By Elizabeth Carter
B'Elanna was growing more impatient as the moments passed. What was it that Seven and the Captain were speaking of? Another lecture to be nice to Seven? 'Ha if she only knew.' B'Elanna mused. 'Well if can't be about ships business Kathryn's body language was all-wrong for that. It was almost I don't know not quite motherly but more than friend and less Captainy ' B'Elanna shifted the weight on her feet and rubbed her forehead. She took a momentarily wave of shock not to feel her ridges but the silver ocular implant.
Her attention was diverted when she heard comments coming from a few of the crewmates above her on the second level of Engineering.
"Barbie-Borg is trying to fit in again "
"So what the Chief will put her in her place for dressing up in a uniform." Came a second voice.
"Think she looks good in it." This voice belonged to Chapman. "Blue becomes her and she is Head of Astrometrics."
"Only because she's fucking the Captain." This was from Voice Two
"That's crossing the line." Chapman said to the voice that had yet to have an owner.
"Ah come on Chapman you went out with her. She dislocated your shoulder and tore the ligaments in your arm. All she is a good looking toy. I hear all you have to do is make your heart race, she thinks you want sex and will copulate with you." Said First.
"Yeah eye-candy." Second snidely commented. "A little mindless Borg for a good lay "
"You think those implants "
"Look the both of you shut up." Chapman said. "I won't report this. But shut up. Seven is a person."
"Yeah don't let the Chief here you say that. Lieutenant Torres knows the truth. Seven of Nine is nothing but a Drone. Just ask her. Seven is a long legged Captain's pet. Torres would be the first to agree with us."
"I doubt that." Chapman said.
"Oh? Why do you think that our Chief calls Seven: Drone, Ice Queen, Barbie-Borg, or just Borg. She rarely calls Seven, Seven so that blonde sex-bot is just a machine. If she was a real person then why is she stored in the Cargo bay?" First laughed.
"Seven needs the Alcoves." Chapman insisted to his colleagues.
"Yeah and what kind of person needs to be plugged in at night? "Second retorted. "She isn't real. She has no more emotion then a Vulcan and she is so gullible you can make her do what you want if you tell her it's the human thing to do."
Two of the men laughed. Then First added to what he already thought was hilarious. "I'd love to plug her in I saw a holoporno once that Tom Paris created that had a Borg Ice Queen there are a few things I'd love to try with that Drone."
"You know every time Seven comes in here, you two seem to have the same conversation. God it's like you want her to hear." Chapman complained.
"So what if she actually hears? She's only a drone. They don't feel anything. Torres agrees. The Borg don't feel anymore than a computer. Look at her, she's one hot broad but she's made of ice." First relented his view. "If she felt anything, I'd think she'd say something. She doesn't so she's just a good-looking computer."
B'Elanna felt sick.
And she felt rage beyond knowing.
'You wait Sev. I'll make it right by you I swear it. Kah'less they use my name to validate their fucking attitudes. Like I would approve of it. She's a woman you Targ shits you don't treat a woman like this. And you will never speak of my Seven like that again you wont have tongues to wag. Two days boys and you'll be paying for it. You'll find out just how dangerous a pissed off Klingon can be.' B'Elanna snarled a meshed covered hand hit the railing around relay conduit she was standing by and dented it. "I forgot just how strong you are there babe." B'Elanna chided herself aloud. 'And why the hell have you never said anything. I know you hear it yet you pretend you don't. Why?'
The body of B'Elanna and Captain Janeway exited the office both with smiles upon their faces. "Breakfast it is." The Captain said as she started for the turbo lift. She stopped by Seven's tall form smiled then left.
The upgrades that had been presented involved the Warpcore injectors and impressively refined Dilithium crystals. They worked for ten hours on the upgrades, having to stop four times to repair and replace plasma conduits. That was easy. Working around the crew who knew their Chief well proved to be difficult.
B'Elanna had for the most part tried to steer repairs and the upgrades to the Jeffries tubes. Not that she wanted to spend ten hours crawling around the cramped spaces, but in truth it was a cop-out in not having to play "Borg" in front of her crew. A few members of her crew she was suddenly very disappointed in. When she was herself there would be some changes made. As an office she would not, could not allow some of the things she had heard to go unpunished. Those remarks were sexual harassment. Further she knew damn well those crewman had said knowing that the Borg enhanced hearing would pick up on their conversation. That was unacceptable.
More than a few times B'Elanna wanted to talk to Seven about what she had heard, and what Seven was subjected to by the p'tahk crewmen.
It was in the seventh hour into the shift when they decided to break for a late lunch. And head for the mess hall.
"Seven! B'Elanna" The forever cheerful furry Talaxian clapped his hands together as he smiled coming around the counter of the kitchen.
"Neelix." Both said in unison with slight smiles.
"What can I get for you today?"
The duo looked at one another then to the still smiling Neelix.
'Kah'less I don't believe I'm about to say what I'm about to say:' "My normal nutritional supplement will suffice."
The Talaxian nodded. "I'll get it for you Seven. And how about you, B'Elanna?"
Before the young Klingon opened her mouth to answer, Neelix heard Seven pipe up. "I have heard the Lieutenant speak of banana pancakes and eggs and bacon."
Dark eyebrows rose then dark wine lips pulled back into a smile. "You mind if I order for myself, Borg?"
"I was merely attempting to assist you." There was a ghost of a smirk on the full lips of the taller woman.
