Memoirs of a Holographic Man
Written July 1997
Synopsis: When Lieutenant Paris is critically injured, the doctor begins to muse over human relationships and hopes to begin counseling the crew.
Disclaimer: All of the characters and situations featured herein are property of Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended.
“We think his shuttle may have been shot at while returning to Voyager.”
I looked at my medical assistant, Kes. “Could you hand me the cortical stimulator please?” She gave me the tool, and I leaned over Mr. Paris to attach it to his forehead. “This will take just a few moments.”
“Hang in there, Tom,” Kathryn Janeway muttered, gazing at her battered and bruised pilot.
“Would you mind waiting over there, Captain?” I asked as politely as I could when I activated the clamshell over the biobed.
I knew she was upset, but, fortunately, she followed my orders and leaned against a nearby bed, watching patiently.
“Will he be all right, Doctor?”
I smiled at Kes. “Yes. There’s no need to worry. Lieutenant Paris is a fighter. I suspect he’ll be up and about in a few days.”
She sat across from me. “I think we should have a party when he wakes up.”
“Sure. Tom’s always been fond of parties. We could welcome him back.”
“He’s not going anywhere. What would you welcome him back from?”
She sighed, obviously frustrated. I was only a hologram; surely she knew I didn’t fully understand. “He was wounded. When he comes out of his coma, we will have a celebration, welcoming him back to duty.”
“I see. Well, enjoy.” I turned back to my studies. I could still hear her and looked up. “Is there anything else?”
“Why don’t you come, too? You will be the one nursing him back to health.”
“The lieutenant and I don’t get along most of the time.”
“Even so, I think you should attend. It will show your desire to be more like the crew.”
I sighed inwardly. “We’ll see.”
Satisfied–for now–she walked out of my office, and I found myself alone once again.
Medical log: Stardate 50233.7
When Kes asked me to Lieutenant Paris’ welcome back party, I found myself wanting to go, but I couldn’t bring myself to accept the invitation. I’ve been so far from the crew, it wouldn’t feel right just joining in as if I had been there all along. I wonder how Captain Janeway found it so easy to join the pool sharks in the holodeck when it really wasn’t her place. That deserves further study.
I sat in sickbay at 2112, awaiting the captain’s arrival. No doubt she would think something was wrong with the lieutenant; she has grown rather fond of the antics which I find annoying. I’m not sure why anyone would find Lieutenant Paris interesting. I think he’s arrogant, self-centered, and– “Ah, Captain Janeway.”
Her eyes immediately darted to Paris’s bedside. “How is he?”
What is the phrase? Hit the nail right on the head? Regardless, I was correct in my assumption. “He’ll be fine. However, that is not the reason I asked you here.”
She turned to me, an eyebrow raised. “Yes, Doctor?”
“Kes suggested we have a party for the lieutenant when he recovers from his illness.”
“She’s told me already.”
“Good. Then I won’t have to recap. The strange thing is, she asked me to come along.”
“So we’ll be expecting you.” She started to turn away.
“It’s–not quite that simple. As you well know, the lieutenant and I are not the best of friends. I am doubtful that he would be pleased if I came.”
“Of course he would.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Tom’s life is a party. Everyone is his friend on this ship. I’m sure he’d be honored that you’d come.”
“I don’t really know what to do. I am merely a hologram, unable to ‘boogie down,’ to use the vernacular.”
She smiled broadly and patted my shoulder. “Neither do I.”
“But you have been socially accepted by members of this crew.”
“Not really. Whenever I join them in play, they seem to tone down their laughter. They’re just being respectful, I understand that, but … like you, I’d prefer to be treated like everyone else.”
I managed a heartfelt smile. “Thank you, Captain. I appreciate the enlightenment.” I did feel better.
“Excuse me, Doctor.” She walked slowly over to the lieutenant’s bedside.
I knew that she wanted privacy, so I busied myself with work in my office. I heard the captain quietly talking, and I tried not to listen. I unintentionally picked up a few phrases: nothing incriminating, just soft words. Several minutes later, I heard her footfalls and the swoosh of the sickbay door as she left.
Medical Log: Stardate 50290.4
It has taken longer for Lieutenant Paris to awaken than I had anticipated. Every day, I am faced with the fact that something might have gone wrong. It is my belief that the captain thinks that to be true. She has never voiced that opinion, but I can tell. She visits the lieutenant without fail countless times a day. I think she spends her coffee breaks just watching him. She is gravely concerned.
Lieutenant Paris receives other visitors, too. Neelix brought him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich–my patient’s ‘comfort food’–which sits by his bed, untouched in its environmentally safe preservative wrapper. Harry Kim makes the second most frequent visits. He and Paris were close friends, and I think it hurts him almost as much as it hurts the captain. I haven’t deciphered her reason for being so worried yet. Ensign Kim tells the lieutenant about the Delaney sister and other women whom my patient found attractive. That was how I learned that Megan Delaney was dating a man from stellar cartography, and Jenny was still single.
