DISCLAIMER: I do not own these characters. They are the property of Paramount.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

All in the Box
By Tina LaMarch


- Dave Barry, "Read This First!"

Captain Janeway turned to the excited Talaxian. "And you're certain about this Neelix?"

"Captain, I spoke for hours with their ship's captain and engineer, trying to work out trade arrangements. In return for saving them from that Hirogen hunting party they will be gifting us with a device guaranteed to send us more than 20,000 light years in one of their terg, less than five days. There is a catch." Neelix shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

Captain Janeway sat back and after a short internal struggle between the urge to rub her head and to drink her coffee, she took a sip of coffee. "I knew there had to be. Spill it."

"They can't help us with the assembly or the use. They will send over detailed instructions but we have to take care of installation."

B'Elanna, the fiesty half-Klingon Chief of Engineering shrugged. "We're pretty resourceful. We should be able to figure it out."

"This will be on you, your staff, and Seven, B'Elanna."

"Seven?" B'Elanna looked at the former Borg who seemed content to watch this ping pong ball from off the table.

"B'Elanna, you've said yourself, Seven here is an excellent engineer and I would rather have multiple sets of eyes on this to keep us from getting blown up when somebody accidentally puts tab a into slot b."

B'Elanna groaned. "Fine."

"Mr. Neelix, thank them and ask them to make sure to send back-ups to the back-ups on the instructions. I don't want to risk anything going wrong. Seven, B'Elanna, when the information comes over, I want you two to take the time to analyze it. Decide for yourselves whether this technology can work before committing us to using it."

"Understood," replied Seven.

At B'Elanna's nod, the captain closed the meeting. Everyone started going their own way. "Lieutenant, may I have a moment?" Seven asked, standing in her traditional at ease posture.

"Yeah, Seven. What's up?"

"Did you really tell the captain that I am an excellent engineer?"

"Yeah I suppose I did. Why?"

"I thank you for that. You are an exceptional engineer as well.." Seven nodded and got on the turbo lift.

"You're welcome and thanks?" B'Elanna shook her head. "Not enough raktajinos in the galaxy some mornings," she grumbled.

B'Elanna cussed out the coupler as she fought it. It just didn't want to turn. "Come on you little bitch. Let go!" She barked her knuckles and started growling.

"Does calling the coupler a little bitch help loosen it, Lieutenant?" B'Elanna turned to face the source of the cool voice behind her. Out of the corners of her eyes she saw her engineers begin to find minimum safe distance in case this turned into one of their legendary battles.

"You'd be surprised. What the hell are you doing in engineering Seven? I'm pretty sure I promised to make you hull patching if you came back in here." B'Elanna stood and went toe to toe with the former Borg. Looking up into the six footer's face just made her bristle more. 'Nothing. No fear for her life. No smile for the earlier comment. Big fat zippo.'

"I came to let you know that the equipment has arrived from the Ffleddu ship. I have brought you one of the instructional packets so that you can familiarize yourself with its contents."

"You could have just called and let me know." B'Elanna folded her arms over her chest and refused to give an inch.


Seven handed B'Elanna the packet and reaching past the engineer, removed the stubborn coupler. B'Elanna's inner Klingon howled its arousal at the display of raw power. 'Shut the hell up,' hissed her inner human. Seven spun on her heels and began to leave the engineering department.


"Yes, Lieutenant?"

B'Elanna had a brief but active fight with both her human and Klingon halves. "Tomorrow, after shift. We'll reserve the holodeck and start laying this out in a ship design lab. Ok?"

"Of course Lieutenant."

"Great. Have a good afternoon Seven."

Seven hesitated and nodded. "And you as well Lieutenant." She turned and left.

B'Elanna put the packet down and picked up the coupler from the railing, rolling it slightly in her fingers. She shook her head and went back to replacing the now removed coupler.

The half-Klingon engineer had her chin in the palm of her hand as she looked over the model in the tank. "Ok. Point a to point b to point f. Is it just me or did someone put Douglas Adams's Heart of Gold in the middle of this thing?"

"Heart of Gold?" inquired Seven as she read through the data stream being generated.

"Fictional ship that crossed the universe with something called the Infinite Improbability Drive. Never know quite where you end up, but it was a short and usually interesting trip." B'Elanna turned the diagram another direction. "Maybe it will make more sense if we stand on our heads."

"I fail to see what that would accomplish." Seven looked at B'Elanna with a raised ocular implant.

"It was a joke, Seven." B'Elanna sighed and tipped her cup. "I need more caffeine. Time for a trip to the Mess Hall. I need to stretch my legs while I'm at it."

"Perhaps we had an error in the original model. I will reconstruct it while you are gone," Seven offered as she began the data dump process. B'Elanna put her hand over the interface.

"The hell you will. We have rebuilt the damned thing three times. You're taking a break with me will ya or nil ya Super-Borg." B'Elanna threw on her tunic. "We both have been staring at this thing too long."

"Lieutenant," Seven started.

"No. We are not going to start the 'I do not require' shit again. I am way too close to losing my temper for you to go bouncing on my last nerve." B'Elanna waved her hands to shoo Seven out.

Leaving the Holodeck, they entered the turbo lift. It stopped briefly to pick up Tom Paris. "Hello Tom." B'Elanna shifted to make more room for his ego.

"Seven, B'Elanna. B'Elanna, you going to be in the poker game tomorrow night?"

"Nope. Some of us have slightly more involving work than push button, push button, watch screensaver," B'Elanna shot back..

Paris snorted. "Poor B'Elanna still chained to her job.. Glad I got out when I did. Speaking of which, this is my stop." Paris left the turbo lift.

"That guy makes me nuts," snarled B'Elanna.

"Why did you date him, Lieutenant, if he made you nuts?"

"Seemed like the thing to do at the time," replied the engineer as she stepped off the turbo lift. Seven followed her to the Mess Hall.

"Hey Neelix, needed more raktijino and maybe some of those biscuits if you have any left?" B'Elanna walked up to the kitchen area as soon as she entered the near deserted Mess.

The friendly Talaxian smoothed down his colorful apron as he walked up to Seven and B'Elanna. "Made a second batch, Lt. Torres, straight out of the oven. You two have a seat and I'll bring you some. Seven, can I get you anything?"

Seven opened her mouth to repeat her 'I do not…' response but after looking at her companion, reconsidered. "I would like a glass of apple juice, Mr. Neelix."

"Coming right up."

Seven and B'Elanna sat down. B'Elanna rolled her head to loosen her tight neck and shoulders. "Lieutenant, what do you think is the reason that we are unable to construct the model properly?"

"Nope. We won't talk about the project. We are taking a break. If we keep obsessing, we are going to make ourselves crazy, possibly leading to bloodshed, not to mention we will lose whatever little bit of perspective we have left."

Seven considered her companion's statement. "Very well.. What do you suggest we talk about?"

"Anything you want."