"Oh it was a nice gesture Seven." Neelix offered dreading that they would break into yet another argument. "But perhaps the Lieutenant would like to try my new recipe for leolah root patties, I fashioned them after something called matzo ball soup."
"No that's okay Neelix." Said Seven with B'Elanna's voice. "I'll go for the banana pancakes, eggs and bacon."
"Coming right up ladies. Just find a seat and I'll bring out to you." The man's forever-cheerful voice had the tendency to put a smile on anyone's face, including a stoic Borg and fiery Klingon.
Both of the ladies migrated to B'Elanna's normal table mindless of the fact that a pair of blue eyes followed them. Tom seethed in bitter rage. Seven last night had broken his sternum, then B'Elanna had broken his nose and jaw earlier in the morning. Both had threatened him. "You both are fucking bitches so you deserve paybacks because they are bitches too. You first Seven. Then I'll deal with you Turtlehead." Tom whispered to the shadows. He watched as Neelix brought out the late lunch to the duo. Neither one of them touched their meal at first. He continued watching them smiling as he started to form a plan.
Tentatively Seven lifted the glass to her lips and started to sip the thick liquid. B'Elanna however looked at the stack of pancakes as if she had never seen them in her life.
"Geeaakk !!!!" the knee-jerk reaction was to spit out the thick nutritional shake. "Oh that is nasty." The alabaster face screwed up in the most foully bitter grimace. "No wonder you're a bean-pole eating crap like that." B'Elanna shuddered.
"It is what I must ingest." Seven gave her friend (?) a sympathetic expression. "I do apologize you must now do so."
The grimace remained and Seven couldn't help herself she started laughing.
"What's so funny?"
"I don't think I have ever seen that particular expression upon my face before. Its amusing."
"Most people don't eat in front of a mirror." B'Elanna good naturally retorted. "And most people eat things that taste good. Hell Seven I'd rather eat Gagh then that crud."
"I sincerely doubt my digestive system could withstand the ingestion of live protein." Seven said in a deadpan serious note.
B'Elanna looked up to see her own face smiling. "Hey don't worry. I think I might be the only Klingon to hate to eat the delicacy."
"How fortuitous that you are only half-Klingon." Seven said evenly.
"Okay I'll bite. Why is it fortuitous?"
"The Klingon axiom will not apply to you then."
There went the silver implant arching straight up.
"Computer, disengage the universal translator from converting Klingonese to Federation Standard for the combadges of Seven of Nine and B'Elanna Torres. Command override Astrometrics officer Seven of Nine: Omega-gamma alpha nine."
"Universal translator conversion of Klingonese to Federation Standard disengaged for Combadges Seven of Nine and Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres." The cold female voice of the computer announced.
"Why did you to that?" B'Elanna frowned. She was not as fluent in the mother-tongue as she should be. For a time she had wanted to leave everything that was Klingon behind her. It wasn't easy. Considering whose body she inhabited perhaps the correct term would be it was futile.
"qugh Sopbe!" Growled the voice of B'Elanna with expert pronunciation.
"Sev I "
"You have access to my eidetic memory Bella."
B'Elanna concentrated upon the words Seven had said, then as a light being turned on she had the translation. "She doesn't eat gagh!" The 'Klingon' smirked. "That isn't what the expression means." She laughed a little. "For someone who is trying to understand expressions you go and try to learn another cultures expressions. I got to hand it to you Sev, you really do jump into things with both feet."
Seven tried to think of what B'Elanna meant by that. Her literal mind wanted to ask what it was she was supposed to have jumped into but she knew B'Elanna meant something else. As not to appear foolish in front of the other woman Seven merely stated, " If I constricted my use of the vernacular to the human species I would alienate the others aboard Voyager who are not human. There is a hybrid Klingon, Bolians, Vulcans, Betazoids, a Talaxian and two former Borgs all of whom that have their own 'sayings.'"
"I have to be honest with you Seven I am impressed." B'Elanna smiled warmly. "Now try those pancakes."
Seven nodded her dark head and complied. Dark eyes widened.
"These are better than good, Bella!" Seven said in almost child-like glee. She dove back into the pancakes hungrily devouring, savoring the new taste. Shifting the half-chew bite she mumbled. "I am keeping your body."
"What?" B'Elanna choked.
Seven flashed a very toothy grin.
Seven had wanted to fine-tune the Astrometrics sensor array to increase its sensitivity, now she understood why. The Captain had said she wanted a thorough report on the next section of space. By using one of Seven's former deep space telemetry reports as a key to go on, the cataloging was extensive. Within the parameters of the array, Seven not only cataloged the geologic finds on the planets for likely Dilithium deposits but any other ore that might be harvested and used as a power source. She searched for exotic electromagnetic radiation, another crystalline ore deposit called Naquada that could be used as a supplementary power sources as well as organic resources. She charted the stars for quasars, pulsars, nebulas, astrofields and astro-anomalies such as neutron radiation, and chronotron particles, theta radiation and tachyon radiation.
B'Elanna sucked in a bit of air, Seven's Astrometric reports read like a textbook in the Academy. All of the reports since she had been assigned to the new and improved department read like textbooks. The star charts were the most thorough B'Elanna had seen in a long time. There were plausible courses that would take light-years off their course back to the Alpha Quadrant that impressed the hell out of the Chief Engineer.
