I lived my life in shadows,
Never the sun on my face
Now I long for a mate,
But I feel so displaced
Seven of Nine listlessly ran computations on her
computer terminal in the Cargo Bay where she resided. Despite her inner
confusion, it was an important task, one that Voyager's entire
Engineering team had not been able to solve even after two weeks of
An unknown anomaly was affecting the warp core,
despite finding no external readings to suggest any strange phenomenon
existed. There were no ships or planets particularly close to their
flight path yet they could find nothing to explain why Voyager could not
exceed Warp Six and although this was Voyager's normal cruising speed,
such a limited top speed would add years if not decades to Voyager’s
already long journey.
Unfortunately, the need to uncover the cause of
the disturbance was not enough to help the young woman's concentration.
She was distracted by errant thoughts that she could not get under
control and it was making her inefficient, a condition she abhorred.
Thinking back, Seven now realized just how
complicated her goal really was. Still emotionally a child with very
little practical experience in romance, she had no idea her decision
would come to this. Thinking logically falsely led the young woman to
assume that all she needed was more knowledge on the subject. Therefore
she researched the database thoroughly only to be confounded even more
by the abundance of contradictory information located there.
Love was apparently more subjective than logical
depending on an individual's viewpoint. Yet love seemed to make the
majority of humans happy or, at the very least, content with their
lives, both of which she did not feel, but wanted to.
If only I could only experience this first hand,
if I could feel the emotion, then I would completely understand human
In her estimation, success would have allowed her
to grasp the essence of humanity, so she devised a hypothesis that
logically required testing. In light of her hypothesis, Seven had sought
out with the computers help, a suitable mate by entering her
requirements into a search parameter. Surprisingly, but based on her
criteria, the search algorithm decided this individual to be none other
than Voyager's first officer, Commander Chakotay.
Based on that result, Seven asked him for a date
and upon his acceptance, she had been dating him ever since. During the
first month of their partnership, they did things together that Seven
had not done before; things she had once considered trivial, but now
thought otherwise. She even took the initiative by inviting him to a
picnic in the Cargo Bay, serving him a light wine with the midday meal
and one evening, after bringing him a bouquet of flowers, Seven made a
bold move by touching his lips with her own in anticipation of her first
At first, the newness of dating was enlightening,
but after a month, Seven knew something was missing. She had to admit
that she had grown to care for Chakotay, yet Seven cared for many of the
individuals onboard Voyager only that was not her goal.
To make matters more complicated, the past week
Chakotay had animatedly discussed coming 'out of the closet', with
regards to their relationship. Initially, Seven was adamant that they
keep their relationship quiet, but Chakotay argued that disclosure would
elevate their relationship to another level. How making their
partnership public did that was beyond her comprehension, yet she
capitulated for his benefit even though she found herself not quite
ready for that kind of publicity. Chakotay’s grand plan was to
'officially announce' it during a celebration that was scheduled for
this evening, at approximately 18:00 in the Mess Hall.
Yet regardless of his plans, Seven had to make her
own decision and she honestly did not know if she should continue or end
their affiliation. She speculated that breaking up with the Commander
before he announced anything, would keep the embarrassment of her
failure down to a minimum, but the blonde was uncertain if she should
conclude her research so soon and admit defeat.
Seven knew she did not comprehend all the possible
repercussions of her actions, but ever since her recent experience from
Unimatrix Zero, she had to acknowledge a strong growing inner need to
mate. This emptiness fueled Seven to recreate the emotions she had once
felt on the holodeck, yet after the dangerous and far reaching
conclusion to that experiment, she had to put romance and any instinct
for mating on the back burner… until the Doctor had successfully
corrected her cortical node malfunction.
That was over a month ago, and up until this
point, Seven had been incredibly impatient with her progress, but she
was now examining if she would ever able to connect with someone on a
personal, intimate level. She could no longer deny being lonely. Seven
wanted someone to love, wanted someone to belong to; in essence, Seven
wanted a small collective of her own.
Arriving on Voyager against her will forced Seven
to adopt the vessel and its crew as her new Collective, but it no longer
seemed to be enough. She needed a new Collective, a smaller more
intimate one… especially before they reached Earth, which to Seven was
only a matter of time. Not if, but when that happened, Seven knew
everything would change and not necessarily for the better for her. The
crew would disband and naturally go their separate ways, but where would
that leave her, a former Borg drone? Would she have the same
accessibility to Janeway; her Captain, friend and mentor? Seven would
probably not be able to see her every day, would not be able to serve
her or learn from her anymore. That possibility already produced a sense
of loss in the young woman forcing Seven to acknowledge that she had
much to do before that occurred.
First and foremost, the blonde had to prove to her
Captain that she could regain her humanity to its fullest potential. The
Captain's opinion of her was very important. Seven felt a strong need to
please her and it was more than just duty. Seven owed Captain Janeway
and wanted to make her proud. After all, it was Janeway's lone decision
to keep her onboard Voyager when no one else wanted to that gave Seven a
life worth living. The auburn haired woman was ultimately responsible
for giving Seven a second chance that very few former Borg drones get
and she didn’t want to waste it.
So, should I make my affiliation with the
Commander public knowledge or terminate the relationship?
Indecision made the young woman antsy and her
concentration on the computational analysis did not improve. Finally
after spending some time debating the pros and cons, inspiration entered
her cortical node. She could discuss her problem with the Captain. Her
mentor rarely refused her and Janeway's advice was invaluable in
all things regarding humanity. To Seven, Janeway was unequaled in wisdom
At the corner of her lips, a small smirk became
visible on Seven’s face.
Yes, a philosophical discussion with her Captain
was exactly what she needed. It would give her some much needed clarity
on the subject, since her inability to develop intense feelings for
Chakotay was a puzzling enigma she couldn't seem to solve on her own.
The Captain has been engaged to be married twice.
She will have the answers I am seeking.
The only problem was finding time in the Captain's
It was actually five minutes past the Alpha shift,
yet no one moved to leave their posts.
All was quiet on the bridge as Janeway and
Chakotay sat at ease in their command chairs. Tom was at the helm
position sitting comfortably before the large viewscreen. The fair
haired helmsman had the best view, which showed nothing spectacular at
the moment, only the ordinary blackness that was deep space with a few
dust clouds and some distant stars and planets sporadically dotting the
Lt. Torres manned the starboard Engineering
station, while Ensign Harry Kim was at operations. Seven of Nine
occupied the secondary ops station on the higher level located directly
behind a railing and the two command chairs. Tuvok was faithfully
stationed at his security console monitoring their current position.
Despite still being on duty, the mood was light
Captain Janeway had a smirk on her face as she
looked at the viewer. "Well, Mr. Tuvok?" She spoke up merrily.
"Are we there yet?"
"No," He replied tolerating their
needless human display of joviality.
"Well, don't keep me in suspense, Mr. Tuvok.
How long?" She teased.
"Approximately, one minute." He
responded evenly with extreme Vulcan patience.
Tom and Harry smiled as the ship moved closer to
what they were all waiting for.
Finally, down to the last few seconds, Janeway
stood up to embrace the moment.
"Captain," Tom called out joyfully from
the helm position. "We've just crossed into the Beta
With a wide smile, she opened a ship wide
communications channel. "This is your Captain speaking. I just
wanted to inform everyone that we've entered the Beta Quadrant. In light
of all we've been through, I just wanted to say that I couldn't be more
proud to serve with such a fine crew… As we traverse the next 30,000
light years to get home, I know we will find more shortcuts to shorten
our trip. I have every confidence that we will get home... There will be
a small celebration in the Mess Hall this evening. Please find the time
to stop by and join in on the celebration of being 30 years closer to
Earth. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. Janeway out."
"Only 30 more years Kathryn?" Chakotay
"It's better than 75." She returned
Seven raised an eyebrow at their playful banter,
knowing how necessary it was for humans to partake in it.
"I agree." He replied warmly.
Janeway stood up resisting the strong urge to
stretch her limbs in front of her bridge crew because of the stiffness
in her muscles. "Well Commander, my shift has long been over, so
I'm going to my quarters to change before I head to the Mess hall. I
intend to celebrate and enjoy some R & R for a change."
The tattooed man chuckled. "I'll be attending
a little later with a surprise announcement." Chakotay finished
with his eyes shining.
"I look forward to it Commander."
Janeway replied before heading towards the turbo lift.
As the auburn haired officer passed by Seven's
station, the young woman followed her to the turbo lift door.
"Captain, may I speak with you for a moment?"
Janeway turned around, putting her hand on the
younger woman's shoulder. "Would you mind if I talked to you later,
Seven. There are a few things I need to take care of. Besides, I'll see
you at the celebration tonight… right?" She finished, with a
sparkle in her eye.
"Yes," Seven answered with a nervous
"Good, I'll see you--."
"Uh, Captain?" Harry called out
tentatively. "There's a ship approximately 500,000 kilometers off
our port bow on a parallel course."
Tuvok studied his readings. "Their weapons
have been activated." He informed her as his hands moved over the
"Shields," Chakotay ordered, not taking
Janeway turned a sourful face towards her first
officer as she reached the lower deck. "So far the Beta Quadrant
doesn't look any more promising than the Delta Quadrant." She
He pursed his lips, giving her a regretful, but
"We're being hailed." Ensign Kim
The Captain moved towards the viewer. "On
An alien's face came up staring at her sternly.
His stare did not faze her as much as the pure silver emanating from his
pupils. It was rather pretty giving her a moment's extra pause.
He appeared to be a male alien, she estimated,
with long, dark, straight hair and a Fu Manchu mustache similar in style
to what most Klingons wore. His face was similar in structure to humans
with a slightly elongated jaw line and from what she could see on the
viewer, he wore a neat blue and gray two piece uniform.
"I am Commander Trezlar of the Kazarr
Alliance, state your purpose here." The alien spoke gruffly.
Janeway acknowledged that the less than stellar
greeting could be the alien's natural vocal cords and not necessarily
any predisposed attitude.
"I'm Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Starship
Voyager. We're explorers on our way home."
"And just where is your home Captain Janeway?"
"In the Alpha Quadrant."
His eyes widened. "You're explorers from the
"Yes, we seek knowledge of new species, such
The alien seemed to meditate on that for awhile. A
sound that Kathryn could only guess to be a guffaw came from the alien,
but she couldn't decide if it was a laugh or a snort, good or bad.
"An interesting notion Captain Janeway, but
I'm afraid this isn't a very good time for exploring. I'm afraid
I'm going to have to ask you to leave our space immediately."
"My apologies, we didn't realize this area of
space was occupied, I--"
"It is owned by the Kazarr imperium and spans
the next 65 light-years. You have been duly warned."
Janeway became annoyed. "What exactly does
"I will not be held responsible for any loss
of life pertaining to your crew while in our space…"
Was that a threat? Janeway's
"…And if you expect compensation for your
losses you will be denied any petition from our government."
Janeway blinked. "Come again?"
"I assure you Captain that I have no malice
towards you or your crew. I am simply being polite by asking you to
leave now or the consequences could be severe."
Even in her confusion at what he was trying to
say, Janeway didn't like threats. "Trezlar, I don’t appreciate
being threatened. My crew and I have been traveling through space on
route to my home planet for over seven years and I have no intentions of
turning around to avoid your sector of space unless you give me a better
reason than 'just leave'."
Janeway put a hand on her hip speculating if this
would lead to a confrontation, but something was off by this encounter.
Despite his earnest tone, the alien Commander didn't act like he wanted
a fight. She was missing a piece of the puzzle.
"Yes." She gambled.
"You insist on traveling through our
"I wouldn't unless it was absolutely
necessary." She waved a hand through the air. "I assure you
Commander we are no threat to you."
"Very well. I am sending you a copy of our
laws and regulations. You will adhere to them while you are here. You
must accept the conditions before proceeding. Do you understand?"
Startled, Janeway held her tongue to the plethora
of questions that were forming in her mind. This was most confusing.
"I'll take a look at it." She responded
"I will await your reply."
Intrigued, Tuvok waited for the data to upload.
"Transfer the data to my Ready Room when it's
complete." Janeway ordered as she headed there herself.
"So are you going to the celebration in the
Mess Hall?" Harry asked Tom as they were walking to the Ensign's
quarters. Both men had just left the bridge after a slightly extended
Alpha shift because of the non-confrontational, alien encounter.
"Of course, B'Elanna would have my head if I
didn’t." He gave a knowing smile. "I asked the Doc to watch
Miral while we were there."
"I bet he loved agreeing to that."
Tom laughed, "So who are you going to
The Asian man slumped in his gait. Obviously the
young man didn't have a date.
Tom gripped his friend's shoulder to stop his
progress. "Wait a minute. Don't tell me you don't have anyone to
Harry shook his head innocently. "I honestly
didn't give it much thought." He fabricated.
Tom sighed. "Harry, when are you going to
live it up and get yourself a girlfriend?" He waved his hands in
"Maybe there isn't anyone on Voyager
compatible?" Harry defended himself. He didn't really want to have
this chat with Tom again.
"Compatible?!" Tom stayed in stride with
his friend. "You sound like Seven."
"I'm not asking her!" Harry replied a
bit harshly, giving the sandy haired helmsman a frustrated look. Even if
Seven could develop feelings for him, Harry knew he couldn’t handle
the severity of her personality and although she was quite beautiful, he
speculated that a relationship with her would be less than passionate
because of her Borg past. Of course, at times, he still fantasized about
her, but that was only in his dreams, mostly.
Tom's expression changed to contemplation as he
studied Harry's facial expressions. "Hey, you're not still in love
with her are you?" Tom jibed.
"Excuse me!?" Harry spoke sternly.
"For the record, I was never in love with her."
"Oh I know, it was purely a one way
affair." He teased.
"That's not true!" Harry denied.
"I was only attracted to her, ok!! She is a
beautiful woman in case you haven't noticed."
Tom chuckled sarcastically. "Of course I've
noticed. I'd be dead not to!!
"I admit I was infatuated with her for
awhile, but I got over it. She's not ready for a relationship anyways…
So I never got the chance for anything more." Kim waved his hand
dismissively signaling that was all there was to it.
"Ok," Tom conceded. "How about
"What about her?"
"You still like her, right?"
"Yes… " He drawled out waiting for Tom
to get to the point.
"Well, ask her!" Tom stated annoyed that
he had to spell it out for his practically virginous friend.
"If you don't mind, I'd rather not talk about
"Fine," Tom replied realizing he had
upset his friend. They were silent for the rest of the way to Harry's
quarters, but by the time they arrived at the entrance, Tom had an
excellent idea on how to make his friend feel better.
"Listen Harry, we all want and need
companionship to some degree… and although my carefree days are long
over, I have a holo-program that could help you if you want. I wrote it
years ago before I met B'Elanna." He paused, looked down both ends
of the hallway before leaning forward. "It's called Madame E."
He said in a lowered voice. "It stands for Madame Erotica--."
"Madame Erotica!" Harry exclaimed.
"Shh, keep your voice down. I don't want
anybody else finding out about this. I have a reputation to
"What reputation?" Harry jibed.
"Very funny. You know I'm a family man now.
My wife might not appreciate the artistic value such a program has…
but you my friend are ready to experience the divine Madame E." Tom
slapped him on the back. "It relieves tension quite nicely."
Sighing, Harry took a deep breath.
"It'll teach you a thing… or two." Tom
gave him a wide mischievous smile. What do you say?"
Harry understood that his friend was only trying
to help his blues, but holo-suites weren't his cup of tea. "Sure
thing Tom, I'll consider it."
