By Elizabeth Carter
B'Elanna slipped the program into the Holodeck controls and waited a microsecond before the Computer download the information. "Program Seven-Toress office zero one initiated. Enter when ready." The computer's female monotone voice chirped out.
B'Elanna entered the Holodeck, not knowing fully what she would find. She was mildly surprised to see a perfect replica of her own office. It was so detailed Lanna for a moment was disorientated and believed she actually was in her own office. Well that was until a holo-Seven of Nine appeared before her in the silver bio-suit. The tall photonic blonde had her hands clasped behind her back, which was ramrod straight.
"Kah'less I was in that body...keeping that posturewasn't as hard as it seemed."
In fact slouching was almost uncomfortable as the mesh of the abdominal implants grated against one another almost like a corset would. With perfect posture, which the implants made in nearly impossible not to do was almost more comfortable. Of course B'Elanna realized that for eighteen years Seven of Nine had stood. The Borg never sat. They spent their entire existence on their feet. Eighteen years of enforced standing it was no wonder Seven preferred it she simply was unaccustomed to sitting. It appeared that her Annika had replicated an image of herself with Borg proficiency. Save a few minor things. This image of Seven lacked the implants. And her always aster bun was out of place and the golden locks hung down about her shoulders.
"Oh Baby." B'Elanna whispered sadly to herself softly. "Is this what you think I want? Is this your perfect image of yourself?" B'Elanna stepped up to the silent holo-Seven and touched the photonic face unmarred by Borg implants. "This isn't what you arethis isn't my Annika." Going over to the computer panel by the Arch. B'Elanna tapped in a few modifications. "Computer display the new Seven of Nine."
The Unmarked Seven disappeared to reappear with a new Seven still in the silver biosuit with her long tresses still down, but the left hand was covered in silver mesh and the starburst implant upon the right cheek was in place as was the arched ocular implant over the left eye. "Much better. Now that is my Annika." B'Elanna smiled. When she touched the photonic face again she couldn't help but place a soft kiss on the effigy of the woman she loved so much.
"Computer run program."
"Lieutenant Toress." The photonic Seven started in her regular monotone. "An incident of a personal significance occurred in your office between Captain Janeway and myself as she was under the impression I was you. This event should have been yours to experience not mine. I apologize that you cannot witness this event first hand. However I have tried to create a reenactment of the accounts so that you may vicariously experience what had happened. I also apologize for using yours and the Captain's images without prior consent, but I believe the means are justified."
The photonic Seven disappeared to be replaced with the images of Lieutenant B'Elanna Toress and Captain Kathryn Janeway. What played out was a perfect enactment of Janeway's confession of her thoughts on B'Elanna's performance and her high opinion of the young engineer. Seven could not have known that Janeway had repeated those words almost verbatim once again in her Ready Room when the captain had been made aware of the body switch. But to see the scene played out was significant to Lanna more then hearing the words from Janeway first hand. Because the love of her life before love was admitted had gone to such lengths to insure B'Elanna see it.
When the scene was finished the image of Seven reappeared. "I understand that such an event would have meant much to you. I concur with what the Captain spoke of. You are indeed a fine and efficient engineer. I have known very few in my time with the Collective that could match your skills and talents despite your impulsive and chaotic way of performing your tasks. Perhaps this chaos should be more closely examined if such talent is derived from it. However you are chaotic as you are efficient Lieutenant. I regret you were unable to interact with the Captain. And that this moment was stolen from you; I hope that this simulation would somehow rectify a wrong. Good day Lieutenant." The photonic Seven gave a small smirk before she disappeared leaving the empty image of B'Elanna's holographic office.
The young hybrid sank to her knees and covered her face as tears of joy washed forth. Never had anyone including Tom done such a wonderful gesture. To B'Elanna this was one of the most romantic things she had been given. Several months ago the Klingon doubted she would have thought Seven capable of such incredible warmth. Of course B'Elanna never expected Seven to be utterly terrified, lost or lonely until that day she showed up in Engineering hiding from the Doctor when she was dying. Lanna had fallen in love with her on that day. But she was half-Klingon and wouldn't allow herself to admit that love, until she thought she had lost Sevenno Annika forever.
"Kah'less I love you woman!" Lanna rose to her feet and darted to the arch remembering in time to retrieve the disk from the computer before she sprinted out of the Holodeck. By the time she had reached her quarters she was almost out of breath for having run the entire way and pacing in the turbolifts. She swooped into her quarters ready to tackle Seven in a tight rib-crushing embrace but the scene stopped her in her tracks.
Seven and Naomi were both sound asleep on the couch. The day had obviously been long and hard on Seven and completely wore down what reserves she had. Naomi too had been over stimulated and crashed. There were on the fourteenth chapter of Harry Potter when both must have fallen into the land of slumber. B'Elanna grinned at what a cute sight she beheld. The two blondes had their heads leaning against one another, both deeply sleeping. The young Klingon tip-toed into her room removed the comforter off her bed and gingerly draped it over the long body of her lover which was stretched out on the couch and the tiny body safely nuzzled in the strong capable arms.
"Annika you know you actually make a great mother." Lanna offered a butterfly kiss to the temple of her BangwI and wondered back out of the quarters. "There is something I have to take care of Love."
B'Elanna's core mission now was to see to Seven's public commission of rank and station. Since the incident in the cargo bay, and Seven's coma everything had been put on the back burner or so to speak. But the young chief engineer was not about to allow the slight neglect to be overlooked. B'Elanna had been promised by Janeway that good would be made upon the fact Seven had missed her commission. Now was time to make good on it.
She hadn't wanted to have her BangwI overhear the conversation as so she stepped out of her Quarters and started to the lift that would take her to the Captain's ready room where she had assumed the fiery captain to be. Kathryn Janeway was as much a workaholic as B'Elanna and Seven were, and was often found on the bridge or in her ready room during Beta shift.
"Toress to Janeway."
"Janeway here, Lieutenant. Is something wrong with Seven?" The concern in the older woman's voice was evident. And why shouldn't it be? Kathryn was more than a mentor to Seven, she was a parental influence on the young ex-Borg as much as Seven was to Icheb.
"Not directly, may I speak with you privately?"
"Of course, I am in my ready room."
Dark chocolate eyes rolled, 'as if I didn't know.' B'Elanna snickered quietly. "On my way. Toress out."
B'Elanna flew into the Ready Room at warp ten. Janeway was in mid sip of her 'black sludge'. The last time B'Elanna flew into her office was during the titanic wars she had had with Seven of Nine in Engineering. The same look of determination was plastered upon the olive skin. The same fire in the dark chocolate eyes bore into the Captain. Whatever it was Janeway had a feeling it was centered on the tall ex-Borg.
'GodI knew it couldn't lastFire and ice, not good bedfellows. And I had such hopes for them.' Janeway's internal mind mourned the loss of what she suspected a doomed romance. Though she had had such hoped for her two misplaced daughters.
"Captaindo you have any idea what Seven did?"
'Yep same old confrontationsdamn it anyway.' Kathryn rubbed her forehead thinking she would have a migraine on the way.
