"Oh," Triah seemed relieved. The screaming baby reminder made that short lived. "She came out of nowhere like these guys and they didn't investigate, they kept her? I... are we sure they weren't just in denial about some one night stand or something?"
"That's ludicrous. No one would do that," the Doctor said, sounding a little irritated. "Now can I please get some peace and quiet, or I can't help."
"So you'll look further into this?" Craig asked hopefully.
"I'm a Doctor not a Security Chief. Intruders are Tuvok's speciality, I'm busy," the Doctor replied, gesturing to Morgan.
The nameless pairs started to file out, muttering angrily amongst themselves. Harry and Triah were next, leaving Tom, B'Elanna and Craig. Tom gave her a mischievous smirk which told her he'd handle it in his way, so she left him to it.
"Fine. In that case, I'll inform Janeway of what's happened. I'm sure..." he said while slowly pacing toward the door. He stopped by the biobed the Doctor was working at, pointing a glance at Morgan. "She'll be very interested in this case."
The Doctor mumbled barely a mmhmm. Tom left anyway, knowing he would've heard him. That was when what he said hit him and panic spread across the hologram's face. "Oh... no."
Craig felt a little sorry for him until the girl he was holding reached up to tug on one of his hair spikes, and hard enough to pull many hairs out. He looked at her and she smiled innocently like Kiara or Morgan would. Tom's threat came rushing back, only this time he was feeling sorry for himself.
Beads of sweat dribbled down the Doctor's forehead. He didn't even think it was possible until today. He attempted to soldier on despite his so called teammate hiding under his desk.
"I'm sorry," he was surprised to hear.
The Doctor made a mental note to schedule in an ear syringe program. "You are?"
"Yes. If I had known you were going to say this, I'd have brought my holo whip," Kathryn said surprisingly calmly. The left side of her lip curled slightly, it gave her a devilish aura. "Scrambled EMH. Now I'm hungry."
"Uh..." the Doctor shrunk many inches. "That's the wrong show."
Chakotay winced, inhaling air through his teeth. "Ooh, rookie mistake."
Kathryn's eyebrows both meanwhile twitched viciously. Her mostly blank facade was slipping. The Doctor prepared for the worst, only to be instantly relieved when she instead turned on Chakotay. "Our sixteen, and technically three year old daughter too, now has her own kid. I don't think this is funny, do you?"
"N... n... no," Chakotay's jaw trembled, and it wasn't the only part of him.
The Doctor prematurely sighed in relief and tried to walk away, Kathryn grabbed him by the scruff of his uniform while she was still looking at Chakotay. Once he was pulled toward her their eyes met, his melted into puddles. "Who is responsible for this?"
They all heard a frightened whimper come from under the desk. Kathryn's fury pointed toward that instead.
"Um, Kathryn... maybe... this is clearly..." Chakotay stuttered as she stomped over to it. "Not normal circumstances, so maybe some..."
Kathryn looked under the desk and reached out to grab at the same time. Craig screamed and scrambled for the door. "Stop him, or I'll crush you instead!" Kathryn shouted at Chakotay.
He was a little torn, not that he had much time to think about it. Kathryn's deathglare turned up to eleven being pointed at him made his arm instinctively fly out to stop the boy from getting any further.
"I didn't touch her, I swear," Craig squeaked.
"I know but..." Chakotay said apologetically.
Kathryn stomped over, Craig imagined the room shaking with every step. "Yes, that's what he said," she said toward her first officer. "Then poof, here's a baby."
"It was true though," Chakotay's confusion overwhelmed his fear for now. "Except for the poof part."
"Really?" Kathryn raised her voice, eyes widened inhumanely. "I didn't notice during the hours of labour. Thank you Chakotay."
Chakotay laughed very nervously, he dared not to say anything else.
"So. Mind telling me what you did do?" Kathryn said in such a patronising sweet tone, Craig thought he only had five minutes to live.
"Um," the Doctor spoke up instead. "In Mr Anderson's defence, he and Morgan's not the only... ones."
Kathryn slowly turned around to stare at him. "Oh?" was thankfully all she said.
"This is clearly not the same situation. These children are all the same age, three years old. They all appeared randomly, obviously no pregnancies occurred," the Doctor said. "Only one couple among them, the rest haven't..."
"I hope that's not..." Kathryn said, even slower than before turning back.
"No!" Craig's voice turned even squeakier.
Kathryn exhaled, only it sounded more like a growl to everyone. "Can't we do anything normal on this sodding ship? Where were these kids, who are the parents, there's got to be a pattern. Someone's behind it and I owe it a crotch burning."
Everyone thought or hoped they misheard or she said the wrong word. They knew better than to ask though.
"Wow, how awful. Where do you even begin with a situation like this?" Neelix commented.
