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 22

Day 22. (Evening)

Much to B'Elanna's surprise, shower time had become a very relaxed affair. They still watched each other, and then touched each other, but the urge for the touches to become more had lessened to be almost nonexistent. Almost. Occasionally a hand couldn't resist to roam, and sometimes they ended up making love under the shower, but still mostly they were now able to wash each other end enjoy it without it becoming an erotic affair. Of course, even though this had come as a surprise, B'Elanna certainly knew the explanation. It was not hard to do nothing more than touch when you knew that later that night you were going to do a lot more on a very conveniently soft and horizontal surface.

B'Elanna finished washing her wife's back before placing a quick kiss on the shoulder. As Seven turned to look at her over the shoulder with a smile, B'Elanna replied to the smile by starting to nibble the blonde's neck. "I love you, my Lady, my wonderful be'nal."

Seven turned around and kissed her lover. "And I love you, my wonderful Lord, my be'nal, my keeper of my soul."

B'Elanna chuckled. "You just have to outdo me, don't you?"

Seven pushed B'Elanna back a bit until she was standing against the wall with her back. "Yes." She molded her body against that of her wife, slipping a leg between those of the Klingon as well. "But if you want, I could stop trying to outdo you and instead simply do you."

B'Elanna let her hands drop to Seven's behind and pulled her even closer yet. "Tempting, and as unbelievable as this sounds, as certain as I was that I would never say this, but how about not?"

Seven pulled back, clearly surprised.

"Well, if you want to, I sure don't mind," B'Elanna assured. "But I'm kinda in the mood for very soft and very slow today. I would rather wait until we are in bed for that."

Now Seven smiled. "I would like that as well. Very well, we wait. And it is your turn. Turn around, I have a back to wash."

B'Elanna did so, and once she had turned she stepped away from the wall a bit again until she could cross her arms and use them as a stand to rest against the wall.

As Seven slowly started to wash the back of the woman she loved so much, the person who the back belonged to asked, "So what do you think of Q'Vir? Now there was a surprise."

Seven thought for a moment while letting her hands work their magic on B'Elanna's back. "Think in what way?"

"Just think, you know; the general 'what do you think' question kind of thing?" B'Elanna elaborated.

"Ah." Seven thought again. "I think, that she is a very complex person."

"To put it mildly," B'Elanna agreed. Only to then hum the agreement when Seven stopped washing her back for a moment and instead started to massage out an irritating knot in her muscles right between her shoulder blades. "It amazes me that you can actually feel those. I mean, I know how to massage them away, but I can't find knots with just running my hands over them."

"I am Borg," Seven said in her infamous cold and monotone Borg voice, but even without seeing her, B'Elanna could swear that there was a smile on those lips.

"I believe that even if you know Q'Vir for a hundred years, you would only have scratched the surface," Seven continued. "I believe that you should never try to predict how she will react."

"Why not?"

"Because she has billions of years of life experience," Seven reminded. "Even if you know exactly what she experienced in the Fleet every minute of every day and think because of this that you know what her choice will be, you do not. Because you only know the smallest of fraction of her life. Just as she remembers what happened today, she will also remember perfectly what happened a million years ago at a place where she was living then. A perfect mind that can recall every moment of her life like it happened only minutes ago. She will always weigh an experience now with all of her life. She will decide to do something in a certain way because a thousand years ago she did something in another way and found that that way doesn't work in the long run."

"A thousand, and a million years ago for that fact, she was trapped," B'Elanna reminded.

"You are correct," Seven agreed. "So let me rectify my statement by adding, 'ignoring the years she was trapped because we, nor she herself, know how long she was strapped because she does not know how far she was brought back in time'. My timeframes are considering from when she could move around."

"And that means what exactly?" B'Elanna asked.

Seven decided that B'Elanna's muscles were loose enough for now and picked up the sponge again. "That means that she might never react like someone might expect. For instance, let us ignore that we are part of a Fleet now and imagine that we are still alone on Voyager. If someone were to take ten people hostage, including Kathryn, you my love, and, well the entire senior staff. Would the others be willing to hand over Voyager to save your lives?"

"They would," B'Elanna assured. "In fact, something like that has happened way back when we just got stranded. The Kazon were able to overtake Voyager by taking hostages. We were lucky to get Voyager back."

Seven nodded, having read the file. She had only asked the question as a prelude to her next statement. "But it is very likely that Q'Vir would not have given up the ship if it had been her choice. Simply because she lives forever and mortals die. She knows that sooner or later, her mortal friends will not be around anymore. So for her it is not a matter of her friends dying; it is a matter of them dying earlier."

B'Elanna turned around at the words. "Are you saying you think she would let us all simply croak?"

Seven shook her head. "Not simply. Just that she would take it all in mind. How big is the chance that the people that captured you will let you live anyway? How many people are they going to kill with that powerful ship? Are the lives of ten people that she happens to know worth the thousand people that are going to die only because she does not know them? I think that it is better to say that in some situations she will make such Vulcan like decisions that even Tuvok will compliment her on being more rational than him."

"But you do think she will actually care for the crew?" B'Elanna persisted.

"I do," Seven affirmed. "Because on the other hand, I doubt that she would hesitate to walk into an enemy camp to rescue some of the crew. After all, what are they going to do? Hurt her? Kill her? Impossible. Or maybe threaten to kill the people that they were already threatening to kill anyway? She would turn the tables on them. Walking in, being indestructible as she is, and then say. 'Now, either you let my friends go, or I'll come over there and rip you to pieces, choose'."

"So basically you are saying, no matter what; never assume?" B'Elanna surmised. "But don't you think it will be kinda weird having a former Q walking around?"

"I would not care if she was still a full Q. I will judge her on her character and how she behaves towards others and me, not on what she once was. I have been on the other side and I do not intend to do the same to others."

"I think you lost me," B'Elanna admitted.

"When I was just on Voyager," Seven clarified. "I was the sinister Borg drone, the thing one could not trust, the thing that people wished would leave the ship. I have been the pariah, and I do not wish it onto others."

Seven had seen that B'Elanna had lowered her eyes at the words and she caressed her lover's cheek softly. "I do not blame you, nor others from the crew. You were reacting in the only way you knew. The Borg were an evil that at different times tried to destroy, assimilate, and play you. I do not blame anyone. If I had been fully Human and part of the crew then I might have done the same. I do not blame, but I do remember. Things are different now that you, the crew, knows. I am certain that if we were to find another drone, the crew would remember my track and be easier with trusting."

