After the Game is Over
By Elizabeth Carter
At night Le Coeur de Lion would be transmogrified into the smoky den of soft chatter, loud laughter. Clink of ice against glass and the melodies of music and the soft silky voice of a singer. Le Coeur de Lion is the kind of bar where no-one gives a damn what your names is, and the regulars go around armed. There was one rule. Leave the war outside. Pretty much everybody who is anybody, or things they are or should be, has paid Le Coeur de Lion a visit at one time another. It was run and owned by Katrine a powerful butch feme fatal in a white tuxedo who had a thing for her lead soprano.
By day it was the base of the French Resistance in Sainte Claire during the Nazi occupation. That was the idea. That was the programming of the Hirogen neural interface that lead half of the Voyager crew to believe they were apart of World War two. Of course the other half believed they were in some great Klingon battle between the houses just before Kah'less united the Houses.
Seven of Nine forced to the floor with the rest of the members of the Resistance waited for a moment when she could strike back. Not against the Nazi holograms, but the Hirogen who were playing dress up with very real weapons keeping Voyager in captivity. Their own Occupation had turned the Intrepid Class Starship into two giant holodecks. Their simulations had very real consciences for the crew. With the safety protocols down, holographic bullets killed.
The Hirogen weren't completely brutal, they allowed the dead crew-member to be revived in Sickbay, their neural processor reprogrammed and they were set into a new simulation. The idea was for young Hunters to hone their skills as predators without the nasty drawback of making their prey extinct. The Alpha had wanted not just powerful Hunters with good kills of tracking and slaying he needed them to think sharply and outwit their pray. Voyager's holo-technology proved perfectly ideal for this purpose.
Voyager's EMH and Harry Kim had been able to disconnect Seven's neural interface who intern had disconnected Captain Kathryn Janeway's. Like dominoes falling more and more interfaces were becoming disconnected. The members of the French Resistance became members of the Voyager Resistance.
Seven felt her and being squeezed not out of fear, but out of reassurance. A soft look passed through the blue eyes as they rested on her pregnant lover B'Elanna Torres, gaped in nineteen-forties period dress, kaki coat and soft soled shoes. Nest to her in a US army uniform was Ensign Tom Paris, on Seven's right Lt. Commander Tuvok also garbed in period costume. Seven was the only odd one out as she was dressed in a black cat-suite suitable for burglary or blowing up Nazi supply depots.
The four of them sat watching and waiting as the Hirogen SS officer communicated with the Alpha presumably stationed in Janeway's ready-room. With him were at least ten Hirogen Hunters and five Holographic Nazis.
"Bridge, this in Holodeck one. I have seized the building, and I have found another access to this holodeck." Spoke the Hirogen SS Officer with a bland pride that he had captured something but in the end the prize was almost anti-climatic. Seeing how the prey huddled together made him nauseous. This was not a proper hunt. Alpha had lost his way and it was becoming irritating for the young Buck.
"Seal it. How many captives?" Alpha's voice came over the com.
"Four." Hirogen SS looked at the four scowling faces. The tall golden-haired one looked at him as if not her were the pray. "Their neural interfaces have been disabled. I will make the kill. "
"No." The command was sharp, spoke as one would speak to a hound not a Hunter. "They are not prey, they are hostages. I'll need them."
B'Elanna cut a glance first to seven then to the others huddled near her. That command just bought them time. Not much perhaps, but it however much time they had would be put to use. Klingons don't play prisoners, it was almost programmed in the DNA to escape or die in the attempt.
"As you wish." The Hirogen SS officer snarled, and then he turned to one of the junior Hirogen "You help me seal this hatch." The two gray uniformed males moved behind the bar leaving the human-hologram standing guard.
"I don't recognize this program." Tuvok looked around him and the decor of the Bar that had previously been struck with grenades and overwhelming units of Stromtroopers. For that matter either did B'Elanna, and Seven only knew vaguely what both the Doctor and the Captain had told her, which wasn't much. All she knew was she was playing the part of a freedom fighter in a worldwide war of Earth history.
"I do." Paris volunteered. His chin he pointed to the human watching them with disdain in his photonic eyes. "He's wearing a Nazi uniform. We're on Earth during the Second World War."
The way the sharp-faced human male kept staring at B'Elanna made her irritated and resentful for all his smugness. The Nazi Kapitan seemed to ooze hate and malaise.
