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How the Borg Stole Christmas
By Jillo


"How did I get myself roped into this?" Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres grumbled as she struggled into the padded red and white velour costume.

"I believe the proper terminology is that it is 'your turn'," came the muffled reply as the tall blonde woman disappeared beneath a similarly made green tunic.

"Targ shit. Like there aren't, oh, I don't know, several dozen things I'd rather be doing than playing 'Santa' at Voyager's Christmas party," B'Elanna said, pulling on the long, black boots. "Like cleaning out the plasma vents."

When no reply was forthcoming, she glanced over at the ex-drone, who was holding two green booties that curled at the toes and jangled with little bells, staring at them in consternation.

"They go on your feet, Seven," she told her. "So, you're my elf, eh?" She grinned wickedly. "Does this mean you'll be sitting on my lap during the evening?"

Seven rewarded her with a haughty raised ocular implant. "I fail to see the purpose of one person sitting upon another."

"Hmmmph!" B'Elanna grinned. "I suppose it all depends on what part you sit on—or what part gets sat on." She continued to smile as she buckled the wide black patent leather belt across her padded middle.

"You are making a reference of a sexual nature," Seven stated baldly after a pause.

"Yeah? What was your first clue?" B'Elanna asked without turning her head.

"You have a tendency to smirk, and your voice lowers half an octave when you make off-color references to sexual matters," Seven recited for her.

"Do I?" asked B'Elanna, looking around at the beautiful former Borg in mock surprise. "I didn't think you'd noticed."

Seven colored slightly and avoided the engineer's eyes. She covered her loss of aplomb by looking around on the floor.

"Lose something?" B'Elanna asked.

"Yes," replied Seven in alarm. "I cannot seem to find the bottom part of my costume." She looked down at herself, chagrined to find that she wore only a pair of tight green briefs that were barely covered by her green tunic.

"You're wearing it," said B'Elanna with a grin and a frank leer.

Seven straightened up and gave her a wry look, but she said nothing.

"All set?" B'Elanna asked. At Seven's answering nod, she said in a clear voice, "Computer, run holoprogram 'Christmas Party,' authorization Torres Delta Delta nine."

Immediately their surroundings changed. Garlands of fragrant greenery decorated with red satin bows hung from the mantel of the fireplace, in which a log fire burned cheerily. A shimmering fir tree bedecked with ornaments and lights dominated a corner of the large room. Christmas music played in the background. A long table groaned under its burden of assorted side dishes, cookies, a roast turkey, and cups surrounding a punchbowl containing dark red mulled wine. An ornate wooden chair sat near the tree, and next to it was a large green canvas bag.

B'Elanna walked over to the bag and looked into it.

"Hey, this is already filled up!" she stated and looked around at Seven in surprise. "I thought that part of my duties as Santa included replicating some gifts for the crew."

Seven, who suddenly found the need to pick non-existent lint from her costume, replied, "I took the liberty of replicating a few items that I thought would be appropriate for the crew." She looked up and met B'Elanna's eyes. "I hope that you do not mind."

"Mind?" B'Elanna chuckled. "I'm eternally grateful! I hate all this Christmas crap. I was cutting it a little close, anyway."

At this moment the holodeck doors slid open, and some of the happy crewmembers entered, a few already primed for the revels.

"Whew! Here they are! Thanks, Seven," she smiled wryly at her tall elf. "I owe you a fruit cake!"

Seven merely nodded as the two women took their places, B'Elanna sitting in the large wooden chair and Seven standing to her side, the green bag at the ready.

The two women silently watched the crew members as they drifted into the holodeck to celebrate the ancient Terran holiday. Many steered straight for the punch bowl. In fact, several redshirts seemed to have taken up permanent residence around that end of the long refectory table.

A thought suddenly occurred to B'Elanna.

"So, was it 'your turn' to serve as Santa's elf this year?" she asked, turning her head to look up at the former drone. "I don't remember that position being part of the rotation."

"I volunteered," Seven replied, not taking her eyes from the revelers.

B'Elanna was about to retort incredulously when the two women's attention was garnered by the approach of Ensigns Harry Kim and Tom Paris, both of whom seemed warmed through from a few cups of mulled wine.

"Well, well, well!" laughed Tom as he and Harry paused before B'Elanna's chair. "What have we here? I don't think I need to ask Santa for my Christmas present, Harry. It's already been given to me!" Tom and Harry laughed uproariously as B'Elanna gave him a sour look.

