Thomas Eugene "Tom" Paris, played by Robert Duncan McNeill, is a character in the television series Star Trek: Voyager. Paris serves as the chief helmsman and an auxiliary medic aboard the USS Voyager. The character's middle name, "Eugene," is a tribute to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
Tom Paris is the son of Admiral Owen Paris and a scion of a family with a long history of illustrious service in Starfleet. Following in his family's tradition, Paris attended Starfleet Academy sometime in the 2350s and majored in astrophysics. A gifted pilot, Paris earned an assignment to the Academy's honor squadron.
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. His efforts to cover up the error succeeded, but later, overwhelmed by guilt and regret, he confessed. He was court-martialed for his actions, and was dishonorably discharged from Starfleet. This caused a major rift in the relationship between Paris and his father.
Following his discharge, Paris left San Francisco for Marseille, where he started spending his time, drinking and playing pool in Sandrine's, a waterfront bar. There, Chakotay, a former Starfleet officer now serving with the Maquis, discovered Paris and recruited him 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 soon captured by Starfleet while piloting his first mission for the Maquis.
Tried and convicted of treason for aiding the Maquis Rebellion, Paris was sentenced to serve time in the Federation Penal Settlement near Auckland, New Zealand. Kathryn Janeway, captain of the starship USS Voyager, obtained Paris' temporary release from the penal colony. Janeway, charged with finding and capturing the Maquis ship commanded by Chakotay, offered Paris early parole in exchange for serving as her informant on Chakotay and the Maquis.
Janeway and the crew of Voyager, while searching for the Maquis ship, were thrown into the Delta Quadrant by a massive energy wave created by an alien known as "The Caretaker". Once there, they successfully located the Maquis ship docked at the Caretaker's Array. The survivors of the incident became stranded about 70,000 light-years away from Earth. 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 helmsman 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.
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