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 24

Day 24. (Afternoon.)

Kinal and Olik looked at each other, and then back at Celes. They were standing in the living room of the quarters Olik and Kinal had shared, and clearly they didn't get it. They looked at Ina who merely lifted her hands in a 'don't look at me' gesture. Then they looked back at Celes once more.

"Look," Celes explained, "It's a tradition. If you move you get friends to help you and make a fun day out of it."

"But it would be a lot faster if we just beamed it all over," Kinal reminded. "Why would we instead pack everything and then unpack it all again two hallways down?"

"Because it's fun," Celes persisted. "Besides, if you beam using the 'moving' program, the computer scans the rooms and then beams everything into a position in the other quarters where it assumes it should go. Dishes and utensils in the kitchen, clearly, clothes in the closet. It always messes stuff up. You'll have Olik's clothes in your dresser, Kinal. Plus, if you move with boxes you can use the opportunity to put stuff in a different place. Until now you had to put things away with the mindset of siblings sharing rooms. Now you don't. For instance, Olik has won all those cool tokens over the years in competitions. Because you are siblings and they don't really matter that much to him, he has been keeping them in a drawer. But Olik is my man, and you can bet your ass that I'll put those tokens somewhere on display in a very prominent position. I want to boast with all the stuff my man has won."

Olik and Kinal looked at each other once more. Then they looked at Ina who merely lifted her hands once more. They looked back at Celes and then shrugged in surrender. They knew when an argument was lost. And really, how did you argue against a 'I want to display how great my man is' argument?"

"Oh, alright," Olik relented. "And just how many more people have you invited to this little endeavor?"

"Two," Celes said happily. "Seeing that we are four people, I figured that two more are enough. Otherwise we'll fall over our own feet."

"Let me guess," Olik said, "The Delaney sisters."

"But of course," Celes easily agreed. "They are my friends, plus they are my bosses. Got to suck up to the bosses, you know?"

Seeing the surprised look, Celes rolled her eyes. "Kidding, Prophets, you people need to lighten up. Come on, don't spoil my fun."

Olik placed a tender kiss on Celes' head. "Alright, you can have your fun. We just have to find something equally tormenting to take you to. Maybe some Clan trainings."

"Like I would say no to that," Celes countered before sticking out her tongue in a 'so there' gesture.

The bantering was interrupted by the sound of the chime.

"That'll be them," Celes informed before telling the computer to open the doors.

To everyone's surprise, there were three people standing on the other side, one of which was dressed in a deep blue colored set of Clan leathers.

Olik rolled his eyes and was just about to speak up when Sirva lifted her hand to stop him. "Easy, warrior. I'm not here to cause trouble. I'm just here because my girls wanted to help a friend and begged me to come along."

"Your girls?" Olik repeated.

Sirva put an arm around the shoulder of both the Delaney sisters. "Megan and Jennifer: my girls. We have... reached an agreement. They are registered as my partners... well, technically I'm registered as their partners because otherwise I wouldn't be allowed to join the Fleet."

"Partners," Olik said in disbelief.

"Oh yes," Sirva assured. "While I was enjoying the hospitality of this ship, Jennifer here wanted to get me into bed. Seeing that I had never been with a woman before, I decided to give in. I liked it. But I sincerely doubted that one woman could hold my interest. So they asked me, what about two women? They kinda liked the idea of having a partner that wouldn't want to come between them and that at the same time promised to treat them both like they deserved to be treated."

"That is a very abridged telling of the story," Jennifer noted. "But it does cover the facts. Sirva is ours now. Our protector, lover, our rock. And she has no interest anymore in other people."

"Wait a minute," Olik said, trying to wrap his mind around the new information. He pointed at Sirva. "Are you telling me that you, who was talking about Clan this, Clan that, is actually joining us in the Fleet; leaving the planet?" He pointed at the sisters before adding, "And you have two partners?"

Sirva shrugged. "I didn't think one would be enough. I do have a healthy libido, you know?"

"She does," Megan agreed with a giggle. "Oh, does she ever. We are very, very, happy girls right now."

