A Christmas Turbolift Conspiracy
The faint chime of bells followed Seven as she exited the mess hall and escaped Neelix's specially arranged Christmas extravaganza. The cheerful Talaxian had never even heard of Christmas until a morose and highly inebriated Tom Paris had started bemoaning the lack of his favourite holiday and certain other mistletoe related events that Neelix hadn't quite understood. Determined to cheer up the recently divorced helmsman, and thus save the rest of the ship from having to listen to his drunken renditions of old Celine Dion ballads, he had set about recreating the perfect Christmas party. In Seven's opinion, his recreation had been too perfect, including as it did an unusually rotund and bearded EMH dragging people onto his knee and promising to visit them in their quarters after midnight, and Harry Kim pretending to walk with the aid of a crutch and then, midst stumble, throwing it aside and asking God to bless everyone.
With an artful roll of her eyes, Seven left behind the insanity that was obviously endemic to the Christmas season and boarded the turbolift. "Cargo Bay Two," she instructed.
Before the doors could close, a wobbling and red-faced Tom Paris tripped through the opening and burped a greeting, "Mer-ry Christmas, Seven!" The width of his smile grew as the doors closed and he realised he was alone with the beautiful borg. "Seven, do you know what I've got in my pocket?" he asked, his smile descending into a leer.
"You are wearing a regulation Starfleet uniform, Lieutenant, and therefore you do not have pockets." Seven had always considered the absence of pockets a design flaw, personally, but she considered that a conversation for another day. "You are inebriated, Mr. Paris."
"Drunk as a Metrophalickmunk," he agreed. "But you didn't answer my question, do you know what I've got in my pocket?"
Seven considered repeating the obvious, but having heard more than one Christmas themed cracker joke, she was unsure if Tom's question was simply a badly conceived riddle and that by answering she would end the inanity quicker than if she tried to inject a little sanity into the proceedings. "No, Mr. Paris, I do not know what you have in your pocket."
With a flourish, Tom produced a sprig of mistletoe from Kahless knew where and proudly dangled it in front of his face. "Give us a kiss," he demanded, puckering up and inching closer to his prey.
Even before the revulsion could settle on Seven's face, the air cracked with the sound of electricity and Tom began to twitch and jerk. "Mr. Paris?" As Seven watched, Tom began to dance spasmodically across the turbolift, his arms and legs apparently moving of their own volition. "Are you unwell?" Seven queried.
The smell of ozone permeated the turbolift as Tom continued to twitch; his eyes bulging out of their sockets and tiny sparks of electricity shooting out from the ends of his hair. The sprig of mistletoe fell from his grasp and with it the energy appeared to leave Tom's body and he collapsed in a heap on the floor. "I want my mommy," he whimpered, before begging the turbolift to halt and crawling out into the corridor.
Seven contemplated following Tom and escaping the obviously malfunctioning turbolift, but before she could make a decision, Chakotay entered the lift and set it back on its journey. "Seven." The greeting was devoid of any inflection. "You left the party before I could claim my kiss." A second sprig of mistletoe made its appearance.
Seven frowned. Neelix had explained the historical implications of the foliage the day before and helpfully warned Seven that several members of the command staff had expressed their intention to capture her beneath its poisonous fruit. It had been one of the many reasons she had left he party early and now, standing before a blank faced but possibly determined Commander Chakotay, she really wished she'd taken Neelix's advice and secreted a canister of DDT about her person. "Commander, I do not..." Seven's words trailed off as a strange aroma infused the turbolift; at first, she assumed it was the Commander's new cologne, but as Chakotay started to sway and fall to the ground, she recognised the faint hint of chloroform amidst the other smells.
The doors to the turbolift once again opened, and with a quick flux of the gravitational field, Commander Chakotay rolled out into the corridor and very nearly under the shoes of his commanding officer. "As you were, Commander," Janeway ordered as she quickly took his place in the turbolift. "Good evening, Seven, I must have missed you at the party. Did you have a good time?"
"No." Seven was far too interested in finding the source of the strange occurrences to remember her social lessons and lie. "I believe this turbolift may be faulty." She distinctly remembered Lieutenant Torres and a crew of techs working on the turbolift the day before, which should have guaranteed its efficiency, but a fault was the only explanation she could reach that would explain its odd behaviour.
"I'll have B'Elanna look at it later," Janeway dismissed. "It's a pity I missed you earlier," she mused, the casualness of the statement drawing Seven's attention and putting her on high alert. "I wanted to show you something."
Seven didn't need to be a Betazoid to know what that something might be. "Captain, I don't think you should..."
Before Seven could finish her warning, however, a third sprig of mistletoe made its appearance and Captain Janeway began to advance. "It's an old Earth tradition," she explained, wetting her lips and inching ever closer. "It's very bad luck to refuse."
