DISCLAIMER: Donít own Star Trek: Voyager. Donít own the characters. Donít own Macbeth, for that matter. Just borrowing. No money involved.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Story That Dare Not Speak Its Name
By Jillo


Act I—Scene i—Really Weird Sisters

Sam Wildman and the Delaney sisters finished their drinks as their laughter slowly died away, their eyes sliding away from one another's. They had been meeting during off-duty time in Sandrine's for a few weeks, now, having realized that they enjoyed each others' company. Their gatherings had begun as bitch sessions about the usual things—work, their respective bosses, ex-lovers, and being trapped in the Delta Quadrant in general. As they continued to meet, their discussions had widened to include their personal histories, their fears, hopes, and dreams. They had found their increasing intimacy to have a salubrious effect upon their lives. How could they have forgotten what most women knew almost from birth, that simple girl-talk could be so therapeutic?

Tonight, however, had been different. What had begun as typical complaints about being trapped in the Delta Quadrant had morphed into more pointed, personal jibes. General discontent aimed at no one in particular soon became barbed comments about Captain Kathryn Janeway's command style, which then gave way to bitter recriminations about the Captain's decision to leave them all stranded 70,000 light years from home. Now, ten years later, they were still looking at a lifetime in exile.

"Well, I might enjoy my work, at least, if I didn't have to come into almost daily contact with the Ice Queen," moaned Sam. "You'd think after all this time aboard Voyager she'd loosen up a bit."

"At least she's easy on the eyes," observed Jennifer.

"Yeah. I get to work with the Doc!" chimed Megan. "Seven's built like a brick shithouse."

"Right—an ice-brick one!" giggled Sam. The Delaney sisters joined in.

"My boss is hell on wheels," complained Jennifer. "Torres has been on some kind of tear lately."

It was true. B'Elanna Torres, the resident Klingon-human hybrid, had been testy recently, at best. The Engineering crew had been trying to keep out of the Chief's way for days now. Had they given it any thought, they might well have wondered at the source of their Chief's discontent. It couldn't have been her on-again, off-again relationship with Lieutenant Paris. No, they had permanently called it quits well over a year ago, and Paris had most definitely moved on. In fact, the two had maintained a friendship, one that sustained Lieutenant Torres in a way that had surprised her. Even the Chief, herself, was at a loss to describe her malaise. A vague restlessness had beset her, and her temper was fraying more and more quickly the longer the unnamed complaint dragged on. Her unfortunate staff had borne the brunt of their boss's ill-ease. Perhaps her "date" with Tom later on that evening would shake her out of her funk. There was nothing she found more exhilarating than running a Klingon battle program with the safeties set to minimum! Ensign Delaney had felt a shiver run down her spine when she saw the malicious smile break across the Chief's otherwise beautiful features. She had made an abrupt about-face and found something to do in another part of Engineering rather than cross paths with the Lieutenant at that particular moment. Jennifer shook her head at the memory of the Engineering crew ducking their normally beloved boss.

"Something's up with her, that's for sure," she mused. "Maybe she's tired of trying to keep the engines working while Janeway keeps getting us into one tangle after another."

"I know I would," agreed her sister. She brightened as a new idea took hold. "I'll bet she'd make a better captain than Janeway."

"Torres?" asked Sam. "She's too much of a hot-head. Seven'd be a better one."

"But you said it yourself, Sam," interjected Megan. "She's nerveless. With the ice water running through her veins, she'd get us into more trouble than Janeway ever has!"

"Yeah," said Jennifer. "Torres at least would have some feeling for her crew. Her sense of honor would prevent her from putting us thoughtlessly in harm's way."

"But Seven has a strong sense of duty to us—her 'collective.' She'd be hesitant to put this crew into the kind of peril Janeway consigned us to!" Sam insisted.

"Let's test this theory out, then, shall we?" asked Jennifer.

"What do you mean, Jen?" asked her sister.

After another hour of drinking, plotting, and giggling, the three raised their heads from their close collaboration and sat back.

"Well," said Sam, "where do you want to meet again? In the mess hall, someone's quarters, or the holodeck?"