B'Elanna lifted her head again and continued to move it until she had captured Seven's lips. For the gazillionth time she wondered what she could possibly have done so right in her life to deserve such a wonderful Mate. "You are my life."

Seven smiled. "And you are my perfection."

They shared a couple of minutes exchanging kisses and gentle caresses before they finally decided that it was time to leave the shower and continue the rest of their evening. As they dried off, B'Elanna continued. "I guess you have a point about Q'Vir. I really should stop seeing her as a former Q and more as an amazingly talented person with some even more amazing gifts. After all, I don't get suspicious of Ina, even though she has a gift that includes being trained to kill efficiently and I know she could kill me at any moment in one second flat."

"What would you do if Q'Vir asks to join our House as well?" Seven wondered as she was putting on her bathrobe.

B'Elanna slipped into her favorite sports bra before shrugging. "Hold her to the same standards as the rest." Then she frowned. "Hmm, though she won't be able to spill her blood in a ritual to join the House."

"We could let her try until the knife breaks on the skin," Seven suggested with a straight face. "That way it will be clear that she truly tried."

B'Elanna grinned. "Funny." She put on her boxer shorts before adding, "But that's not a bad idea actually. If she wants to join. That would then also be kinda the same with the Doctor. He can't spill real blood, but he can change his matrix to make it seem that he cut himself and blood flows, just that the droplets don't actually fall off the wound. Anyway, we do need a Chief Scientist in our House. I was assuming that this would be you, but as easy as you told Kathryn that you didn't want the job..."

"I do not," Seven assured. "But I do not want that position in the House for a different reason than I do not want it on Voyager. I am the Lady of the house. That is my task, and that will be my focus."

They left the bathroom and Seven looked at the bedroom before winking at her lover.

B'Elanna laughed and pulled the blonde along to the living room by her hand, knowing that her wife had been playing, mostly.

Seven made a detour to the desk to pick up her Rubik's cube before they nestled on the couch in their favorite position. With B'Elanna sitting down in the corner between the back rest and the arm rest, and Seven sitting down beside her and then leaning back until she was securely resting against her lover and being held in a loving embrace.

"You forgot your remote for the viewscreen," Seven suddenly realized and started to lean forward to get up.

"No, stay," B'Elanna objected as she tightened her arms to keep the blonde in place. As always her hands had slipped under the robe, resting against Seven's warm skin. "I want to think for a while. I can look at stuff after diner."

"Very well," Seven happily agreed as she nestled back into her favorite spot.

"I still think it's kinda weird," B'Elanna said after almost half an hour.

"What?" Seven said, stopping the twisting of the cube to look up and over her shoulder at her be'nal.

"Acting like she is just another person."

"Q'Vir?" Seven guessed the obvious.

"Yeah," B'Elanna affirmed. "I mean, even if we ignore that once she was so powerful that she could do... well, pretty much everything. From time travel to making things appear out of thin air just by thinking about them. Even if we ignore the fact that she knows more languages than that I actually have words in my vocabulary. Meant literally. The entire vocabulary of Federation Main is almost four-hundred-thousand words. Klingon is about three-hundred-thousand. But since I obviously don't know each word in either language, let's say that I know or recognize the meaning of half a million words in total. Q'Vir actually knows more than half a million languages."

"But we are ignoring that," Seven reminded lightly, mainly to get the Klingon to the 'then' part of the 'if' statement.

"Right, ignoring that. There is so much more." B'Elanna sighed. "How to ignore that she is indestructible? That she will pretty much know the answer to every question we can think of?"

"And that is bad?" Seven asked confused. "I do not see how. At most it can be annoying if she starts answering questions before we fully asked them. After all, I also know the answer to most questions you ask during a regular day, yet you do not find that weird. In fact, since I work with you in Engineering you have come to assume that I know things. You ask me for information instead of looking it up. You ask me what the setting on the restrictor flow of the new engine has to be again. You do not look it up."

"I do, don't I?" B'Elanna admitted as she realized just what a habit it had become. "And you do know it all. I think you told me only twice that you had to look up the information on something."

Seven gave her a tolerant smile. "I know it all because I noticed that you were starting to ask mere. So I downloaded all possible information on settings and the likes we might come across in the renewed Engineering department and put them to memory. It is, was, some of the information I was reading at night."

B'Elanna nodded slightly. She knew that saying stuff like 'you didn't need to do that' was useless. It was one of Seven's ways of being there for her be'nal, and who was B'Elanna to tell her wife that her efforts weren't needed. So instead she opted to just accept it. And reward it. "Well, you definitely surprised me there, my Pet. That deserves a nice reward. Not tonight. But definitely tomorrow. Whatever you want, you get."

"In the bedroom?" Seven asked with a smile.

B'Elanna shook her head. "Whatever you want, wherever you want, with who you want. Bedroom, um, having fun. Or just us on the holodeck having the kind of fun that you do with your clothes on. Or invite some friends and have some of that fun. Whatever you want. Tomorrow is yours."

"Thank you," seven said softly. "I will think of something nice. But for now, we were talking about Q'Vir. Yes she will know all, but that is not a bad thing. It is a very convenient thing is she does not annoy us with it, or if we do not become complacent by relying on her knowledge too much."

"Alright," B'Elanna relented. "But how about the fact that she so lightly admits that she ruled over whole planets? And more importantly, how to ignore the fact that she so casually admits that she killed millions?"

"You do realize that on average she actually killed fewer people than you have?" Seven asked gently.

"What?" B'Elanna asked outraged.

"She said that she is thirteen billion years old, and she said that she is responsible for millions of deaths," Seven reminded. "Let us say that she was actually quite modest in that number, wanting to play down her deeds since she wanted a lift, as she calls it. Let us say that in her existence she is actually responsible for the death of one billion people. Still, if you divide one billion over her thirteen billion year life that means that on average she is responsible for the death of, rounded down, zero-point-zero-eight people per year, or more exactly, one person every thirteen years. Be'nal, I know you never had a choice, but how many people died because of you, ever since Voyager was pulled into the Delta Quadrant? And let us not even start with me, the former Borg drone. How many deaths am I responsible for, even though I also never had a choice?"