"Why did you date Mr. Paris?"

B'Elanna groaned. "When am I going to learn to stop saying anything?" She thanked Neelix for the coffee and biscuits. "I wanted to be with someone and he was being so charming and attentive. I didn't realize for way too long that the charming bit was veneer and attentive was just 'til he found a new toy or woman to play with." B'Elanna shrugged. "Engines I get. Dating? Not really my scene I guess."

"I failed in my own attempt to date. I do not believe it is my scene either."

Seven caught the biscuit tossed to her by B'Elanna. "Great we should start a club. Make secret handshakes or something." She chuckled at Seven's upraised implant. "Eat it already Seven. It won't bite."

Seven regarded the biscuit and bit into it. Her implant rose. "It is sweet."

"Kind of the point, Seven. Question is, do you like it?"

"I believe I do. It is, however, inefficient to attempt to fulfill my nutritional requirements with biscuits."

"Not to mention kind of silly. These things are about as nutritional as eating a uniform tunic." B'Elanna chuckled and stretched out her arms. "I feel better. I'm ready to get back to work. How about you?"

"I believe that I too am ready to try again, Lieutenant."

"MMmmm with that kind of enthusiasm how can we fail?"


"OK, try it now." B'Elanna watched the little model in the tank explode with impressive impressiveness. She rubbed her brow ridges and paced across the lab and back. "Well, that wasn't it. I think they forgot a page or seven in the instructions."

Seven looking slightly frazzled brought her eyes up from the interface.. "It seems the logical assumption if we believe that the Ffledu gave us working technology in the first place."

"My gut tells me they did." B'Elanna sighed heavily and rested her elbows on the railing. She looked from the data stream to the model tank and back. "What is it we're missing? What are we not seeing or doing?"

"Perhaps you need more raktijino and I need another biscuit," offered the former drone coming to an at ease position beside the engineer.

B'Elanna grinned. "A Borg sugar addict, who woulda thunk it?" B'Elanna grabbed her mug and tunic. "Let's go Princess. We've been at this for the last six hours, we need a break anyway."


They got most of the way to the turbo lift when B'Elanna stopped cold. Seven nearly ran her over but was able to gracefully step to one side of the half-Klingon shaped obstruction. B'Elanna's eyes were dark with her thought processes. Suddenly she looked up and hugged the startled Astrometrics officer and ran back to the Holodeck. Seven looked toward the turbo lift with its promise of a ride to biscuits and sighed. She turned and followed the engineer.

"May I ask why we are back to work without coffee and biscuits?" the former drone inquired as she watched the engineer bounce from the console to the tank and back again. The brunette grinned.

B'Elanna flicked the end of Seven's nose. "Because my dearest Borg, I have been hit by inspiration."

"Did it hurt?" asked Seven with an all too innocent look.

B'Elanna looked up flat footed with amazement. "Borg jokes, sugar craving….now I'm just waiting for the universe to end. Call Neelix, see if anyone can bring us the treats and then get your butt on the console."

"I will comply."

"Compare the component profiles with the instructions. We get a little pile of leftover parts. These aren't incases either." B'Elanna waved at the screen before stepping aside so Seven could take a look.

"Incases?" The Borg's ocular implant raised as she looked at the smaller woman.

"Extra bolts in case you drop one down a drain or in case one gets broken by the driver. You know, incase." B'Elanna grinned and leaned back against the model tank railing. "These components are not used anywhere in the instructions we were given. We were shorted steps."

"I believe I understand now, Lieutenant." Seven looked up at the sound of the door opening to see Ensign Kim coming in with a tray of biscuits and beverages. "Ensign Kim."

"Hey Starfleet." B'Elanna grinned and grabbed the tray from the young man. "Thanks for the delivery service."

"You guys figure out how to get us home yet?" Harry asked as he peered into the model tank.

"Nope. Blew up the ship a few hundred times but I just got hit by inspiration. I think we might be on the right track now."

"Uhn huhn. Just so you know Maquis I love you dearly but if you blow up the ship for real, I might be a little pissed. But I'm not worried, Seven here will keep you on the straight and narrow."

"Thank you Ensign." Seven reached for a biscuit only to get her hand playfully slapped by the engineer.

"What the sugar junkie? Believe it or not she's getting even more squirrelly than me." B'Elanna playfully held the plate away from the former Drone who then pretended not to be interested in the least by the plate of biscuits. B'Elanna grinned..

"So in other words, pack the extra underwear Starfleet, 'cause it's gonna be a fun trip." Harry laughed.

"Just in case." B'Elanna winked and shooed the ensign out. "Out. We got work to do."

Seven reached for the plate only to be thwarted again. As Harry waved and walked out of the Holodeck B'Elanna offered Seven a biscuit. She took it with a nod and went back to the model tank. B'Elanna chuckled and grabbing her mug followed.

Smiling she reached for the PADD. "Seven, as much as I hate to admit it, working with you this week hasn't been all that painful."

Seven looked at her. "While I do not find your games with my biscuits humorous, I feel much the same about working with you."

"Let's figure out how many tab a and slot b parts we are looking at so we can work out possible configurations."

B'Elanna was gritty eyed at the Senior Staff meeting the next day. Seven looked fresh as a daisy even after a much abbreviated regeneration period. There were several hundred possible ways the extra components could be fitted into the complicated structure. They didn't get a lot of sleep but sugar and caffeine were created by higher powers to replace sleep. 'At least that's the theory,' thought B'Elanna fought down a fearsome yawn that was fighting its way out.

"And that brings us to the jump drive. Any news on that front?" The captain sipped her coffee.

B'Elanna looked over at Seven who looked back at her coolly. "We were stymied for several days until we realized that the parts didn't match the instructions. We're on the right track, but it could still be a bit of time before we find the right combinations."

The captain looked over the engineer. "You look exhausted B'Elanna. I'd be willing to bet that you and Seven have been making overdoing it an art form. This drive could take us most of the way home in one shot or it could fry us. I want you and Seven to take the next two days off. No duty shift, no drive research. You sleep," she said pointing at B'Elanna. "You regenerate," she said pointing at Seven. "Take two days off, have some fun, catch up on your reading. Take a fresh look at the drive in two days. We've waited this long. We can wait the extra two days."

"Yes Captain," Seven replied. B'Elanna grudgingly nodded and crossed her arms over her chest. Sitting around was never one of her skills but what the captain wanted….

After the meeting B'Elanna and Seven shared the lift. B'Elanna looked over at the cool and collected former Borg. "You wanna goof off together after we're done with the whole sleep/regeneration thing? Believe it or not I still have some holodeck rations left."

Seven's implant went up. "You wish to spend your holodeck time with me?"

"I'm not asking the turbo lift. You in or what?"

"I am in, Lieutenant."

"B'Elanna. We're off duty." The turbo lift door opened and the engineer stood in the doorway. "I'm going to get some sleep once I straighten out the duty schedules for the next couple of days. I'll get you on comm once I'm awake."

