Hello and welcome to the Personnel File, the
series where we look into the career and personality of some of Star Trek’s Iconic characters
and this time, we’re pulling the file on one of Starfleet’s equally troublesome but
talented recruits, Tomas Eugene Paris. As is usual for this series, we will included
primarily the canon materials, that is the shows and flesh out some of the gaps with
Memory beta content, which comes mostly from Novels, games and the like where it doesn’t
conflict with the primary. So, Tom Paris was born in 2346, Portola Valley,
California, Earth, Sol System. He was the youngest of three siblings, the others being
Kathleen and Moira. His father was Owen Paris and mother Julia. He was from a traditionally
Starfleet family. Not only was his father and admiral in Starfleet, but his Great Grandfather,
Admiral Daniel Paris, his Grandfather Michael “Iron Mike” Paris and several others such
as his Great Aunt Patricia Paris and his uncle Cole Paris.
Growing up he spent much of his time in his room, listening to music, playing games and
generally avoiding his father. He also discovered a love for early human space exploration history
such as the Friendship 1 program and this grew into an appreciation of old vehicles,
such as automobiles, the precursors to private shuttles. He grew to love tales of adventure,
including stories of old ocean explorers and the more fantastical tales of Captain Proton.
At the age of 16 in an act of rebellion, he took his father’s shuttle out for a joyride
and sank it in Lake Tahoe. (2364) Originally he wished to join the Federation
Naval Patrol but as expected of him, he applied for Starfleet Academy at the age of 18 and
was accepted as he showed natural gifts as a Pilot.
During his time at Starfleet academy he took a shine to piloting programs on both shuttle
and Starship level and excelled in them. He scraped by in Stellar Cartography and passed
Advanced Subspace Geometry, likely due to its relevance in warp travel.
He took physical training in Marseille, France but during a training incident in the Vega
System, three cadets lives were lost due to Tom Paris’ error and he covered it up as
the only evidence of events was his word. 2366: Tom intended to apply for helmsman position
on the newly commissioned Enterprise D but Admiral Owen Paris removed his name from consideration
as he believed having his son immediately posted to the Federation’s Flagship would
show favouritism, despite Paris having the required skillset to excel at the helm.
On graduation, 2367 he was posted to the Ambassador Class USS Exeter NCC-26513 and promoted to
Lt. Jr Grade. His Betazoid girlfriend at the time uncovered his remorse at the accident
from his academy days and he eventually confessed to his actions.
The resulting hearing saw him dishonourably discharged from Starfleet in 2368.
2369 After a year, Tom had been wondering aimlessly doing odd-jobs on Earth. Tom found
his way to Paris when the former officer Chakotay approached him, looking for potential Maquis
sympathisers. The Maquis Captain needed a pilot and Tom wanted to get back into a pilot’s
chair so agreed to join. In his first mission in 2370, his vessel was
damaged by a Cardassian ship and before he could return to a Maquis-sympathetic world,
the USS Bradbury intercepted his ship arresting him and all aboard.
He was sentenced to New Zealand Penal colony in 2370 where he remained for a year before
his knowledge was needed. In 2371, Captain Kathryn Janeway recruited
him to use his knowledge of the Maquis, the Badlands and Piloting skills to track down
his former boss, Chakotay. During the USS Voyager NCC-7 4656’s first
mission into the Badlands it was abducted by the Caretaker array in 2371 and ended up
stranded in the Delta Quadrant, 70,000 Lightyears from Earth.
Due to the death of Lt. Veronica Stadi, the USS Voayger’s Flight Coordinator, Paris
was given a field commission reinstating his position as a Lieutenant .Jr. Grade and made
the new Helmsman. He was also assigned to provide medical support
for the EMH Doctor. During the Voyager’s historic 7 years in
the Delta Quadrant, Tom Paris, like many of the crew was part of several remarkable achievements.
In 2372, He became the first Human to reach Warp 10, or at least something like the theoretically
infinite speed. However… let’s just call it health complications, rendered this form
of travel unfeasible. The quality of his work deteriorated however
and multiple disciplinary actions were levelled against him, towards the end of 2372.This
however was part of a ploy to alienate him from the crew to uncover a traitor in their
midst using Tom’s grey past as cover. In 2372, Paris helped in returning the stolen
Voyager to its crew after a Kazon takeover. In 2373 he took part in a temporal Incident
that took him back to 1996 Earth. In 2374: Contact with Earth was established
through the Hirogen relay network and Admiral Owen Paris attempted to reach out to his son.
In 2375: Paris, with the aid of Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Ensign Harry Kim, Seven of
Nine and Lt. B’Elanna Torres designed and manufactured the Delta Flyer shuttle to cope
with the hazards of the Delta Quadrant. This year he was also demoted to Ensign and
sentenced to 30 days in the Brig for disobeying his captain and aiding a civilization against
the Prime Directive. In 2376 he began to display more erratic and
tardy behaviour, akin to his earlier days on the Voyager after he acquired the malevolent
shuttle termed “Alice”. In 2377 he was Promoted back to Lt.Jr Grade
and later this year, married B’Elanna Torres. Within a year, his daughter Miral Paris born
as the USS Voyager returns home using Borg Transwarp Corridors.
