Tom Paris

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Thomas Eugene Paris is a character in the fictional Star Trek universe who served aboard the USS Voyager (NCC-74656) as helmsman and pilot, with the rank of lieutenant. He is played by actor Robert Duncan McNeill.

Contents

Biography

Tom Paris graduated from Starfleet Academy sometime in the 2360s and majored in astrophysics. A gifted pilot, he was a member of the Academy's honor squadron. His father, Admiral Owen Paris, was an instructor at the Academy at the same time.

Soon after his graduation from Starfleet Academy, Tom crashed a shuttle he was piloting near Caldik Prime, killing three other Starfleet officers. Afraid he would lose his commission, Paris falsified records that would reveal the cause of the accident as pilot error. [According to the novel "Pathways," authored by Star Trek producer Jeri Taylor, the accident took place during Paris' final year at Starfleet Academy and killed his three best friends, fellow Academy cadets Charlie Day, Odile Launay, and Bruno Katajavuori.] His efforts to cover up his error succeeded, but later, overwhelmed by guilt and regret, he confessed. He was court-martialed for his actions in covering up the truth, and was dishonorably discharged from Starfleet, causing a major rift between Paris and his father.

Following his discharge, Paris left San Francisco for Marseilles, where he drank and played pool in Sandrine's, a waterfront bar. Chakotay, a former Starfleet officer serving with the Maquis, discovered Paris in Marseilles and recruited Paris to serve as a mercenary pilot for the Maquis rebellion against the Federation. This adventure went no better than his earlier stint in Starfleet, as Paris was captured by Starfleet while he was piloting his first mission for the Maquis.

Tried and convicted of treason for aiding the Maquis rebellion, Paris was serving time in the Federation Penal Settlement near Auckland, New Zealand when Kathryn Janeway, captain of the starship Voyager, obtained Paris' temporary release from the penal colony. Janeway, charged with finding and capturing the Maquis ship commanded by Chakotay, offered Paris an early parole in exchange for serving as her informant on Chakotay and the Maquis.

Janeway and the crew of Voyager successfully located Chakotay's ship, but as Voyager's crew attempted to capture the Maquis ship, both starships were caught up and thrown into the Delta Quadrant by a massive energy wave created by an alien known as The Caretaker, stranding them 70,000 light-years away from home. The Maquis ship was destroyed and its crew joined the Federation crew on Voyager.

The marooning of Voyager in the Delta Quadrant provided Paris with a new beginning. Janeway gave Paris a field commission as a Starfleet Lieutenant and made him chief pilot of Voyager. He had a rough start, however, as Starfleet and Maquis alike viewed Paris with suspicion. Paris worked hard to earn his crewmates' respect; during this time, he became best friends with Ensign Harry Kim, a young officer on his first mission who defied his crewmates to befriend Paris. Eventually, Paris was accepted by the crew and became one of Janeway's valued officers. However, after disobeying orders during one particular mission, Paris was demoted to the rank of Ensign (episode: "Thirty Days"), although he eventually reacquired the rank of lieutenant. Tom Paris and James T. Kirk are the only Star Trek characters (to date) ever demoted.

Tom and Kim would often relax on the holodeck by acting out "The Adventures of Captain Proton" with Tom playing the title character and Kim his sidekick.

Tom Paris married Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, Voyager's half-Klingon chief engineer, in 2377. Torres gave birth to their daughter Miral Paris during the events that led to Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant and Earth. In the alternate timeline seen in "Endgame", Miral grows up to be a Starfleet officer, although it remains to be seen if this will happen in the current timeline.

Backstory

The character of Tom Paris is based on Nick Locarno from the Star Trek:TNG episode The First Duty, who was also played by Robert Duncan McNeill. Locarno, a charismatic and gifted Starfleet Academy cadet, covered up the facts concerning the death of another cadet and persuaded three other cadets, including Wesley Crusher, to go along with the coverup. Crusher finally confessed to the coverup and the reckless behavior that caused the cadet's death after Jean-Luc Picard encouraged Crusher to tell the truth. Confronted with his lies, Locarno refused to admit any wrongdoing and was expelled from the Academy.

The producers first thought to use the Locarno character in Star Trek: Voyager, but then decided that Locarno, who never repented of his bad acts in "The First Duty," was irredeemable. "Tom Paris" was given a similar background, but endowed with the regret and desire for redemption that was never exhibited by Nick Locarno.

As noted above, Paris has two backstories. The original backstory, and the only one acknowledged on screen, cast Paris as a disgraced officer dishonorably discharged from Starfleet for covering up pilot error following a shuttle accident on Caldik Prime. In her published novel, "Pathways," Voyager producer Jeri Taylor provided an alternate story much more similar to the events in "The First Duty" by moving the accident to Paris' Academy years and making his fellow cadets the victims of his recklessness.

Production note: When casting the role of Tom Paris, the producers tried to avoid comparisons to Locarno by seeking out a "Robert Duncan McNeill-type" rather than McNeill himself. After failing to find an actor with McNeill's talents, the producers decided to pursue McNeill for the role.

See also

Star Trek, List of Star Trek Voyager episodes

External links

it:Tom Paris nl:Tom Paris

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