Tom slapped him on the shoulder jestingly.
"Great, just let me know when, because I've encrypted it so you'll
need a password, ok."
Harry had no intention of trying one of Tom's
sexual fantasy programs.
"I'll do that." He replied entering his
Tom grinned from ear to ear as the door slid shut.
Shaking his head, Harry couldn't help but smirk to
The Captain leaned back in her chair to review the
PADD she held in the palm of her hand as she read about Kazarrian law.
The Kazarr had strict regulations in regards to
interstellar war, such as; any of their ships found guilty of attacking
any vessels traveling through their space were subject to severe
penalties and infractions. In addition, casualties or damage inflicted
by any of their ships, by accident or otherwise was compensated for if
reported to the Kazarrian government within 30 days. Apparently,
survivors of an attack were entitled to reparations and even had legal
recourse in the Kazarrian judicial system if the initial compensation
was not deemed adequate by the injured party.
The data contained some history as well.
Apparently the Kazarr were at war with a species called the Grefahl and
had been for over two decades. The Kazarr laid claim to an area of space
that was disputed by the Grefahl and had been ever since.
It was no surprise to her that one of the main
stipulations of her crossing their area of space was if she agreed not
to sue in case of damage to her ship or accidental fatalities and
especially if they were incurred by the Kazarr's enemies.
In a private communication, they ironed out a few
more details before both were satisfied. He wanted her to avoid all of
their populated planets unless an absolute emergency occurred. He
stipulated that she should stay on a steadfast course through their
space not stopping for curiosity. In other words, taking time for
exploration was highly discouraged.
Having little choice, Janeway agreed to abide by
those demands hoping her ship would not be attacked by mistake. Trezlar
agreed that his people would not, but he could not promise that the
Grefahl would not. They were ruthless in his opinion and without honor.
So Janeway did the only thing she could to keep
her ship on the proper course without an extended delay. She
electronically signed the document and sent the data back to Commander
Thankfully, after the negotiations were over,
Voyager continued unhindered on course for Earth.
Two hours later, well past the end of her shift,
Janeway finally left the Ready Room to go to her quarters to freshen up
and prepare for the Mess Hall celebration.
The chance meeting with the Kazarr tapered her
earlier elevated mood somewhat, but she had other things to be grateful
for and refused to let it get her down.
Janeway dressed quickly already having picked out
her outfit earlier. For the past few weeks she had been warring
internally with duty and her emotions and how they could co-exist
somewhat peacefully without tearing her apart. She had put it off for
years, but recently she just couldn't seem to shut it out of her mind
and the internal debate was wearing her down.
Janeway sat down on the edge of her bed, and
retrieved an item from her nightstand table. Opening up the small box
that she held in the palm of her right hand, she peered inside and a
small smile crossed her face. It was a ring. A friendship ring only, but
it was the thought that counted. It was a gift and she hoped the
conversation it invoked would turn into something more.
Pondering the possibilities, she stuffed it into
her pocket leaving her quarters with a bounce in her step.
Back in Cargo Bay Two, Seven waited nervously for
The decision having been made to announce their
affiliation tonight did not alleviate her tension. She was still not
sure this was the correct course of action. On an intellectual level,
Seven knew she was not 'in love'.
Wasn't she supposed to feel something more?
Especially when they pressed lips together?
Seven just figured there would have been more to
the dating experience now that she was an actual participant. Yet, no
matter how hard she attempted to feel something significant while being
with him, it did not happen.
Would copulating with him solve her problem?
She did concede that they had not yet copulated,
but her research also indicated that she should feel more of a physical
connection before engaging in intimacy.
Seven remembered studying the database about human
intimacy and related interactions, discovering that copulation in
conjunction with emotions involved complex biological manifestations
that she did not understand. It was this lack of comprehension that
challenged Seven's nature to be perfect in all things.
Having nothing better to do while she waited,
Seven pressed a few keys on her console and brought up the database she
bookmarked at the location labeled, 'Sex education'.
Seven stared at the words on the console, a frown
entering her delicate features as once again she became confounded. 'A
physical act meant to bring about a series of…?'
She still did not understand the word. What did it
What exactly was an orgasm?
The meaning hounded the perfectionist in her and
to make matters worse some of the explanations were not explanatory at
all. 'Brought on by mating.' Seven sighed. That much was obvious
even to her. 'Sexual excitement leading to a climax.' Seven
analyzed that. A climax is considered a
peak, a high, or possibly an apex… but of what?
One definition had said; 'the
orgasm is like a strong sensation that engulfs the entire body until the
lower extremities explode, spasming into an orgasmic release'.
Explosion of what?
That did not seem particularly healthy. She reread the scientific
'Sexual gratification occurs when the accumulation
of omycotin is enough to trigger a series of biological processes thus
resulting in the orgasm, which in turn releases fluids for the sole
purpose of procreation… '
There were so many verbal definitions, but none of
it could tell her what she wanted to know.
What did it actually feel like!?
Frustrated, Seven became severely annoyed at
herself for not understanding such a basic and normal biological
Thankfully, the sound of the double doors opening
revealed her date's arrival so Seven quickly shut down her terminal,
fathoming that comprehension was not meant to be as of yet… or at
least, not until she experienced it firsthand.
Until then Seven would just have to be patient.
Dressed in khakis pants and a white blouse,
Janeway walked into a booming celebration of loud chatter and laughing
crewman as she strolled through the double doors to the Mess Hall.
Carefree faces greeted her as she mingled about. Janeway was pleased
they were relaxing and having a good time for a change. It was a
positive sign that morale was rising. She just hoped traveling through
the Beta Quadrant would be a more positive experience than their Delta
Quadrant experience had been.
Spotting Tom and B'Elanna conversing with Harry
and Megan Delaney, the Captain pondered briefly if Harry was on an
actual date with the young woman. Janeway tried to keep informed about
the ship's gossip, especially when pertaining to a certain blonde member
of her crew. She was well aware of Harry’s crush on Seven from the
moment the Borg stepped foot on Voyager. Nonchalantly watching the young
man, Kathryn questioned if he still had a thing for her or if he managed
to get over it…
After all, I haven’t,
she noted ironically.
Surveying the room, Janeway noticed Tuvok’s
absence before remembering the Vulcan volunteered to command the
skeleton crew on the bridge during the second and third shifts.
Moving about, Janeway said hello to Ensign
Samantha Wildman who was conversing with some crewmembers from the lower
decks. Since Janeway couldn't remember their names on such short notice,
she stuck with a quick hello and a quicker goodbye.
After thoroughly searching all the faces in the
room, Kathryn realized a certain tall, blonde was not present. Yet since
Seven was not particularly fond of socializing, it wasn't unusual for
the former Borg to skip attending these types of social events. Still,
this evening's event would continue well into the early morning hours of
the next day, per Neelix's request so everyone would have a chance to
stop by if they wanted to. Janeway just hoped Seven would stop by before
she left because Kathryn had a lot to say to her charge… in private.
Feeling a tad nervous, Janeway pecked at the
snacks as she waited, but thankfully, she didn’t have to wait long.
Just as she dipped a carrot stick into the ranch dip, the doors to the
Mess Hall slid open to reveal Chakotay’s arrival along with his arm
looped within another more feminine arm.
All eyes turned on the couple for an instant
before going back to what previously held their attentions. Some
inquisitive eyes lingered longer, but one pair of oceanic eyes belonging
to a certain redhead became fixated on the couple for the longest time.
As her mind filled with unpleasant ideas of what
this joint arrival could signify, Janeway's eyes momentarily hardened.
Didn’t Chakotay mention something about a
surprise? Vigorously, she bit down on the
rest of her carrot stick, almost clipping her index finger with her
teeth in the process. Slowly, she exhaled taking a moment to clear her
pessimistic thoughts. Then taking in a deep breath, Kathryn speculated
that she was probably making more out of this mutual appearance than
what was warranted. Seven was most likely nervous and simply asked the
Commander to escort her, since Tuvok, Seven's preferred choice of
conversationalists was on duty. They probably met in the hallway on
their way here. A harmless, innocent
coincidence, which probably had nothing to do with Chakotay’s surprise
Willing herself to relax, her eyes latched onto
the elegant form of the blonde as it glided closer to her position. The
woman's gorgeous aurora sent minor palpitations through Janeway's heart.
The young lady on Chakotay's side wore a loose dark red, satin blouse
with matching slacks and high heels. Her golden mane was worn down for a
change loaded with waves of curls just begging to be touched. The fair
skin of her face shined, powdered with a light dusting of makeup and a
generous application of ruby red lipstick on the plump lips which made
Kathryn suddenly weak in the knees. The glint of the shiny Borg metallic
object above her crystal blue eye resembled exquisite jewelry making her
all the more attractive, like a finely sculpted work of art. As the
lovely vision approached, the fluidity with how the taller woman walked
towards Kathryn sent goose bumps tingling down her spine.
"Seven, Chakotay," Janeway forced a calm
"Captain," Chakotay sported a jovial
smirk on his lips.
"I'm glad you both came," Janeway
observed her first officer’s modestly dressed appearance; a brown
marquis vest with a white dress shirt underneath and tan marquis leather
pants. It was a severe contrast to Seven’s outstanding look causing
the redhead to smile inward.
"So,” Chakotay winked affectionately at
Seven. “What do you think of my surprise?"
"Pardon Me?" Janeway prayed she
interpreted him incorrectly until glancing at the taller woman revealed
cheeks tinted a pinkish hue.
"Seven and I have been dating," he
The shy, young woman looked at Janeway with a
guarded, but expectant expression.
"We have been for a few weeks now," he
Innocent happenstance my ass!! An
intense emotion she had not felt for quite some time passed through her;
jealousy… and never quite so strong, she noted, but it certainly
wasn't the only emotion, just the most prevalent so far.
She purposely remained bright faking a smile as
her disappointed heart did flip-flops. Only with years of command
training under her belt was she able to contain her facial expressions
despite her distress.
"Congratulations," she offered,
pretending to be happy for them. "I honestly had no idea," she
added truthfully. Much to her chagrin, no rumors had ever reached her
ears about this.
"We decided to keep it quiet. Seven is new to
this type of relationship, so we didn't tell anyone," Chakotay
explained with a wide grin, “until now that is.”
"I understand," Janeway lied, NOT
comprehending their need for secrecy; not with her.
"Would you care for something to drink Seven,
Kathryn?" Chakotay asked them.
Raising her implant, Seven noted his usage of the
Captain's birth name. It was interesting because she could not recall
ever hearing another crewman speaking with such familiarity. And even
though the blonde was aware that they were both off duty, it irked a
small part of her because she had never been given that privilege.
"Perhaps, a light wine would be
acceptable." Seven really did not want any liquid supplements at
this time, but acquiesced to appease him.
"I'm all set Chakotay, thank you."
Kathryn answered politely.
He smiled generously at the blonde, "coming
After he departed, Seven looked at Janeway
apprehensively. The blonde regretted not being able to speak to the
Captain before this gathering, therefore deciding to give the
relationship with Chakotay more time. She figured it would only delay
her inevitable failure if it continued along the same emotionless path.
Yet, despite her possible failure, it was oddly important to have
Janeway's approval. The young woman desperately wanted to know what her
mentor thought of her new union.
"I'm truly happy for you, Seven."
Janeway interrupted, the words sounding forced. Swallowing her pride,
Janeway reached out to touch Seven's right hand. I have to be an
adult about this. "Chakotay is a good choice." For a few
seconds, she relished the warmth of the human appendage. If only I
had done something sooner. Kathryn silently chastised herself.
"Thank you," Seven replied politely.
"It is certainly a new experience for me."
"I can imagine," Janeway agreed.
Glancing about, she appeared to be more interested in the conversations
of other crewmen, when in fact she wanted to vacate present company.
Seven couldn't tell for sure, but something was
off in her Captain. Although the older woman smiled at her, it never
made it to the eyes. The vibrant, deep blue orbs started turning to a
shade of steel gray shortly after her and Chakotay's arrival and the
crimson coloration in the ears lobes suggested that Janeway might not be
"Are you functioning acceptably
Captain?" Seven asked with concern.
Janeway turned back to her pupil. “I’m sorry?”
Seven elaborated, "The surface temperature of
your outer epidermal layer has increased by 5.2 degrees in the last 2.4
minutes along with your heart rate at 24.2%. Your eyes have dilated
5.7%, changed from their normal azure to grey and your ears are
"I get the idea Seven," Janeway's cheeks
became hot from her temperature rising in embarrassment. She's been
monitoring my vitals!? "Really… I'm fine." She asserted
forcing herself to calm down.
The Captain is disappointed in me,
Seven reasoned. "I… apologize if I have committed a social
"No, it's not that… " Janeway exhaled,
trying to relax. "I just didn't know you had such an ability… to
that degree of accuracy."
"It is because of my Borg enhancements."
"I... ah… didn't know that." It was
good that Seven didn't ask her why she reacted that way. Janeway could
only fathom that as of yet, the blonde was none the wiser in
understanding bodily reactions with regards to sexual attraction. Never
the less, Seven's enhanced ability bothered the older woman. Now that
she was out of the competition for Seven's love, Kathryn did not want
her charge uncovering the truth.
Calling upon her command persona to control any
errant emotions lingering at the shock of discovering Chakotay had
stolen Seven from her, Kathryn made full-eye contact with the blonde.
"If you need to discuss anything… regarding your new
relationship, my door is always open." She mentally refused to
alienate her friend because of her feelings of jealousy.
"Thank you Captain," Seven tilted her
head, relieved. "I appreciate that. In fact, I wanted to speak to
you earlier regarding some questions I had, but you were occupied with
"Oh?" Janeway asked curiously.
"Yes, you were unable to speak with me at
that time." Seven informed her, a trace of regret lingering in her
"I'm sorry I wasn't available Seven."
Again, Janeway touched Seven, this time putting her hand on the woman’s
left arm, near the bicep, purposely letting it linger before sliding
down and pulling away. This was her only joy, being able to touch Seven
casually and it was something she wouldn't give up unless forced to.
"Your free time is often lacking, but it is
understandable because you are the Captain of a Starship."
"That can certainly be true."
"However, in the foreseeable future, I am
sure I will have other questions."
"I'm sure you will." Janeway agreed, and
realizing her throat was rather dry, she gave the blonde a nod before
excusing herself. "Perhaps I will get something to drink after
all." One of many she would be consuming this evening, but she
would wait on the hard
stuff until after she retired
to her quarters.
The Captain hadn’t been in the Mess hall for
long, but already she really wanted to leave. Despite being in the Beta
Quadrant and closer to home, celebrating was out of the question. Even
with her ability to successfully fake being upbeat, the festive mood
turned sour, engulfing her into a black pit of emptiness. Obviously,
Kathryn had underestimated just how much Seven meant to her now that the
woman was unavailable. Yet, like all catastrophes she would deal with
this turn of events with maturity and dignity because she was the
Captain and needed to lead by example regardless of her lonely, broken
After getting herself a synthetic drink, Janeway
caught Chakotay rejoining Seven with their drinks so Kathryn wisely
stayed at the bar, knowing the younger woman would seek her out if she
Alone with her torpid thoughts, Janeway sipped her
drink, while leaning against the countertop. Forcing herself to listen
to a nearby conversation, Janeway was disappointed when it turned out to
be a theoretically discussion involving Mortimer Harrison and his
colleagues from the lower decks.
With that and having to watch Chakotay and Seven
flirt with each other from across the room, Janeway had had enough. Even
though, Seven's flirtation looked forced and unnatural, it was
disturbing to witness.