Tom sighed dramatically, "dunno. Outside of scanning for ships or weird anomalies, I'm at a loss."
B'Elanna eyed him blankly. "You've done neither of those things. All you've done is leave Janeway a message and park your butt at this table."
"Yeah, it's very stressful alright," Tom huffed, then sipped on his glass. The boy on B'Elanna's lap tried to grab it so Tom slid slid away from him without taking his lips from the glass.
Neelix nodded as he took the two already empty ones and put them on the tray in his other hand.
Tom finished his entire drink. "Besides," he said before a burp. "Seven will be on the case. If there's anything out there, she'll find it."
"I thought Janeway said not to leave her unsupervised until she, and I quote; stops betraying us," B'Elanna warned him.
Tom scoffed her concern away, "it's been half a year, I think she has."
"Really? Your funeral," Neelix chuckled.
"Okay okay," Tom stuttered, his face whitened. "I'll find someone to keep her company. I can't imagine anyone volunteering tho..." Mushy peas were tossed into his face, the kid laughed as it slopped down onto his shoulder.
Jessie chose that perfect moment to pass by looking for a table, with a cup of hot chocolate in hand. She doubled back with wide, horrified eyes. "What the hell?"
B'Elanna sighed and nodded, "that was my reaction."
Tom begrudgingly wiped the food off his cheek with a cloth Neelix handed to him. "I'd say join the club, but eugh, no thanks."
Jessie's shocked face evolved into a scowl, "meaning?"
"Meaning, your kid would be a..." Tom started to reply until B'Elanna elbowed him. He quickly changed his tune, "I'm surprised that this kid appearing out of nowhere that's yours thing, didn't happen to you."
"Uh huh," Jessie wasn't buying it. "So you didn't intentionally have Tom's baby. That's good news. We have enough sexist dickheads wandering around."
The baby pointed at Tom and laughed, "dickhead."
Jessie smirked while Tom ground his teeth. B'Elanna had to laugh though, "that's ok, a Tom Junior isn't going to happen."
"Say," Tom said through his clenched teeth, "you want to stop this before it gets worse? You never know who could be next. Might have a Jessie Junior running around, and we both know the poor ship can't take that much abuse." B'Elanna elbowed him once more but the damage was already done.
Jessie's face and eyes hardened. Even still she said, "sure," in a neutral tone.
"Cool. Seven needs babysitting, you know the place," Tom said, apparently oblivious to the mood he put Jessie in.
B'Elanna meanwhile groaned into her hand, which massaged her aching forehead.
"Okay," Jessie said in the same neutral voice. "Before I go though," she said while handing her drink to the child.
"Thanks?" Tom was confused.
Jessie walked off, leaving a chilly atmosphere behind.
"I think I'm going to be sick," B'Elanna muttered.
"We all feel like that," Tom said.
"No seriously," B'Elanna said.
Neelix pouted. "Perhaps do it elsewhere, I'm serving lunch in a minute."
B'Elanna gagged and her face turned pale. Next thing everyone knew she was gone, leaving a giggling toddler in her seat.
"I dunno, where else would we throw up?" Tom teased the so called chef. Barely a second later the hot chocolate Jessie had given his son ended up all over him. It felt more like warm chocolate, still the heat was going straight through his clothes to his skin.
"Sickbay maybe," Neelix suggested.
Morgan groggily opened her eyes. Something light was touching her legs so she quickly sat up to see what it was.
"Hi mummy," the little girl sitting on her lap said.
Morgan reacted with a scream. The kid thought it was a game and returned the favour, only she was much better at it. Everyone else had to cover their ears.
"Morgan, calm down. We'll figure...!" Chakotay tried to shout over it.
It was too late though, Morgan slumped back into her lying position.
Kathryn sighed sadly with some bitterness at its core. She walked over to them, signalling anyone to get the kid now poking her daughter curiously away from her. Chakotay got there first.
"That's it," Kathryn said, her hand reaching out to gently stroke her daughter's face. "Someone's going to die for this. We must find them."
"Normally I'd disagree but," Chakotay said hesitantly. He couldn't resist smiling though when the girl grew very interested in his tattoo, she tried to reach for it. "This is a cruel thing to do, to everyone involved."
Craig nervously piped up, "so er, can I go? I can watch her. It's not me."
Kathryn rolled her eyes, they caught Chakotay giving her the smile that told her to take pity on someone. Most of the time it didn't work. She groaned impatiently so he wasn't sure if it did this time. "Alright. As long as you're not doing this to pick up girls."
"No of course not. That doesn't work," Craig blurted out. He regretted it immediately. The temperature of the room dropped ten degrees. "I mean that wouldn't. No I meant, I mean I'd never do that."
Kathryn kept deadly eye contact with Craig until Chakotay handed the child over to him. Her face softened when she looked toward the Commander, "we've got work to do."
