DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. However, I sure wish that Paramount would create a new Star Trek series of good quality that would keep the idea alive so that we Fan Fiction writers don't have to do all the work. :)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: There are several sex scenes in this story. On top of that, sex is talked about. However, this story is not just sex (talk). It simply turned out to be a good base to build on other stuff. Note that this story deals with a relationship that has a more dominant and a more submissive partner. However, this is not Dom/sub by any stretch. This is merely two people that fit well together where BOTH people have an equal say in their relationship, just that they prefer to fulfill different roles in said relationship. Also, note, the Delaney sisters are in this story and they are close. Very close. So close that some people might have a problem with it, but rest assured it's not so close as some Voyager people would wish it to be. :P On a side note, Tal Celes also has a pretty decent role in this story. If you read some Voyager Fan Fiction, you will probably know her because she is very often featured as a supporting character. But when I was checking out her bio, I discovered that she has actually only been seen in two, count them, two, episodes. My point here is I find it interesting how some characters can just stick with you and appeal to so many; not just Tal, but also the Delaney sisters or Ro Laren. (Ro is not in this story, just using her as an example for this side note.) She was also in only a few episodes of TNG yet everyone pretty much knows her. But on the other hand, characters like Tuvok and Neelix are often nothing more than just mentioned because they are part of the main cast and therefore basically have to be mentioned. Strange.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To mhw.weckseler[at]gmail.com

Twenty-five to Life
By H.W.


Chapter 13

Day eighteen. (afternoon.)

"Tom Paris, I'm going to kill you!"

Hearing the shout, Tom jumped up from the couch and moved behind it to have somewhat of a barrier between him and the volatile Klingon.

Vlasana lifted her eyebrows as the Klingon stormed by. She looked at Seven who was still standing at the door. "Um, come in?"

They stood side by side for a moment as they looked at B'Elanna and Tom circling around the couch.

"Now B'Elanna, calm down. Why don't you tell me what I did so that I can tell you that I didn't mean it?"

"What you did?" B'Elanna asked in disbelief as she faked a move to the left. But Tom had expected it and was able to stay out of her reach. "Who the hell died and made you recruiter of my House?"

"Is that it?" Tom asked surprised. "Come on B'Elanna I just talked to a few people."

"A few people?!" B'Elanna asked furiously as she jumped over the couch. Tom moved quickly to the other side of the couch.

"He told me that he talked to about ten people," Vlasana pointed out to Seven who was still standing beside her.

"Then it were most definitely the right people to spread the word," Seven replied as they looked how her be'nal and her friend were chasing each other. In the back of her mind, Seven realized that Tom was glad that B'Elanna actually liked him. Otherwise she would have more than likely simply lifted the couch and thrown it to the side.

"He approached two of the main representatives of your Mountain Clans. They talked to the other Clans and the majority, over two hundred people, decided that they want to join our House. He also talked to Jennifer and Megan Delaney. Two very charming women of the Voyager crew. Charming enough that if they start talking to you, you will probably listen. They are very outgoing and love the fact that they can make new friends with the Urdians that are on Voyager for the modifications. He also approached Danna Jalis, who on his turn talked to his fellow mess-hall proprietors."

Vlasana cringed. "Cooks? All of them?"

"Yes," Seven confirmed. "It seems that our House is the talk of the day in every mess-hall in the Fleet. We went for dinner with the two people of the Red Hand Clan, the Delaney sisters, and Tal Celes. While we were eating and talking, people kept approaching us. Not just individuals, but also people that talk for groups. By the time we were done eating we had a total of over four hundred people that want to join our House."

That many?" Vlasana asked surprised. She winced once more when Tom finally moved a second too late and was tackled to the floor. B'Elanna straddled him, grabbed his shirt and started shaking him. Making his head hit the floor sometimes.

"Shouldn't we...?" She pointed at the two friends.

"No. If B'Elanna truly wanted to hurt him, he would be bleeding by now," Seven reasoned.

"Ah, in that case... I am surprised by the high number. The Clans, that I can understand. But the others? Surely they couldn't all have read the information on Klingon Houses."

"They did not," Seven agreed. "However the word seems to have spread that the biggest Mountain Clans in the Fleet have opted to join our House instead of fighting between them to unite into one Clan. That was all the information they needed. As you know, on your world you can only become a Clan member by being born or married into one. But suddenly there is this House that is so much like their Clans and suddenly they can join into a House that the Clans are part of by merely being accepted and promise to live by certain rules. It is like a dream come true for them."

"Come on, my Lord, I merely did what is expected of me," Tom spoke up, having had enough of being shaken around. "It's clearly stated that House members have to promote the glory of the House."

B'Elanna growled.

"Alright, alright, so I had a little fun along the way," Tom relented. "You know me when I get carried away. I was just having some fun. I had no idea that these people were so itchy to join the house."

With a final push, B'Elanna moved off Tom and allowed him to get up.

Tom was still straightening his clothes when suddenly the door opened without the chime sounding; indicating an authorized override. A Group of six men and two women entered. One of them spoke up. "I'm Commander Graints of the Urdian Defense Force. The computer sent an automated warning that an assault was in progress here."

B'Elanna lifted her hand sheepishly. "That would be me. Sorry, I forgot the scanners. My friend here and I were having a disagreement and were goofing around. I was shaking him around a bit."

The Commander looked around the room and took in the other people. The scene looked harmless enough. He saw that the man that had been indicated by 'my friend here' lifted his hand in a meek greeting. "I see. Then I apologize for the intrusion. I assume that you will allow a review of the scanner logs of the last ten minutes so that we can close the file with an official observation of the fact?"

Tom quickly glanced at B'Elanna to see if she would object. "Sure, no problem," He assured. "My friend was just a little upset because I got a bit carried away with the promotion of her new House."

As if a switch was thrown, the slight suspicion left the Commander's eyes and a wide smile bloomed on his lips. He came closer and bowed his head a little in B'Elanna's direction. "Ah, so you are the stranger that united the Mountain Clans under her preeminence. It's an honor. In fact my squadron was talking about selecting someone to tome and speak to you."

B'Elanna lifted her hands in disbelief. "Oh for crying out loud. Seven?"

Seven couldn't hide her smile. "These are external affairs, my Lord. This is your terrain. I only come in on the end, once you approved potential members and I disagree for some reason."

B'Elanna let herself drop onto the couch in surrender. "Fine, I give up."

She pointed at Commander Graints. "And you don't want to talk to me; you want to talk to the House recruiter here." The last was said while pointing at Tom. "Tom? Congratulations; you are promoted. As of now you are the official Public Relations manager of the House of BortaS. Recruitment is part of your job. Be enthusiastic but honest. Give all that want to join the right documentation to read. And I demand that you at least asked them once if they really are sure about this. Plus there must be at least two days between giving them information and signing them up for joining when the House is created. Give them time to think. Disappoint me and next time they will actually have to pull me off you."

"Yes sir," Tom said with a broad grin.

"Call me sir again and I'll knock your teeth out; you can spread that news as well," B'Elanna said annoyed. "Sir indicates a man, and for that I'm missing a certain something that I don't want to have in any case. Lord on the other hand is a title that's also used by women. I'm the Lord of the House and don't mind being addressed as Lord."

"Got you," Tom assured. "Hey, I think on Earth there was a Queen once that had the title of Lord. Lord of Mann, I think."

"Lord of men?" Seven repeated, doubting that her lover would like the reference.

"No, Mann, M,a,n,n," Tom spelled out the word after having heard how Seven had pronounced it. "I think it was some island that was owned by some other island."

