MAIN DISCLAIMER: See Prologue
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Alright, I have said several times already that if you like Janeway then you might want to give this story a miss. In this chapter you will find out why I said that. Trust me, it is probably even worse that you assume right now. Consider yourself warned.
"So, everything ready?" Torres asked.
"Yes, mistress. I am merely waiting for the signal that they are ready and that they have Voyager ready to leave."
A simple message came to Seven's computer unit at that moment, it was the agreed upon sign. Only one word: ready.
"Alright then, time for you to be Intendant for 15 minutes," Torres said while she sat down beside the blonde to get a good look at what she would do.
First there were the obvious things, like ordering Voyager's Dilithium to be returned to the ship, and having the weapons of the star base being turned away from Voyager. But there were also things that Torres hadn't thought of, like the simple fact of interrupting the communications channels between the base and the rest of the Coalition.
"And then to think that you can do that simply by sitting on my ship and only using my computer unit," Torres said impressed.
"As I said in the beginning when you allowed me to use this unit," Seven said while continuing what she was doing. "Your ship has a direct subspace link. Therefore, all they know on the base is that they are receiving an order from the Intendant. I could do this from any place where I have access to a subspace link. The important part is having access to this computer unit. If I did not have this, then your voice and/or thumbprint would be needed."
"Meaning I would have to give a vocal command, contact someone and actually tell that person what I want," Torres clarified. She had noticed that over the weeks she had enveloped the tendency to clarify what the blonde had said. Partially to indicate that she understood what the blonde meant, and partially to tweak the blonde, showing her that her proper words could also be said rather bluntly or more straightforward.
"You are correct," Seven replied.
"You know, I never really thought that much about just what a person can do with that thing if they want. I always assumed that nobody would ever be that stupid."
"Which is a logical reasoning," Seven agreed. "After all, under normal circumstances a person first would have to get into your quarters to take, or use, the unit. And even if they did, they could only give orders that would be effective for a short time. For instance, it would be of no use to order the Klingon fleet in Bajoran space away from there. They would leave, but they would be back in a day because the order would be undone by you by that time."
"But they would be gone for a day. A lot can be done in one day," Torres said, not realizing that she was basically echoing the same words that Martok spoke to her a month before. She checked the time and when she saw what the blonde was about to do Torres added. "Um, my dear, you really don't want to do that. If you give that order an automated destroy order is given."
Torres saw how the blonde stopped doing what she was doing for a moment and then changed the order in such a way that the result would be the same, but the order would still be different enough to not trigger an automatic response.
Seven looked at the Klingon with her finger hovering a fraction above the activation key. She saw Torres give only the slightest of nods and sent the order on its way.
"Five more minutes, my pet."
Seven put the last five minutes to good use, giving orders that would not only make sure that Voyager could escape from the base, but that would also keep Klingon ships well away from Voyager's path for the first couple of hours of the journey.
"Time's up," Torres merely said while she pulled the computer unit towards her.
The blonde stood up to make more room, or so Torres thought, but a moment later, Torres heard the blonde whisper. "I am sorry, B'Elanna."
Before Torres could ask what the blonde meant, she felt her neck being pinched, and in that fraction of time when everything went back, Torres could only think of one thing, 'She is leaving me.'
Seven stepped away from the unconscious woman and brushed away some tears. Now she finally knew what it would take for her to shed tears. It wasn't physical pain, but emotional pain, "I am so sorry, my love."
With much difficulty, Seven turned way and walked to the door. There were things to do.
"Captain, I don't think this is such a good idea," Chakotay said. "We are getting Voyager's Dilithium crystals basically delivered to our door."
"I know that, but I much rather have some extra crystals. We are in enemy territory, and I don't want to gamble on when we will come across some extra Dilithium."
"This discussion is over, Commander," Janeway snapped, before checking her phaser a final time, affectively cutting off their conversation. She walked back over to the others and gathered their attention. "Alright, as soon as the person arrives, we act. B'Elanna, everything is set?"
