DISCLAIMER: Paramount has the joy of owning these people and doing what they wish with them. We just play. No money earned.
NOTES: Nothing really, apart from a slight tease in these 'pages'. Just enjoy. By the way, if the workings of the holodeck and transporters in one scene is not correct, you have two choices: forgive me or not! Preferably, I would wish you to forgive...
Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres looked awkwardly at Seven of Nine. The woman was usually a royal pain in the ass; she frequently got up B'Elanna's nose with her `do this'; `do it my way'; `I'm superior' attitude, but this was something different. B'Elanna took the instrument Seven had delivered to her in Engineering and thanked her quietly. She couldn't help noticing how the woman was almost turning her head away to stop the Lieutenant looking at her, an action that was immaterial as it happened, as B'Elanna had already seen what she would swear was a tear in Seven's eye.
"It has been enhanced with Borg technology, as per the Captain's instructions," Seven said quietly, unable to look at B'Elanna. "I am sure you will have no trouble integrating it successfully, Lieutenant," she completed, then she turned on her heels and left.
B'Elanna stared after her for quite a while, then looked at the instrument in her hands. `Who the hell was that who just left?' she asked under her breath, knowing full well that Seven would normally have stayed, begun to supervise the integration and then probably taken over with her usual endearing attitude!
`Oh, I must be nuts' B'Elanna thought as she carefully placed the delicate technology down and moved quickly towards the door. Once out in the corridor, she had a pretty good idea where the Ice Woman would be heading - Astrometrics.
"Hi, uh, Icheb, where's Seven?" B'Elanna enquired of the only occupant of Astrometrics - her quarry not being at hand, she looked to the handsome young man for answers.
"When I last saw her, Lieutenant, she was leaving here to see you. She didn't arrive?"
"Oh, she arrived, alright," replied B'Elanna, suddenly wondering how much to give away; she looked Icheb in the eye and, seeing an open and trustworthy face gazing steadily back at her she continued, "she looked uncomfortable, upset even, when I saw her. You notice that earlier?"
"She has been sending me on errands repeatedly throughout the ship today, so I haven't seen that much of her, although I have noticed that she's been more quiet than usual. Is she all right, Lieutenant?" asked Icheb, his expressive eyes suddenly worried and full of concern.
"Oh, I'm sure she's fine," B'Elanna assured patting Icheb's arm. She turned to leave but then turned back to Icheb, "Look, kid. Don't tell her I was asking about her, OK?" Sensing the Lieutenant would be embarrassed if Seven discovered she was concerned, Icheb wrinkled his eyes in a smile and nodded his agreement.
B'Elanna left Astrometrics and decided she would not pursue this business about Seven's state of mind any further - the woman wouldn't thank her for snooping into her personal feelings anyway and, added to which, she didn't even like her! However, further down the corridor her Klingon curiosity felt like it needed some answers so, with an irritated sigh and feeling slightly annoyed with herself, she asked "Computer, locate Seven of Nine."
Seven of Nine is in the Mess Hall
B'Elanna was surprised that the Ice Woman would choose that location this late in the afternoon. She altered her direction with some reservation, considering that - yeah, OK, she was walking in Seven's direction, but she still had two choices on offer here. She could go to Seven - a person whom she was famous for disliking - and ask what was going on with her, or she could stem her curiosity, forget the whole thing and just go back to Engineering.
The Lieutenant's brain had been searching for a way out of confronting Seven and so the latter option made her smile as it seemed to get her off some imaginary hook. For the second time in such a short space of time she tried to walk away - she exhaled gratefully and let her shoulders relax as she began retracing her steps back to Engineering.
Peace was short-lived however. Something inside the Lieutenant was pissing the Lieutenant off terribly: every step back to Engineering was becoming shorter and slower, proof that the humanity within her didn't match her hard and tough exterior. She kept seeing the ex- Borg's sad face and found it strangely disturbing. "Damn you, Seven," she muttered finally, as she turned again and headed off to the Mess Hall.
"Seven?" B'Elanna was uncomfortable in the extreme. She hovered around the corner table where Seven sat facing out towards the stars, grateful that she had approached unseen. A quick look around the room on entering had shown it to be unoccupied except for the two of them and Neelix, who had given her a warm smile and a curt nod before returning to his steaming pots and pans, in readiness for the onslaught in about an hour's time.