"B'ElannaI was under the impression things between you and Seven were a little different." Janeway pinned her Chief of Engineering with a force three glare.
"It is. We arethis isn't about an altercation Captain"
"AnnerSeven's field commission. I know everything has been extremely hectic but"
"But you want to insure she receives it?"
"Yes." B'Elanna smiled.
"And this fire started under you was prompted by something Seven had done for you?"
"Yes." The smile was wider upon the Klingon's face and her chocolate eyes glinted in wonder of what her love had done for her. "You recall what you told me in here several days ago, what you had said in my office."
Janeway grinned. "Of course, and I meant it."
"Seven recreated the entire account in a holoprogram because she thought I missed the words. It was amazing. It had to be perfect right down to ever detail. Kah'less the woman even had the dust bunny collection I had growing under one of the consoles She did thisbefore I told her I loved her. Annika just did it."
"Annika? She's allowing you to call her Annika?" To say that Kathryn was surprised would have been the understatement of the Delta Quadrant. Seven of Nine formally of Tertiary Adjunct Unimatrix Zero One never allowed anyone to call her Annika. It was forbidden. But apparently B'Elanna had been given that rare right.
B'Elanna flushed. "Yes, she is. After she woke up the first time in Sick Bay I called her Seven and she said she wanted me to call her Annika." B'Elanna recalled the moment clearly as she had almost mistaken Seven's correction as a denial of B'Elanna's affections. Instead it was an embraceno a gift given to her. No one not even Naomi had ever been allowed to call the Nordic beauty anything but her Borg designation. "Only me."
Kathryn smiled. It seemed right somehow that the heart Seven loved would be allowed to call her by her true name. And truly it was a beautiful name Kathryn had always thought so. Somehow 'Annika' softened the frigged facade of the tall blonde Astrometrics officer who called herself Seven.
This love that blossomed between the two volatile figures, tempered into something far more wonderful but just as fiery.
"Lanna." Kathryn dropped to the informal nickname allowing her chief to become more at ease. "Seven has two days left of her forced bed rest correct?"
"Yeah, keeping her placid isn't going to be easy. At least today Spike came by with Wildman and hung out a little. Samantha..."
Once more a red alert flared in the more experienced woman. Worried that something might have happened, not between Samantha Wildman and Seven of Nine but rather Seven's very protective lover. But since the EMH hadn't called her down to Sick Bay with a crewman with an embedded Bat'lath in their heart, Kathryn assumed physical confrontation hadn't taken place. Or at least she prayed it was so.
"Samantha made Sev, Spike's godmother, and so if anything were to happened to her Seven would become Naomi's guardian."
"I thought that was Neelix's position."
"Wildman and Neelix agreed Spike would need a maternal figure in her life if Samantha died. Neelix would still play a prominent role in Spike's life, but Sev would be the official guardian. Spike, to quote the kiddo, seemed to think, 'it was acceptable arrangement'."
Actually the Captain was well aware of the new arrangements concerning Naomi but Janeway was more than gratified to see bridges had been mended. She had to admit she was worried for Seven sinking lower into depression and B'Elanna for taking out her frustrations on Samantha Wildman.
"Well then in two days I'll call a senior staff meeting and I'll perform the ceremony then."
"Thank you Kathryn. It will mean a lot to her."
'And you too Lieutenant.' Janeway couldn't help but think.
When B'Elanna returned to her quarters she was halted in her tracks as she saw Icheb set a large cargo container down in front of Seven's new quarters.
"What you got there Itch?"
"Itch?" The young lad rose a Sevenish eyebrow.
The Carmel skinned Klingon shrugged. "Well I gave Spike a nickname...if you don't like it. I wont use it" She flashed a smile.
Icheb looked down for a moment considering. "You call me this because you find Borg an irritation?"
'Kah'less not another insecure ex-Borg.' B'Elanna shook her head. She never realized how seriously Seven and her Borglings were impacted by their old life in the Collective and the views of others. What were jokes and perhaps slights, where taken in absolute gravity and seriousness. B'Elanna chided herself harshly she above all others should have realized how words impacted. For half her adult life and all of her childhood she had been tormented because of her half Klingon heritage. B'Elanna had been called mongrel by the Klingons and mutt and turtlehead by Humans. "No kiddo, not an irritant, granted when you start dating your mom may have other viewpoints." B'Elanna tried to take any inferred sting out of her words. "No Itcha short version of Icheb. Ya' know? Nothing to do with an irritation, okay?"
The boy smiled. "Then it is acceptable. You have given me a 'nickname' out of fondness?"
"Sure kiddo." B'Elanna smiled again. "A lot of friends and even family members have nicknames they give each other. I call Harry, Starfleet he calls me Maquis. Spike for Naomi and sometimes for your mother I call her Sev. It's all good."
"I have noted the use of such names. SoS'oy has given you the 'nickname' of Bella. Which is most apt and efficient. It shortens your name to the first syllable andit defines you. SoS'oy is correct you are beautiful."
B'Elanna blushed. She never considered herself beautiful. Seven of Nine was beauty. The young Klingon thought she might be a handsome womanor even vaguely pretty, but never beautiful.
Icheb cocked his head to the side not understanding why B'Elanna Toress seemed befuddled by what was so obviously the truth. In fact the young boy found B'Elanna to be a stunningly striking woman, equal in beauty of Seven of Nine. He was still young enough not to have the ideals of beauty to be wiped from his mind as irrelevant. Of course considering he was a teenager with raging hormones could have added to his assessment of B'Elanna. Or at least that was what the Klingon told herself. What does a teen-boy know?
"So you...erwhat'ch ya doing?" B'Elanna changed the subject.
"I have brought what little personal items SoS'oy processes. A blanket from an away mission, portraits of Naomi and Mizoti, as well as the twins. There is a photo of my deceased brother One."
"One was truly Seven's son. He shared her nanoprobes, he was created because of her."
"Umyeah." B'Elanna rubbed the back of her neck. She never thought that Seven would have thought of the drone of One as her son. But he had been. No one had ever grieved with her over his loss. They only considered the drone a casualty of war. One had sacrificed himself to save Voyagerperhaps more so to save Seven. But not even the Captain had considered Seven's feelings over the loss of One. "I guess he was."
B'Elanna recalled the months following One's death. Seven was so withdrawn so depressed she hadn't even responded to fiery B'Elanna had during a conversation. Seven had only sighed heavily; said nothing and had left Engineering. Her absence during the following weeks was extremely noticeable. B'Elanna had so missed her confrontations with the Borg she began snarling more at her crew and had pulled away from Tom, wanting nothing to do with him. Without the passion of her meetings with Seven, Tom was dull and lack-luster and sex with him was a yawn. So much so she had fallen asleep on him on several occasions. It got to the point where she avoided Tom all together.