"But she did," B'Elanna persisted. "Have a choice I mean."

Finally Seven turned in B'Elanna's arms so that they were face to face. "Did she? You have to remember that she was omnipotent, but still only able to be in one place at a time. As she pointed out with the Fleet that is going to war that she let disappear, often she would have had no choice. Either she kills people, or she does not and then she indirectly kills even more people because she did not act. Though I have to point out here that she did not actually say that she killed those people. You could hear the proverbial quotation marks when she talked about their death. To me that indicates more that others thought the entire Fleet was dead, but that infect she merely made them disappear. She would have very easily been able to teleport them all to an uninhabited planet to live out the rest of their lives."

"I did hear that empaths you are talking about," B'Elanna had to admit.

"We have it easy in that regard," Seven continued. "We can say that we could not do anything. After all, I do not have the power to stop a war. But imagine being in a position where no matter what, you can. Let us say for the sake of argument that thanks to our technology, thanks to having the Delta Flyer that can work under water, you have the power to save someone that is trapped at the bottom of an ocean in a leaking vessel. You would do it, of course. But you could also use the Delta Flyer to stop a ship with a thousand people from going to another planet and attacking a settlement and killing one million people. What would you do? Would you kill a thousand and save a million?"

"How about prevent them from leaving without killing them?" B'Elanna asked.

Seven nodded. "Alright, so you babysit them, stay on the planet every minute of your time. And you know what the result would be?"

"What?" B'Elanna asked.

"The result would be that fifty light-years away ten billion people died because you were not there to stop an all life destroying asteroid impact on a planet. So by preventing the death of thousands you were not there to save billions. That, my love, is the difference you have to realize. With us, with as little power as we mortals have. We can truly save people. We can save one person, ten, maybe even save that planet by destroying the asteroid that was about to hit and save those billions. But when we then hear that a few light-years away a war was started, we still feel good because at least we saved billions even though we could not, literally physically could not, prevent the war as well since we were not there."

"But a Q could have been there," B'Elanna said in understanding. "Only that she couldn't because she was busy saving a planet. You are right. Have that happen once, have millions or billions die because you were babysitting a few thousand and you will never do it again. The next time you will go for the time saving efficient way and you simply destroy the warships."

"Being omnipotent brings its own dilemmas," Seven said. "I for one would not want to be." Then she smiled. "Though the idea of being able to spend eternity with you does sound nice."

B'Elanna treated her wife to a kiss, or two. "I guess you are right. I can't really hold her past against her. Besides, how do you hold thirteen billion years against someone? I am willing to bet that for every bad thing there was, there also were enough good things. Even the action of the Q we met before and that loves to torment Kathryn aren't all bad. Some have resulted in decent endings, even if we didn't think so at the time. Come to think of it, none of the actions we ever heard of from the Q were truly evil. At most you could consider it a total lack of interest in the things around them that they aren't playing with. The worst thing I heard is what Kathryn said, of the Q executing two of their own. Well, that and their civil war where they were blowing up entire solar systems."

Where nobody but Qs died," Seven added. "Those systems were uninhabited, vacant from any life at all in fact. Though I would say that the worst thing was to put the Enterprise D in the path of a Borg cube."

B'Elanna shook her head. "Now that, I disagree with. At that time you and your parents were already assimilated for over ten years. And you weren't the first Humans either. No, the Borg knew about the Federation. Again, it's one of those number things we just talked about. There, and later at Wolf 359, in total over ten-thousand Federation people died. But in the end the Federation saved lives because of it. We now knew about the Borg. We knew we needed to prepare. Ships were built, the Fleet was updated to a higher standard. And then the war with the Dominion started. And we were able to hold our own. If the Federation had not updated her Fleet because of the Borg, the Dominion would have done a lot more than just one bombardment on Earth; they would have destroyed it; they had the plans, just that they couldn't reach us. You are right, as ironic as it is, there too the Q actually helped in a weird way. Just that it took thousands of lives."

"Which might have been done deliberately," Seven pointed out. "After all, had the Q just shown the Federation the Borg, what would the result have been?"

B'Elanna chuckled. "Why, the Federation would have never believed that the Borg were really that evil, or powerful of course. Instead they would have sent them an invitation to come to Earth for a friendly negotiation, oh and would the Borg please recognize the diplomatic mantle and not attack Earth while there?"

Seven laughed and then put her head on her lover's shoulder before pushing her arms between B'Elanna and the couch so that she could give the Klingon a hug as well as receive it. "Now tell me, has this conversation helped you in any way with your real problem?"

"And my real problem being?" B'Elanna asked, wanting to see if her be'nal was as perceptive as ever.

"Your real problem being that, just like when I joined Voyager, you are uncomfortable because she intimidates you. All the things you know, she knows a billion times better. You are a brilliant Engineer, she can build a warp engine with her eyes closed. You are proud to be part Klingon, proud of the strength it gives you, she is strong enough to rip a five centimeter thick plate of duranium in half."

B'Elanna frowned. "How do you know how strong she is? If she was that strong, why not break out of that shell?"

"A shell made by the Q," Seven reminded. "and that has since mysteriously disappeared, ironically or conveniently convincing Kathryn fully that Q'Vit really is a former Q and that another Q retrieved the sell before we could study it too much."

"True," B'Elanna agreed, remembering how shortly after the talk with Q'Vir had moved from the sickbay to the conference room, the Captain had been contacted to be told the shell had disappeared.

"I sincerely doubt that duranium is the strongest material they know; it is not even the strongest material we know," Seven reminded. " It is merely the best strength/accessibility/cost mix. Besides, why break out only to then still drift in space? As for her strength, it is an educated guess. She admitted that she made her body to her liking. Since she went for an indestructible body I somehow sincerely doubt that she stopped at being merely as strong as one of us."

"Good point," B'Elanna agreed.

"These things about Q'Vir will not change," Seven reminded. "So I guess that your only option is to learn how to accept that and how to behave around her."

"Oh, I know how to behave," B'Elanna assured. Before Seven could ask, she added, "Drool, start panting, and then pick my eyeballs off the floor."

"B'Elanna Torres, you better not start looking at other women," Seven warned playfully.