Seven looked up at B'Elanna, a frown crossing her otherwise perfectly smooth features. "Lieutenant?" she acknowledged, making it a question also.
B'Elanna hovered nervously around the side of the table, rubbing her haunches with her hands and expecting rejection. "I, uh, can I sit down?"
"There are plenty of tables in this area, why should you choose to pick this one?" asked Seven genuinely, looking up at B'Elanna and honestly attempting to understand.
Honest it may have been, but it was quite enough to enflame the fire- headed Engineer. "Oh forget it, this was a bad idea," she began hotly, but to her surprise she kept her ground.
Seven lowered her eyes and sat dejectedly. "So many of my questions are seen as rude. Why is that?" she asked quietly.
Neelix, who had been watching them occasionally out of the corner of his eye, smiled and waved when B'Elanna looked nervously over at the counter; he then continued to busy himself. The Engineer then lowered herself awkwardly in a seat, with her back to the stars. Looking up, she met Seven's troubled face and asked "What's wrong with you, Seven?"
"Me!" Seven suddenly blurted out with strength, "I am what's `wrong', B'Elanna Torres." Her table companion thought it prudent to sit quietly and allow Seven to speak; she waited a long time as the woman before her sat in silence until a small voice finally came across the table as Seven began, "I am afraid that soon I may be unable to function in this form of isolation; my emotions are becoming damaged."
"What isolation?" asked an Engineer surrounded by people every day, "we're all here."
"But not for me, Lieutenant. I am shunned by most and I am lonely." Seven looked down at the table.
"Lonely? Well, why wouldn't you be lonely? You're so aloof, Seven - it comes over that you like it that way!"
Shooting her eyes back up to the Engineer, Seven replied, "I assure you there is nothing I like about my current situation."
"It's not ideal for any of us, I'll grant you," B'Elanna said as she rested her elbows on the table, linked her fingers and rested her chin on them, "but we make the best of it. You appeared to be doing pretty well up to now, what changed?"
Looking up occasionally at B'Elanna, Seven said, "I was in the Captain's quarters the other day and I noted a picture of a man and a quadruped creature beside her couch. I enquired as to whom they were and the Captain told me it was a picture of a man she loved and her dog, which she also loved. They were back on Earth, and she missed them, she said."
"Yeah. Mark and Molly."
"Yes, those were the two designations she used."
"And that upset you?" queried B'Elanna, hiding a smile about the fact that a dog could be classed as having a `designation'; Mark too, for that matter.
"No, not in itself, but as I walked away I saw the Captain in a different light. I am familiar with the Captain who is adequately trained to run a starship, but I had just met a person with feelings she was unable to demonstrate in this environment. I suppose." Seven stopped speaking and looked back at a woman who had mostly been a fiery adversary and she was unsure whether should open her heart further to her.
"Yes?" urged B'Elanna.
"You will make fun of me," Seven stated, giving voice to her fear.
B'Elanna removed her elbows from the table, leaned back in her seat and folded her arms; she then raised her brows, titled her head forward and enforced a smile with the attitude of, `go on, I'm listening'.
Seven studied the Lieutenant openly and then made her decision, "I may not have a good social interaction with you, Lieutenant," she said, "but I believe you to be a trustworthy individual: I will confide in you."
Desperately trying to hide a `don't do me any favours' expression, B'Elanna waited.
Seven went on with some difficulty, "When I analysed the Captain's emotional repression, I began to consider that I am also emotionally repressed." Seven paused, searching for the correct words, "I appear incapable of interacting with people on this ship without invoking hostility in many areas, due to what is seen as `my attitude'."
"Well, you've got to admit, you are pretty blunt - you get their backs up, you know."
"I know. It is not my intention to elevate anyone's back," stated Seven seriously. "It is simply that they have been taught social interaction and I was - I was Borg," which was all the explanation B'Elanna really needed to hear.
"So what are you saying?" asked the Engineer, trying to clarify the exact cause of Seven's distress.