"Yeah," B'Elanna said. She knew that Janeway was making a big mistake, but she was the Captain after all. B'Elanna lifted the device she had created. She just wished that she had had the chance to tell Seven of the plan Janeway had sprung on them that day. With the technology that they had on Voyager, it really hadn't been that hard to create a device that would prevent the force-field from being activated again once it was dropped. Unlike the prison, where there were two force-fields, there was only one force-field in the corridor that led from Voyager to the star base.
Janeway had said that she thought that this was because nobody would assume that someone would try to get from a ship to the base, they would assume that it would be the other way around; that people would try to get from the base to the ship.
B'Elanna wasn't so sure about that. To her, it would be more logical to guard the corridors better. After all, once slaves were on the base, they could be contained at several places, but those slaves would have to enter through the corridors first.
"You don't have to come with us," Janeway said to Annika.
"I'm not letting my people do things I wouldn't. What you are trying is suicide, but since you are ordering them to do this, I don't want to put them in a place where they have to disobey you."
"I appreciate your candid view," Janeway said amused.
"You ready?" B'Elanna asked Harry.
"Ready as I'll ever be," Harry said with a smile. Secretly though he was glad that his part in the plan was only the smallest part. The others had the hard job of trying to get the extra Dilithium.
"I believe it is time," Tuvok, the last of the small group said when he heard someone in the corridor. Unlike the others, he wasn't complaining about the plan, but the only reason as to why he wasn't was because he had tried to convince Janeway for more than an hour in private; without success.
The first step of the plan worked perfectly. They stunned the Klingon that brought the Dilithium and prevented the force field from activating again. Harry grabbed the crystals and was on his way to Engineering so that he and Carey could put the crystals back where they belonged and prepare Voyager for departure.
The second step of the plan didn't work that well though. After they had woken the Klingon again, he had told them where on the base they could find the Dilithium, after which they rendered him unconscious again, this time using a sedative. They had left the Klingon in the corridor, knowing that he would be out for more than two hours and the last thing they wanted was to take a Klingon with them while escaping. Only a few minutes later, they found that the Klingon had either lied to them, or neglected to point out that they would come across guards. He had given them directions that had led them straight to an armed guard station, and soon they found themselves pinned down by a heavy dose of disrupter fire.
"Pull back! There is no way we can get through there," Janeway shouted.
"We are receiving fire from the other side as well," Tuvok pointed out while returning the fire that was coming from that side.
"Damn, where did they come from?"
"Probably from one of the doors we passed," Chakotay ventured to guess the very obvious. "See how this corridor is laid out? I bet it is designed purely so that people can be stopped here, contained by disrupter fire."
Janeway cursed before thinking for a moment. "You are probably right, but look, they made one big mistake. I don't think that cart is supposed to be standing here. It can take the disrupter fire from in front of us while I take out the guard behind us."
"You?" Chakotay asked, not at all liking what he heard.
"I got us in this situation, I'm going to get us out."
"I'm going to try and get to that side," Janeway interrupted, "send some phaser fire their way; that should give me the chance to get there. I should have a clear shot to both sides from there."
"And they will have clear shot at you," Chakotay pointed out.
"Not if I manage to reach that cart. Don't worry, I'll be careful," Janeway said and was gone before Chakotay could object further.
Janeway succeeded in getting to the other side unharmed and a moment later, she managed to stun the two Klingons that were firing from the side that they needed to go to in order to get back to Voyager.
But just when everyone thought that they just might be able to get back to the ship alive, it became clear that one of them wouldn't.
When shooting the two Klingons, Janeway had moved slightly from behind the cart and the Klingons they had run into in the beginning finally had a clear target.
The Voyager crew watched in utter horror when they saw Janeway being hit by three deadly disrupter blasts. Where the Voyager's crew phasers had been set on stun, the disrupters of the Klingons had clearly been set a lot higher.
B'Elanna wanted to move to Janeway in pure reaction, but felt herself being held back by Chakotay and Annika.
"B'Elanna, don't," Chakotay said, "they'll only shoot you as well."