B'Elanna chuckled. "Babe, you know damn well that you are all I want, but damn it, she is hot. Even if I were to close my eyes her image would somehow burn through my eyelids into my eyes and mind. Which is kinda interesting because normally black haired girls aren't my type. I prefer blonde blue-eyed babes. And before I got hooked on you, I preferred redheads. And what's really weird is that if you ask me to name the most beautiful woman I ever saw, besides my be'nal of course, I would name Rinara. Rinara looks even better then Q'Vir does. And yet, if I had to choose between them, I would say Q'Vir. She has a certain attraction that thrums Rinara's perfect looks."

"Maybe it is part of 'the package' she put together," Seven said, reminding her lover once again of the fact that Q'Vir had admitted that she had created her body to her own likings. "Remember, one of the meanings of the word 'Q'Vir' was actually the name of the goddess of love for the Prekesm, also known as species 2953. If I remember correctly their goddess of love had a certain pull to her. Everyone thought that she was perfection, and nobody could resist her charms. Or in other words, everyone she wanted in bed would end up there. Maybe Q'Vir picked that name because she has used it once before already."

"You mean that as Q she was that goddess?" B'Elanna clarified. "But wasn't she trapped during that time?"

Seven looked at her with an amused smile. "She was, and she was not. Remember, she was brought back through time for her punishment. So while she was a Q that was doing Q things at the time that the goddess Q'Vir was supposed to have existed, she was also already serving her sentence."

B'Elanna groaned. "Oh no, please not the time thing again. Well, I have to tell you, as much as I am fully willing to admit to anyone that asks that I think that she is hot as hell, she doesn't have an irresistible pull for me. If I had to choose between having sex with her, or a mere kiss from you; no contest." Her reward for that statement was a heated tongue kiss that left her panting afterwards. "Damn woman, you can kiss."

"Better than sex?" Seven asked smugly.

B'Elanna laughed. Who would have known that smug could be so damn sexy. "Hell yes. Better than any sex I ever had. Of course, it doesn't compare to making love to you. You know why?"

"Yes," Seven assured. "Because there the kissing is part of the package so you get it, and also get some."

"So, you think you have me hooked so much that I'm immune to the whims of a goddess?" B'Elanna asked after a moment of amused snuggling.

Seven sighed, but it was still lighthearted. "I am sorry to say, no. Nobody could resist her. This was so known that partners would not hold it against their lover that they strayed, if it had been with the goddess. Of course, the real problem for someone was to try and convince their lover that that other person had been the goddess and that they hadn't cheated."

B'Elanna chuckled. "Oh yeah, I can see it already. No baby, I didn't cheat, that woman you caught me with was the goddess Q'Vir."

Seven smiled. "Well, if stories are right, sometimes the goddess was generous, or horny, enough to deal with that problem by simply sleeping with the couple. That way both partners would know for sure that the story was true because they just couldn't resist. So if, and I repeat the if, Q'Vir was actually that goddess, then her powers of attraction have been toned down to the extreme."

"Hmm," B'Elanna said thoughtfully. "While running the risk of getting a timeline lecture again, I'm still going to say that maybe she decided to tone that down hundreds of years ago already. Maybe when the... what did you call them, Preks... were assimilated. A great attraction is nice in a goddess, but not that convenient when you are playing to be someone else in another species."

"It were the Prekesm," Seven corrected. "And you may be correct as to the fact that she might have 'toned it down' because she knows such a big attraction interferes in a normal life. Maybe she only left a general 'I like' attraction so that she could walk amongst people without them losing their mind and jumping her. But I do not think that Q'Vir, if it was her, was still around when the Borg assimilated the Prekesm. After all, once firmly established, the belief in gods is not easily dismissed."

"You got a point there," B'Elanna agreed. "On Earth there are even now some people that still believe in the gods from ancient Greece, you know, Zeus and such. But why are you so sure that Q'Vir was no longer around then?"

"Because she was known as a good goddess," Seven pointed out. "Yes, she took to bed whoever she wanted. Yes, she demanded offerings. Yes, she was mischievous and got people into trouble. But it was trouble that people could also get out of and the offerings were food and labor that was given freely by people that kept her temples in good condition. It was said that she favored the ones that cared for her temples because of respect for her, and not because they wanted her blessing. She knew the difference somehow. But in general, as long as she was worshiped she protected her people as well. There was a story of there once being a terrible earthquake and part of a continent was slipping into the ocean. Then the goddess Q'Vir showed up and commanded the waters to stop taking the land."

"The tectonic shift stopped," B'Elanna clarified the 'magic' event with modern knowledge.

"Could be," Seven agreed. "But how do you explain that the goddess lifted her hand and the land that had already disappeared slipped back up from under the sea. So much so that in the end there was even more land than before."

"Um," B'Elanna said, having no clue. "That's a good one. Tectonic shifts normally don't decide that they liked the old place after all and move back again."

"My point," Seven agreed. "Actually, my point is that I sincerely doubt that a goddess that does this, that has such powers and saves her people, would just stand by and watch them all be assimilated."

"Maybe, but if the sea had already swallowed the land, then a lot of people must have died. So she was willing to let them die," B'Elanna pointed out.

Seven shook her head. "My be'nal, for a story to be told it has to be witnessed by people that are alive long enough to tell the story. That is part of the miracle of them. Because of the earthquake and all the water there was a lot of material damage, yet somehow not a single life was lost in that disaster. People that couldn't swim found something to hold on to, people that could swim felt as if they were filled with power and stayed afloat despite the currents. So I do not think that Q'Vir was still around when the Borg arrived. Even if she would not wish to destroy the Borg, it would not be hard for a Q to erect a barrier in space that no spaceship can break. As Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise can attest to. No, I sincerely doubt that Q'Vir, if it was her of course, was still around at that time."

"Left to go play somewhere else," B'Elanna said.

"Left," Seven partially agreed. "Eventually an immortal will move on. For the people that live then it seems like she abandoned them, if they know. But for the people that lived in the two millennia where the miracles of Q'Vir were witnessed by many, she was a stable patron goddess that had protected them, their fathers, their father's fathers, and so on."

"You do a lot of protecting for her," B'Elanna noticed. "You like her."

"As do you," Seven pointed out. "You are merely still in the phase of not knowing how to deal with her and being intimidated by her. That will change. Remember, once you did not know how to deal with me and also felt intimidated by me."

B'Elanna winked. "Oh, you mean she'll end up in my bed too? I mean, I'm married to you and will honor that, but you know, the three of us could share."