"Girls?" Kinal asked, deliberately letting her eyes drift over the very adult bodies.

Megan winked. "Sure, who wants to be a woman when you can be your partner's girl? I like being my woman's girl. The rest of the ship can treat us as women, but we'll sure be Sirva's girls."

"Leaving the planet, and Clan?" Olik persisted.

Sirva shrugged again, losing some of her playful demeanor. "Believe it or not, I do listen when people talk to me. You, and especially Jennifer here, had some very good arguments, and I'm not talking about when she was trying to get me into bed."

"Well, technically I was," Jennifer corrected.

"Alright, so she was trying to get me into bed," Sirva relented. "But the point is that she was using real good arguments to try and get me to focus on what my real situation was. I did some thinking about what I had and what I wanted. And I realized that the only thing I truly had was that I could say 'back home'. But homes shift. Was it really that wise to stay on the planet only because I call one place there 'home'? So I did some more thinking and I decided that I liked what was offered to me here even more."

She pulled the sisters against her gently. "Two women who want someone in their life that kinda fulfils the role that the men fulfill in my Clan. Plus a place to stay. I really do like them a lot, what more do I need?"

Kinal nodded in understanding. "It could work. Do they know that you will get addicted to one of them?"

Sirva smiled. "And maybe both, who knows? But the fun thing is that we will never find out who of them it is if it is only one of them. After all, they are always together, I have sex with them both, plus they look the same, down to their smiles."

"It could work," Kinal said again. Then she asked the sisters, "And do you know what you are getting into?"

"We had a good talk," Jennifer assured. "Plus we were smart enough to read up on Urdian physiology. I think this really can work. Someone that accepts us for who we are, for having the connection we have, and on top of that that doesn't mind to be shared... it's exactly what we want."

Sirva stepped closer to Olik. "Now warrior, considering that my girls are such close friends with your mate, and that because of that we will have to interact more often, I was hoping that you would accept my offer of truce. I chased you, stalked you even. But I did that to serve my Clan. Now I'm thinking of myself and my girls. And I want my girls to be able to interact with their friends without having to worry how other people think about their lover."

Olik thought about that for a moment before holding out his arm in offer. "If you are sincere then I welcome the opportunity to get to know the real you, and not the annoying person that was trying my patience."

Sirva took the arm in a warrior's shake before stating with a smirk, "I don't know, I kinda liked the person I was here on the ship. I realized that I actually liked being the arrogant bitch on occasion that gets in people's face. And my girls like the tough attitude."

Olik chuckled. "Then maybe you can work on having the attitude but without being arrogant all the time? I think I could stand it in measurements."

"I'll see what I can do," Sirva assured with a smirk. Then she added more seriously, "Especially since we might be of the same Clan soon."

"You mean when all Clans join the House of BortaS?" Kinal asked.

Sirva shook her head as she let go of Olik's arm. "No. I already contacted my Clan to let them know that their plan failed, and that on top of that I'm leaving with the Fleet. They were not amused. Since I did have a good track record in my Clan they decided to not destroy my property and allow me back onto Clan territory for one hour to come get my stuff when I'm on the planet for the last time. But after that time I'll be expelled from my Clan. I was hoping that Olik, and maybe you, could put in a good word for me to join your Clan so that I am actually a Clan member when the House is formed. I do not want to live with the shame of not being a Clan member. I don't want to be seen as just one of the regular people that think it's cool to live in something that sounds like a Clan. I was Clan all my life, and I want to stay it. I want to know that even if we are part of that House, I can still have my facial tattoo that tells people that I was Clan."

Kinal nodded thoughtfully as she looked at her brother. "We could do that."

"Or we could accompany you when you go get your belongings," Olik offered. "Make it very clear that you are leaving, that you 'will' be part of a Clan. And maybe we can convince them in that light to actually let you stay member of your Clan, if you want. Be the representative of your Clan in the Fleet. Maybe once they know that their idea of forcing you to choose between clan and future life has failed, they are more open to other ideas. Maybe they will be interested in my version. Of how they could let you stay part of The Gathering Storm Clan, and then use it to tell people, 'see we too can think modern. Why, one of our members is even representing up on one of the Fleets out there'."