"The holodeck!" Jennifer smiled. "I know for a fact that Torres and Paris are running a Klingon battle program right now."

"Ah! When the Klingon's day is done!"

"When the battle's over and won!"

"When the program has been run!"

"Then meet back here, in front of Holodeck 2, in twenty minutes!" said Jennifer as the three women clasped hands to seal their plans. "Up is down and down is up. Janeway will rue the day she ever drank from this cup!"

Making sounds that could only be described as cackling, the three women rose and disappeared through the exit.


Scene ii—Up is Down

In her ready room, Captain Kathryn Janeway paced. Back and forth, she measured the length of the small room a dozen times over, stopping to sip from her coffee cup at regular intervals.

"Chakotay!" she fumed for the hundredth time. She had half a mind to bust him back to Lieutenant for this. Normally, when she and her first officer disagreed, they treated each other with courtesy, Chakotay deferring to his commanding officer, and Janeway being careful of her number one's ego. But this time she was distinctly angry at him, feeling as she did that he had embarrassed her by disagreeing with her in front of the emissary from the people whose planet they had been orbiting. Any other time, she would not have minded that he would suggest a different course of action from the one upon which she had decided. But any other time he would have consulted with her privately, not contradicted her publicly before her crew and visitors. For reasons she could not explain, she could not calm her anger at his temerity. Quite the contrary, she felt her anger build. Just who in the hell did he think he was? He ought to thank all the spirits in his pantheon that she had made the dirty Maquis traitor her second in command instead of throwing him into the brig as he deserved! Well, she'd see about this! She'd been feeling the need for a change lately—some vague, disturbing sense that things needed shaking up. Well, there was no better time than the present, and she knew just whom to promote to the position of Commander. She strode over to her replicator.

"Pips—rank of Lieutenant Commander," she requested. The three golden items gleamed into existence. Smiling, she took them up in her hand and placed them into a small, velvet-lined box.

She slapped her comm badge. "Janeway to Torres." No response. "Computer, state location of Lieutenant Torres."

"Lieutenant Torres is in Holodeck 2," came the mechanized reply.

"Very well," thought the Captain as she headed out the door. "I'll deliver the good news to her personally."

On her way to the Holodeck, Janeway literally ran into Jennifer Delaney, causing her to drop the small box she'd been carrying.

"Pardon me, Captain," said Jennifer, stooping to pick up the box, which had sprung open upon hitting the deck. She handed the box to her Captain, but not before noticing what lay in it.

"Thank you, Ensign," said Janeway, snapping the box shut. "Have you seen Lieutenant Torres?" she asked.

Jennifer's eyes grew large. "She's in the Holodeck, ma'am," she told her, while telling herself to calm down. Wouldn't do to let on to the Captain that she'd put two and two together. "She's running a program with Lieutenant Paris, but she won't be finished for a little while yet," she offered.

Janeway wondered at the volunteered information coming from the Ensign, but just as quickly realized that she'd been indiscreet, herself. She didn't normally give herself away by asking crewmembers questions about other crewmembers as she'd just done. The thought suddenly occurred to her that she really ought to tell Chakotay of his demotion before she promoted another in his place. Might as well do this properly. Inexplicably, she committed yet another indiscretion.

"Janeway to Chakotay."

"Chakotay here, Captain," her comm badge chirped.

"My ready room," she said frostily.

"Yes, Captain."

As the Captain turned and strode in the other direction, Jennifer Delaney smirked gleefully. Things were falling into place quite nicely. She hurried toward the Holodeck as if chased by demons.


Scene iii—Something Stupid this Way Comes

Jennifer Delaney caught up with her sister and Sam Wildman outside of Holodeck 2. They giggled conspiratorially at one another.

"Where have you been, Sis?" asked Megan.

"Killing time," Jennifer replied, smiling. "Where've you been?"

"The mess hall. I sent Neelix on a wild goose chase and while he was gone, swiped a bunch of goodies from his larder. We can divvy them up later if you want," Megan told her fellow plotters, holding up a sack for their inspection.