Craig waited a few minutes after they left before leaving as well. The Doctor walked back out of his office to find the room empty except for Morgan. He looked relieved, "finally, some peace."
"Yeah, I wouldn't," the still chocolate covered Tom said awkwardly.
Neelix turned his head towards him with a curious grimace, "why not?" On cue his only extended finger was nipped, he instinctively pulled his whole arm back and jumped to his feet. The little boy previously sitting in front of him giggled.
"Thought so, he's a biter," Tom said wistfully.
"Thought so?" Neelix whimpered while he clutched his sore finger with his other hand. "Are you saying because B'Elanna's a bit..."
Tom chuckled, "not B'Elanna. Apparently I bit my mum's fingertip clean off when I was two." Neelix's eyes widened, he didn't dare check if that had happened to him.
James wasn't paying that much attention when he walked into his quarters, he aimed straight for his bedroom. Only then he noticed something was amiss. He doubled back out of his own littered room to find the main living area looked even worse.
Cushions from the sofa had been left strewed across the floor, or in one's case on top of the table. The wall dividing that room and his had been covered by crayon scribbling and drawings. Everything that wasn't too heavy or attached to something looked like it had been chucked into the air and left to fall.
Everytime he took a step forward his heel crunched against something. He dared to look down to find a litter of crisps surrounding him, his earlier path was marked with powdered crumbs.
"What the he..." James barely managed to say when a clatter from Jessie's room got his attention. It was then he noticed the door to the corridor was jammed open by one of Jessie's shoes, having fallen over into its path as soon as he had opened it on arrival.
More horrors greeted him when the door to Jessie's room opened. Clothes everywhere, creased and he hoped he imagined a few tears. A little black haired boy had plonked himself down into a drawer, which was lying crooked on top of a pile of shoes. The drawer itself he was in the process of emptying before he was spotted.
The boy sighed impatiently, "I'll clean your room next, okay!"
James wasn't sure to make of any of that. Panic and confusion had frozen him on the spot.
"Ohno!" Harry's voice stuttered from the other room. He ran into the room, nearly bumping into James. When Harry saw the situation he reacted similarly to him. Eventually he managed to blurt out, "what are you doing!?"
"I'm cleaning," the boy replied cheerfully.
The conversation brought James back to reality. "What the hell is happening?" Harry was about to answer when he turned to him, staring with wide eyes, "Jessie's going to murder you, and it won't be quick."
"I'm just babysitting, I mean passing by and I saw..." Harry stuttered.
James tried to avert his eyes from the disaster, it didn't matter, it was everywhere. "What's with the shiftiness? Who is this?"
"Not my kid, no. Some people, not me, had kids appear out of nowhere with their DNA. This one's uh, Triah's," Harry replied.
"Triah, yeah and Janeway has one that throws coffee down the toilet," James said. Harry tried to shuffle out backwards. James moved over to block his path. "Are you serious? In general I mean, no way that's Triah's. Dad."
Harry ground his teeth and turned around to confront him, "don't call me that! And yes it's true. This is only temporary. I'm sure Jessie doesn't have to know."
"I think you're very wrong about that," James said.
"Look, it's not my fault. I didn't ask for this and this boy is a terror," Harry said. A piece of clothing flew directly on top of Harry's head, cutting him off. James' eyes widened further, worrying Harry even more. "What? What is it?"
James backed off so the door could open, "I'm just gonna, leave you here. Nice knowing you." One more step and the door shut in front of him. Harry heard the click that told him it was locked.
"No, oh god!" Harry stuttered, nearly hyperventilating at this point. He went to check the mirror to see what spooked James so much. He understood immediately. The item was small, frilly and a colour Jessie would never wear in plain sight. He didn't want to get caught with it on his head but he was too afraid to touch it in case she punished him for that too.
"Here's a bigger hat dad!" the kid laughed as he chucked something else from the drawer at him. The next item landed on his shoulder.
Harry didn't dare look, he didn't want to know. He tried the door, expecting a regular push on the panel beside it to open it since he was still inside. Nothing. Panic turned into anger. "You're an evil piece of work, you know that! Let me out and I won't tell Jessie you were in here too!"
James had already escaped. Once Harry realised this he started to look around for somewhere to hide.
Blissfully unaware of all the disasters happening around the ship, Kiara and Naomi were busy playing kadis-kot at a table in the Mess Hall.
Naomi smiled and made her move with a blue piece, then looked at Kiara expectantly. She stared at the board with a pout, so Naomi thought she had her beat. That was until five minutes later Kiara giggled and moved a red piece into a winning position.
"Kadis kot!" Kiara laughed.
Naomi's mouth dropped. "How did you..." she was interrupted by a PADD being shoved in her face, which flashed at her.
Both girls looked at the source, the girl who had been assigned to Craig taking a seat opposite them.