Sirva chuckled. "If I told them that, they would just brush me off, but..."

"But if I tell them that," Olik continued, "Especially with my sister standing beside me, to whom they owe a debt of life, they might be more open to the idea."

Hearing that statement, Celes looked at Sirva's facial tattoo, and then over to Kinal. And it was only now that she noticed that, yes, one of the small markings on the healer's face looked exactly like the bigger tattoo that Sirva had on the left side of her face. "Hmm, I didn't even notice that."

Olik chuckled. "That's why I recognized her Clan right away when I saw her tattoo. Kinal and I have been there once."

Celes smiled when she noticed that this time, Olik was being nicer and didn't bring up the fact that he might have actually slept with Sirva and not remember her. Which Celes doubted anyway, and which didn't matter to Celes in any case.

Olik grinned as he looked back at Sirva, "After all, if they are willing to listen, it would mean that you don't just have the right to have a facial tattoo. You would also be the only person in the Fleet that is allowed to have the design you have because you would be the only former Gathering Storm Clan member in the Fleet."

Sirva's jaw had dropped at the mere suggestion. That was something she could never have even wished for. But yes, if anyone might be able to convince her Clan, then it would be the First Warrior and Healer of the Red Hand Clan. If it would be clear that she would be a Clan member no matter what... maybe her Clan would be more inclined then to have her be the one member in the Fleet that is their Clan's representative, instead of loosing yet another member to the biggest Clan around.

"But for now," Celes spoke up," How about we start moving stuff? Come on, I have a little barbeque planned afterwards on the holodeck.

"Why didn't you say so before," Olik said in fake outrage. "Now that whole moving stuff makes a lot more sense. It's just an excuse to get together and do stuff on the holodeck afterwards."

"And what would the fun have been in letting you know that right away?" Celes reasoned before placing a kiss on his cheek and moving towards the empty boxes to finally begin the task of starting her life with her lover.

Day 24. (Afternoon.)

B'Elanna and Seven had followed doctor's orders after the 'remembering' procedure. Unlike the Captain, they didn't need to face a whole questioning about just what they remembered. Instead, they had gotten the rest of the day off with the strong suggestion to go home and contemplate all they now remembered. They had.

B'Elanna slowly sipped her drink, deep in thought. She smiled when Seven rejoined her on their couch in their living room. "Hey beautiful, I was getting lonely."

Seven snuggled up to her. "I had to rectify my error. Now that I remember all again, I had to put my memorabilia back in my nightstand so that I can take them out at night. I am glad you convinced me to keep them. I would be severely saddened if they had been lost."

"I know. Even without remembering, I somehow knew that you would be devastated if you truly lost those things," B'Elanna assured. Then she snored. "Isn't it funny that it turned out that I was right not to watch my data crystal?"

Seven placed a comforting kiss on her lover's shoulder. "Still embarrassed?"

"Just between you and me? Hell yes," B'Elanna admitted readily, but only because this was her be'nal. "Kahless, I was worried to find out just what a wonderful job I had on the planet. I think I would have killed myself if I had found out before now that this wonderful job was being 'information girl' in the local museum. Especially if I had found out that I had only gotten that job because they thought it would be cool to have a real alien work in the 'alien encounters' section."

"I am certain that it was only temporary," Seven assured. "You merely didn't know the new technology yet. I am certain that within a year you would have at least moved to being in command over some group of engineers. Within five years, you would have been advising the government. Plus, do not sell the job short. It may have been the local museum where we lived, but that still happened to be the most important and biggest museum in the world."

B'Elanna chuckled. "And you are so wonderful for my ego. At least you had a good job, being part of the local think tank."

"That is because I still had my photographic memory, instant recall, plus a build-in quantum micro processor to help me calculate and think logically," Seven reminded. "No matter what else I know, that combination is still good enough to think on a level any think tank can appreciate. After all, the whole point of a think tank is to think about things others are not thinking of, therefore a current knowledge of the society is not that relevant, unless doing educated guesses about where the society is going of course."