"I'll have some now," said Sam, reaching into the sack.

"I'll have some, too!" cried Jennifer, snatching the bag from her sister.

"Look what I have!" said Megan, grinning, as Jennifer and Sam shoved Neelix's latest batch of cookies into their mouths.


"Show me!"

"I have got the Talaxian's ear, but quite literally, as you see here," Megan cackled. The three women howled with laughter as they ate the cookies and passed the grisly trophy back and forth.

"I suppose the 'wild goose chase' was to send him to Sickbay," observed Sam.

"Yep!" chirped Megan. "Look, girls, I'm all ears!" she said as she placed the morale officer's ear up on the top of her head.

They doubled over in peels of laughter just as the Holodeck door swished open.

"Hush, hush! It's Torres and the putz!" whispered Jennifer.

"I love the smell of Klingon blood in the evening!" said Lieutenant Torres expansively as she and Paris walked out of the Holodeck. She slapped her former boyfriend on the back heartily. She'd had a great time slashing and eviscerating Klingon warriors, even if they'd been holographic ones. Tom, however, seemed a bit worse for the wear as he limped along at her side. "Yeah, Klingon blood, my favorite," he winced as he absorbed the friendly blow. Then he noticed the three waiting women.

"What are you girls up to, hanging around the hallways this late into the evening? You look weird—what do you have there, Megan?" He made as if to reach for the item she had quickly moved to hold behind her back. "And what's with the sack? What's going on here? You look like you've been drinking." They giggled and looked back at him with wildly glinting eyes.

Tom's easy smile faded as he looked from one to the other of them. They were certainly behaving oddly. Paris had privately thought that the Delaney sisters had less than half a brain between them, but this was passing strange. "Don't you have a shift tomorrow? You should be sleeping, not carrying on like you're trick or treating or something."




"We know something you don't know!"

The three women surrounded him and began to move about him in a circle. He was getting dizzy from watching them. "What are you three on about?"

"What are they on? That's a better question," smirked Torres.

"Lesser in rank than Torres, yet much ranker!" said Megan.

"Now, wait a minute!" Paris protested.

"Now much happier, yet less happy!" sang Jennifer.


"You've touched greatness, yet shall touch it not!" chimed in Samantha.

"What the hell?" Tom turned to B'Elanna and looked at her quizzically. Torres shrugged, drawing the attention of the weird women to her.

"We salute you, B'Elanna Torres, Chief of Engineering!" said Megan.

"We salute you, B'Elanna Torres, Lieutenant Commander!" sang Jennifer.

"We salute you, B'Elanna Torres, Captain hereafter!" chimed in Samantha.

The three snapped to attention and saluted her smartly. Then they turned and ran down the hall, practically shrieking their laughter.

"I have got to keep Delaney busier in Engineering," mused Torres, shaking her head, looking after the three women.

"Yeah. And someone should keep the other two out of the cooking sherry. What was that crack about being ranker than you, anyway?" He lifted his arm and sniffed his armpit. "I took a shower! And what's this about you being Lieutenant Commander, and then Captain? I didn't know you had such ambition!" Paris joked with her as they began walking toward the turbolift.

"Well, you know me, clawing my way to the top!" B'Elanna chuckled. She maintained her outward demeanor of humorous befuddlement at the ramblings of the Delaney sisters and Ensign Wildman, yet something uncomfortable stirred deep within her. A building desire, a sense of excitement and yearning began to gnaw at her. She tried to shake it off. "Wildman is already appropriately named, but we'll have to start calling the other two the Delooney sisters, if you ask me," she told him. "And what's this about you 'touching greatness' but not touching it? Was that it? What's up with that?"

"Don't ask me," chuckled Tom as they stopped in front of the turbolift.

They were prevented from entering the turbolift by the exit of Captain Janeway.

"Ah! Just the woman I want to see, Lieutenant Commander Torres," Janeway smiled at B'Elanna.

"Captain?" asked Torres, thunderstruck.