"Knowing my luck it was probably owned by some island on which only two women lived, but everyone thought that they had the coolest place to live and wanted to live there as well," B'Elanna said, slowly getting some of her humor back, but still annoyed that their little plan for a House was growing so much out of proportions that fast.

Tom shrugged. "I'm not sure; it's not like I studied it. I think the island was called something like Britland or Engtannia... one of those two." He waved a hand, dismissing the matter. "Anyway, I'll pass the word. It's either Lord Torres or Lieutenant Torres, alright?"

"Or B'Elanna," Seven pointed out. "We have agreed that our House will stay separate of the running of the Fleet. So if it is an informal setting but still on duty, my be'nal would prefer the name B'Elanna, I am sure."

B'Elanna shot her wife a grin. "You are so damn right, my Lady."

"Please, you have been standing for too long," Vlasana said to the Defense Force members. "Please do sit down. I'm sure that with a little squeezing,"

"Oh, we don't want to intrude more than we have," The Commander declined.

"Neh," Tom said. "Stay, unless you really have to go. It seems that I have some information for you to read."

Day nineteen. (Morning.)

Jennifer and Megan had a well established routine in the morning. Even with the new quarters they would constantly run into each other if they tried to do the same things at the same time. So they had simply decided to continue the routine they started on Voyager. On the even star dates Jennifer would get up half an hour before Megan and take her morning shower, get dressed, and then make breakfast. While Megan would sleep that half hour longer and eat breakfast right after her shower. And on the next day they would reverse their roles.

So Jennifer was slightly surprised to see a nude Megan walk into the room while she herself was stretching the sleep out of her body. Not that she was surprised that Megan was nude. That was one more of those small differences between them. Megan preferred to sleep nude if they didn't have any guest, while Jennifer preferred to sleep in a t-shirt that was several sizes too large for her. But she was surprised because it was one of the days where Megan was the one that could sleep half an hour longer.

"Morning, what are you reading?" Jennifer asked with a yawn when she saw that her sister was reading a PADD.

Megan treated her to a smile. "Morning. If you want you can go back to sleep. I woke up an hour ago and couldn't sleep anymore. So I already took my shower and got everything ready for breakfast. I assume that mom's morning platter is alright?"

Jennifer crawled up until she was sitting against the headboard, deciding that she didn't really need more sleep. She smiled when she realized that it really was a good thing that neither of them suffered from a morning temper. They started off in the morning by talking, and it was also the last thing they did at night. "Mom's morning platter is fine. PADD?"

"Oh," Megan said, realizing that she hadn't answered the question as to what it was. "I'm reading up a bit on Voyager's data on Klingon Houses."

She sat down on her bed as she looked at the PADD. Neither of them were bothered by the fact that Megan wasn't dressed. They were as comfortable with each other's nudity as they were with their own. It had happened often enough that they shared a shower because one of them was running late. The only reason why they preferred to shower alone was because that way they had more room to move. "I thought it would be better to read up on the stuff. You know Tom; he can become a bit... enthusiastic about new things. While in our talk with B'Elanna and Seven we talked more about what kind of roles we would play if we joined the House. So I decided to read up a bit more. I wanted to be sure that there weren't any surprises."

"And?" Jennifer asked, stretching once more.

Megan shrugged. "It still sounds cool. The only thing that bothers me a bit about it is this whole emphasis on honor. And the fact that you can be put out of the House for shaming the House. But Jenny, both those things are sooo open to interpretation. I think it's a good thing that we are talking about B'Elanna and Seven here, because if the leaders of the House want, the meaning of Honor and shaming can be stretched to cover pretty much everything."

"So," Jennifer teased with a smile, "you mean that the leaders of a House have to be Honorable enough to not use Honor to dishonor the Honor of a lower House member?"

Megan frowned trying to work that out. "Um, yeah, something like that. Anyway, I still like the idea."

"Great," Jennifer said, deciding to get up. "That means I don't have to read the stuff until we get the official rules. Hey, since you have breakfast prepared already, want to help me? Wash my back?"

Megan smirked. "What did I tell you about not getting lazy Jen?"

Jennifer pulled off her T-shirt before waving a dismissive hand at her sister. "Yeah, yeah. Come on. Actually, I have something I want to discuss with you."

"Alright," Megan agreed as she put the PADD on her bed and got up to follow her sister. She stepped into the bathroom just as Jennifer was turning on the water. Feeling generous and not wanting to get bored having to sit around while Jennifer took a shower, Megan stepped into the shower stall as well and took the soap and started to wash Jennifer's back and arms. "So what you want to talk about?"

"I had a dream last night that I really liked and I wanted to see how you feel about it," Jennifer said, letting her head hang forward and enjoying both the water and the sensation of being washed.

"Oeeh, was it something naughty?" Megan teased.

"It was fun," Jennifer countered with a smile. "You see, it was about the two of us finding ourselves someone to share, on an ongoing basis."

Megan stopped her movements for a moment when hearing that. Then she finally continued and said with a tone that made it clear that she was truly listening, "Go on."

Jennifer turned and took the soap from her sister. She smiled when Megan moved around her and took the position Jennifer just had. No asking was needed and Jennifer started to wash her sister's back in turn. "See, the thing is, now in the beginning we are surrounded by a Fleet filled with forty thousand Urdians; more than enough people for us to find people we want to romp around with for a night. But that is also part of the problem. They are all Urdians. They all do that 'mate for life' thing. And we can't really count the Voyager crew."

"Because we already slept with the ones we want to sleep with, and soon they will probably pair up with Urdians if they haven't already," Megan agreed. Then she moved to the side a bit so that her sister could stand more under the water while she washed those parts of her body that were too intimate to be washed by a sister, no matter how close they were.

"Right," Jennifer agreed. "So soon... relatively soon, there won't be much choice left, despite the size of the Fleet. But I had this dream last night about us being in somewhat of a triangle relationship."

"Somewhat?" Megan repeated with a frown.


Jennifer offered the soap to her sister again, but Megan declined. Having her back washed had been fun, but the rest was really of no use since she had already showered not long before. Instead she took the bottle of shampoo and handed it to her sister.

Jennifer started to massage some of the shampoo into her hair while she explained. "You see, the fun thing about the dream was that it was very clear that in daily life you and I were the closest, and that person even preferred it that way. They were a follower, not a leader. More even than you."

"They?" Megan repeated. "I thought we were talking one person."

"We are," Jennifer assured. "I'm saying 'they' as in the sexless person indicator. I can't remember if it was a man or a woman. Point is, the two of us were still 'us' with our dynamics between us. Just that we had someone else living in our quarters that, um, supplied our sex needs and that we actually really liked having around to also talk to and do other things with, which fitted well into our life because the person knew not to try and come between us, and didn't even want to. All three of us were happy in our triangle roles."

"Sounds nice," Megan had to agree. "Kinda like those old-fashioned roles where one partner is the one that goes working while the other partner is the one that stays home and takes care of the house. Just that with us there would be two people that go out and work and the third person would have that stay at home life."

"Kinda, but not quite," Jennifer disagreed. "Since we can't have a stay at home partner. It is been made very clear that every person in the Fleet will have a job to do. But yeah, a partner that wants to live with the Delaney sisters and having those sisters be the clear decision making part of the group."

Having finished washing the shampoo out of her hair, Jennifer stepped out of the shower, followed by Megan and the sisters started to dry off as they continued to talk.