Only moments later the firing from the Klingons suddenly stopped and the Voyager crew heard a voice they all knew.
Seven wanted to move quickly. She felt that it had already taken too long to just get to the star base. But she knew that she had to act as if she had all the time in the universe, she could not awaken any suspicion. Minutes later she finally reached the main storage area of the base.
Seven tilted her head slightly and merely asked. "What?"
"This place is off limit unless you have a permission."
"I see," Seven said. "It so happens that I have a permission." Suddenly Seven slammed her fist into his stomach. When the guard doubled over in pure reflex, Seven brought her leg up and slammed that into his face with enough force to break his nose, which was followed by an elbow to his neck, breaking it and also flooring the man. Seven looked at the man lying on the floor and then up to the second guard. "Do you need to see my permission as well?"
"No, ma'am. He is one of the few who wouldn't believe that the Intendant has taken a body slave," The guard said while shaking his head a little.
"After a month of me being my mistress' body slave, he would still think that I am nothing more than rumors? That is not very comforting to know that persons like this would be allowed to guard my mistress' possessions."
"Well, there is a reason why he is demoted to the point that he is guarding a door on a star base."
"Spoken by a man doing the very same thing," Seven pointed out.
The guard laughed loudly at that. "Luckily I'm only here for two months. I was caught betting on my captain's abilities to win a fight. He was not amused to find out that I had bet twenty to one that he would lose."
"I see," Seven said. "You might want to take him to the doctor before his broken neck causes some permanent damage."
"Huh," The guard grunted, "he could only get better because of it." But he did bend down to pick the other guard up from the floor.
Luckily other guards Seven came across were smart enough to merely step out of the Intendant's body slave's way and ten minutes later Seven was pushing a hover cart loaded with Dilithium crystals down the corridor. Not much later she could hear disrupter, and... phaser fire.
Seven hurried up a little and a moment later she saw a guard station and, outside of it, four Klingons were firing down the corridor. Seven only assumed that the alarm had not yet been sounded because the guards thought that they could handle the problem by themselves. 'Klingon overconfidence,' Seven mused. But then again, that confidence in themselves had made them win many a battle. When Seven came closer, her eyes went wide when she saw the lifeless body of Kathryn Janeway lying in the corridor.
While first Seven wanted to order the guards to stop firing, she understood that this would take too long now. Instead she quickly rendered the guards unconscious by a few well placed hits.
"You can come out now. The situation is secure," Seven said while walking on.
Chakotay and Tuvok were the first to reach Janeway. "She is dead," Tuvok stated after checking the vitals.
"What are you doing here?" Seven asked bluntly. "You are supposed to be on Voyager."
"Come on, we have to get her to the doctor," Chakotay said while starting to lift Janeway from the floor.
"I stated a question," Seven pointed out, not moving from the spot.
"The Captain wanted to get more Dilithium for on the trip," B'Elanna explained.
"I made sure that Voyager got its original Dilithium, it only stands to reason that I would also produce more for the journey. Not acquiring extra Dilithium now that there is the opportunity for it would be illogical."
"Then why didn't you have it delivered to Voyager with our Dilithium?" Chakotay asked. But where Janeway normally posted a question like that in an accusing way, a way that did make you explain yourself, Chakotay's question sounded like a sincere question without any underlying tone.
"Because having Voyager's Dilithium delivered to the ship is an order that nobody would be surprised at. However, there are one thousand kilos (2000 pounds) of Dilithium on this cart. Ordering that amount for a ship that is still being renovated by slaves, is sure to be covered by several armed guards. While I could simply walk into the storage area and take the Dilithium without questions being asked. It seemed more efficient if I brought the crystals to the ship."
"Right, good point," Chakotay agreed. "I'm just sorry that the Captain saw the need to go hunting for Dilithium that could just as well have bought from some Ferengi or smugglers. Anyway, let's get moving we need to get out of here."
When all of them started to move back down the corridor B'Elanna heard Seven speak softly.
"What?" B'Elanna asked absently while looking at how Chakotay and Tuvok were carrying Janeway between them.