The other day, Lieutenant Torres came into sickbay. She was headed for Paris’ bed when I asked her if she was feeling ill. She said no, turned around, and left. I think she was embarrassed to be seen having emotions. I’m not concerned. If Tuvok came in, I would be, but not the chief engineer.
“Good morning, Captain.”
“Oh, good morning, Kes.” She had obviously startled her. “I was just visiting Tom before I went on duty. I’d better go or I’ll be late. Notify me … if anything happens.”
“I will.” She watched her go.
I studied their brief conversation earnestly. “Kes, may I have a word with you?”
She placed her medical padd on the table and turned to me. “What’s wrong?”
“I am concerned for Captain Janeway. She spends more time watching over Lieutenant Paris than she does on the bridge. Her worrying isn’t healthy.”
“I think you’re overreacting. When someone you care about is hurting, you want to be with them and make sure they’re recovering.”
“But there have been cases where extreme stress caused sickness and permanently ill health. And there have been a few instances when the person worried him or herself to death.”
Kes sighed. “I doubt that will happen. She’s just anxious for him to be well.”
I wasn’t entirely convinced, but I had seen officers watch over a friend’s bedside fraught with worry. I hoped my assistant was right.
I examined Mr. Paris carefully and sighed in frustration. His life signs were stable, but he wasn’t regaining consciousness. “I suppose I could revive him, but I don’t want to risk further damage.”
“It’s all right,” Captain Janeway muttered quietly behind me.
I could hear the weariness in her voice. “Captain, have you been sleeping well?”
“I’ve been having nightmares that wake me, but … I suppose, other than that…”
“I believe a reduction in coffee consumption and a dosage of morphine will cure that.” I smiled and went to retrieve the proper hypospray.
“No, I don’t want that.” She waved my hand away when I tried to inject her with the sleeping drug.
“But, Captain, you require rest.”
“What if something happens and…”
“His condition is stable. There is no reason to worry.” I again reached for her neck, but she started to say something that held me back.
“It’s just that I…” She sighed. “I don’t know.”
“I think you care for him more than you realize. Cherish the fact that he’s still here. Focus on the positive qualities. Never dwell on the past. He’ll be fine.”
She shook her head. “Maybe you better give me some of that morphine. I think I was hallucinating. You were beginning to sound like a psychiatrist.”
Despite the fact that my counseling efforts were rejected, I was pleased to note that she was not going to resist the injection. I pressed the hypospray against her neck, listening to the morphine hiss into her bloodstream. “If anything happens, you’ll be the first to know.”
She yawned and nodded simultaneously. “Thank you, Doctor.”
“Good night, Captain.”
“Hellooooo? Yoo hoo, hey, Doc!”
I was fully aware that holograms did not hear things that weren’t there, but I was confused upon hearing what sounded like Tom Paris’s voice early the following morning. I stood up, leaving my work on the desk, and walked toward the sound.
“Hey, Doc, do you think you could let me out of here?”
“Lieutenant Paris!” I exclaimed, surprised. “You’re awake!”
“I’ve been awake for a few minutes now.” He lifted his neck to see me; other body movements were restricted by the clamshell. “How long have I been out?”
“You were just about to begin your second week. How are you feeling?”
“Do you remember what happened?”
“My shuttle went through the most minuscule corner of Kazon space, and they fired at me. It’s a good thing you found me when you did. Life support was failing.”
I scanned him thoroughly. “You appear to be in excellent health.”
“When can I get out of here?”
“I’d like to keep you over night just for observation, but I think tomorrow will be a suitable day.” I tapped my communicator with a small smile. “Kes, please report to sickbay.” I hoped I wasn’t waking her.
And that’s when I remembered. I promised the captain to notify her of any changes in the lieutenant’s condition. His trip back to consciousness was definitely a change, but I didn’t want to interrupt her much-needed sleep.
Apparently, Mr. Paris detected the change in my facial expression from relief to puzzlement. “What’s eating you, Doc?”
“I have an … internal dilemma.”
“Tell me about it. I may have spent the last week on the borderline between life and death, but I think I can still help you with your problems.”
Maybe you better give me some of that morphine. I think I was hallucinating. You were beginning to sound like a psychiatrist. The captain’s words echoed through my head. “It’s about Captain Janeway. I am concerned for her health.”
“What’s wrong?” He was obviously worried.
“Throughout your time in sickbay, she visited you with great frequency.”
“I know,” he replied.
“I … suspected as much.”
I made a note to ponder over that at a later time. “I was afraid that she would become sick with worry. She hadn’t been sleeping, so I gave her something to help with her insomnia. She told me to notify her immediately if your status changed. It’s 0700 now; I don’t want to wake her unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
He shook his head. “Let her sleep. If she chastens you, I’ll explain the situation.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant.” I think we’ve developed a friendship!
Kes entered sickbay and smiled broadly. “Tom, you’re awake!”