She started to read one of the passages for alternative power sources that because of the Collective, Seven had access to:
.The classical notion of the Dyson sphere involves the complete englobement of a star to capture all of its radiant energy. Several classes of compact degenerate stellar remnants are more amenable to this purpose. Celestial bodies like pulsars and black holes are star like in their masses and other attributes, but they are compressed to diameters of only a few kilometers. The Borg's mastery of gravities and Cubes permits the encapsulation of these objects with power-extraction machinery. In the case of some ordinary neutron stars Engineering might be able to construct devices to capture radiant energies. The devices exploiting these objects would operate like a miniature Dyson sphere, with photoelectric systems and/or heat engines between the hot interior and the cool surrounding space.
In other cases the extraction of rotational energy is most desirable. A device, which couples to the spin of the stellar object, can derive power at the expense of slowing the star's rotation. In cases where the source has a strong magnetic field, a magneto-effect would siphon off the rotational energy. Generators built around pulsars will depend primarily upon these magneto-electric mechanisms.
A black hole lacks magnetism, however there are other means to exploit its rotation. Near its surface, space itself is dragged around as the hole spins. Objects located sufficiently close to the hole cannot move in any sense other than that of the general spin. A projectile or light beam sent on a carefully-chosen path through this zone (known as the ergosphere) can deliver an enormous amount of energy when it returns to the inner skin of the power extractor .
"That woman needs a life outside of science." B'Elanna muttered warmly as she rubbed the bridge of her nose. Still she was extremely impressed. More over some of the ideas, B'Elanna recognized for she too had similar proposals for energy sources. "These reports are fastidious to say the least and efficient." She looked at the massive screen of the Astrometrics department. "With a 35 per cent increase I could maximize the search parameters " B'Elanna's mind raced. However that kind of power gets expensive on a ship that has limited resources She had to think of an alternative power source if she wanted to upgrade Astrometrics. She was almost frustrated that the range wasn't what it could be or what in the young Engineer's mind it should be. B'Elanna had seen a brief outline of several ideas Seven had started on for supplementary power sources or even replacement power sources. The younger woman had not completed her theories so had not presented them to the captain or the chief Engineer. To go to them with incomplete reports would be inefficient. Can't have that.
There were ideas for liquid nitrogen to fuel ion propulsion systems, naquada reactors as well as a particular type of botanical cold fusion. There was a certain organic plant life that was indigenous to several planets that had unique subatomic qualities. There was a list of chemical liquid components that bonded on a subatomic level causing a catalyst as it fused with the atoms causing cold fusion. The liquid permeating the root of one plant interacting with the cells of another plant created the reaction. It was crude compared to the days standard of technology, however for Seven to place it on a report, the ex-Borg must have found some sort of merit to it.
Four hundred years ago this organic cold fusion could have changed the shape of Earth's use of nuclear power. This was organic, clean and was not detrimental to the environment. It could have launched Earth into another industrial revolution. Hell it could have stopped World War III from happening.
B'Elanna looked at the stack of PADDs that Seven had written before and dreaded the thought of compiling something near its depth for the Captain. Janeway was obviously insistent that every micron of data be compiled. B'Elanna knew why. The Captain still had an incredible reverence for her guilt for getting them trapped in the Delta Quadrant. She had even blamed herself for getting stuck in the area of Dead Space, with the Entity-Monster that their ally nicknamed "Ahab" had gone after. Captain Janeway had wanted to avoid as many incidents like that in the future as possible and thus commanded Seven to report everything she could about the sections of space they were going to enter. It was a lot of work for any one person.
"No wonder Seven can be so up tight. Janeway puts a lot of pressure on the woman. And Seven, hell that girl wouldn't dare disappoint her captain not the way she looks up to her."
Hero-worship? Love platonic or otherwise? Florence Nightingale? Who knew? But it was evident that Seven of Nine could not conceive of disappointing the Captain when it came to ship's business.
B'Elanna thought of the ideas in the PADDs and decided she would like nothing more than to work along side the mind that generated such ideas. A way to an Engineer's heart was through the love of physics, science and power sources for their beloved ship.
"Kah'less I think I am in love." B'Elanna held the PADDs of data as if she had been given roses.
Seven was growing impatient. The stores of energy the ship needed were draining a lot of power from the already threadbare resources. And it was unacceptable. The power needed to fuel the Alcoves was embarrassingly high. Seven was furious that the Alcoves drained so much energy that was needed or could be used elsewhere. There had to be another way to circumvent those damn Borg Alcoves' power so didn't pull so much. The physicist within Seven started to think of alternative means of fueling the Alcoves. Perhaps a miniature reactor could power them.
At any rate she was busy with reports that continued to pile in on the desk of the Chief Engineer. B'Elanna obviously poured a lot of energy into her work as Chief Engineer.
A warrior's respect? Love platonic or otherwise? Admiration? Who knew? But it was evident that B'Elanna Torres could not conceive of disappointing the Captain when it came to ship's business.
The dangerous thing about plotting revenge and speaking aloud sometimes, words you didn't want to be heard were heard. And sometimes, just sometimes that information got passed along to the right ears.
The young female had no proof. Not yet, but that did not stop a protective individual from wanting to do something about what she had heard Tom Paris say in the mess hall. After all family was family and it stuck together.
(Several hours prior)
Kathryn Janeway after the meeting with B'Elanna and earlier Seven needed to find away to relieve the pent up frustrations she was bombarded with. With a couple of hours left until she had to report for duty, she headed for the Holodeck.