"The problem is that triangle relationships never work out so nice in real life as they do in planning," Megan pointed out. "Sex is a big part of it. The best and most involved sex is still one on one, so soon one of the partners will feel left out because she is getting less sex."

"Not a problem with us," Jennifer reminded. "We don't have sex, so we would be sharing this person, and the person would just have to be glad that they get sex, regardless of which sister they have in bed that day."

"You mean, set up a sex schedule?" Megan asked with a giggle. "Kinda like the person that had to get up earlier to take the first shower and make breakfast is the one that can have sex that day?"

"Something like that," Jennifer agreed. "Having sex once every two days would still be a lot more than we have now, or ever had. We may play around with different people, but it's not like we take someone home each night."

"As much as I like sex, I'm not in the mood for it every day," Megan reminded. "And neither are you."

True," Jennifer agreed once more. Having both dried off, the sisters walked out of the bathroom and over to the walk-in closet to get dressed. "Well, we could turn it into a first option for sex instead. If it's my day but I don't feel like having sex, then you can have sex with the person instead, and the next day it would be your first choice day and if you want to have sex again you do. And of course there is also the possibility that this person is actually very willing to have sex twice in one day, just that the one with the first right then has the choice of whether she wants to go first or last. So we would have to find someone that isn't freaked out about the fact I'm patiently waiting my turn while you are having sex because you had first choice that day."

"Or that doesn't think it's weird that we sometimes shower together and wash each other," Megan added.

"Or doesn't get jealous of that fact," Jennifer agreed. "That doesn't mind the fact that we are so touchy with each other."

"God, that sounds just like us having our private little sex slave," Megan said with an eager smile. She really liked the idea, just that she doubted that they would find someone that would so willingly be that third partner that basically has only a second say in decisions that involve all of them, and no say in which sister they would like to sleep with. Just whether they would like to sleep. "Hmm, you do know that this nice little plan could be interrupted by the person saying that they are not in the mood. And of course, if we do find someone that would want to be this third person, that we have to be fair to this person."

"I think having a schedule is fair," Jennifer said with a frown.

Megan shook her head. "No, what I mean is that if we have this person living here and seeing to our needs, then we would have to be fair... faithful. No more sleeping with other people we like, no more sleeping with the yummy alien of the week that is visiting the ship."

Jennifer's frown deepened. "Well, I guess you got a point there. I wouldn't want this person to go sleeping with anyone but us, so that means that in turn we wouldn't be able to sleep with anyone but this person."

Being fully dressed, the sisters went over to the kitchen area and started to eat the breakfast Megan had prepared earlier.

"Plus we would have to make a choice," A deep in thought Jennifer said after some time. This was definitely more complex than it had seemed in her dream. "Man or woman I mean. I mean, if those sex fantasies that others have about us were true and we did actually have sex with each other, then the choice would obviously be for a man since that way we could have a man and a woman. But since we don't, and don't want to... tough choice. I really like being with a man, but I also like being with a woman."

"Me too," Megan agreed. "And the problem is, if we pick one then we would exclude the other because we already agreed that we would be faithful to this person. So, what can you really not live without?"

They ate in silence for a moment as both of them thought about that. Finally Jennifer decided, "Woman. I don't want to sound cliché here but the one thing I really, really, really like about a man is the way they can fill you deeper than fingers ever can. But so can toys. But to never again being able to play with breasts or taste a woman? So I would say this third person would have to be a woman."

"A woman that loves to use toys, even if it is just to give pleasure," Megan added. "I agree. Which means we would need to get some toys and... I guess dedicate one of the rooms a sex room because, sorry sis, I really love you, but I don't think I would like it very much to see you having sex."

Jennifer pursed her lips in thought. She fully agreed with her sister. As much as she loved her, as much fun as it was to tease her with the fact that she had heard Megan have sex with someone, she really didn't need to see it. The sounds were easily taken care off by putting some music on. "Well, we could use that second bedroom after all. We took the master bedroom for us because it was big enough for two beds, and it had those little extra rooms attached that we turned into our personal domain. But we did get a two bedroom set of quarters because we are sisters and not married to each other. We could turn that smaller bedroom into a bedroom for this third person. That way we can have sex there, and she would have her own room."

"Which would add in making it clear that it's us, and her," Megan added, liking the idea. "We have our room, she has hers. We would lose our hobby room though."

Jennifer shrugged. "Then we either have to use our private rooms for that, or start using the living room. And for the rest we can use the holodeck like other people do. And keep in mind, if we have someone living here that keeps us sexually active, we don't need those small rooms for ourselves and we can actually use them for our hobbies and leave the doors open."

"True," Megan had to agree. "So that only leaves finding someone that we like physically enough to really want to have sex with her, and mentally enough to also want to spent time with her besides having sex, since she would live here."

"Well, yeah," Jennifer said, knowing that this was actually the hardest part. After all, who would so willingly put themselves secondary to the people she is living with and actually like it? "But we do have the luck that casual sex is very normal under the Urdians as long as they aren't married. We can try a few people if we need to. Just talk to them and see if they like the idea, and if they do we can try them out. And if it doesn't work out we kick them out, proverbially since we would do so nicely and still be friends of course, and then we search for the next candidate."

"And when will we start this experiment?" Megan asked as she finished her breakfast.

"Well, I also don't want to force it," Jennifer answered. "How about for now all we do is just keep eyes and ears open. If one of us finds someone she likes and thinks that the other will like her as well, we team up on her and see how she acts if the two of us are around her. And after that, we will see."

Day nineteen. (Afternoon.)

Admiral Brika Danara looked around her new office on Voyager. As tempting as the idea had sounded in the beginning, in the end she had decided that it would be better if she didn't share an office with Kathryn. Even though she was married to Kathryn, she still had to portray an image of objectivity. And on a little more personal level, no matter how much she loved her wife, she really didn't want to spend every minute of the day with her. Brika knew that good couples needed a little time apart every day so that they had something to talk about at the end of the day and could listen to how the other person's day was.

The result had been that Kathryn would keep her ready room for herself. Kathryn was the captain of the ship and needed to be close to the bridge, so a comfortable office right next door was just the thing for that. And the small attached bedroom which only just managed to hold a one person bed would continue to be used for those times where Kathryn needed to take a quick nap because an ongoing situation required her to stay close to the bridge.

But since Kathryn was now living in quarters she shared with her wife on the Glory, there was no longer a need for having captain's quarters on Voyager and so Kathryn's old quarters on deck three had been turned into the Admiral's office.

Kathryn's old bedroom had been turned into a small conference room, holding a table that could seat eight people. While the old living room/dining area/office had been turned into Brika's office while actually still keeping pretty much the old layout.

Brika nodded as her eyes did a last track of the room. She liked it. The desk was in the same place where Kathryn's desk had been; with the back to the inner wall of the ship so that she could look out of the window. The turbolift door to her left when she was seated at the desk, and the door to the corridor to her right.

Brika really liked that direct turbo lift. It was a small horizontal turbo shaft that connected to the main turbolift system. But because it was a dedicated shaft it meant that one of the turbolift pods that ran in the system would immediately be sent there when the computer registered that she was in her office. And even better, because it was a dedicated shaft, she didn't have to feel guilty for always taking up one of the turbolift pods since the ship was designed that way. One turbolift was always waiting at that office; it had been that way since Voyager was constructed. So if something interesting came up, Brika could be on the bridge within ten seconds.

Where once had been Kathryn's dining area there still stood a table that seated four people, but now it was a table meant for meetings with only a few people; something you didn't want to take into the then in comparison too big conference room. Like if she wanted to talk one on one with someone.