"That would be acceptable." Seven hesitated. "Sweet dreams Lie- B'Elanna."

B'Elanna grinned. "You too Borg." She stepped out of the doorway and went on her way.

B'Elanna woke up and stretched. 'Another day in Paradise.' She rolled out of bed and managed to get in a shower before realizing she didn't have a shift to go to. She went into her closet and grabbed out some day off gear. Pulling on her clothes she opened a line to Seven.

"Seven here."

"Meet me in the Mess Hall. If you are real nice I will introduce you to the wonderful world of sweet rolls."

"They are like biscuits?"


"I will be there presently B'Elanna. Seven out."

B'Elanna grinned and left for the Mess Hall. She chuckled as she wondered what would happen to the Borg Collective if someone hooked them up with a supply of sweets. Seven was like a little kid when it came to the bicuits, she wondered what would happen to the Queen. 'Probably half her cubes changed over for growing sugar cane and baking chocolate chip cookies."

She got a couple sweet rolls and a raktijino for herself as she sat at one of the tables. She stretched her legs out and watched the stars pass outside the window. Seven came and stood next to the table. "Sit O Tall One before you give me a neck crick." B'Elanna gestured at the plate. "Eat it. Put hair on your chest." She chuckled.

Seven sat with her implant raised. She regarded the sticky bun with trepidation. Looking up she saw B'Elanna take a big bite of her own. The blonde raised her own and using the fewest number of fingers to avoid stickiness she took a bite. Her eyes closed involuntarily. She hummed out her approval and took another bite. When her eyes opened again she saw B'Elanna watching her grinning.

"Do I amuse you B'Elanna?"

"Gotta admit Seven, some days you do. Pain in my ass sometimes, but others you are just cute as a button." She took a deep drink of coffee and sat back. "I was thinking we could do a fighting simulation, or we could try something else. You want to play or play hard?"

"I want to play B'Elanna. I find the fighting simulations to be lacking in challenge and therefore not worth the expenditure of your holodeck rations."

"MMmmm you are going to be fun today." B'Elanna thought and smiled. "Got it. If we are going to play, we are going to play. Finish up the sweet roll Seven. We're going to put that sugar rush to good use."

B'Elanna looked Seven up and down as she stood. "Nope. Not gonna happen in a biosuit Borg. Let's get you some clothes that don't make you look like you're looking for a disco to dance in ." Seven looked down at her biosuit and looked up at B'Elanna with an upraised implant. She followed B'Elanna to her quarters.

"Hmmmmmm what to wear, what to wear." B'Elanna tapped the wall beside the replicator. "Ah, got it. Ok, I got the designs tapped in. You just put in your sizes and go change in the bathroom.. I'll wait out here for you."

B'Elanna opened up a data PADD and started reading. It was about fifteen minutes before Seven emerged. "I am unfamiliar with the appropriate manner of securing these fastenings."

"I got the shoelaces, Seven. Stay still."

"I will comply."

After standing, B'Elanna looked over the former Drone. She was dressed in dark jeans with a blue t shirt and a white and gray flannel overshirt. B'Elanna opened the buttons on the flannel and nodded. "One more thing." B'Elanna dug around in her dump drawer. "I knew I had one. Turn around Seven." After Seven turned B'Elanna took down her hair. "I don't know why you hide your hair, it's beautiful. I'll pull it back so it's not in your eyes, but no reason in the world to put it up." Once the ponytail was secure, B'Elanna turned the six footer around. "Now you are ready for some fun."

"Thank you B'Elanna."

"Anytime beanpole. Let's go play."

When they opened the Holodeck door, they were struck by a surge of noise. Seven craned her neck trying to look everywhere at once. "Maybe you'll need another sweet roll before we're done, eh?" B'Elanna chuckled. "Tom was an ass and most of his programs irritated the crap out of me. I like this one though. Seven, welcome to the state fair. State fair, this is Seven. I for one am curious which of you will survive." B'Elanna grinned.

Looking at the slightly overwhelmed Borg, she grabbed Seven's arm. "Think we'll skip most of the animal barns, but I definitely want to see if they have a pony big enough for you to ride." She laughed. "Maybe we should start small. Let's hit the midway."

"This is chaos."

"Yeah. Ain't it grand?"

Seven looked at B'Elanna as if she had lost her mind. B'Elanna laughed and dragged the uncertain former Borg into the heart of the chaos.

"Now no using Borg enhanced anything here. We're playing for fun not to walk out with every stuffie on the midway." B'Elanna directed Seven toward the crowds surrounding a large strip of low booths. She wrapped her fingers in Seven's so she would not lose her in the active gaming area. Seven pulled up short.

"What?" Seeing Seven look at their hands she said, "Most of this crowd is about two foot shorter than you, but I still don't want to risk losing you Seven. Is that ok?"

"That is acceptable. What are they doing here?"

"These are the games. Throw a ball here, a dart there. There's a hammer down at the far end with your name on it. They are trying to win prizes, we're just here to play."

"You do not wish me to use Borg enhanced anything."

"Right." B'Elanna grinned and dragged Seven to the first booth. They each sat on a low stool facing a weapon like object. "You are going to try to shoot this into the clown's mouth when the siren to start goes off."


"Get your lil guy there to the top first and win."


"'Cause if you don't at least pretend to relax I will never ever introduce you to the very top of the sweets food chain." B'Elanna grinned and elbowed her companion. "Here it comes."

The siren went off. B'Elanna bent to her water gun with a will.. Seven got off to her start seconds later but the battle was lost. B'Elanna threw her arms in the air howling in triumph. She took up the offered bear and turned to Seven. "Here, take it. It's a hologram but everyone needs a bear from State Fair, even if it disappears as soon as we leave." She grinned as Seven took the bear and examined it. "If you say why, I won't speak to you again." She laughed and grabbed Seven's hand.

Looking back, she saw Seven wrap an arm around the bear and follow her.. "Thank you B'Elanna." B'Elanna grinned. "You pick the next attraction." They went down the Midway taking turns picking games.

They went from the games to the rides. Seven did not get as much out of them as she did the games. She enjoyed the roller coaster, but found most of the other rides tame after riding the Voyager and the shuttles through every spatial anomaly in the known universe.

She found herself enjoying B'Elanna's enjoyment of the rides however. B'Elanna's enthusiasm was amusing and she found herself hoping their détente would continue long after this project was done. As exciting as the roller coaster was, Seven did not know the cold bite of fear until she and her new friend entered the petting zoo.

B'Elanna led the blonde to an out of the way area of the fair grounds. "What is that odor?" asked Seven as she looked around.

"That would be the petting zoo Seven. You'll love it." B'Elanna stopped and regarded the former Borg. "I think." She laughed and led the way in.