Holodecks were a great way to relieve those high stress factors and now more then ever she wanted relief. As a Starship Captain there were a few things that were highly against regulations, others were against acceptable protocol. The program she was running however allowed her to indulge in one of her darker fantasies. One she kept to herself. She had created the program and took great pains to keep it out of the database. No one had even known about the program, nor that Captain Kathryn Janeway was capable of interacting with such a program. The crew knew about her Leonardo DeVinci studio as well as the Fair Haven affair but this one she was running now was a confidential secret. After all it was in bad taste to create a holocharacter based upon a real person. There would be those who knew Kathryn personally would have thought the program completely out of her character, but Katie Janeway needed release. And the Holodeck was the only way she could find that relief.
The Holodeck opened up to the setting of her Ready Room. The only other occupant was a version of Tom Paris. The Captain smiled predatorily as she entered the room.
"Captain?" The blonde pilot responded as he saw her steam into the 'Ready Room'.
"Eyes front Lieutenant."
Tom snapped to attention. His blue eyes staring at the bulkhead above his Captain's head not daring to look at the storm brewing in her eyes.
"Lieutenant, it has come to my attention that your actions involving another officer is appalling. Your actions are not becoming of an officer. Frankly I growing tired of it Mr. Paris. It's not like we haven't been here before."
This part of the confrontation was almost always the same. It was part of the game.
Holo-Tom dared a glance to his captain. He swallowed hard and took in a nervous breath. In a small way it was a thrill for the powerful woman to almost feel the palpable dread flowing in the young man.
"Did I give you permission to speak?" The Captain addressed the character.
Like a lioness Kathryn moved around to her desk and sat down. "Your actions aboard this ship are irredeemable. Your private life has filtered into ships business affecting its efficiency. Your actions against my Chief Engineer are inexcusable. I cannot allow that. You might be a top-gun pilot but by no means are you the only such pilot aboard this ship. I once reduced you in rank, obviously that wasn't effective. Nor was revoking many of your privileges." She rubbed her temple with two fingers of her left hand. "Sentencing you to the Brig for the remainder of the trip has crossed my mind, but that would be a real waste of resources." She paused loving this part of the game.
"So what do I think I should do?"
Holo-Tom turned and looked at his captain flashing a boyish grin. "I guess that's up to you, you're the captain."
Kathryn's hand went to a side drawer of the desk and opened it up. "Faulty drones aboard the Cubes are deactivated and their cybernetic parts are reintegrated into the Collective to use at a later date. Aboard Klingon vessels a crewmember that acted as you have done would be similarly removed."
"This it's a good thing that this isn't a Cube of mindless drones or turtleheads isn't Captain?" The Holo-Tom smiled in his boyish charm that would nauseate any woman with half a brain.
"Perhaps we should simply have a game of Velocity." Janeway smirked. "But the way I am feeling it could be dangerous after all sometimes a disk will reach such a high velocity that if it were to strike the temporal lobe of someone it could kill them."
The Holo-Tom swallowed hard.
"I saw it happen once when I was in the Academy." Kathryn's voice took on a soft note of reverence for the departed. "It was tragic. But sometimes it can happen. A purely innocent accident and someone dies "
"Ma'am " Holo-Tom shifted nervously on his feet.
"Relax crewman I won't do that." Janeway smirked deviously. The expression was such that even the Borg Queen would take a note of apprehension when facing the Captain. "Too much paper work."
Holo-Tom sucked in a breath of dread.
Captain Kathryn Janeway took out a phaser from the desk drawer and shot Tom Paris.
The holocharacter fell to the floor of the Ready-Room and fizzled out of existence.
"It's a very bad idea helmrat to screw around with people I care about." Janeway purred in her smoky voice. The tenseness she had been feeling disappeared in one fell swoop. She leaned back in her chair with a contented sigh. Sometimes it was good to be the Captain.
"God I wish I could do that in real life." Janeway put the phaser on the desk with a heavy sigh. "Computer end program."
No one ever would have thought that Janeway had a vindictive streak a mile wide. Or that she was capable of such actions of dark vengeance. Those people didn't know her very well. Janeway had faced up to the Borg Queen for Seven. She would do what was necessary to protect Lanna. Even if her hands were tied with the virtue of Federation protocol, Katie Janeway would find away to make it right by B'Elanna.
"I should never have taken him out of prison." Kathryn muttered as she left the Holodeck. "I am so sorry B'Elanna that he hurt you."
As therapeutic as Kathryn Janeway's programme may have been, there was another program that was dire for another crewmember. Because of what had happened to Vorik, and the drive of Pon-Far. B'Elanna, Seven, the Doctor and Harry Kim had created a program for the two Vulcan crewmembers to help them with the blood-fever.
It was fortunate that the program had been created because Tuvok was in the first stages of Pon-Far; he had been taken off the duty roster until the "condition" passed. A holocharacter of his beloved wife had been created to help him through the ordeal. The setting of course was on the Vulcan homeworld, a private domicile as well as the temple on Mount Selah, for meditation purposes. For several hours of the day Security Chief Tuvok had been given medical leave to use Holodeck one as he needed, the rest of the time he was in his quarters deep in meditation. With the meditation, the holoprogram and the serum the Doctor created, Tuvok would pull through the fever of Pon-Far.