"That I have an inability to develop the friendships that would give me the potential to grow, thereby fulfilling my potential as a human being and as a part of this Collective," Seven began. "To put it simply, Lieutenant, I am not liked and I wish to become so."
"Wow! That's a tall order kiddo!" retorted B'Elanna, surprised that the Ice Queen wanted to be liked. "But you know, you have friends: the Captain, Naomi, and Icheb."
"My emotional expressions thus far equal a fondness for a boy whose emotional areas are as stunted as my own; an affinity with a child, who knows less than I do, and a friendship with a Superior who undoubtedly cares for me but to whom I am always `the experiment', said Seven miserably.
B'Elanna winced, realising how much those words would hurt her esteemed Captain. "So what are you trying to do about these thoughts?"
"I came here to consider a possible course of action. Up until this point I was simply `wallowing in it' I believe is the correct expression."
"It'll do", B'Elanna agreed, smiling, thinking `she's got that from my ex'.
"However, I have failed - a course of action has not been forthcoming. How do I break through these barriers of hostility, B'Elanna Torres?" Seven asked, almost on the edge of mild hysteria. The Engineer opened her mouth to offer a reply, but Seven continued, "For three days I tried to alter my approach, but I was met with suspicion and mistrust." The ex-Borg then looked past B'Elanna to the stars outside the window, and said something very simple that hit the Lieutenant deeply: "It's useless. I will never fit in; I am too different."
Swiftly, B'Elanna felt her eyes stinging as emotion surged to the fore; she blinked heavily a few times and opened her mouth to speak but honestly didn't know what to say - searching her mind for something soothing she realised her futility and opted for the truth. "As a child, my father once caught me running away for the same reason. I was neither one thing nor the other, neither Klingon nor human and no one liked me either."
A little surprised at the openness coming from the usually hostile woman before her, Seven asked, "How did you adapt?"
"I don't know that I ever have," considered B'Elanna slowly. The revelation disturbed her; she had thought of herself as being fairly well integrated by now. Looking off-guard she snorted, "Huh, I'm a fine one to be offering you advice - I'm still figuring it out myself."
"Then maybe that makes you the best person to have asked for advice. However, you have friendships and are well-respected, B'Elanna Torres, I do not underst."
"Would you quit with the B'Elanna Torres thing, please!" the Engineer snapped.
"I am - I did not mean to offend you. It is your designation, is it not?"
The Engineer knew that the emotionally limited woman before her didn't understand why she had snapped at her. God help me, she thought, if I want to be treated differently by this Ice Woman I'm going to have to teach her myself. "Yes, Seven," she sighed, "it is my designation, as you call it, but it is my total designation - human's are not known by their total designation all the time, certainly not on a personal level."
"I understand," replied Seven shining, finally pleased to be understanding something: "I am not always known as Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix Zero One either."
"No, that's not it." Wake me up someone please, thought B'Elanna, I'm having a nightmare. To Seven's confused face she continued, "Look - I am B'Elanna in private and with friends; I am Miss Torres in private to those who don't know me very well; I am Lieutenant or Lieutenant Torres at work, unless the person addressing me knows me well and the situation is appropriate for a first name; I am Lieutenant B'Elanna T."
"Stop, please stop! I will never understand this, it is hopeless." Seven closed her eyes and clasped her hands over her ears.
Touched by the lost look on her fellow misfit's face, B'Elanna placed a hand on Seven's forearm and said, "No, why? It isn't, I'll help you! You'll get it, you'll see."
"No, Lieutenant, I will not `get it', answered Seven, sitting normally again. "I do not see how to move forward and ease people's bitterness towards me when how I address them alone elevate's their backs."
"Uh, Seven, that's `get's their backs up', explained B'Elanna to a non-comprehending face. "You don't `elevate' their backs you `get their backs up'. To Seven's increasing confusion B'Elanna added, "You'll get it, I know you will."
"Then you know more than I, B'Elanna Tor. - B'Elanna." The Engineer looked surprised at Seven's use of her given name; however, they were in a private situation and Seven had correctly remembered her instruction. She let it go.
