DISCLAIMER: Don't belong to me, unfortunately. All things Star Trek belong to them and Paramount. Thanks to Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan for giving life to Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine. There are lyrics to three songs in the story, none of which belong to me. The proper credit will be given at the end of the story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I don't like Commander Chuckles, so any chance I have to make him look bad, I'm going to take you have been warned.
THANKS: to Trish and Sarah for their help in making this a better story.
CHALLENGE: Submitted as part of the Epic Proportions challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Getting To Know You
Tom found himself with time on his hands since his spouse was working late in engineering and had headed for his friend's quarters.
"Tom, if we get caught everyone will think all the previous jokes were us also." Harry complained as he leaned back in his chair, holding onto his mug of Klingon ale. "Unless of course they were and you aren't telling me."
"Harry," Tom belched, "I might have figured out the sonic shower and I do have access to it, but the replicator system is a little beyond my talents. You, on the other hand, could pull it off without any problems. Is there something you aren't telling me?" He stood up and headed for the replicator and another drink.
Harry laughed. "You know, it would've been funny if we both had started doing this separately and didn't know it. But no, I haven't been pulling any of the pranks."
"But we're getting blamed for them, so why not get in on the fun? That's all I'm saying. If people are thinking we did do them, why not start?" He sat back down on the couch.
"Oh, so it'll be okay if we get caught and your wife thinks you've been turning her a different color each morning? Somehow I don't think she'd be as forgiving to you or me as she might someone else."
"Mm, I didn't think about that. You might have a point." He was lost in thought of B'Elanna in a rage, which caused him to shudder and change the subject. "So, who do you think is doing it?"
"I don't know. I checked for a trail left in the computer since the changes to the shower and replicators would've had to be done through it, unless they had access to each individual system, but whoever it is didn't leave one. They definitely know how to cover their tracks."
"Who on the ship would know how to do that? Tuvok would, but somehow I can't see him as a practical joker, can you?" Tom laughed. "Though he'd be the last person anyone would accuse."
"That's true. And, it would be easy enough to fake his itching powder trick; he'd just have to remember to fidget around anytime someone was watching him." Harry sat up. "Oh, what about Seven? She'd be right up there with Tuvok on no one thinking she would pull them."
"That's true, but would Seven know what a joke was? Or for that matter, would she waste her time with something so 'irrelevant'?" Tom asked.
"Good point, probably not. Hey, what about your wife? She'd know how to pull off every prank that's been pulled. You're never there in the morning when it's happened to her, she could be programming the shower after you leave for the bridge."
"I don't know, Harry, B'Elanna's just not the joke type. Besides, when would she have time, she's always working late this last week, getting some of the routine maintenance work done that she always has to put off because of major repairs usually taking higher priority."
"But how do you know? Maybe that routine maintenance is on the replicator system or the sonic showers? It would be the perfect cover and she would be one of the last people to be blamed. Maybe she's getting us back for the joke in the holodeck last month." Harry reasoned. "All I'm saying is maybe you should keep an eye on her and see if you can catch her. If not, we've eliminated a suspect."
Janeway was frantically running around her quarters. She'd lost track of time during her bath and was now running late. At least she had carefully programmed their meal into the replicator before she had indulged in her soak. She quickly dressed; thin cotton drawstring pants with a little bit thicker cotton pullover shirt with short sleeves.
Her door chime sounded and she hurried into the living room area. "Come in."
Seven walked in and noticed the captain had moved some to the furniture out of the way and had placed a thin blanket on the floor in front of the couch.
"You look lovely, Seven." Janeway stated as her eyes traveled over the red sundress and the loose blonde hair falling down her back.
"Thank you, Kathryn." Seven consciously brushed her hair back behind her ear. She wasn't used to it hanging free. "Your attire is also pleasing. Is footwear not appropriate?"
The captain looked down at her bare feet. "Shoes are fine; I was just running a bit behind schedule. Are you hungry?"
"Yes, I skipped my nutritional I skipped lunch." She amended.
"Good." Janeway took her hand and led her over to the blanket. "Sit, I'll bring everything over." Standing at the replicator she sent a silent prayer to the replicator gods before activating her program. 'Well, it looks and smells alright, so far so good.' "Seven, have you had iced tea before?"
"Yes, Neelix had it at his 'cook out', two sugars, no lemon, please."
Janeway cringed, but requested the sweetened beverage. She made a couple of trips, bringing over the food and drink before joining her companion on the floor.
Seven had directed the conversation mostly towards Janeway and her family during the meal. "So, your sister Phoebe was a practical joker?"
The captain smiled. "Yes, she used to take delight in driving me crazy while we were growing up. Nothing major like these jokes, living in a Traditionalist household she didn't have access to replicators or sonic showers, but she improvised. I remember one time she replaced mom's makeup removal cream with sour cream and there was the time she took out the blades of dad's razor." She started laughing at the memories. "Unfortunately for Phoebe, he happened to have a meeting that morning at Starfleet HQ and he was late, he was not at all happy with her."