Of course with Tuvok being out of commotion that meant his second took charge. Lieutenant Amanda Rothery was an extremely dedicated officer. If Tuvok hadn't returned from his undercover stint on the Maquis ship, she would have been Security Chief. She was master of several types of martial arts styles including Klingon: moQbara, Aikido, Ninjetsu and Tae-Kwon-do. She was a marksman with a phaser both as a sidearm and the heaver rifles. And she was deadly with a bat'telh and a met'leth katana, shirkins, sai's and thrown daggers.
Her first instructor had been Commander Worf aboard the Enterprise and had first served as an Ensign under Tasha Yar in Security. She now served under Tuvok. She could have been serving as Security Chief on another ship but when she was asked to serve on Voyager by Kathryn Janeway the young woman jumped at the chance. The young woman had a deep admiration for Janeway, and respected her power. She liked the fact Janeway was stubborn, and arrogant and fiery, and that she had the talent to back up all of it. She bit her lip thinking she cared for her captain more then she was supposed to.
Captain Janeway having just exited the Holodeck was almost surprised to see the tall strawberry-blonde security officer approach her. Janeway smiled upon seeing her, as her thoughts had gone back to the program she had just left. Amanda Rothery was one of the top-gun pilots she had referred to. Rothery was nearly as tall as Seven, standing five- nine with the same blonde hair though it was cropped short at the collar with forever unruly bangs. She had large doe-shaped dark brown eyes that seemed to betray the emotions she would never let show upon her face. The Captain had known of the young woman's past, which was not dissimilar to that of Tasha Yar, B'Elanna or Seven's disrupted childhoods.
'I seem to have a knack to pick up strays who have hard luck pasts.' Janeway mused to herself.
"Captain I was just going up to your ready room with the security reports." The young Lieutenant said showing a few PADDs in her right hand.
"Excellent." The Captain smiled and noted quickly that Rothery stood a little taller in the small praise. The fiery Captain held her hand out and took the reports. "I'll look these over shortly, is there anything I need to be aware of immediately?"
"There was an altercation last night Captain, between Seven of Nine and Lieutenant Tom Paris."
"Indeed? What happened?"
Unknown to the two in the hallway that night their actions had not gone completely unnoticed. Rothery was about to intervene but being off duty she held her place. Besides she felt the helmrat deserved what he got. Rothery also gave kudos to Seven for defending the Chief Engineer the way she had, when Lieutenant Torres wasn't there to do it for herself.
"Captain I was off duty. It was a minor infraction nothing more."
"Oh?" Janeway grinned she knew her officers well and Rothery could never lie without her eyes betraying her. Something more then something minor had happened. "I take it a few insults were slung around?"
"Yes Ma'am." The blonde nodded.
"Anything to do with what happened in Engineering?"
"No Ma'am. Actually the insults were slung "
"You're not spreading gossip Lieutenant. What happened?"
"Paris insulted the Chief and Seven took it personally and gave a very slight push against the helmrat er Paris."
"So Lieutenant Paris antagonized Seven of Nine and she retaliated?"
"If he didn't make a formal charge, then the matter will be dropped. If it was just a very slight push " Janeway smiled. "I do not condone volatile actions between my officers, Lieutenant don't mistake me."
"However, if the issue resolved itself I find no reason as to bring it up."
"Yes Ma'am." The tall blonde frowned. "Captain? I find it a little odd that Seven defended B'Elanna the way she did. But then again, I don't. Paris said some pretty harsh things about our Chief Engineer. Seven kinda went "Klingon" on him."
"Seven might be a little hard to get to know, but she does stand by the people she cares about even if they bicker a lot. She and Lieutenant Torres have more in common then they want to admit. Rothery I want you to keep your eyes open. Paris may retaliate against Seven, his ego was bruised having been "pushed" by our ex-Borg. But keep this between us for now." Janeway smiled as she patted the taller woman on the back.
"Will do." Rothery nodded. 'Besides family looks out for family.'
(Several hours later)
Seven had pulled several long hours in Engineering. She had wanted to go to Astrometrics but the conditions of their punishment limited her to the duties of the Chief Engineer. She didn't think it fair that B'Elanna was forced to take a second shift in Astrometrics because she just happened to be stored in the ex-Borg's body. To alleviate the guilt she felt she had pulled a second shift herself in Engineering.
B'Elanna had insisted they adhere to the parameters of the Chakotay's punishment besides how hard could plotting the next section of space be? Of course that was before the young woman had seen what Janeway had expected each and every time of Seven. Now eight hours later and exhausted, B'Elanna logged off as Seven of Nine and wanted to relax. It was odd though. The Engineer felt that she should be tired but she wasn't.
"Well my Borg, it seems you have a hell of a lot of stamina." The Klingon complemented the endurance of the younger woman's Borg enhanced body. She was on her way to her quarters when Astrometrics was invaded by the tiny body of a Katerian.
"Seven!" Naomi came running in.
B'Elanna just stared at the young girl. "What are you doing up young lady?" She almost snapped. "Shouldn't you be in bed?"
"I wanted to see you." Naomi said, her voice hiccupping with thick emotion.
Compassion over took the fiery Klingon's heart. She knelt down as she was twice the height of little Naomi in Seven's body and gathered the girl into her arms. "What is wrong?"
"I had a bad dream."
"Oh sweety Tell me." Her voice picked up great tenderness forgetting for the moment she was supposed to be Seven. Not that she knew that her Borg would do in such a cause. And at the moment she didn't care there was a little soul that needed to be comforted. And she needed the security of Seven's embrace.