"Shut up, Flyboy, or you're getting a lump of coal in your stocking tonight," B'Elanna replied.

"Okay, okay," laughed Tom. "Come on, Santa, let me sit on your lap," cajoled Tom as he angled closer to B'Elanna's lap.

"In your dreams, Tom," she returned, moving her knees away from him.

"Aw, come on, B'Elanna!" he whined. "You're supposed to let us sit on your lap!"

"Forget it," she replied. "All right, Seven," she said, turning to look up at her elf. "What do we have for these two little boys?"

Without reply, Seven reached into the green sack and brought up two brightly-wrapped boxes, the large one marked with Harry's name and the other, much smaller, with Tom's. She handed them to B'Elanna.

"Here you go, little boy," B'Elanna smirked at Tom as she handed him his gift. "And one for you, there, little fella!" she said to Harry, holding his gift out to him.

"Gee, thanks!" smiled Harry, beaming as he took his present. "Wow, it's heavy," he said, his arms dropping with the weight of the box. "I love Christmas. Don't you?" he asked Seven. Seven merely raised her Borg-enhanced eyebrow.

"What the--?" sputtered Tom, holding up his newly unwrapped present. In his hand was a small, rubberized object that was designed with a circular handle on the bottom, topped by a round platform from which emerged an oblong mouthpiece. It was a 20th century-era infant's pacifier. "Is this supposed to be a joke?" he demanded, glaring at B'Elanna.

Before B'Elanna could respond, Harry emitted a bemused exclamation. "Dumbbells?" he asked, a five-pound weight in each hand.

B'Elanna smiled weakly, cocking her head to the side as if to indicate her acknowledgement of the odd nature of the gift. "Well, I—," B'Elanna began.

"Come, on, Harry," Tom interrupted. He shoved Harry toward the mulled wine. B'Elanna looked up at Seven, her brown eyes flashing. "What the hell was that?" she demanded.

Seven merely raised her left eyebrow. "I thought one of the purposes of giving was to find the appropriate gift for each individual."

"And you thought a baby pacifier was an 'appropriate gift'?" B'Elanna demanded.

"Mr. Paris often seems to need . . . pacifying," Seven observed placidly. "This seemed like a logical choice."

"And Harry? I mean, dumbbells? What was that all about?"

"I have observed that Mr. Kim seems to lack confidence. Perhaps if he developed his musculature, he might feel more confident in social situations," Seven replied.

"Ah," B'Elanna responded. "How thoughtful. Listen, Seven. . . ," she began but was interrupted by the approach of Neelix.

"Well, isn't this nice, Lieutenant—er, Santa," Neelix smiled, "and Seven. What a lovely elf you make!"

"Yes, hello, Neelix," B'Elanna replied, casting a worried glance at the silent elf. "Um, have you been a good little Talaxian this year?" she asked.

"Oh, yes!" Neelix laughed good-naturedly. "How are you enjoying your turn as jolly old St. Nick?"

"It's been just ducky, so far," answered B'Elanna, shooting Seven a sour look. "And what do we have in the bag for Neelix, little elf?" she asked.

"Here you are, Mr. Neelix," Seven stated, handing the chief cook and morale officer what was obviously a wrapped book. "Merry Christmas."

"Thank you, Seven!" Neelix replied, coloring in pleasure. "I can't wait to see what it is!" He began immediately to open his gift. His face registered consternation as he read the title of the book. "The Joy of Cooking. Well. I . . . well. Thank you," he said, finally, his face registering doubt.

"Heh heh," murmured B'Elanna. "Well! Enjoy it, Neelix!" she said with forced gaiety. "I'm sure you'll find lots of fun recipes to try in the coming weeks."

"Yes," Neelix responded hesitantly. "Yes, I'm sure I will." He wondered off, still staring at the book.

"Seven!" B'Elanna hissed. "That was a bit cruel, wasn't it?"

"I have often heard crew members discuss their disappointment in Mr. Neelix's cooking while not in his presence. Is a cookbook not an appropriate gift for a poor cook?" came Seven's logical question.

"Yes, but there's a big difference between what you might consider 'appropriate' and what might be—oh, I don't know—tactful?" B'Elanna responded.

"Hello, Lieutenant Torres, Seven of Nine," said Vorik as he edged closer to the two women.

"Oh, Kahless," whispered B'Elanna. "Why, hello there, Vorik," she said through a forced smile. "Fancy meeting you here."