Seven studied her. "You miss them very much."
Janeway looked surprised by the comment. The Borg had picked up on something that she had tried very hard to hide from the crew. But Seven wasn't just any crewmember and had easily gotten to 'Kathryn', the part of her that she as the captain, had buried for the past six years. "Yes, I do." She answered even though it really hadn't been a question. "Mom and I had some disagreements when it came to me going to the Academy, she never really wanted me to join Starfleet, but over the years we learned to respect each other's choices and became closer to one another than we had been while I was growing up."
"I am sure that they were elated to find out Voyager had not been destroyed and is on the way back." Seven stated. She had known what the captain's letter had contained from her fiancé, now ex-fiancé, since she had downloaded it, but had been in a shuttle with Commander Tuvok when the letter from her mother and sister had come through during the initial contact with Starfleet using the Hirogen communications arrays.
"Yes, but it's also hard on mom since it will possibly take us so long to get back. She's in good health, but anything could happen between now and then. Hell, I still might not make it back and she'd have to go through it all again."
"Kathryn, it will not take us another 30 years to get back. Look at the distance that has already been covered. And you and I did not find one another just to have it taken away from us. We will prevail."
Janeway looked up at the earnest expression. "When you say it, I can believe it."
"Part of my dating research covered 'meeting the parents'. I must admit that I would be very nervous to meet your mother and sister as your significant other." Seven stated with a hint of unease.
"It's not something you should be worried about now. But I can assure you, they both will love you. I've already mentioned you in my letters home. I think they suspect about how I feel about you, so I don't think it'll come as a shock to them."
Seven was surprised. "You have mentioned me?" The communications with the Alpha Quadrant were limited on how much could travel back and forth. To think the captain had taken up space with mentioning her, especially before they had admitted their feelings to each other, was overwhelming to her.
"Of course I have. You are very important to me, Seven, even if you didn't feel the same way about me that I feel about you, I would've mentioned you to them. You were my friend before I fell in love with you." She leaned forward and covered Seven's mouth with hers.
"Kathryn," Seven whispered as the kiss ended, "we should move on to more comfortable accommodations."
"Yes, we should." She stood up and grasped the Borg's hand, helping to pull her up, then lead the way into the bedroom. Standing beside the bed, she took care of one last thing while she had the presence of mind to do so. "Computer, seal the entrance to the captain's quarters, override only by my or Seven of Nine's authority and place a privacy seal on both communicators and override only in an emergency. Authorization Janeway pi blue six four."
"Acknowledged." The computer confirmed.
"Now," the captain smiled, "where were we?"
"I believe we were right here." Seven leaned down and covered the smaller woman's mouth once again as she wrapped her long arms around the compact body and drew it closer to her.
Janeway moaned into the mouth that covered hers as she reached down and ran her hands up the bare legs and under the dress. She was very surprised, but pleased, when she encountered no material as her hands passed over the Borg's hips. "You don't seem to be wearing any underwear, Seven." She stated as they parted for air.
"You are correct. I considered it to be a waste of time to put them on, when we would be taking them off not long after." She explained.
"Very efficient of you, Seven. Why I expected anything else, I'll never know."
"Indeed. You are well aware of my strive for efficiency in all my undertakings."
The captain grinned. "Am I one of your undertakings?"
"Yes, Kathryn, my most important and cherished one." Seven answered seriously.
"Oh, Seven, I do love you so. I don't know what I'd do if if I lost you."
"You will not lose me." She stated confidently. She kissed the captain once more with a passion that had them both breathing heavily when they parted. "May I undress you, Kathryn?"
"I think that would be an extremely good idea, love. Otherwise our first time will be with our clothes on."
Seven reached down and grasped the hem of Janeway's shirt. The captain obediently raised her arms as it was pulled up and over her head. The garment was dropped on the floor, which was completely out of character for the normally tidy Borg. Of course these weren't normal circumstances for her either. Undressing her captain was certainly something she had fantasized about, but the reality of actually accomplishing it made her feel a bit anxious and overwhelmed.
"Seven," Janeway placed her hands on the blonde's cheeks and waited until the blue eyes had tracked from her bra clad chest to her face. "Are you okay? Do you want to continue?"
The thought of the captain ceasing their current activity burned through the haze in her mind. "No yes." She took a deep breathe. "Kathryn, I want to make love with you. I am somewhat uncertain of my abilities to do so and please you."
Janeway smiled. "Love, everyone is uncertain the first time with someone. I'm unsure of what will please you, that's why it's important we communicate with our voices and our bodies; let each other know what feels good and what doesn't." She trailed her hands down Seven's chest and placed them over her breasts, rubbing her thumbs across nipples that hardened exponentially. "I would guess this feels good, but I want you to tell me."
Seven's eyelids fluttered shut and her head fell back at the sensation of Janeway's hand cupping her breasts. The feel of thumbs moving over highly sensitive buds made her moan. "It feels wonderful it makes me want " she paused uncertain.