"I have to talk to you."
"Come on, Seven. Whatever it is, it can wait till we are on the ship."
"It can not wait," Seven disagreed.
B'Elanna turned to the Borg, only to see an expression on her face that she never saw before. "What's wrong?"
Because of her Klingon physiology, Torres wasn't unconscious for very long. When she woke and looked out of her quarter's window, she could still see Voyager sitting in its place. Torres knew that she could stop the ship from leaving, stop Seven from leaving. All she had to do was speak out and address the computer. It was so tempting. But she knew, if she forced the blonde to stay, things would never be the same again. It was all so damn twisted. She could make the blonde stay, but it would destroy the relationship they had. She could let Seven go, and the relationship would be over as well.
Torres felt like breaking something, but instead she just put her hands against the window and closed her eyes. 'Better to have lost and mourn a great relationship, then live in a broken relationship,' Torres thought while she heard the door behind her opening.
"The escape is in process," Martok merely said while he walked into the room.
"I know," Torres said without turning around. "I assume that there was a problem, since you are here."
"You are right, it seems that the redhead didn't feel like sticking to the plan. They tried to get onto the base to get their hands on some extra Dilithium. They were stopped at the first guard station."
"Casualties?" Torres asked while she turned around.
"Well, since their 'escape' is not to be noticed I couldn't send someone to check, but sensors showed six unconscious Klingons and one dead human."
"Who? What human?" Torres asked while chanting in her head, 'Please don't let it be her, please don't let it be her.'
"Really?" Torres asked relieved. "Good."
"Torres, about your slave, she..."
"She is gone," Torres interrupted. "She decided to go with them."
"Then the deal is off. I will contact the base..."
"Just don't, alright? If she wants to go, let her go."
"Worf will have your head for this."
Torres managed a half grin. "No he won't, and you know it. Besides, I still have all the information I need. The deal still stands, just that she isn't here anymore to supervise the building of a new ship."
"You still want the drone ship to follow them?"
"Yeah." Torres give him a bitter smile. "First I just wanted to know where they are, for Seven. Now the ship will follow them so that I know where Seven is."
"The drone ship will never keep up with them, it can only sustain warp eight."
"I know," Torres agreed, "but the thing is that the cloaked drone ship can follow their trail on a 24/7 base, while they will stop at places, change direction, and won't run at top speed all the time. It equals out over all."
"They are leaving," Martok said when he looked past Torres and out of the window.
Torres turned around and looked at the ship that started to move, and a moment later disappeared in a telltale stripe of a ship jumping into warp.
"I'll go activate the drone ship then," Martok said and walked to the door, knowing that Torres would want to be alone.
When the door from the private section of the quarters to the official part opened, Martok was surprised to see another person standing there. They looked at each other for a moment before Martok gave a small approving grunt and stepped aside to let the other person enter before he left.
Torres heard the doors close behind her after a moment of hesitation and a grunt from Martok. Dismissing everything else, she focused on the spot where ship used to be. "I forgive you, Seven," Torres said out loud to herself, assuming that she was alone. "I just wish that I had been able to tell you that I love you."
"You just did," Seven said while coming closer, "and I am glad that you can forgive me."
"Seven," Torres whispered while she quickly turned around. "I thought you left."
Seven took Torres into an embrace and put her head on her shoulder, "I could never leave you. I just had to make sure the others got away. I brought them a hover cart full of Dilithium."
"I don't care," Torres said while pulling the blonde even closer. "I don't care. I got you back."
"I love you, B'Elanna Torres. I can not contemplate leaving you for a day, I could never have left you for good."
Torres took a step back, but took hold of both of the blonde's hands. "Why did you put me out for the count?"
"I could not keep my promise to you, and I could not bypass it. I needed more than 15 minutes, and I needed you to not undo what I did. You have no idea how much it hurt me that I had to disobey you. I also did not keep my promise to you; I DID deceive you. From the moment you told me I would get fifteen minutes, I knew that it would not be enough, yet I made you think that it would be."
"Seven, if you had told me that you would have stayed, I would have given you a lot more than that."