"Aww, you're just saying that to make me feel better," B'Elanna teased before saying with utmost sincerity, "baby, just to have it said, and that you know, I'm not sorry about a single thing. I'm glad I fell in love with you the first time, and I'm glad I fell in love with you the second time."

"Likewise, B'Elanna Torres, likewise," Seven assured. "Though I have to admit that I am glad that I fell in love with you twice. It feels different somehow, as if the second time enhances the first time."

"I fully agree," B'Elanna said. "It's like... like the first time we fell in love with our hearts and body, and the second time we fell in love with our minds and souls." She smiled. "Which means that now I love you heart, mind, body, and soul."

"You can be so eloquent if you really want to," Seven said as she tried to wiggle even closer to her lover.

"Sure," B'Elanna agreed with a grin. "But only since I discovered that if I say a few pretty words to you I get laid a lot more."

Now Seven laughed. "And you can be so you sometimes."

"I love you baby," B'Elanna said, just to have that absolutely clear.

"And I love you, my be'nal," Seven assured. "I too am glad for the extra memories. I would consider it an experience I would not like to miss, now."

"Now that we have all memories back and can look back at it all instead of living it at that moment," B'Elanna clarified. She handed her by now empty glass to Seven, who put it down on the coffee table.

Once they were once again sitting with Seven being held securely in B'Elanna's embrace, the Klingon continued. "Though, I have to admit that I feel kinda weird for loving you like mad one moment and then hating you and wanting a divorce. Not to mention for suddenly treating you like I didn't know you."

"B'Elanna Torres," Seven started, only to be interrupted.

"I know, I know, I read the memo, I know why I feel this way, that whole 'not remembering the forgetting' part," B'Elanna assured. "Still, it's still weird to have said 'I do' and then not long later treat you like I don't even want to be in the same room as you."

Seven thought about that for a moment before stating thoughtfully, "Maybe we truly did not know each other before, despite being married. It is another reason why I am glad that the last month happened; because now we did get to know each other."

"Care to explain that," B'Elanna asked as she gently moved a hand under Seven's t-shirt so that she could caress her be'nal's abdomen.

Seven decided to open the explanation with a question. "Would you agree when I say that on Voyager we might have been around each other, but we did not really know each other?"

"It's in the definition of knowing, I guess," B'Elanna partially agreed and disagreed. "I knew some of the things that pissed you off, I knew you enough to be able to estimate how you would react to things. But I agree that I didn't know you as a person."

"And once we were on the planet that did not really change," Seven noted. "What changed is that we realized that we actually liked the person we knew, but we did not truly get to know each other better. As much time as we spent together, we did learn things about each other, but that was simply by the fact that, for instance, you saw me react to something and from then on knew whether I liked it or not. It was like that person we saw there was 'good enough'. I liked you, I loved you, why should I want to know whether you still like certain Klingon ideals? I loved you, I knew how to please you, but I did not know why you prefer to be 'on top' more than me. I liked your behavior, but I did not know why you behaved like you did."

B'Elanna nodded her understanding. "You are right. The talking, the really getting to know each other, we only did that in the last month."

"Heart and body," Seven repeated. "On the planet it was all about that. We felt happy together, nothing else was important."

"Mind and soul," B'Elanna added. "The mind and souls only fell in love the last month. When we did try consciously to live together with our differences instead of merely ignoring those differences like we did on the planet."

"When you, even to this day, take your time to stimulate my intellect by providing me puzzles to solve," Seven reminded, nodding to the Rubik's cube on her desk.

"When you so willingly accepted my need for Klingon traditions into your life," B'Elanna added. "When you didn't just tolerate the fact that I like being Klingon, but even took the idea and ran with it; willingly becoming my Lady. That is the moment my soul fell in love with you."

"When you understood my need for having a more dominant partner in my life," Seven countered. "When you so willingly became my Lord. When you encouraged me to grow in the position of your Lady instead of trying to reason with me about me needing to be my own person. That is when my soul fell in love with you."