The captain had a good idea what it made her desire, but wanted Seven to express it herself. "Makes you want what?" She encouraged.
"More." She finally stated. "I need your touch your hands you." She put her hands on the captain's shoulders to steady herself; her knees feeling rather wobbly at the moment.
Janeway quickly realized if she continued to touch Seven before they finished undressing, they'd never get around to it. She stopped caressing her companion, her hands moving to the thin straps that held the dress up, and pushed them off Seven's shoulders, so the loose garment abruptly fell to the floor; leaving the tall woman completely bare. "Oh my." The captain's eyes tracking down the body standing before her. "You are so beautiful." She said as her eyes came back up the lengthy expanse and settled on blue eyes that had turned a few shades darker.
Seven was gratified her captain found her attributes pleasing. "I have been remiss in my duties." Janeway frowned. "You are still attired." The Borg explained.
"Ah, so I am. Why don't you rectify the situation? We can't have you neglectful in your responsibilities, can we?"
Seven smiled at Janeway's playfulness. "Is that an order, Captain?"
"Most definitely, Crewman; in fact, consider it a standing order. When we're alone, in the bedroom, think of it as your duty to your captain, to undress her."
"Aye, Captain." She stated seriously and proceeded to follow her orders to the letter.
It was Janeway's turn to use the Borg for support as her knees felt decidedly weak, as hands brushed against overly sensitive areas of her body. "Oh, love we need to lie down before I fall down."
Seven was extremely pleased with herself for being responsible for the captain's predicament. "As you wish, Kathryn." She sat down on the bed, then stretched out her long body, laying back and reaching for Janeway.
Taking the hand offered, the captain joined Seven, lying on her side, propped up on her elbow, one hand moving along the pale skin still marked with implants from her time as a Borg drone.
Seven drew in an audible breath as the captain's hand moved along her side, over her hip and down her thigh. "Is this what is referred to as teasing?"
Janeway's husky laugh was teasing in itself. "No, I'm not teasing you yet. Believe me you'll know when I do."
"Kath Kathryn, I do not believe I will survive the teasing if it makes me more amorous than I already am." The Borg felt as if she was in sensory overload.
Janeway tested that statement by moving her hand up the inside of Seven's thigh and against her mound, her fingers dipping into the Borg's folds, her lover's arousal clear by the amount of moisture soaking her hand. She stilled her fingers and kept them clear of the bundle of nerves, she didn't want a quick release; she wanted to prolong their love making for as long as possible. She leaned her head down, closing her lips over a stiff rose colored nipple, flicking her tongue across it, then alternating to sucking it into her mouth, before lightly biting down.
"Oh Kathryn please." She arched her back as she felt the captain's lips on her. Her hips moved up and down in an unconscious plea for more contact.
Janeway spent another minute lavishing the same attention on the other breast before removing her mouth and settling her body between the long legs that automatically spread wider to accommodate her. "Please what?"
"I need you I need release. I feel like I am about to to explode." It was the only way she could think of to describe how she felt. Her body was taut, like a pressure was building inside of her and it needed to be expelled before she burst apart.
Janeway kissed her way down Seven's breast bone and past her abdomen. She inhaled deeply, the scent of the woman lying on her bed filling her, sending her own arousal pumping through her body. "Do you like this?" She asked before lowering her mouth.
Seven watched the captain trail down her body, the lips that had kissed her so passionately, left a tingling sensation in their wake. She had read about women loving each other with their mouths when she had discovered erotica in the ship's library database. But the knowing paled in comparison to the actuality of experiencing it. She moaned and raised her hips, her legs opening wider as she felt the captain's tongue touching her intimately. "Oh Kathryn." It had become her mantra and the only thing she managed to say coherently as she gripped the sheet with her left hand and held Janeway's head to her with her right.
The captain also moaned as she tasted her young lover, running her tongue through the folds saturated with Seven's essence. Slowly she inserted one finger, she didn't think she would encounter the normal barrier of a virgin, but wanted to make sure. Being knocked around in space more than likely would've removed that obstacle if it had ever developed while she was Borg.
Seven felt the thin finger glide into her. She was beyond words, managing only moans and an occasional grunt, as the captain's lips closed over her clitoris, the tongue flicking across it causing jolts of pleasure to flow through her body not unlike an energy wave through space. The pressure she had felt before was trivial to what she now felt, her back arched, her hips suspended in midair.
Janeway felt the throbbing between her legs and thought she might come close to climaxing without being touched. Seven's inner walls clinched around her finger as the young woman's orgasm started and she sucked hard on the bundle of nerves which sent her lover over the edge.
The spasms shook her body, left her feeling spent and she collapsed back onto the mattress. When she opened her eyes, the captain was once again beside her, cradling her to the shorter body. "Kathryn I am, that was amazing. It was so much more than I expected."
"More how?" Janeway managed to concentrate on her lover even though she had not found her release when Seven had.
"I did not expect to lose control I was incoherent, I had not thought it would affect me that way, I am Borg." She stated in disbelief.