The sofa that had stood by the wall where the door to the bedroom was located had been removed, and that room was no taken up by a rather impressive floor to ceiling cabinet that took up the entire wall. There was enough room to put things on display, which Brika had already done, but there was still enough storage spaces that were covered by doors. Even in a time of computers, PADDS, and replicators, some things needed to be physically kept somewhere. Especially if you were an Admiral.

And the last thing, something Brika also really liked, was that there was still a bench to sit on under the middle of the three windows, and more than enough room to put decorations on the half a meter deep windowsill with all three windows. Brika had already tastefully decorated those as well. It gave the entire room a more relaxed atmosphere.

"I still have my little bedroom attached to my office," Kathryn pointed out as she came back from having used the bathroom that was still in its old place; connected to what was now the Admiral's conference room. "But where will you sleep when you have to be here longer? Forget about coming across something that keeps us busy for a long time, you as Admiral will have to spend more than one all-nighter just to do the proverbial paper work."

Brika nodded to the bench under the middle window. "That'll do. I fit on there and I already stashed a blanket and pillow in the closet there."

Kathryn frowned as she went over to the bench. "I fell asleep a few times on this thing. Let me tell you, you don't like waking up afterwards; you'll be sore all over."

"It's re-padded," Brika pointed out. "Plus I don't think you had a pillow back then. She walked over to the closet and removed the pillow. She threw it onto the bench before offering, "Here, try it out."

Kathryn definitely was game for that and curled up on the couch. "Comfy," She had to admit after testing it for a moment. "But you can only curl up on it though. Even I can't stretch fully, and you are taller than me."

Brika gave her wife a fond smile. "You did notice how I like to snuggle up to you, right? If I don't have a sexy body beside me that I prefer to snuggle up to, I actually always curl up to sleep. It won't be a problem. Especially since for me this will really be for those occasions where I just want to catch a few hours of sleep and it's not worth it to beam home only to come back here and go on with my job. It's you who needs that real bed you have because you might need to be close to the bridge for days on end in tense situations. I'm the one that is called in to make a decision and leave again. Admirals always leave others to actually take care of the mess they just ordered."

"True," Kathryn had to agree. She playfully curled a finger at her wife and was pleasantly surprised when the woman that was her perfection very willingly snuggled up to her on the couch.

"See, even two people fit on this thing," Brika pointed out, once she was curled half around her wife.

Kathryn chuckled. "Yeah, and your sexy ass is hanging right off the edge I'm willing to bet."

"You would win that bet," Brika happily agreed.

Kathryn kissed her lover before pointing out, "You do realize that now that you have a conference room in here, we will have to live out my long standing fantasy one of these days and have sex on the conference table."

"Oh, I'm fully planning on it," Brika happily agreed. "Unlike that conference room upstairs, or your ready room for that matter, this is my office. An office where nobody can enter without me specifically letting them in by giving the enter command. I fully intent to ravish you on pretty much every horizontal surface in here. From my desk over there all the way to taking you in that nice shower stall in the bathroom. Hey, that's actually vertical. Either way, we'll have fun here Kitten. But, only once we are both officially off duty."

"Aww, but it's way more fun to do it while on duty," Kathryn pouted.

Kathryn was someone that liked to stick to the rules if possible, and only bent them if needed. Though the interpretation for being needed was admittedly sometimes open to discussion. Still, she liked to think of herself as someone that stuck to the rules. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that she would be married to someone that stuck to the rules even more than she herself.

But then again, she had never thought she would ever be married to an Admiral. And in truth, she kinda liked being the one in the relationship that had to persuade her partner to breaks the rules just a little. It was such a difference from having to always be the one that talked to people about sticking to the rules.

Brika kissed her lover and treated her to a smile. "It is, and I'm sure that you won't stop trying to tempt me, my little Kitten. Which is why I have to say no. Just how much fun do you think it would really be if I agreed to it all? Don't you think it would be a lot more fun, and a lot more of a victory if you occasionally manage to get me to do something I really shouldn't?"

"God how I love you," Kathryn merely said in reply. Her wife truly knew her only too well. Kathryn needed her occasional challenge. Beating a challenge was fun. But getting all that you wanted, when you wanted it, would be boring very fast. "Hey, where are you going?"

"Getting up before my ass really falls off this thing," Brika explained as she got up.

"So where will that assistant of yours be located?" Kathryn asked as she got up and put the pillow away. "Just between you and me, I really like that whole married for life thing. That way I don't have to feel jealous about you spending time with him."

Brika chuckled. "Even if Gran and I were both single he wouldn't stand a chance."

Kathryn merely looked at her confused.

"Remember how you told me that in your Federation the tendency for same sex relationships changes per species? With Humans on average ten percent of the people prefer the same gender or like both genders while with Klingons it was... um, what again?"

"Twenty percent," Kathryn offered. "Though it's kinda blurry because that really counts the people that won't mind sleeping with someone of the same gender. I see a difference in that. Klingons are more adventurous by nature. So a lot of them do sleep with someone from the same gender once or twice just to see if they like it. But if you look at people that actually stay in a same sex relationship, it's also about ten percent."

"Well, you never asked because we started talking about how that affected your crew then," Brika reminded. "But you could say that with us Urdians that number is reversed. Ninety percent of us can be considered bisexual. They fall for the person, and not for their gender. Eh, actually that's not entirely true. I was trying to explain something easy, and made it hard. It's still that most people have a preference, most still prefer to take the gender they like the most to bed for some careless fun. But what I really meant is that when they fall, it's for the person. It can very well be that a man has only been to bed with women his entire life, but then he meets his other half, and that other half happens to be a man as well. And then the fact that they are the same gender sure won't stop them from making a life together. It merely means that they have some extra fun as they figure out what same sex lovemaking can be all about."

"I think I understand what you mean," Kathryn assured, wanting her wife to move on to the part that interested Kathryn a lot more; the fact that Gran would never have had a chance, no matter what.

"Good," Brika continued, "So as I said, for about ninety percent of the people, the gender is only second place to the person. But with about ten percent of the people the gender is very important. Some of them only want someone of the opposite sex, and some, like me, only want the same sex. I like Gran, and I think we will have a great working relationship, but I could never bring myself to have sex with him. With any man for that matter."

Kathryn winked. "Lucky me. Because I really like the fact that you only like women, one woman now. So where will Gran be?"

"At first they wanted to put a desk for him where I have that table," Brika said while pointing at the four person table. "But I told them that I want my office for myself. So they gave Gran an office right outside. I think it was once the First Officer's quarters? Well they divided that into two offices, of which the bigger one is almost as big as this one, but is shared by two people. Gran is one of those two people. The other desk will be taken up by someone of Fleet Supply, since they have to be close to the Admiral because they are the ones that need my decision making the most."

"Yeah, I read up on the Fleet departments," Kathryn said thoughtfully, turning away to look out of the window. "Fleet Supply, that sounds so unimportant, but it's actually one of the most important departments you have. I would even rate it more important than your united Defense Force department."

"You would?" Brika asked surprised. "I thought you felt that security was one of the most important departments. And the Defense Force is our security department."

"Oh, I think it's very important," Kathryn agreed. "As we discussed on that Captain's meeting yesterday, once we are underway we'll have to train them in not just come running if the computer says there is a problem, but also in how to take the fight to people. On how to rescue hostages, on, ooh," Kathryn lost her train of thought when someone suddenly started nibbling at her neck.