"I know," Seven agreed. "But I could not allow that. Just like we moved past the point where I am with you to help the Voyager crew, I could not use my staying to help them. I am being extremely selfish, I am only staying for me... and for you."
"And therefore you decided to deceive me."
"Yes," Seven agreed while unshed tears to pool in her eyes. "I considered it a lesser of two evils." The tears managed to escape and rolled down her face. "I hoped that I could make you understand that my deception was one time occurrence, brought forth by a unique situation; the escape of my friends. But I could not use our relationship. Please, B'Elanna, try to understand this, I do not want to use you."
"We once talked about this already, people always use each other," Torres pointed out. "The important thing is to be honest about it. If you are honest, then at least I know what's going on. Then I know that I'm doing something I would normally never do, and that I'm doing it for only one reason; to please you.
"But if you deceive me, you move us to the point where I can't trust you, and I don't want that. Do you understand, Seven? I much rather do something that will get me into a shit load of trouble with Worf, than move to the point where I can't trust you, where I have to start wondering what your ulterior motives are.
"Damn it, Seven. I ask you for advice on things that I never ask people advice on. You are my most trusted advisor, the only person I can actually call an advisor, even if it is only to myself. I can't move to the point where I can't trust my advisor."
"So, you feel that my deception is worse then if I had used you?" Seven asked softly.
"Yeah," Torres agreed. She had heard the soft tone of the blonde, and by now knew her well enough to know what that tone meant. "But, remember what you just heard me say; I forgive you. Let's put this in the 'clearing things up' section. I'm so glad you stayed, I don't want to start things off by discussing things that happened before now. We take now, this moment as the point to go on, and not look back. How about that?"
"The past formed my current way of thinking, I do not know if I can simply 'forget' all that happened."
"And I'm not asking you to. You certainly can tell me about how things happened, on how you think things should be. Wait, let me explain this in a different way, remember the game I played, where I kept score in my head?"
"Well, what I meant just now is that today we start at zero, and I won't deduct you twenty points tomorrow for what you did today."
"Ah, I see," Seven said and smiled before adding, "just do not actually start that again."
Torres laughed. "Trust me, I won't. Besides, you would win every game. I love you so much I would be giving you points for every move you make. You would just have to breathe and you would have ten more points."
"I was wrong," Seven said while closing her eyes for a moment. "I always thought that only knowing it was good enough, but hearing you say that feels very good."
"And it felt good to say it," Torres said with a smile, knowing full well that Seven was talking about the words 'I love you.' "Maybe I can say it more often. I think I will like telling you that I love you. But, I also think that I can't tell you as often as you tell me, I just don't talk about emotional things."
"You do not have to tell me often, the effect of when you tell me makes up for the quantity."
"What do you mean?" Torres asked.
Seven took Torres' hand and placed it against her chest, over her heart, making it possible for the Klingon to feel the beating of the heart. "Tell me," Seven whispered.
"I love you," Torres said, and was totally amazed the feel the heart under her fingers stop beating for a moment. "Wow."
"That is how I think about you, it describes you perfectly."
"Wow?" Torres asked.
"Yes. I see you sitting here, and I realize that you are all mine. The concept is just.. wow."
"I see," Torres said with a smile, fully understanding what the blonde meant, it was how she felt as well. Then she thought of something more serious and sighed before saying: "Seven... Martok told me that one of the Voyager crew was killed."
"I know," Seven merely said. There wasn't anything else that she could say.
"Let's sit down," Torres said while she pulled Seven to the couch. Once they were sitting, a very important question came to Torres' mind. "What about your implants? You can die now that your Doctor can't help you."
"I would rather live a month with you, than spend the rest of my life without you," Seven said softly.
"B'Elanna," Seven interrupted, "I took precautions. True, the Doctor is not here, but when I was downloading the information from Voyager, I also downloaded all the information the Doctor had about me and my implants. I also downloaded all the information that is needed to make the few tools I do not yet have to do more intensive maintenance on my implants. The chance of something happening to my implants that can not be corrected is actually smaller than you dying from a brain hemorrhage. It is a risk I am willing to take to be with you."