"Indeed?" Vorik looked confused. "I thought all crew members would attend the annual Christmas party, regardless of their personal beliefs or traditions."

"Oh, yes, of course!" B'Elanna dissembled. "Erm, let's see what we have for good little Vulcans here in my bag." She turned to look at Seven with pleading eyes.

Seven was already waiting with a wrapped package of about a square foot in size. She handed it to Vorik and said, "Enjoy, Mr. Vorik."

As he began to open his gift, a strange hissing sound began to emanate from the package, and its contents began to gain shape and size. After a few seconds of inflating, what emerged from the wrapping was a life-sized, inflatable replication of Lieutenant Torres. Vorik's eyes popped as he looked at the doll he held.

B'Elanna's smile was frozen in place, and she slowly turned to glare up at Seven, who looked on innocently.

"The next time you undergo the pon farr, Mr. Vorik, you will not need to pursue Lieutenant Torres," Seven told him. "You may relieve yourself upon this replication."

"Oh, my god," B'Elanna groaned, dropping her head and covering her eyes.

"Tha--," Vorik stuttered. "Thank you." Still stunned, he moved uncertainly away, seemingly unable to take his eyes from the inflatable B'Elanna doll he held in his hands. He looked as if he suspected that it would bite him if he looked away.

B'Elanna, watching Vorik's departure through her fingers, dropped her hand and turned her head slowly to look up at Seven, incredulity written upon her features.

"What have you been putting into that nutritional supplement of yours?" she asked.

"It is a combination of amino acids and proteins, along with a judicious mix of . . ." Seven innocently replied until B'Elanna cut her off.

"I don't care what's in your goddamned drink!"

Silence descended upon the holodeck for a few excruciating seconds. B'Elanna smiled and waved weakly at the stunned revelers, who'd all turned at the explosion from the half-Klingon. Seven remained with her hands linked behind her back, looking uncomprehendingly at Santa.

B'Elanna lowered her voice. "Are you out of your Borg-implanted brain? I'll be lucky if I don't end up in the brig for this!"

"In the brig for what, Lieutenant?" came the question from Commander Tuvok, who'd only recently entered the holodeck.

"Why, for failing to replicate Seven's bottom—er, the bottom to Seven's costume," she laughed, feeling her face burn with the story. She'd always been a shitty liar. The fact was driven home for her once again in the circumstances, for in an effort to deflect Tuvok from the shocking nature of the crew's gifts, she'd blurted out the truth. Caught, she looked out of the corner of her eyes at Seven, who'd merely rewarded her with her raised left eyebrow again.

"Indeed," Tuvok intoned, glancing at Seven's exposed gams. "Perhaps it is a good thing that there are no adolescent male members among the crew, Lieutenant."

"Ha ha! That's a good one, Tuvok!" exclaimed B'Elanna, slapping her thigh. "Who ever said Vulcans don't have a sense of humor?"

This earned raised eyebrows from both Seven and Tuvok.

"Okay!" B'Elanna said brightly. "What do we have for Tuvok, Seven?" she asked.

"Merry Christmas, Commander Tuvok," said Seven stiffly, handing the brightly-wrapped package to Tuvok. B'Elanna held her breath as Tuvok carefully opened the wrappings on what was obviously another book.

"Curious," said Tuvok, holding the book aloft, gazing at its cover, front and back. "I have never been a collector of antiques. But thank you," he told B'Elanna serenely, walking away with a replicated copy of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.

"Please, please, please, please, please," B'Elanna murmured, again hiding her eyes behind her hands.

"Please what, Lieutenant?" Seven asked.

"Please shoot me!" B'Elanna growled. A new thought struck her. "Oh, no! What did you replicate for Janeway?" she asked in panic.

"You shall see for yourself, Lieutenant," Seven calmly replied, looking in the direction of the entrance. A smiling and laughing Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay had just entered the holodeck and were making their way toward the tree and chair that dominated the scene.

"If I survive this humiliating evening," B'Elanna ground out, "I'm gonna bust your aaaaand a happy ho, ho, holidays, Captain, Commander!" she called out, smiling widely as her commanding officers approached the chair.

"Thank you, 'Santa'," smiled Janeway. "And merry Christmas to you both," she said, looking up at Seven. "Have we spoken about the history and significance of Christmas and its evolution over the past 2400 years, Seven?" she asked. "I think it would be a valuable discussion to have in aiding the development of your individuality and your understanding of humanity."