"You are also human, Annika, not an unfeeling Borg drone." The captain reminded her.
"True." She though about it for a minute. "I can honestly say that the Borg are definitely looking for perfection in the wrong place." Janeway laughed at that and Seven turned on her side, facing her. "I want to touch you, Kathryn."
She immediately sobered. "I want that too now as a matter-of-fact or I'll be touching myself before long."
"Indeed." Seven's eyebrow rose. "As intriguing as that sounds, I want to be the one to give you your release."
"It's not going to take much. In fact, I expect all it will take is for you to touch me." She explained. "Touching and tasting you excited me to the point of being, well to put it bluntly, horny."
The candid pronouncement made the Borg exceedingly pleased with herself. "Shall we test that theory slowly?" She dipped her head, taking one of the erect peaks into her mouth. Janeway was not as endowed up top as she herself was, but she thought the smaller breasts were the perfect size.
The captain rolled onto her back as the full lips closed on her nipple. "Oh god, that feels wonderful." She opened herself, "Please, love, put your hand between my legs, touch me."
Seven complied and found an abundance of moisture as she ran her fingers through Janeway's sex. "Like this, Kathryn?" She removed her mouth and asked for confirmation even though the captain's movements and moans told her what she was doing was pleasing the older woman.
"Yes go inside. I need you to fill me." She pleaded.
Seven gently entered her with one finger. Nothing in her previous experience had prepared her for the feeling of being inside her lover. She was in awe at the emotions it invoked in her.
"More, love, add another finger." Janeway had managed to keep her eyes open and on Seven, seeing the wonder in her face. She wished she could prolong this experience for the young woman, but her body demanded release.
Seven complied and also used her thumb to rub against the swollen, exposed nub. She could feel the captain's inner muscles contracting and pulling her fingers a split second before the orgasm shook the compact body. She waited for the spasms to cease before she removed her fingers and raised them, seeing the glistening moister. The scent filled her and she succumbed to the overwhelming desire to taste essence that was her lover.
Janeway had opened her eyes to see Seven inserting her fingers into her mouth and heard a sound that was very close to being a growl. "Do I meet with your approval?" The sight and erotic sounds coming from her lover had stirred her passion again.
"Oh yes, Kathryn, I have never tasted such an exquisite nectar before. In fact, I must have more." She quickly moved down the bed and between the captain's legs.
"Oh god, Seven." It was the last coherent though Janeway had for some time.
The next morning, Seven stood at her work station in astrometrics and to the casual observer, nothing looked like it had changed from any other morning since the lab had come into operation. That was not the case, the Borg was working by rote; her mind was on a certain auburn haired captain and the night before.
"Seven, how was your picnic?" The Bajoran asked as she entered the lab. "Did you have a good time on your date?"
"Yes, I had a very good time. Thank you again, Tal Celes, for your input."
'Oh, prophets, I think she actually blushed.' "Uh, you're welcome, glad I could help." She walked to her station to start her day; tapping out a sequence that would bring up her work from the point she had shutdown the day before. As she did, the console not only obediently displayed her work, but also produced a song.
The two women looked at each other. Both of Seven's eyebrows hiked up her forehead and Tal's eyes widen in panic.
"It wasn't me, Seven, honest." She shouted over the song.
"I did not think it was, Crewman Tal. It seems we have been added to the practical joker's list of victims. I will inform the Captain of this inconvenience at the morning meeting. Until we can correct this problem, maybe you should cease your work."
"But I really need to finish updating the charts for the helm; Lt. Paris wanted to go over them before we reached that area."
Seven tilted her head. "Did he specifically request you do them?"
"Yes, yesterday as I was leaving, he stopped by and asked if I could do them for him this morning."
"Do you think he was responsible for this?" She pointed to her console, reluctant to touch it again.
"Possibly, but I do not know for sure." Seven admitted with a sigh. She and the captain were going to try to catch the prankster, but for two nights they had been sidetracked. Not that she was complaining.
'Boy,' Celes thought as she saw what could only be described as a goofy grin on the Borg's face, 'now I really wonder who her date was with last night.'
As the senior staff settled in their normal positions around the table in the briefing room, the Doctor was sporting his Mohawk and mustache, this time in a bright yellow. Chakotay's uniform instead of being too small was now several sizes to big. Tuvok was trying his best not to squirm and the chief engineer was a nice shade of teal.
"So, who won the pool?" Harry asked her, referring to the bet engineering had going to guess what color their chief would be the next day.
"No one, it'll roll over and be for two afternoons off." B'Elanna explained. "Oh, Vorik is still squeaking and I ran into Ensign Wildman and her replicator is still spewing juice at her. So our joker is still at 100% efficiency."
Seven spoke up. "We can add Tal Celes and since it happened in astrometrics, myself to the list of 'victims'."
"What's the joke this time?" Chakotay asked as he rolled his sleeves up to his wrist so he wouldn't have to pull them up every time he needed to use his hands. 'I really should've replicated something to hold my pants up.' He thought to himself.