"Oh, I know I should have done this with more pomp and ceremony, as I usually would, but I just couldn't wait to give you these." Janeway pushed the small blue box into Lieutenant Torres's hands.

B'Elanna opened the box and stared at the three pips gleaming as they lay on the deep blue velvet. She looked up at her Captain in amazement.

"But what about Chakotay? Is this a joke? Do you decorate me with impermanent pips?"

"It's no joke. Congratulations, Commander. I expect you in my ready room at 0800 hours tomorrow. I want to get my new number one up to speed. Carry on. Good evening, Commander, Lt. Paris," she nodded at him, seemingly noticing him for the first time.

And with that, Janeway turned and re-entered the turbolift, leaving Tom and B'Elanna staring open-mouthed at one another.


Scene iv—A Room with a View

The ready room doors opened promptly at 0800 to admit the newly-minted Lieutenant Commander, B'Elanna Torres, to her Captain's presence.

"Commander Torres reporting for duty, Captain," said Torres as she stood at attention.

"Well," breathed Kathryn Janeway, rising from behind the desk to greet her new number one. "You look magnificent in red, B'Elanna." She opened her arms as she approached the first officer then embraced her warmly.

"Thank you, Captain," said the somewhat flustered Commander, as she and the Captain released each other. "I saw that you had authorized the uniform, so I replicated one this morning." She still couldn't believe this recent turn of events—that she had been elevated so precipitously, and that it had been foretold to her just moments before Janeway had promoted her—in the hallway, of all places!

Janeway looked her squarely in the eyes for a long moment. "I expected no less, Commander." Then she smiled and moved to her replicator, indicating that the number one should take a seat.

"Coffee, black," she told it, "and, ah, raktajino, I believe?" she asked over her shoulder, her eyes twinkling.

"Yes, ma'am. Thank you, ma'am," said B'Elanna as she perched on the edge of the couch.

The Captain waved her hand. "Oh, belay that 'ma'am' business. Right here, right now, it's Kathryn, B'Elanna." She smiled widely as she handed Torres her cup of raktajino. "I like to be on a first-name basis with my first officer when we're in my ready room, having a nice, informal chat." She sat next to Torres.

"Yes, ma'am—uh, Kathryn," smiled B'Elanna hesitantly as she began to relax into the welcoming atmosphere established by the Captain.

"I know this has come as a bit of a shock, B'Elanna," the Captain began.

"Well, yes. It has," admitted Torres. "And frankly, I'm a little concerned about Engineering."

"How so?" asked Janeway, her face becoming serious.

"Well, I've had so little time to prepare my replacement. I know it's going to be Carey, but I haven't had a chance to tell him that he's going to be the new Chief, and there are several projects I need to go over with him that—."

The Captain cut her off. "I know that you can take care of this today, and I trust your judgment in choosing your replacement implicitly," she said. "Right! The senior staff meeting begins soon, and I want to show off my new first officer. Is there anything else?"

B'Elanna hesitated. "There is one more thing."

"Yes?" asked Janeway, frowning slightly.

"Chakotay, Captain," B'Elanna stated.

"Well?" Janeway looked impatient.

"Well, where is he?"

Janeway stood up abruptly and waved her hand. "He's in the brig," she said tersely.

"The brig, Captain? What did he do, if I might ask?"

"He's to face court-martial for insubordination," Janeway stated as she turned to look at Torres.

"Court-martial! Insubordination? Chakotay? Kathryn, I don't mean to be pushy, but won't we need him? We still have a rather long way to go, if I'm not mistaken—."

The Captain held up her hand. "Oh, nothing he did for this ship served it like his leaving it! We'll all be better off without him, B'Elanna," the Captain said as she took a sip of her coffee. She looked over her cup at Torres and winked at her, her ease and good humor restored. "You'll see."

"Yes, Captain," said Torres, an incipient smile beginning upon her face.

"Now, let's go join the others, shall we?" asked Janeway. Torres stood and walked with Janeway toward the door. She took a deep breath as she and the Captain stepped into the conference room, Janeway's hand resting gently on her back.


