DISCLAIMER: I own nothing. I merely borrow, play with and return the characters basically unharmed. Most of the time.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Takes place in the Alpha Quadrant, five years after End Game.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A Good Little Admiral
By quiethearted (QH Fletcher)
Admiral Kathryn Janeway stood in the receiving line among the crush of dignitaries, smiling, shaking hands, murmuring a few words to each person and basically doing what she had been trained to, being the consummate officer and diplomat. Truthfully, she could think of several hundred places she would rather be, tea with the Borg Queen was sounding better by the moment. Now that it no longer meant life or death for the crew of Voyager, Janeway had begun to find the tediousness of protocol more and more intolerable. Perhaps it was just that she had begun to feel her years. True, fifty-one was not so incredibly old, not even half a lifetime, but it was the quality of that life that she now found in question.
Her duties finally at an end, she retrieved a drink from a passing hover-tray and stepped out onto the balcony to escape the heat and noise of the ballroom. The one event of the year that allowed the serving of true alcohol, The Admiralty's Annual Holiday Gala was in full swing and all ranking officers were expected to attend, unless, of course, they were on a deep space mission. Unfortunately for Kathryn, she was not. At least, not yet.
Per her agreement with Starfleet, she had accepted a promotion and a desk job, becoming the head of the fleet's new institute of research and tactical operations for all things Delta Quadrant related. It actually was not a bad posting and it had bought the more non-traditional members of her crew their freedom. The poster-girl hero aspects were irritating at best, but after the war with the Dominion, Starfleet had needed recruiting points and "Kathryn Janeway, Hero of the Delta Quadrant" was highly marketable. She still hated being introduced that way. After all, she had done nothing more than what was expected of a captain, returning her ship and crew home in one piece. The best aspect of the job was that it was time limited; she had made sure of that. A few more months and she could knock the planetary dust from her feet and be back where she belonged with the crew and ship of her choice. Though she had serious doubts about being given command of anything more than a small research vessel, at least she'd be back amongst the stars.
Sipping her whiskey, she stared out into the darkness of the gardens that stretched behind the Senior Officer's Club. She had already begun to put out feelers to see how many of her old crew would be interested in serving with her again. It wouldn't be much of an assignment but she had hopes for some of the lower ranking officers joining her. The response had been pleasantly surprising, so far only Chakotay had turned her down as he was quite content with a position at the University on his home world teaching Archeology. Seven had not responded at all and no one was sure quite where the blonde was, though Janeway had her suspicions.
Delta Research had a small facility on the edge of the Alpha Quadrant that seemed to consistently make groundbreaking strides in Astrophysics and Engineering. Delta-9, as it was designated, was strictly hands off to even the administrating admiral, Janeway herself, who was only tasked with seeing that all requisitions were filled and supplies expedited, as long as the quarterly reports showed progress. It was actually the easiest part of the job. There was an elegance of thought to the completed projects that spoke to Kathryn of a mind she had interacted with on Voyager. She knew B'Elanna had been posted there over a year ago as Chief Engineer and Tom had signed on at the facility's designated pilot, even the Doctor was there as CMO. Over the last two years other member's of Voyager's crew had also joined the personnel roster, including the Wildmans. Just that morning a transfer request for Lt. Harry Kim had crossed her desk, meaning the entire senior staff, save Chakotay, was there.
Tonight, however, they were all here. Delta-9 was still within the Alpha Quadrant, though barely, so their attendance at this event was mandatory. Janeway, herself, had sent the communiqué that reminded them of that fact. As she had shaken their hands in the receiving line, they had each displayed a combination of suppressed excitement and a trace of guilt. She knew them all too well, they were up to something and she was going to find out what.
With a snort, Kathryn drained her glass. That's not all you want out of this night, Katie my girl. She had been a very good little admiral this year and if she was lucky Santa would give her what she wanted most of all, even more than her own ship a chance to see Seven. It was time for the stalwart Admiral to say all the things she should have said long ago. If the blonde was at Delta-9, she would understand the carefully worded message Janeway had sent. A single line within the official notification she had sent to her ex-crew that only Seven would understand as it stemmed from one of their personal interactions. The question remained, would she respond?
Sitting her glass on the stone railing that surrounded the porch, the Admiral straightened her tunic as she had many times in the past, readying herself for whatever was to come. Purposefully, she strode back into the ballroom. It was time to get her questions answered. All of them.
The members of Voyager's crew were not difficult to find. They had commandeered a large table located conveniently mid-way of the bar, buffet and dance floor. Having been in charge of the majority of the arrangements for tonight's Gala, it was obvious to the Admiral that they had rounded up chairs from around the room. Now they sat elbow-to-elbow eating, drinking and laughing in that lighthearted way often displayed at the various gatherings Neelix had arranged for them.