"What are you staring at?" B'Elanna snarled wanting to ripe the man's holographic spine out of his photonic skin.
"What are you staring at?" B'Elanna snarled wanting to ripe the man's holographic spine out of his photonic skin.
"Get up." He marched over to her and grabbed her arm and hoisted her to her feet so quickly B'Elanna had not the time to dodge or outmaneuver him. Being nine months pregnant even if it was a projection made her unyieldingly and slow. "You deceived me." The Nazi hissed.
"Really?" B'Elanna shot back sarcastically, not having a clue what he was going on about.
"You're not the only one." B'Elanna retorted. She held her face frozen as the man wretched her arm nearly hyper-extending her elbow.
Neither Seven nor Tuvok seemed to do anything more than watch, but Tom could not see the silent communication going on between the two women.
One sat of dark eyes told Seven not to interfere, but to use the distraction to her advantage.
A set of blue eyes clearly told her mate she didn't like it but she would comply.
Seven was already calculating the distances between the door, the window and the Hirogen, not unlike a profession billiards player lining up the perfect shot to bet the most balls into the pockets.
Seven glowered, if he wasn't a photonic projection she would have assimilated him and insured the nanoprobes botched the job just to see the male writhe in agony.
"I'll miss our nights together." The Nazi Kapitain moved his hand over B'Elanna's swollen belly causing her growl and tries to fight back; despite the debilitating hold he had her. He flung her from her side with such force B'Elanna hurtled towards Seven who caught her.
"Pig!" Tom screamed and flung himself at the Nazi. The SS officer drew his glock ready to fire; the surrounding Hirogen listed their slide bolt action riffles aiming at the reckless pilot.
"Put the weapon away." The SS Hirogen ordered, but the Kapitain hesitated, "Now!"
Paris sat back down watching as Seven examined her lover, with care and precision.
"I'm fine. Pissed off but fine." B'Elanna reassured the taller woman.
"Funny, he doesn't seem like your type." Paris said leaning over to see if B'Elanna was as fine as she claimed she was. "I thought you liked XX not XY."
B'Elanna shot him a reproachful look though her eyes held a soft merriment. "I do, that's why I have a Borg as a lover not a helmrat." She smiled.
He shrugged taking the jest easily. "Yeah well that's why this helmrat decided to date The-Forever-an-Ensign, instead of a hot-tempered engineer." He would never sling Klingon as an insult knowing how sensitive B'Elanna was over the issue of being Klingon the reason for being abandoned. "Oh and FYI, I'm a helm-jockey, not rat."
"I suggest the discussion of sexual preference and semantics be held at another time." Seven interrupted. "We have a plan to execute."
"And a few Nazi-pigs as well." Tom agreed.
One such Nazi-pig poured himself a shot of Scotch, lifted to his scaled lips before spitting it out glowering. His yellow eyes stared at the glass as if it was its fault he didn't like the flavor. "Synthetic, and undrinkable. I am tired of this simulation." He spoke to his fellow Hunters.
They nodded their heads in agreement; they too found a loathing for the synthetic alcohol and for waiting around doing nothing. This was not the way of the Hunter, all this waiting.
SS Hirogen watched the four captive prey then back to the Kapitain who leaned to him as if his words carried any sort of importance. "Mien Herr, a word with you." He waited a moment clearly expecting to be granted to speak.
"And these holograms are becoming annoying as well." SS Hirogen commented not to the Nazi Kapitan but to his men
SS Hirogen was wondering the same thing. It made no since to keep the prey alive like zoo specimens. They should just make the kill and go on. Still the Alpha could not be disobeyed. "Orders. From the Kommandant."
Kapitain swallowed hard, his courage becoming hollow as he spoke his next words. "If I may speak freely." He shifted once more, pretending to look at the four prisoners, clearly of unsuperior stalk "The Kommandant has been acting strangely the past few days. He's been questioning German superiority. Perhaps we shouldn't follow his orders so blindly." He said his voice edging on desperation to restore the ways of the Arian nation over the inferior get of the French Resistance and the American interlopers.
SS Hirogen snatched the holograms tunic front growling, "You will do as he says as long as I tell you to!"
Unabashed the Nazi continued his arguments. "I don't know how much longer I can stand being trapped in here."