Both women fell silent, a silence which lasted for some time: Seven lost in failure and B'Elanna lost in problem solving. Suddenly B'Elanna looked up, rapped a hand on the table and shouted "I've got it!" so loudly that she looked apologetically over at Neelix who had looked up in surprise. Nodding to him, smiling, she turned back to Seven. "I've got it," she said more quietly.
"What is it that you have attained?" asked Seven.
"What is it I have got," corrected B'Elanna.
"That is what I am attempting to discover," replied Seven, looking thoroughly confused.
B'Elanna pushed the English lesson aside, "Nevermind. Look," she began, choosing her words, "one thing that helped me to integrate on this tub was the ability to laugh at myself."
Seven looked horrified, "Excuse me?"
"Trust me, Seven, you laugh at yourself and other people laugh with you and not at you."
"But that is illogical. Are you not all just laughing at the same thing?"
"When you develop the ability to laugh at yourself, people relax around you and join in - then they're no longer laughing at you but with you."
"They are laughing at me?" Seven asked of the Engineer, looking downcast as the words finally hit her.
"Well, no, not exactly. I mean, look, it works to alleviate the stress of an awkward or uptight situation - laughter. I tell you, it helped me. When they realised I was prepared to laugh at myself they accepted me more. Geddit?"
"No," said Seven warily, "but I am willing to concede that you are speaking from your experience and so I will trust your judgement. However, if I choose to proceed with this idea, just how am I expected to begin laughing at myself? I feel miserable."
"Give me a moment." B'Elanna fell silent again while Seven waited patiently, beginning perhaps to feel the first glimmerings of hope about her situation, although not seeing why yet. She studied the face of her table companion, a woman deep in thought, and it suddenly struck her - this woman was deeply in thought on her behalf! Slowly, the edges of Seven's mouth toyed with the idea of a smile as she sat back and allowed her former adversary to think.
"What is it, B'Elanna," enquired Captain Janeway, as she waved her Chief Engineer into her Ready Room.
"I have a project on the go Captain. It concerns Seven."
"With her knowledge?" asked a Captain in the dark.
"Completely, but it requires your input to make it a success."
"It's not something that will hurt her?"
"Just the opposite, Captain," B'Elanna replied, smiling.
"Well then," Kathryn led the way to the soft seating under the window, "tell me more, Lieutenant," she smiled as she sat and waited for the details.
"You have insulted me once again, B'Elanna. I will not stand for this, I shall leave, immediately."
"You sit right there! We've come too far. Leave now and you're dead," screamed the half-Klingon getting off the couch and pacing around her quarters. "Look, I explained to you - didn't I? - that if this is going to work, you have to come back at all that's been said about you. To do that you've got to know what's been said about you, huh? Now that's clear, isn't it? - give me strength."
"I fail to see how increasing your strength at this time will help me to feel better about being insulted."
B'Elanna finally stopped pacing and looked deadpan at the woman in the chair. "You're right! Maybe this isn't going to work!" She stormed off to the bedroom and sat on the side of the bed in the dark, muttering about how she rarely put herself out for someone, and this was all the thanks she got for it when she did.
Seven got up from the chair and walked slowly into the bedroom. "I am sorry, B'Elanna Torres," she whispered gently, settling down on the bed beside the Lieutenant. "I know that you have put yourself out for me, and this is no way to repay your kindness. I have been rude. Forgive me."
"You heard that?!"
"Borg enhanced hearing."
"I did not hear the Deity, B'Elanna, but I did hear you," Seven said with a slight smile.
"Careful girl," B'Elanna half-turned, smiling, "that was awfully like a joke."
"You appreciated my attempt?"
"Yeah. I did"
"Please," Seven stood and reached out to B'Elanna, "come back in. I will endeavour to pay attention to the project."
"You seem to be very pally with Seven lately, or is it just my imagination?" asked Ensign Tabor, looking down at his meal.
"There's a little something we're working on," B'Elanna answered mysteriously.
"May I ask what?"
Lieutenant Nicoletti interrupted the two officers, coming up beside them with a tray full of food; "Mind if I sit with you? Am I interrupting something?"
"Nothing at all, Susan," B'Elanna patted the seat beside her. "Join us, please."
"Actually, B'Elanna was just about to tell me what she's been working on with Seven."