"Mummy is on duty shift and and Neelix fell asleep on the couch but but my dream was about you Seven." Naomi was on the verge of tears.
It occurred to B'Elanna that she knew what Seven would say in a moment like this. "Dreams are irrelevant they can not hurt you NaomiWildman." She held the child close. "Come we must return to your quarters."
"But Seven your Alcove exploded and you got so hurt. Not even B'Elanna could make you better and and there was a big icky rat in it " Naomi sniffed. "He was so ugly and he tried to tear you up it really really hurt you Seven you you ceased to function " Fresh tears fell from the child's face. A metallic hand brushed the salty droplets away. The strawberry-blonde head rested against a blue-black uniformed shoulder.
B'Elanna cuddled her close and picked her up settling the child against her hip. Little arms went around the swan neck and a happy sigh elapsed from the girl. "Seven please be careful "
"I promise." B'Elanna said gently. "Your Seven isn't going to get hurt. That I vow."
The child smiled and let out another contented sigh. Seven of Nine never lied. (Neither did B'Elanna Torres. And the vow she made was very, very real.)
If Naomi noticed Seven's changed speech pattern she didn't mention it. She was content that her dearest and best friend was safe. Seven and Naomi had agreed they were family and felt a great deal of love for each other. Whether it was elder sister to little sister or aunt to niece neither one could say. Only that they were family. B'Elanna had known this for sometime, but had come face to face with it that first night.
Out of automatic reflex, B'Elanna stroked the little back of the child as her mother did when she was so very little. Naomi's reaction was to hold tighter to Seven's body as they walked out of Astrometrics to the turbolift. The young Klingon truly didn't know lullabies but she started to hum softly in the voice of Seven. It was odd to hear perfect pitch emanating from a voice that was not her own, but it was a pleasing sound nonetheless. Naomi was asleep before they reached the Wildman quarters.
Neelix sputtered awake as soon as the doors whooshed open. "Naomi Seven "
The protective nature in B'Elanna reared its fiery head. "She had a nightmare and left the quarters without your knowing." The words were almost an accusation. "She was supposed to be in your custody."
"I I " The furry Talaxian flushed a bright orange "Didn't realize she normally wakes me when she has nightmares." Neelix was obviously overcome with relief that his little charge was safe and sound and embarrassed that he had not noticed that Naomi had left.
He watched as Seven strode swiftly into the child's bedroom and deposited her precious cargo into the bed and tucked her in. She bent down and kissed the forehead. "Goodnight Spike I promise I'll keep your Seven safe. Don't you worry." The words were so softly whispered that none had been able to hear them.
B'Elanna turned away from the child started for the common room. She was still a little upset at the fact that Naomi had been able to slip by Neelix, but the girl was precocious and was safe now. Besides she had sought out the one of the safest people aboard Voyager. Seven of Nine.
"Seven " The furry man stumbled.
"She's fine now." Came a clipped reply. "She should sleep through the night."
Neelix was too overcome by guilt that he hadn't noticed the lapse in Seven's vernacular. He only noted the clipped ice in the voice and cringed.
Just as B'Elanna was about to say something more, her combadge bleeped. "Yes." Her voice was still cool and crisp.
"Seven, you didn't forget about dinner did you?"
"No Captain. I am on my way." Blue eyes rested upon the Talaxian before she left the Wildman quarters. Settling her breath, the young Klingon tried to gain control of her anger before she met up with the Captain.
"I apologize Captain " B'Elanna said as she was escorted into the Captains common room. "Sp " She stopped herself before she said the girl's nickname. "Naomi had a nightmare and sought me out in Astrometrics."
Deep concern flashed across the gentle face of the Captain. "Is she alright?"
"She is now. I carried her back to her quarters, sang her a little lullaby and tucked her in. She'll be 'alright' in the morning."
Kathryn smiled warmly. "You have a natural flair for children Seven. One day I would think you'd make a wonderful mother."
A silver ocular implant rose.
Janeway smiled gently as she came close to her protégée, and squeezed her shoulder. "You have such a great need to love and be loved in return. I am so happy that you and my little assistant bonded. I think you two are good for each other." Kathryn broadened her smile. "You give her a drive to achieve all that she can within herself, and she brings out the humanity in you."
"I " B'Elanna was stumped. She had no idea what Seven would say to that. Then she got an idea. "Then it is a symbiotic relationship. It that not so with family?"
"So it is." Janeway still holding onto Seven's black clad arm led the younger woman to the table where dinner was all laid out. "Seven before we have dinner I have to address an oversight."
"You said it yourself in my Ready Room this morning and I started thinking. All the Maquis have been integrated into the personal as crewmen and officers, case in point our Chief of Engineering and First officer. Granted both had had some Starfleet training, but with your former link to the Collective you have the knowledge of Starfleet captains and admirals within your synapses. You have carried yourself with a demeanor fitting of an officer. It's about time you were one."
B'Elanna just stared. "Cap Captain?"
"At attention Seven of Nine Annika Hansen."
Automatic response B'Elanna snapped to attention. Eyes front not moving, she was the perfect example of an officer. Janeway moved to the counter and held up a long black velvet box. "I am officially granting you the rank of Lieutenant." Kathryn placed the pips on the gray color of the uniform.
'Kah'less!!! Seven she should be here this is her honor her right oh Sev I am sorry you missed this this is your honor!'