"Easy Kitten," Brika finally said when she saw the goose bumps form all over her wife's skin. "We talked about that and the Captains agreed, remember? Even if some of them weren't that convinced. You have to learn that with our Captains our vote is for what they think is right, and not for being liked for their vote. That is why there is the majority rule in those meetings. The Captains vote what they feel is right, and the majority decides. Unless one of them speaks out their veto, which is when the matter becomes my decision."

"The amount of people in the Defense Force has to grow," Kathryn said, repeating a point made at the meeting. "There are only a hundred Defense Force members in the entire Fleet. Gorgeous, five people per ship is more than enough to take care of problems with the Urdians, like a fight between former friends or something like that. Especially since they have the protocol in place of the five members on the closest ship automatically beaming over to help their fellow Defense Force members if there is an alarm. But we need more. We need to be prepared for a boarding. We need to have enough people so that a rotating guard detail can be set up during shore leaves. We need more."

"I agree that you have a point about needing more people in case of an emergency or to provide security off the ships," Brika said. "But you have to keep in mind that the number of five people per ship is deliberately chosen so that even if there is no emergency, which is most of the time, the standard security tasks still keep those people busy. Those five people also patrol the ship while on duty and point out small things to people. Small things that are easily taken care of, but that do bring down crew moral if you let them slide. But if we were to have, say, ten people per ship it would only mean that five people are bored stiff all the time since there is nothing to do."

"On voyager security people that had nothing to do would train," Kathryn pointed out. "But since you see my point about needing more people, let me be compromising as well. I can see your point there. Especially since ten people would still not be enough to take back a boarded ship. There are two thousand people on all ships but Voyager. In Starfleet, security makes up on average five percent of the crew. More if the mission of the ship is on front lines or unexplored area. On Voyager I would have preferred ten percent, but we simply didn't have the crew for it. Including Tuvok we had a total of seven security members; just enough to have two on duty on every shift."

"Five percent of two thousand is one hundred," Brika pointed out. "If we were to do that we would have one hundred Defense Force members per ship, that would mean two thousand Defense Force members. They would go out of their mind with having nothing to do. That's just too much, Kitten."

"I know," Kathryn agreed. "Maybe we can work like as we did it on Voyager. Exactly because we only had so few people we sometimes needed help from the rest of the crew. When one of the security members was sick or had their weekly two days off, we needed to fill those places. So we had certain members of the crew that would help out in security then. You don't need to be a highly trained person that knows all the ins and outs of security to stand in the brig and make sure nobody escapes. The same with those extra Defense Force members. We don't need two thousand people on duty all the time. But what about us having two thousand members of the crews that are trained in firing a phaser and following on the ground battle situation orders? Then if we need them we can call on them and at least don't have to explain to them which side of a phaser is the dangerous side."

"That could work," Brika said thoughtfully. "Well, as I said, we are open to suggestions for changes. Why don't you work out the idea a little and present it in the next Captain's meeting? Have Tuvok give a presentation into how it would work. Seeing that none of us have any actual experience on how security on a prolonged space trip works best, I guess you could say that he is actually the security expert of the Fleet. He will know what needs to be done, knows which kind of 'it might happen' situations actually have a tendency to happen."

"Some of those Captains weren't even that trilled about expanding the number of Defense Force members per ship," Kathryn pointed out.

"True," Brika agreed. "But even the Captains that weren't convinced that the number of Defense Force members had to increase were still convinced enough to give it a try, not really seeing any harm in trying. They voted yes, so it is yes. And you have to keep in mind that what you just said is a whole different subject. They might not like having certain people being dedicated to security because they don't think they are needed. But that doesn't mean that they can't see the benefits of having certain crew members trained for security if they are ever needed, and no their normal job if security is not needed."

"Yeah, that's something I still have to get used to," Kathryn agreed as she pulled her wife's arms around her. "With us, Captains make their choice and that's it. But then again, we normally don't travel in Fleets. I still have to get used to the whole 'I don't really think so, but I'm still voting yes for now' idea. Anyway, the point about security is, it is damn important. But once it's firmly in place, and especially with you Urdians with your low to no crime society, it pretty much runs itself. But Fleet Supply. That has to work every day. Every day decisions have to be made to transfer resource A from The Glory to Voyager, resource B from Voyager to The Ardor, and resource C from The Ardor to The Glory. And every day it changes. You can set up a system, but you can't expect it to run itself and still work in two weeks. It has to be checked and tweaked from day to day."

"True," Brika agreed. "And that is one of the reasons why the department works directly under the Admiral. In a distant past there once was a Fleet where the department was pretty much ignored, assuming that they would do their job. In the end it turned out that the department head had so much power that he was actually telling the Captains what to do."

Kathryn stepped out of the embrace, but held on to one of her wife's hands. "That's a good point. If they work under the Admiral, doesn't that mean that they are higher than the Captains?"

Brika shook her head. "No. You just put in your orders for what you need and they have to make sure that you get it. And if they can't get you what you want, they'll contact you and see in arrangement with you what they can do for you. It's just that for them I'm kinda the go-between if there are problems. If you have a problem with them, you take it to me. If they have a problem with you, they take it to me. Though there is no one person directly in charge since the department has three branches, but to simplify it you could say that they are on equal level with the Captains. Just as with the rest of the Captains, it will be questioning and dealing. Not ordering. Unless I step in and give orders. It's mainly done this way to prevent situations where Captains start saying 'I told you to do it, do it'."

"Hmm," Kathryn said. She did like that a bit better. Voyager was used to having to live with not enough resources. It would be nice to be part of a big Fleet and to have a department that made sure that Voyager got what it needed despite bigger ships also needing stuff. So she decided to change the subject and asked, "So why did you demand an office for yourself?"

Brika shrugged. "A lot of my work is to think, and I think best if I'm not distracted by someone moving around. Which is, by the way, another reason why it's better if I have my own office instead of sharing one with you, my love. As much as I love you, I,"

Kathryn moved over and stopped her wife by placing a finger against her lips. "It's okay gorgeous. You were, and are, right. I also like to be alone in my ready room so that I can think better. Besides, as you said, this way we can talk about our day. I really like the image of me coming home and telling you about my day. And listen to you talk about yours of course."

"Nice save," Brika chuckled. "Come on, let's get out of here. I want to see how the rest of Voyager is doing."

"Fine with me," Kathryn agreed. They shared a last kiss before leaving Brika's office. Once in the corridor they moved apart a little. They were on duty; an Admiral and a Captain that were having a casual stroll, and not a couple of married lovers that were having a casual stroll. There was a difference there, and both preferred it that way.

"The office made me wonder," Kathryn said once they were walking through one of Voyager's main corridors. "Or more to the point, the size."

"Yes?" Brika merely asked.

"Well, here on Voyager it's now the biggest office there is on the ship, well suited for an Admiral. But it actually made me think about quarters. I've been in several quarters on The Glory by now, and I'm surprised how much they are alike in size. You are the Admiral of the Fleet, yet your, our, quarters are exactly the same size and layout as those of B'Elanna and Seven."

"Married, with no children," Brika explained.

Kathryn nodded before saying, "Jennifer and Megan, two bedrooms. So their quarters are actually bigger than the ones we have."

"It looks that way, but no," Brika disagreed. "If you measure the square meters of the quarters you will see that their quarters are just as big as ours. The layout is just different. The kitchen and living room are a little smaller, as is the bathroom; the bath they have only fits one person. It's all shifted around a little and the room saved that way is used for the second bedroom. We Urdians normally have close ties with our siblings, if we have them. And it's certainly not unheard of for siblings to join the Fleet. For them we have the 'siblings layout', like the Delaney sisters have."