B'Elanna also recalled she purposely sat near the tall ex-Borg in the Mess Hall as well as during staff meetings. At the time Lanna hadn't considered why. But it was because Seven pulled so deeply into herself that any confrontation with her was uninspiring and stale. B'Elanna had missed Seven's icy presence. Now looking back B'Elanna reasoned perhaps there was yet another reason she had sought run-ins with the distraught Seven of Nine. Her heart had already decided for her that she was in love with the Nordic beauty. And when Seven was not to be found in Engineering, B'Elanna had gone on a hunt for her 'mate.'
B'Elanna looked at the young man before her. Icheb was another of Seven's sons who would have sacrificed himself for her if required. B'Elanna promised herself Seven would never again lose a child of her's. Her beloved would never survive it.
Looking back to the lad, B'Elanna clapped him on the back. "Your SoS'oy will love it. A wall of family pictures, no home should be without one. What other things does she have?"
"A few drawings by my siblings and Naomi as well as Mizoti's ant farm she left behind. As well as a Kadis-Kot game Naomi gave her. SoS'oy has no other belongings."
That hit B'Elanna. Seven had so few belongings. 'Hell she said as much when I volunteered to help her carry her stuff to her new quarters.' Seven wasn't into material things, but still to have so few things that defined a person seemedalmost depressingly gloomy. To B'Elanna it didn't seem right. Seven simply needed more stuff. And B'Elanna knew exactly how to remedy this; with a house warming party. She would instruct everyone to bring something homey, something perhaps of them to fill Seven's quarters with cheerful irrelevant things. That got the young Lieutenant smiling. Neelix of course would love to cater the event. She looked to Icheb and decided to recruit him for what B'Elanna decided was going to be a surprise event. The next partner in crime would be Miss Naomi Wildman. The young girl would love to play apart in anything that would be for Seven.
"Itchwe're both off duty okay so lets leave rank at the door."
"I will comply." He titled his dark head. "May I ask you a question B'Elanna?"
When the raised eyebrow shot up, the dark maned Klingon shook her head, holding her hand up to stop the query that would no doubt follow. "I mean go a head."
"I understand. I will 'fire away' then."
"The Captain issued a punishment that is unfitting I feel compiled to confront her on this."
"You got in trouble. Hey we all protest a little bit but"
"No, I mean the punishment was not fitting." Icheb frowned.
"Okay I'll bite what did she say?"
"I am to remain in my quarters when not on duty or at school, I am to have only thirty minutes a day in the Mess Hall for each meal and she had given me three hours a day to socialize with my mother. I am to follow this punishment protocol for a month. But I rarely socialize with other crewmembers. Between work and my studies I have very little time do so. I spend perhaps fifteen minutes in the Mess Hall to collect my nutritional supplements and eat as I work, as it is more efficient. This punishment follows my everyday"
"Whoa, whoa kiddo. Look most us a month confinement in our quarters would be a punishment. Obviously Janeway felt you had to be punished if only to fallow Starfleet protocol. You are after all a Starfleet Cadet and a member of this crew. But whatever it is you did, she probably on a personal level didn't think you needed a harsh punishment. Janeway goes by the book all the way, you have to remember that. She may find a way to bend the sprit of the law, but she won't break it. Remember that and you'll live. And if you go to herabout this punishment thingyou'd stir up more of a mess than solve it. So let it go."
"Even though it is not punishment for me?"
"Look Itch...she let you off easy because she wanted to. Just drop itComply." Adding the last bit B'Elanna knew she'd get the boy's attention.
B'Elanna got the typical Borg head nod showing her she had the boy's obedience.
"So, if you only have three hours with your SoS'oy what are you doing out here?"
"I discovered that she was still regenerating in your quarters B'Elanna when I asked the computer of her whereabouts. Her Combadge singles that she is inactive. I did not wish to disturb her. Getting my mother to regenerateto sleep is a difficult endeavor. I thought it prudent to keep her in that state."
B'Elanna chuckled. "You're a good son." She winked. "So let me guess you took the initiative out ofefficacy to bring Sev's up her belongs from Cargo Bay Two."
"Correct." Icheb answered. "I will line them up upon the counter that separates the kitchenette from the common room so that SoS'oy may 'decorate' her room to her liking."
"Well tell you what. Why don't you hang the 'family' photos on the wall that separates the bedroom from the common room so that it gains attention? And set that ant farm up on one of the end tables by the sofa. If Sev wants to redecorate she can, but I think she'll like it."
"I will comply. Thank you for the suggestion B'Elanna." Icheb bowed his dark head.
"You know Sev's got a lot to be proud of Itch. You're a good boy."
"I mean I am not one for big shows of social graces, but hell you got them in spades."
"When my SoS'oy took guardianship of myself and my siblings she was insistent we assimilate etiquette and protocol despite the inefficacy of them as we would not then be compared to her. She said many remarked upon her cold demeanor and lack of social"
B'Elanna bit her lower lip. She felt a bout three inches tall hearing Icheb describe what had to be painful for Seven with such clinical deliverance.
"...behavior. She did not wish for the ship's complement to scrutinize our behavior. SoS'oy said that it is more practical to try to 'fit in' than it is to resist on the reason of efficiency."
"Well resistance is futile kiddo." B'Elanna ruffled the short-cropped dark hair. "And your mother is the smartest person I know and that includes the Vulcans. So you should probably listen to her."
"Indeed." Icheb felt taller in hearing the high praise of his maternal figure.
"Besides, I think she's trying to spare you the rough road she traveled on." B'Elanna said softly.
"Is that not the protocol mothers universally follow?" The lad pointed out.
"Kah'less, Itch your way too smartand too cute."
The boy blushed again.
B'Elanna snicked at the teen's discomfort. "Look go set up your mother's quarters and if she wakes up I'll make sure she sees you to let you know she's okay."
"I would like that, however it is unnecessary as I know she is well tended to B'Elanna."
"That's besides the point Itch, mothers kinda need to know their kids are okay. It's a mother thing." The young Klingon flashed a toothy grin. "Not that I am a mother, but hell even my own mother kept pretty close tabs on me because she was worried."
"B'Elanna not all mothers are as yours and Seven." Icheb pointed out.
B'Elanna recalled that the kid's own mother had genetically engineered him to be a weapon against the Borg. That Pac'ta had no love in her heart for the boy, as he was only a tool. Seven wasn't too fond of her biological mother either as she felt Erin Hansen had betrayed her as well.
"Maybe not Icheb, but the cosmic forces have this whole karmic thingsometimes the worst things in your life lead to the best things."
"I think I understand B'Elanna." Icheb said slowly, his young mind still wrapping itself around the ideas seeded by the fiery Engineer. "I shall study the matter further."
"Somehow I knew you would kiddo. You want to talk more I'm around. One of these days instead of hashing philosophy we'll do something fun. You do know what fun is right?"
"I do not engage in recreational activities as it impedes my studies."
"Kah'less you are Seven's kid!" B'Elanna chided. "Well what about rock climbing? I've got this beauty of a holoprogram."
"After my term of punishment is over I would like to engage in such an activity. I am fascinated by geology."
"Hey its not about science Itch, its about having fun." B'Elanna smiled. "And heyif I am going to be dating your SoS'oy I think it's a good idea for you and I to hang out a little." The Klingon winked. "At least you know what kind of woman your mother is dating."