"My Pet, just because you are mine unconditionally, doesn't mean you aren't your own person," B'Elanna pointed out.

"But other people would not see it that way," Seven persisted. "They would only see me not wanting to be in control of certain things. They would not see the true, deeper, level."

"That by deciding to not be in control, you actually are," B'Elanna said in understanding. "That you can only give up control as long as you understand that you actually have the control, and are giving it up freely. Someone that is forced to give up control doesn't have control to begin with; the person that is forcing them has the control. But someone that freely and willingly gives up control, that is the person that is truly in control. A paradox, and I'm sure you love that. "

"Is there anything you would have done differently now that you know?" Seven wondered.

B'Elanna thought about that for a moment before shaking her head. "No, I think that all of it was needed. The time on the planet, we learned that we can be happy together even if all the rest isn't there. The last month, all of that was needed to establish the balance we now have. Even me claiming you, even us taking the Oath." Then B'Elanna smiled before admitting," No, I take that back, there is one thing I would have changed."

"There is?" Seven asked surprised.

"Yes," B'Elanna assured, right before her smile turned into a grin. "I would have encouraged you to use the perfume more often; you only did so twice, with once being our first night."

"I understand what you mean," Seven assured. "And now that I have all my memories back, I will. I really love to get fucked by you if you lost all control."

"And I love doing the fucking," B'Elanna assured. "Just thinking of that," She finished her statement with a lustful growl. Then she continued. "And on that topic, I'm glad we made those video files for you. Now that I remember making them, I definitely want to see them."

"You will," Seven assured. "But only when it fits. I still like my original plan of giving you a file to watch when I cannot be with you that night. Times like that are destined to come up. But I do not see why we should watch the files when we are together. In that case I would much rather use that time to do some actual loving."

"Good point," B'Elanna had to agree. "But I still liked making those files. It's kinda different than just making love. When you have to keep in mind what the camera will see. It's kinda like having someone watch you without there being someone to watch you. What we do, what we have, it's so private that I don't want to share it with anyone but you. But I have to admit that I still kinda like the thrill of the idea of... of performing for camera I guess. We should make some more of those videos."

"We will," Seven assured. "I liked making them as well. I believe, I believe that I like to... perform... in front of a recorder. But just like you I do not want anyone but us to see what we share. Still, knowing that you will see that later. In fact, knowing that I will see that again. Even now the idea of watching a file and masturbating to it has an appeal to it."

"Can I watch you masturbate as you watch us?" B'Elanna asked with a grin, mostly joking because she knew now that she would never have to wonder about Seven wanting to be alone. Even if it was just for self pleasure, if B'Elanna was near, Seven wanted her there.

"Maybe we can make a video of me masturbating as I watch a video of me masturbating as I watch us making love," Seven teased.

"Alright, that would be confusing as well," B'Elanna admitted. "Fun, but confusing. Then she sighed. "Alright, with that covered I guess that now is time for the tedious stuff."

"What tedious stuff?" Seven wondered.

"Our House," B'Elanna explained. "Now that we are of full mind, so to speak, I want to quickly go over all the rules and conditions we set up and see if we want to change something. More so since we sat them up with only a few people in mind, and some guesswork along the way. How about we look at the rules again, but this time knowing already that there will be thousands of people in the House, and that it has to be set up in such a way that potentially thousands more will follow."

Seven nodded her agreement. "You are right. Some things will have to be changed, but not the core ideals."

"Right," B'Elanna agreed. "More things like... well, before we just said that we will have marines, but now we will also add the command structure. That way if more people join they simply fall in that command structure."

"I agree," Seven said before getting up to retrieve a PADD. But halfway to the desk she changed her mind. "This is mostly reading and talking. We can do that somewhere else as well."

"Oh, and what did you have in mind?" B'Elanna asked, getting up already without even having heard the answer.

Seven answered by taking off her t-shirt, treating her lover to a view she would never tire of seeing. "I was thinking of you and me, in our bathtub, in nice and warm water, bubbles and water jets; the works. That way we can take the occasional break by having you ravish me."