Seven was overwhelmed by the animals. She loved touching the soft fur of the bunny. She sat on the bench and watched the white furry little guy twist and wiggle his nose over Seven's meshed hand. Seven examined the ears and the side of her mouth twitched up.

Running her fingers over the tortoise was just as entertaining for B'Elanna to watch.

Seven's fingers followed the rings on his back. "Those lines tell you how old she is. Kind of like a tree," explained the engineer. Seven's fingers followed a deep line across the shelled back. "That's a scar. Probably got hit by a falling tree or a motorist or something. Scars that deep don't go away." B'Elanna sat next to Seven and looked at the former Borg's hand tracing the metal on the fingers. "I never thought to ask. Does it ever hurt? The places where you and the implants meet? Does it itch?"

"I do not think about it. I am not aware of any discomfort of a physical nature."

"But there is discomfort, isn't there? I guess me and the rest of the crew don't make it easy for you to be different. Do we?" B'Elanna felt shame for her own part in isolating a woman she was beginning to care very deeply about. "I am so sorry. Calling you names, not taking time to know you. I was wrong to do those things."

"You did these things when I was present. That is a great deal better than some. Besides, you have changed much of that recently. Even when you call me names of late, there is no venom. There is a tone, almost of affection. I am gratified by the difference."

"So I can keep calling you Borg?" kidded B'Elanna signaling the small cage keeper.

"You may call me Borg, Princess, what you will provided you keep that affectionate tone and keep introducing me to sweets."

"Sugar junkie."


"Well, let's show you one more of the pens in this area and by then I'll have run out of holodeck time and I'll let you take me to dinner, Princess." B'Elanna grinned at the former Borg and helped her off the bench.

"That would be acceptable."

B'Elanna went to a stack of cups and drew one out. She filled it from a tall red dispenser and handed the cup to Seven. Seven's face screwed up at the smell. B'Elanna laughed. "Alfalfa pellets. They aren't for you. They're for the goats." B'Elanna shooed Seven through the double gates.

Seven began backing up as the goats moved in on her. She was almost tipped off her feet by the goats coming in behind her. B'Elanna laughed from outside the enclosure. "They know you have pellets, Seven feed 'em!" Seven looked down to see the loose end of her flannel disappearing into one hungry mouth.

"They are attempting to devour my clothing." Seven's arms raised higher as she tried to find a way out of the living circle. One of the goats, laying a thick hint, stood on his hind legs, reaching up for the cup in her hand. She leaned away and almost fell over backwards.

B'Elanna roared with laughter and almost fell over herself. "Put the pellets in your hand and feed them Seven."

"I will not forget this, B'Elanna. Revenge is illogical, but I will embrace it." Seven poured the feed into her hand and shared it out.

"That's it!"

"What's it?" asked Seven as she discovered the joys of small mammals lipping your hands looking for grub.

"The components. I know what they are. Its one piece, a kind of feeder to the drive unit. Without it…"

"The ship in the model tank blows up again and again." Seven looked as thoughtful as one could dragging goats.

"Exactly. We know what it is, the construction becomes a lot less guesswork and a lot more logic." B'Elanna was excited. Seven was disentangling herself and attempting to get near enough the fence to get over.

"The captain said we were not to pursue the issue of the drive for another 1.5 days."

"She never told us what directions our dinner conversations take. Who are we to stop the advance of science over cherry pie?" B'Elanna smiled at the slightly rumpled and goat smelling former Borg.


B'Elanna laughed at the new look the Borg was sporting. Seven's blonde hair was loose from the ponytail and hanging in her face. There were chew marks on the grey flannel and dirt streaks on her clothes from the foraging goats. B'Elanna helped pull her over the fence. "I think you were supposed to come out the same way you went in." The engineer teased.

Seven took up her at ease posture and raised her implant at the smaller brunette. "The goats are heaviest near the gate. It would have been illogical to attempt to breach the defenses. It was easier to come over the fence."

B'Elanna snorted. She pushed hair back from Seven's face. "I'm sorry but that was just so funny."

"You are not sorry. You will be. As I indicated, I am not adverse to taking my revenge in this case." Seven stood with all the dignity her outfit and dirt streaking would allow.

B'Elanna doubled over laughing. "Totally worth it. Computer, end program."

The holodeck took on its former glory as the former drone continued glowering at her giggling companion. The only sign she saw the humor in the situation was the slight twitching of her own lip. "Come on Seven, let's grab a shower before dinner. Some of us smell like goat." B'Elanna led the way laughing. Seven's implant twitched and she followed.

"We could probably grab a couple extra PADDs while we're in my quarters. It couldn't hurt for us to make some notes on the whole feeder system idea." B'Elanna turned and walked backwards to face the Borg as she talked. Seven looked thoughtful. "What's going on in that giant brain of yours?"

"Would it not be more effective to make our notes in the lab?" B'Elanna grinned and playfully punched the taller woman's shoulder.

"Now that is the best idea I have heard all day."

Seven looked momentarily disturbed. "Does that mean we will not be having dinner now?"

B'Elanna laughed. "You'll get your pie woman. We'll shower, we'll grab the grub. We'll hit up the lab and you can get cherry pie fingerprints all over the model tank if that's what moves you."

"What would be the purpose of doing that?"

"Wow. Good thing we like each other now. I am gonna teach you how to lighten up my lovely little Borg."

Seven inclined her head and twitched her implant. "That would be acceptable."

"So since we're still goofing off, well officially anyway, should I get you more non-biosuit wear?" B'Elanna looked over her shoulder at the blonde. Seven was removing the flannel overshirt and examining the goat chews on the bottom.

"That would be acceptable. What is the appropriate manner for storage of these items once they are refreshed?"

"You gonna keep 'em?" B'Elanna grinned.. It was kind of sweet, the thought that Seven might actually like the clothes she had picked out.

"They were comfortable if unusual in their feel as compared to my biosuits. I would like to store them for future use." Seven draped the overshirt over her arm.

"Tell you what… leave 'em with me. I'll get them cleaned up and when I have time, I'll fix the boots, Velcro instead of laces. You won't need me to tie 'em."

"I would prefer you teach me to tie them, B'Elanna. As for the storage, there is plenty of room in Cargo Bay 2, but thank you."

"Fair enough. Sweat shirt and jeans ok?" asked B'Elanna as she began tapping in commands.

"Whatever you think is appropriate." Seven sat down on B'Elanna's couch and began removing her boots. She looked up at the engineer as B'Elanna turned.

"Hop in the shower. I'll put them on the counter when I'm done. We'll use the same shoes so I can show you how to tie them. Just let me know when you're finished changing."

Seven stood and went into the bathroom for her shower. She was enjoying every moment of B'Elanna's kindness. She was still going to get revenge for the goat thing, but having spent the day in the company of a very relaxed Chief was extraordinary. Seven finished her shower and put on her new change of clothing. She rather liked the fleecy feel of the inside of the shirt. "It is your turn now, B'Elanna."