So, after thanking Neelix for a superb job at
preparing the celebration, Kathryn quietly left the Mess Hall knowing
this was not going to be a good night. She could only hope that over
indulgence in alcohol would induce sleep.
Constant longing for her soul,
Untainted beauty not mine to own,
Fare thee well, my broken heart
Upon entering her quarters, Janeway swiftly went
into her bedroom, pulled open the nightstand, tossed a small container
in it and slammed it shut before slumping down on her bed, depressed.
Emotions swirled over each other; hurt, anger,
loss and without a doubt, jealousy.
They were her closest friends yet they chose to
conceal this from even her. Janeway knew her feelings of betrayal were
irrational, but she couldn’t help it. Seven came to her for
everything, so how come the young woman didn't come to her about this?! Why?!
Why not tell me?! Didn’t she trust me?! Janeway would not
have interfered, not if she chose Chakotay. Kathryn would have
accommodated Seven’s needs within reason; as long as it didn't
compromise the safety of her ship.
It wouldn't have worked anyways,
she tried to convince herself, failing miserably.
She was an angel, a golden goddess that Janeway
had been fortunate to succeed in rescuing from the evil that was the
Borg and blessed with the responsibility to assist the innocent woman in
regaining her lost humanity.
Reluctantly, Janeway finally admitted to being in
love with her. Unfortunately, she was too late to do anything about it.
Only a few days ago, Kathryn had made the decision
to risk initiating a closer relationship. After months of never ending
internal debates regarding everything that could go wrong, she threw
caution to the wind and decided to do something about her feelings. Of
course, Kathryn hadn't planned to declare her undying devotion so soon
despite it being the truth, but she was going to find out if Seven had
any feelings for her above that of friendship.
That was the plan, but Kathryn never got the
It was going to be difficult dealing with her own
feelings and keeping them out of her professional life, but she would
try to be happy for Seven…
And her First Officer.
Somehow, she would just have to repress what she
felt until it diminished with time. Otherwise, she was damned for the
entire trip home, some 30 years and counting.
It was early morning when the call came through on
the computer's internal communications system waking her from a sound
Fumbling for her COM badge on the nightstand,
Janeway’s tone was raspy from sleep as she replied. "Yes?"
She was annoyed at the interruption having consumed too much whiskey the
night before and she wasn't in the mood for any scientific curiosities
such as a nebula or a cosmic string.
"We have company. You better come to the
bridge." It was Chakotay and he
"I'm on my way," Janeway responded. The
possibility of a threat to her ship and crew always brought her out of a
Five minutes later, she was dressed and on the
"Report!" Janeway announced as soon as
the turbo lift opened, but as she glimpsed the view screen, she knew
exactly what the problem was. The roundness of the mechanical object
even at this distance could not be mistaken.
"Long range sensors have discovered a Borg
scout ship." Chakotay informed her.
"Approximately one million kilometers."
"And it appears to be heading in our
direction." Chakotay added.
Kathryn shrugged. "Red Alert!" Janeway
commanded. The bridge was sprayed with roving red lights as the klaxons
"Janeway to Seven of Nine, Please report to
the bridge immediately." She called out to the computer.
"On my way, Captain."
Seven responded with alacrity. Mere minutes later, after stepping out
onto the bridge, the blonde’s eyes widened in fear.
"Can you tell us anything about this Borg
vessel Seven?” Janeway asked. "It's a long way from Borg space.”
Seven kept staring transfixed at the view screen.
Receiving no answer, Janeway turned to look at the
ex-Borg. "Seven?" She called out with concern. "Can you
Seven seemed puzzled by it all. "No,"
she said in a small voice. "I cannot. I should be able to hear
them." Confounded, she had no clue what it meant. Swallowing down
her trepidation, she went to her ops station just behind the command
"Are you all right?" Chakotay asked his
"Yes, I am functioning adequately." She
remarked before turning toward Janeway. "I cannot explain this
Captain. I have thoroughly scanned this area from Astrometrics. There
are no Borg conduits in this area, no aperture exit points anywhere in
"Well, I'm sure we'll find out soon
enough." Captain Janeway sat back down in her chair giving a stern
look towards the view screen.
"Mr. Paris, plot an intercept course."
"Ma'am?" Tom questioned.
"Do it Tom."
"Aye Captain." Tom responded.
"Captain?" Seven questioned, startled by
the command as Tom was. "Why are you heading towards the
"We can't outrun them and since they're
already heading for us, I thought I'd return the favor."
Seven did not agree with the assessment.
"Captain," the blonde lowered her voice. "that is not a
wise course of action."
Janeway was peeved at her recent luck and she
certainly didn't owe Seven any explanation for her actions. "Never
the less, it is my decision to make and I intend to confront them."
Raising an eyebrow at how terse the words had been
delivered, Seven scrutinized the Captain wondering why she responded
with such irritation. The young woman had only meant to point out that
the Captain was mistaken in her tenacity to keep testing the Borg
Chakotay eyed his Captain suspiciously. Seven was
known to openly disagree with her and it rarely caused Janeway to rebuke
so strongly. Seven's tone had not been disrespectful, she had merely
been stating her opinion the way she always did... point blank.
Rubbing her forehead, Janeway speculated that she
might have been more verbally harsh towards the young woman than was
necessary and although unsettled by it, she wasn’t about to apologize.
Shifting in her chair, she simply blamed it on the
remnants of her mild hangover as she impatiently waited for the
rendezvous with the Borg.
One hour later, Harry spoke up first.
"Captain, we're being hailed."
"On screen," Janeway moved towards the
view screen, expecting the normal Borg greeting, but when a familiar
face came up, she heard a subtle gasp from behind her.
"Captain Janeway!" The alien greeted
exuberantly, his eyes drifting behind her to land on Voyager's
Astrometrics officer. "Annika!"
"Axum," Seven acknowledged, clearly
Chakotay's gaze passed from Axum to Seven and
back, his face stiffening.
"You have no idea how good it is to see
you," he offered honestly. "Permission to come aboard with a
colleague Captain Janeway?"
She raised her hand. "One moment. Are all of
"Individuals? Free from the Collective?"
He finished her thoughts for her. "There are no Borg drones onboard
this sphere that answer to the Queen. The central plexus has been
destroyed. We only keep the alcoves online for those of us who need to
regenerate. I assure you Captain, there is no collective consciousness
"I see," Janeway was truly perplexed.
"Very well then, I see no reason why you can't join us. Permission
to come aboard."
The Commander followed his Captain into the
Conference room with a deep frown etched into his brow as he walked past
her to his seat.
"Chakotay…" Janeway called out after
seeing his expression. "Maybe you should wait this one out."
"I can handle it." Chakotay sat down
Pursing her upper lip at his tone, she acquiesced
not wanting to start an argument. "All right," The Captain sat
down in her chair at the head of the table.
"You know why he's here don't you?"
Chakotay asked in a low tone.
Janeway studied her first officer. "No, I don’t."
"I guess you would prefer not to."
"What is that supposed to mean
Commander?" Janeway challenged him.
Chakotay eyed her intensely. "Don't you see?
He's come for her."
"You can't be certain of that," she
responded quickly. It was too soon to speculate on Axum’s intentions,
although she knew he could be right.
“I honestly thought this would bother you
more." He snorted.
Frowning at his attitude, she retorted. "And
I think you're jealousy is doing your thinking for you."
"Oh?" He threw back at her. "And
what of you? She's your unfinished project.”
“What?” Janeway felt her face grow hotter.
"What did you say?"
"You took her from the Borg, taught her how
to become human, but you haven't finished. She still needs your guidance
Kathryn… but if Axum coerces her into going with him, she’ll lose
that support. After all you’ve done for her, can you let her go that
“Commander… ” Janeway warned. She didn't
need this from him… Not now.
Chakotay wasn’t certain he made his point. “Don’t
you even regard her as a valuable part of our crew anymore? Or does your
position as Captain absolve you from being her friend and doing what's
right for her?"
"That's enough!" The Captain retaliated
in anger. He couldn't know how much his words tore at her. Deep down
Janeway knew it was his fear lashing out, but as his friend, she didn’t
deserve it and as his Captain, his words were disrespectful,
therefore, she wasn’t going to take it.
Hard, cobalt eyes landed on him. “Let me make
one thing very clear Commander… I don’t appreciate your tone or your
Chakotay relented. "I sorry, I didn’t mean
to be disrespectful, but--."
"Being Captain does not absolve me of
anything, but irregardless of that fact, she's an individual now and has
the right to make her own decisions! She's earned that and I will NOT
make her stay onboard Voyager, if she doesn't want to."
"She wants you to be a friend, not just her
Janeway cut him off. “This isn't a
civilian ship, I can't always be her friend!"
“I realize that, but your opinion is very
important to her and Seven feels she has let you down. She doesn’t
believe she has lived up to your expectations.”
"That's absurd!” Janeway's shook her head
in disbelief. “She has exceeded my expectations!"
"Well," Chakotay countered. "maybe
you should let her know that… once in awhile."
Janeway’s anger melted away as she thought about
Seven trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. “I didn’t
realize…” She never meant to put pressure on the young woman to be
something she wasn’t. Kathryn’s only goal was to help her adjust to
life onboard Voyager.
“Now you do.” Chakotay stated.
"I do think of her as a friend Chakotay…
but as Captain, I don’t always have the time to see to the crew’s
“I’m not talking about the crew, I’m talking
about Seven. Her needs are different.”
Feeling guilty, Janeway rubbed the brow of her
forehead. She just couldn’t seem to win no matter what she said or
“Seven needs your support and your advice
Kathryn. Someone needs to explain to her that what she has here on
Voyager is irreplaceable.” Chakotay stated persistently.
As the hidden meaning of his words sunk into her
mind, Janeway lifted her head to glare at him. He was using guilt
tactics to appeal to her close relationship with Seven because he wanted
the young woman to stay onboard for his benefit.
"I see," she responded calmly despite
feeling severely aggravated. Only Seven has
the right to say what’s best for her.
Thankfully the doors swooshed open to let Tuvok,
Ayala, Axum and a dark-haired woman enter the Conference Room. Tuvok
stood to the side as the handsome young alien took a seat at the end of
the table with the woman seating herself next to him.
"This is Laura,” Axum introduced his
companion. “You've met her before in Unimatrix Zero."
Janeway introduced the officer's present.
"This is Commander Chakotay, my first officer," she motioned
to her right. "and you've already met my Chief of Security, Tuvok."
She waved her hand in his direction.
Axum nodded. "It's good to see you again
Captain. We haven't forgotten what you and your people did for us."
Janeway smirked. "I'm just glad you reaped
the benefits from it. We've come across some Borg cubes recently…”
She commented referring to a Borg infested nebula they recently passed.
“and they weren't as independent as you are."
"I know, not everyone made it. A lot of us
from Unimatrix Zero were put to death. It was an impossible task to
mount an effective resistance against the entire Borg Collective,
especially with so many of us scattered across hundreds of vessels.
Luckily our vessel had quite a few Borg with the recessive gene, so we
were able to provide serious opposition, but it wasn’t without cost.”
"I'm sorry to hear that. It must have been
"It was. We had a civil war just to keep our
own scout ship free from Borg influence. Luckily, over time we managed
to turn the tides, but it took months of fighting each other before we
eventually defeated them. After that we liberated all the remaining
drones and plotted a course away from Borg space and Species 8472 as
fast as we could.” Axum stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Since then,
we’ve been through so many skirmishes I didn’t think we’d ever
find a friendly face again. It was blind luck that we found you.”
Janeway estimated briefly that it was probably
more of a miracle that they found Voyager. "I was under the
assumption that you were bordering the outer rim of the Beta Quadrant at
the edge of our galaxy."
"Sort of," Axum conceded. "We were
actually hovering between the Beta Quadrant and fluidic space so I
wasn't sure of our exact location. Suffice it to say, we were not as far
out as I first thought and I can't tell you how glad I am that we
weren't on the outer edge, away from civilization. It's a welcome
surprise to run into allies instead of enemies for a change."
"I can certainly appreciate that."
Axum chuckled slightly. "You can imagine my
surprise when we saw a Federation vessel nearby. Now we have a traveling
companion while we search for a home planet--" Axum paused when he
saw mild surprise in the Captain’s expression, wondering if he had
assumed too much. “That is… of course, if you don't mind Captain? I
don’t mean to be presumptuous."
Janeway smiled diplomatically. "Not at all. I
don't have a problem with it. There is security in numbers."
"Thank you, but it might not be for long. We’re
looking for a home here.”
"You plan to colonize here, in the Beta
"We would like to. I don't expect to be
welcome at any inhabited planets and we certainly do not want to return
to the Borg infested Delta Quadrant, despite how many uninhabited
M-class planets reside there. Therefore, our only option is to search
for an uninhabited planet here. It might not be possible, but we need to
try because our ship isn't in the greatest condition after all the
battles it has been through."
Janeway understood their predicament. "Is
there any way we can assist you?"
"If I may impose upon your hospitality, we
could use some assistance with repairs and whatever medical supplies you
can spare. Ever since the civil war, we haven't been quite up to par. We
have no real medical bay, cramped sparse quarters and makeshift
replicators, which barely meet our needs. We’ve even lost people over
the last year to implant rejection. We do have a few doctors among us,
but only rudimentary Borg tools to work with and with the lack of
sanitary conditions it’s nearly impossible to perform complicated
surgery. So whatever medical assistance you can give us would be greatly
"I'd like to help and you're welcome to
travel with us as long as you like, but I do have one request.”
Axum nodded his acceptance with curiosity.
“If you don't mind, I'd like our Doctor to
verify the status of your… individuality."
"Of course," he more than understood her
"As soon as our EMH is finished examining
both of you, I'll send him with a medical team over to your ship to
check on your people and I’ll inform my Chief of Engineer to take a
team with her to check on your vessel’s status."
"I can’t thank you enough for all the
assistance you’ve given us, Captain."
"Don't mention it," she stood motioning
to the door. "we better get started. There's a lot to be
Axum obliged, heading for the door but suddenly,
he stopped and turned to Janeway. "There was one other thing I
wanted to ask you, Captain.” There was a short pause, by the young
alien suggesting he was hesitant to continue. “Do you think we would
be welcome on your planet Earth?"
"Your ship will bring back a lot of unwanted
memories." Chakotay interjected with a cool tone.
Janeway pierced her first Officer with steel in
her eyes before replying. “There is still a lot of emotional residue
over our losses at Wolf 359, so I honestly can't say what kind of a
reception you would receive.” She hated to admit it, but there was
still a lot of fear and resentment towards the Borg.
"And what about Annika?" Axum inquired.
"Wouldn’t that apply to her as well?"
"No it wouldn’t," Janeway replied
"Correct me if I’m wrong,” Axum pointed
out. “but because of her visibly remaining implants, she will be
perceived as more Borg than I am." When he saw Annika for the first
time through the view screen, he immediately noticed the facial
implants; a crescent shaped metallic piece of Borg circuitry above her
left eye and a spider shaped implant in front of her right ear. Then
there was the left hand, which was fully covered with a Borg mesh from
the wrist to the fingertips and he knew there would be more under her
biosuit. Although it didn’t change how beautifully she was to him, she
was clearly still part Borg.
Janeway had noticed that Axum appeared to be
outwardly devoid of implants, so visually speaking he was right, but she
would not accept his words.
"None of us would be alive if not for Seven.