"What are you doing, weirdo?" Kiara snapped at her.
The girl grinned at her. "She's pretty," was her only answer before tapping on the PADD happily.
Naomi blushed, "huh? You took a picture of me?"
"Daddy uses lists. Boring!" the girl replied with an eye roll.
Naomi and Kiara glanced at one another, none of the wiser. Kiara got up to take the PADD from her, however the grip the girl had on it was ironclad.
"Back off sis, it's mine. Hungry now," the girl grumbled, she hurried off to a nearby table that had people eating their meals.
"Sis?" Naomi asked.
Kiara shrugged, equally confused. "Morgan came out of nowhere too. I don't like this one though."
"Hey!" one of the table member's shouted.
The girl laughed as she returned to the table carrying a plate. She dumped it down on one of the empty seats and started to climb onto another. The plate was snatched back by its owner before she could finish.
"You don't steal people's food, kid. That's very naughty," they grumbled before walking off.
"Jackass," the girl grunted.
Kiara stared at her curiously, "you're my new sister?"
"Well you're not my mummy, that'd be weird," the girl replied huffily.
"Um, what?" Naomi stuttered.
The girl sighed impatiently, "fine! Aunt Kiara, happy! Now, gotta go find more grub." She ran off to another table.
"That girl is nothing but trouble," Seven muttered, getting the attention of who was lumbered with working with her.
"If you're mumbling about me, we're going to have a falling out," Jessie said.
Seven raised her eyebrow in slight amusement, "that's a little large headed of you to assume."
Jessie quietly chuckled to herself. "I suppose you are the expert."
"Explain," Seven demanded. As always her wide and patronising eyes were pointing down at her. It bothered Jessie a lot more when she did it since she was already much shorter than the ex-drone, even without the heels. At least she had an excuse not to make eye contact with her, her neck ached for days after the last straining she did.
"You're smarter than us all, you figure it out," Jessie said. "I'm much more interested in finding out who or what our stalk friend is before I need to set traps around my quarters."
Seven's shoulders tightened, a slight scowl appeared on her face. "What stalk?"
Jessie laughed, "yeah, I knew as soon as I said it you wouldn't get it. Look up baby and stalk. After. I'd rather figure this out before I'm volunteered for babysitting."
"Indeed," Seven actually smirked, her eyebrow shot up too. "It is interesting the child was picked for this and not..." Jessie frowned and glanced up at her. "Someone older and experienced."
"Oh my god," Jessie groaned, once more turning away to look ahead. Seven was baffled by her outburst. "Are you so desperate for attention that you're jealous of Morgan's baby drama?"
"Of course not!" Seven barked.
Jessie stared straight ahead without blinking for too long. Her eyes watering wasn't what made her shudder afterwards though. "Ugh, I'm going to need a brain scrub, I ain't sleeping for the next few nights with that image burnt in there."
"What?" Seven said.
Jessie glared at her, "what did I ever do to you... no don't answer that." Her hand flung toward the door, one finger extended. "Get out."
"Excuse me? This is my Astrometrics," Seven grumbled.
"Fine. Tell on me. I'm sure Janeway will take your side," Jessie said, still gesturing her finger. Seven reluctantly did head for the door with a confused expression fixed on her until she could no longer physically do so. As soon as she was gone Jessie shuddered once again. "I promised myself I wouldn't drink again, but... eugh!"
Morgan woke up with a start, she curled her legs up and batted them to check they were kid free.
The Doctor hurried to her side, "breathe in and out deeply, you're okay."
"What was that thing? I didn't dream it, did I?" Morgan asked in between gasps.
"She's not a thing, Morgan. She's your daughter," the Doctor said.
Morgan's eyebrow twitched. "I don't have a god damn daughter!" she roared at him, making her whole face turn red.
"Well..." the Doctor meekly said.
"I'm only sixteen, and eugh, gross at the thought I'd... eugh," Morgan shuddered as she hugged herself.
"I understand you're feeling put out by this but..." the Doctor said. Morgan stared at him blankly, her eyes blinking more often. "The child's innocent in this, it's not her fault. Maybe you should..."
"Oh piss off!" Morgan snapped. "Put out, yeah that's all I am. What I should do is let you prissy idiots figure this out. I'm not going to jump through hoops like everyone seems to have."
Craig peeped his head in, noticed the pair were busy arguing, then tip toed in to go towards the office. It was nowhere near as discreet as he thought, both the Doctor and Morgan turned their heads to watch him.
"How's fatherhood treating you, Craig?" the Doctor asked accusingly.
Craig noticed he had been spotted and so he ran straight back out.
"Oh yeah, real nice. You think this violation thing is funny, do you?" Morgan muttered.
The Doctor's face fell, "of course not. Don't worry, I'm sure we'll find out who is behind this."
"What should we call him?" Tom asked.