He grinned. “I’ve heard that line before.”
I turned to my medical assistant. “Kes, did I wake you?”
“No, I was practicing my telepathic abilities. What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Lieutenant Paris will most likely be released from sickbay tomorrow, if you’d like to set it up.”
My patient’s curiosity piqued, he raised an eyebrow. “Set what up?”
I walked into Sandrine’s nearly fifteen minutes after the party for Lieutenant Paris had started. I had a few things to take care of in sickbay. Smiling, I took a seat near the bar at one of the few empty tables and watched the action.
Loud, heavy music not common to the century or locale played throughout the bar. Electric guitars and screaming singers sliced the usually calm ambiance of the holoprogram. I was certain that several attending officers would be in the next day, complaining of earaches. I made a mental note to have the necessary tools on hand first thing in the morning.
Lieutenant Paris, Lieutenant Torres, and Commander Chakotay were playing pool. Apparently, the first officer was winning; he wore a cocky grin on his face, while his opponents looked worn and disgusted. I hope I can get in on the next game, I thought cheerily.
Ensign Hillyard was entertaining the lovely head astrophysicist, Elata Angelo, in a smoky corner. I could tell he was making progress; Lieutenant Angelo was laughing lightly, the candlelight flickering across her olive face. It made me wonder if I would ever find someone. I’d been with Doctor Denara Pel, a diseased Vidiian whom I’d saved. There was Freya, a holographic battlemaid. I think I’ve been involved with more people than Lieutenant Paris, but, as touching and memorable as my experiences were, I’d like to settle down with one person someday.
I continued scanning the premises. Ensign Kim and Lieutenant Tuvok were embroiled in a highly developed game of three-dimensional chess. I wasn’t sure who was winning, but something told me that Mr. Kim’s youth pitted against Mr. Tuvok’s Vulcan logic would result in the latter’s victory. However, I was constantly surprised by members of the Voyager crew, and it was possible that the winner would be Ensign Kim. I decided to check back later.
Samantha Wildman and her daughter were at a table with three other females from the science department that I didn’t know very well. They appeared to be cooing over the baby. Ensign Wildman was the only woman with a child, but, at the rate on board romances were going, I was expecting more on the way.
Neelix and Kes were dancing near the jukebox. I admired their long-term relationship. They were together quite frequently and never seemed to tire of each other, despite their differences. Kes was very feminine; Neelix was tough from solitary living. It made me wonder which types were more likely to last: similarities or opposites.
My eyes fell on the captain. She was sitting at a table for four between the wall and the pool table. A cup of coffee was her only companion. I was confused: she had been anxiously awaiting the awakening of Tom Paris, but now she wasn’t speaking with him. I stood up and crossed the room. “Good evening, Captain. May I sit with you?”
She smiled at me, a welcoming smile. “Of course. There’s quite a wide selection of chairs. Take your pick.”
I chose the one across from her so I could better study her facial expressions and mannerisms. “How are you this evening?” I learned that the type of conversation commonly called small talk warmed people up to you and made them more likely to open up.
“Fine, and you?”
“Good. I’ve never been to a gathering such as this.”
“Are you enjoying yourself?”
“Yes. I hope to attend more parties such as this in the future.” I paused for a moment. “How are you feeling? Have you been sleeping better now that Lieutenant Paris has recovered?”
“I have,” she replied, turning her gaze to him as he lined up a shot. “Thank you for … tolerating my visits. You were right; I do care more about my crew than I realized.”
I was fairly certain that she would not have visited as much if it was anyone else in sickbay, but I did not reveal my suspicions. The tone of her voice implied that she knew that to be true already. “Captain, there is something I’d like to discuss with you.”
“What is it?”
“I was thinking of extending my duties to include counseling.”
“The other night, you accused me of sounding like a psychiatrist. I think that it would be good to have one on board.”
“And you’re nominating yourself?”
“I have everyone’s psychological profile and intricate family and medical history. It only makes sense. They could bring their personal problems to me, leaving you with the ship-related ones.”
I wasn’t sure why she smiled at my last statement, but it looked promising. Lieutenant Paris sat down between us then. “I lost again. Chakotay’s been practicing.”
Captain Janeway chuckled. Again, I wasn’t sure why. I found the pilot’s statements less than amusing.
“So … what are we talking about?” he questioned.
Pleased at his interested, I told him. “I wish to begin psychological counseling with those who may need it.”
“Is insanity running amok?”
The captain explained, although I didn’t think it needed anything added to it. “The doctor feels it might be beneficial for the crew if they had someone to share their personal problems with.”
“Well, I agree.”
I grinned broadly. “May I, Captain?”
“Very well. Counsel the crew.”
“Thank you, Captain.” I continued smiling. My companions exchanged amused glances for some reason or another. I didn’t really care. I had gotten my wish, and that was all that mattered. I was definitely beginning to enjoy my time as a crew member on Voyager.