She is a vital member of my crew and has been for over four
years." The Captain exerted her words with firmness in her tone.
"So I won't allow that prejudice to affect her or what she's done
for us regardless of what she was and..." Janeway inhaled.
"I'd do the same for you if you accompanied us all the way
"I meant no disrespect Captain." He
certainly did not want to insult Captain Janeway. It was quite obvious
that she cared for Annika and her safety, almost overly protective it
"Shall we proceed to your sickbay?" Axum
Annika was lucky to meet up with such a kind and
compassionate people. He was very grateful.
"You have the bridge Commander." Janeway
announced, walking to the turbo lift,
Seven stepped in front of Janeway. "Captain,
may I join you?"
Janeway eyed the younger woman trying to ascertain
her emotional state, yet found nothing in the bland expression.
"Of course Seven," The Captain turned to
Tuvok. "You go first. We'll meet you in Sickbay."
Tuvok nodded and joined the other security guard,
Axum and Laura in the turbo lift.
As Janeway waited for the next lift, she could see
out of the corner of her eye Chakotay's penetrating gaze upon Seven.
A minute later, they found themselves in the turbo
lift quietly speeding towards their destination. As awkward as this was
for Janeway, she was extremely curious as to the young woman's feelings
regarding their new arrival.
"How do you feel about Axum’s
arrival?" She asked tactfully.
"I am uncertain.” Seven remarked. “However,
I plan to use this opportunity to explore my past relationship with him.”
"What about Chakotay?" Janeway asked
Seven heard the change in tone and glanced at her
Captain. "Are you concerned I will hurt his feelings?"
Janeway sighed. In her selfishness, it really
wasn't his feelings she had in mind, but realistically, she didn't want
to see him get hurt either. She had already seen his jealousy up close.
"Perhaps," She allowed.
"Captain, although I am new to human
courtship rituals, I am familiar with fidelity. I would not--"
"Seven,” Janeway put her hand up. “you
don’t need to explain that to me. I don't need to know the
details of your personal life." She certainly did NOT need to hear
about Seven’s sex life with Chakotay. "What you choose to do with…
Chakotay,” or anyone else for that matter, “is really none of
Clearly noticing her Captain's vocal adjustment,
Seven became befuddled as to why. She was only trying to explain that
she would not betray Chakotay's trust as long as she was courting him.
After several seconds Seven fathomed that perhaps, Janeway had
misunderstood since she had mentioned personal life and referred to
"I was not referring to copulation."
Seven divulged, continuing to study her Captain’s mannerisms.
"Ah, my mistake," Janeway corrected
lightly. Exiting the turbo lift briskly onto Deck 5, she purposely
walked ahead of Seven, chastising herself all the while for failing to
remain impartial. She had made an erroneous assumption.
The rest of the trip to sickbay was quiet as Seven
contemplated her Captain's recent behavior.
Janeway did not plan to stay long in sickbay. She
was only there to assess the potential threat of her recent guests to
her ship. Once she was convinced there was none, she would leave.
In the meantime, she had to endure the way he
looked at Seven. Janeway stood quietly to the side catching his
lascivious look more than once towards her charge. Axum kept his eyes on
Seven practically the whole time the Doctor scanned him and his obvious
perusal of Seven's body already soured Janeway's already precarious
Seven stared at the handsome alien intently,
trying to assess how she felt about him. Ideally, Axum would have been
the logical choice as a mate considering her past with him, but for some
reason, Seven could not establish, could not find the intense feelings
she once had for the young alien from before she was severed from the
Collective by Captain Janeway.
And now there was Chakotay.
Janeway witnessed the intensity in Seven’s
bright blue eyes, the deep stare, the increased respiration and rising
chest; all visible evidence that she was affected by Axum’s presence.
Seven obviously had feelings for him making Janeway wonder if the young
woman could resist the temptation in light of her words of loyalty
With nothing better to do, Janeway's mind drifted
in absent speculation. Had Seven progressed far enough, to the stage
of understanding what it meant to fall in love? It was a wondrous
thing to be able to love someone and have that love returned. As if I
know? She thought ruefully, forcing her gaze upon Seven. The blonde
was simply gorgeous; having a natural beauty that the young woman was
completely unaware of, her ignorance borne out of years of conditioning
by the Borg. In a sense, Seven herself was just reborn into a completely
new individual just over four years ago. During that time, she had
adapted to the human condition quite adequately. Although it was
inevitable that Seven would become fully human someday, part of Janeway
hoped she would never quite lose the pure innocence that she exuberated.
Unable to tear herself away from the sight, Janeway held her gaze, her
eyes softening. In her biased opinion, there was nothing about Seven
that didn’t scream of passion. She just needed to be brought out of
her shell. In Kathryn's mind, Seven would be the epitaph of what a lover
should be; passionate and loving; but in her own way, when the
time was right and with the right person, who could meet her unique
I will not be the one.
Kathryn couldn't stop the stray thought from
entering her mind causing a sharp throb to pierce her aching heart.
Momentarily overwhelmed at such a prospect, Janeway took in deep breaths
struggling to keep her command mask firmly in place.
"I detect no collective conscious here
Captain. They're both healthy.”
The EMH’s words broke her thoughts, mercifully.
"Um, thank you doctor. When you're finished here I want you to go
over to the Borg ship. They have some individuals suffering from implant
rejection. Take all the time and personnel you need."
"Of course Captain," the doctor
responded avidly being called to duty.
"Keep me informed of your progress."
The Captain excused herself from Seven and her
guests, prompting Tuvok to accompany her out of sickbay.
Once outside, she gave her Chief of Security
specific orders. “Tuvok, in case the doctor needs to bring patients
from the Borg sphere back to Voyager, I don’t want anyone here without
a security escort.”
“Of course Captain, however, with regards to
Seven of Nine,” Tuvok paused ruminating. “I believe she may want
some personal time with Axum.”
Janeway’s eyebrows flinched.
“For reconciliation purposes.” He elaborated.
“You are aware of Seven’s history with Axum?”
She asked, not giving him enough credit. Obviously, Tuvok was very
perceptive despite being a Vulcan.
“Yes, she has asked my advice on the subject
more than once,” he clarified.
The Captain’s jaw tightened. She didn’t know
Tuvok had Seven’s council. The blonde never mentioned Axum in any of
their conversations, not since that day in sickbay, when Kathryn was
recovering from her partial assimilation almost a year and half ago.
How long had that been going on? What else does
she talk about with him that she doesn’t discuss with me? Doesn’t
Seven feel comfortable enough with me to talk about anything that is
“Captain?” Tuvok noticed the inner
“Very well,” she reneged, “as long as she
understands, that no one is to be alone in any sensitive areas. I’ll
be on the bridge.”
The Vulcan nodded, watching her departure with
intrigue before she disappeared inside the turbo lift at the end of the
"Would you mind if I talked with Annika...
alone?" Axum asked the security guard as they arrived in Cargo Bay
Two. The security guard seemed reluctant to leave. His orders from Tuvok
were specific. Turning toward Seven of Nine, he verbalized his concerns.
“You understand that he cannot be unsupervised at any time?”
"I will take full responsibility." Seven
"I'll be right outside." He reminded
After the double door closed on the departing
guard, Axum hugged her. "It's good to see you again Annika."
He engulfed her within his long arms, squeezing her body firmly against
"Axum," she responded uncertain whether
to reciprocate or not. The Borg children who had left Voyager were the
only ones to ever hug her in a full embrace. Seven had never instigated
the action. Even the Captain who touched her frequently on the hand, the
elbow or a shoulder never hugged her and Seven momentarily wondered why
Sensing tenseness in her body, he pulled back.
"This action makes you nervous?"
"I am unaccustomed to it."
He accepted that with ease. There were bound to be
awkward moments while they were getting to know one another again.
"So how have you been?" He asked awkwardly.
"I am functioning within acceptable
parameters." She stated, trying to hide the nervousness she felt.
Axum cringed at her choice of words. "Why do
you speak like them, Annika? You're not Borg anymore."
Immediately, Seven took offense. "I have been
Borg for over 18 years of my life, how else am I supposed to
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way. It’s
just that… in Unimatrix Zero you were so different, you was just
Annika… no implants, no Borg mannerisms. That’s the way I remember
The name brought back memories of a life that was
long gone and the blonde did not like being reminded of it. "You
will address me as Seven."
Her not so subtle request shocked him. "You
don't use your birth name?"
"Annika Hansen was assimilated at six years
of age. She no longer exists. I, Seven of Nine, is what has become of
that girl. Not quite human, but not quite Borg either. Therefore, I
"You’ve changed." He commented
"Did you expect me to become fully human, in
the short time I have been severed from the Collective?" Seven
"No, of course not." Axum said
apologetically. "I realize you’ll need time to adjust… It’s
just that I fell in love with you while in Unimatrix Zero.”
The emotion packed statement startled Seven,
forcing her into a defensive mode. "That woman you fell in love
with only existed in Unimatrix Zero." She did not intend to be
unkind, but the sudden declaration of love caught her completely off
"YOU ARE the woman I fell in love with! What
does it matter that it happened within our minds." Axum affirmed.
“The only question that remains now is whether or not you will give us
Abashed, Seven responded honestly. "I do not
know if I can." She thought of her current affiliation with the
"Why are you so reluctant? You do remember
us, right?" Axum asked with trepidation. “What we had?”
"I can recall all of the events from
Unimatrix Zero.” Seven responded hesitantly.
"Events?" Axum's heart started to throb
in his chest. "but do you remember the intimacy we shared? Our
mutual feelings for each other?”
For Seven, the emotion tied to those ‘intimacies’
was gone, almost like a long dream with the memories fading away as time
“My life is complicated right now."
“We were lovers, you know.” Axum declared.
“I am aware of that, but I cannot just resume
that life… I--” she stopped the instant she felt a warm, moist
pressure on the back of her hand.
He had carefully reached down and upon taking her
hand brought it up to his lips kissing the back of it gently. “I’ve
pictured seeing your face in my mind for the past year, imagined
touching the softness of your skin.” He ran the back of his left hand
carefully down her cheek. “In my dreams, I stare into the bright
blueness of your eyes as I kiss you.”
Seven drew in a quick breath, not expecting to be
affected by the gesture.
“Axum--” Seven’s voice cracked slightly.
A fingertip went to her lips to silence her
gently. “Shhh, I won’t hurt you. I promise.”
He drew closer to her, felt her shudder at his
proximity, but when she didn't force him away, he grew even bolder.
Moving in slowly, he touched her lips delicately with his own. The light
kiss rekindled his memories and awakened his body’s more primal
functions, making him feel like he was truly home again. Parting his
mouth briefly to take in a full breath, Axum covered her mouth again,
this time pressing more firmly against her stout lips.
Seven was astounded at how intimate Axum was being
and almost pushed him away, but as the sensations increased, spreading
throughout her entire body, she became interested in the physiological
manifestations that were occurring. Therefore, wanting to experience
more of this type of intimacy in order to study her reactions later, she
did not stop him.
Feeling Seven’s stiffness waver, he pressed
further into the contact. Delicately coaxing her lips apart, Axum
slipped his tongue into her mouth to fiddle around with her wet, soft
He could hardly believe reality, but this was the
first time he was kissing Annika in the flesh. Finally… the contact
was real and notably more intense that he remembered.
“Hmm...” He mumbled, as his rampaging blood
rushed through his veins and loins alike. The intimate flesh of her
mouth was so soft and pliable, edging him to push for more, but he knew
he had to control his urges. Although he didn't want it to end as he
touched her tongue delicately, enjoying the succulent taste of her fresh
sweetness, he gave his word to be patient and would abide by it.
She was worth the wait.
Seven hadn't even realized she had been
participating eagerly until Axum softened the contact. By the time he
broke away from her now clammy mouth, the blonde looked flushed and
"There is no rush, Annika." He said
quietly, before leaving her alone with her confused thoughts.
The touching of lips had produced tingles in her
nerve endings that she had not experienced with Chakotay. Breathing
deeply, Seven knew she had to analyze what this meant… carefully.
If I program stormy skies,
Will it wash away the tears in my
Or will only heart ache remain?
Never to be washed away
It didn't have to be this way.
Captain Kathryn Janeway looked up at the grey
cloud filled sky as rain droplets began to pelt her face. Beads of water
hit her skin forcing her eyes to blink, which successfully covered the
tears that had recently formed there, tears that she couldn't hold back
I could’ve prevented it… If only I acted
Her uniform was getting soaked, but she didn't
care. In fact, Kathryn had purposely altered the weather to how she
See what your command has cost you?
A loud thunderclap above made her flinch. The
clouds darkened and swirled about in chaotic patterns while releasing
the moisture held within. It started to pour even harder.
I have no one to blame but myself. She
castigated herself. I’m such a fool!!
Janeway enfolded her arms around her torso at the
chill that was setting into her bones. Hearing a noise of someone coming
from behind her, Kathryn ignored it preferring to numbly stare into the
"Kathryn?" She heard a voice call out.
It was her mother. "What are you doing standing out here in the
Her mother came out taking her daughter by the arm
to coax her inside the house where it was dry and warm.
"You'll catch pneumonia if you stay out
here!" Her mother was surprised to find her oldest daughter
standing in the rain while staring at the rapidly darkening sky.
"I'm fine," Janeway responded in a
quiet, somber voice. "I just need to think some things
The response seemed reasonable, but the older
Janeway was more worried by the despondency she heard in the tone.
"I'm sure you do sweetheart, but not out
here. You can do that where it's warm." Gretchen said leading her
now soaked daughter into the house.
As soon as Gretchen got Kathryn inside, she
motioned to her younger daughter, who was lazily draped over a couch
reading an art book. "Phoebe could you get us a towel please?"
Grumbling to herself, Phoebe extricated her body
from the warm spot she had made on the couch and crept upstairs to
retrieve a towel for her wet sibling.
Gretchen coaxed Kathryn passed the living room and
into the kitchen before sitting her down in a chair near the dining
table. She removed the wet red command jacket without the slightest
"Let me make you some coffee dear and you can
tell me what's bothering you."
Janeway looked up at her mother for the first time
during the simulation. If only she could truly be home. She had really
missed her mother and even her annoying sister too.
Phoebe finally came down the stairs and handed her
sister a large towel.
"Thanks," Janeway offered to an upraised
eyebrow, which she promptly ignored as she dried herself off.
Meanwhile, Gretchen put some water in a pot and
turned the electric stove on.
Janeway attempted to make the program as accurate
as she could when she initially designed it, adding all the
traditionalistic things that her family had. Then whenever she needed to
forget about Voyager, or being Captain for awhile she came here.
Currently, she needed to mourn the loss of Seven of Nine and get the
young woman out of her system. This was as good a way to do it as any.
"You don't look so good sis? Everything all
right with Starfleet?" Phoebe pulled out a chair to join her
"Everything is fine with Starfleet."
Janeway stated, noting ironically that she had no idea how things were
with Starfleet. They only had contact once a month via a subspace link
made possible by the Midas array, but she knew the answer would do in a
The silence grew and Phoebe started tapping the
table with her fingers as the minutes passed. Finally, once the coffee
was done, Gretchen poured Kathryn a hot cup of her favorite beverage and
joined them at the table.
It wasn’t long before Janeway noticed that they
were both avidly staring at her, as if studying her closely.
Kathryn quickly became annoyed. "What?"
She finally spoke up with irritation in her voice.
Gretchen frowned, "Don’t you take that tone
with me." she warned.
"Mother, I don't want to talk about it."