"Ah, no, actually. I wasn't about to tell you anything," B'Elanna leaned back in her chair and regarded Tabor, while her tongue went after a piece of food that was wrapped around the back of a tooth, "I don't know why you think you've got a right to what's in my mind," she teased her old resistance colleague.
"Because I used to have a lot to do with what was in your mind."
"Oh yeah, right. Dream on," replied the Engineer, as she got on with the task of trying to identify exactly what it was that Neelix had concocted this time.
"Well," interrupted Susan, "If you won't tell him, tell me. I'd like to know."
B'Elanna stopped chewing, looked around the Mess Hall and then back to her crewmates. "You'll both know, soon enough. In fact the whole damned ship'll know soon enough. OK? Soon, I promise. Now," she said, trying to change the subject, "tell me about the lovely day you're both having."
There was a distinct buzz of excitement on Holodeck 1. The deck had been programmed to reproduce a theatre environment and Tom Paris was happily showing everyone to their seats. Two showings had been arranged to cover varied shifts, to ensure that everyone who wanted to attend was able to do so. And everyone had been invited. The entire ship. It had been the topic of conversation in the Mess Hall; on the Holodecks; in private quarters, in fact all over the ship, for weeks.
`Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix Zero One, cordially invites the entire crew of Voyager to a play entitled: AN EVENING WITH SEVEN - AND FRIENDS. Details to be posted soon.'
To say that everyone was intrigued would be an understatement; there was a near carnival atmosphere building up in the theatre. Prominent members of the Bridge crew were conspicuous by their absence; speculation as to why they were not present drew a secondary hubbub from the audience.
Behind the scenes, Seven peeked out through a minuscule gap in the curtains. "It's very full," she said nervously. "B'Elanna?"
"I believe I am beginning to feel unwell in my stomach."
"Stage fright," countered B'Elanna, "a common reaction for someone who's afraid to go out on the stage with all those people looking at them."
"A sufficient explanation, thank you. I believe you to be correct about the."
"You OK?" interrupted the Captain, squeezing Seven's arm. On receiving assurances that Seven was not about to back away, the Captain then said breezily, "You'll do fine, Seven, break a leg," as she patted the near-insulted woman's arm, smiled and walked away."
"I fail to see why."
"The term, `Break a Leg', is supposed to bring good luck to stage performers," explained B'Elanna patiently, seeing Seven's face. "C'mon, you'll do fine. Anyway, you don't need luck; you've got me. I'm your mascot." Suddenly embarrassed about what she had said, B'Elanna turned away, but Seven followed her and put a restraining hand on her arm.
"You are right, B'Elanna Torres, with you I have all the luck I could need."
B'Elanna smiled nervously, more warmed than she had expected to be by Seven's words. "You're welcome, Seven of Nine, Teriary Adjunct to."
"Yes, I `get the picture'" she laughed, mimicking her tutor and new friend. "I am trying to remember."
"Ladeez and Gen'l'men," announced the Master of Ceremonies. "We `ave, for your delectation, `ere for you t'night, the amaaazing Seven of Nine - and Friends."
The applause was welcoming, the audience expectancy high, as the houselights dimmed and the curtains parted to reveal a miniature holo- representation of Engineering.
WORKING SCRIPT/SEVEN OF NINE - AND FRIENDS
B'Elanna is at her post as Seven enters
SEVEN: It is I, the Ice Queen. A stagehand to walk across the stage with a `BOO' board in his hand I have come once again to make your life unbearable, with my rude remarks and bad attitude.
B'ELANNA: Oh, is that all?
SEVEN: Be warned, I may disrupt your sanity beyond all possible repair. I am Borg. BOO board
B'ELANNA: Oh yeah? I'm ready for you, Queenie. You just give it your best shot. (You irritating piece of.)
SEVEN: I heard that, Lieutenant.
B'ELANNA: You would. `Borgears'. A person can't even have a quiet mutter without you.
SEVEN: Pay attention! Your work is totally inefficient. Luckily, however, I have come to instruct you in the correct procedures, as it is clear that I am the brighter one here.