B'Elanna laughed. "Girl, you know how to talk to a Klingon. Why don't you get the PADD, while I go get some snacks?"

Day 24. (Evening.)

"Sure you don't want to come in?" Q'Vir teased as she sensually walked into her quarters. And, having been a goddess of love for several millennia, Q'Vir knew how to do sensual. "I promise you won't be sorry."

"Ah, um, eh, maybe next time," the Doctor stammered.

Q'Vir treated him to a dazzling smile. "Ah, we are making progress. I told you, you would not withstand me long."

"I, um, really have to go now," The Doctor said right before turning around and practically fleeing away.

Q'Vir laughed as the door closed. Oh, she loved this. She was glad that the Doctor wasn't a Human. There wasn't a Human, and also almost no Humanoid at all, in the universe that would have been able to withstand all the, for want of better word, magic, she had been using on him ever since she decided that they would make a good match.

But seeing that the Doctor was a sentient hologram, all her tricks had no direct effect on him. Oh, she had the ability to affect a hologram if she wanted to. All it would take was a few days of changing, allowing that power to grow. But she had decided against that. She kinda liked the idea of having a partner that was immune to her abilities to alter the mind, with whom she could play to her heart's content without having to worry that she might fry his brain.

So, all the playing was merely extra fun. But underneath that, she was working her way close to him in the very old-fashioned way of people getting to know each other and liking each other. Well, she had cheated a bit by changing her personality a bit to where she found those personality traits of the Doctor, that annoyed people the most about him, actually very endearing. It was only fair, she decided, since she already knew that when the time would come he would also change for her. Sometimes it was really convenient if you already knew some parts of your future.

She especially loved the fact that in a year of so, once the Doctor was accustomed to the idea, he would be very willing to change his body into whatever Q'Vir wanted, needed, at that moment. At least behind the door of their quarters. Outside he would always be the Doctor that everyone knew. But nobody would know that once that door was closed and they were alone, especially when making love, the Doctor would be whatever she needed at that moment. Man, woman, dominant, submissive, rough, tender. All that she wanted, he would be.

"But still, a hologram?"

Q'Vir didn't startle at the voice that had clearly replied to her thoughts. She looked at the man that had just appeared sitting in her comfy chair in her living room. After a moment of hesitation she decided to flop down on the couch instead, figuring that it was not worth the words to try and make him get out of her chair.

He smiled broadly at her.

"Would you do me the favor and get out of my mind?" Q'Vir asked. "You couldn't do that when I was a Q, so please don't start now; it so messes with the flow of conversation. Besides, I like having private thoughts."

"Says the woman that will soon be a telepath," The Q countered amused.

"Soon is not now," Q'Vir countered. "Besides, I'll also add an ability to turn it off so that I don't butt into private thoughts unless it's my job. Now, what took you so long? I expected one of you on my first day."

The Q, a tall and slender blond man with gray eyes smiled. Privately Q'Vir was glad that he would be her 'parole officer'. All in all she had always liked him, and she knew that the feeling had been mutual. In fact, when they had voted on imprisoning her, he had voted against it. Which made her wonder. "Why you by the way, not that I mind."

The Q shrugged. "Call it a nice gesture for old time's sake. You were one of our finest examples, until you suddenly went and started to teach our single weak spot to that silly religion you were leading at that time. Really, what were you thinking?"

Q'Vir pinched the bridge of her nose. "We went over this, for a couple of centuries actually."

The Q waved her off. "Come on, the sentencing is done. Spare me the righteous mumbling and just tell me. You know my curiosity."

Q'Vir hesitated for a moment. But then she decided that it was really not worth irritating her former colleague. She really didn't want him to start enforcing the rules with the mindset of annoying her as much as possible. She sighed. "Fine, if you really want to know, it's because I talked myself into a corner. I had created this great religion, all about how their one true god, me, was so powerful and unstoppable, and all that jazz."

"Nothing we all didn't do once or twice," The Q noted.