Seven closed her eyes and waited for the turbolift to do its magic, but when the sound of electricity or smell of poisonous gas failed to appear, her shoulders sagged and she reluctantly opened her eyes and prepared to accept her fate. "Captain?" Janeway was nowhere to be seen. "Hello?" The cold grey walls of the turbolift gleamed in satisfaction as Seven stared around the enclosure, the only evidence of the Captain's presence the discarded sprig of mistletoe that littered the floor.
It was obvious that Janeway had been transported elsewhere, despite the lack of noise that usually accompanied such a procedure, but it was also obvious that the transportation had been against the Captain's will. Seven's hand rose to tap her comm. badge and enquire as to the whereabouts of the absent officer when the turbolift doors whooshed open and B'Elanna Torres almost fell into the lift.
"What the...?" B'Elanna looked startled. "How did I end up in here?"
"Oh, I might have guessed, what have you done now, blondie?" B'Elanna's irritation was equal parts bluff and confusion. "Is this some kind of joke?"
"It is a possibility." Seven could not recall anything in Neelix's talk to suggest that Christmas was a time of mass lunacy and practical jokes, but Earth traditions were so bizarre it didn't seem particularly too far fetched an assumption. "Are you, by any chance, carrying about your person a sprig of mistletoe?"
"Mistletoe?" B'Elanna couldn't decide if Seven was asking a serious question or gearing up to pull an old Tom Paris routine. "Why?"
"I believe the turbolift might be booby trapped and the common denominator appears to be a sprig of mistletoe." Seven quickly explained the situation. "I have also noted that a journey that normally takes fifty-eight seconds has, up to this point, taken seven minutes and twenty-three seconds."
It sounded preposterous but over the years B'Elanna had learnt to trust Seven's judgement and, if she said the turbolift was booby trapped, then the turbolift was probably booby trapped. "Okay, what do we do?" Kneeling down, B'Elanna picked up the forgotten sprig of mistletoe and began to inspect it for alien interference. "It looks norm..."
The walls of the turbolift suddenly began to tremble and, within microseconds, the lift collapsed in upon itself, squeezing its two inhabitants into extremely close proximity, the sprig of mistletoe mysteriously floating twelve inches above their heads.
"You might be right about the trigger," B'Elanna admitted, as she squirmed and shimmied to try and reach the control panel. "I think it might be..." Seven yelped and B'Elanna turned to a statue. "Sorry."
Colour rose in Seven's cheeks at the unexpected introduction of B'Elanna's hand to her posterior. "The fault is not yours, Lieutenant," she assured. "I believe we are the victims of a conspiracy."
"Conspiracy?" B'Elanna wasn't a fan of conspiracy theories, but she wouldn't put it past those Starfleet freaks to think up something like this. "What do you mean?"
Seven tried not to notice how B'Elanna's hand had settled on her backside as she explained her theory. "...and the winner gets a month's rations and two free holodeck passes."
B'Elanna couldn't believe her ears. "You mean they're betting on whether or not you and I..." She wiggled her hips and Seven's eyes watered. "That's madness!"
"Quite so." Tuvok had uncovered the wager several weeks earlier, but despite his best efforts and two mind-melds, he'd been unable to ascertain the particulars of the bet. "It would appear that someone has taken matters into their own hands and wishes to stack the odds in their favour by encasing us in this contraption." Seven thought it was rather ingenious, but she refrained from mentioning that to B'Elanna.
"So how do we get out?"
"Huh?" The cramped conditions were obviously affecting her hearing, B'Elanna decided. "We what now?"
"In order for the perpetrator to win the bet we need to copulate, correct?" B'Elanna nodded, her cheeks flaming red. "In order to copulate, unless I am mistaken, we will require more room to move than is currently available." From Seven's research - purely hypothetical, of course - she understood that Klingons, even half-human ones, were very athletic in the bedroom and required two point four more cubic inches of space per pound of mass than the average human.
"I guess." B'Elanna's mind immediately went to her new King size bed and how exquisite Seven's hair would look splayed out across her sheets. "So?"
"So if we kiss, I calculate a six point two probability that we will be transported to another location, most probably your quarters, to complete the terms of the wager."
It made sense, in a weird and gonna-get-someone-killed kind of way, and even if it didn't work, it would mean that B'Elanna could cross one more item off her 'things to do before you die' list, so she nodded in agreement. "Okay, let's do it."
It wasn't the most romantic of settings or the most honourable of reasons, but as their lips finally met, neither woman was thinking about such trivial concerns and, when they re-materialised on B'Elanna's bed, as Seven had hypothesised they would, neither woman suggested ending their embrace.
Somewhere, deep in the bowels of Voyager, a small group of techs could be heard cheering as a bet was won and Christmas was once again voted the most magical time of the year.
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