B'ELANNA: Why, you little - I'll have you know I was doing this job before you were disconnected! And if you're not damned careful, you Bionic Bitch, I'll disconnect you again, you hear? Stagehand with HURRAH board to walk across stage
B'Elanna picks up phaser and advances on Seven
SEVEN: And you think an organic weakling such as yourself can kill a superior being such as I?
B'ELANNA: I'm gonna have a damned good try.
Note to HURRAH and BOO board operators: make your way across the stage as you see fit from now on
Seven picks up B'Elanna by the throat, disarms her and dangles her in mid-air. [Note to props: B'Elanna actually standing on a box at this point]
SEVEN: Seven of Nine to the Captain.
JANEWAY: Go ahead, Seven.
SEVEN: Captain, transport yourself to Engineering immediately, or I will assimilate Lieutenant Torres.
JANEWAY: [muttering] A `please' would be nice. Honestly Seven, you're so rude.
SEVEN: It's part of my charm, Captain. I have B'Elanna dangling in the air with my digits around her neck. Come now!
JANEWAY: Put her down, Seven! That's an order!
SEVEN: Make haste, Captain. I am finding it hard to comply.
JANEWAY: Well, why should you? You never have before.
Site to site transport - Capt. appears and assesses threat
JANEWAY: Security, report to Engineering, now! Tuvok, the Ice Maiden's at it again; she's got B'Elanna by the throat.
TUVOK: Is B'Elanna's tongue blue yet, Captain?
JANEWAY: Not yet.
TUVOK: Then I will take the scenic route.
JANEWAY: Site to site - now!!!
TUVOK: Aye Captain.
Tuvok appears in Engineering
TUVOK: Seven, drop her.
SEVEN: I never listen. I will not comply. I am Borg.
JANEWAY: I don't give a damn what you are. Look, your Highness, there must be a way to end this without the death of the Lieutenant.
TUVOK: Seven, I have always thought of you as a daughter. Now, put the nice Lieutenant down, and come to daddy.
B'ELANNA: Oh God.
JANEWAY: But I had planned to adopt you one day. I mean, where does a Superhero find a daughter to live up to her these days, huh? But if that's daddy, well - I'm not living with him! I'm sorry, Tuvok, but I...
SEVEN: Mom, Dad, let me assimilate you both, please. Then we can all live happily as one.
JANEWAY: Over my dead body.
SEVEN: Essentially, yes.
B'ELANNA: Has anyone thought to ask her to loosen the grip she has around my throat? It's pretty tight.
JANEWAY: Janeway to Chakotay. We have a situation, Commander. Emergency site to site transport to Engineering now. Janeway out.
CHAKOTAY: Seven, (hello B'Elanna) isn't B'Elanna a little uncomfortable like that?
B'ELANNA: Not to me, it isn't!
CHAKOTAY: What are you doing, Seven?
SEVEN: I offered to bring order into her chaos. For some reason, she turned on me.
JANEWAY: Can't think why she'd do that!
CHAKOTAY: And why is she in the air?
SEVEN: She threatened to disconnect me, with a phaser. I neutralised the threat.
JANEWAY: B'Elanna? Do you promise to try not to shoot Seven if she lets you go?
B'ELANNA: Uh, tough one. OK.
SEVEN: Unacceptable. She may break her word.
JANEWAY: And you may break her neck. Put the woman down.
SEVEN: Well, alright. Releases B'Elanna
JANEWAY: Tuvok, throw her in the Brig!
TUVOK: Aye, Captain. Tuvok leads Seven off stage - houselights down
In the `wings' Tom Paris was using his wizardry with the computer to alter the scene to the Brig. The applause was encouraging.
Houselights up. Scene - Brig. Seven sitting behind forcefield in containment bay and Captain Janeway outside
JANEWAY: Help me to understand, Seven. Why do you act as you do?
SEVEN: I have tried hard to understand your ways Captain, but they are difficult for me to grasp. I had never been free with my own decisions, my own thoughts and actions, until you disconnected me.
JANEWAY: But you are learning.
SEVEN: Slowly, yes. But there is much confusion, Captain, and I am tired of trying to understand. I feel isolated in my differences and I am unsupported, by most people, during this difficult transition. I am constantly misunderstood.
JANEWAY: How, Seven?