"Yeah, but I kinda overlooked the connection those mortals made. Since I couldn't show myself everywhere at once, they started to interpret my will. Started to do things I never asked for. All in my name. Conquering, killing, maiming."

The Q cringed, he knew Q'Vir only too well. "Not that great for the person who invented the saying 'make love, not war'."

Q'Vir nodded. "As you know, I don't mind doing what needs doing. But I don't like the whole 'let me smash your head in because you insulted my horse' crap. I needed to invent something that could be told in stories. About how even the mighty god had a weak point. That nobody was perfect. And that people that were fighting the conquering armies could use to take comfort in."

"Why not just snap your fingers and stop it all?" Q asked reasonable.

Q'Vir frowned. "Because I wasn't done playing yet. You don't leave the theater only because the character you like the most was just killed. You stay and see if there is the proper revenge. I wasn't done yet. I wanted to steer them. So I invented this weakness. And I admit that I went with the easy way and just said what I knew was a real weakness. That way it would sound convincing. And I'm sure that if you hadn't destroyed them all I would have succeeded in making a great civilization."

"They knew our weak spot, they had to be destroyed," Q said with a shrug, and no remorse at all.

"Hmm," Q'Vir said, not wanting to get into that old argument even more. Instead she asked, "So, why here?"

Q smiled. "But Q... Q'Vir... hey, you lost me a bet by the way. I was sure that you would go with Qralana. You so loved being her."

Q'Vir shrugged. "Yes, I do like being a goddess of wisdom from time to time. But I felt that it would be better not too in this group. Too many egos that would never follow my lead blindly only because I say 'I'm smart, I know what I'm doing'. Besides, I kinda like not having to be in charge. So let me ask again, why here?"

"Maybe we felt generous," Q said. "After all, you were the last one that became a Q; you will always be our youngest."

"Yeah, that's me," Q'Vir said with a sigh. "The eternal kid."

"A being that is fifteen billion years old is not a kid," Q countered, "But you will always be our youngest. Well, not counting the newly born babies. We call them the next generation."

"Alright," Q'Vir tried again, "then let me ask the question like this; why did you make sure that I would be joining this trip? You could have just set me free in the Alpha Quadrant."

Q thought for a moment on how to answer that. "Let's just say that we felt that they might be in need of a knowing council. We would kinda like if a few of them would survive. If the rest survives we consider it a bonus."

Finally Q'Vir smirked. "I get it, playing with the other omnipotent ones again? What's the rule, no direct interference?"

"Close, but no," Q disagreed. "It's more like.... well, like you and that civilization you were leading actually. An omnipotent being build this great society in the Beta Quadrant. He loves his work. Unfortunately because he used tradition and Honor as a building tool his society is not that willing to change with the times. They need an example of how it can also be done. And as powerful as he is, he is tied to his powerbase, so he can't leave his part of space. Plus, he is supposed to be dead, so he can't show up and do things. He can only work with dreams at best. So he asked us for a favor."

Q'Vir grinned. "Beta Quadrant, tradition, Honor? Does that mean I have to get used to wearing uniforms with a lot more metal on it? Kinda like battle uniforms?"

"That is for the new influence that is building in this Fleet to decide," Q said. "But I personally hope that they know that traditions are great, but that the time where metal was a good protection in a uniform has well and truly passed."

"I see," Q'Vir said in understanding. "Then it's a good thing that I'm an advisor instead of a leader this trip. If done right you actually have more influence as an advisor. As someone in charge you can only say 'do this', but as an advisor you can come up with all kinds of cool things and suggest and steer the ones in charge to probably do it."

Q nodded his agreement. "It is. Well then, you served your first part of your punishment. Now is the second part. Time for new goals."

Q'Vir frowned. "Going to lock me up again? Kinda hard to guide then."

"No," Q assured. "It's two new potential end results. Well, one old and one new. You know the rest of your punishment. Be immortal for the rest of eternity. Forever be reminded of what you lost. That punishment still stands, if you do not succeed on this mission for us. But, if you do succeed... if you do succeed we will give you back your powers and make you a Q once more."