"You already knew that you were staying when you downloaded that information?" Torres asked.
"I already knew that I was staying when we were on Bajor. The night we went to the theater. From then on, from the moment I knew that you were not going to hide me away; that was the moment I knew that I could never leave you."
"You stayed, you really stayed," Torres said before suddenly taking a firm grip on Seven and pulling the blonde against her. Nothing else mattered. Seven had stayed. Seven had willingly stayed to share her life.
Torres realized that she would never be lonely again. The feeling that this realization brought settled over Torres like a warm blanket. She now could go on living, sharing her life with someone she loved, and with whom she could be just herself.
But Torres also knew, if she wanted to truly share her life, there was a question she needed to ask. "Seven, do you want our relationship to change? The whole thing about having a mistress is that this person won't hesitate to punish you. But I won't be able to do that, not that I ever could."
"With those last words you already proved the point I just wanted to make, 'not that you ever could.' From the first day I was yours, you never punished me. The only 'punishment' I ever had was when you subtracted points when you were playing your game, and we occasionally make love as a 'so called' punishment. But, all in all, you were still my mistress, and you still are, I... and you... like it that way. You like to be the one in charge of our relationship, but I am your equal in decisions. I think we can continue our relationship in the same way we had it. I would like it like that."
"You sure?" Torres asked. "I must admit that I also like what we have, I just want to be sure that you are really okay with it."
"Please B'Elanna, believe me, I want... need, you to be just the way you are. I fell in love with the person you are, not the person you could be. If I would like to be with the person you could be, I would have fallen in love with Voyager's B'Elanna. I did not. I fell in love with you."
"Alright then, but you promise me one thing."
"Anything," Seven said immediately.
"Whenever you start to feel different about our relationship, you tell me. I'm willing to compromise a lot if it means that you continue to love me."
"You do not have to compromise. Any change would take away from the perfection you are. However, just to ease your mind; I promise."
"Kahless, I can't believe that you are really here," Torres said, shaking her head slightly. "I sooo just want to hold you."
"Hold me, B'Elanna. Show me how much you love me."
For the next two hours not a word was said. They just kept sitting and holding onto each other. Secure in the knowledge that no matter what else was going to happen, they had each other.
"Where's Seven?" Chakotay asked when he saw B'Elanna walking into sickbay alone.
"She isn't coming," B'Elanna merely said.
"What?" Chakotay asked, wondering how things could go so wrong so fast. "What do you mean she isn't coming. Where the hell is she?"
"She stayed behind."
"We can't just leave her there," Chakotay said while walking towards the door.
B'Elanna stopped him by grabbing his arm, "She isn't coming, Chakotay. Don't waste your time. She made a promise to the Intendant that she would never leave, and Seven intends to keep that promise."
"We can't leave her here only because she made a promise," Chakotay disagreed, he was fully prepared to turn the ship around and go back for Seven.
"Chakotay, it's only an excuse. She won't leave because she is in love with her."
"Believe me, she will resist if you try to force her to come along. Do you really think you can keep her on Voyager if she wants to leave? Besides, by this time she is probably no longer on the base but back on the Intendant's ship. You want to take on that ship with Voyager?"
Chakotay knew that B'Elanna was right, but that didn't mean that he agreed with simply leaving Seven behind, just that he agreed with that they didn't have any other choice. If Seven wanted to stay, they could never hope to take her with force. Besides, he had always thought that in the end, people should make the decisions of what they want to do with their lives.
"Alright, we need to get far away from that base, or else the time Seven bought us could be wasted by a ship going to the base coming across us." Chakotay slapped his communicator so that he could give a ship wide order. "All stations, stay at battle stations for the time being, and initiate silent running." When the Comm link was deactivated, Chakotay added more to himself. "Now is as good as time as any to start using our new cloaking system."
"Chakotay, how... how is Janeway?" B'Elanna asked, but she had a feeling that she knew the answer. If there had been any hope, the Doctor would have been working on Janeway, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Chakotay merely shook his head slightly. "Go to Engineering, B'Elanna, you are needed there."