B'Elanna looked up from where she was sitting on the couch, her feet were propped up on the coffee table. "Thanks Seven. Be out in a flash." She grabbed the clothes she pulled out of her closet and headed for the shower.

B'Elanna came out and dropped to sit on the coffee table in front of Seven. She pulled up Seven's foot. "Feeling like Cinderella yet?" she quipped as she slid on Seven's shoe. Looking up at Seven's face. "It's a story…ummm…"

"I am aware of the story, B'Elanna. I read it to Naomi Wildman four nights ago." B'Elanna smiled at Seven's affectionate tone when speaking of her little friend.

"Ready? This is real easy. Tie the knot, make bunny ears with the laces, cross them and pull one through. Ok?" B'Elanna smiled up at Seven. "Try the other one?" She watched Seven tie the other shoe and gave her a hug. "You did great. You should wear tennies all the time."

Seven blushed and allowed B'Elanna to pull her up again. They grabbed the food and headed to the lab. They twisted and turned the components and got them fitted….fitted wrong, but it was a start. Relaxed, they chatted as they tried different alignments and soon found one that seemed more promising.

"B'Elanna, recently we spoke of our difficulties dating…." Seven hesitated.

"Yeah. Tom broke my heart and your broke your date's arm." B'Elanna chuckled as she finished the fitting.

"Not quite, but close enough. Would you like to try again? With me?" Seven watched B'Elanna stop dead and look at her. The blonde was nervous. B'Elanna looked down at her hands for long moments. Seven's heart slipped. "If you do not wish…"



"Yes." Seven smiled warming B'Elanna's heart. She shook her head. "Can we do this after we blow up the ship again? Kinda on a roll Borg."

"Of course, B'Elanna. Tomorrow night, 1900 hours. We will roll tonight and date tomorrow."

"Sounds like a plan. Now fire up the model tank." B'Elanna smiled and put her hand on Seven's shoulder.

"If there were a picture on the box, I am pretty sure that's what it would look like." B'Elanna inserted the feeder device into the power assembly. Pulling back, she looked over at the absorbed Borg. "What do you think Borg? 357th time the charm?"

Seven raised her implant at the chuckling Klingon. "It may very well be. I hope so. I wish you to have sufficient sleep before our date tomorrow evening."

"Gonna wear me out then Seven?" B'Elanna laughed and walked around to see the far side of the model tank. "Fire it up."

Seven's fingers flew over the interface. She looked up to see the ship in the model tank begin to move through the test sequence. "The model looks good."

"Data stream is clear of any wobblies. I think we just might have nailed it. Redline the stressors, let's see what she can take."

"Redlining," replied Seven as she changed the test parameters.

"It's holding." B'Elanna did a little dance and laughed. "We got it."

"Now we just have to figure out how to tell the Captain without telling her we failed to abide by her orders to take two days off."

"Ummmmm gonna let you do that. She likes you better anyway." B'Elanna chuckled and grabbed her mug. "Once we are officially back on duty, we'll run the test one more time to be on the safe side and then we rig one of these suckers to a probe. That works, who knows, maybe we will be 20,000 light years closer to the Alpha Quadrant in a week."

"You are looking forward to that?"

"Yeah. I like seeing new places and all, but I think I would be just as happy knowing there is a shuttle going back the other way three times a day if I change my mind." B'Elanna grinned and took Seven's arm. She led the way to the console. They saved the program and left the Holodeck. "You got family in the Alpha Quadrant?"

"An aunt. I do not remember her."

"I'm sure you'll like meeting her."

"Will you come with when I do?" B'Elanna looked at Seven. "I … I am uncertain how to approach this situation. I do not know what to say or do and would find it less difficult if you were there to assist me."

B'Elanna patted Seven's arm. "I would be honored. In the meantime, let's eat and then I need to pass out."

"Indeed. You have been receiving insufficient sleep of late. It is not healthy."

"Says the woman for whom avoiding sleep is an art form."

"It is inefficient."

"Not to mention a pain in the ass when you have to do it on a biobed in opera central."


"More caffeine and sugar for B'Elanna and Seven," chirped Neelix before they had even fully passed the doorway.

"Nope, no more caffeine for me. Bedtime. Make it a warm glass of milk and some cookies for each of us."

They enjoyed their amiable snack and went their separate ways. Each was thinking of their date. B'Elanna worried that she was about to monumentally fuck up the tentative friendship she had built with the ex-Borg. Seven was attempting to review the teraquads of data she had accumulated on dating and wondering what would be an acceptable first date with the feisty half Klingon.

"Torres to Seven."

"Seven here. What can I do for you B'Elanna?"

"You can tell me what I'm wearing for our date tonight.."

"I will leave the appropriate attire with Neelix this afternoon. We will meet at Holodeck 2 at 1900 hours."

"Have I mentioned surprises make me nervous?"

"I am aware of that B'Elanna. Perhaps you will remember my own feelings on the subject the next time you wish to introduce me to a situation such as a goat pen."

B'Elanna chuckled. "Fair enough. I'll check in with Neelix this afternoon then. Seven?"

"Yes B'Elanna."

"I'm looking forward to this."

"As am I. Seven out."

B'Elanna lay back on her couch with her arm over her eyes. 'Please don't let me screw this up.' She sighed and reached for the novel on her coffee table. Putting her feet up, she did all she could to relax for the few hours left before she went to the Mess for her first clue on what type of date to expect. 'Please don't let it be a museum.' She snorted imaging herself and Seven at a wine tasting in some dusty old museum.

Seven finished preparing everything needed for the date. Neelix was kind enough to allow her to use his kitchen during the off hours to prepare a meal. She thanked him for his kindness and leaving a bundle of clothing for B'Elanna left to go back to the Holodeck one more time. She had ensured twice that the setting was as she wanted it, but could not prevent herself from returning in her nervousness.

"Computer, time."

"The time is seventeen hundred hours."

B'Elanna picked up her novel from the floor where it landed after she drifted off. 'That is the last time I let Nicoletti suggest a Regency bodice ripper.' Wiping the sleep out of her eyes she decided to hold off her shower until she got back from the Mess Hall. 'Plenty of time left.' She picked up her bundle from the smiling Neelix and went back to her quarters.

Unpacking her bundle left her no doubt. 'Nope. Not a museum.' She grinned and went off to shower. She pulled on the tough khakis and tank top and was impressed to find that Seven even got the size right on the hiking boots. 'This could be fun.' B'Elanna ran her fingers through her hair and looking in the mirror, smiled and hooked her sunglasses on her neckline.

Seven was waiting when she arrived, similarly attired. She opened the Holodeck and indicated that B'Elanna should proceed her. B'Elanna looked up at a cliff.

"Our picnic awaits us up there." Seven pointed up, her implants glinting in the strong sunlight.

"Gonna make me work for it?"