"Then why did you come here?" Her mother
asked. "It’s mid afternoon. You're usually working at this time
so I know something's wrong or you wouldn’t be here."
Janeway became angry and momentarily forgot they
were holograms. Even if they were exact representations of her family to
within 98.5 percent accuracy, she needed their understanding right now,
not a lecture.
"Do I need an excuse to visit my
family?!" Feeling an unhealthy amount of anger and grief from her
problems, Kathryn realized it was unfair to treat them like this,
holograms or not. In the end, they could do nothing for her except offer
solace and she wasn't sure that would be enough.
"I’m sorry, maybe this isn't such a good
idea." Janeway set down her coffee, regretting not being able to
take it with her. It tasted good even though it was only holographic
She started to stand up, but her mother put a hand
on her forearm. "Kathryn… please."
It wasn't the action that made Janeway stop, it
was the compassionate voice and the deep blue eyes that were so similar
to hers filled with understanding that made her pause.
Her mother looked at her sympathetically knowing
that whatever was disturbing her daughter was taking a significant
emotional toll on her normally in control child.
"You're right. We are your family and you can
visit us anytime. You don’t need a reason or an excuse. Please stay.
You can sit undisturbed in the living room. We can put the fireplace on
if you like." Not waiting for Kathryn to reply, she motioned her
hand towards the other room. "Phoebe, please light the fire."
The younger sibling did so without complaining
this time apparently knowing the situation with her older sister's
distress was slightly more serious than normal.
"Thank you mother," Janeway remarked
quietly then took her coffee and went to sit on the couch near the
Fifteen minutes passed by with Kathryn left to her
own morbid thoughts. Her mother was doing chores in the kitchen while
Phoebe sat in her reclining chair reading the same book as before.
The silence soon became unbearable. All she could
think about was Seven. Kathryn closed her eyes and leaned back on the
couch trying to get more comfortable than she felt.
How was she going to get these feelings under
She was curious if Chakotay felt as she did about
Seven, if he was in love with her or not, after all, she witnessed his
jealousy up close. If he did love Seven, it would be difficult seeing
Axum again knowing that she had a romantic history with him, a past he
might not be able to compete with. Kathryn knew exactly how that felt.
Yet in all honesty, deep down inside, she didn't
expect Seven and Chakotay's courtship to last long. It could have been
her own feelings muddling her perception too and she felt guilty for
thinking that way about her friends, but she truly didn't feel the
attraction was there to make a long term commitment last.
On the other hand, she and Seven had chemistry. It
was obvious. As far as mutual attraction, she was unsure about that.
Janeway knew how she felt, but Seven's true feelings towards her, were a
complete mystery. Kathryn had no idea if Seven felt anything for her
Axum, on the other hand, clearly loved Seven and
anyone looking could see the attraction between them. Seven might not be
aware of it, but it was there.
They have a history together... An intimate one. Janeway
sighed trying to keep the moisture from forming in her eyes.
Unimatrix Zero, was a dream world that Seven had
been apart of while she was a Borg drone. A place all drones who had the
recessive gene visited while they regenerated. Six years was a long time
to be a couple in any environment, real or imagined. No doubt they had
made love there as well.
Did Seven remember all that? What did she feel if
she did? Was she still in love with him?
"Like I'm in love with you?" Janeway let
slip out in a hushed whisper.
Kathryn didn't know her mother had been watching
her keenly from the archway between the kitchen and the living room. The
words hovered in the silent air before the other two women realized what
had been said.
"Huh?!" Phoebe exclaimed almost dropping
"Oh dear," Gretchen exclaimed. "No
wonder you're so overwrought. Does this person know how you feel?"
Opening her eyes, Janeway sighed and shook her
head negatively, irritated with her carelessness, for she had not
intended for them to find out.
Phoebe contemplated this new information. Her
older sister usually went for what she wanted, so what would hold her
back from going after someone she truly loved? "Is it a member of
your crew?" She asked curiously.
“Is that what is holding you back?” Phoebe
"No, that's not holding me back, not now.”
Janeway admitted softly.
“Then what is it sis?”
Janeway decided to come clean. “She has two men
currently courting her."
"I'm sorry," Gretchen didn’t know if
she heard her daughter correctly. "Did you say… she?"
Phoebe almost turned white. "It's Seven of
Nine isn't it?!"
Kathryn quickly turned her frowning face towards
her sister. "How could you possibly know that?!"
Her mother intervened. "Dear, you talk about
her all the time. It obvious you have a lot of affection towards her and
although I wouldn't have expected that much, I'm not entirely
surprised." Gretchen informed her as if it was common knowledge.
"What do you mean?"
"It is obvious that she means a lot to you by
the way you talk about her."
"Mom is right," Phoebe added. "Your
eyes light up and turn a deep ocean blue whenever you talk about her and
she seems to be the first person you mention when you tell us about your
Delta Quadrant adventures." She paused to snicker. "Need I go
on? Cause there's more... if you need convincing."
"No, I see your point." Kathryn slumped
in her chair, defeated.
"So what are you going to do about it?"
"Do?" The Captain took a sip of her
lukewarm coffee. "There's nothing I can do about it." She said
in supplication while looking into the black liquid.
"Why don't you let her make that
decision?" Phoebe offered.
"I can't do that to her." Janeway glared
at her sister. "She's got to be confused enough as it is. I need to
be her friend right now."
"Is it because you believe she can't handle
it, emotionally?" Phoebe asked, remembering the stories of Seven's
first date that turned out to be disastrous.
"I honestly don't know how she would react to
all of this, but I’m not going to add more chaos to her life right now
just because I’ve realized I’m in love with her."
"I know you want to do the honorable thing
here Kathryn, but that's going to be difficult with how you feel."
Her mother asserted. "How are you going to suppress that?"
"I can avoid her whenever possible. I just
won't spend as much personal time with her. I'll stop playing Velocity
with her… among other things."
"Kathryn!" Phoebe exclaimed. "You
wouldn't. She's your friend and you're gonna ditch her because she has
other suitor's. That's not fair to her or your friendship. It's not her
fault you fell in love with her?!"
"I know that!" Janeway rebuked raising
her voice, her hands trembled clutching tightly to her coffee cup.
"Shh, calm down.” Gretchen put her arm out
to lightly touch her elder daughter's hand. “It’s understandable
that you feel the need to avoid her, but you have to realize it's just a
defense mechanism. Withdrawing is not the answer. I know that you're
trying desperately to distance yourself from her hoping your emotions
will subside, but your heart won't let it go that easily and eventually
the young lady will know something is wrong and she will demand
Her mother was very wise, but that did not help
Janeway's trepidation. She took a final gulp of her now cold coffee.
"She'll wonder if she's done something wrong,
which she hasn't." Phoebe clarified.
"Are you sure, she has no idea of your
feelings?" Gretchen asked.
"Yes, I'm sure. I've never said
"You need to talk to her Kathryn," Her
mother stated clearly.
Kathryn resigned to the inevitable. "All
right. I'll try."
It was evening, almost 18:00 hours when Janeway
entered Astrometrics, having no idea how she managed the courage to
actually go inside.
"Captain, may I be of assistance?" Seven
greeted, hearing the familiar footsteps.
"No I'm just checking up on you."
"For what purpose?" Seven looked
expectantly at her Captain as she came up along side.
Janeway’s nerves kicked in. "I just wanted
to see how you were doing."
"I am functioning… " Seven paused,
"I am fine." She corrected.
Janeway saw the slight hesitation. "Are you
sure? Because if you need to talk, I’ll listen." They both knew
what the Captain was referring to.
"It is not necessary Captain."
Janeway pursed her lips. "I know it's not
necessary, but if you're feeling confused talking about it could
Seven pondered this. It was normal for her to keep
everything she felt deeply hidden, but the young woman conceded that she
could use some advice and she felt most comfortable talking to the
Captain. She didn't know why Janeway was the only one besides Tuvok that
she felt safe with, but she did. Seven trusted Janeway explicitly, yet
something still made her hesitate.
Will I appear inadequate if I speak of my personal
difficulties? After all, I am doing this for her, to please her. What if
she is… disappointed with my lack of progress?
Janeway saw the indecisiveness. "We're
friends Seven, despite my Captaincy." She meant it. "You can
tell me anything." Softening her gaze, she touched the young woman
lightly on the elbow.
repeated. I am her friend. She will
"Thank you Captain. That means a great deal
to me. I have been feeling somewhat torn lately and I do not want any
one to get emotionally damaged, but I feel it is inevitable."
“Don’t worry about them, they’ll be fine.
Men are resilient and persistent, even when you don’t want them to be.”
Janeway smirked then continued in a more serious tone. “I think your
problem is fear Seven. You’re under the impression that if your first
relationship fails, all your relationships will fail, but that’s just
“How can you be so certain?”
“I just know.”
Seven shook her head. “But how? I cannot
comprehend speculation, I need the facts Captain.”
“It’s more like intuition Seven. I just know.”
“Then explain it me,” Seven entreated. “Please.”
“All right,” It was time to test her star
pupil. “I happen to know for a fact that there are several people
onboard Voyager who would be very interested in having a romantic
relationship with you?”
information was news to the blonde. "Several Captain?"
"Let’s just say I've heard rumors."
“Rumors are inaccurate.”
“Not this one.”
Seven perked up in disbelief. "I find that
difficult to believe."
“Well it’s true.” Kathryn asserted.
"You are telling me there are several
individuals on Voyager who are attracted to me, but I do not believe
that is plausible."
"No one here has ever expressed any interest
in dating me."
"Chakotay is dating you," Janeway
"Yes, but I had to take the initiative. I had
to ask him."
"That doesn't mean other people don’t want
to Seven. You have to consider that they might be nervous about
"Nervous?" Seven raised her implant brow
in concentration, before it dawned on her. "You mean because I am
"No, it's because you're an intelligent and
beautiful woman." Janeway kept her face as neutral as possible.
"And that… intimidates some people."
The blonde stood in quiet contemplation for
several seconds. "You believe I am… beautiful?"
"Yes, you are." Janeway stated casually.
“in my opinion.”
Although it kindled Seven's insides to be thought
of as beautiful by the Captain, Janeway was completely unaware of how
unsightly her hidden Borg implants truly were, therefore her perception
"I do not feel beautiful." Seven voiced,
her tone lacking its normal confidence.
Janeway softened her voice. "I'm not talking
just about external beauty Seven. I'm referring to internal beauty as
well. You are a beautiful person, whether you believe it or not. I know
everyone can't see it, but I can. I do." This was as much as
Kathryn felt she could reveal comfortably. She had to stop before she
went too far.
The young woman felt warm, surprised and quite
pleased with her Captain’s statement. Examining the Captain's
appearance made Seven wish she looked more like her. The auburn haired
woman was fully human, with a soft appealing skin complexion,
classically good looking facial features, a toned athletic build that
was aesthetically pleasing and what Seven liked most… a strong will to
"Thank You Captain.” The compliment made
Seven feel special and she wanted to reciprocate. “You are beautiful
Startled by the words delivered so eloquently from
the former Borg, Janeway looked keenly at the woman. Their mutual gaze
held for 4.5 seconds, in which time a spiritual connection had been
made, but the affection in Seven’s eyes was almost too much for
Janeway and if she let it go on much longer, she’d be on her knees
confessing her love to the wondrous being that was Seven.
“Thank you,” she offered quietly turning away
to hide the affect it had on her. It was time to bring the focus back on
Seven's current problem. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to go off on a
tangent. You were saying something earlier?"
The Captain wishes to change the subject. My words
were inadequate and I have embarrassed her.
The blonde found her equilibrium quickly.
"Yes, I was going to say how disconcerted and distracted I have
been lately. I find my efficiency is less than optimal."
"How so?" Janeway asked.
"You are no doubt aware that I have a past
with Axum; from Unimatrix Zero?"
"Yes, I remember. You had a relationship with
him while there."
"If you can call it that, it only occurred in
our minds, like a dream."
"Yet, but it was real to you," Janeway
"Perhaps," Seven granted before
continuing. "but… today in the Cargo bay, Axum complicated
matters by admitting to being in love with me."
And he's not the only one! Focus! This is not
about you. "Does that make you
"Because you've developed feelings for
Chakotay?" Janeway assumed.
"No," Seven stated clearly.
Janeway blinked confounded.
"You haven't developed feelings for Chakotay?"
Janeway asked cautiously.
"I am uncertain."
Kathryn couldn't keep the confusion out of her
gaze. "I don't understand Seven."
"In the Cargo bay when Axum initiated the
kiss… I felt something… something more than ever before. The way he
kissed me, was very different than when Chakotay does and it was more
than simply pressing lips… it went deeper than that and it was very
pleasant." Seven thought about how it made her tingle inside.
"I believe it was… " She searched for the proper word.
Janeway forced down the jealousy that hovered
around her causing her throat to constrict. It
was just a kiss for god's sakes. Yeah, a French kiss, the way she
describes it!! Shut up! Just relax!
"A kiss can be… stimulating," Janeway
commented quietly. "With the right person."
"I know physical stimulation is a preclude to
the act of copulation, but how will I know when I am in love?"
Seven inquired intently.
"Love?! Um, well, that's... very complicated
Seven." Janeway admitted apprehensively. Unrequited
love drives you nuts, I can tell you that…
"Yes I certainly agree with that assessment
Captain." The young woman's implant rose slightly above the brow
line in that subtle way when she was ruminating on something. "I
suppose I could be in the initial stages of the emotion," Suddenly
she became disturbed. "but do I have to copulate with both of them
to find out?" She asked innocently with concern.
Fighting back the heat that engulfed her, Janeway
put her hand up. "Sex won't guarantee love Seven and then there is
the emotional repercussions involved that you are not aware of yet.”
Seven frowned, the confusion evident. “My
research indicated that having many sexual partners could be beneficial.
The more experience the better. Is this inaccurate?”
“Yes, in my opinion it is.” This was getting
difficult for Janeway. “Let me just say this. If Chakotay or Axum
found out you were being intimate with both of them, you would lose them
Seven ruminated on her words. “Do you prefer a
monogamous relationship Captain?”
The question shocked Janeway. Is Seven really
considering polygamy?! Please tell me no!! Janeway almost started to
panic. What if Seven decides to experiment
with the entire male compliment onboard Voyager?! How could she be
Captain if she was jealous of everyone?!
“Yes, Seven I
prefer one lover.” You… “I’m the one on one type.” She
gently let out a breath. You’re jumping
to conclusions, she is just curious, that’s all.
Raising her implant, Seven briefly meditated on
why a visual of her Captain on top of a potential mate both excited and
bothered her. Shaking away the odd feeling, Seven ruminated on how she
herself had changed in the past 6 months. With research and maturity,
something intangible happened within her, because she no longer
preferred the idea of multiple partners. Yet if she had to explain why,
she would not be able to.
"I agree,” the blonde articulated her
mental conclusion. “I do not feel comfortable with that
scenario." Truthfully, she knew she was not ready to copulate with
either of them.
Relief overwhelmed the redhead. “That’s good
to hear. Men don’t take well to unfaithfulness.” Of
course, neither do us women.
"but I have been unfaithful,” Seven
remarked. “in principle.”
Janeway looked puzzled.
“I let him kiss me remember?”
“You can’t blame yourself for that.”
Although, the blonde was still hazy with the
concept of being 'in love', she understood fidelity quite clearly
because Chakotay had repeatedly talked about it. “I purposely did not
inform Axum of my affiliation with Commander Chakotay… and I wonder if
he would still claim to love me if he knew."