Seven looked at her, and B'Elanna was amazed to see confusion there.

"I'm kidding," B'Elanna assured right away. "Come on, think baby. If it was that easy for me, would I have resisted so long to jump into bed with you? I, don't, share, period."

Then a sinking feeling came over her. "Um, is, is it, um, something you might be, um, interested in, um, others, you know, on the side?"

"No, it is not," Seven assured immediately. "I merely did not know if you were interested in the concept. We are building a Klingon House after all, and there have been cases in Klingon history of mistresses, and even harems. So some Klingons do like to share."

B'Elanna snorted. "Not on your life. To a Klingon the Mate is the most important thing... as long as they are married that is. Honor demands it. No, you are probably misinterpreting stuffy texts. Yes, mistresses and harems existed. But that's not sharing; that's one damn Klingon being a pompous ass thinking that showing how much possibility they have for sex actually equals respect on the sex front."

"And it does not?" Seven asked, smiling again and snuggling as close as she could to her wife.

"No," B'Elanna assured. "The real respect on the sex front you get when you are married and whenever people see your partner look at you they see lust... well maybe a bit of love as well. Respect you get over time. When you are married for ten years and your partner still looks like she wants to jump you simply because you winked at her."

Seven looked back up and winked.

B'Elanna didn't hesitate and played right along. She growled and moved. Since Seven was snuggled up to her there really wasn't much jumping involved. So she settled for pushing the blonde back onto the couch and starting to ravish her. Heated kisses were exchanged and not much later, B'Elanna was playing homage to Seven's breasts. Having teased both nipples into erectness, B'Elanna sighed and let her head flop down, resting her face between her lover's breasts.

"Alright, I got to stop now or else I won't be able to," B'Elanna mumbled into Seven's skin.

"I am amazed that you could stop at all," Seven admitted, truly impressed.

"Remember that gentle and slow thing we'll do later?" B'Elanna reminded. "I really want to be on edge for that. So talk to me, my be'nal, or else my mouth will be busy with something else soon."

When she got no reply she looked up to see the blonde looking down.

"I am thinking whether I truly want to make you talk or not. Because the not will make you do other things and I'm actually in the mood to be ravished a bit."

B'Elanna grinned. But the little pause had been the breather she needed. She crawled up until they were face to face. "Wench."

She gave her lover's chin a quick nip before moving a bit to the side and getting comfortable lying half on and half beside her lover.

"Leg," Seven ordered, and with a smile B'Elanna happily obliged. She moved her leg between those of her lover, making sure that it was resting against Seven's intimate flesh.

"Talk," B'Elanna said, figuring that one order deserved another. Then she asked softly, "Want me to play a bit baby? Just because I want to wait, doesn't mean you have to. You really want to be ravished? I can oblige."

"I will wait," Seven assured. "But no, I would not mind some gentle playing. Just that the real work has to wait."

B'Elanna grinned. She loved to play. She started to move her hand that wasn't pinned down by her own body over Seven's skin, But there was a clear focus to the roaming. All of Seven's erogenous zones that were within reach were visited time and time again. She moved her leg from between Seven's, but the blonde didn't object at all. The skilled touches that came instead were much appreciated.

But despite the intimacy of the touches, there was no urge behind it. This was merely touching for the sake of touching. Just that since they were married and very active lovers on top of that. There was no reason to stay away from places that really wanted to get touched.

"I like the energy she has," Seven said after a moment, continuing their original conversation. That was another thing B'Elanna loved. The blonde could get sidetracked, but she didn't actually forget the conversation she had been having. "And her attitude," Seven added after a pause. "She is arrogant and obnoxious, but in a way that you actually like her for it. I think that she could become a great friend to the Ice Princess, at least I will try."

B'Elanna chuckled at the nickname she had once thought up for Seven as an insult. "Well then, my be'nal, if you are so set on befriending her, then I guess I'll be on my best as well."

"I am not set on befriending her," Seven corrected. "I merely said that I can easily see it happen and that I would not mind. However, I also believe that you cannot force friendship so I will treat her like I treat other people and if something results out of that, then so be it."

B'Elanna shrugged. "As I said, kinda; fine with me."

Seven whimpered her agreement when apparently B'Elanna decided she wanted to do a bit more than just touch.

"You know," B'Elanna said as she gently moved her single finger in and out of her lover, "Touching you has turned me on. So, are you interested in a compromise?"

"A compromise?" Seven asked.

"Yes," B'Elanna said as she started to nuzzle Seven's neck, never stopping her hand movements. "I ravish you here, nice and slow. Gently, tenderly."

"I already approve of that part," Seven assured.

"And after that," B'Elanna continued, "I'm going to be turned on like there is no tomorrow. So once you are well and truly taken care of, we go to the bedroom where you take the biggest toy we have and fuck me hard until I beg for mercy."

"I approve of that part as well," Seven agreed. Then she thought of something. "We have to talk about toys later when we are done. I was looking for something new today and found a very interesting Urdian toy. Adaptable length and girth, heated, sensitive, self cleaning. The downside is that it would cost us one week of combined replicator rations."

"We'll talk, later," B'Elanna agreed. She kissed her lover before adding, "Much later."

Day 22. (Evening)

"You know what the one thing is that I really miss from when you were under the influence of that trace element?" Brika asked her wife.

"What?" Kathryn asked. This was the first time her wife had ever said that she missed something from that time. Well, other than the general comment that she was sorry that Kathryn wouldn't remember all the fun things Brika did remember. But even that was no longer hinted at since it was found out that the memories weren't lost, just hidden. And on that front, Kathryn was the first person slated for the 'remember' procedure. It was planned for eight a.m. the next morning.

"How you simply talked to me," Brika said softly. You didn't brood about a problem and then tell me what you decided. You would tell me the problem and then talk to me and use that conversation to help you think. And the really sad part is that once you remember you might remember doing it, but probably still won't do it again because the months we had don't measure up to the years of you being used to not tell people what's bothering you."

Kathryn was clearly confused. Here she was snuggling up to her wife in bed after just having spent almost two hours talking about their newest member to the Fleet. About how and where she might fit in. Hadn't Kathryn shared her feelings honestly? She made an effort to stay gentle and not go on the defensive as she reminded Brika of this fact.