"She really is...?"
"Yeah, of all the things to die for, and after all we went through in the Delta quadrant, she had to give her life for some damn Dilithium crystals."
"She should have trusted Seven more," B'Elanna said, a trace of bitterness crawling into her voice. "Seven brought us a whole hover cart full of the stuff. We have enough for the next ten years."
Chakotay shook his head once more. "We are wasting time."
They walked out of sickbay together but soon parted ways, B'Elanna going to Engineering and Chakotay going to the bridge.
Once Chakotay was on the bridge, he took a quick look around before activating his Comm link one more. "Chakotay to Annika Hansen. Please join us on the bridge."
He sighed deeply before sitting down in the Captain's chair. Not that he wanted to sit there, he was itching to go sit in his first officer's chair. But he was sending a clear signal to the others on the bridge, and Starfleet protocol demanded that the Captain, or Acting Captain, would sit in that chair.
Moments later the doors opened and Annika walked onto the bridge. "You wanted to see me?"
"Yes. Before we do anything else, we need a place where we can lay low for a few days, think about just what we want to do next, and where we... can hold a funeral. Can you suggest a place? Somewhere where we also won't even be bothered by smugglers."
"Yeah, I think I know just the place. About four hours at warp six from here there is a small planet. It is seismicly unstable since it has been mined way beyond the safety limits. The planet has long since been abandoned. We could take orbit around the planet, it is too deep in Klingon space for smuggles to be there, and the Klingons basically ignore it since there is nothing to gain there."
"Alright, could you point our pilot in the right direction?"
"Sure," Annika said and walked over to Tom. A moment later, she had given him the coordinates and turned back to Chakotay to ask a question she was wondering about. "Have you any idea on what we are going to do now? Leave Coalition space, or stick around for those two years that the Intendant talked about?"
"I don't know yet," Chakotay said thoughtfully. "We basically have three choices; we stay, we go, or we go and come back in two years. I think the crew should decide this."
"The crew?" Annika asked surprised. "I thought that was why there is a Captain, to make decisions."
"True," Chakotay agreed, "but the crew signed up for a tour of duty that was only doing to last for two years, not possibly the rest of their life. People who joined Voyager later on, like me, never had a choice at all. It was take it or leave it; come along, or stay in the Delta Quadrant.
"I think it is time that the crew got a word in the important decisions. I'm not talking about whether or not we are going to stop at some planet, or whether or not we should engage in some battle. I'm talking about things like if we are going to wait for those two years to end, or are we going to try and find a way back to our universe, even if that means going back to the Delta Quadrant."
"I understand," Annika said. "It IS an important choice. Whether to hang around and waste two years for sure but then get home, or if to go back to a situation where it might be decades before they are home."
"Right," Chakotay agreed.
"Alright. Well, if you excuse me, I'll go to Engineering, help B'Elanna a little."
"Sure," Chakotay said with a small nod of his head. "I'll let you know if we might need your help up here again."
Now it was Annika who gave a small nod, before heading to the turbolift.
Most of the people in the shuttle bay could not really believe that they were really at the funeral of Kathryn Janeway. They looked at how the torpedo shell containing the body of the Captain slowly got transported out of the bay. A blue flicker of light showed that the torpedo shell had passed through the force-field that separated them from the vast emptiness of space.
The realization truly hit them when they saw the torpedo shell move silently through space on its way to the sun of the solar system. The captain they had known since being stranded in the Delta quadrant was gone. Now the time had truly come to make decisions.
With the ceremony over, the bay slowly started to empty out until only Chakotay, B'Elanna, and Annika were left.
"So we're staying," B'Elanna said, more to break the silence than anything else.
"So it seems," Chakotay agreed. They had let the crew vote on what they wanted to do and the end result was that they wanted to stick around. True, it was two years of waiting, but they hoped that the Intendant had told the truth, they hoped that if the Intendant had been lying, Seven would have told them. Knowing that you could go home in two years was better than not being sure if you could even get back to your own universe.