Scene v—Fate and Metaphysical Aid

The entrance of Captain Janeway and Commander Torres into the conference room brought the spirited debate to an abrupt halt. The curious department heads grew silent, waiting for their Captain to fill them in and confirm or deny the rumors they'd heard. Three empty chairs around the table had fueled much speculation, and despite the reasonable suggestion by Tuvok that they wait until they heard from the Captain herself before jumping to unwarranted conclusions, Paris, Ensign Harry Kim, and the Doctor had been beside themselves with impatience to know all. Only Seven of Nine, who had no knowledge of the matter to impart, had remained silent.

At the first sight of B'Elanna's red shoulders, Paris thumped the table top.

"There!" he exclaimed triumphantly, looking around the table, "I told you she'd been made Number One!"

"But where's Chakotay, B'Elanna?" asked Harry, smiling. "You bump him off on your way to the top?"

"Lieutenant Chakotay is in the brig and will remain there until he can be court-martialed," said Janeway, frowning at Kim's joke. "Until I am ready to convene the court-martial and that matter is resolved, we'll have no more discussion about him."

Harry and Tom looked at one another in surprise. Tuvok's eyebrow shot up, but he said nothing. The Doctor was about to say something but thought better of it after his eyes met Janeway's. They practically dared him to speak. Only Seven failed to react to the news. Barely registering the Captain's words, she'd been unable to tear her eyes from Commander Torres since the two women had entered the conference room. As the years had passed on Voyager, Seven had slowly come to terms with much of what it meant to be human, including the fact that humans responded powerfully to certain reactions within their brains caused by close proximity to other humans. They dressed it up in romantic language, calling it "falling in love" or "feeling attracted to" someone or some other sentimental nonsense. But the fact remained that what they experienced was a chemical reaction, purely and simply. It resulted in illogical behaviors and often included much physical contact that was excruciatingly embarrassing to witness. When the chemical responses changed, as they inevitably did, the sullen emotional backwash that she and other crewmembers had to wade through until those involved "got over it" was unrelentingly tedious. She had never experienced this particular chemical response and was relieved at being spared that indignity, at least. The other, more mundane bodily functions that she had had to accept as part and parcel of her human condition were humiliating enough, thank you very much. Frankly, she envied the Doctor his lack of corporeal existence at times.

But now, she was, and really there was no other way to put it, hot and bothered. She felt an ache deep within her as she stared at the beautiful half-Klingon in the arresting command red uniform, the three gold pips on her collar glinting in the overhead lighting. A wave of heat washed over her, making the blood rush to her face as her heart raced. She stirred uncomfortably in her chair, feeling the need to relieve a sudden pressure that had built inexplicably between her legs.

Torres, who'd been standing next to Janeway with her hands behind her back, looking off into the middle distance, swept her eyes around the table as if to determine the level of acceptance of this startling turn of events. When her eyes met Seven's, she stopped momentarily, frowning, then moved away. Almost against her will, she looked at Seven again. As their eyes met and held, Seven felt the blood suffuse her face anew. She dropped her eyes in acute embarrassment but found that she was unable to look away for long. She raised her head and met Torres's gaze once again. To her horror, she realized that her lips were parted and that she was breathing heavily. B'Elanna frowned more deeply and forced her eyes away to look at Janeway, as it was clear that the Captain was preparing to make the official announcement.

"I'm more than pleased to announce the promotion of B'Elanna Torres to Lieutenant Commander. She'll be taking over as my first officer effective immediately. As always, I'm sure that you'll extend to her your utmost respect and cooperation," stated Janeway, smiling around the room. "B'Elanna?" she turned to her new number one.

"Yes, thank you, Captain," smiled Torres as she brought her hands from behind her back and gazed around the table at her seated colleagues. "While I enjoy working in Engineering, I look forward to this new challenge. And it goes without saying that I'm grateful for your support in the past and hope that I can count on its continuing." It wasn't exactly deathless speech-making, but it was appropriate and the best she could do under the circumstances. If the truth were told, she still felt awkward about the whole situation. It was damned peculiar, almost as if unseen, unknown forces were at work, controlling their actions, their circumstances, hell, their very thoughts. Well, she couldn't untangle it all just now. She just wanted this initial moment of her service as first officer over with so she could get on with her duties.