SEVEN: When I give an incorrect presentation of English, I am seen as rude; when I speak my mind in my own way I am considered arrogant. When I am most afraid or in the most pain inside, I become hardened outside to protect myself, but it draws judgement and hatred.
JANEWAY: And how has that affected you, Seven?
SEVEN: It makes me cry inside, and long for the day when I may escape being myself, but I cannot do that, and so I am becoming damaged emotionally.
JANEWAY: So what is it that you want?
Seven stands. Janeway steps to one side, lowers forcefield and Seven comes forward to stand centre stage. She then delivers speech to audience
SEVEN: I want people to forgive me for being different. I want people to have a little patience with me while I try to learn what they have always known. I want to have people look at me without fear in their eyes. I want to be accepted for who I am, not who they think I should be. I want to be liked. I want to have friends.
Do I want any more than anyone else does in this room? I've already had most of my life taken from me, through no fault of my own. Please, I just want a chance to grow in a supportive and understanding environment. In the words of B'Elanna Torres, `give me a break, huh?'
Seven stood, centre-stage, for a long while. The audience, who had laughed heartily at Act One, and had been listening intently during Act Two, now sat stunned. The houselights dropped, signalling the end of the first part of the show. There wasn't a mind throughout the room that hadn't taken in the words spoken from the Ice Queen's heart. There wasn't a pair of eyes that hadn't seen her melt before them, and there wasn't a heart that didn't go out to her and want to assist her in her journey.
Refreshments flooded the Holodeck on mass as the audience twittered excitedly among themselves during the interval.
Backstage there were hugs and cuddles, and a chorus of "well done's". In amongst it all Seven stood, beaming, looking around at these special people who were here on her behalf, helping her get a point across to the bulk of Voyager's crewmembers.
The second half of the show was set out to depict Seven in various situations in her leisure time. Amongst many other sketches, she was seen singing an accompaniment to a Harry Kim clarinet piece, written especially for the evening; she was seen playing velocity with her Captain (but not winning) and she sang a duet with the Doctor. She was also seen in a sketch of Eliza-Doolittle-in-reverse, being taught how to talk `more common like' not `more posh' by B'Elanna, which drew a great deal of laughter from an appreciative audience.
The curtain finally fell, and the houselights went dark. And then the applause started. A small ripple at first, but it quickly spread to a standing ovation, as the houselights raised and revealed the members of the cast in a line, with Seven roughly in the middle.
They all bowed as they continued to receive applause and then Seven was pushed forward on her own. Nervously she stood looking from side to side, looking for support from her colleagues, then she turned and faced the crowded room before her.
One by one, crewmembers were coming up on the stage, shaking Seven's hand, talking to her, congratulating her. Inwardly they were saying sorry - sorry for judging; sorry for hurting; sorry for laughing; sorry for being inconsiderate.
Seven stood amongst them for a while, smiling her gratitude and realising the success of the first show of the evening. Then she began to look around for B'Elanna. She finally located her, resting up against a Holographic wall, looking over at Seven and smiling. Seven tilted her head back and mouthed `thank you' and just managed to receive an acknowledging nod as her new fans overtook her.
When Seven looked around again, five minutes later, B'Elanna was gone. The audience had thinned out somewhat and Seven was ready to head back to Astrometrics and await the next performance. She sighed and turned back towards the door to leave, and found herself looking straight into the Engineer's dark eyes.
"Join me in the Mess Hall?" invited B'Elanna. "We have something to celebrate."
Seven sat snuggled at Kathryn's feet. They often sat this way as they discussed, argued, chatted, laughed. Seven had been unusually quiet throughout the evening and Kathryn knew she would tell her why when the time was right. It had been a year since the play B'Elanna had devised, the play that had changed everything for the young ex- Borg; had changed all of their lives, if it came to it.
"I have something important I want to ask you," asked Seven, looking up at a woman she had come to love more than she had thought possible.
"What is it, my darling?"
Fixing her steady gaze on the older woman, Seven asked firmly, "Will you marry me?"
"Oh, sweetheart!" Kathryn's full smile lit her entire face as she slid off the couch and joined Seven on the floor, instantly to be swallowed up by one of Seven's now famous hugs. "Of course I'll marry you!"