"Every time Tal Celes touches her console, it regales us with a song."
"That doesn't sound too bad, Seven." Janeway stated.
"It is a most annoying refrain that does not make any sense." She replied.
"I'm sure that was why it was chosen. What's the song?" Tom asked.
"It is entitled 'In the Mood' and our rendition was preformed by The Andrews Sisters in earth's mid twentieth century."
"I've never heard of it, how's it go?" B'Elanna asked.
Seven sighed. "It is just the chorus that plays." In a very monotone voice, she recited:
'In the mood that's it I got it
In the mood your ear will spot it
In the mood oh what a hot hit
Be alive and get the jive
You've got to learn how
Hep, hep, hep hep like a hepper
Pep, pep, pep hot as a pepper
Step, step, step step like a stepper
We're muggin' and huggin'
We're in the mood now.'
Everyone, except of course Tuvok, was laughing so hard Ensign Wildman stuck her head around the doorway from the bridge to see what was going on. "I take it the practical joker has struck again?"
"Yes, Ensign." Tuvok replied.
She shook her head. "I can't wait to hear what this one was." She mumbled as she returned to her duties.
"Gee, Seven," B'Elanna was wiping the tears from her eyes, you used contractions. I didn't think you could."
"Lt. Torres, it is not that I can not use them, I choose not to; they are imperfect." Seven explained.
"I would think you'd think they'd be more efficient, Seven." Tom managed to control his mirth.
"Indeed." Seven regarded him. "Lt. Paris, Tal Celes said you stopped by astrometrics as she was ending her duty shift yesterday and requested charts of an upcoming sector."
"It just so happens, the console she needs to use to comply with your request, is the one that now performs that very irritating piece of music." Seven stated.
Everyone stared at him as if waiting for him to confess.
"If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times in the last few days, I didn't do it. I'm innocent; someone's setting me up to take the fall."
The eyes turned to Harry.
"What he said." The young man blushed, making him not look very innocent at all.
"Okay, let's table this for right now and get back to ship's business." The captain stated, trying extremely hard not to look at her astrometrics officer since she knew if she did, she would break down in laughter once again. Of course her problem was twofold, she was definitely 'in the mood' for Seven.
The alpha shift had relieved the gamma shift on the bridge and everyone was going about their duties. Tom was at the helm playing around with plotting different evasive maneuvers, Harry was at his ops station running a diagnostic of the holodeck grids, Tuvok was at the tactical console keeping an eye on his tactical sensor sweeps, Chakotay was sitting in his chair with his face still red, and Janeway was biting her lip trying her utmost not to laugh, though a snicker would sneak out every once in a while.
"Oh go on and laugh, before you hurt something." The first officer stated.
"No, no, I'm okay. I've got it under control." Janeway said grinning. Her mistake was turning to look at him. She couldn't hold it in any longer and as she started laughing, Tom and Harry took that as their cue and joined in.
The commander had forgotten about this uniform now being too large and the lack of anything to hold his pants on. He had stood up intending to go to his office and had ended up flat on his face when his pants ending up around his ankles and had flashed the bridge crew with his hula girl boxer shorts.
"They were a gift the shorts." Chakotay explained to them.
"Uh huh." Janeway replied. "I don't think I've ever seen a hula dancer with a set of such enormous " she trailed off.
"Thank you, Mr. Paris." She mock glared at the smiling helmsman.
"I normally wouldn't even wear them, but I'm running out of clean underwear and I'm afraid to run my stuff through the recycler. I assumed that they would've come out too small or now too big." He tried to explain. He was just glad he hadn't gone with his first thought of not wearing any at all.
She leaned over and patted him on the arm. "I'll be in my ready room." She headed that way, but was waylaid by her chief of security.
"Captain, I wondered if I might have a few moments of your time."
"Of course, in my ready room." She entered and continued up the steps to the upper level. She waited for him to join her. "Can I get you anything?"
"No thank you, Captain." He waited until she had sat down on the couch under the viewports and then stationed himself at the other end.
"What's this about?"
"The practical joker, Captain. I find it very curious that I have not been able to find any kind of trace as to who is perpetrating these occurrences. There is no trail in the computer, no sign whatsoever that anyone has tampered with the programming at all. That would take a great deal of skill, Captain."
"Tuvok, you only started looking yesterday and it's not like this is top priority. But I agree that it is unusual not to find any trace at all. Not that many people on board could accomplish that. Well, at least not many that we know of. Why don't you concentrate on going over crew member's personal profiles along with Starfleet's profiles to see if anything in them would lead you to believe an unknown would have this kind of expertise and I'll see if I can uncover anything in the computer?"
"Very well, Captain."
"Oh, Tuvok," he turned back just before he triggered the pneumatic door, "Seven seems to think B'Elanna might be our prankster instead of Tom and Harry. You might want to concentrate on her along with the other two."
