Kathryn Janeway smiled at the lieutenant beside her, and got a small one in return. After the heartfelt discussion, he had fallen uncharacteristically quiet, and the captain thought he could do with some time alone to process what had happened - God knows she did too. Moving to their separate beds, she climbed onto hers, stretching her legs out and lying back. She allowed her eyes to close and to finally breathe. The Doctor had ordered a few days in sickbay for the both of them, while their DNA slowly made its way back to normal, and while she usually detested the idea of being stuck to the medical bay, parts of her still ached and she had to admit a rest sounded perfect. Letting her eyes fall closed, she let sleep wash over her.
As afternoon rolled around, the doctor offered them a few rations, the only thing either of them could face eating at the moment. Ensign Kim had brought a spare table in for them earlier, setting it at the end of their beds so they had somewhere to sit that wasn’t notoriously uncomfortable. Paris sat opposite, a little more talkative now as they picked at the flavourless delicacies in front of them. He smiled as Kathryn glanced at the PADDs he had stacked beside him.
“What’re you reading?” she asked, looking rather impressed at the substantial pile. Paris shrugged.
“Oh you know, a little of everything - some comics, the data from our little outing, this week's newsletter,” he smiled, brandishing one PADD in particular. “You’ll be happy to know we made front page, Captain!” Kathryn chuckled. Though mortification had been her gut reaction to what had occured on the planet, gossip spread like wildfire on a ship like Voyager and there was no keeping people from talking. In hindsight, she supposed, it was all fairly amusing. What was the point in trying to hide it all, Chakotay had already logged the entire thing, which, Paris told her, was quoted heavily in the newsletter article.
“As if finding one's amphibian captain and pilot nesting together wasn’t strange enough,” Paris read aloud, “Commander Chakotay then had to decide what to do with the sudden appearance of the pairs offspring’ - and look, there’s a picture,” he said, passing it over for the captain to look over. Shaking her head, she laughed.
“Well, it’s certainly an interesting picture for the history books.” At her words, something must have pinged in Paris’ mind because he held up a hand, rifling through the pile of reading material beside him.
“That reminds me actually, I was looking through some of the history books,” he found whatever he was looking for and held it up, tapping on it as he found the page he was looking for.
“Apparently, we’re not the first members of Starfleet to have a uh, mutation situation?” Kathryn gave him a confused look. Surely, she would know if another crew had had a crewmember evolve into something else? Paris grinned, pulling up a page of dates that stretched very far back in Starfleet history, predating the Federation itself. Kathryn’s eyebrows rose in surprise.
“The original Enterprise ?” she couldn’t keep disbelief from seeping into her words. Paris nodded.
“So apparently there was an incident sometime in 2153, a few years into their mission - Archer, Reed, Sato, even T’Pol were infected with a mutagenic virus, meant to help keep a species alive. Though, no lizard babies for them, Phlox managed to reverse the effects before any mating could occur.”
Despite herself, Kathryn chuckled again. “Well they weren’t exactly going at warp ten, so I imagine they weren’t too hard to catch.” Paris had held out the PADD so she offered her hand to take it. Glancing over it, she realised it was an official Starfleet report, signed at the bottom by the then Lieutenant Reed.
“I’m sure I would have remembered hearing about this in history class,” she said, as her eyes roamed the document for any other insights. “Where on earth did you find this?” Paris leant back, folding his arms.
“Seems Captain Reed really didn’t want people hearing about this one. It’s been tucked away in a mountain of files, I only went looking for it ‘cause the incident was mentioned in Mayweather’s memoirs.” He flushed a little pink. “All this talk about great firsts, I thought I’d finally sit down and read the words of the greatest pilot in Starfleet history. It’s too bad I didn’t think to before, maybe we could have avoided this little… adventure.”
Kathryn smiled, handing the PADD back to Paris. “At least I know I’m not the only captain who had a - what was it? Mutation situation?” Paris stifled a laugh, and the captain gave him a grin.
“At this rate, we could start a club."
Another quadrant, another century, aboard a ship much older than Voyager.
“Do you think Phlox was serious when he offered me those larva earlier?” Malcolm asked, glancing across at Hoshi who was poking at a plate of salad. He glanced down at his own plate, two slices of toast that still somehow had his stomach churning, just by looking at it. Hoshi snorted. Malcolm huffed.
“Just because you can stomach proper human food again,” he grumbled under his breath. Sighing, he pushed the plate away and made to stand up.
“Not staying for lunch, lieutenant?” Hoshi asked, a small smile on her face. He groaned, pressing a hand to his stomach.
“Apparently not.” He stands, pushing his chair back in and giving Hoshi a parting smile.
“How about we meet for dinner? I might be a tad more…” he thought for a moment.
“Human?” Hoshi offered. Malcolm smiled. “Yes I hope so. Anyway, I have to start writing up this blasted report for the captain must dash. We really don’t want this sort of thing happening to anyone else anytime soon.”