"But why are the bedrooms of a different size then?" Kathryn wondered. "I mean, if it's just layout then you could make both bedrooms the same size."

"You could," Brika agreed. "But exactly because siblings are so close we know that the quarters are not always used with one person sleeping in one bedroom. Siblings have often grown up sharing a bedroom simply because there weren't enough rooms in the house to give every child their own bedroom. It is quite often that they decide to sleep in one bedroom and use the other bedroom to do something else. It's their prerogative, but they still have a right to the amount of square meters. We have found that it suits the needs of siblings better if there is one bigger bedroom and a smaller one. After all, the smaller one is still big enough that it can be turned into a comfortable bedroom, and more than just a bed fits in there."

"I guess you got a point," Kathryn agreed. "Jennifer and Megan sure used the quarters that way. As you saw when they showed us around, they too share the big bedroom. I didn't think about it because I thought they had just done it that way because it's what they were used to from Voyager."

"Were you already curious about the different quarters when we went to unofficially talk to them and ask what they thought about becoming heads of their departments?" Brika wondered.

Kathryn shook her head. "Neh, then I was just nosy. When I got Voyager I had the luxury that I had toured the ship several times when she was still being readied. I had already seen everything, knew every room. With the Glory I don't have that luxury simply because she isn't my ship to tour. So I was curious, which is why I asked the sisters as well as B'Elanna and Seven if they could show me around. Anyway, my question was about the quarters. So why work so hard to shift layouts to get you a different feel, but keep the quarters actually the same size?"

"It all comes down to the modular design," Brika explained. "If the quarters are all the same size they are easier to fit into a ship. The quarters are basically boxes that are placed in the empty decks of the ships."

"And the smaller single quarters like those of Celes are really the size of half of our quarters so that two of them besides each other take up just as much room as our quarters," Kathryn guessed.

Brika nodded. "Right. And lastly you have the 'married with children' quarters. They have more room, and extra bathroom, and extra bedrooms. They are the size of... Well, actually, to simplify it you could say that the single quarters are size small, so that two of them have the size of a medium, which we have. And the with children quarters are size large, which are the size of three small. So you have small, medium, and large quarters, which all can be shifted around to still take up the same room on the deck."

"Two large, or three medium, or six small," Kathryn said, amazed by the simplicity and reasoning of it. "Or one large and one medium and one small. You can shift all you want, but it all still fits in a block system. But, my point really is, you can still give a large set of quarters to just one person. So why do you as Admiral rank only a medium set of quarters?"

"We don't let rank or status decide how much room someone has," Brika pointed out. "I get my office, so it's not like I need more room at home to do my job. A person is a person. And studies have shown how much room a person needs to feel comfortable. The Glory will be my home just as much as it will be the home of the lowest crewmember there. Why should I feel more comfortable in my home than that lower rank crewperson? Besides, studies have also shown that small quarters continue to be a source of irritation, while big quarters often end up with some rooms not being used."

"Good point," Kathryn had to agree.

They stepped into the turbolift at the end of the corridor, having walked along the corridor instead of using the turbolift in the office simply for the walking. Once the door had closed, Brika continued. "With us, the only favoritism you will find is in things that are limited because of the laws of physics. All the quarters may have the same size, but only a limited amount of them can be located at the hull and have windows."

She patted the wall of the turbolift. "And an even smaller number can be located close to a turbolift. I'm the Admiral and you are a Captain, as such both our quarters and our offices are located where there are windows, and we even have a private turbolift shaft ending at our offices."

"And our quarters on the Glory are located directly beside a turbolift shaft," Kathryn agreed. "But I have a feeling that's more because you are the Admiral, since I'm not the Captain of The Glory."

Brika merely smiled her answer to that guess. "But if you remember, B'Elanna and Seven don't have windows in their quarters, and Celes' may have a full one person set of Quarters, but her quarters are located a good walk away from a turbo lift."

The turbolift stopped and they walked down the corridor that would bring them to engineering. "Of course, we do bend a little from time to time," Brika added. "You haven't been to your Harry Kim's quarters yet, have you?"

"No, why?"

"Because he is in a relationship with the person that knew how to say, and offer, all the right things in all the right places," Brika said, not minding the special situation too much because the woman had parted with pretty much all her trading points when joining the Fleet. Not knowing at that point that she really couldn't take them with her. Plus Brika had read up on the woman and liked the fact that even on the planet, long before she knew she would join the Fleet, Rinara had made a habit of supporting charities. Not just financially, but also with her own time by literally using her hands to make a difference.

"I met Rinara Kriea," Kathryn pointed out. "A stunning vision of beautiful perfection, if you don't mind me saying so, gorgeous."

"I don't mind you speaking the truth," Brika said amused. "She is our world's most famous top model. As such she accumulated an amount of trading points that was higher than most people even dream of. They dream 'if I only had millions, I could buy this'. Rinara gave away her four billion trade points fortune to buy her way into the Fleet. And she gave it to places where even I would have accepted the bribe. In return she got three things."

"Which are?" Kathryn asked.

"The first one is that she, and by extension Harry, actually got a large set of quarters, normally meant for people that have children," Brika started to sum up. "I say by extension Harry, because it's clear that if Harry ever decides to leave her, since they are not married, Rinara will keep the quarters. The second thing she got was an assurance. If she doesn't want to she will never have to work a day in her life from now on. She basically already fulfilled her service to the Fleet. And the third thing is that she is the only person in the Fleet that is allowed to have her own shuttle."

Kathryn frowned at that.

Brika shook her head. "No, I had the same worry when I heard that, but no. She is still fully bound to the traffic that The Glory, where her shuttle is based, allows. She cannot leave the ship without permission. It's just that if we have a shore leave, then she is allowed to take her shuttle out and go places, as long as it is still within The Glory's beaming range."

"I get it," Kathryn said. "Where the rest of us will have to set up temporary habitats on the planet, she can just take the shuttle down and have a small home away from home sat up."

"Something like that," Brika agreed. "But to be fair, because of her profession as a model she is used to living in her shuttle from time to time so I see where that is coming from." Brika smirked before asking, "Want to know a little secret that I officially don't know?"

"Sure," Kathryn said with an equal smirk.

"The shuttle Rinara brought onto The Glory isn't really her shuttle. It's some old ship and she arranged for enough resources to rebuild the old ship anew from the ground up. It seems that Tom Paris has somehow managed to convince her to rebuild the ship and have it be her shuttle."

"Tell me more about the ship," Kathryn said more serious than Brika had expected.

"Well, if you want we can beam over to The Glory and I can show it to you, but why are you so interested?"

"I never told you about how the Delta Flyer came into existence?" Kathryn wondered.

Brika frowned. "Isn't that the name of that little shuttle? No, you didn't really tell me much about that. More of a mentioning or two when you told me about some away missions. Why?"

And as Kathryn told the story of the little ship that was supposed to be a little hobby, and that ended up being the thing that saved Voyager on more than one occasion, Brika decided that maybe it was a good idea to keep a closer eye on that new ship being build.

Day nineteen. (Evening.)

A compromise had been reached. Now that they, or more to the point B'Elanna, were no longer trying their hardest to keep a physical distance, they liked to cuddle together. They would still spent most of the evening on their individually preferred couches while doing stuff. That way they could still glance up and see their be'nal. But ever so often the getting up from one of them for some reason or another, resulted in them sitting down on the same couch and simply holding each other for some time.