In the days that followed, Kathryn became quite impossible in her happiness. She spent a lot of time reproducing the Church in Indiana where her parents were married and where she was christened. In the spaces in between serious work and planning for the wedding, she flitted around the ship gathering congratulations by the bucketful, a smile never far from her lips.
And now the day had arrived. Captain Kathryn Janeway stood at the top of the aisle, in full Dress Suit, looking down the aisle into the eyes of Seven of Nine, standing with her arm through Tuvok's, who looked as proud as she could ever recall her old friend looking.
Seven's face was radiant, her blue eyes shone and her face was alive with love; the white Edwardian-style dress suited her perfectly. Beside her stood B'Elanna in full Dress uniform, looking equally radiant with her arm through Chakotay's, who looked so proud to be giving his long-time friend away on this special day.
The music began and Kathryn nodded to Seven to begin her journey down the aisle, side by side with the woman she would be joined with today. Slowly they walked acknowledging friends and fellow crewmembers to the right and left until finally they stood before their Captain.
Seven leaned towards Kathryn and whispered gently to the woman who had adopted her some six months earlier: "You're crying, mother."
"I know, darling. I'm trying not to."
The music stopped and Tuvok and Chakotay acknowledged Kathryn and then took their seats. The entire contents of the church then seemed to hold its breath in expectation of the proceedings to follow.
Neelix stood and shuffled nervously to the side, just behind the two women, with the two rings on a purple velvet cushion. Seven smoothed the front of her dress, and B'Elanna stood proudly beside her, both of them looking at a Captain who was wreathed in smiles and tears.
"Dearly beloved," began the Captain, "just over six years ago, we became lost to the Alpha Quadrant and started on the long road to becoming the extended family we are to each other today. And now, two of our family stand before us, ready to exchange their vows of love for each other and share a life together in marriage."
Kathryn looked from Seven to B'Elanna and back again to Seven, and basked in the radiance of their faces. The escaping tear down her left cheek did nothing to interfere with her strong, sure voice; as she began the service, she realised that she had never felt more proud in her entire life.
Nearing the end of the ceremony, the first of two they were to hold, Seven stole a look across at B'Elanna and in a moment her mind flashed back to the start of their relationship.
It had begun at the end of the second performance of `Seven - and Friends'. B'Elanna had asked Seven to return with her to her quarters to collect a padd she had borrowed; a thin excuse, seen through by Seven in an instant.
B'Elanna had entered her room, not asking for the lights to come up, and Seven had followed. Coming up behind the woman who'd helped to turn her life around, Seven placed a hand on her shoulder. It was all B'Elanna needed. She turned quickly and found Seven's lips in the darkness and covered them with her own. Nothing much was said, at least not until the early hours of the morning.
And now, looking at B'Elanna whose eyes were shining with tears, Seven knew at once that the whole sorry story of her days had led her here, to this exceptional love. For that reason alone all her pain, all her sadness, all her loneliness had been worth it, because now it all made sense.
A voice interrupted Seven's thoughts, "You may now each kiss the bride," and they turned to face each other fully. Seven took B'Elanna's cheek so gently in the palm of one hand and leaned forward to seal their union. Grinning, B'Elanna placed both hands on Seven's slim waist, and their resultant kiss set up a cheer of congratulations among the gathered crew.
Unheard by anyone present, a similar cheer was rippling through the beautifully sleek ship they all called home, as the ceremony had been linked ship-wide through an open channel.
"Now," urged B'Elanna of Seven, as they were about to take their leave of the impressive celebration that had been given in their honour. "Go on."
"You are sure that throwing dying blooms at people is part of the."
"All right," laughed Seven as she threw the bouquet, which sailed impressively high in the air.
A startled young ensign suddenly found a boquet sailing past her nose and landing in her hurriedly projected hands. Young Harry Kim smiled as he looked at the embarrassment on the young woman's face; she looked even more cute than she had in the Mess Hall last night he thought, as he made his way over to her, fervently hoping he would have better luck this time.
In the dark, B'Elanna's voice came again, "Goodnight John Boy."
"Ancient Earth history. I'll tell you tomorrow."
Exhausted from the demonstrations of their love, they fell asleep then, in each other's arms.
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