Q'Vir's eyes got wide. "And, and when do I know that it succeeded?"

"When we tell you?" Q said amused. "But it will take quite some time. It's not just these people. But also those that come after them. For as long as it takes until the new influence has spread to a point where it survives even if the event that brought the influence is gone. Once that point is reached, then we will see and vote if we found your work acceptable."

"A couple of centuries then," Q'Vir said, and to a person with eternal life that sounded very satisfyingly short.

"At least," Q agreed before coming back to an old question. "Oh, but, really Q'Vir... a hologram?"

Q'Vir grinned. "Hey, you made no rules about a partner. Plus according to your rules I am allowed to make sure his emitter works forever, and his program never disintegrates."

"True," Q agreed. "But a Hologram?"

"A sentient hologram," Q'Vir countered. "Someone that can technically share the rest of eternity with me. Come on, you know I don't like being alone, and even if I'm a Q again... we Q work best alone. I'm willing to bet that even the Q that now share babies basically play a game of tag. Now this one watches the child, then that one. I for one would much rather share my life with someone I like being around."

Q lifted his hands in a stopping gesture. "Well, it's your choice, and as you say, it's not against the rules. If that's what you want..."

"It is," Q'Vir assured. Then she grinned. "At least for now. Who knows how the both of us feel about it once we shared a millennium or so together."

"And talking about time," Q said, changing the subject. "It seems that with locking you up we caused somewhat of a problem of you having to remember things from some time ago, or from long ago when you were playing around here in a previous trip through this timeline. Since you are now somewhat of their guide..."

Q snapped his fingers, but it seemed as if nothing happened. "There, I just updated your knowledge with the knowledge of the last Q that traveled through here. More up-to-date."

"Thanks, I appreciate it," Q'Vir said sincere. Then she asked, "Any last words of wisdom?"

Q looked at her as he tilted his head in thought. "Yeah, brush up on your knowledge of the Borg. Borg that are severed from the Collective to be precise. You might need it soon."

And then he was gone.

Q'Vir pursed her lips for a moment before saying out loud, "Well that went better than expected." Then she frowned, wondering. She knew that she didn't have all of her Q powers, especially none of the main ones. She would have definitely felt those. But she did feel a bit... more now. More than only having memories added. She closed her eyes for a moment, feeling her own essence. Then she smiled. "It's only a small power, but I still thank you for giving it back to me."

She snapped her fingers and suddenly she was dressed in a long deep blue evening gown of the finest material the former Q could remember. "Oh, I like this. That will save me so much on the wardrobe."

She stood up and walked over to the mirror. She snapped her fingers again and her hair was suddenly in a totally different hairstyle. Curious she snapped her fingers again. But this time she sighed at the result. Nope, her hair color was still the same, with the exception of only the smallest of parts at her skull, as if the hair had been dyed and then grown out for a millimeter. But that was a normal reaction for when she decided to change hair color, as if it was a reminder to her that, yes, the new color had been selected. And now it would slowly change the rest of the hair. And within a day or two the new color would take hold fully. But despite how it started, it wasn't like her hair grew out until only the new color was left after a good haircut. No, Q'Vir never needed a haircut since she decided how long her hair was. Instead the color would slowly change, hour by hour, until finally the end result was reached.

Q'Vir nodded her head as she started to understand the limits of this power. As a Q she simply had all powers, so she never had to think of what the limits of one were because that was always covered by the start of a new power. But now she needed to find the edges, know what the limits were. "Alright, I get it. Something everyone can change within minutes, I can now change with a thought. But anything that would take longer still has to be done the old way. Still making sure that I can't impersonate anyone, eh?"

This last was said a little louder to the empty room since she was sure that the Q could hear her.

She changed the dress and her hair again. "Still, I can work with this. Then she grinned. "Time to torment a certain doctor some more. Let's see if I can convince him to sleep with me tonight."

She snapped her fingers and then looked around the room. "Oh well, worth a try. Guess I'll be walking then."

Part 25

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