"I already do. You are honorable beyond measure and an efficient and brilliant engineer. Seven had said so on numerous occasions and I concur with her assessment."
Now it was B'Elanna's turn to flush. "Well you know...heyumtomorrow I could use your help in Engineering. Since Sev is down for three days. I need some Borg efficacy." 'Kah'less did I just say that! Just admit...Gods I am so whipped and we barely kissedbut Kah'less what a kiss'
"B'Elanna are you 'well'? You seem"
"Itch" B'Elanna held up a caramel skinned hand. "Not a good thing to talk about your mother's girlfriend in wellwherever you were going with that whole raised blood pressure, heart rate thing okay?"
"On the nose." B'Elanna nodded. "Um you run along and finish up with ever it is you were doing, while I go check up on your mother."
"I will comply." Icheb said softly noticing that the change of topic in conversation yet again. From his observations people tended to change the subject of conversation from the prior one because in some measure it became uncomfortable to continue discussing. Seven had instructed him not to comment on the issue but 'go along with the flow of topics'. Seven herself had yet to learn why this was so, but it was apart of social interaction. The boy thought it was a kind gesture of the Chief to aid him with his questions and he decided to return the favor.
"It is common knowledge amongst" he paused knowing Seven loathed the word drone. "In the Collective that certain implants are more sensitive to touch than others. A starburst implant upon females of Unimatrix Zero - one for example...is especially responsive to touchto stimulationit is the Queen's own design." With that Icheb turned back to carrying the small cargo container into Seven's quarters leaving a very stunned open-mouthed hybrid Klingon in the corridor.
When B'Elanna entered her quarters she saw that Naomi Wildman was gone. There was a note on the coffee table that stated Icheb had taken the little girl back to her mother. Seven herself was still out cold on the sofa, the length of her body stretched out along it.
For a moment the woman who had merged with her heart struck B'Elanna dumb with wonder. Annika hadn't stolen it, in her perfect manor the tall blonde had merged with B'Elanna. B'Elanna even in this infant stage of her romance with Annika didn't feel the need to quiet her Klingon nature or soften the sharp edges. Seven would not respect her if she did. Seven knew the fire of the Klingon heart. Knew its strength. B'Elanna always felt she needed to pull her human side to the surface with Tom. Tom wanted a passionate human girlfriend. He ignored the ridges, never kissed them, and never touched them if he could help it. He helped B'Elanna hide her Klingon heritage. Until the Barge of the Dead, yet even then he tried to steer her away from the warrior ways of the noble race. Only when he knew he was losing did the blonde helmrat offer to learn Klingonese.
But still he tried his hardest to help B'Elanna deny her Klingon side. Tom tried to love B'Elanna despite her differences. Annika loved her for them. A hand traced the caramel cranial ridges. B'Elanna recalled the feel of Annika's soft lips as she kissed each of the four ridges. The feeling of pure acceptance and of unyielding love was a new concept for the young hybrid. Another thing B'Elanna knew that whatever her Annika said about accepting her, loving her it would be true. Seven of Nine never uttered falsehoods. It wasn't efficient and it was a waste of resources. B'Elanna would never have to second-guess her place in Annika's mind and heart. Tom was always chasing photonic bimbos with very little intelligence and utter compliance to do what ever he wanted, including things B'Elanna wouldn't do. B'Elanna knew Tom felt the photonic women he screwed didn't fall into the category of cheating on her, after all he argued they were false woman, and so it fell into the category of masturbation. They meant nothing to him. And that made it worse. He was fornicating with fake photonic woman who meant nothing to him. B'Elanna wondered time and again if she was just the impossible catch that had been caught.
With Annika, B'Elanna would never doubt her place in this gentle woman's heart. Annika was gentle, warm and tender. Seven was armor, a shield, a frozen facade to hide behind. Even at their worst B'Elanna knew she could trust the ex-Borg because Seven didn't hide her thoughts. Actually when they first met because B'Elanna was so accustomed to world of human interaction she had forgotten the straightforwardness of the Klingon ways. Klingons never hid either. At least those with honor. Seven was very much like a Klingon in that respect. This was another reason why B'Elanna rebelled against the Nordic blonde. Because Seven / Annika brought with her many remembrances of the Klingon ways. And at the time B'Elanna wasn't ready to embrace her more fiery heritage, and Tom had helped her bury her head in the sand rather than embrace it. On the otherside, Seven embraced the Klingon side of her lover, so much so their combadges were still disabled in the translation of the Klingon language.
Tip toeing up to her love, B'Elanna sat on the edge of the coffee table and placed a sweet gentle kiss upon the alabaster cheek. "I love you Annika." B'Elanna uttered softly. "They say I am fieryI think it's you that stokes that fire." The Klingon frowned. "Okay so that sounded a lot less mushy in my head when I first thought it." She chuckled then. "So why is it that words spoken in the head are not as dumb-sounding as they are when spoke aloud?"
"Shush Baby" B'Elanna placed a quieting hand upon the ample bosom of her beloved, causing Seven to remain still. "You just fell asleep BangwI."
"Bella It is a disorientating experience to 'fall asleep.' I have never done so in the past, save when I was in possession of your beautiful body."
B'Elanna felt heat rush up to her cheeks in hearing Seven's declaration of her beauty. And for the first time B'Elanna never doubted the words. "You know what they say lover, there's a first time for everything." Lanna reached over and placed a warm soft kiss upon Seven's own full lips.
Seven responded immediately. She wanted more as she found the sensation completely addictive. She started placing small passionate kisses upon the darker rose lips, tasting her lover. Her mouth trailed to the place just behind B'Elanna's ear knowing full well what sort of response she would gain. A triumphant smile donned the alabaster face as she heard an almost inaudible rumbling purr coming from B'Elanna's chest.
"Naomi is absent."
"Itch took her back to her mother."
"Who is Itch?" Seven continued to nibble at B'Elanna's earlobe.
"Um" B'Elanna felt a flood of flocking butterflies swarm her stomach. "Huh?"
"Itch who is this individual?"
"Your son." B'Elanna managed.
"Ah a new designated 'nickname'. Was he compliant?" Seven trailed kisses down B'Elanna's neck as her left hand trailed up the muscular waist.
"Sure." B'Elanna swallowed thickly, her heart racing as she felt Seven's hot breath upon her pulse point then teeth as they gingerly nipped. "Whawhat?"
"You are not concentrating upon the conversation Bella." Seven trailed her lips to the other side of B'Elanna's neck giving equally attention to the right as the left. Seven's lips warm, hot against her skin.
"IahhhhAnnika" B'Elanna moaned as she felt teeth raking against her skin.
Lithely Seven moved back to B'Elanna's pouty lips to take them with her own. The meshed hand that was gingerly kneading the muscled waist now trailed up to B'Elanna's breast, the thumb trailing over the hardened nibble beneath the tunic and sports bra.