Brika shook her head a little. "No, we talked about another person and how it will affect both our jobs. Yes, we even talked about what we think of the situation, how we feel about how the fact that this will change Fleet business. We talked about that for as long as Q'Vir is with us we will never ever have to face an answer like 'I don't know what this event is and how dangerous it is'. But you have not said a single word about what it is that is bothering you."

She gently kissed Kathryn between the eyes to indicate the place. "You have not said a single thing about what it is that created this little furrow here. Please love, don't cut me out."

Despite the words, Kathryn managed a rueful smile. "So that's why you asked me several times already what I was thinking about. I thought you wanted to know what I thought about the whole Q'Vir situation."

"I did," Brika assured. "Just that for me it didn't need that much analyzing. We would be fools not to give her a chance. And if she causes problems... well, indestructible or not, she can still be beamed onto an uninhabited planet. So, before we start about her again, tell me what's bothering you. Or don't you want me to ask?"

The last had been said with a smile, but Kathryn got the message. She knew that she had a choice to make. She knew that Brika would give her room on this if she wanted. All she needed to do was give an answer along the lines of, 'I just need to think it over a bit, but I'll talk to you about it once I'm finished with the thinking'. But, that was really the problem, wasn't it? If she started to do that, it would be damn easy to start saying that and then simply never bring it back up again. It was so easy to... well, not really start having secrets; just not talk about everything.

She kissed her lover. "No, don't ever let me get away with that. Don't ever let me say crap like that I just need to think for a moment. It's just an old habit, my love. A habit I want to break, just that I need some help."

"And I'll be there to help," Brika assured with a smile. "So, no accepting, 'it's nothing' either?"

"No," Kathryn assured.

"Well then?" Brika urged.

Kathryn sighed. "It's just that, things are changing so fast. Until now, until we reached this planet, everything was so clear. We were on our way home; as simple as that. Sure, we had triumphs and failures along the way. Some people died, but we also gave a home to people that became so close that I now consider them family. Neelix, Seven... Seven, who would have thought that I would gain a sister at my age?"

"You have become really comfortable with that idea," Brika noted.

"I love it," Kathryn agreed. "Once she introduced me to that concept and I look at our relationship in that light, it just all clicked into place. The feelings I had, still have, for her. She is a gorgeous woman so it was easy to assume that my attraction to her was of the physical kind. I will honestly admit, at least to you my wonderful Mate, that thinking of her got me hot and bothered more than once. But it was only as soon as she suggested that we could see each other as sisters, that something clicked into place in my mind. And now I feel very comfortable with seeing her as my sister, and I see that separate from the fact that I once got hot and bothered by the looks of a blonde woman who happened to look a lot like my new sister."

"But that's still not the thing that's bothering you," Brika pointed out, mentally cursing herself for being the one that moved off subject.

Kathryn sighed and rolled onto her back. She looked up at the ceiling for a moment before admitting, "It's not. It's that, as I said, it was all so clear until now. We are going home. We are on a line from point A to point B. But now, in the last month it has all become so muddy. Now it's no longer just the thought of getting home. Now it's also thinking of what might happen when we get home. Q'Vir really was just the trigger. What will happen to her? As much as she likes all the different species in the Alpha and Beta Quadrant, I really don't see her simply settling on Earth. Or what about Ina? She is going to marry Kinal, so they are going to stay together."

"Probably," Brika agreed. "They will probably simply stay with the Fleet."

Kathryn turned her head slowly to look at her wife. "And that really brings us to the biggest 'what will happen then'. Just what will happen with the Fleet? Just what will happen with the most important part in that Fleet? What will happen with you, my love? You are an Admiral. Are you going to leave the Fleet just to be with me?"

"I will do whatever it takes to be with you," Brika simply said.

Kathryn couldn't help but smile. "Well then, in that case we really should talk about what we will do when we get back. I know that it's still a long time, years probably. Maybe I will not even see that day. But still, I need a new 'when we get home' image in my mind; one that includes you."

Brika smirked. "Well, fifteen minutes ago I would have said, 'why don't you think about it for a while'. But since now my task is to not let you get away with brooding over stuff all by yourself, let us play the what-if game."

Kathryn answered the smirk with one of her own. "Alright, allow me to be selfish for a moment and talk about myself then. When we get home, one of three things will happen to me in regards to Starfleet. First, they will ask me to resign or kick me out for several things I did ever since being stranded in the Delta Quadrant. I have done several things that would have gotten me court-martialed if I had been in Federation space when I had done them."

"Like?" Brika asked. She didn't refute the statement just because it was her lover that was saying it. She was an Admiral; she had long gone left the stage of thinking that simply because you knew someone or even love someone that they couldn't do anything wrong.

"The alliance with the Borg for one," Kathryn reminded. "They gained a lot of tactical information about the Federation from that. Or how about harboring escaped criminals simply because I thought they were innocent. Federation law clearly dictates that if dealing with an alien species the laws of that species have to be respected as long as it does not clearly in danger the crew or the ship. But I harbored those people and by doing so actually endangered the ship and its crew. Or how about... well, there simply were a lot of things that I could get court-martialed for. Though I sincerely doubt that I will actually be court-martialed because Starfleet does usually look at the entire situation and also takes the mitigating circumstances into mind. It's just that if, and I repeat the if, somebody wants to throw me out for some reason of their own, they would have enough ammunition to do so."

"But you doubt that this will happen," Brika repeated.

"I doubt it," Kathryn agreed. "Starfleet is a lot about image. They want to be seen as good, as upstanding, as somebody that you will know is capable of defending you. In that light you don't court-martial anyone from commander upwards if you can prevent it. In my case, they look at my record and then probably broadcast the ceremony all over the Federation of me being decorated for being such a great Captain and for upholding Starfleet principle against such tremendous odds, and all of that fun stuff. No, the real thing will be in just what they're going to do with me after that."

"Meaning?" Brika prompted.

"Well, there is where the other two options come in," Kathryn said. "Assuming that they don't kick me out and I don't resign, they only have two options. Either they give me the command of a new ship, something bigger than Voyager, because I have proven to be such a wonderful Captain. Which of course also means that they will expect me to train new officers. And that in turn really means that I will probably never ever leave Federation space again because I'd be running around in circles. Probably go to the Federation border for patrolling about half a year, and then go back to Earth to drop off the trained officers and take on a bunch of Academy rookies that I have to train on the next trip."

"I just can't see you doing that and liking your job," Brika said honestly.

