A Wish Upon a Star
By Cirroco DeSade
Seven sighed as she stared out the window of the small cabin that she was staying in. She supposed that the scenery before her would be considered a perfect Christmas time view, but she found herself unable to dredge up even the tiniest of smiles. Separated from her ship by necessity, she and a crew were working through the 'holidays' in an isolated mining town on a harsh and frigid planet whose habitants were providing refuge for Voyager and its crew.
Seven considered it the greatest of ironies that for the very first time she had been looking forward to celebrating the old Terran holiday, and for the very first time since she arrived on the wayward ship none of the crew would be able to celebrate the day as they usually did. It occurred to her that perhaps it was a testament to her growing humanity that explained why she didn't feel comforted about the Captain's assurances that there would be a celebration, albeit a little late. For once, this former drone had been so caught up in the spirit of the holiday and the joys of all the days leading up to the event, that she found herself in a melancholy since they would not be celebrating it 'on time'.
The blonde reached out with her Borg enhanced left hand, holding it to the glass decorated with frost, and stared dejectedly across the snowy miles. It was only 100 kilometers distant where Voyager sat upon its landing struts, like a sleek silver sculpture above the snow. However, with all but the most rudimentary transports offline and the planets temperatures falling well below dangerous levels for humanoids, Voyager may as well have been in another star system for all the good it did her team.
She knew she should retire to the bed provided by her hosts, build energy for another long day mining for the ores Voyager needed for repairs, but every time she looked at the bed, its emptiness taunted her. Instead, she continued to stare long into the night, as she had every night since the away mission began, out over the snowy distance. Whenever the clouds would part, however briefly the sky would be clear, she would take the advice of her first friend aboard Voyager, a child with honest love and innocence, and she would wish upon the brightest star she saw for the one thing she truly desired.
Captain Kathryn Janeway, her sometimes ambassador Neelix, and Tuvok finally rejoined the ship after several tense days of negotiations. She had finally convinced the D'kunien governing council to give her the dilithium crystals necessary for her ship to be able to leave orbit and resume its journey home. The D'kuniens had gladly given Voyager leave to land and many other concessions, including the duranium, tritanium and aluminum that her away team was currently mining for. In fact, they had approved of the mining project and to supply some much needed medical supplies to Voyager before the ship had even landed. Yet when Janeway had tried to convince the governing council to exchange for dilithium she had run into a brick wall.
The Captain rubbed her temples trying to fight off a headache as she waited for the turbolift to arrive at Engineering. She would have never imagined that a small band of ships that were barely the size of Voyager's largest shuttle would ground her ship. Nevertheless, that was what happened. Her pride ached almost as much as her head. Chakotay had tried to convince her that Voyager needed to stay out of the affairs of the warring parties. However, when Janeway had seen the solitary D'kunien ship surrounded by the band of what she presumed were pirates, and she heard their distress signal, she had sent her ship into the fray, sure that their greater size could solve the problem easily without much damage to any of the parties. She had believed in her heart that a few judicious phaser hits would calm the pirates into reason or at least convince them to go away. Later, after the fierce battle, her Vulcan friend Tuvok reminded her that even the smallest of scorpions could sometimes kill the largest of men.
As the turbolift doors parted, she straightened, her command mask falling to cover her discomfort and self-castigation. She located her Chief Engineer and strode confidently to the woman. B'Elanna Torres looked as if she had crawled under the warp core and perhaps most of the Jeffries tubes. Even with her tunic removed and her sweater sleeves rolled up, her crew couldn't help but respond to the commanding aura that Klingon-Human hybrid still carried. The engineering crew would do anything for the small woman. Janeway thought that it was probably because she was so willing to dig in herself to do any job she would ask of any of her crew. Her brilliance only added to her crew's respect of her.
"Lieutenant Torres... B'Elanna," Janeway said to get the engineer's attention. The younger woman startled and turned to her commanding officer. "Why is it that I believe you have probably not left this engine room in the four days I have been away?"
"Captain," B'Elanna began, her skin darkening considerably with a blush, "I've had enough rest, and we needed to get things back in order quickly. Emergency life support simply wasn't enough to compensate for this planet's temperature. We had to get our systems back up and running quickly. Now we are conducting mostly superficial repairs. All we need is dilithium and we can get off this freezing rock of a planet."
The Engineer knew she was stretching it somewhat, but since it was mostly true, she didn't think the Captain would call her on it. She was wrong.
"Another day or two would not have compromised Voyager," Janeway said seriously with a raised eyebrow, telling her Chief that she wasn't buying it. "Nevertheless, I appreciate you and your crew's efforts, as I am sure everyone else will." The redhead handed over a large black case. "Here's as much dilithium as I could convince the D'kuniens to give us. It's not much but it is a perfect specimen. Tuvok and I made sure it would be enough to get us out of orbit and underway before I finally conceded the fight."
"Why wouldn't they give us more?" the engineer asked irritably as she recovered the case. "It's not like they don't have it to spare. They don't even use it for their ships."
B'Elanna popped open the case and pulled out a tricorder, examining the crystals herself. She knew that Janeway was a competent scientist, but as far as she was concerned it was her engines at risk and she would be the judge of the quality of the crystals before any installation began.
"Well, apparently, the caverns we found on our scans where the deposits were most abundant are a very sacred place to them. Dilithium is believed to be anointed by their gods." Janeway sighed and couldn't stop herself from rubbing her eyes after being reminded of the endless circular arguments she had engaged in over the last few days. "Let's just count our blessings, and get out of here. I've already sent Tom in the shuttle to recover the other teams. We haven't exactly worn out our welcome here, but just the same, there is some resentment among some of the more devout council members. I'd like to be underway as soon as your team can get our warp-drive back online."