The SS Hirogen moved past the Nazi to singer with the face adornments. "Perhaps you would enjoy some entertainment." Hoisting Seven to her feet he gnashed his teeth together. "Sing."
B'Elanna got to her feet, holographic pregnancy or no holographic pregnancy she was to rip the Hirogen's heart from his scaly chest and feet it to the Nazi-pig.
"Sing or you will die." SS Hirogen removed his sidearm and shoved the barrel of the Glock into Seven's temple.
"Then I'll die." Seven said with ice in her voice.
Tuvok who had always held a paternal spot in his Vulcan heart for the ex-Borg quickly rose to his feet. It was he not B'Elanna to come to her side. "Seven, you are a valued member of this crew. The logical response would be to grant his request."
The hammer of the glock was pulled back, B'Elanna moved for her lover, Tuvok was ready to intervene on Seven's execution, the other Hirogen lifted the muzzles of their rifles, and then it happened ---a sound that stopped the breath in the lungs sharply and almost painfully.
"Bridge to Holodeck one." It was as if the voice of the gods had called down.
Irrigated SS Hirogen growled his acknowledgement of the Alpha's hail. "Yes".
"I've come to an agreement with Captain Janeway. Call a cease-fire."
SS Hirogen could not have heard what he heard! That was impossible; the hunter never called off the hunt. Never! "What?"
Tuvok was also in disbelief but he recovered first, "Captain?"
"Aye Captain." Tuvok answers immediately.
"Turanj" The Alpha names SS Hirogen, "Order our hunters to end the fighting."
It was the Kapitan not Turanj who spoke out "This is madness! We're winning this battle!"
Alpha must have known his Hunter would have been thinking along the same lines. Normally an Alpha doesn't have to explain his reasons for actions in the Hunt, but sometimes there is a call to make the hunters understand. "Our civilization depends on this agreement."
That struck a cord with Turanj, the betterment of the Hirogen civilization, the civilization of the Hunt must be preserved despite singular interests. "Acknowledged." He turned to the Hirogen troops gathered in the nightclub waiting for the Beta to give the word. "You heard him, release the captives. I'll tell the others. Order all units to withdraw to these positions."
Several of the Hirogen had gone to free the Captives, while the holographic Stromtroopers bugged out leaving Turanj alone with the Nazi Kapitain.
"I have always thought highly of you," the Nazi mummers with false confidence.
"Have you?" Turanj almost scoffs at the holograms words. His yellow eyes watched as the captains dashed out of the nightclub into the streets of Sainte Claire.
"Yes, but the Kommandant is a fool." He looks around to see what the other uniformed Hirogen were doing before he continued, his voice remaining low and hissed. "He doesn't understand. He's never embraced the Fuhrer or his vision. One does not co-operate with decadent forms of life, one hunts them down and eliminates them!"
Turanj was taken abash at the hologram's choice of words and the heated meaning behind them. How could a human form hologram understand anything of the Hunt?
"The Kommandant speaks of civilization." The Nazi continued his conspiratorial speech. "The ancient Romans were civilized. The 'Jews' are civilized." He sneered, "But in all its moral decay, Rome fell to the spears of 'our' ancestors as the Jews are falling now." There was no mistaken zealot frantic zest and fervor. "Look at our destiny!" He touched the swastika arm band on the sleeve of his gray uniform, "The field of red, the purity of German blood. The blazing white circle of the sun that sanctified that blood. No one can deny us, no power on Earth or beyond. Not the Christian Savior, not the God of the Jews! We are driven by the very force that gives life to the universe itself! We must countermand the Kommandant's orders, stay and fight. We must be faithful to who we are." The last was said with a clenched fist.
Turanj considered for a moment the words of the hologram, this thing this collection of protons and light had more understanding of what it was to be a Hunter, to be true Hirogen than the Alpha. Once more he was right. Turning to the two remaining young bucks "You two, follow me."
It was surreal to see Klingon warriors fighting the Nazi army; it was a memory that would stay in the minds of those that were there to witness it. A drawn out battle had lasted far longer than either side had anticipated, it came to an abut end when the holodeck began to spark and implode.
It's all fun and games until someone destroys the toys.
The Hirogen left, with a token, a tariff, call it a bribe if you want but it was enough to get them the leave Voyager and her crew, mostly intact and alone. The Alpha was more than pleased with the mini matrix Janeway had sent him away with. And now the repairs could start.