This marks the end of the show but his adventures continued in book form.
In 2378, the crew of the USS Voyager had a lot of doors opened for their careers and
he was promoted to Lt. Cmdr. One of his first actions was to travelled to Boreth with his
wife to look for her mother. By 2380, the USS Voyager had passed to Captain
Chakotay who picked Paris as his XO. Paris would only be appointed to the position with
the loss of the prior Executive officer, Commander Andrew Ellis.
During 2381, the Borg invasion from the Azure Nebula occurred during which the USS Voyager
was involved, followed by the later phases of Project Full Circle which saw the vessel
return to the Delta Quadrant. In 2382 Michael Owen Paris Born.
There’s a bit of a gap here as the next big appearance of Tom Paris is in Star Trek
Online. In 2394, Paris had achieved the rank of Admiral
in Starfleet and was stationed on Earth Space Dock. At this time he had befriended one up-and-coming
Jorel Quinn. In 2395, Tom’s daughter Miral Paris entered
Starfleet Academy. At the close of 2409, the Federation had learned
of the threat posed by an Iconian return and Admiral Paris took a voluntary demotion to
Captain. This was so he could serve on the front, coming to the conclusion that an Admiral’s
chair wasn’t suited for him. In 2410, Captain Paris created the Delta Flight
program with the go ahead from Admiral Quinn with the goal of bringing together the Alpha
Quadrant’s best pilots from Stafleet, the KDF and the Romulan Republic for special operations.
Most of these pilots were thrill seekers or rebellious types as Paris had once been.
Captain Paris was assigned captaincy of the USS Mercury NCC-47902 in 2410, one of three
prototypes for the Pilot Escort Class of light, fast and lightly crewed ships.
He took part in the battle of Starbase 234 during the Iconian War.
Tom Paris is drawn to adventure, romanticising the prospect since his youth. From tales of
ocean-faring swashbuckling escapades to science fiction recreations of archaic futures, Paris
detested being stationary and unchanging. This is either the reason, or cause of the
great friction he felt with his father, the Starfleet Admiral who wanted for force his
son into the mould of a Starfleet Officer as befitting the Paris lineage.
Acquiescing to his father’s wishes and joining Starfleet over the Federation’s coast guard,
Tom nonetheless continued to act out in a rebellious way, chasing women, flaking on
classes that couldn’t keep his attention and flying fast. He embraced this image of
himself as a bad-boy and was bolstered by his stellar reputation as a pilot. Despite
this, we can see that he has a genuine love of flight as he did apply himself to relevant
classes such as Advanced Subspace Geometry, aware that skill alone won’t cut it in Starfleet.
This shows on some level he was always seeking approval, from peers and his father, though
its only in his later life that he’d realise this about himself.
He continued to adopt and cultivate this image of himself as a bit of a rogue, like those
he had been influenced by in his childhood, giving him an immature streak too. The biggest
mistake he made, covering up the loss of his fellow cadets in the Academy, haunted him
until he confessed, showing that he, at heart was a good person. Joining up with the Maquis
was another mistake, fuelled by his desire to get back behind the helm of a ship and
he seemed resigned to his days as a washout with a criminal record had Janeway not recruited
him. During his time on Voyager, we see him adapt
to the situation though it’s not a smooth transition. He retains his distaste for authority
and a regimented lifestyle for a long time, but develops a respect for those around him,
leading him to try to fit in to his new circumstance. As he matures on the vessel and through its
numerous events, he learns to find a sort of balance and I wouldn’t be surprised to
find this is a reason for his attraction for B’Elanna Torres, who struggles with some
conflicting aspects of her nature. He also has a cynical streak that often surfaces in
stressful situations and informs the more disaster ous decisions in his life.
His love of flight translates into a love of speed. He loved discussing anything technical
around Starships as long as it was related to going fast. He was also a big car aficionado
seemingly, with no limits following back designs of the internal combustion engine to its origin.
His love of adventure stories led him to holoprograms and he considered himself somewhat of an amateur
Holo-novelist, writing his own scenarios for fun.
As usual, I’ll finish this video with some personal recommendations as to good Tom Paris
centric episodes and I’ll have to open with “Vis a Vis” which shows a good growth
of Tom’s character as he comes to the realisation that “oh my god”, he’s no longer as
drawn by impulsive and rash behaviour as he once was.
“Thirty Days” has his demotion and sees Paris conflicting with loyalty, expectation,
morality and his own rebellious attitude. Aaand Investigations is actually less Paris-centric
than you’d think considering he is the linchpin of the episode, but it contains good examples
of how the early crew viewed him, the ex-con among the hard-working honest crew.
Anyway, thanks for watching this personnel File. If it wasn’t for the mandate that
Voyager had to remain episodic, I think we’d have seen a more consistent and fluid growth
of character across the entire crew but as it stands, some characters got a decent arc
in there. I guess a benefit of it being episodic though is we can pretend that “threshold”
never happened. Goodbye!