"Aye Captain," B'Elanna said with a genuine grin. She had her own reasons to want to get underway, and she knew most of the crew would be happy as well.
The Captain began to walk away, but before she had even made three steps, she stopped and spoke over her shoulder. "Oh, and B'Elanna after we are out of orbit, I expect you to take two days leave. I don't want to hear about you coming into the engine rooms during that time. That's an order."
"But Capt " B'Elanna blurted but was quickly interrupted.
"No buts B'Elanna." Janeway responded, steel in her voice, belied by the grin on her lips. "I expect you to be rested and ready when we hit that asteroid belt. I'll need my best engineer trying to get the most dilithium we can get out of there. Understood?"
Seven was surprised when Tom showed up that morning bundled up in thick winter gear. He told her the Captain's orders to gather her team and all the ore they had mined thus far. She wasn't going to argue though, so she had hurried the small team of geoscientists, unsurprised when they were just as enthusiastic as herself to return to the ship. The assignment had been miserable and she honestly felt for the small mining community's inhabitants. She was happy to see that the Captain had sent gifts through Tom to give to the local people that might help relieve some of the burden of living in such harsh conditions.
Janeway continued to astonish the young woman that day. As soon as the shuttle had safely landed in the bay the Captain ordered Tom and Seven to report to the bridge. The young woman made sure the an Ensign from the geosciences department was in charge of the team and the delivery of the ore to the appropriate cargo bay, then she headed for the bridge.
Seven had barely stepped off the lift when Janeway greeted her kindly, if somewhat abruptly, then asked her to plot the best course to this system's asteroid belt and the most likely place for the crew to begin its search for more precious dilithium. After that, she heard the Captain ordering the helmsman to begin preparations to leave the planet. The blonde was somewhat disappointed to hear that they would have to continue their search, fearing that the crew was in for yet more arduous labor for a long time to come. By the time that she had designed the most efficient course for the best place to begin their search, the ship was ready to launch. She sent her report to Janeway and the Captain quickly approved the flight plan telling Tom to follow it. Their ascent off the frozen and unappreciative world was unremarkable and the young woman could almost feel a collective sigh of relief from the crew as they left D'kunia Prime behind.
Seven had to write her mission report before she could follow the rest of the Alpha shift crew off duty. Her sense of duty made her double-check the storage of the ore before she returned to the Captain's ready room to deliver the report. Therefore, before she even saw the Captain again, the Beta crew, led by Tuvok, had been on duty for several hours. When she paused at the Captain's door waiting for admittance, and as she realized how tired she was feeling, it occurred to her that the day had not ended. More precisely, it was not yet midnight and 'Christmas day' was not technically over.
She could hardly contain herself as Janeway took her report. Although she wasn't completely surprised by the order, she was nevertheless grateful that the Captain told her she was had two days off duty. The corners of the blonde's lips curled ever so slightly at the older woman, but since Janeway was a good friend and her mentor, she recognized this as Seven's smile. She dismissed the blonde with a smile of her own and immediately went back to reading the many reports on her desk only to hear the blonde stop at the door.
"Merry Christmas Kathryn," Seven said quietly with a slow nod and left before the older woman could say a word.
Only a few people would believe that Seven, former Borg drone, could stare at someone with such adoration, and fewer still had ever seen the full smile she wore. Yet, nobody was witness to her silent joy. She had entered her quarters to find her love fast asleep, her face on top of an obviously freshly wrapped package that sat upon the living room table. The blonde reached out and gently ran her knuckles over the lines of exhaustion upon B'Elanna's face. After a few minutes of indulging herself in simply staring at her lover, she finally collected herself then carefully gathered the smaller woman in her arms. She had no problem lifting her love to carry her into the bedroom, but realized that neither of them was quite prepared to get into the bed. Loathe to wake her lover, she simply laid the woman on top of the blankets and removed the engineer's boots. After removing her own footwear, she climbed onto the bed behind B'Elanna, spooning her and happily wrapping her arms around the woman. It took only moments before the blonde was as deeply asleep as her brunette.
B'Elanna awoke the next morning cuddled into a familiar body, her head in its favorite position on a very familiar chest. She couldn't remember how she got to the bed. When she realized that not only was she still dressed but so was Seven, she deduced that the blonde brought her in here. She felt a little guilty that she had not managed to stay neither awake long enough to welcome Seven home nor give the blonde her gift.
As if sensing her lover's need for comfort, Seven stirred and gradually opened her eyes. When she saw B'Elanna's brown eyes so close and felt her in her arms, she smiled and leaned down for a soft good morning kiss.
"Hey," B'Elanna said softly after the kiss.
"Hey," Seven replied in a whimsical tone.
"I'm sorry I fell asleep last night," B'Elanna said softly, sincere regret in her voice. "I had hoped to give you a better Christmas than that."
She cast her eyes down, a little too sad to look at Seven at that moment. Two fingers tipped with metal touched her chin, gently directing her to look back into the ice blue eyes that she always felt she could fall into. Seven's smile and genuine happiness surprised her.
"When I was on that planet, I realized what I truly wanted for Christmas. I remembered Naomi telling me how to 'wish upon a star' and every night I did." The blonde spoke softly, taking a pause and leaning in to steal a quick, gentle kiss. "I got my wish B'Elanna I spent Christmas night with you."
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