It was more than several decks if the ship that needed repairing, More than broken bones that needed knitting. Relationships all over the ship hung in the balance of the aftermath.
USS Voyager had a long way to go before everything was returned to normal. Clean-up had finished and bulkheads were being restored, cosmetic damages seen too, but still it would take weeks before everything was the way it was pre-Hirogen occupation. In a way it was not un like Sainte Clair after the Nazi Occupation.
Tired bodies returned home, sore and achy from long hours of reconstruction. No one wanted to use the holodeck for relaxation purposes, not even Tom Paris, not that he or anyone else could with most of the circuitry burned out.
Retiring quietly their quarters seemed to be what everyone was doing. It was certainly true for B'Elanna Torres and her wife Seven of Nine. But comfortable was a relative term for nearly a week they had put off talking about the questionable liaisons that had obviously occurred on the holodeck during the Hirogen Incursion.
After diner in their quarters, the two ladies decided now would be the time to discuses the foothold situation.
"So what are we going to do about this?" B'Elanna said as she took a chair opposite of the one Seven occupied. "Me, the Nazi-pig and Tom, you and Janeway."
"There is nothing 'to' be done, B'Elanna. We were not in control of our character's actions nor the roles that were played out in a scenario we were forced to take part in. Our will was not our own. Guilt is irrelevant. I have told you this before."
"Guilt is irrelevant? I fracked that hologram Nazi and you did it with Janeway. And Tom and me .apparently we were supposed to have a relationship in our character's past, mostly because he thought I had great gams."
"Given a choice would you have done what you did?" Seven ignored B'Elanna's use of 1940's slang. She had no idea was gams were in the first place, it wasn't something that came up in the Borg data bases. "Would you have broken our oath to one another and copulated with a hologram or Ensign Paris?"
"Of course not!" B'Elanna snapped to her feet irritated that Seven could even think to ask the question. "I am not disloyal to you, to what we share "
"I know." Seven said simply.
"So why did " B'Elanna sat down again realizing where Seven was directing the conversation. With her hands in her lap as she considered the line of logic Seven was taking her on. "Not in control of our action therefore guilt is irrelevant. If we had a choice we wouldn't have done any of it."
"So we are blameless?"
"We were taken hostage, programmed with neurological devices that feed us information and a role to play which we did under duress and the influence of another will, without knowledge of who or what we were other than characters in a hologram program."
"This is how you felt when you were freed from the Borg. You had absolutely no control over your own free will, you didn't know you were doing something wrong, you had no knowledge you were anything more than a Borg drone."
"Guilt is irrelevant."
"Do you love Janeway?" B'Elanna asked the question needing to know the answer. She knew they had had an attraction between them, but because Kathryn Janeway didn't know what to do about it, Seven had told her by the time she did it would be too late. "You could have had her." B'Elanna commented. "A chance to have your first choice."
"Do you love Ensign Paris? You could have stayed with him. A chance to reinstate a relationship with your first choice."
"No I couldn't and I like him, I care for him. But we were never right for each other. I out grew him and he is too much the 'boy' for me. And no I don't want XY. I want XX."
Seven smiled, it was an expression reserved for B'Elanna alone. "I made my choice as well. B'Elanna Torres. It is reasonable to surmise the first choice is often not the best."
The hybrid Klingon agreed. Now it came time to settle another issue. One that had been burning in the young engineer's hearts. "I I don't recall fracking the Nazi."
Seven looked down at her folded hands, "The captain will not recall the intimacies we shared."
"But you do?" B'Elanna moved form her chair to sit upon Seven's lap. The Borg immediately responded by wrapping her arms around the muscular frame of her wife.
"Fragments of my edict memory allow me to know that copulation had occurred." Seven answered truthful just as B'Elanna knew she would. Seven could do may things, was accomplished in many area but lying was not amongst the talents she possessed.
"Was it good?"
"It was not unsatisfactory. But it was not you. I will not say it meant nothing. I can not define it as I was not in control of the activity so I have no parameters in which to measure."
"You are not angry." Seven observed.