Seven's own heart was thundering hard against her chest, new unexplored sensations exploded within her. Driven by instinct she pushed her tongue into B'Elanna's mouth trailing the sensitive tip along the sharp teeth dueling for dominance with Bella's own tongue. B'Elanna accepted Seven's tongue, sucking it, her powerful small hands cupping the back of the long swan neck. She pulled back a little wanting to test Itch's theory upon the starburst implant. Trailing her own nipping kisses B'Elanna moved to the delicate silver implant on Seven's right cheek.
The Klingon trailed her tongue over the adornment tasting the distinct metallic tang to it as well as Seven's own flavor. The reaction was immediate. Seven let out a gasped hiccupped moan. The sound was a chain-reaction; the blood fire with in the Klingon roared demanding she take her mate.
"BellapleaseI" Seven moaned again as B'Elanna trailed her tongue across the implant.
'Thank you little bird.' B'Elanna thought to Icheb as she buried her face in the sweetness of Seven's throat. She sharp teeth nipping the sensitive flesh. "I think I just found one of your sweet spots BangwI."
"IIdo not have confectionary markings upon my body." The blonde swallowed hard as she titled her head into the embrace.
B'Elanna moved back to the starburst implant. Once more Seven moaned loudly. "I beg to differ BangwI." B'Elanna cooed. She licked the implant once more and again Seven shivered under her. "Definitely a sweet spot."
Seven arched into B'Elanna driven only on instinct wanting, needing what she didn't know but whatever it was, B'Elanna would have it. "BellaIneedwantYOU!"
B'Elanna's Klingon side roared again wanting to take her lover as a mate. Demanded she follow through. But there was the protective side. The side that knew the demands of making love at the moment was too much for Seven's still healing body. The Klingon warrior shifted directions and took over. If her mate needed protection it would be so. The warrior stilled the fires of the lover.
"Annika I want you too." B'Elanna moved to the soft full lips of her beloved. Speaking as she kissed her.
"I want to cop"
B'Elanna pushed her mouth harder against Seven's lips stopping her from speaking. When she pulled back a little, B'Elanna was still kissing Seven. "The term is making love Annika. Lovers make love. Animals copulate."
Seven kissed her back. "Is it not a matter of semantics?"
"Nope." B'Elanna was now nibbling Seven's throat once more. "WE will make love when your succulent body can take it. Animals copulate. Then there's having sex."
Sex is...isnot the same as making love?"
"No. Sex is what you do with someone you're not in love with but you may care for. Sex is casual.it isn't like making love."
"Then what of Fuc"
Again came a hard kiss, shushing Seven's words. For some unknown reason B'Elanna couldn't allow her lover, her pure and innocent lover to use the coarser word. "Fucking is pure hormones only. You fuck a hologramthere is no emotions involved like with having sex or making love. It's a step up from copulating. Fucking is driven only by lust and nothing more."
"I think I understand." Seven said as she held her lover. "In that respect. I never want to fuck you, and I will not have sex with you." For a small micron of a moment B'Elanna wanted to pull away forgetting she had clarified the distinctions intercourse. "I wish only to make love to you BangwI." Seven whispered.
B'Elanna pulled back so she could see the brilliant cerulean eyes of her beloved. She smiled brilliantly and for the first time in a very long time she felt her soul smile. "AnnikaqamusHa Hoch'wI."
"I love you too." Annika responded "And you are my everything as well you always will be my everything." But when the tall blonde turned away from her beloved, it left B'Elanna confused.
"I will be an inadequate lover B'Elanna. Perhaps having sex is all I can offer you."
The dark eyes blinked. "Annika what are you going on about?"
"I have no experience in the act of making love, having sex, or "
B'Elanna laughed. She couldn't help herself she just burst out laughing then grabbed Seven in a tight bear hug. "Gods Annika you had me worried!"
A silver ocular implant shot up to buttery bangs. "Clarify."
"You silly blonde" B'Elanna moved so that she could lean against the back of the couch and take Seven into her arms. "Look I think you were doing fine a while ago. She kissed the soft brow of her lover. "It's not about experience or lack of it. It's about how you feel about the other person. Annika, I do want to make love to you, Kah'less woman you have no clue on how badly I do. But you really have to heal. It's been a rough week for both of us. And when we do make love, let your mind go and follow instinct. You won't disappoint me. Try to get that through that stubborn head of yours." B'Elanna tapped the blonde's forehead causing a curious expression to warp past the alabaster features before it was gone.
The young engineer shook her head. "And promise me you'll not go on any research binge. You and I if you want BangwIwe can research Klingon and Human lesbian sexual interactions. But we do it together, alright?"
Seven nodded. "That is logical." She nuzzled in to B'Elanna's embrace, "I promise you I'll not engage in any 'research binge' without you."
"Good girl." B'Elanna cocked her head a little allowing Seven greater access to her throat.
On the bridge it was the start of Gamma shit. Acting Captain Harry Kim sat in the command chair. At opps was Ensign Danny Byrd; at tactical was Ensign Yuri and at the helm was Rothery, as she needed to brush up on her piloting of large vessels. The young lieutenant had experience with runabouts, shuttles, one-man fighters and ships not unlike the USS Defiant. And so the Gamma shift would be a perfect opportunity to refresh herself. Rothery had only flown the Saucer section of the Enterprise on three occasions as the more advance and experience pilots took the battle bridge.
Gamma shift was normally quiet and for Harry a great opportunity to show he was worthy of that ever-elusive promotion. He never understood why Tom had been reinstated as a lieutenant with all his goofing around when Harry himself worked his ass off and wasn't even considered on the list of promotions. At least the Captain trusted him with the Gamma shift, even the three lieutenants on the bridge admitted that he had great command potential.
"Sir?" Came the sound of Ensign Yuri's voice. The young Asian looked to the acting captain with a mixture of uncertainty and apprehension. "I've got sensor detections of two different ships. One seems to be of Hirogen designs the other Wysanti."
Harry craned his neck to look as his tactical officer then back to his pilot. "Range to intercept Rothery?"
"They are .03 light years a head of us. It will take us approximately two hours to intercept at current speed." Amanda answered.
"Byrd hail the Wysanti vessel, see if they need assistance." Harry order now standing unconsciously straightening his tunic in a very Janeway fashion.
"Aye sir." The tall man's hand skimmed over the Comm. Panel. It only took a moment for him to get a negative chirp from the computer. "They aren't responding sir."
"They maybe unable to respond." Harry concluded. "Send an aid message regardless. Tell them if they are in distress we will aid them." The young man's mind flared with how to skirt the Prime Directive. The presence of Voyager maybe enough to scare off the Hunters, or at least target better pray.
"Rothery, as soon as we are close enough I want you to skirt between the two ships. Gain the attention of the Hirogen."
The blonde looked to the acting captain keeping her tongue. "Aye sir." She said. Granted Harry was only an ensign but he had the Con. That made him in control, and thus she had to follow his orders, but she had to give the young kid credit, this tactic of "sharking" the Hirogen was something Janeway would do. There would be no violation of the Prime Directive if they did a flyby and the Hunters decided to chase after Voyager instead of the lesser cruiser of the Wysanti race.