"Indeed, I had actually dismissed that idea since she was a victim, I might have been premature in my assessment. I will take a closer look at our Chief Engineer." He inclined his head and exited the ready room.
"Janeway to Seven."
"Seven here, Captain."
"Are we still on for our velocity game at 1700?"
"Yes, Captain, but I was wondering if you might like to forgo the match today and possibly use our holodeck time for a different activity."
Janeway's imagination ran amuck at the thought of just what her young lover might be thinking. Her voice had taken on a husky tremor when she asked, "And just what type of 'activity' did you have in mind?"
Seven paused at the implications now going through her head. She was very glad there was no one in the lab with her and she was sure Kathryn wouldn't have asked unless she was also alone. "I was thinking of a walk along a beach at sunset. There are several different programs available within the search parameters of beach and sunset to choose from."
"Which ever you pick will suffice I'm sure. I look forward to it, Seven. Maybe we can even go for a swim."
"I will make sure the program I pick will be warm enough for swimming, Captain, just in case." She smiled at the though of Kathryn in a swimsuit. "Seven, out."
The captain sat back in her desk chair with the hands behind her head and a dreamy expression on her face. "God, she makes me feel twenty years younger." The starship captain chuckled at herself.
Chakotay stood outside the captain's quarters and rang the chime for the second time. He had remembered after the fiasco on the bridge, to replicate a belt for himself. It still felt and looked funny, but not as bad as it had when his clothes were too small. When he still didn't get a response he asked the computer to locate her.
"Captain Janeway is in holodeck two."
"Damn, I forgot it was her weekly velocity match with Seven. I'll ask her to dinner tomorrow." He mumbled on his way back to his quarters.
"This was a good choice, Seven." The beach had white sand and gentle waves caressing the shoreline. The water was very blue and with the sun just starting to set, sparkled off the water. The most important feature however, was that it was deserted. Not a soul in sight which suited the couple. They were walking down the beach, hand in hand, talking and enjoying being together.
"I regret not being on the bridge when that occurred." Seven stated. "I imagine it will not happen again as Commander Chakotay will be extra diligent in the endeavor to retain his trousers."
The captain cleared her throat. "You can see it. I had the computer run a continuous imagining scan on the bridge. I knew something was bound to happen, it was just too perfect a set up not to." She withdrew a PADD from the pocket in her pants and handed it over, watching as the light breeze tousled Seven's hair which hung loose.
Seven cued the image to start and watched the short playback. She started a tentative laugh, which started with a snort, then a giggling that grew in intensity.
"Seven," the captain stopped walking as did her companion, "you're laughing." The look on Janeway's face was one of utter joy.
"So I am." Seven stated as the merriment trailed off, but the smile stayed as the captain threw her arms around her and hugged. "I would have attempted it sooner if I had known this would be your reaction."
They continued their walk, this time Janeway had her arm around Seven's waist and the tall blonde's circled the captain's shoulders. "Did you wish to go for a swim, Kathryn?"
"Maybe next time, I believe our time's almost up. Can I interest you in dinner?"
Seven looked at her companion. "Are you sure you want to test the replicator for a third night in a row?"
Janeway gave her a mock scowl complete with hands on hips. "You're turning into a regular comedian. But no, I don't, I thought we might eat in the mess hall."
"In public? Are we going to let the crew know about our relationship?" Seven questioned, surprised that the captain would be ready to make that type of proclamation.
"Well, I'm not going to throw you down on the table and make love to you, but I'm not going to try and hide the fact that we're spending time together either."
The next morning it was the captain and Neelix running late for the daily briefing.
"Anyone want to hazard a guess? An orange chief engineer asked.
"Seven," Tuvok turned towards her carefully, any abrupt movement seemed to set off his itch, "you had dinner with the Captain last night, any indication she was targeted?"
Seven noticed out of the corner of her eye, Commander Chakotay's reaction to Tuvok's statement. "No, Commander, we ate in the mess hall and nothing seemed out of the ordinary, then returned to the Captain's quarters and once again nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary." She didn't add that everything was also okay early this morning, at least when she left Kathryn in bed at 0500 hours to return to the cargo bay.
Chakotay's eyes narrowed and he glared at the Borg. 'Eating dinner with the Captain again are you I'll make sure I get to her before you do today.'
The captain entered the briefing room looking a bit frazzled. "Sorry." She stated as she sat. "I seem to be having trouble with the replicator system this morning. I don't suppose anybody here would happen to know anything about that would they?"
Just then Neelix walked in and handed her a large silver mug. "Here you go, Captain, I took the liberty of putting the thermos in your ready room."
"I thank you, Neelix, and most importantly, the crew thanks you, especially those on the bridge that would've had to suffer my mood if I hadn't had my coffee."
"You're most welcome, Captain." He replied from his seat, not able to keep the large smile from his face.
"You're the latest, huh?" Chakotay asked.
Janeway drained half her mug and restrained herself from rolling her eyes. When she glanced in Seven's direction, it was all she could do not to laugh. She couldn't tell exactly what the blonde woman was thinking, but she could tell it wasn't very complimentary of the first officer. "Yes," she answered, "it seems every replicator I ask for coffee, gives me a glass of warm milk and a 'witty' saying."