“He won’t be happy about it, but if loves you,
is all so confusing."
“I know," Kathryn heartily agreed. “but
you have to be patient. None of us master love quickly. It is a unique
and confusing emotion." And painful if
you happen to be a Starship Captain in love with a member of your crew.
"It is very inefficient," Seven
"Yes it is,” Janeway couldn’t argue with
that assessment. “Well, it’s been a long day.” She added slowly
making her way to the exit.
"You are leaving?"
“I’m going to my quarters.”
“And… if I have further questions?” Seven
“I’m sure I’ll be available.”
“Thank you.” Seven spoke softly, grateful. “I
am sure I will need your council in the future.”
The voice was like a sweet symphony to Kathryn’s
ears and as tempted as Janeway was to declare her own feelings, she
couldn't add to Seven's distress, wouldn't manipulate the young woman
into choosing her despite how much she wanted to try.
Beneath all those layers of Borg enhancements,
there is love lying dormant in Seven's heart just waiting for a spark to
ignite her, a connection to make her aware, that she can feel, that she
can love and be loved in return. When she finally gives her heart to
another, it will be her enlightenment...
and my curse…
"I can tell you this Seven. Love is the
greatest, most complex emotion of all and yet some of us will never
truly understand it. It cannot be bought or bartered or mastered.
However, when it does hit you, you will know it because it will
overwhelm you… and nothing else will seem to matter."
Seven ruminated on the deeper meaning of the words
as the Captain quietly slipped out. The older woman’s explanation of
love suggested it was a powerful emotion not to be taken lightly and
Seven surmised that she was missing something terribly important, a
critical piece of the puzzle, but her perceptions were still too
underdeveloped to identify the human emotion that seeped out of every
pore of a certain redhead.
Entering her quarters, Janeway threw off her
command jacket, which landed haphazardly on the couch, then heading for
the replicator, fixed herself a stiff whiskey on the rocks. Taking a few
sips, she headed for the bedroom. Sitting on the bed, she unzipped and
kicked off her boots, then lied back with drink in hand trying to get
comfortable, but all she could think about was her recent visit to
I tried mother. I did, but I just couldn’t
burden her. Not now.
Kathryn had thought visiting her mother and sister
in the holodeck would help her gain some equilibrium back, but the
subsequent visit with Seven had stirred her up emotionally all over
"She who hesitates is lost…" She
mumbled to herself while staring at the liquid in her glass. The golden
brown liquor could not alleviate her emotional pain, it could only get
her drunk, but it was better than nothing, she ruminated downing the
last 4 ounces.
Forcing her weary bones to get up, she ended up
going back to the replicator, this time ordering a full 32 ounce bottle,
with an ice bucket and a glass, to take back into the bedroom.
Wanting a quick buzz, she poured and downed an
entire glass, then began sipping on a third one. Grinning to herself as
the alcohol spread warmth throughout her body, Janeway laid back down
and allowed her mind to drift to greener pastures.
Wonder how it would've felt to kiss her like that?
Janeway visualized pressing her lips to
Seven's and the thought alone spiked her heart rate. She
has such full lips. I would love to run my fingers along them. I bet
they're soft to the touch, like rose petals and… if she parted those
luscious lips for me!? I would take sanctuary in there… I know her
tongue would be delicate and pliable beneath mine as I twirled along
with it passionately, surrounding the muscle with the all the passion I
feel for her. If she was attracted to me at all, I could win her over.
With just a kiss, I would make her mine… and mine alone. I could take
care of her so she would think of no other. She wouldn't be able to...
Janeway took a quick gulp of her liquor in a lame
attempt to douse her now heated body. Aroused by the vibrant images her
mind created with such aching clarity, she found she couldn't stop…
and didn't want to. The cascade of Seven's perfectly symmetrical nude
figure entwined with hers loomed within her mind's eye.
Moving lower, I would enjoy sampling her twin
mounds of flesh. Her breasts are formed to perfection, something even
the Borg could never taint nor aspire to. I would touch them fleetingly
just enough to excite her, watching them spring tighter and grow hard
beneath my fingertips. Becoming firm for me and aching for more, I would
take each one into my hot mouth and she would groan deeply from the
pleasure I provided. I would worship them with gentle nips, tugs and
Unless… she wanted it harder, then I would have
even more fun, licking and sucking the life from them. Even tender and
raw, if she begged for more I would comply willingly, because... she
owns my heart.
Small beads of perspiration broke out on Kathryn’s
forehead and above her upper lip so she reached into the ice bucket and
grabbing a piece of ice pressed it her head. She rubbed it across her
forehead enjoying the cool sensation, not paying attention to the
melting droplets that were dripping down her hand onto her tunic. Taking
a deep, shaky breath, she groaned audibly before putting what was left
of the ice, back in the bucket. Still incredibly aroused, Kathryn was
completely helpless but to continue in her erotic musings.
Trailing down to caress her stomach, I would
accept with equal love, the cool metallic implants that she had
remaining. They would only enhance her sexual allure in my lustful mind.
Passing her now trembling stomach muscles, I would touch the apex of her
heat, stroking and caressing, seeking that pleasure spot as she pleaded
Beyond aroused, Janeway sat up quickly, removed
her long sleeved blue tunic and tossed off her slacks all the while
speaking a customary command to the ship's computer. "Computer,
lower room temperature by 15 degrees." With nothing but her bra and
panties remaining, she laid back down and closed her eyes.
At that point, I would be hers to command. I would
give her anything she wanted... or needed… anything she asked for…
Whether penetration or oral stimulation… Whatever her heart desired…
“Oh my love, what you do to me…” Kathryn
murmured and began rubbing herself threw her underwear, something she
hadn't done in ages, yet felt so right at this very moment. With the
other hand, she pinched her left breast. I have to… I need… I
must… do this! How far she would take this scenario, she didn't
know. All she felt was an unbridled need to be with the one person, she
couldn't be with and as the blood rushed to her loins, the fantasy
I would consume her essence and make it apart of
my own. Then my lovely blonde would reciprocate, loving me in the same
thorough way she does everything else.
“Oh Seven.” Janeway increased the pressure,
stroking along the crease, hitting the clitoris that was rapidly
becoming engorged with each pass.
She would make an excellent lover.
"Oh Annika!" On the verge of release, an
unwanted thought came unbidden.
Oh yes, she would… just not for you…
Her hand stopped.
For Chakotay or Axum, perhaps…
Her eyes flew open.
but her love is not for you...
“No!” The mood was ruined.
She doesn't even know you exist!!!
“No no no!” Covering her face with both hands,
Janeway sobbed mercilessly for many minutes, until upon releasing her
face, red rimmed eyes and anger were revealed. Janeway's mind reeled at
the cold hard edge of reality. Enraged at her helplessness, Kathryn saw
the glass and chucked it at the wall, watching it shatter into dozens of
fragments as the small pieces flew all over the carpet. The light brown
liquid stained the wall dripping down to soak the carpet at the base.
She stared at the mess she had made. Physically,
she felt better at getting some of the frustration out, but it did
nothing for her emotionally. Shrugging, she got up to retrieve another
glass and poured herself yet another drink.
Not bothering to change into her customary
nightgown, she laid down on the bed and got under the covers. Tilting
her head up, she gazed at the stars going by. It helped to soothe the
emotional turmoil in her soul. After finishing her fourth drink, she
managed to doze off.
Then thirty minutes into her hard earned nap, she
was rudely interrupted.
"Bridge to the Captain?"
Janeway's eyes snapped opened and she sat up
groggily, groaning at the migraine pounding in her head.
She tapped the COM badge sitting on the nightstand
and spoke into it grumpily. "Yes?" She had lost track of how
many whiskey’s she had and was not in the mood for anything less than
a full fledged red-alert emergency, with claxons blaring.
"What is it?" She asked with extreme
"We have company."
“Are they a threat?”
“No, I don’t believe so.”
“Can you handle it then?”
“I… “ after a
moment’s pause. “can, but I really
think you’ll want to handle this one personally, Captain.”
“Fine, I’ll be there in ten minutes.” After
a terse reply, she closed the channel and quickly got dressed. Having to
sober up fast, she made a quick black, overly strong lukewarm coffee and
guzzled it before heading for the bridge.
Janeway was in shock and literally couldn't
believe her eyes, blurry as they were from alcoholic consumption.
Staring at the familiar face on the forward viewer, she noted his hair
was a tad bit grayer at the bangs, but other than that he looked as
handsome as she remembered.
"Kathryn," the man greeted. "It's
good to see you."
"How did you find me?" Janeway asked
"You're heading for the Alpha Quadrant.
Chakotay had an amused look on his face. It was
her turn to receive a long lost lover, but he shrugged to himself. At
least she wasn't currently dating someone else.
"Yes," Janeway conceded.
"Can I discuss that with you in
Janeway glanced over her shoulder to witness the
twinkle in Chakotay’s eyes.
"Of course." Diplomacy took over despite
her slight inebriation. She turned to her Chief of Security. "Tuvok
will you escort our guess to my Ready Room... at his convenience."
"See you soon," he answered, looking
forward to it.
"Commander you have the bridge." Janeway
said before entering her Ready Room to wait for his arrival.
After Janeway left the Bridge, Commander Chakotay
handed over control temporarily to Ensign Kim. The growl in his stomach
forced him to go get a quick bite to eat, so he might as well find Seven
and have a quick chat with her. It had been bugging him all day and he
needed to know where exactly she stood with this Axum fellow.
Chakotay entered the Mess Hall with the simple
intentions of getting something to eat, until he saw Axum chatting
merrily with Neelix at the counter. Once he saw the young alien, his
mood took a dive as did his appetite.
Irritated at having him onboard Voyager, Chakotay
couldn't help himself. He had to go over and find out exactly what his
real intentions were toward his girl friend.
"So why are you really here?" Chakotay
asked pointedly, standing behind Axum.
Axum turned to meet the face behind the deep
"Commander Chakotay,” He greeted. “Why do
"Let's just say I have an interest in Seven's
"As do I," Axum clarified. “I’ve
known her for a long time. We were lov--”
"I'm aware of that,” Chakotay interrupted
rudely. “but I'm dating her now, so if you think she's going to leave
Voyager just because you’re here now… well, you've got another thing
Axum was stunned. "I… did not know she was
currently involved with anyone." Seven had not told him that…
or conveniently forgot.
"Now you do, so stay away from her." He
Axum stiffened. "Do you choose her friends
for her as well Commander?"
"No," he rebuked. "but you don't
want to be just a friend do you?"
"I won't lie to you. I still have feelings
for her." He conceded. "But that's between me and her. You
have nothing to do with that."
Chakotay moved to within inches of Axum's face.
"I have everything to do with that!"
Axum remained silent and calm. He would not be the
one to instigate an altercation.
"I don't have the ability to keep you from
her, but if I find out you've manipulated her for your own selfish
agenda, you'll regret it."
Chakotay swiftly turned and left heading back to
the bridge. He was too angry to talk with Seven at the moment so he
would have to speak with her later after his shift.
Axum was now fully aware that he was in a fight
for Seven's attention. A fight he intended to win.
Tuvok brought Jaffen to the Ready Room and the
Captain politely dismissed her security officer so she could have a
"So," She started off. "What brings
you so far from Quarran?" Janeway knew that was at least a two
month journey at high warp. It had been over five months since the crew
of Voyager was tricked into abandoning their ship and subsequently had
their minds altered to think they were part of a workforce on the planet
Quarran; all done illegally to alleviate a major labor shortage.
He stared at her emphatically. "I missed
"What about your job?"
"I'll admit it was a good one. The
Administrator even offered to double my salary to keep me after I told
him I was leaving."
"Why would you give that up?" Janeway
"I've come for you," he said easily as
if the decision was no contest.
Abashed, yet flattered, Janeway tried to joke
about it. "You've come for me? What makes you think I need a knight
in shining armor?" She smirked. When what I really need… No,
she corrected herself. What I want is a
valkerie, tall, blonde… and beautiful. To tell me I am her world as
she is mine.
Jaffen laughed lightly. "I know you don't
Kathy, but I just couldn't stop thinking about you."
This wasn't a good time for her to get involved.
She already had too much emotional baggage to sift through.
He moved quickly to her and grasped her hands
delicately within his own. "Kathy please… I know your
responsibilities to this ship come first and I accept that because I’ve
come to realize that I need you in my life."
"Need?" Janeway repeated nervously.
"Yes, I'm in love with you and I want us to
have another chance. Please think about it."
Janeway stared abashed into his eyes as he leaned
in for a gentle kiss to her left cheek.
"Is that your way of asking me permission to
stay onboard?" She asked him afterwards, with a shy grin on her
"I would love to.” He smiled expectantly.
"Let me think about it," Janeway
responded to a disappointed face. "The last few days have been…
difficult. I also need to bear in mind the effect on Voyager's resources
and living space."
"Do you… want me to stay, Kathryn?"
Jaffen asked hesitantly.
Janeway had doubts and it wasn't because she
didn't feel anything for him. On the contrary, she had feelings for him,
but weren't they past tense? Hadn't her heart moved on as her current
torpid emotions attested to? Perhaps, as Kathryn Janeway of Quarran, she
fell in love with him, but as Captain Janeway of Voyager, she wasn't.
He brought his hand up to rest on her cheek,
"I have to consider other issues." She
answered vaguely. "How will this affect my command along with the
welfare of my ship and crew?"
"I understand." He removed his hand. “but
please let me know before my transport ship leaves. My ship is being
held in one of Captain O’ron’s shuttle bays."
“I’ll let you know within the hour.”
Kathryn wondered if she could rekindle her past
relationship with Jaffen, but in her grief over losing the opportunity
with Seven, she believed her heart had been already been taken against
her will and she didn’t know how to get it back.
With fatigue and alcohol wearing her down, making
her feel exhausted, Janeway went back to her quarters to rest, but as
the evening progressed, she quickly found the solitude difficult to bare
in her current state. So Kathryn decided to remedy her condition by
utilizing a hidden hypospray she kept for emergencies.
Then to alleviate her isolation, she went back to
the Ready Room to concentrate on some work instead of her loneliness.
Janeway had a number of routine reports to sift through and the work
would be an acceptable distraction. Usually she loathed having to do
reports. It was the boring, downside of a Starfleet Captain's life, but
she needed to keep all her logs and data files up to date just in case
the day came when she and her crew made it back home.
Then just as she sat down, leaning back in her
chair to get some work done, a beep sounded.
Sighing, Janeway called out to the computer,
Lt. Commander Tuvok gracefully stepped into her
"What can I do for you Tuvok?"
"I wanted you to be aware of a potential
problem. I overheard crewmembers discussing a conversation that took
place in the Mess Hall, approximately one hour ago."
Janeway grew concerned. "Go on."
"It involved Commander Chakotay and our guest
Her brows came closer to together. "What
"From what I overheard, there were raised
voices and a possible threat."
"A threat? From who?" Janeway became
angry. She would not tolerate this kind of behavior, especially from a
member of her crew.
Tuvok's left eyebrow rose. "Since I overheard
the information from a third party source, I cannot verify--"
"Who made the threat?"
"I cannot confirm its accuracy Captain."
"What name did you overhear Tuvok? Was it
Chakotay or Axum?” She grew increasingly impatient. Sometimes
excessive accuracy affected efficiency.
"It was rumored to be Commander Chakotay."
Janeway folded her arms and thought about it.
"I'm glad you brought this to my attention. I don't like to pry
into the crew's personal affairs, but I like to prevent any possibility
of violence before it happens."