"Yes. This is the Gila Cliff Dwellings of Earth. The view from the Dwellings level is said to be inspiring. While the original has a set of stairs for park visitors, I felt that you might enjoy the climb as much as the view."

"I do like a challenge."

"That has been apparent since we began the drive project."

B'Elanna grinned. She motioned at the cliff. "After you O Tall One. Don't dawdle. I'm starving."

Seven's implant raised and the edge of the lips twitched up as she began climbing.

Reaching the top of the cliff after an invigorating climb, B'Elanna was ready for the picnic. Seven gave her a hand coming up over the edge. The engineer was struck by the beauty of the dwellings of volcanic tuff to one side and the view across. "Wow. This view is amazing."

"Please sit. I will get the food."

B'Elanna sat with her feet hanging down. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the breeze that dried the sweat on her face. It was good to feel her hearts beat from the exertion of the climb, to feel her muscles warm and stretch. She laughed.

"You find something amusing?"

"Of all the first dates, this isn't one I pictured with you. I'm amazed. This is so fantastic."

Seven sat beside her with a basket. "I wanted to make it a date you would enjoy. A picnic is often mentioned as a traditional first date, however I felt I should tailor it somewhat."

B'Elanna touched Seven's cheek. "It's perfect." Seven smiled and blushed. She reached into the basket and pulled out several containers.

B'Elanna leaned back on her elbow and accepted the sandwich. "I can't believed we wasted so much time fighting when we could have been having meals hanging over big drops." She chuckled.

"Indeed. It would have ended fights more quickly to have the big drop handy."

B'Elanna roared with laughter, when she calmed down a little she said, "When we get to the Alpha Quadrant, we should climb this for real."

"You are not planning to end an argument are you?" Seven's ocular implant twitched.

B'Elanna smiled and grabbed a carrot from one of the containers.

"Not today, but I'll keep it in mind. I can't wait to use the drive. When we get back, will you let me show you around? I mean after you spend some time with your aunt of course."

"I look forward to it." Seven smiled shyly and ate her meal. B'Elanna smiled at her and dug in as well. Time flew between sandwiches and conversation and soon it was time to leave. The computer announced the end of their holodeck time and B'Elanna and Seven left the cliff behind.

"What will you do tonight, Seven?" B'Elanna asked as she took Seven's hand.

"I will return to the Cargo Bay and work on some projects."

"Stay with me." Seven looked at B'Elanna. "I'll take the couch if you'll be more comfortable. I just don't want to think about you in that bay tonight. Any night actually, but tonight especially."

Seven nodded. "That would be acceptable."

B'Elanna led Seven to her quarters. She replicated a tank and pajama bottoms for the tall blonde while Seven took her shower. When she came out, Seven was standing in the middle of the living room. B'Elanna smiled and brushed her finger tips over Seven's shoulder. She turned and smiled at the engineer.

B'Elanna stepped in close to Seven and taking her face in her hands, she brushed her lips over Seven's. Seven wrapped her arms around her and pulled the brunette close. The kiss grew more heated. B'Elanna pulled back. "We need to get you tucked in before we end up going too fast," she whispered.

Seven allowed B'Elanna to lead her to the bed and tuck her in. She flipped back the covers on the other side of the bed. "Please B'Elanna." B'Elanna smiled and slid into the bed. She pulled the former Borg to her shoulder.

B'Elanna called for the lights and kissed Seven's forehead. "Good night Seven."

"Good night B'Elanna." Seven slowly relaxed and fell asleep to the beat of B'Elanna's hearts.

B'Elanna woke up to see Seven watching her. She smiled and kissed the former drone's forehead. "Morning. How long have you been awake?"

"23.7 minutes. I slept much longer than usual."

"No opera and I don't light the joint up at least once an hour." B'Elanna pushed hair from Seven's face. She traced the star shaped implant. She leaned in and brushed her lips over Seven's. Seven's fingers wove into her hair and pulled her closer. B'Elanna groaned as the alarm went off.

"What time was the Captain expecting us?" B'Elanna breathed against Seven's lips.

"We were to join her in her ready room for a late lunch, giving us ample time to restart our research."

B'Elanna groaned as Seven kissed her again touching her lips with a tentative tongue. The engineer rolled her on her back and straddling her waist, sat up. "We are not getting anything done this way." Seven sat up under her and moving her hand around B'Elanna's waist moved her hand under B'Elanna's tank, moving her hand in small circles on her lower back. B'Elanna captured Seven's lips again. They were both breathing hard when they broke apart again.

B'Elanna leaned her forehead ridges against Seven's forehead. "We so need to move if we are ever gonna get out of bed."


"So we should move."


"Right." B'Elanna rolled off the lanky former Borg and walking backwards grabbed her uniform and disappeared into the bathroom. Seven's lips quirked and she went to the replicator to prepare a breakfast. It was just a few minutes later when they were trading places with a lingering kiss.

B'Elanna couldn't stop smiling as she ate breakfast with the drone. She felt better than she had for a long time. "So maybe we don't totally suck at the dating thing after all."

"At least with regards to spending time with one another. Apparently, we both chose inferior subjects for our previous attempts." Seven lifted her ocular implant at the grinning engineer.

"Well I sure did," B'Elanna replied into her orange juice. "Got a question for you. I kind of blew all my rep rats and holodeck time this week, but I was wondering if maybe you wouldn't want to have dinner in the Mess and walk the Airponics bay with me after shift?"

"Are you asking for a second date, B'Elanna?"

"Indeed." B'Elanna grinned. She finished off her breakfast and took care of the dishes.

"I would like that," replied Seven.

"Good. Now lets go run a second test on the tank."

Seven followed Lt. Torres into the ship lab program where they proceeded to run the re-test so that they could convince the captain to release a probe to them for modification.

"You have made remarkable strides in the course of a single morning. I guess getting a fresh eye on it really helped." Captain Janeway slid back into her desk chair and looked up at her Engineering Chief and Astrometrics Officer.

It took all of B'Elanna's self-control not to laugh at the captain's statement. They had worked on the project through a large part of their time off but what she didn't know wouldn't hurt them. She shot her eyes toward Seven hoping she would keep her beautiful mouth shut.

"Thank you Captain. I agree that we made remarkable progress. It was because of B'Elanna's inspiration that we are prepared to take the next step." The former drone's head tilted slightly as she looked fondly at the half-Klingon beside her.

'B'Elanna?' Janeway's eyebrow shot up and took a deep swig of coffee to hide her shock. 'First name basis?' "I'm gratified to see that the two of you are working together better. Take whatever supplies you need for the test firing. How much time will you need?"

"A day to wire in the test unit, a few hours for setting up a monitoring board for Harry to

watch." B'Elanna grinned.

"See to it. Dismissed." Captain Janeway waved them out..

B'Elanna had to stop in engineering to get the necessary tools and parts for fitting the probe. She kissed the drone before stepping out of the lift. Seven got out at the shuttle bay to begin the work of rearranging the sensor packets to make room for the jr. jump drive. It took all of fifteen minutes to make the probe more efficient and roomier.