"No, Captain, we have not had this particular discussion yet," Seven replied, holding out two shiny packages to the officers. B'Elanna wasn't sure, but she thought she'd caught a note of asperity in Seven's response to the Captain's question.

"Thank you, Seven," said Chakotay as he accepted his gift, his eyes twinkling in merriment. "So, when's your 'shift' over?" he asked her, moving to stand closer to the tall blonde. "I was wondering if I could interest you in a little egg nog when you're finished here."

"I am sorry, Commander," Seven replied, looking at him directly. "I have other plans for this evening after the party."

Chakotay seemed taken aback. "You do?" he asked incredulously.

"You do?" asked B'Elanna.

"Yes," she stated, glancing briefly down at the half-Klingon. She turned to Chakotay. "But perhaps you'll find your Christmas gift to be of use in your spare time. You can work off your excess energy with it."

"Oh?" he asked, his manner becoming chummy and insinuating again as he ripped into the foil wrapping. "Well, I'll just have to . . . ," he trailed off, looking with perplexity at the pair of boxing gloves he'd just revealed. He looked from the gloves at Seven with increasing understanding. Seven merely canted her head and raised her eyebrow.

"I see." Crestfallen, he turned away and moved toward the punchbowl.

Janeway watched her first officer walk away in a cloud of disappointment and befuddlement then turned to look at Seven with surprise.

"I've never pegged you for the subtle type, Seven, but that was a bit, er, direct," she told the ex-drone.

"I fail to see the need for obfuscation, Captain. If something needs to be said, then it should be said without hesitation or dithering," Seven replied with cold precision.

Janeway smiled wryly at the ex-Borg as she began to unwrap her gift.

"Perhaps it's time that we had another little talk in my ready room, Seven. You need to recognize the need to spare people's feelings, at times," Janeway told her.

By this time she had unwrapped her present.

"Well, I'm overwhelmed," she said, her brow furrowed, as she turned the small, brightly-colored cube in her hand. "What is it?"

Santa was abruptly taken with a nasty cough. Seven patted her absently on the back as she replied, "It is called a 'Rubik's Cube,' Captain. It is a twentieth-century Terran toy. Through my research in Voyager's databases I have found that many people spent several hours trying to solve its puzzle. Perhaps, in your long downtime in your ready room, you will find that it occupies your mind, instead of . . . other matters."

"Understood," Janeway said tightly. "Well," she said briskly. She looked around the room and noticed a dearth of crewmembers in the holodeck. Wasn't this supposed to have been a party? The few people who had hung around the food and wine table had proceeded to get hammered and slipped away some time ago.

She turned to the two remaining women. "I think I'll say good night. B'Elanna," she nodded to her chief engineer, paused, and looked up at the tall woman, "Seven."

"Good night, Captain," replied Seven.

"'Night," B'Elanna called after her.

"Sheesh," breathed B'Elanna as she tore the red cap from her head and stalked over to the punchbowl. She dipped a cup into the bottom of the bowl and took a drink.

"Ugh," she grimaced and moved to the replicator. "Bloodwine," she told it. She picked up the cup brimming with bloodwine and took a deep slug. "You know, Seven," she told the ex-Borg without turning around, "you've managed to throw a wet blanket on just about everyone's party this year with your thoughtful gift selection. I'll probably lose all my friends and spend Christmas in the brig, and I just realized that I haven't even seen what you have in store for me, yet."

She turned to face her and promptly dropped her cup of bloodwine. Curled upon the chair was Seven of Nine, her nude body wrapped in wide red velvet ribbon, a red bow sitting upon her shoulder.

"Merry Christmas, B'Elanna," she said with a hint of amusement in her voice. "May I sit on Santa's lap now?"

"Sit," sputtered B'Elanna. "Santa. Lap. Oh, hell, yes!" She walked over to the chair, offered her hand to Seven, who allowed herself to be helped from the seat, and sat, drawing Seven down upon her lap.

"So, Seven," B'Elanna said as she found a loose end of the red ribbon and tugged on it gently. "Any chance you'll be sitting somewhere else this evening?"

"That depends, B'Elanna," Seven replied, wrapping her arm around the half-Klingon's shoulder.

"On what?" B'Elanna looked up into eyes that she suddenly realized were stunningly, seductively beautiful.

Seven ran a long, lovely finger along B'Elanna's jawline. "On how good you are," she said before lowering her lips to B'Elanna's.

"Whatever I have to do to pay for this evening, Seven," B'Elanna breathed as they parted, "it's worth it."

The End

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