The longer she stood next to Janeway, looking around at her colleagues, the more disturbing the thought that there was some discontent with her promotion became. As she took her seat next to the Captain, she cast surreptitious glances about the table, trying to get a feel for who seemed happy about the situation and who did not. She had her suspicions about Tuvok, naturally, the duplicitous bastard. She'd never quite been able to get past his treachery, his working with the Maquis as a Starfleet operative. Harry looked like he wanted to cry. She mentally shook her head. He was her best friend, next to Tom, aboard Voyager, yet she knew he respected Chakotay. The poor sap probably didn't know what to think or how to feel. Then there was Tom. He was frowning deeply, the lines between his eyes having deepened over the years. In the ten years they'd been trapped in the Delta Quadrant, Tom had matured more than any of the crew. Growing up from a hot-headed kid into a thoughtful, measured adult, he and B'Elanna had shared the most intimate of relationships. That stage of their relationship was past, but they had maintained a close bond. If anyone could be counted on to support her in her abrupt elevation to second in command, it should have been Tom. B'Elanna's eyes narrowed as she took Tom's measure down the table. He looked profoundly troubled and wouldn't meet her gaze. The Doctor seemed the least affected by the changes, seemingly unaware of the undercurrents flowing through the room. If he didn't seem to offer much encouragement, likewise he didn't seem to project any misgivings about her assuming her new role. That left Seven.

She wasn't sure, but it seemed to B'Elanna that Seven had been unable to take her eyes from her since she and the Captain had entered the conference room. And it wasn't as if she was staring daggers at her. If anything, she seemed to be fighting something in herself. If the idea were not so ludicrous, she'd almost swear that the woman was sexually aroused—by her! Torres fought the urge to smile. Seven would be a valuable and powerful ally. Perhaps it was time to cultivate a closer alliance with the Chief of Astrometrics. As the meeting wore on, Commander Torres decided that she would spend part of her first day as first officer by paying a little visit to Cargo Bay 2.


Scene vi—Hex Me Up, Sex Me Up

The door to Cargo Bay 2 safely shut behind her, Seven of Nine slumped against the bulkhead, letting the pent-up feelings she'd been fighting all day have their sway. Heat surged through her once again, and she knew her face was flushed. A remote part of her conscious mind registered an elevated heart rate and body temperature, but she couldn't spare any thoughts about that now, aware as she was of the throbbing of a previously dormant part of her body. She didn't know why this was happening to her. There was nothing different about B'Elanna Torres beyond a different color uniform and a change in rank and position. Why she should suddenly be in thrall to base desires and physical demands she was unable to discern. But she was. She let herself picture Commander Torres in her red-shouldered tunic, exuding power and confidence. The proud Klingon ridges, the café-au-lait skin. She ran her hands along her sides, feeling for the first time the firm flesh beneath the slick biosuit, imagining what it would be like if Torres . . . .

She gasped as her hand found her sex, and she removed it to grip the console she'd managed to move to stand beside once she'd entered the Cargo Bay. What in the name of the Borg Queen had come over her? And when had she started invoking the Borg Queen? The thought gave her pause. Oh, it was irrelevant! What did it matter in the face of these overwhelming impulses? She knew that she wanted to experience the act of sex, the feelings of desire and release, the giving over of herself to another being in an ecstasy of abandon. And she wanted to experience it with Commander Torres. She brought her hands again to her sides. If the sight and thought of Torres in the rank of Commander moved her to such passion, she wondered, what would they do to her if Torres were in the position of Captain?

She would know! She would give herself to her Commander and in so doing spur Torres to greater heights, greater power.