As ship's night fell the young lovers walked down the long corridor, which would lead to the ship's hydroponics bay; but as they reached the double doors, they stopped. A sudden wave of dizziness and disorientation swept over Seven of Nine, and blood sang in her ears.
After a momentary battle, the dizziness passed; and, forcing her hand to move, she depressed the button that would open the door. "I need a moment." Seven managed. "I'm functioning within"
"Don't hand me that crap Annika! I know your not wellcome on we're going to sickbay."
"Bellaplease I need only a moment."
Ship's night was everywhere, and the pseudo-sunset colors on the garden's dome gave an ethereal glow to the odd variety of plants, potted trees and flowering vines which climbed the walls, completing this illusion of a small forest. Seven entered in silence with a panicked B'Elanna hovering close at her side.
"Annika I'm dead serious! You will comply god damn it, you're going to sickbay."
Just then Seven fell to her knees cradling her head in her hands and screamed.
"Sir! The Hirogen fired upon the Wysanti craft. Their shields are down to 78 %." Yuri said in a rush of words.
"Stand by on Yellow Alert. Hail the Captain. Shields!"
Choruses of Aye sirs railed over the Bridge.
"Rothery how far now?"
"Enemy closing on impulse power, range five thousand."
Voyager had dropped out of warp and was closing in on impulse power like the shark Rothery was ordered to turn her into. She was sailing closer and closer to the dogfight in space. They were very nearly upon them when Janeway rushed on to the bridge fastening her tunic over her gray shirt.
"Report!" The captain ordered.
Behind her came the rest of the senior Bridge crew.
"We discovered a Hirogen vessel firing upon a Wysanti craft. They are on the hunt Captain." Harry said clearly. " I ordered Voyager on an intercept course"
Just then the Wysanti craft shuddered and her port nacelles exploded.
Aboard Voyager, the Captain and her horrified crew watched the main viewscreen as the Wysanti craft shuddered in a dizzying impact. Like a living thing the Hirogen vessel descended to consume its pray.
"Full power to shields!" Janeway snapped. "Helm, intercept, full impulse."
But she had been a moment too late. Even before Rothery, could react, the Hirogen engulfed the Wysanti ship in a tractor beam.
"Harry if there are any life sings on the Wysanti ship lock on them and prepare to energize to Sickbay. Tuvok, target the Hirogen array and fire." Janeway wasn't giving up hope on saving the Wysanti from their hunters, that wasn't her way. From Harry's report the Wysanti had made a distress call. Or in the least it was how the young ensign had worded it.
"Unable to get a lock Captain." Came the deflated tone of Harry Kim. "There seems to be an EM surge preventing beaming out." He regretted he had failed his Captain. He looked at the reading again. "Captain! Three Borg signatures on board."
'The children!' Janeway's blue-steel eyes flared in un-shown dread for the innocent lives. Now above all she had to save them.
"Their life support is failing Captain." Came Tuvok's monotone cold deliverance. His hand danced over the shinning surface of the panel in front of him. The phaser banks of Voyager flared and struck the Hirogen hunting vessel. The Wysanti ship tipped up and back from the blast but was free from its hunters and left adrift.
The Hunters retaliated quickly.
The viewscreen flashed with blinding light from the explosion. Janeway pitched forward as the ship heaved protesting from the torpedo strike.
"Shields are still holding at maximum." Tuvok said. "Primary hull scarred, hull breach likely if they continue bombarding with torpedoes."
Kathryn Janeway watched as, on the bridge viewscreen, another photon torpedo arced toward them. "Ahead full impulse!" she shouted at Rothery.
Voyager sailed out of the torpedoes rang with less then a millisecond to spare. Janeway allowed herself a rueful smile, but did not relax.
Tuvok pressed the control before the captain finished forming her words.
On the visual before them, a torpedo flared, Janeway held her breath and watched the torpedoes streaked toward the enemy ship. It was as if their impact solidified the ship while simultaneously blasting a section of it away. The Hirogen vessel spun, illuminated by firelight, spewing debris as she struggled to regain her position.
In the back of her mind, Janeway was stunned by the Hirogen commander's hubris; the Hunters had never attempted to raise shields. The ship was critically damaged, another hit and it would blow apart.
Captain the Hirogen's are hailing us."
"I just bet they are. Tuvok ready phasers, target the bridge, fire on my command." The compact redhead turned to the young Ensign. "Harry open a channel."
"Aye Captain." Both men chorused.
The scream had pieced B'Elanna's soul.
Seven's fingers rubbed either side of her temple feeling intense pressure building, thundering within her skull. The last time she had endured such horrific pain was when Janeway severed her from the Collective. She had lost the Many. She had felt small, as if she was dying. Weak detached, she was one, one alone. A drone could not survive alone it was Borg propaganda. And for eighteen years she had believed it. One could not survive alone. One could not survive the severance of the Collective.
This was the terror; the pain Seven was feeling now. But it was not the Hive Mind she was severed from. It was grander and more encompassing. She was severed from the Collective of five. Seven fell into a spiral of dizziness, she rose too quickly, grabbed for the edge of a planter, her hand landing on the stack potted plants, they teetered and fell, she with them. In an instant, B'Elanna was at Seven's side once more, using her arms to support her around the waist as the Engineer looped Seven's arms around her neck
B'Elanna was in red alert - eject the Warpcore dread. She had never seen Seven react so. She was paler than normal, looked like she hadn't slept in a month, the life appeared to be drained out of her.
Seven's body felt hot as she trembled against the smaller woman's own frame. Her blue eyes heavily lidded blurred as if she might cry. Her already porcelain skin paled two shades lighter, shivering and feverish, she was sweating. Her breath cruelly rasping, fighting to come out of her lungs, burning as it came in. It frightened B'Elanna, the seriousness of it and not having an idea of what to do but brining calm to the situation. Seven had yet to answer B'Elanna.
"Annika." She urged, escorting her to the stone bench if only to gain their bearings. She sank into the Klingon's arms half aware of her environment. "Annika." B'Elanna said once more, her hand on her cheek Seven tried focusing but the figure before her a blur. Seven was still shivering, her head screaming in agony, her heart racing.
"The Borg." Her voice scarily above a whisper pounded into B'Elanna's skull. The young Klingon reacted as if she had physically slapped her. "Annika it's me, B'Elanna." He took her hand, dreading she was delusional.
Seven tried to rise off the couch, but B'Elanna forced her to sit. "Annika, easy." She sat next to her lending her strength. The tall blonde fell against her.
"There is only one..."
"If I could get to him, I would." B'Elanna said desperately thinking Seven had lapsed somehow. One. . . . she was calling out for her dead son. "I am sorry about your son."
"No!" Annika said, gaining her feet, trying to go for the thick dual doors. "Not him. . .alone .one voice severed."
"Annika. . . ." B'Elanna was once more at her side. "Sit down before you fall. A moment ago you fainted. No arguments, I'm taking you to the Sickbay"
"No." Annika almost growled. "I can't. I feel it. Must answer."
"Feel what? Answer what? Annika you're not making any sense. You're not going anywhere but to Sickbay. You're not in any condition to travel. Comply you stupid blonde!"