"I agree, it would be wise to discuss this
with the individuals involved before it becomes something more."
Janeway tapped her COM badge. "Chakotay
report to the Ready Room… now."
"So," Janeway started the conversation
with her First Officer standing before her. "What's the situation
between you and Axum?"
Chakotay stood rigidly, his face tight and
brooding; a rare look for a man of his normally calm nature.
"Nothing, we had a… disagreement."
She knew that wasn’t the entire truth. "I
would call raising your voices a bit more than a disagreement."
"Everything was going fine until he showed
up," he spat out.
In YOUR opinion, she
thought, distastefully. All is fair in love and war eh?
This was a hard conversation to have with him
because of the personal nature of it. She was the Captain, but she was
not neutral. She was in love with the same girl who was being disputed
over. Such wonderful irony.
"Did you threaten him?"
"No, I only warned him."
Janeway exhaled exasperated. "I realize this
is difficult for you Chakotay, but he is a guest onboard this vessel and
you need to respect that. I can't have you going around threatening…
" She inhaled a shallow breath and corrected herself. "or
warning him. If Seven chooses to see him, she has that right."
He faced her, his countenance serious, but he didn’t
reply right away.
"It won't happen again."
"Good," Janeway hoped he meant it,
because she would throw him in the brig if he didn’t. "See to it
that it doesn't," she enforced.
"Yes Captain," he responding waiting to
"Chakotay," Janeway softened her gaze.
"Seven is new to humanity period, let alone a relationship of an…
intimate nature. She doesn't understand emotions like you and Axum do…
and I don't want to see her get hurt over this."
"I don't want to hurt her, but I'm not going
to stand by and let him take her from me either." He stated
Janeway couldn't help but smirk internally at his
words. She just wished it was her doing the fighting.
"I would expect no less, but don't force her
to make a decision in your favor too quickly. She needs time to adjust
so I suggest you give it to her."
"I will, but are you going to speak to Axum
about his behavior?" Chakotay asked haughtily.
The Captain folded her arms across her chest.
"He hasn't done anything wrong that I'm aware of, has he?"
Chakotay shrugged realizing the truth even in his
jealousy. "Permission to be dismissed."
With hands steepled together, Janeway ruminated
over whether or not to speak with Seven's other suitor. She supposed she
should get both sides of the dispute although she would rather sleep...
for 30 years or so. She felt so weary lately.
"Computer," she called out. "Is
Axum currently onboard Voyager?"
"Open a COM link to the Borg vessel."
"COM link open."
"Janeway to Axum."
The young alien's visual appeared on her terminal.
"Could I have a word with you?"
"Of course. What can I do for you
"In person if you don't mind? I will have
Tuvok escort you to my Ready Room."
Surprised by the request, he paused in his
response. What did she need to speak with me in private for? Then
it occurred to him. "Of course Captain, I'll see you
After Tuvok delivered Axum to the Captain's ready
room, the Captain motioned to a nearby chair.
"Please, have a seat."
The young alien had a bemused look upon his
features as he took the pro-offered chair. She sat down as he did
examining how to go about starting this discussion.
"This is regarding the conversation between
myself and the Commander, isn't it?" Axum assumed correctly.
The culpability showed on her face. "Yes, but
I'm not accusing you of any wrongdoing."
His face lost that amusement. "I…
truthfully did not know Annika was dating your Commander Chakotay."
After her conversation with Seven, Janeway assumed
the young woman was going to inform him. "You mean, she hasn’t
"No," he stated regretfully. "I was
waiting in the Mess Hall for her when your Commander arrived and
confronted me. After he left, I felt out of place and thought it best to
return to my vessel for the evening. Then I cancelled my dinner
engagement with Seven, all because of the incident." He complained
"I'm sorry for Chakotay's behavior. Despite
his relationship with Seven, he has no right to threaten you."
"I assure you I don’t want any
“I know,” Janeway crossed her arms. "but
if you don't mind my asking, just what it is you do want… with regards
"I won't deny that I have strong feelings for
her, if that is what you're asking me?"
"I can see that you do, but so does my first
"With all do respect Captain, how long has he
been dating her for? Because I've known her for six years before I lost
And I've loved her for over three years, but that
doesn't give you any more entitlement to dictate to her heart than it
does me! Kathryn's mind shouted.
"That must have been when I first liberated
her from the Collective." She stated, NOT regretting those actions
"I don't blame you for that. You gave her
another chance at life. It's just that…" He swallowed
tentatively. "You can't know what it's been like, losing her and
thinking she was dead just to see her in Unimatrix Zero after three
years of separation, only to lose her again for over a year… until
"I do understand."
"I'm still in love with her," his
piercing gaze pleaded to her compassionate nature.
That I understand completely. How could I not?
"Certainly you've been in love Captain?"
He inadvertently drove a stake through her heart.
"Um," This unexpected questioned caught
her off guard. "Yes… yes of course. I have… been in love, that
is." Still are, liar!!
"And would you give up so easily on this
love, just because this individual was dating another, but hadn't
committed their life to that person yet?"
A sharp pain stabbed her in the gut. "Yes, I
suppose I would make the attempt… if I were in your shoes." She
replied in a quiet voice.
"Then you see my point."
She waved her hand dismissively. "Yes I do,
but… but we’re talking about Seven not me. She is still emotionally
immature and I don't want to see her get hurt over this." Kathryn
"That's the last thing I want to do,” Axum
stood up disturbed. “but you are sorely mistaken. Annika is not
emotionally immature, she simply needs time.” He lifted his chin
confidently. “I firmly believe she will realize that she loves me as
much as I love her. It is just a matter of when."
Janeway stared into his intense green eyes. He
actually believed what he was saying. What could she say to counter
that? As much as she didn't want to admit it, he was probably right.
Janeway remembered the day when Seven visited her in sickbay while she
was recovering from being assimilated. At the end of their conversation,
in a cracked voice Seven reminded her that if she ever denied that Axum
was nothing more than a friend, Kathryn should remind the young woman of
that day. It was a vivid memory to Janeway because it was
incredibly touching to see Seven so emotional, even if it wasn't over
"Just be patient," was all she could
think of to say while trying to project a calm demeanor.
"I will Captain, I assure you. I've waited
this long already. I can wait some more if I have to. I will not
pressure her. You have my word."
"Was there anything else?"
"Then good evening Captain."
Janeway let out a sharp breath after he left and
mulled over whether or not to talk to Seven about the incident.
She should… but she wasn't sure she wanted to.
Janeway began tapping the desk in her indecision. There was a fine line
between joy and anguish when seeing Seven lately. Still, she was the
Captain… and it was her duty to do the difficult things. Seven should
be aware of the situation.
Breathing out a tentative breath of air, Janeway
spoke. "Computer, locate Seven of Nine."
"Seven of Nine is currently in Astrometrics."
The computer stated.
Janeway headed for deck 5.
Entering the lab, the Captain found the young
woman as usual, hard at work at the main console.
"Seven," Janeway greeted en route to the
Seven stopped her scans and turned to her
commanding officer, her face brightening at Janeway’s appearance.
Seven knew her Captain was concerned for her emotional well being lately
as she was visiting quite often. The Captain usually did not indulge in
that much sentiment, but Seven rather liked being on her mind. It
tickled her insides for some reason.
"I am touched by your concern for my
emotional well-being Captain." She announced unexpectedly.
“And I want you to know that I care for your
emotional and physical well being… although I might not verbalize it.”
She hoped that made up for her inadequate statement in their last
She just admitted to caring for you!! Yes, but
caring isn't the same as saying I love you. It's too risky!!! Kathryn
turned to look at the star charts on the screen, a delaying tactic to
give herself time to gather her thoughts.
Out of the corning of her eyes, Janeway saw the
lithe neck bend towards her. Turning her head, she watched those
marvelous icy blue eyes gaze upon her so innocently. God she's so
beautiful. Janeway's cheeks became flushed. Why won't I fight for
her? Why can’t I take a chance? Unknowingly, Janeway's inner
battle was starting to show externally.
Frowning, Seven inquired. "Are you ill
"No," Janeway rubbed her temples.
"It's been a long day. I'm just tired."
"Then you should regenerate."
"I will, in a little while."
Seven's face showed protest. "It would not do
for Voyager's Captain to become overly fatigued."
"I know but, there is a reason why I came
here." Finally, she got to the point of her visit. "I was
wondering why you still haven't told Axum about your relationship with
The blonde's face crinkled. "I have not had
the chance. I was supposed to meet him in the Mess Hall today after my
shift, but he cancelled unexpectedly."
"Did he tell you why?"
"No, he did not elaborate. Is there a
Taking the time to gaze effortlessly upon Seven's
beautiful features, Janeway leaned her small frame against the back of
the console as she brought her charge up-to-date on the misunderstanding
between the two undeserving suitors.
At the conclusion, the blonde was anything, but
pleased. "He is feeling jealous, is he not?"
He's not the only one. Janeway
rested her hands across her abdomen. "Most likely, but that’s a
normal reaction in this instance."
"It is illogical."
Janeway was baffled by Seven’s casually
dismissal of someone else’s feelings. "If you felt it, you
wouldn't think so."
"Why would I feel such an
emotion?" The young woman asked presumptuously.
Was Seven really that naďve?! Kathryn
stared into her unflinching eyes. "If you don’t know, then
perhaps you should do some research on it, Seven."
"If you think it would be beneficial, I will
"It's not an order, just a suggestion, but it
might give you a better understanding as to why suitors behave the way
The optical implant lifted slightly in
contemplation. "I will research it. Perhaps it will enlighten me,
since despite my sincerest intentions I appear to have upset Commander
Chakotay enough for him to make irrational threats."
Janeway became angry. “Has he threatened you!?”
“No, I am referring to his threatening Axum.”
Janeway immediately relaxed, but Seven did not.
She was highly agitated at all the trouble she was causing.
"Perhaps I should give up on romance. Maybe it is not possible for
me." Somberness crept into her tone.
“I don’t believe that, not for an instant and
neither should you.” Came the firm reply.
"You do not understand. My emotions are
incomprehensible at best… sometimes even chaotic…" The young
woman was flustered at how inept she was at the fundamentals of
humanity. "And I do not truly understand what I feel for either of
"You have to be patient Seven. Take the time
to get to know them both. If they love you, they'll understand that this
is what you need to do."
"And if they do not?"
"Their loss." Kathryn barely suppressed
the wicked smile that wanted to shine through.
Pleased with the response, Seven managed a small
smile in return.
"Well, I should… regenerate." Janeway
"Yes Captain, you should." Seven
remarked, unfazed and with that Janeway bid Seven good night.
"You requested my presence?" Seven stood
at attention waiting for a reply. Truthfully, since it was late, she had
not planned to see Chakotay, wanting the additional time to regenerate
for an extended cycle in order to clear her mind. Then he had hailed her
moments before she was about to initiate a regeneration cycle.
"Interesting day, huh." Chakotay offered
lightly, despite his apprehension.
"Would you care for something to eat or
"No, I do not require nutrition or liquids at
"If you don't mind, I'm going to make myself
a drink," he headed for his replicator. "It's been a long
"Not at all."
He took a quick sip of his drink immediately after
replicating it. "So how do you feel about our new guests?"
"You are referring to Axum?" Seven
"I know you have a past with him." His
tone quickly became edgy.
Seven had hoped she would not have to discuss this
so soon. She was disturbed between the kiss she enjoyed with Axum and
her vow of fidelity to Chakotay, although the former was not her fault
and the latter was almost moot since she did not love him, Seven wanted
to avoid both topics.
"I heard of your disagreement. I did not know
that a partnership with you meant that I was forbidden to socialize with
other males." Seven was not pleased by the incident he instigated
in the Mess Hall and did not comprehend his propensity for jealousy. It
was highly illogical behavior.
"It's not what you think."
"Then why did you threaten him?"
"It wasn't a threat!" Chakotay glared at
her. "It was just a warning. I don't trust him. He's not here just
to travel with us until he finds a planet."
"Why else would he be here?" Seven did
not believe that Axum would have intentional sought her out, wasting
valuable resources in the process. It would be illogical, not to mention
the odds of actually finding Voyager were infinitesimal.
He looked incredulously at her. Was she that
naďve? The burly man headed for the portside window and gazing out
into space, he took the time to gather his thoughts. "His presence
disturbs me," Chakotay divulged. "because I believe he's come
for you. In my opinion, that's why he's traveling with us." Turning
around, Chakotay studied Seven carefully, then took a large gulp of his
drink. "I’m being silly aren’t I? It’s not like you want to
explore a relationship with him right?" He asked avidly.
Seven stared at him, understanding the need for a
white lie at this very moment, but all her research indicated that a
relationship could not be built on subterfuge. "You are correct in
assuming he has feelings for me and you will not be pleased, but he
kissed me earlier today, in the Cargo Bay at approximately 11:00 hours…
I did not realize his intentions until after it happened."
Chakotay crossed his arms across his burly chest.
“So did you slap him?”
Seven blinked, pondering. “No.”
His brow crinkled slightly. “So you pushed him
Chakotay scowled. "Then how did you indicate
that his attentions were NOT welcome?"
Instantly, the blonde regretted her actions that
at the time seemed so appropriate. "I must apologize for my lack of
She kissed him back!? Gawking
at her, Chakotay became livid. "So much for fidelity!"
"I did not instigate it." Seven became
angry at his attacking tone. “It is not entirely my fault?!”
"But you didn't resist did you?" He
accused her. "How far did it go huh?"
"We did NOT copulate!" Seven responded
flustered. "I have not been entirely unfaithful."
"Oh so you've been just partially unfaithful!
Well that makes it alright!" He mocked her. He'd be damned if he
was going to alleviate her guilt from such an encounter. "So much
for being in a mutually exclusive partnership!" He started pacing
back and forth, then suddenly he stopped and slammed his drink down on
the table. "As long as we're dating, I forbid you to see him!"
Chakotay ordered hotly.
Seven took exception. "You forbid?" Her
voice was dangerously low.
Seven lifted her chin. "With all due respect
Commander… That is not your decision to make. He is my friend."
All of Chakotay’s instincts had warned him when
Seven first asked him for a date. She is Borg, an emotionless drone,
stability will not be found within her, don't risk it! But no, his eyes
could not deny the external beauty, her sexy, lean figure. And well…
he was a man! With needs! What could it hurt? Yet, that very
thinking got him into serious trouble before. The truth was he
had terrible luck with women and unfortunately that bad luck was holding
much to his disappointment.
"I do not want you to see him!" He
Seven knew from her research how illogical humans
became when angry. "I do not believe we should discuss this matter
any further until you have calmed down!" She went to leave.
Reluctantly, Seven halted.
"Listen," he stated in a low pensive
voice, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I care for you.” He
paused, taking in a deep breath. “I’m willing to try and work
through this because I believe we can have a future together."
In light of their argument, Seven did not think it
was a good idea to continue. She did not mean to hurt him, but after
Axum's kiss she was truly curious to see if she could feel more with
"Well?" Chakotay exhaled audibly,
rubbing his forehead. "What about us? Or are you going to tell me
you don't have any feelings for me?"
Seven honestly knew that verbalizing the truth in
this instance would be severely inadequate. Her cheeks grew hotter as
her anxiety increased. "I am not sure how I should respond?"
Chakotay blinked. "How about, I have strong
feelings for you… or I'm in love with you… unless…" His jaw
stiffened. "…You want to break up?!" He growled.
Seven conceded the truth. "In all… honesty,
I have been considering such an action for some time."