"Mischief," B'Elanna muttered as their kid started crawling across her console. He pressed far too many things. The lights went off for a couple of seconds and they came back on.
Tom picked up the boy. "What about Tommy?"
"Well he does get on my nerves and never leaves me alone, so it fits," B'Elanna said.
"Oh come on," Tom moaned, sitting the child on his lap. "Must you do this in front of our boy?"
B'Elanna rolled her eyes, "he's not really our son, Tom. A few hours ago he didn't exist. This is probably some game to mess with us, maybe even distract us."
"Ooh red button," the boy said as he slammed his hand down on a red panel.
"Warp core ejection system enabled, please state authorisation code."
B'Elanna closed her eyes tightly, wishing she'd wake up any minute. "Cancel."
Tom laughed nervously, "see, no biggie."
"Janeway to Engineering. I didn't say you could play around with my warp core!"
"Oh sorry, it was Tommy," B'Elanna said, pointing a smirk towards Tom. His jaw dropped.
"Tom huh? Tom report to my ready room."
"You heard her Tom," B'Elanna snickered.
Tom shook his head slowly, "not cool."
"Neither is naming your kid Tom the Second," B'Elanna said.
"Okay fine. What about..." Tom trailed off into a few hmms. He frowned and mumbled, "distraction. Mess with us. Poof out of nowhere."
B'Elanna exhaled sharply, brow furrowed. "Q."
"Ohno, I'm not doing the running through the alphabet naming thing," Tom groaned. He realised how stupid it was before B'Elanna's stare told him so. "Oh."
Most of the senior staff were at the table, including five out of six of the children. The kids however were crawling around on the floor eating chocolate. Brown hand prints were all over the carpet.
"Why are these so called three year olds less mature than my Kiara is?" Kathryn grumbled.
"If Torres is correct, then they're illusions designed to test and or annoy us," the Doctor said.
"Or they never had Janeway as a mum," Tom whispered to B'Elanna. She tried not to smirk.
Kathryn still heard it though. "I hope you realise you're licking this mess up after the meeting's over," she snarled while pointing at the chocolate stains.
Tom laughed nervously, "proving my point."
"It's interesting though, all of the children's more destructive traits have been carefully plucked from their parents' own personality. Tom's bites and always wants attention," the Doctor said.
"Triah's was the complete opposite. She said hers trashed her quarters," Craig pointed out.
Chakotay nodded, "so if there isn't anything destructive enough from a parent, they flip a good trait upside down."
"I don't always want attention," Tom muttered huffily. Most of the room sniggered quietly, even Seven.
The doors opened. Harry walked through them slowly, his eyes still wide were pointing straight ahead, unblinking. His skin clammy and pale. He kept walking until he bumped into a chair. Without looking he went to sit into it.
"No," Seven said from it.
Harry didn't react, he kept going until the next seat which was fortunately for him empty.
"Gosh Harry, fatherhood isn't treating you well," Tom commented. "What happened to you?"
"I... I don't want to talk about it," Harry said shakily, his voice caught in his throat.
"Okay, well we've narrowed down our list of suspects down to one; Q. However it does seem immature even for him," Chakotay explained.
A flash beside him didn't surprise anyone, it did cue some eye rolls. The person in that seat though wasn't impressed when they were made to stand in the far corner.
"I'm not sure whether to take that as a compliment or a compliment," Q said as he draped his feet onto the table.
Kathryn briefly massaged her forehead to prepare herself. "Q, can you cut the pantomime act and take your son's playmates somewhere else?"
"Kathy!" Q faked gasped with offense, then straightened up to sit properly. "We've been through so much together and not even a hello. It's a good thing I find you oh so charming."
"Hey, are you responsible for this?" Tom asked, stepping out of his corner. Q pointed over his shoulder at him, he ended up walking back into the corner literally. "Why?" his muffled response was.
"You see, antics like that and you'd get all the hello's you want," Kathryn sniggered.
Q chuckled as well, "oh Kathy stop, you make me blush."
B'Elanna rolled her eyes, "enough of this. What exactly are you trying to do here?"
"Hmm, down to business I suppose," Q sighed melodramatically. "Well Kathy, you're right but also wrong."
"What?" Neelix questioned.
Q folded his arms across the table, putting on a serious face that was clearly not legit. "My son and I, had an eency teeny falling out."
"You had a falling out with a toddler?" Chakotay asked in deadpan.
"Oh hardly. Children are annoying, little attention seekers," Q groaned. Tom tried to move, Q made a point to put him back again. "I don't have the patience for that nonsense. No, Junior is... what do you call them, a teenager?"
The Doctor was more than a little bemused by this. "And teenagers aren't annoying attention seekers?"
Q passed him a cheeky smile, "yes but the difference is they leave you alone when they're doing it."