B'Elanna came in to see Seven with her arms in the casing and several extraneous packets scattered around her. "What are you doing Seven?"

"I have finished preparing the case for placement of the drive unit."

"But we haven't discussed how the case should be rearranged." B'Elanna dropped the tool boxes and gear bags and walked over to the probe, looking in.

"This is an efficient design."

"But I don't rate a vote here?" B'Elanna rubbed her forehead ridges and tried to keep her temper but she was losing ground fast. "What the hell is wrong with actually working with me instead of around me?"

Seven looked at the angry half-Klingon. She was tempted to hide in the safety of her Borg persona, but knew that would destroy what they had begun to build. "It was not my intention to anger you B'Elanna. I am sorry." Seven stood back from the probe and looked down. B'Elanna felt the fight go out of her.

The engineer blew out a puff of air and regarded Seven. "Bad habits I guess. I know you didn't do this to piss me off. I just, it makes me angry when you … well, you know. Show me what you did and we'll work from there. Ok?"

Seven looked up at B'Elanna. She nodded and began showing her companion the innards of the casing. She looked up when she felt a hand on her shoulder. B'Elanna kissed her implant. "Just in case you missed it, I'm sorry too," B'Elanna whispered. The crushing sensation in Seven's chest eased up and her blush faded. The edge of her lips curled up as they got back to work.

They walked the Airponics Bay after a quiet meal of something Neelix described as Leola Root Stir Fry. B'Elanna laughed as they stopped to look at the nasturtiums. "That stir fry could've used some intervention from these flowers." Seven quirked her implant at her companion. B'Elanna plucked a blossom and offered it to Seven. "Go ahead. Take it. It's tasty."

Seven took it and slowly ate it. "It tastes of pepper. It would perhaps have alleviated something of the mold taste of the root."

B'Elanna smiled and stroked Seven's cheek. "You look so beautiful tonight."

"As do you B'Elanna." Seven's hands rested on B'Elanna's hips as she leaned in to kiss the engineer. Pulling back they smiled at one another and continued their slow walk around the Bay. They stopped often to jokingly point out plants that might have saved the stir fry.

They found themselves curled up on the couch listening to music and talking about B'Elanna's memories of the Alpha Quadrant. B'Elanna's arms tightened around the blonde resting on her chest. "Tomorrow is going to be so incredible. We'll fire off the drone and before you know it we'll be rigging Voyager with the full size drive unit."

"I am still apprehensive. I am uncertain of how we will be greeted upon our return."

"The Maquis are pardoned, everyone else is a freaking hero."

"And the Borg?" B'Elanna rubbed her cheek against Seven's hair.

"They want to hurt you babe, they'll have to go through me." She drew up Seven's hand and kissed it. "Then there's the fact that they'll have to go through damn near every other member of this crew to do it too. We're going to be fine. You and me are going to climb every worthwhile cliff in the Quadrant."

"I love you B'Elanna," whispered Seven as she tightened her fingers on the engineer's hand.

"Love you too, Princess."

That night, it took a long time for B'Elanna to fall asleep. She was worried. For all her bravado, she couldn't guarantee what would happen to the blonde in the Alpha Quadrant. She stroked Seven's back. "I will protect you," she whispered into the former drone's hair. Kissing her hair, B'Elanna closed her eyes.

The test was a dream. The drone's drive unit kicked on and catapulted itself across 3 light years in a minute. "At this rate it will do about four thousand light years in a day," announced Harry. He was excited beyond belief by the possibility of seeing family soon. They followed the drone through its paces for over an hour.

"Clean test all the way around," announced B'Elanna as she watched the test drone's data stream. She smiled at Seven giving her a hug. She punched Harry's arm and looked at the Captain.

Janeway smiled. "Seven, B'Elanna you have a go for setting up the Voyager fitting. This is the top priority. Take all the personnel you need and make this happen."

B'Elanna checked the schedule. "Alright. Harry, you're with Nicoletti. I want the two of you working with the crew on the field projector. Keep double checking everything. We don't need the deflector dish blowing up cause we wired in backwards."

"That's everyone. Listen up guys. There is no more important project you all could be working on. This is our ticket home. I want everyone here tomorrow morning rested and alert. Those of you on the skeleton crews, you get to stay on shift. You are in charge of keeping the ship together while we pull off the whole rabbit out of a hat thing. For the rest of you, short shift. Go. Rest. Enjoy having an afternoon off. No one gets a break from tomorrow until we see the bright lights of home."

Everyone went off to enjoy their time off or get to work holding the ship together. B'Elanna smiled at Seven who remained behind and Harry who went to look over the construction schedule. Seven walked to her. "Will you spend your time off with me B'Elanna?"

"Come by my quarters in an hour blondie." B'Elanna smiled and went into her office as the former drone nodded and left. B'Elanna waited long enough for Seven to hit the turbo lift.

"Harry, you got that stuff?"

"You owe big time Maquis," replied Harry as he handed over a box.

"I'll get you when I get my rations next time Starfleet." She kissed Harry's cheek.

"Quit before you make me blush. Go get that girl." He laughed and walked off. B'Elanna grabbed the box and headed to her quarters.

Seven rang the chime. B'Elanna opened the door wearing a robe. She took Seven's hand and led her in. "You are not ready. I will return if you like."

"I am ready. I'm hoping you are too." B'Elanna took a deep but ragged breath. "I want to make love with you Seven."

Seven looked around finally taking in the candles and dimness of the lighting. She looked at the beautiful brunette who was looking a little nervous. She cupped B'Elanna's cheek. "I have not done this before. I do not wish to disappoint you."

B'Elanna closed her eyes and absorbed the heat of Seven's hand on her face. "You couldn't. We'll just do what feels good. Alright?"

Seven kissed B'Elanna. Her lips were first feather light on the engineer's but grew stronger in her desire to please the woman she loved. She pulled B'Elanna's warm body to her as she felt the half-Klingon's fingers set her hair loose and wind loving fingers in the blonde locks. She heard B'Elanna's low growl of desire and lifting her carried her to the bed. Feeling the brunette's legs wrap around her she almost fell.

B'Elanna's inner Klingon was overwhelmed by the former drone's show of strength. Her fingers tightened in Seven's hair and on Seven's shoulder. She kissed and nipped her lover's throat, Seven's moan making her hearts beat faster. Seven placed her on the bed. B'Elanna reached behind her to unfasten the biosuit's catch.

She took Seven's face in her hands. Blue eyes found B'Elanna's brown eyes. "Let me see you Seven, please." She watched as Seven stood and peeled down the biosuit. B'Elanna's eye glittered with an unshed tear. "You are so beautiful," she whispered as Seven lay beside her. B'Elanna turned her body toward Seven's. "Let me touch you."