"So now what?" B'Elanna asked. "Where do we go from here?"
"Good question," Chakotay said thoughtfully.
"You are Captain now," B'Elanna pointed out. "It's up to you to decide where we go."
"I actually think the first thing to do is hold a senior staff meeting, there is something I want to suggest."
"Alright, let's get going then," B'Elanna said.
Once the reached the turbolift, Chakotay spoke up again, "Um, Annika, if you don't mind, I would appreciate it if you weren't present for this meeting. We are also going to discuss your status as a crew member, and what you are going to do on Voyager, and I want everyone to speak freely."
"Sure," Annika merely said, she understood fully what Chakotay meant. Before she was the master slave, but now they would need to give her a new function, and for that the others needed to talk freely about her, as free as one only did if the person that was being talked about wasn't there.
Once they were in the turbolift, Chakotay activated the Comm link once more. "Senior staff to the conference room."
Seven felt a hand being softly placed on her shoulder and she turned away from the window with a smile.
Torres returned the smile with one of her own in pure reflex. "Please tell me that your friends are smart enough to not try and come back for you."
"They are," Seven said confident. "I told B'Elanna why I was going to stay, and I think she understood, even if she might not have agreed. It will be in their advantage that Kathryn Janeway is no longer in charge. She might have tried to get me back because she would see it as a personal failure and she would do anything in her power to correct that failure, no matter what the cost."
"Do you think your friends will stay in Coalition space?"
"I do not know; it is one of the choices they have to make. All I know is that I made my choices, and now I will have to live with the consequences."
"You aren't having second thoughts, are you?" Torres asked softly.
"Never," Seven whispered.
"Are you ready to go to bed?" Torres asked while already walking in the direction of the bedroom.
"It is rather early, do you not think so?" Seven asked amused while lifting her eyebrow. "Is there something else you want from me?"
"No," Torres said while taking Seven's hand and softly pulling her to the bedroom. "I merely want to lay and hold you, fully secure in the knowledge that when I wake up tomorrow, you will still be here, that I will still be holding onto you."
"You really believed that I would leave you?"
"You come from a place where you are free, why would you want to stay in a place where you are nothing but a possession according to the law?"
"I do not care about the law, I care about you. B'Elanna, even if I was only allowed to be in your quarters, I would still have come back to you. I can not live without you, I would have still come back if I had known that I could only see you at night. At least that way I would see you once a day."
"Never," Torres said determined. "You will be right at my side wherever I go. From now on, when ever someone sees me, they will see you as well. But I do think that the first thing we must to is go and visit Worf. He needs to get to know you, to understand me."
"Sounds like a good idea."
"Now please come to bed with me."
"It will be my pleasure. I love to hold you."
"And I love you, Seven."
Seven closed her eyes upon hearing those words. "And then you wonder why I stayed."
Torres stepped closer to the blonde and they shared a long kiss, "Come on. Tomorrow will be the first day of the rest of our life."
No, that isn't a typo; that really says 'the end.'
Whahahahahahaha!!!! I'm so evil, leaving you all hanging with so many unresolved issues. And there you thought that you would get a good and proper ending. No way, no how. And also... HEY, what are you doing with that knife? Put that away, you could hurt someone and... what do you meant that is the intention? WHAT??? You want to hurt me? But... but... but...
Oh, alright, no the story isn't really over.
In all seriousness, the story I have in my head really exists out of two parts. The first part has now been told, but there is still a lot to come. In a way, the two parts are so separate that they are almost two stories. So I decided to do just that.
The story you have been reading 'til now, about Voyager's capture and escape, that was the story 'Alternate Choices.'
And now that the choices are made, the plot will continue in the second story which will be called, 'Alternate Consequences.'
So stay tuned for the next chapter of the AC story.
And as a last note, no, I didn't get rid of Janeway only because I don't like her. As writer I can make her how ever I want. No, I got rid of her for a very good reason. Trust me, there is reasoning behind my madness.
Thanks for reading,
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