Morgan rushed in looking a little frazzled. "Sorry I'm late." Everyone was confused since Craig had already brought their so called daughter with him. She went to sit down but there were no chairs left.
"This is a senior officer's meeting," Kathryn said.
"Oh. Then can I have some rations?" Morgan said with a smile. Kathryn groaned, Chakotay laughed, fully expecting that.
"For the most part," Q sniggered.
Morgan noticed him then and scowled, "who are you?"
"You don't recognise me darling? Surely you must remember my last visit, when you were two years old," Q said.
"Eeew, if you wanted a punch or two, you only had to ask," Morgan grumbled. She stomped off as soon as Kathryn finished tapping on her PADD, making hers bleep.
Q laughed quietly, "she's spirited isn't she? What did you decide to call her anyway?"
Kathryn's eyes narrowed, they were starting to smoke a little. "The children Q."
"Ah yes," Q leaned back in the chair. "Junior and I had a little spat."
"So your son had a teenaged tantrum and even though he only came here once, decided to pop back and annoy us?" B'Elanna questioned.
"Yes, and here's the kicker," Q said with a glint in his eye.
Harry jumped a few feet into the air and started to glance around frantically. "I didn't touch them, he threw them there. I didn't look either, what knickers? I don't even know what that means. It's not my fault!"
"Oookay?" Chakotay muttered.
Even Q was baffled by this. He shrugged it off, "Junior doesn't have any friends, not surprising."
"Because there aren't any other Q children?" Neelix asked.
"No, he's very annoying," Q replied brazenly, throwing most of the room off. "But you are right about the no other children part."
"Like father like son, I suppose," Tom grumbled from his corner.
Q seemingly chose to ignore that as nothing happened. "Apparently he conjured up some friends, but quickly grew tired of them. It lasted a lot longer than his asteroid juggling phase, at least." Most of the room's eyes widened.
"Wait. The apparently so annoying teenager made his own friends that annoyed even him?" B'Elanna stuttered. Q nodded in her direction. "So why are they here?"
"And a lot younger than a teenager," Chakotay reminded everyone.
"Well like any child, he thought my advice of throwing away the toys he didn't like was too Human lover of me," Q said a little bitterly. A few frowns littered the room. "Whined incessantly that I didn't really want him, but a half Human freak instead. I said and? Then..."
Most of the room was horrified by this point, Kathryn more so.
"You don't say that," B'Elanna scolded him.
Q looked a little bored when he stared back at her. "Oh spare me the Human lying to spare feelings prattle. Q's are all about honesty."
"Why did you have a kid since you clearly don't like them?" Craig asked.
Q thought about it, "you know I don't recall anymore, it's been a very long time."
"Q civil war, and four years ago is like seconds to you, you ninny," Kathryn muttered.
"Oh Kath, it's not too late, you know," Q purred.
"Yes it is," Kathryn said without missing a beat.
Chakotay shook his head, hoping it would hide the smirk he was trying to get rid of. "So are you suggesting your son threw away his toys, de-aged them I assume, by giving them to us to spite you? Or punish us for your um, loving of Humans?"
"Hey!" Q pointed at him, narrowing his eyes. "You throw that word around all too much and it loses its meaning."
"He asked a good question," Kathryn said.
Q sighed and nodded, "sure whatever. He must've thought you'd accept babies and not teens, because you're easily suaded by the cute factor."
"Speak for yourself," B'Elanna muttered, her eyes had drifted to her son ripping up the carpet.
Kathryn spotted it too, she saw red. Everyone else made sure to see the nearest door. The only people left after the prompt evacuation were her, Q, Harry and the kids.
"That was spectacular. I knew there was a reason I liked this place more than the Enterprise," Q sniggered.
Kathryn grabbed him by the scruff of his uniform to pull him to his feet. "Brats. Gone. Now!"
Q smiled despite his situation, "you know, if I wasn't such a gentleman I'd..."
Kathryn pushed him away so harshly he ended up stumbling back into his seat. "Why are you stalling? This should be easy for you."
"Doing so won't bring my son out of hiding. He's pretty good, just like his father," Q smiled proudly.
"Then what will?" Kathryn asked impatiently. Her eyebrows twitched at the sound of carpet tearing.
"Trust me, he's doing this to get a reaction. Ignore everything and he'll get bored," Q answered.
Kathryn tried to do as he said, despite the noise coming from nearby. All hope of ignoring them went out the window when she saw the Morgan and Craig kid chugging her entire jug of coffee.
On the way back to Engineering, B'Elanna kept passing people running in the opposite direction. After ten or so she made a mental note to stop one of them to find out what was happening.
Another few passed her by, she barely had the time to put an arm out to stop one.
"Naked," he whimpered and continued running like his life depended on it.