The only thing B'Elanna could do was to return the salute that Captain Kathryn Janeway was giving her. For she was mute with awe and wonder.
Chakotay woke up to the chime of his quarters buzzing almost none stop.
"Yeah? Come in." He barked hating the fact he was buzzed awake and 0300 hours in the morning and he had to get up in four hours. He blinked when he saw the statuesque form of Seven of Nine barrel into his room.
"What is it?"
"Change us back now." The voice was Seven's the tone however was all B'Elanna Torres. "Now Chakotay!"
"You know you have one day left "
"Cut the crap Chakotay." The voice growled. "Computer lights fifty percent."
"B'Elanna you want to tell me why you barged in here?"
"Yeah this!" The mesh hand showed the pips on the collar. "She missed it Chakotay! She fucking missed her own commission. Do you have any idea what it would have meant to Seven? Kah'less when Janeway gave me the rank of Lieutenant I was never more proud then she topped that and told me I was Chief of Engineering Seven missed hers and dammit it isn't right!"
"B'Elanna I had no idea the Captain was going to do this I got a few reports from her desk this morning but I hadn't looked at them I was caught up with other business. I am guessing it was on one of those. Had I known I would have done the ritual to switch you back. You're right, Seven shouldn't have missed it."
"It would have meant so much to her " B'Elanna looked down to the blue-carpeted floor of her former commander's quarters. "She has so little that she has to look forward too. I mean I think the only thing she loves is playing Kadis-Kot with Spike, singing, someoneshedoesn'tthinkshecanbewith and working her cute ass off in Astrometrics. And she missed one of the most important days in her life." Ice blue eyes looked up to the Commander. The tone of the voice now matched the chill in the expression. "You should have read those god-damn reports Chakotay."
"I have an idea." The man smiled. "Did you tell Seven yet?"
"No I had dinner with Kathryn as Seven then came here."
"We can make it up to her. I can have the captain perform the ceremony in the mess hall. I'll tell her the truth about the punishment and the restrictions I placed on you two."
White teeth pulled back into a smile. "She won't be happy with you."
"Probably not." The commander shrugged. Then dark eyebrows furrowed. "B'Elanna you said something in the middle before. It came out in a rush what was it?"
The face of Seven became even more pale if at all possible. "Er Nothing I didn't say anything."
"Right." Chakotay wasn't going to let it go. "You found something out about her?"
"It's private." B'Elanna said. "Probably something I shouldn't have been made aware of. At least not the way I did." She looked down and realized there was more she was aware of. "Chakotay I want to place four individuals on report for sexual harassment. There is a lot more I'd want to do. But by the books I am going to report them. It's a matter of honor and what is right."
"Sexual harassment isn't a small thing B'Elanna."
"I know. And being in Seven's body Kah'less I know that. If I have to make it on her behalf as her then I will. But I am making the charge as Chief Engineer."
"Write me a formal report and I and Tuvok's replacement Lieutenant Rothery will take care of it. I am guessing that isn't going to be good enough for you though is it?"
"They used my name to condone their actions and it sickens me. I don't care if Sev and I came to blows, what they said was way out of line. And she's put up with it all too often. It's stopping now." She said as she balled her fists and placed them on her hips in an unconscious B'Elanna stance.
"I understand." Chakotay said. "B'Elanna there are a few things I have to do to prepare for the ritual to switch you back. It will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon."
Fire raged in the eyes of ice.
"It will take time to sever the enchantment prematurely. It's designed to last three days I am sorry." The softness in the commander's voice was genuine. He was regretful of the fact he couldn't instantly make the switch. "But we'll make it right by her. Okay?"
"Fine." B'Elanna said. "As long as it's done."
Fourteen minutes and twenty-three seconds later the door of Chakotay's quarters buzzed again.
He opened the door to see the Body of B'Elanna Torres standing ramrod straight in classic Seven stance. "Commander Chakotay." The voice was of the Klingon but the tone or rather monotone was all Seven. "I must insist you comply in switching my body back with Bella B'Elanna."
"I know the parameters of the punishment Commander, but Captain Janeway she said something to the Lieutenant or rather she was under the impression she had. It was something extremely personal and important. B'Elanna should have been the one to hear it not I. She cannot gain that moment back...but I must try to make things "right " by the Lieutenant."
Chakotay smiled inwardly. He had not expected this from Seven at all.
"You must comply."
The tall Native American rubbed his tattoo and took in a drawn breath. "Seven, the ritual is designed to last three days."
"Irrelevant." The tone was clipped as ever. "The information the Captain gave to the Chief of Engineering is important to her. She should have been the one to hear it, not I. You will therefore return us to our rightful bodies."
"I could Seven but it will take some time."
"As I said it is ending prematurely. I need to make preparations for the ritual. Try to get some sleep tonight and then you and B'Elanna report for half a shift I'll summon both of you when everything is ready."
Dark eyes seemed to think for a moment. "That will be acceptable." She bowed her dark head and started to leave the quarters, then she turned and added softly. "Thank you Commander Chakotay. It was unfortunate that B'Elanna had missed the words that would have meant so much to her. I don't want her to lose that again."
Chakotay smiled. "I understand, Seven."
And then she was gone.
"Talk about interesting 180's " he chuckled self-congratulating himself on the achievement of peace he had brought between the two women that Janeway had never managed.