Seven seemed placid to the remark. No smug raised ocular implant, no superior tilt of the head. Absolutely nothing. That seemed to worry B'Elanna all the more.
Seven's hands were shaking so violently that B'Elanna had to help her hold still.
"Just take me home. Please Bella "
B'Elanna knew whatever was wrong with her, the Borg were tied to it. Somehow, someway the cybernetic horrors were linked to Annika. Damn them . . . Fucking Queen messing with my Benel .You think Janeway was pissed when you took her favorite? Now you cyber-bitch you're going to deal with me.' B'Elanna grumbled escorting Seven to the turbolift. That Borg-bitch claims Seven is her favorite. How could The Queen let Seven become like this? What the hell did she do to her!?
They neared the lift just as Icheb was coming out; the relief was plan on B'Elanna's face. "Itch! Thank God, you're here. I need you to help me with Seven. She's real ill. . ."
The boy looked pale himself as if was suffering from a migraine. "SoS'oy. . .they are silenced."
"Kah'less not you too." B'Elanna growled. "Itch, concentrate. Your mother collapsed, I need your help! Comply!"
The boy looked with lifeless eyes to his mother, blinked then shook his head trying to clear the fuzziness that had some how materialized in his synapses. Redirecting his mind, his efforts now concentrating on his mother, Icheb was able to come back to reality. Yet he couldn't shake the vertigo of being severed from the Collective once more.
They managed as far as the interior of the lift before Seven went limp once more. This time B'Elanna and Icheb both were there to catch her. Picking her up in her arms B'Elanna was taken by surprise how heavy Seven was, even with the boy's assistance. Holding her lover close, B'Elanna's fear pounded as hard and quick as her heart.
When the Doctor saw B'Elanna and Icheb cradling Seven trying to keep the tall blonde upright as they navigated into Sickbay, he rushed over to the trio. "What happened?" his dark eyes accusingly glared at the young fiery lieutenant as if she had broken his medical protocol and pushed Seven's weakened body beyond measure.
"She passed out. She's burning up." B'Elanna's anxiety threatened to overwhelm her. "She screamed, she is in so much pain. Help her!"
The bioscans had been taken showing that Seven's vitals were off the charts. Heartbeat irregular, a fever of 106, breathing fast and labored, the Doctor was astonished she was still functioning; that she was alive.
He was treating her, when Seven came too, screaming out nonsensical words: Alone, Silence, severed, small. . . The Doctor tried to restrain her, but in a display of phenomenal strength she had not only lifted him off the floor a good foot, but had sent him sailing across the room through the window of his office as if he were but a toy. And had he been organic rather then photonic it might have killed him. As it was The Doctor phased through the plate glass window completely unharmed.
B'Elanna brave enough to get close, despite the almost high-pitched warnings of the Physician. "She could hurt you. You saw what she did to me!"
"She won't hurt me." B'Elanna said with full confidence. In one hand she held a hypo filled with a tranquilizer and plugged Seven in the arm. It only took moments for the compound to react. Seven lapsed into a semi state of transcendence. At least now they could try and treat her. B'Elanna would be hard pressed to leave her lover like this.
The Doctor started to interrogate the engineer on what had happened prior to the collapse. He was convinced that B'Elanna had pushed his Seven into a sexually situation the innocent woman/child wasn't ready for. It was no secret that the Doctor longed for the tall blonde as his own.
B'Elanna didn't know much beyond that Seven was in terrible pain, had blacked out twice and was calling out in fear of 'The Silence.' They were simply going for a quite stroll in the hydroponics bay before Seven fell. There was something about the Borg and Silence and One though not the drone by the same designation.
B'Elanna had her own list of questions. What was going on? Would Seven be all right? Was it the vinculum and its cursed interlink frequency attacking her cortical node? Could he save her? He must save her.
At least Seven was lucid. Though only for bits at a time. She either fell into fits of lethargic sleep or dark terrors. The Doctor had come up with a sedative that wouldn't agitate her system, but the physician could not reason why Seven had collapsed as she did. This of course agitated his inflated ego and at the same time fearlessly egging him on to find the cause and thus the cure for this strange occurrence in the Nordic beauty. None of Seven's cybernetic systems were failing. The emotional inhibiter had been removed during the grueling surgery several days ago, which if she had it would have been the only reason he could think of to cause this reaction. Seven's cortical node was working in acceptable parameters; physically there was nothing wrong with her. Whatever it was it seemed that it was no longer affecting Icheb, as he seemed his typical wooden self.
The monitors making that incessant noise had for the moment ceased. Seven couldn't remember how she got where she was, or for that matter, where she was. She was in B'Elanna's arms hearing her tell her how she was loved; they were kissing then had decided to go to the hydroponics bay; the next she was in Sickbay. Then darkness. No not darkness, pain. Red angry pain. Tormenting pain. Pain was costing Seven her life. With her eyes closed she fell into that half-aware state that makes you lose time.
"The convulsions have ceased, but they could began again at anytime." The Doctor said. "Her seizures have grown steadily in number and they have exacerbated her condition. Another complication is her fever and getting it lowered without sending her into shock or a coma, or both"
They look at the impossibly pale Seven. She had the same chalky whiteness to her skin making it almost translucent as if she were a full drone again. B'Elanna felt as if her whole world had shattered. She found someone in this godforsaken quadrant that was her equal in every way. Willful, stubborn and intelligent, an engineer, a scientist, workaholic and analytical yet passionate, sultry with a sharp if underplayed dry wit. Insolent yet accommodating when it suited her. Strong in every aspect of mind, sprit and body. Seven could match B'Elanna; understand her, as their pasts were so similar. Broken hearted at a tender age. Belonging to two races and yet they did not belong to either one. Displaced and feeling alone for a time seeking companionship upon a ship that who's crew feared them.
For a long time the Klingons were greatly feared and still were amongst many Federation members. Propaganda was a religion to some. Klingons nearly raped their partners; they beat them to a pulp before having forced sex. Klingons drank blood, supped on worms and ate hearts of those they killed with massive swords. Klingons only knew rage. Klingons didn't know love. They were animals according to James T Kirk who had wanted them all to die. Klingons never bathed, they would tear apart a human child because the human was weak. They grunt as a form of communication just like an animal. This was what B'Elanna was told by the humans she grew up with. No human could have loved a Klingon. Klingons were the embodiment of fear and distrust. Don't trust them. Don't believe them. They are all killers, an entire race made cold-blooded murderers. Killing is their way of life.
Yet Klingons loved with great passion with all of the fire in their hearts. If it was consuming it was because it overwhelmed the proud warriors. Passion to protect, to fight off those that would harm their loved ones. Passion for honor and yes for glory. Passion to die as a warrior for the Empire with the name of your BangwI upon your lips. To live in passion with the image of your BangwI seared upon your heart for all time. This was what Seven brought to B'Elanna. Seven brought with her cool-acceptance because it was illogical and inefficient not to. That acceptance unsettled B'Elanna more than the bigotry she had faced because it was offered without any compensation. It had to have been some Borg game. Though Borg and ex-Borg would argue that game playing was an inefficient use of time that could be better and more efficiently utilized working.