"What?" B'Elanna said before shrugging it off and continuing. By the time she reached the doors to Engineering she could hear continuous thumping of music coming from it. She picked up the pace and stormed inside to smack whoever was responsible.
The doors opened before she even reached them, some women she hadn't seen before dressed in very little ran out, whimpering something about quitting and being too much.
"Okay," B'Elanna said as she stepped inside, only to find Engineering had been turned into a rave party with stripper poles. One of them was occupied by the only person there who had gotten far too into the spirit of things.
B'Elanna had no choice to run to the nearest bathroom and give up the last few meals.
Kathryn walked in with Q on her tail, ready to ask for a report. Only instead her face froze in an opened mouth grimace of disgust. It took her a few minutes to finally vocalise it, "Jesus Christ Seven, this is not your quarters."
Seven glanced over her shoulder. "I am attempting to not react as you instructed."
Snickering from behind the other side of the station caught Kathryn and Q's attention. Q sighed and shook his head, "oh Junior. Do we need a repeat of the birds and the bees talk?"
A teenaged boy jumped up from behind the console, looking annoyed. "Dad, I'm too old for those stupid horror stories."
"And yet..." Q said, pointing at Seven.
"Pfft yeah right," the boy scoffed. "I'm not the weirdos that make her walk around naked."
Kathryn flinched, "oh believe me, if it were up to me, those catsuits would've been kindling for Neelix's stove years ago."
Seven swung around, unfortunately that had the side effect of her new frilly pink dress fluttering in the breeze. "My body suits are functional. Why do you keep making fun of me for it?"
The doors opened again. Jessie walked around the two new arrivals. When she saw Seven in her new getup, she turned around and walked straight back out. She bumped into B'Elanna before the doors closed, "don't. Just dont," she warned.
"Oh believe me, I've seen plenty of horrors today," B'Elanna said, her face extremely pale and sweaty.
"Don't say I didn't warn you," Jessie muttered and hurried off.
B'Elanna's face didn't know what to do with itself after she laid eyes on Seven's extremely frilly and gigantic dress. She felt sick but wanted to laugh at the same time.
"What is this, is there a queue outside with a sign at the door saying The Freak Show?" Kathryn snapped.
B'Elanna didn't reply to her, she spotted the other Q. She marched over to him instead. "Alright, you've had your fun. Turning my Engineering into a strip club is one thing, but what kind of sicko makes Neelix naked, on purpose!"
Most of the room fell ill at the image. "I didn't!" Q Junior protested. "He did that on his own. It's why I came here."
B'Elanna was put off for a moment, she shook her head eventually. "Fine, I can believe that. I suppose you probably weren't responsible for the soup in the kitchen climbing out of the pot and attacking Tom either."
Q Junior snickered, "actually..." B'Elanna's deathglare wiped the smirk from his face, he looked down at his feet in shame. "It was already alive," he whimpered.
"Right, and the children? Your beef with your dad is because you think he doesn't want you. So you force the six kids you spirited up onto people who didn't ask for them, essentially making them unwanted like you think you are, for what? A giggle?" B'Elanna snapped.
Q Junior shuffled his feet, he didn't dare look at her. "Yes ma'am. I'm sorry. I'll fix it."
"And?" B'Elanna harshly said.
"I'll apologise to the other parents," Q Junior said.
"And?" B'Elanna repeated.
"I'll keep Seven in her dress," Q Junior said in a meek voice.
Seven put her hands on her hips and huffed, "what?"
"Good, now get out of my sight!" B'Elanna growled.
Q Junior didn't disappear, he walked off slow with his head down, at least until he got to his dad. "Humans are mean." Only then he disappeared in a flash.
"Wow," Kathryn laughed, a proud smile on her face. "You stole my thunder, but that was so good, I can't be mad at you for it."
B'Elanna smirked darkly at her, "I learned from the best."
"Hmm yes, that's probably the first time he's ever been mothered. That'll teach him," Q snickered.
"Mothered?" B'Elanna said sharply. Q ended up with a fist in his face.
"And then, just when I think this is it Tom, you're a gonna, I push back into the wall. It's stunned, its grip slips!" Tom gestured with his arms.
Harry barely responded, he still was staring straight ahead.
"It's down right, then poof, it flashed away. So I won that fight," Tom gloated, then sipped on his coffee.
"Hmm," was all he got in response.
Tom took that as acknowledgement of his badassery and smiled for a minute. Only then he put his concerned mask on. "What happened to you, buddy? It can't be as bad as Neelix's Leola Broth coming to life as a slop monster."
Harry finally looked at him, but he still looked like a lost puppy. "Wha?" Someone walked by their table, he flinched so hard the drink in his hand completely spilled all over the table.
Tom didn't notice, the person had gotten his full attention. "Hey Jess, big phew on the no kids, huh?" Jessie kept going as if she didn't even hear him. He let out a big sigh of disappointment while he turned back to his friend. He was more than shocked to find that he was no longer there, he was bolting for the nearest door. "Huh, weird."