Tom clamped down on his curiosity and refused to say anything. He and Harry both were remaining very quiet and still, neither wanted to be blamed for the latest infraction. He didn't know who was pulling the jokes, but not even he had the audacity to come between the captain and her coffee.
"Such as?" Tuvok was actually interested in the sayings; it might give him a much needed clue as to who was doing these pranks.
"Let's see, the one in my quarters greeted me with, 'Inject it with a hypo, it'd be quicker'. The one in my ready room came out with, 'With as much caffeine as you drink, you could push the ship faster'." Most of the table's occupants were trying their best not to react. "Believe me; I'm just thankful we didn't have a red alert."
"You forgot the one in the mess hall, Captain." Neelix helpfully supplied. "It sure got everyone's attention this morning. They were still laughing when I left."
"Do tell us, Captain." The Doctor's additions this morning were snow white, his mustache still bobbing up and down with every word.
Janeway glared at the EMH. "It stated in a very loud voice, 'You drink too much'." She saw her senior staff continue to struggle to contain their amusement. "Go ahead; I'd be laughing too, if I was awake that is."
That set everyone off; except Tuvok and Seven, but even the Vulcan had a sparkle of delight in his eyes, though if commented on, he'd surely refute it. Seven was also struggling to contain her newfound laugh, obviously not ready to share it with anyone but the captain.
Just as Janeway was about to rein them in and start the meeting, a shudder ran through the ship. "Report." She demanded as she tapped her comm badge.
"It came from holodeck one." The ensign stationed at ops on the gamma shift responded. "Astrophysics has been running their nebula simulation."
The senior staff headed to the bridge to take their stations. "Damn." Janeway muttered. "Something told me I was going to regret approving that request."
"Can you scan the holodeck, Ensign Kim, and find out what's going on in there?" Chakotay inquired after he had taken over his station.
"Negative, there's some kind of ionized radiation that's interfering." He responded. "I can't seem to shutdown the program either, Commander."
"B'Elanna, take a crew down there and see if the simulation can be aborted." Janeway took over the engineering station and the diagnostic the lieutenant was running. "Seven, go with her."
"Should we try to get them out if it can't be shut down?" B'Elanna asked.
"We'll have to try, but not until that deck is evacuated and your team is in environmental suits. We don't know how high the level of radiation is and I'm not willing to take a chance on it harming anyone else."
The morning passed slowly for Janeway. It had only taken an hour to shut the program down, but getting into the holodeck was another matter all together. And not being able to scan inside, they didn't even know if the three crewmembers that the computer had informed them had been running the simulation, were alive. B'Elanna's team had been able to determine that the safety protocols were offline. Whether that had been done on purpose or had been a glitch, was something the engineering team would look into later.
Janeway had just entered the bridge and sat down in her command chair when Seven's voice hailed Harry. "Ensign Kim, you should now be able to initiate a scan of the holodeck."
"Scanning, standby." He was intent on his task, not aware of the eyes glued to his bowed head. "I'm reading no radiation of any kind at the present and three lifesigns."
"Seven," Janeway stated, "can you get in there or should we transport them to sickbay?" They had tried that earlier, but the radiation had scattered the beam.
"Lt. Torres' team is accessing the holodeck now; she was just waiting to see if environmental suits had been required before entering. The Doctor is checking them now, standby."
Janeway paced, Tom turned to face the bridge and stared at the ceiling, Chakotay stared at the floor, Kim at the captain and Tuvok at his console.
"Captain," Seven's voice seemed loud when it broke into the silence, "the Doctor says they will have to be treated for radiation sickness, but all three will fully recover."
"Thank you, Seven, that's good news. And Seven, report to me when you learn anything about what happened."
"Of course, Captain."
Several hours later, Janeway was in her ready room sitting at her desk when the door chime sounded. "Come in."
Seven stood in front of the desk and handed over a PADD. "The preliminary diagnostics show that the unusual mixture of elements in the nebula created an adverse reaction with the ships holoemitters and damaged the systems causing a cascade failure."
Janeway's eyebrows rose. "And this happened because the safeties were off?" She took the PADD, but didn't look at it; waiting for Seven to respond.
"No, the safeties were fully engaged until the system failure occurred. The problem developed when some of the elements were produced from the replicator system and released in the holodeck instead of requesting the holodeck produce them."
Janeway's face hardened into a stormy expression. "What the hell were they thinking?" She stood up and headed for the replicator on the upper level.
"I do not know, Captain, they were unconscious when we got into the holodeck."
"Coffee, black." She angrily requested. Picking up the silver mug that appeared, she took a swallow, then turned around to notice the expression on the Borg's face. She sighed knowing Seven was too intelligent to fool. "Damn, I just gave myself away, didn't I?"
A smug look was the only reply.
"Are you going to rat me out?" Asked as she sat down on the couch and Seven moved up the stairs to join her.