His face turned a deeper shade of red. "How
could you do this to me?!"
Seven stared at him befuddled at his accusation.
“I have been pondering such a decision long before Axum arrived on
"You expect me to believe that! Why don't you
just admit it?! You're still in love with him?"
"I do not know what I feel!" Seven
"But you feel something for him or you
wouldn't be breaking up with me so easily!"
"It is more complicated than that!"
Seven stated thickly, not expecting this to be so emotionally charged.
"That's precisely what I'm talking
about!" In an instant, he was before her, invading her personal
Seven instinctually backed up until her back met
He took in a deep calming breath before speaking.
“You've given up on us and we haven't even begun to explore our
relationship.” Slowly, he brought his meaty hand up, to stroke her
cheek. “I've taken things slowly for your benefit not mine, but maybe
that's not the answer. Maybe you need more." Leaning in closer, he
could feel her increased respiration on his face. "How do you know
what you truly feel when we haven’t even consummated our relationship?”
"You wish to copulate?!" Seven
questioned, shaken. “Now?”
Thinking about the possibility of sex that he hadn’t
had in ages, the big man’s eyes dilated. “Think about it Seven,
we've never been intimate, really intimate with one another and you’re
a virgin, so you have no idea what’s it like to be with a man. Sex,”
he paused. Bad wording, too crass. “Making love with someone
you care about changes everything and it bonds you in ways I cannot
Seven’s eyes widened, but the Commander couldn’t
tell if it was desire or reticence.
“I'm certain it would clarify things for
you." He assumed, confident that he could seduce her. “And I
assure you, it would be an experience you'd never forget.”
Feeling frantic about the situation, she found
herself in, Seven thought rapidly through her available choices. Could
he be right, despite the Captain suggesting that copulating was not the
answer? Janeway had informed her it would not guarantee falling in
love and Seven had no reason to not believe her mentor.
"You know you want to.” He murmured against
her lips. Pressing his large frame up against her, he tried to make the
decision for her. “You’re only holding back because it’s your
first time and you’re afraid." His hands slowly slid down her
arms, and one stealthily moved across to her chest. “But I won’t
hurt you. I can be slow and gentle until you’re ready for more.”
Leaning in he kissed her.
“Chakotay?” Seven breathed out worried.
Boldly, he squeezed her left breast almost
painfully and to convince her without a doubt that he was ready for
more, shoved his bulge of arousal against her.
Gasping, Seven suddenly became frightened of
becoming intimate the Commander. I am not ready for this! This is
wrong! Pushing him away, she grabbed his hand, looking aghast.
"I cannot do this!"
Keeping his anger reigned in, he gave her an
ultimatum. "This is your last chance Seven."
“My last chance?! At what, love?” Seven
countered. "Ask yourself if you are honestly in love with me
Commander? A love that overwhelms you so much that you think of nothing
Looking into her sharp blue eyes, Chakotay
hesitated. Was he… in love with her? The
way Seven described?
"I don't know, but I'm willing to explore
what I do feel with you." He really did want the opportunity to
find out, acknowledging only to himself that his motives were not
entirely sincere. Sex and time with her
could help me fall in love… or at the very least, maybe help me forget
the past and I’m not adverse to that. After all, the woman I fell for
so many years ago never gave me a chance… and most likely never will.
It was like déjŕ vu all over again.
To Seven, utilizing the Captain’s definition of
the word seemed quite effective and it brought out the obvious fact that
even Chakotay wasn’t sure about what he felt. "I realize this is
my error, but I have tried for over a month, yet I still feel…
nothing. I am sorry, but I do not love you Chakotay and I will not
copulate with you.”
She feels… nothing?! Damn her?! Damn the both of
them! "Then to hell with you!"
Seven quirked an eyebrow up, dismayed by his
"Don't bother, just get out!" What
more was there to say? She had made her decision.
Even though this was beyond her control, she knew
she had damaged him. Feeling culpable, Seven quietly left.
Not being able to sleep, Janeway invited Jaffen to
have a late night dinner with her. She still wasn’t sure letting him
stay onboard was a wise idea, but knew it would be an excellent
distraction against the reoccurring thoughts of her Astrometrics
officer. The young woman's face just kept hovering in her mind and it
was becoming a severe hindrance to her peace of mind. So, obviously
needing to move on, the older woman conceded that she now had the means
to do so. If nothing else, Jaffen was a gentleman and he would be
patient with her. Kathryn just wasn't sure if she would be patient with
herself. Just what exactly did she want from him? Love,
commitment, sex, marriage, children?
The chime at her door signified his timely
"Come!" Janeway called out as she took
the roast ham from her replicator. Visually, the ham looked well done,
but not burnt and inhaling through her nose revealed a pleasant scent. This
might be considered one of my rare successes, she thought proudly
bringing it to the table.
Jaffen entered her quarters, immediately inhaling
the aroma that filled the room. "What smells so good?"
Janeway giggled. "This does. I just hope it
tastes as good as it looks." She gave him a facetious warning.
"You remember how I cook right?"
Sitting down at the dinner table, he beamed at
her. "Of course I do, but it never stopped me from loving
The declaration caught her off guard, even as it
delighted her aching heart. She laughed nervously. "That's a good
thing, because it hasn't gotten much better!"
"Nonsense, this all looks delicious."
She raised her eyebrows. "We'll see,"
she pointed to the different dishes in turn. "There's ham,
asparagus, cooked carrots, wild rice, corn bread and freshly replicated
"Are these all Earth delicacies?"
"Well, not exactly, but they were traditional
foods where I grew up?"
"I'm sure it will be fine."
Janeway surveyed the table to make sure nothing
was missing, noting she had set the candles, but had forgotten to light
them. Excusing herself, she quickly brought back a replicated lighter.
"Candles?" He asked hopeful. "Is
this a… romantic setting?" The custom of dining with lighted
adornments was very similar to his culture in that regard.
Kathryn answered with caution. "In all
honesty Jaffen, I don't know. I just thought it would be relaxing."
Kathryn felt at ease with him and she didn’t want that to change, didn’t
want any pressure.
"I'm happy with that."
"Good, let’s eat."
Dinner was acceptable if not up to chef quality,
but Jaffen didn't mind, because he was enjoying their easy banter and
idle chatter. He was pleased to be spending quality time with Kathy and
Janeway was simply glad to have company so she could concentrate on
something other than whom Seven was currently with and what they could
Day Three, Morning:
At first, being on a Borg vessel gave Seven an
eerie feeling. During some of her regeneration cycles, she had
unsettling visions regarding her assimilation and although they were
infrequent, it gave her an adequate reason not to visit a Borg vessel
any time soon. That and the loss of 18 years of conscious independent
thought made her dislike what the Borg represented, despite being Borg
Thankfully, it didn’t take long for the Klingon,
Croix to escort her to Axum. They found him in a corridor on level 22,
section b, kneeling before a wall. He was in the process of repairing a
minor malfunction to a circuit node that was causing a dozen alcoves’
energy signatures to fluctuate. Piles of cabling had been ripped out of
the wall as he navigated his hands inside the tight confines. There were
large, medium and small sized wires, tubes and circuits all wound
together in a small area of space making it difficult to effect repairs.
But a Borg ship was not designed with human comfort in mind.
"You have a visitor," The Klingon
grumbled and left.
Axum seemed ignorant of her presence at first and
kept diligently working, but Seven knew he had heard - all Borg had
enhanced auditory senses.
Seven willfully suppressed the uncomfortable
feeling that she was being unintentionally ignored. "I need to
speak with you." She stated attempting to divert his attention.
"Why didn't you tell me you were dating
Commander Chakotay?" He asked with his back to her.
"I did not feel it was relevant at the
time." She answered honestly.
"Relevant?!" Astounded, he turned to
look at her, his brow crinkled. "I told you I was in love with you!”
"I was confused... ” Seven tried to
comprehend her actions from his point of view, but there was so much she
did not understand. “I did not expect you to kiss me! I was unprepared
He stood up to face her, moving closer. “Yet you
didn’t push me away.” He watched her carefully. “You enjoyed it,
Seven blushed. “I… I am new to courtship
rituals. They are often difficult to comprehend… and inefficient… I
am often confused on how to proceed even with the most simplest of
I suppose that’s a good excuse… Axum
folded his arms across his chest, his stance still ridged, his
"If I have damaged you emotionally in any way
because of my ignorance, then I--"
"Are you in love with him?" He demanded
cutting her words off.
"--apologize." Seven finished her
previous statement, her eyes wide. She took only a moment to compose a
response. "No, I have discontinued our affiliation.”
"Really?" Axum exclaimed, stunned. It
was a rather sudden decision. He was beginning to doubt he had a chance
with her, but now? He hadn't expected this turn around so soon.
"You broke up with him?"
"And you’re not upset?" He asked
"I am… frustrated with my lack of
understanding men and their expectations regarding sexuality,” Axum
raised an eyebrow, “but the total experience was…
He shrugged off a passing vision of her having sex
with him. "Well, I guess you're free to explore other options
now." He offered in a strained voice, starting to go back to work
on the conduit.
"Yes," Seven tightened her grip behind
her back. "but I wish to explore a relationship with you." She
added staring at him intently.
He turned around swiftly. "Are you sure that’s
what you want, so soon after your breakup?"
"Is that a problem?” Seven asked concerned.
“I assure you I will not rush into anything prematurely. I realize I
am still new to intimacy, but I would like to court you.” She finished
“If you think that’s best, I foresee no
problem.” He accommodated her easily.
"Then you find me acceptable?"
He beamed at her foolish question. "Of
course, Annika. You are more than acceptable."
Satisfied with his reply, Seven surveyed her
surroundings noting that they were quite alone. Hesitant, yet needful of
something, she closed the distance between them. "May I kiss
you?" She whispered.
"Absolutely," He breathed out in
As she lowered her head to touch his ascending
lips, Axum thought about how the situation couldn't have worked out
Day Three, Evening:
Janeway reclined comfortably on her bed attempting
to distance herself from reality by reading a trashy romance novel. Ten
minutes into the reading session, a hot sex scene came up turning her
thoughts towards a certain blonde, so book marking it, she set it down
on her nightstand.
Picking up one of her favorite poetry books, she
began to read. Janeway had always liked poetry, found it meaningful and
relaxing. Unfortunately after a few unrequited love poems that made her
think of soft, smooth, pale skin on a certain feminine form, she slammed
the book closed grumbling to herself.
"Computer, play Chopin, No. 19 in E minor,
Opus 72, No 1, medium volume level."
It didn't take long before the music swirled
around her ears drums soothing her troubled mind. The tones of the mild
melody rose and dropped subtly with perfect pitch. The cadence swept her
to another place and another time. Through the mid-way point, the
movement brought her to tears. The somber composition, with its in-sync
rhythms reminded her too much of someone else's perfection.
"Computer halt music!"
She began to pace the room. "This is
She thought of going back to the holodeck and her
holo-family, but no, she wasn't in the mood for that either. Still she
needed a distraction! Something to do! Something to occupy her mind!
Without speculating on it too much, she hit her
COM badge. "Janeway to Jaffen."
"Are you busy?"
"No, is there something I can do for
"I could use some company."
"I'll be right there."
"I'll be waiting." She teased, cutting
Less than a minute later, the chime sounded and
she ordered the computer to let him in.
He walked in with a colorful bouquet of flowers,
roses, violets and petunias, all varieties of flowers she liked and
Janeway's eyes twinkled when she saw them.
"How lovely. What's the occasion?" She
sniffed the pleasant aroma, taking in a deep breath.
"I'm visiting you, what other reason do I
need?" He responded playfully.
"Indeed, should I be… concerned?" She
flirted while replicating a vase.
Jaffen was pleased with her response. "I
guess you could say I'm just seeing where the moment takes me."
"Sounds like good advice." Janeway
remarked lightly, placing them on the table in front of her sofa. She
knew Jaffen quite well from her time on Quarran and she did like his
company. It helped her to relax which was something she desperately
"It is." His grey eyes burned into hers
when she looked back at him.
After, she placed the flowers exactly the way she
liked them, Janeway waved with a quick motion of her hand towards the
sofa. "Join me?"
His eyes never left her smiling face.
Standing at the entrance to Axum’s quarters,
Laura surveyed the mess before her, silently wishing for better living
conditions. They were still working on making more room for their
individual quarters, but it was not easy with so much useless Borg
equipment around. Many of their crew compliment still needed alcoves to
regenerate, but some needed only sleep and others wanted to try it
despite having to regenerate, so a need for personal space was becoming
a serious issue.
In Laura’s opinion, the sphere could never meet
their long term needs and truthfully, she didn’t want it to. As a
former Starfleet officer, she hated it and everything it represented.
The Borg vessel was beyond redemption and leaving it would be a
Turning her head, she spied the young alien, Axum
as he reclined on his makeshift bed with his eyes closed. Laura cleared
her throat to announce her presence. “I heard you had a visitor today?”
Before the voice interrupted his daydreams, he had
been thinking about soft ivory skin surrounded by cool, incredibly sexy
implants. Reluctantly opening his eyes, Axum sat up, flexing his arms as
he stretched on his bumpy mattress.
"Remind me to barter for some decent
mattresses the next chance we have?" He grinned at her trying to
lighten the mood.
"I will remind you, if the opportunity comes.”
She paused intentionally, but the question needed to be asked. “How
has your progress been with her?"
He sat up on his lumpy bed and smiled at her.
"I've made excellent progress."
"Good because we're only thirty light years
from our destination.”
“Are we that close already?”
“Yes, are you prepared to ask her?”
"No, I can't rush her in this. There's still
a lot to consider."
“She doesn't exactly remember what we had, but
she’s willing to start again and I don’t want to risk ruining it.
Besides, she just recently broke up with her boyfriend."
“She has a boyfriend?” Laura quirked an
"Yes, Commander Chakotay."
“Voyager’s first Officer?!”
He looked up sharply. "She’s not dating him
anymore. I told you they’ve broken up.”
“Just like that? Isn’t that kind of sudden?”
Laura sounded skeptical.
Axum eyed her intently. “I know what you’re
thinking, but Annika doesn’t lie. She wouldn’t do that.”
“Are you sure? I saw her while in their medical
bay. She’s quite different in reality, more Borg than I would have
“I’m sure… ” He replied distastefully. “And
she’s human enough for me." He added with absolute certainty.
"Of course, but if she does not wish to join
us, you will have a difficult decision to make."
"I am aware of that." He scowled not
needing to be reminded.
"Yes and I've found alternatives.” He stood
up, hope brewing in his eyes. “Did you know planet ‘Eden’ has an
unusual atmosphere that is filled with energized cloak-like resonating
Laura frowned. “No, I didn’t.”
“Well, it does.” He replied enthusiastically.
“And it can successfully hide our presence from orbit."
"Hide?" Laura repeated.
"Axum, I know what you're thinking and it
won't work. We've been through this a dozen times."
Staring into Laura’s eyes he replied quietly,
"I love her."
Seeing his pain made her ache inside, but Laura
had no words of wisdom for him. "I know you do, but you have to
think this through, leaving your heart out of it."
"I can't… and I won't!” He replied
“No!” He rebuked, determination flooding his
eyes. “I'm telling you Laura, all of us can make a life on Planet
Eden. No one will find us here!"
"And this is your final decision?"
"What other decision could I make?! I have to
Her eyebrow twitched in response. She could have
said more, maybe even what she felt for him, but deep down inside she
knew he only had eyes for Annika. Jealousy aside, she hoped it didn't
destroy them all.
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