"Come to me, you human desires, feelings, and sensual powers," she thought, running her hands over her breasts till her nipples became painfully, deliciously erect. Oh. That's what those things did. "Bathe me in your juices and fill me head to toe with womanly essence. Make sweet my sex, make fast my blood, and stay the conscious thoughts of reason that would put the lie to your logic and stop me and my ministrations. Come, maddening minions that drive such creatures as we are to leave our thoughtful purposes to dive headlong into the crazed morass of roiling passions. Cloud the pure, clear light of reason seated in our high machine, let slip the beast that dwells within our nether region, and strangle in its birth the thought that maybe this isn't such a good idea."

Seven groaned, her eyes shut, her head thrown back, and her hands everywhere on her own body.

She was startled by the sound of the door to Cargo Bay 2 swishing open.

"Commander Torres!" she exclaimed, her eyes flashing, her hands slowly sliding from her body.

Torres walked up to Seven and stopped mere inches away from her, looking at her sharply.

"So, do you want to fuck, or not?" she asked, folding her arms across her chest and cocking her head to one side.

"That depends, Commander," smiled Seven, trailing her long fingers along Torres's red-clad shoulders. "Will you wear your red uniform? Will you keep it on the whole time? Will you let me call you 'Captain,' my Captain?" She moved even closer to B'Elanna until her breasts lightly touched the first officer's folded arms. She ran a finger down Torres's cheek until it reached her collar, where she touched the pips on it.

"'Captain'!" exclaimed Torres, tearing herself away from the siren that Seven had become and taking a few steps away from her. She walked over to the console and idly picked up a PADD and put it down. She turned to face Seven.

"Aren't you being a little premature? I've only now been promoted to number one. I'd like to enjoy this for a little while before entertaining the notion that I could ever be anything greater."

Seven advanced on B'Elanna, backing her up until she could back no further, braced as she was by the console behind her.

"It is but a small step to the captaincy, B'Elanna," cooed Seven into Torres's ear. "Authority becomes you. You are destined for this position. It is written in the stars." She rubbed her smooth, soft cheek against B'Elanna's face, her hands traveling up her arms until they reached her shoulders, where she kneaded the tense muscles. Then she licked B'Elanna's cheek, producing an involuntary growl from deep within Torres's throat.

"But she's been so nice to me," protested Torres, pulling out of Seven's grasp. "How can I betray her kindness, her trust? And just what are you saying—that I should kill her? Where is the honor in that?" She had her wits about her again and she would put an end to this crazy, seditious talk. She turned to leave.

Seven caught her by the arm and turned her to face her again, pulling her against her body and enclosing her in a tight embrace.

"Hush, my beloved," murmured Seven, moving her face to B'Elanna's again. "Your Klingon honor does you credit." She paused to place a soft kiss on B'Elanna's neck. "It stands you in good stead . . . ." She kissed a little higher up her neck. ". . . and will be your guiding influence when you achieve the greatness . . . ." She kissed B'Elanna's face. ". . . you so deserve." She sank her teeth into B'Elanna's cheek, drawing blood.

Emitting a sound midway between a growl and a groan, Commander Torres bent Seven back in her arms and took her lips in a bruising kiss. As they sank down to the deck, Seven broke the kiss and whispered into B'Elanna's ear, "Put the coming business into my hands, beloved. Leave everything to me."


Scene vii—The Sticking Place

"Well, B'Elanna," said Captain Janeway as she gazed around Commander Torres's new, bigger quarters. "I see that you're all settled in. How does it feel to have all this space?" she smiled as her executive officer handed her a freshly replicated cup of coffee.

"I hardly know what to say, Captain," said Torres, meeting her eyes for the barest minimum of time before sliding them away. "They're better than I could ever have imagined. I guess I hadn't thought that the quarters came with the job."

"You deserve them, Commander," said Janeway, settling her cup into its saucer delicately. She strolled around the living space, her attention drawn to Torres's bat'leth hanging in its place of honor above the sofa. "I may be wrong, but I think I'm the first Star Fleet Captain to have a Klingon—or at least a half-Klingon—as her number one. Plus, there are damned few ships in the fleet in which women serve as both Captain and XO," she mused, gazing at the bat'leth. She put her coffee down on the low table before the sofa and turned to face her first officer. "You don't know how proud I am to have you serve at my side, B'Elanna. You do me great honor. I so look forward to our working together." She gripped Torres firmly by the upper arms and gave her a squeeze and a little shake.