And as much as B'Elanna loved to hold her six foot of blonde perfection, she had discovered that it felt damn nice to be held in her lover's arms as well. So B'Elanna would also seek out her be'nal from time to time.

As had been the case now. After a trip to the bathroom she had moved to Seven's couch and set down in her lover's lap and rested her head on one of those slender shoulders. Seven had said nothing, asked nothing, but simply put her Rubik's cube to the side for the even bigger pleasure of holding her lover.

"You are a fraud, Seven of Mine."

"But of course I am," Seven said with a smile, only to then ask, "And why am I a fraud?"

B'Elanna happily burrowed her face into the crook of Seven's shoulder and neck. "Because I was just thinking of how much I like your slender shoulders... and then realized that you can literally carry the weight of a stripped down industrial replicator on them. You have sensual curves that shown no clear outstanding muscles, yet you can bend metal bars with your hands."

"Depends on the metal," Seven couldn't help but point out.

"Wiseass," B'Elanna bantered back. "You give such an impression of delicate beauty, while in reality you are one of the very few people I know that can hit someone so hard they are truly lifted off their feet instead of just falling back and thinking they were flying."

"Borg, got to love them," Seven said, making her be'nal laugh.

"Well, I love one, that's for sure. I love you, my Lady. You are my perfection."

"And I love you, my Lord," Seven assured, tightening her arms slightly to treat her lover to a loving hug. "And talking about Lord and Lady... Kathryn seemed quite annoyed when we told her about the growth of the House."

"Annoyed?" B'Elanna asked. "No, she wasn't annoyed; she was pissed. And I can't blame her. Here we are, starting our House because I found my Klingon roots a half year ago, and you like the Klingon customs as well. Great. It also helps in the dynamics between us; even better. Ah, why not invite a few friends as well? That's all it was ever supposed to be. A few people. Twenty-five was my outmost guess. Now we are at almost five hundred people. A big part of which are the Defense Force people that are kinda like the security department of the Fleet, so now even the people that keep things in check want to be part of our House. And who knows how many people there will be before tomorrow is through. This is not what I wanted."

"Well, from the positive side, all the news prevented Kathryn from focusing on one subject too much," Seven said amused.

"This is not funny," B'Elanna pouted.

"Yes it is," Her be'nal disagreed before mimicking flashes of the conversation. "'Kathryn, there are now almost five hundred people that will join our House.' 'I'm not sure if I can allow that.' 'Oh, and since the House is now going to be so big, we are going to have Marines.' 'That I can definitely not allow.' 'Oh, and the Defense Force members have already indicated that they want to become part of those Marines.' 'Now listen here, B'Elanna.' 'And Tal Celes has asked if she can be our official chronicler.' 'But, but, Brika help me out here'."

B'Elanna sighed. "Yeah, and Brika is no help at all. Instead of objecting, she is approving. We tell them that almost all of the Defense Force members in the Fleet want to join our House and she smiles like we just told her the best news ever."

Seven lifted her lover's head from her shoulder and kissed the grouchy Klingon. "Stand up for a moment; I would like to change position."

B'Elanna did so and looked how Seven scooted forward a little to move more of her legs off the couch.

"You can sit down of you want. I want to see you, but I also want to feel you close."

B'Elanna smiled as she straddled her lover's legs. She leaned down for another kiss and laughed when Seven moved her hands to the Klingon's back and pushed them into the boxer shorts.

"There, now I can hold you and the elastic in the underwear makes it even possible for me to relax my arms despite the position."

B'Elanna kissed her wife again, simply because she could. Far be it from her to object to feeling Seven's hands on her behind for a prolonged period of time.

"I think that you are not giving Brika enough credit," Seven finally continued the conversation. "She knows her people. She knows that just because the Urdians join our House that does not mean that their mentality changes. Just because those Defense Force members join our House does not mean that they will suddenly allow challenges to the death to be conducted."

"Yeah, I guess," B'Elanna relented. "But that's not Urdian living."

Seven looked confused for a moment. "Be'nal, that is the point. Did you not read the Urdian information in those PADDs we have been given?"

"Did you see me read it?" B'Elanna countered. "I read the info on ships and technology we have to work with." She pointed over her shoulder to the desk. "That other PADD is still there. I just don't have the time..." A blonde eyebrow lifted, so B'Elanna corrected herself slightly. "Time as in want after having spent a day working. I figured that I can read that stuff once we are underway and my job as Chief Engineer actually becomes somewhat boring because all the new stuff has passed testing and is not yet old enough to break already."

"Then allow me to inform you of a detail. Though the Urdians do not consider the people that leave dead, for lack of better word, they do know that those people leave with the intent to never come back. They want those leaving Urdians to remember their old home and to live by certain beliefs, but they do not expect them to copy the planet life on the ships. If for nothing more than the fact that they know that it is impossible to live on the ships exactly like they lived on the planet. They want the groups that leave to form their own spirit. They want the Urdians to try new things, not copy the old over and over."

B'Elanna frowned. "And you think that Brika feels that our House is right up that alley?"

"I am not certain, but I do believe that Brika thinks that the Fleet is starting off good. After all, even before leaving, some Urdians are indicating that they want to live differently than they did before. I believe that the interest in our House is a result of," Seven smirked, "flavor. We are to them as I am to you, my be'nal. I taste wonderful to you because I am not merely a Human, I bring something that works extremely well with that mix between Human and Klingon that you are. We are the same to them. Klingon tradition is much like their Mountain Tribes. So they know the concept. And yet we are not merely another Tribe. There is enough of a difference to make us taste wonderful even to the Mountain Tribes themselves."

"Nicely put, my Lady. The other Urdians seem to admire the Clan members. Hell, a lot of them want to join us merely because the Clans want to. Did you see how they treat Kinal and Olik? With Olik you can argue that it's his size that makes them step aside. But Kinal?"

"It is her facial tattoo," Seven explained. "The pattern shows everyone that she is a Healer; a savior of lives. On top of that, the smaller patterns under the big pattern on her cheek?"

Yes?" B'Elanna said, indicating that she knew what Seven was talking about.

"Those are the markings of other Clans. Only a Clan is allowed to tattoo its own marking. So for them to tattoo their mark on her, it shows that the other tribes owe her a debt of life. She lost the need for Olik's protection years ago. Her face shows that she has the protection of seventeen other Clans. Nobody would ever dare to harm her."

Seven smiled before admitting, "Their tattoos intrigued me, so I looked up the meaning of Mountain Tribe tattoos after lunch. It is very complex and I will tell you about it in more detail on another day."

"Alright, but answer me this one. Does that mean that Olik's tattoo's all have a meaning? He has hundreds... or one big one depending on how you look at it."

Seven shook her head and trailed a finger over her lover's throat from one side to the other. "You should see this as a line. All above it has a meaning. So all his head tattoo's have a meaning. But all below it is merely decorations. Having said that, I am sure that they still have meaning to him, just that it are not clear markings that every Urdian will recognize at a mere glance."

Seven hesitated for a moment. "That is actually also an explanation for what you said before. That the other Urdians seem to admire the Clan members? They do. Imagine for a moment that a small group of several thousand Klingons had always lived on Earth. Over time stories would have been told about them. They would become heroes in popular entertainment, or the villains of stories. But overall they would become this mystical group that is admired by others because they have those impressive traditions and this strong codex of life. Though the Mountain Tribes are Urdians just like the rest, because of how they lived they have become these mystical people. People that everyone knows about, but has rarely seen. And now suddenly there are several hundreds of them on the ships."