"I think not." She decided. "As long as you allow me to join in the fun." She lowered her body onto the couch beside the captain's.
Janeway smiled and angled her body towards her young lover. "You never cease to amaze me, Seven. So, who do you want to pull a joke on?"
"I will have to give that some thought and get back to you. Was the joke in astrometrics for me or Tal Celes or both?"
"Neither actually. It was a matter of opportunity. I had heard Tom mention he was going to ask for the charts and it was a perfect way to further implicate our two resident jokers." She explained.
"Is that why Lt. Torres was one of the first victims?"
"Bingo yes." She revised at Seven's look. "I also knew Tuvok would publicly confront Tom and Harry about his program since they had pulled that on him once before and it would get most everyone thinking it was the two of them." She explained.
"And you sent Commander Tuvok on a 'wild goose chase' by possibly implicating B'Elanna by way of my theory. Impressively sneaky."
"Why, thank you, Seven. I'll take that as a compliment of the highest order coming from you." They were interrupted by the chime. "Come in."
Chakotay walked in and frowned at the two women seated on the couch. "Kathryn, I wondered if I might have a moment with you."
"Of course, Commander." She replied with emphasis on his rank. It was unusual for him to use her name with anyone else present and she decided, after Seven's proclamation the other day; that he was posturing and decided better safe than sorry. "Seven, I'll see you at 1800 hours."
The Borg caught on. "Of course, Captain. Can I replicate another cup of coffee for you before I go?"
Janeway's eyes sparkled in merriment. "No thank you, Seven, I'm set for right now." She raised her mug in salute.
Chakotay could tell the two women had grown even closer over the past week. There seemed to be a new level of familiarity between them. He turned slightly, watching as the Borg left the ready room. "Kathryn," he turned back to face her with a forced smile on his face, "I can get your coffee when you want it." He started towards the steps to the upper level, but she was on her way down.
"No need, as you can see Seven already took care of me." She stated moving around him and to her desk. She smothered her grin; the statement had caused him to falter, the smile on his face turning down into a puzzled frown.
"I was going to bring the report to you, but she insisted on delivering it herself. She seems to be having trouble again with the chain of command." He sat down facing her without an invitation. "I'm going to discipline her, but I don't think confining her to the cargo bay would do any good. She would still have access to astrometrics through the console there and that seems to be what she most enjoys doing."
'I know something she now enjoys more than that.' She barely kept the thought to herself. "Commander, what would you do to a crewmember that disobeyed or caused someone to disobey a direct order from me?" She leaned back calmly waiting, knowing he would think she was talking about Seven and wanted to see how fair he would be in his punishment.
"Well, it would certainly depend on the severity of the infraction, but anything from an informal warning to time in the brig." He replied with his brow furrowed. "Has Seven done something I don't know about?" He cheered slightly. "I could certainly discipline her for two things as well as the one."
She sighed; disappointed in her first officer. "No, Commander, you I told Seven to report to me, not to you, when they found out anything. My reason being," she continued before he could interrupt, "Seven could most likely answer any questions I might have regarding the incident since she was involved in helping the engineering team. You weren't, so it was a reasonable assumption that if you delivered the report, you wouldn't be in a position to clear up any concerns I might have." She glared. "Was there some valid reason you countermanded my order, Commander?"
"No, Captain." He stated. "I didn't realize that was why she was reporting directly to you." He was embarrassed by the dressing down and angry at the Borg for causing it.
"Chakotay, I know you don't like Seven, but I cannot have your personal feelings interfering with the day to day operation of this ship. If you have a problem keeping your dislike of her from interfering with your duties, well then, Commander, we have a problem."
"It's not liking her or disliking her that's the problem." He stated before he reined in his temper. Pausing, he tried to find a way around telling her it was mainly because of jealousy.
"Then what is it, Chakotay? You can't tell me you still don't trust her, not after all she's done for this ship and crew."
"No she's just so arrogant." He knew it wasn't going to fly with the captain, but it wasn't like he was lying. He really did hate that about her and so did a lot of other people. "She thinks she's better than anybody else."
"Not better, Commander, smarter. And she is; after all she's got the knowledge of 10,000 species to work with. But, she's not arrogant, Chakotay, she's still trying to develop the things we take for granted, emotions, a personality, her individuality. We had our childhood, teenage years and young adulthood to develop; she's had just over three years. You need to put yourself in her place and give her the benefit of the doubt."
"I was in her place." He bitterly reminded her.
"Bull," she fumed, "you willingly allowed the link with Riley and the others on that planet to heal your injuries."
"And she used it to make me help them, against my will."
"Yes, she did, but it has nothing to do with Seven or the Borg for that matter. And that's not even close to being assimilated, Chakotay, you need to quit whining about that and quit using it against her."
"Sickbay to the Captain, the patients are awake now if you wanted to see them."
"Thank you, Doctor, I'm on my way, Janeway out." She turned back to her first officer. "Dismissed."
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