"The honor is mine, Captain," choked Torres, again unable to hold her Captain's gaze.

Janeway smiled at her first officer, who seemed overcome by the emotion of the moment. She'd often seen promotions have that effect. "I'll let myself out, B'Elanna. I'm sorry to have dropped in unexpectedly like this, but I just wanted to make sure you were all stowed away in your quarters." She gave Torres one more little squeeze and let her go. "See you bright and early tomorrow, Commander," she said as she turned to go.

"Aye, ma'am," returned Torres, watching her leave. As soon as the door slid shut, she released the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, her shoulders drooping and her hand going to her forehead. "Kahless, but I wish this were over!" she muttered, massaging her ridges.

"Well," came the icy voice from the bedroom doorway. "That was certainly impressive."

Torres turned to look at Seven of Nine as she stood leaning against the doorway, her arms crossed over her chest. It struck her that she'd never seen Seven take up such a casual position. "Look, I'm not going to go through with this, okay?" she exclaimed as she made to move past Seven and into the bedroom.

"Can you say this?" demanded Seven, following B'Elanna. "After what we'd talked about? After what we'd agreed to?" Her voice softened. "After what we've been to each other?"

"How can I just kill Captain Janeway?" Torres asked, moving to stand before Seven and taking her arm. "You'd have me become an assassin! Do you know what happens to assassins? They get assassinated!" Seven pulled out of Torres's grasp and turned abruptly away from her. "Plus I'd be damned to Gre'thor for sure," said Torres, turning Seven to face her again. "I'm Janeway's number one. I should be protecting her against challengers to her authority and position, not stabbing her in the back myself! Besides, Janeway has been a decent Captain. She's been more than fair to me. Hell, she could have thrown all of us Maquis into the brig after our ship was destroyed and we came aboard Voyager. But she gave me a chance! She made me Chief of Engineering! And now first officer! No. I won't do it, Seven." She looked deeply into Seven's steely blue eyes. "I can't," she said, imploring her to accept her decision.

Seven flung off B'Elanna's hand and stood up to her full, imposing height. She looked down at her lover and said haughtily, "bIHnuch! I see that I have misjudged you. I thought you were a warrior, not the p'taQ I now see that you are! I am ashamed to have let you touch me. I would sooner bathe myself in veQ than to have you touch me again!"

Torres, who'd been staring at Seven in disbelief as she began her harangue, became enraged as the insults became more and more infuriating. She lashed out at Seven in a blind rage, her right hand striking the taller woman across the face with such force that Seven's ears rang and she tasted blood.

B'Elanna stared at the ex-Borg in hatred as her chest heaved with exertion and emotion. Seven, whose head had been thrown to the right by the savage blow, slowly turned to face the enraged half-Klingon. Feeling the blood ooze from her split lip, she paused for a long moment, watching Torres as her eyes became focused on the sight. The vein in the Commander's neck began to throb, and a low growl began to rumble from deep within her.

Seven smiled and stepped even closer to Torres. "You are beautiful when you are feeling the bloodlust, my beloved," she whispered. "baQa'!" cried Torres as she grabbed the taller woman and threw her onto the bed, ripping at her biosuit. Once she had Seven naked she began to kiss and bite her in wild abandon, letting her rage and lust expend itself upon the pliant flesh beneath her.

The half-Klingon Commander's woman laughed as her lover moved above her. She exulted in the pain of the warrior's bites. She thrilled to the feel of her superior officer's hands and mouth on her body, bringing her to the edge of release.

"Now, stiffen your resolve and forge ahead with our plans, beloved," she whispered into B'Elanna's ear as the executive officer took her forcefully, her hand plunging rapidly in and out of Seven's body. "What heights will we reach with our forces so joined!" she cried out, her voice rising with her orgasm.

"Seven," panted Torres as she collapsed onto her lover's body. "I never thought I'd say this, but sometimes you talk too damn much."

Act II

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