"Guilt is irrelevant. You have an endemic memory and you told me the truth. At least I know you weren't there under protest and you at least liked it. I'm glad for that. I would have hated the idea it would have felt like molestation or worse. I don't recall doing it with that Nazi. It wasn't something I know I would have enjoyed, or wanted but doing it for a cause .I can see where I might do that." B'Elanna flinched. "I'm glad I have no recollection of it."
"I would recreate that Nazi if only to destroy him by hand for what he had done to you." Seven said in a voice that was very much a Borg-like snarl.
B'Elanna kissed Seven' on the forehead. "So do you think Janeway remembers getting you into the sack?" the Klingon knew how to redirect Seven's attentions. A careful manipulation of their sex drive and interesting questions always distracted her wife.
"If she did she will not speak of it, but if she avoids you more than what is typical for her, than you k now she recalls something. And feels guilty. She will know also that I have an endemic memory and will have told you the full truth as I know it relates to the situation."
"Maybe we should tell her." B'Elanna suggested.
"The captain is a bright woman she will uncover the facts for themselves. And if she dose not recall then it will be illogical to point out to her she was engaging in extra marital relations with a Klingon's mate." Seven smiled. "Guilt is not irrelevant to the Captain for she has too great a reverence for it."
B'Elanna nodded to the sound reasoning of the woman she had taken as a wife. "If she doesn't remember then no need to make life uncomfortable for the three of us."
"It would be inefficient." Seven agreed.
"Can't have that."
"Sev, the one thing I do remember, is how you sang all that time we were kept in the simulation. Your voice .it's pure and so beautiful. Why didn't you sing when that Hirogen held you?"
"He had me at gunpoint; I would not comply with a terrorist attack. At that time I had a choice to do or not to do. But it was my choice, in the simulation I might have thought I had choices but they were programmed responses and not my true self."
"A bit like the collective."
"No," Seven objected. "With the Collective a drone is not aware of anything more than the Collective, the will of the Queen. Music is mathematical but it is chaos and therefore irrelevant to the Collective. I retained my ability to use harmonics for the mathematic purpose, but without the " Seven frowned trying to find the correct word she needed to describe what it was she was trying to explain.
"Creative muse." B'Elanna explained. "I get it. But still why not sing? If it wasn't for the interruption form the Bridge that Hunter would have killed you."
"I would have assimilated him first. I had already activated the nanoprobes to do just that, he would have killed me but he would have been Borg."
"You would have killed 'him' right back."
"Yes." Seven answered truthfully. "I sing for you B'Elanna. I sing for myself. I may perform in front of our friends but I still sing for only us. He wanted me to sing for his satisfaction, to save my life. This I can not do."
"It would have been a perversion." B'Elanna understood her wife's reasoning. "It would have tainted the muse of your gifts. And every time you sang after that you would picture being held at gunpoint and singing under duress. The 'magic' would have gone."
Seven's eyes brightened, her Benel understood. She truly grasped what it was Seven was feeling but could not adequately explain it. B'Elanna had with ease. "Singing for you as intimate as making love."
"Yes." Seven answered "That is an adequate metaphor."
"Well I think we have some make-up singing to do."
"We have not argued." Seven reasonably pointed out, "therefore we can not have make-up anything."
"Okay then its time-apart-reunion singing."
The blonde smiled, "I will comply." She quickly rose to her feet and took B'Elanna by the hand. "Shall I sing, 'Warrior Women and the River of Fire'?"
"Nope. I want to hear that ancient Earth melody."
"That Old Black Magic?"
They were near the bedroom now, hands held in each other's. B'Elanna reaching up and nibbling Seven's earlobe, playing tribute to the star shaped implant that she knew made Seven eager for what was to come latter.
"You are my Sunshine." B'Elanna said.
"That is hardly a song to be sung "
"I know it isn't sexy, or makes me wet but I want to hear how I make you happy." B'Elanna kissed her. "Besides it would never have been a song you sang at the Le Coeur de Lion.
Seven smiled into the kiss. "Indeed not."
"After that you can sing 'That Old Black Magic.'" B'Elanna's hands were now trailing the lines of the abominable implant. "Now that melody is sexy, especially when you drop your voice to that smoky level."
Seven held a large smile no one would have believed to have seen it. "Perhaps I should sing You are my Sunshine at such an octave if my voice has such an effect upon you." Taking a breath she preceded to do just that.
B'Elanna would never again be able to hear 'You are my Sunshine' in quite the same way again. For her it was a prelude to love.
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