"So what you are basically saying is that every Urdian wants to be a Clan member when they grow up?" B'Elanna asked.

Seven smiled. "A simplistic way of saying it, but yes. Which explains why the others are so eager to join the House. The Clan members are eager because they see enough of their way of life in it to make the other things that are not the same seem interesting instead of putting them off. The other Urdians see the Clans join and that is all the reason they need to join because finally they can, as you say, grow up. They can suddenly do what was once impossible and join the Clans, even if in an indirect way by joining the same House that the Clans are joining. And lastly we have Brika who loves it because something is happening that is normally her task to make it happen; the Fleet is starting to change into something that reminds of Home, but is no longer the society they left behind."

B'Elanna groaned. "Please Hon, don't talk about the Fleet. Hundreds of people is more than enough."

"It will not end there," Seven said confidently.

"I don't know, Seven. This is not what I had in mind. Maybe it's better if we just,"

"B'Elanna Torres. If you finished that sentence I will be forced to put you over my knee and give you a good spanking."

B'Elanna's mouth fell open when she heard what her be'nal had just told her. Finally she started to laugh. She put her arms around Seven's neck and pulled herself against her lover to share a long series of sensual kisses.

"I guess you like the idea of having a House, despite it not being what we were expecting?" B'Elanna finally asked once they broke apart.

"About one year ago we were having an argument," Seven started. "You decided to 'shut me up' by saying, 'things happen for a reason, bitch'. Well, my bitchy Lord, I believe that you might just be right."

B'Elanna dissolved into giggles. "Bitchy Lord? Oh, you are too much, you stupid Borg bitch."

"I love you too, B'Elanna Torres," Seven said with a smile.

"You think this happened for a reason?" B'Elanna asked when her giggles had finally fully subsided.

"I do," Seven said confidently. "Our House is a moment of new beginnings. I myself never had a home. As child my parents were running after the Borg, and after that I myself was Borg. Neither was a place I would call a home."

"And Voyager?" B'Elanna asked.

"Voyager?" Seven repeated thoughtfully. "I guess that you could call Voyager a transition. One of which I thought that it was home, but it is here in the last few weeks on the Glory that I felt what a home is like. Voyager is a place of work, not home. The Glory is already home for me. And our House will be my home once it is created. The same for you, B'Elanna Torres. You know my hearing. I overheard you once say to Tom that 'Voyager is not a home, but it is the best we have'. Even to this day you prove it with your uniform. You wear a Federation uniform, but you wear the Maquis pips to show that you are not truly Starfleet."

B'Elanna gave a hesitant not. "I guess you are right." She looked around the living room as if needing to take it in for her next statement. "This is home."

"So," Seven continued. "Forget Voyager for a moment, forget Starfleet. Even forget the part that you truly love; being an Engineer. This is home. Do you feel that we are lessening it by creating a House, or that we are enhancing it? Forget further ramifications of others joining the House."

B'Elanna sighed. "The core? We, the two of us, want that House because it feels right for us. I for one think that it's what I need to complete my life. I ignored my Klingon side long enough. I want to embrace it, just that I have it slightly tempered by the life I lived until now. I want to have a House and live to certain Klingon customs, but not so much that I have to hurt Tom for real for some of the fuck-ups he puts me through. I like him way too much for that, and just between you and me, I do like some of the fuck-ups. I like the fact that I can live the middle ground of revenging fuck-ups by just shaking him around a bit."

"So the reason why we started the House has not changed," Seven said. "With that in mind, and still ignoring Voyager and Starfleet. Tell me honestly, do you want a House that is just us and some friends, or do you want a big House that has its own Marines, doctors, and scientists, and whose name is spoken by admiration by thousands?"

"Scientists?" B'Elanna asked. "When did we get those? And thousands of people?"

Seven smiled. "Be'nal, the entire Fleet already speaks in admiration of our House simply because the Clans want to join is. That is already forty thousand people of which I am certain they talked about our House at least once. Speaking in admiration is not the same as having joined. As for scientists. Well, we are a Klingon House. A little bit of boasting is part of the forte. Do you not think that I would make a decent start as a House scientist?"

B'Elanna laughed. "Hon, you are and will always be my chief scientist. I love how sexy you can make engineering talk sound. And if you ask me like that, then what I want for the House is simple; the bigger the better. So, you are basically saying that we should go full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes?"

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead," Seven corrected. "And yes. Or as Tom once said; let it roll and we will see how it ends."

B'Elanna finally removed her arms from her lover's neck and used one hand to caress the blonde's cheek. She moved her thumb over the bite mark that was still clear to see. "But what about you, my be'nal? Honest. I know that expansion of the House is part of the Lord's territory. But this is too important for just me; I want your equal and honest opinion in this decision."

"B'Elanna Torres, you need to remember; I am Borg. The Borg were never my home, but I 'am' Borg. I like the concept of a collective as long as the people in that collective are there willingly. And I really like the idea of having such a centralized position in that collective."

Seven winked before joking, "I do not want to go back to the Borg, so I cannot be Queen of Borg. I guess that I just have to settle for being Queen of the House of BortaS."

B'Elanna laughed. "Really Hon? You mean that, you really would still love to be Lady of my House, no matter how big that House gets?"

"I am fully sincere about that part," Seven assured.

"That part? What part are you not sincere about then?"

"Queen. I do not like to be called Queen, not even as a nickname, so do not get any ideas. But I absolutely love it to be called your Lady."

"Alright, my Lady, no 'my Queen' nickname for you, I promise. Though I'm not giving up the Princess nickname anytime soon." B'Elanna said before nodding her head. "Fine, new start it is. As of this moment the new mentality is: the Fleet comes first, our House second."

"Fleet First, House second," Seven agreed. "And the best part about that statement is that on Qo'noS Klingons would bristle at naming the House second. But here we can set the House in second place to the wellbeing of the Fleet because if the fleet is hurt, the House is hurt. The Fleet is the foundation where our House is built on."

"Nicely put," B'Elanna approved. "Alright, with that taken care of, what else are we gonna do with the day? It's still relatively early. You have any idea what we should do? It's still eight hours before we normally go to bed."

Seven smiled. "What, you do not suggest that we go to bed and make love for hours on end?"

B'Elanna laughed. "Well, as unbelievable as this may sound coming from me... no. I know we'll have some loving tonight; we always do. I think... mind you I love when we are in bed for hours on end. But I think you spoiled me. I know that soon enough it will happen again, so instead of me getting that when I can, I now feel comfortable to suggest doing something else instead. I don't need to have sex with you for hours now, wondering when it I might have that chance again. I know that I 'will' have that chance again, and that's enough."

"In that case," Seven said thoughtfully, "We could get dressed and contact Tom. He was so animate when talking about that ship, I think I want to see it."

B'Elanna chuckled. "The last time I went to see a ship Tom was working on, I ended up doing most of the engine work on the damn thing."

"And that would be bad?" Seven reasoned as she got off her be'nal's legs. "You have been helping the Urdians with the renovations of Voyager, but what will you do once Voyager is under way? While on duty you will read up on their technology. But I sincerely doubt that the new technology will need much of repairs in the beginning. Only maintenance, for which you have a crew. So in those first few months, just what will you do to keep your hands busy? Maybe having a ship to work on would not be so bad. It will keep you active."

"Hmm, you got a point there," B'Elanna had to agree. "Alright, let's see if he's in. Computer, contact..."

Part 14

Return to Voyager Fiction

Return to Main Page