Moving Seven onto her back she began a slow exploration. Her fingers, lips and teeth moved over her lover's face. She traced the muscles in Seven's throat and shoulders and lingered where Seven's pulse beat. She inhaled the former drone's scent and slowly moved down. She traced each implant and every muscle she felt moving under the pale skin. She passed her tongue over Seven's nipple, taking it her mouth she felt Seven's fingers tighten almost unbearably on her, pulling her closer. "Easy baby. Put your hands on the mattress," she whispered.

She massaged Seven's breasts as she explored the abdominal implant. Seven's moans were growing and B'Elanna's growl became almost continuous at the feel of the former drones warm wetness against her stomach as Seven opened her legs to her. The scent of her lover was making B'Elanna feel all control slip. She slid down. She wanted to explore but she was already almost at the edge herself.

B'Elanna moved her tongue over the blonde's labia. The taste was maddening. Seven's motions were getting more pronounced. B'Elanna wrapped her arms around Seven's legs to hold her steady. She took a long taste running her tongue around Seven's clit. The blonde was so wet, she was so close. B'Elanna ran her tongue over Seven and into Seven and felt her lover's climax. She held Seven through her climax and lovingly cleaned her with her tongue.

Kissing her way up Seven's body, she was surprised to find her bed shredded on one side. 'Wow,' she thought. She smiled and kissed Seven deeply, exploring Seven's mouth with her tongue. She soon found herself on her back looking up into blue eyes.

B'Elanna closed her eyes, the growl rising in her throat as the young blonde devoured her lips. Her left arm was tangled in her robe, the right was moving over powerful back muscles, trying to pull Seven into her.. B'Elanna arced into the touch as Seven caressed her breast, her thumb rolling over the nipple. Seven's breath, teeth, lips moved over the place where the engineer's throat and shoulder met.

A hand drew down her abdomen as lips fastened on her other breast. B'Elanna felt herself writhing in the shreds of her mattress as Seven's fingers found their way between her legs. They slid briefly in the moisture there. B'Elanna's eyes opened to see the blonde smell and taste the dampness on her fingers. She kissed B'Elanna as her hand found its way between B'Elanna's legs again.

B'Elanna felt Seven's hand brush her clit and a finger entered her. Seven's lips covered B'Elanna's face and throat with kisses. She felt her orgasm rip through her as Seven added a second finger. She stilled the former drone against her and for a time they just focused on breathing with one another.

B'Elanna stirred slightly. "We really need to get off my arm," she breathed into Seven's ear chuckling slightly. They rolled off the robe.

"Janeway to Torres."

"Shit." B'Elanna made a grab for her comm badge. "What can I do for you Captain?"

"Am I interrupting anything, B'Elanna?"

B'Elanna's eyes rolled and Seven's implant went up. "Of course not. What can I do for you?"

"I wanted to go over the schedule with you, I had some questions."

"Your Ready Room?"

"It's your afternoon off. I'll come to you in about an hour? I'll bring the bagels."

"Sounds good."

"Janeway out."

B'Elanna's head dropped to the mattress sending up a small puff of shredded bedding. "You grab the first shower. I have candles to hide."

"Do you have a dermal regenerator?"

"No. Why?"

"You have what I believe is referred to as a spectacular hickey."

B'Elanna hopped up and went to the mirror. She traced the dark mark with her fingertips and smiled. She turned and hugged Seven. "Go. Get cleaned up baby."

B'Elanna smiled from where she was tucking the candles away as Seven appeared in her jeans and tank top. She hopped in the shower and out and threw on a t-shirt and slacks and checking the time, pounced on the young drone sitting on the couch. They were laying back kissing when B'Elanna sat up. "owowowwow" She pulled out a spanner that had somehow ended up in the couch, poking her in the ass.

She sighed, "It's a conspiracy, I swear."

Seven took the spanner from B'Elanna's fingers and placed it on the coffee table. "It is just as well. Someone has invited the Captain over for bagels." Seven's implant went up.

"Kahless I love it when you get all smart-assy." B'Elanna kissed Seven as the door chimed.

The engineer welcomed Janeway and took the bagels. She almost laughed as the Captain's eyes widen at the mark on her neck and go even wider on spotting Seven sitting on the couch. "You know what? I completely forgot I have a dinner to liquefy tonight. Why don't you two enjoy the bagels and cream cheese? B'Elanna, just stop by tomorrow morning before everyone gets to work."

"Ok Captain. Anything you want." She accepted the bagel and fought down a giggle as the Captain stumbled slightly while waving and turning to leave. She turned and looked at the blonde. "Have I ever told you how much fun bagels can be?"

Seven looked at B'Elanna. "You have not. At any rate, you will need more energy than your breakfast this morning can provide."

B'Elanna grinned and turned to open the cream cheese. "Indeed. I think we are both gonna need some fuel before the day's done."

The next morning the work of construction began. B'Elanna assigned Seven to the other side of the ship to keep her mind off temptations as she helped out various teams with the structural work needed to anchor the new drive unit in the shuttle bay. Seven found it gratifying that she was capable of making the confident half-Klingon drop spanners on her toes by merely showing up.

B'Elanna was in a very good mood and building went faster and smoother for it. Everyone was cracking jokes and after a very tense moment even rolled with Harry teasing her about her love life. Everything went ahead of schedule. Seven dragged B'Elanna off to the tune of good natured teasing at lunch each day.

"You know they don't let up when I come back don't you?"

"It is irrelevant. Their comments do no harm and actually do good."

"How's that."

"You are beautiful when you blush."

B'Elanna blushed and tried to look busy looking down at her schedule. She wrapped her arm in Seven's and they walked off to the Mess Hall. They walked in to find the place deserted as it often was this late in the afternoon. "How is that set up going in the Bay?"

Seven looked up from the plate she collected from Neelix. "It is going well. We will be ready for the final placement tomorrow."

B'Elanna smiled. "Fantastic. We'll fire it up and be home in no time." She looked at her companion. "You're still scared."


"We'll be ok. I promise." B'Elanna took Seven's hand in hers. She looked down a long moment. "Do you want to not go?" She licked her lips nervously. "If this scares you this much, you want to stay here in this Quadrant?" B'Elanna looked questioningly at Seven.

Seven was torn. She knew her fear was on many levels irrational. She also knew that there were several levels on which it was justified. "If I choose to remain…" she hesitated afraid of what might happen.

"We're brilliant and we figured out the drive. Whatever you decide, Seven, I am with you. If it doesn't work out, if we like the other quadrant better, we know enough between us to go. Where doesn't mean what it did. Who is the only thing that matters anymore."

Seven looked at B'Elanna, the edge of her lip lifting in a shy smile. "Then I have no further difficulties with this. I look forward to taking this journey with you."

Within two days the drive was complete. B'Elanna held Seven's hand tightly as they watched the stars go from still to streaks to a blinding field of light. It had taken a long time, but the crew of Voyager was finally going to be home.

The End

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