"Neither can I," Kathryn agreed. "But that will be the only way how I can still be in command of a ship and travel between the stars. Because the third option will be that they truly think that I did a great job out here and because of that promote me to Commodore or even Admiral. And unlike with your people, with us, Commodores and especially Admirals usually only sit behind the desk in some office on Earth."

"That's also so not you," Brika said, speaking the truth they both knew.

"Well, there you have my deep dark secret," Kathryn said humorlessly. "Until now it was easy; get home. But now, now I have you. There are thousands of new people around me. I am making friends on different levels each day. I don't know how it happened but Seven and also B'Elanna, as individual people so not as the couple that they also are, have become closer to me than anybody but my own family has ever been."

"And I am part of that family," Brika said with a smile. Then she sobered and guessed, "I think I know what your problem is. Until now you wanted to get home. And now you realize that you are already home and that your old home is nothing more than a known destination to travel to."

"Yeah," Kathryn admitted.

Brika softly caressed her lover's face. "Well then, I guess that also gives you your answer."

"What do you mean?" Kathryn asked confused.

Brika smiled. "The Fleet is your home now. You simply keep it that way. Your old home still is the destination we'll travel to, because the Fleet needs a destination to travel to before we pick a new destination to travel to. That destination might just as easily be located in the Alpha Quadrant. That way we don't have to decide on a new destination every week. And once we do reach that old home, your promise to the Voyager crew of getting them home is taken care of and you stay with me and we both stay with the Fleet."

She shrugged. "Even if they want Voyager the ship back, I'm sure that we'll have good use for an experienced Captain by that time. Maybe the Fleet has by then gotten used so much to have a smaller Flagship that sets the course that we can try one of those new ship designs your people keep dabbling with. I don't know, maybe something bigger than Voyager, but smaller than a generational ship so that it can still land on a planet. Or if not that, maybe you could become the Captain of one of the new generational ships we build along the way. From what you told me about Starfleet ships, that would mean that you would have a better and bigger ship than they could ever offer you."

"What does usually happen to the Fleets that set out and reach a destination?" Kathryn asked. She knew that it had been told to her before, but so much had happened in the last month that she wasn't sure what the answer had been anymore.

"That depends," Brika said. "Usually one of two things happens. Either we find a nice planet to settle on, or we just keep traveling through space, setting new destinations whenever we feel like it. If we settled on a planet then the Fleet starts acting as the stellar defense force. There is something to be said for having a defense force guarding a new settlement, and have that defense force be powerful enough to actually win a war with an entire species if need be. We never have to worry about pirates raiding our new settlements. But often enough the Fleets also decide to say, 'to hell with settlements we stay on our ships, thank you very much'."

Kathryn nodded thoughtfully. "That's true, your ships are generational. A lot of the activity on those ships is set up for interaction between people. A lot of the jobs you have on the ships are jobs that take care of people. Cooks, popular entertainment performers. Engineers that specialize in renovating and redecorating quarters of people instead of knowing how an engine works, hairdressers, stuff like that. A lot of that could simply be transplanted onto a planet. A cook makes a meal for somebody today in the mess Hall, and tomorrow down on the planet in temporary housing. I never asked because Voyager is my ship, but how many people do you really need to run one of your ships?"

"We can run them on a skeleton crew of twenty people in a pinch," Brika informed. "For a few hours, three or four days at the very maximum. But for standard operations the minimum crew is five hundred people. The rest of the people have jobs that I consider important for the Fleet, of vital importance even. It's just that as you said, they are not really needed on the ships if you do need those people to make a new start on a planet. We also tend to slightly overstaff departments. Not so much that people have nothing to do, but to have there be enough people that the pressure is gone, so that people can actually use their vacation time. On average you could say that each department is staffed with a hundred-and-ten percent."

"But if you are so set up that you can basically transplant your civilization onto a planet, why would the people decide to stay on the ships instead of settling on a planet if you find a nice one?" Kathryn wondered.

Brika smiled. "Love, just think for a moment of what you truly have on the planet. You have lived on your Earth for twenty-five years before you started on your first Starfleet assignment on the ship that took you away from Earth for longer than a week. So let's say you spent twenty-five years on Earth. Tell me, in all of that time what have you truly seen of the planet? Your parent's home, some places in walking distance, maybe two or three places that were your favorite spots that you had to travel to by a hover car. And after that you were located at Starfleet Academy in San Francisco, one of Earth's most widely known cities. Yet how much have you truly seen of that city? Let's face it, even if you live on a planet you never seen much of it."

"If you look at it from a square meters kind of way, I have seen more of Mars then I did of Earth," Kathryn had to admit. "When I was on Mars I explored it whenever I could. I loved being on a new planet while Earth had always been... I don't know, just the place you take for granted I guess."

"So how is living on a planet really different than living on starships? Our ships at least?" Brika asked. "They are practically flying cities. You go out to restaurants. The mess halls you eat your daily means at, but there are also some restaurants to be found on the Fleet. Something you go to if you want to make your evening meal into an evening out."

"I didn't even know that," Kathryn admitted. "I just thought mess halls or the smaller overflow mess halls."

"Probably because we don't call those restaurants Mess halls, love," Brika explained. "They are so much a part of social life that Captains normally only deal with them in very limited capacities. Is all safe, does it live up to certain standards. That kind of stuff. You, as a Captain will have to deal a lot more with your mess hall since there it is part of the Captain's job to make sure that every crew member can eat. In restaurants it's more economical. If they don't want to pay to get in, they don't get in."

Then she continued with the point she had started to make. "Thing is, you go out for an evening's entertainment, you go visit the house of your friends. The only thing that a planet can offer is what is normally considered fresh air, which ironically enough it's not. Here on the ships you have truly fresh air. The air we breathe has been scrubbed and filtered so much that not a trace of a scent lingers for much longer than a few minutes, hours for species with better noses that us Urdians or you Humans, like B'Elanna."

"I can smell us," Kathryn said in a sexy purr.

Brika smiled at the sound. "That's because in the quarters that air purification is set on only twenty-five percent of what it is in public places. We long ago realized that at home you do need a scent to make a place truly feel like home. That's why we lowered the purification settings there. Enough so that over a few days the scent of the people living there starts to cling to things so that you still smell home when you get home, but there still is enough air purification that you really need to be a pig before quarters truly start to stink. But on a planet there is no fresh air, there is only air filled with a lot of smells that smell wonderful."

