by J.A. Toner
A Sequel to Warmth in "Nine Acts,"
an Alternate Universe Fourth Season and After of "Voyager"
In the spring of 1997, only a few weeks after I wrote my first fanfic story, I became consumed by the idea of writing another, much longer piece. B'Elanna Torres and Tom Paris were to be stranded upon a planet with a harsh climate where they could survive only if they banded (and bonded) together. Because of the third season episodes "Blood Fever," "Real Life," "Distant Origins," "Displaced," and "Worst Case Scenario," I figured that Tom and B'Elanna were going to become intimate sometime in Season 4. I wanted to get my "first time" story out before that happened. Somewhere along the way, this story of survival became mixed up with two others I'd planned to write. In the first, B'Elanna becomes pregnant by Tom, misreads what was happening, and breaks up with him. Only after their separation does B'Elanna discover the truth, and in her embarrassment, she is reluctant to tell him of her condition. After they reconcile, Tom asks B'Elanna to marry him. The third story that I had considered writing separately was a "Tom and B'Elanna's Wedding" story.
As the readers of this introduction undoubtedly know, these three stories turned into one long fanfic novel. At the end of "Warmth," the newly married couple strolls up the holographic beach, their bare feet slipping on the shifting sands, supporting each other as they walk back to join the rest of the crew at their reception. I figured the story ended quite nicely with that little metaphor for what I think marriage really is all about.
Naive me. I never anticipated how badly readers would want to see more. Ending a story with Tom and B'Elanna expecting a baby and not providing a sequel? Horrors!
Finally, after multiple requests for a sequel, I succumbed to the pleas. I would write the sequel, I promised--someday--but I didn't know exactly when. I had a few ideas about how this sequel might turn out, but before actually starting to write, I needed to get inspiration from seeing more episodes of Voyager.
During the summer before fourth season began, Robbie McNeill had confirmed that he and his wife were expecting their third child. Once the season began, other rumors swept the net: Roxann Dawson and her husband were expecting a child, as well. Eventually, this was confirmed by Ms. Dawson. For a while, there were other rumors, too: Roxann's pregnancy was going to be written into the script.
I began to feel rather prescient, to say the least. Tom and B'Elanna reproducing--I began to wonder it there had been some sort of psychic vibes in the air in April and May of '97 that made me think of that!
Apparently there was considerable dissension amongst TPTB about whether or not Roxann's pregnancy should be written into the series. The "no" side won. I was not happy, for reasons I have described more fully in an essay that can be found on my website, for those who are interested.
One side effect of this controversy was that I was inspired to write the "Warmth" sequel very differently from the way that I'd expected at the time I initially agreed to write it. I decided to wait and see what happened during the next few episodes to decide which way to go, because I wasn't sure how this revised concept would be received by those who had clamored for me to write a sequel.
The "next few episodes" stretched out to over a year's worth. I hope that the reader will feel that the wait was worth it.
In the case of "Warmth," the story started out close to canon but diverged, particularly after the events of "Scorpion I," because I hadn't seen any fourth season episodes when I wrote it. I had decided to ignore most of the preseason spoilers and write my own version of Kes' departure and Seven's arrival. This time, the "alternate universe" converges somewhat with canon, since I have written it after having seen pivotal episodes of the story. As a result, there are aspects of this story that I myself was hoping I wouldn't be writing. I finally decided that I would write the events of Tom's and B'Elanna's and their little girl's lives the way the story itself demanded me to tell them. So, if this "alternate fourth season and beyond" story doesn't go the way you wanted it to go, remember that I didn't want it to go this way at all. I was going to leave it all up to your imaginations.
As in the first story, I'm borrowing the characters from Paramount and Viacom, Inc. I make no claim of ownership to any elements or characters copyrighted by them. I claim only those incidents that came out of my own brain.
This sequel is not one story, but a series of vignettes that interlock to tell how the marriage of Tom and B'Elanna progressed from that rocky beginning on Tantrum IV. Since the individual stories may be able to stand alone, each will bear its own rating, ranging from PG through NC-17. Those rated R or NC-17 will, hopefully, end up being revised to PG-13 at some point.
I'm giving the entire series the title (with apologies to Ingemar Bergman):
"Warmth 2: Scenes from a Mating."
Honeymoon---Rated R---(Tom and B'Elanna's wedding night)
Nanny---Rated PG---(during B'Elanna's seventh month of pregnancy)
One Corner of My Heart---Rated PG-13---(during B'Elanna's eighth month)
[retells and embellishes events originally told in "The Mercenary")
Deliverance---Rated PG-13---(the Hirogen occupation/"The Killing Game")
Gramps---Rated PG---(shortly after "Deliverance")
Ulterior Motives---Rated NC-17---(a couple of months after "Deliverance")
"The Devil's Own"---Rated NC-17---("Demon," very late fourth season)
Clap Hands---Rated R/NC-17---(end of fourth through early fifth season)
Footprints on the Sands---Rated NC-17---(mid to late sixth season)
(All ratings are tentative.)