B'Elanna looked at the face of her lover, which was slowly loosing the dead pallor. Seven was her perfect mate. Her match in every way. Seven knew the taste of hate and fear shown her. Above all others: the Maquis, choirboy Harry Kim, Janeway and even Tom, none but Seven knew what B'Elanna had lived, and faced as an adult. None could relate so readily; none could know the bitterness of feeling out of place as readily as Seven feels.
"Annika . . .you know I hate Sickbay and yet I am here again with you. " B'Elanna chucked trying to lighten the mood. "You really have to get out more you know." Dark rose colored lips kissed the porcelain brow of her lover before she tasted the full pale pink lips. When B'Elanna pulled back she saw a single tear falling from Seven's closed human tear.
B'Elanna gingerly leaned over and kissed the tear away as well. "Don't worry if the Queen is skulking around she wont get her hands on you. So no grand gestures of sacrificing yourself for the greater whole you got that?" It was only then did B'Elanna recall her internal cursing of the Borg Queen for she had called Seven her wife. 'Benel. . . I called Annika my Benel! Kah'less . . . when in the hell did that happen? Jumping the gun here aren't we Torres? I mean . . . she may not want you . . .after all . . . the Captain is still in love with her. . . so is the Queen, Chakotay was buzzing around her recently, and the doc has it bad for her. Yeah but I got here first. Now Annika is mine. Queen, Captain and photonic physician and wooden first officers be dammed.'
A lopsided grin appeared upon the young Klingon's beautiful caramel features when she saw Seven's blue orbs flutter open. "Hey there Seven of Mine. Its about damn time you got up sleepy-head."
And up rose a superior silver ocular implant.
The viewscreen flared from the image of battle to that of a brown-scaled Hirogen male. His dark beady eyes glinting in uncontained rage. "You have violated our authorized Hunt!" He screamed.
Something in his voice caught the captain's keen hearing. Several months ago Icheb had fallen to the same fallacy; the drooping of an adolescent male voice to that of a fully-grown adult man. It had an annoying pitch change especially during times of stress. This male displayed upon the viewscreen was no more than a teenager. And from his voice cracking he was passing in the midst of Hirogen puberty.
'My God this was a training hunt!' Janeway inwardly balked at the thought of children hunting other sentient life forms for sport. Children murdering children, what could be more horrific?
Janeway decided to trade upon the reputation of Voyager amongst the Hirogen hierarchy. "This is the Federation Starship USS Voyager. I am Captain Kathryn Janeway!"
If Hirogen paled, this boy's sienna skin became a shade of yellow.
"You fired upon a vessel under our protection. I advise you to alter your Hunt and leave now." Janeway steadied her voice into the tone of ice that would have frozen the fur of a polar bear. Her blue-grey eyes become the cold hard steal with the force ten glare.
The Hirogen teenager growled trying to make himself larger to this puny female or at least that was what he was trying to convince himself. It was clear the boy was frightened. It was clear that the Hirogen hunters knew about this willful captain.
"This is our Hunt!" He seemed to stamp his foot as a spoiled child. "We won't leave."
"Perhaps you need to understand your position more clearly." Janeway said. She could almost smell the fear of this young boy. Hirogen hunter or not he was still a prepubescent bully and as all bullies when confronted with greater force become the cowards they truly are. "Target their bridge . . . ready to fire all phasers on my mark."
'Aye Captain." Tuvok said in his typical cool voice. He knew his captain well and knew this was pure bluff. However he knew also the distinct possibly that if the bluff was called, he would be ordered to fire. Kathryn Janeway was not a woman with whom to trifle with.
"No!" The boy's beady black eyes glazed with dread. He knew this ship from tales told at the Great Fires of the Gatherings. There were hunters that had gone off in pursuit of the elusive ship and her pragmatic captain. And they learned she was more than worthy pray; she was a hunter herself. Janeway was a hunter that stalked some of the most difficult prey . . .the Borg Queen. This Captain had hunted down and tagged the Queen and taken a Borg drone as one of her trophies.
"They are unworthy pray, they are of no meaning to us." The Hirogen teen snarled. "If you want the scraps then take them." He tried to sound confident and strong. "But we had a successful hunt, you won't find trophies." He sneered.
Janeway rolled her eyes and gestured to her throat singling for Harry to cut off the communications.
The viewscreen blinked back to the ships. The Hirogen vessel limped away presumably only because she had impulse power left. Still Janeway would not trust it and so weapons would remain locked on the bridge. A single command and the Hunters ship would explode as the Wysanti vessel had before it.
"Harry can you get a lock yet?" Janeway moved back from the helm to her command chair looking up to the young Asian at Opps.
"The transporter can only beam one person in at a time, the EM interference on the Wysanti ship is too great Captain." Harry said.
The sturdy Captain nodded. "Chakotay, Tuvok take the doctor and Lieutenant Toress with you on a shuttle and go to the Wysanti ship. If there are any survivors bring them back."
"Yes ma'am." The tall commander said.
"And Chakotay" Kathryn stepped closer to her friend and first officer, her voice a smoky whisper. "If the twins and Mizoti are. .if the children were killed, we're going to keep this from Seven. Right now she's had enough to deal with."
"Captain?" In a patented nervous gesture the Native American rubbed his tattoo. "Don't you think Seven has a right to know if the kids were killed?"
"If I have to tell her I will when I think she can handle it." Blue-grey eyes became cold steel.
"If you think that is best." Chakotay nodded knowing it was utterly impossible to change the Captain's mind once it was set. After all Kathryn Janeway marched not once but twice into the heart of the Borg space for Seven of Nine. And more than once he wondered how deeply Kathryn's feelings for Seven went. He knew the compact Captain loved her, it was fairly obvious to everyone, but was that love maternal, as most of the crew were lead to believe or was it something on a whole different level?
"I do think it is for the best and it's a direct order. I just pray I don't have to tell her." The bold Captain straightened her tunic looking at the skeletal copse of the Wysanti vessel. She would not allow her crew to see her unrest. Her fear. Not for herself, never for herself but for the young woman she loved. Seven of Nine once known as Annika Hansen suffered so much in her twenty-eight years Kathryn Janeway honestly thought Seven would not be able to coup with yet another heart wrenching impact on her life. Not without very serious repercussions.
"Captain?" Rothery swiveled in the helm's chair. "Request permission to accompany the away mission."
Janeway looked to her new Alpha pilot with some scrutiny. Send in a former assassin to hunt the hunters not a bad idea. And Rothery was very good at piloting the smaller vessels. If the adolescent Hirogen planned to retaliate, they would need a dare devil shuttle pilot at the helm.
"Granted." Janeway nodded.
Ensign Pablo Baytart noted, as an exceptional pilot was the main helmsman for the Beta shift and thus it was he that would be summoned to take over the helm. The talented juggler who was as quick as Paris and as deft as Rothery would no doubt be able to handle any confrontation the Hirogen would devise.
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