"And give you a dose of hay fever," Kathryn said amused.

"And that," Brika agreed. "But even there, even if you live in the most beautiful place on the planet, as soon as you live there instead of just visiting it, it becomes normal. You don't look at the scenery anymore when you walk from point A to point B. You merely walk down the path that you know to the location that you need to be at. And that is where living on starships has its advantage because on a starship you can travel from planet to planet to planet. On a starship you can have a vacation today on a planet where the gravity is so low that you can almost walk on water, and then you go back to your home, the starship, and next week you can have a vacation on a planet where sentient life evolved from insects and a six legged ambassador with facet eyes welcomes you with a big smile. On a starship you have the best of both worlds."

Brika let her eyes drift as if looking out over a large scenery, probably envisioning something of her own memories. "You have a location that you know, a place where you live and walk without seeing every detail every time because you already know it. But then every time, every single time, you make a stop somewhere along the line you always see everything. It's a new location, something you have never seen before. You don't look out onto an ocean and merely say 'pretty'; you look onto an ocean and say, 'this is amazing, look at that, the water is purple. And there, look, see that? Look, that ocean animal there is the biggest animal I have ever seen. And look over there, do you see that plant?'"

Kathryn chuckled at the sparkling excitement that Brika had put in her voice. "I see what you mean. All of the different things I have seen on different planets in my Starfleet career make up some of my fondest memories. Even here in the Delta Quadrant some of my best moments have been on away missions. There is just something that makes it the time off that much more special when you know that you will probably never see something like that again, ever."

"Well then, I guess that's your new goal," Brika said softly. "Where before your goal was to get home, now your goal is to get to the Alpha Quadrant so that you can start the next part of your journey in life; spend the rest of your life with me."

She hesitated for a moment before adding, "Of course you could also make it your goal to get to the Alpha Quadrant so that the House of BortaS can start the next step in their journey. That might be more fitting because that'd include so much more. It includes not just staying with me, but also staying with B'Elanna and Seven. Tom, Harry, Chakotay, a lot of your crew actually because all of them now have an Urdian partner and will probably stay with the mix of being with their partner, being with their friends, not leaving the Fleet which is their home, and being a member of the House."

Kathryn's eyes lit up. "I think that's the answer, my love. I have to stop thinking in the line of step, after step, after step. Instead I should start thinking of one step. Maybe it's better if I stop the whole matter of resistance to this House and instead embrace the idea... while of course still keeping true to my Starfleet ideals. Then I would never have to start thinking again about what to do once my goal is met because for as long as the House exists and I am part of it than I am working on my goal. If people want to leave, so be it, it is not something that will change my task of keeping true to the House. And if we reach the Alpha Quadrant I'm still not suddenly faced with having no more goals because my goal hasn't changed. We merely reached a destination and now a new destination has to be decided in whatever way we decide destinations at that point."

"That sounds like a good approach," Brika agreed. "Of course, there is the problem of what might happen if the ideals of the House start to strife with your personal ideas."

Kathryn treated her wife to a face splitting grin. "Ah, but that's the beauty of it. B'Elanna did ask me to become the House Justice. Though I'm not an expert, I do happen to know a few things about Klingons. One of the things I do know is that with them a judge is a lot more than just the person that decides who might be right. With them a judge also has to look at the broader picture. Someone might be right, but he still might have to be punished because even though he was right he acted in a way that was inexcusable for Klingon traditions. If I become that House Judge and actually embraced the position, than it's my duty... in consultation with the Lord and Lady of the House... to hold people to the House ideals. In other words, we form the ideals. Now granted, I might have to give up some Starfleet ideals in favor of Klingon ones, but there it is my task to find a good balance. After all, if you look at it I have already made some decisions in the last month that Starfleet wouldn't be too happy with. I made them because I truly think it's better for Voyager and its crew, and in extension, the Fleet. It wouldn't really be that different in the long run. Stand by my ideas and see how the situation can be bent around it. And I'm in luck there because on the core of ideas B'Elanna, Seven, and I don't really differ much. It has normally need in the 'how to get there' that we differ."

"And what have you done in the last month that Starfleet would not be too happy with?" Brika asked surprised. "I mean, those other things you talked about were years ago. So if they don't court-martial you for that, then what did you do now that's so bad?"

Kathryn chuckled. "How about recognizing and accepting and authority that is not Starfleet, a.k.a. you my love, as having a command authority on my ship? How about me breaking about ten Starfleet regulations right now at this moment simply by being here with you? Relationships between Starfleet personnel are quite common. Not surprisingly since you are working with the same people you entire life, changes are big that one of them becomes more than just a friend. The thing is that relationships are discouraged more and more the higher up you go in command. Some Ensign being in love with another Ensign? I might even be tempted to play matchmaker a bit. B'Elanna being married to Seven? Not a problem because Seven is technically a civilian. Even if B'Elanna had married Tom, the guy we both now know she has been intimate with, still not a problem because their ranks are low enough. But a Captain being involved with an Admiral?"

She shook her head a little. "Now that's a thing that is definitely frowned upon. But to actually have that Captain being in the chain of command of that Admiral? That is literally against Starfleet regulations. In the Federation, we would either have to hide our relationship for everyone, so not being married either obviously, or you or I would be given a different position so that we aren't in the same chain of command anymore."

"They would be in for a damn hard fight," Brika said with a smile. "I ain't giving you up because some person that doesn't even know me doesn't like who we fell in love with."

Kathryn returned the smile. "And I guess in the Federation that would be the real test of a relationship. What is stronger, you wanting to be with your partner, or you wanting to be that Admiral? Anyway, my point is that it will be my task to stay true to the Starfleet core ideals while being willing to ignore or waiver smaller ideals in favor of Klingon ideals. It will be my goal to set an environment where a Klingon House can thrive, yet at the same time if someone new from Starfleet were to join us they would still feel comfortable and able to fit right in."

Brika moved closer to treat her wife to a loving kiss. "Well then, now that you know what to focus on instead of just getting home, no more sulking around. Your face is way too pretty to have it be ruined by a frown."

Kathryn smiled. "Alright as of tomorrow I'll start thinking about how I can make my new goal work."

"And tonight?" Brika asked.

"Tonight I'll only think of you."

Part 23

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