The device Tom Paris held in his hand belonged to a med-kit. It was a miniature defibulator used to stimulate a heart that had gone into arrest. The electrical pulse gave off a small charge that caused the heart to begin beating. However the one Tom had had been slightly modified. This one would now create an electrical magnetic pulse when combined with the catalyst of an activated Alcove. Paris was pleased. Although the charge would not be enough to kill Seven of Nine once she stepped into the Alcove to regenerate it would be significantly painful. She would survive but not without getting a jolt of her life. If he were lucky the sudden spastic reaction of the drone's muscles would break a few vertebra. Of course that was nothing that could not be fixed in Sickbay.
"Paybacks a mother-fucker Ice Queen." Tom sneered. "Now its time for you Miss Turtlehead."
Seven knew that tomorrow afternoon she would be switched back into her own body. And despite the lateness of the hour she made a trip to the mess hall for a stack of banana pancakes, something called hot cocoa and a strawberry milkshake. The latter two she knew that NaomiWildman ingested and she wanted to know just what the appeal was all about. On a whim she tried one of Lieutenant Rothery's deserts called blue-Jello. Blue, Seven mused must be a flavor as well as a color similar to the way as orange was. Having extensive amounts of replicator rations for herself Seven used her own rather then Bella's for her taste experimentation. She even added coffee: black to the list. The latter she spat out for it was bitter and Seven decided she found no merit in the Captain's precious brew.
'I must speak with the Doctor and find out what it will take to upgrade my nutritional intake. Taste is not as irrelevant as I was led to believe.' She shuddered thinking that she would soon have to go back to the chalky thick protein shakes the Doctor prescribed for her.
Each new taste, each new texture reminded Seven of what she wasn't, of what had been taken from her. And she felt delight in knowing that her Bella had been privileged to have such wonders at her hand as banana pancakes. Seven was a little envious of B'Elanna but she could not conceive of denying the woman she secretly loved such delights. She enjoyed the cocoa and the strawberry shake, which in consistency was like her supplements but nowhere near its bland taste. And the blue jello wiggled and slipped down her throat in a burst of flavor. It was no wonder that the others loved such things that lacked any nutritional value what so ever. They tasted wonderful.
'It is clearly evident the Doctor is mistaken in the value of such things to the palate. But then he has no palate to enjoy such things. I will have to inform him of his faulty data.' Seven thought to herself.
As she sat in the darkened mess hall, Seven poured over the schematics for a new power source for the Alcoves. She wanted to free up as much power as possible for the ship for her Bella.
That gave the young woman an idea.
Seven of Nine headed for the Holodeck. Once there she started to design a program for B'Elanna. She may not be able to relive the words that the Captain had said on the Engineer's office but Seven could give the moment back to her in a manner of speaking.
It was easy to ask for the setting of the Chief's office. And though against Holodeck protocols Seven created an image of the Captain as well as B'Elanna. She then programmed them to act out the scene that had occurred early that day.
Seven was pleased with herself. Proud she could in fact give that moment back to her friend. Yes despite their fiery and antagonistically relationship they were not true enemies. Seven had never considered B'Elanna an enemy, that designation was reserved for the Borg Queen. The one soul in the universes the young blonde hated with everything she was. Seven could never bring herself to carry such feeling for B'Elanna. B'Elanna Torres was the woman she loved, with everything she was.
B'Elanna was the woman she could never have. Never love. Could never touch or be touched by. She would never be able to kiss her or to be kissed by her. Still Seven loved B'Elanna. She had tried to resist falling in love with the fiery Klingon. But she above all people should have known that resistance was futile. She had come to appreciate that statement in more ways then one.
Still it brought a little a bit of happiness to Seven that she was able to give her forbidden beloved something that would mean so much to her. New program in hand Seven decided to head back to the Lieutenant's quarters. She had been up for almost twenty-four hours and she was completely exhausted. Sleep was now the operative goal.
Lieutenant Amanda Rothery had set up a discrete surveillance system to watch over the door of Lieutenant Torres. The Captain was concerned for the Chief and made it a priority that she would be protected. Seven of Nine was also to be watched over which was why she had tapped into the sensor logs to alert her as to the comings and goings in Cargo Bay Two. The Captain said she had a bad feeling about the two of them and their interaction with Paris.
Rothery agreed. Despite Tovok's instance to the contrary playing on hunches was as much apart of a security protocols as was adhering to regulations. It came somewhat of a surprise to see Seven of Nine punch in the command codes to the door and let herself into the chief's quarters.
She had watched the two take a late lunch in the mess hall earlier in the day. Now they were sharing a late night tête-à-tête? The tall blonde officer smiled to herself. "Humm talk about your dangerous liaisons." She chuckled to herself. 'Still if they are together that means the Captain isn't involved with either one of them. Good. God there is enough hidden glances, touches and words to make you think Katie is involved with either one she has good taste in women ' the young woman allowed her mind to wander. Rothery sighed hoping against hope that Chakotay was only a close friend and not the Captain's interest.
"Seven and B'Elanna? Hell they look good together all fire and ice. They really do complete each other." She yawned. "I should have known all that bickering was nothing but a show ." Amanda ran a hand through her short blonde hair deciding to call it a night. The surveillance she set up would pick up any questionable actions and alert the Lieutenant so that she might intervene. When her head hit the pillow she smirked thinking of Seven entering B'Elanna's quarters. "You go girl. Figures it takes an ex-Borg to get near the shields of an explosive Klingon."
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