Harry ran around B'Elanna as she was on the way in. The panicked stare on his face put her off for a moment, "what now?" She shrugged it off and went to join a similarly confused Tom. "What's wrong with Harry?"
Tom shrugged, "beats me. It's not like Jessie was being her usual sunny self or anything. I don't think she even saw us."
B'Elanna raised her eyebrow as he looked over to the table where Jessie was sitting. "You really don't get it, do you?"
"What?" Tom said, turning back to her. "She's not pissed at me. I'm black eye-less, my nose is intact. You overreacted. Just a bit of harmless banter."
"Hmm. Do you remember when you took me to the Klingon Day of the Dead ritual on our anniversary?" B'Elanna asked.
A cold shudder took over Tom, leaving him cuddling himself to warm up. "Oh boy. You didn't talk to me for weeks." B'Elanna nodded, hoping he'd get the hint. "I didn't know it was a dead ritual, easy mist..."
"No," B'Elanna butted in and groaned. "That wasn't what I was mad at. You know how in the early days we clashed because you kept forcing me to explore my heritage. Our first date? I honestly thought you had learned to respect my wishes but no."
"Oh gee. I get it," Tom said meekly. "I dunno why you'd bring that up now after two years."
B'Elanna rolled her eyes, groaning once more in frustration. "I can't believe the father of my child's such a clueless idiot. Jessie's giving you the cold shoulder. You went too far, you thickhead."
"Oh, did I? I didn't peg Jessie to be a broody type," Tom was still puzzled. He still managed to look even more so. "That kid's gone, why are you still talking about him?"
"I'm not," B'Elanna said plainly, raising an eyebrow.
Tom's face brightened up, "oh my god, really?" B'Elanna nodded, far less enthusiastically than he was looking. "That's great, awesome." He rushed forward to give her a hug.
"Mmmhmm, great," B'Elanna mumbled into his shoulder.
The commotion had gotten a few tables attention, including Jessie's busy one.
"Woah, sounds like they've got a kid for real," Triah said, turning back to the others.
"Yeah and I don't," Morgan said happily.
"Okay, who's next?" Craig asked. Everyone looked at Jessie and James.
Fortunately for them Jessie wasn't really listening. James though wasn't amused, "what?"
Morgan giggled, "well it's not going to be Triah, is it?"
Triah pulled a face, "god no. Took me two hours just to clean the shower."
Craig gave his sister a head shake and tut, "no you didn't, you used mine."
"After cleaning it for two hours!" Triah snapped back at him, making him chuckle.
"It wasn't..." James groaned, he quickly thought of a better way to voice what he was thinking. "You looked at both of us though, as in together."
"You're imagining things, projector," Morgan said, winking briefly.
Craig spotted it and his smiles faded away. "Yeah, I was looking at only Jessie, myself."
"I bet you were," Triah scowled at him.
"That's not what I meant," Craig huffed.
Jessie frowned and glanced at everyone. "Did I miss something?" Most of the table shook their heads. She let out a sigh, "yeah right. I'm going to the Holodeck for another clothes shop because someone ruined everything."
"I heard," Triah said sympathetically, "can't you recycle them in the replicator, replace it with the same stuff? Why the Holodeck, wouldn't it disappear when you walked out?"
Morgan shook her head at her, mouthing no over and over. Triah blinked, unsure what to make of it.
Jessie brightened up, "I'll show you. It's great. You try everything on in the shops, then tell the computer to send it to the replicator database. I use the big one in the Cargo Bay, does it on a mass."
"Huh, that is a good idea," Triah said, despite Morgan's continued silent pleas.
She gave up and flopped over the table. James smirked at her, "let me guess. You can go to buffets and stuff, it'll be fun. Maybe weapon shops too."
Morgan whined into her arms, "there was so many bags. I couldn't see where I was going."
James nodded sympathetically, "yeah, there's always a catch at the end. The same one."
Jessie gently elbowed him, then smiled at Triah. "You interested?"
"Okay sure, sounds like fun," Triah smiled back. The pair hurried out.
"She didn't hear the bag carrying part, did she?" Morgan muttered. James shook his head. "Well I tried!"
Neelix approached the table pushing a trolley with a giant pot sitting on it. "Cabbage Parcel Soup? It's extra frothy today." He didn't wait, he took the lid off. A gigantic bubble tried to escape and despite it being as wide as the pot it didn't burst, it kept growing. It escaped and floated away.
"On second thoughts, more people carrying the bags the easier it'll be," Morgan said.
"You're absolutely right," James stuttered quickly.
The entire table ran off after Jessie and Triah, leaving Neelix dumbfounded. He used the soup ladle to try some, leaving the top of his lip looking furry.
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