Janeway stood off to the side and watched for a moment. It always surprised her anew to realize how attractive her staff had been, though none were in Seven's league. The men were in dress whites, even the doctor, and the women were in gowns, B'Elanna in red, Sam in blue and Naomi in emerald green. The senior officer was surprised to see two empty chairs at the table. She wondered if one of them could be for Seven.
Just as she stepped forward to greet her old crew, the atmosphere in the room seemed to change. The area near the doors had become unnaturally quiet, and the Admiral could see the mass of bodies shifting as if to make way for someone. As they moved back together, a storm of whispering began in the wake of whoever had passed.
Turning to B'Elanna who had called her, Janeway walked over to the table. The half-Klingon rose to meet her and impulsively gave the older woman a hug.
"It's so good to see you, Admiral," she enthused.
"It's good to see you too, B'Elanna. How's Miral?"
"Wonderful. Tal Celes is babysitting tonight, but maybe you can see her later."
Janeway's murmur was non-committal.
Glancing over the Admiral's shoulder, B'Elanna suddenly grabbed the other woman's bicep and turned her to face the front of the room. Janeway looked at her in surprise, but the younger woman just smiled slightly and leaned to speak quietly in the Admiral's ear.
"We brought you a present. Merry Christmas, Kathryn." The dark-haired woman nodded towards the front of the room where Janeway had noticed a disturbance earlier.
As if it were orchestrated, the crowd parted and the Admiral looked down the corridor that had formed. It was her turn to grab B'Elanna's arm as her knees tried to give way. Walking towards her, looking like a goddess, was Seven, but a Seven that Kathryn had only dreamed about prior to tonight. Clad in a full-length strapless silver gown with a white lace overlay, she strode towards the Admiral with the grace of a great cat stalking its prey, one foot placed purposely in front of the other causing hips to rock and sway. Slit up the center, the skirt whipped around her feet like a living entity while long graceful legs flashed alternately to the tops of her thighs. Never had Kathryn seen legs that long. The silver of an implant flowed from one hip down over the outside of thigh and calf to curl around her ankle like molten filigree.
The Admiral couldn't stop the whimper that rose to her lips as her eyes slid slowly up from ankle to thigh, moved on over a tiny waist and upward. The stiffened bodice of the gown seemed to move on its own, rolling counter to the movement of hip. The scalloped edge of the bodice teased side to side as if any moment it would shift too far and provide its breathless watcher with a full view of its barely restrained burden. Janeway's hand tightened involuntarily on the arm beneath her fingers as she tried to ground herself against the raging wave of arousal that roared over her threatening to take the stalwart officer to her knees.
"Seven," she breathed, the name a sensual moan as it crossed her lips.
The blonde's hair was up, but not in its usual sleek twist, rather it was piled haphazardly atop her head as if hurried pinned up after being ravaged by a lover's hands. When the statuesque woman was close enough, blazing blue eyes swept over the Admiral's body and Kathryn could feel the singe everywhere they touched. The fiery gaze flickered to the Klingon standing beside the Admiral to intercept a barely perceptible nod as the brunette pulled her arm lose and stepped away to join her husband.
The glowing blue locked on to Janeway's dazed eyes and without pause Seven continued towards the smaller woman. Every eye in the room followed the vision as it passed and Kathryn vaguely registered Tom's voice behind her.
"I doubt there's a dry seat in the room and the men don't dare stand up. The woman's going to single handedly cause a small baby boom among the fleet," he quipped. Janeway, who would normally have been irritated by the remark directed at Seven, could only nod in helpless agreement. Her eyes widened as the blonde grew close, Kathryn tipped her head back slightly to keep those vivid blue eyes in sight searching desperately for some sign of what Seven intended.
The Admiral didn't have to wait long as slender fingers slid into the hair on either side of her neck holding her head gently in place as full, lush lips descended on her own. Instinct directed the Admiral's arms around that tiny waist to pull the blonde's body as close to her own as she could manage. Tossing what little dignity she still retained to the winds, Kathryn plunged deep into the mouth she had dreamed of for years and poured every ounce of love and arousal she felt for the other woman into the kiss. Seven may have initiated the interaction, but Janeway wasted no time in establishing who was in control. She tasted, savored and made love to full lips she had fantasized about for almost a decade.
Ever a stickler for protocol, she forgot everyone around them, intent on the only one who mattered. A rather loud cough behind her finally pierced the Admiral's daze. Gradually she became aware of the sound of others around them. Damn, Katie, put on a show, why don't you? She began to lighten the kiss. Slowly they separated until she could feel Seven's breath ghosting over her lips.
"Kathryn," the blonde breathed reverently.
"Seven," Janeway responded breathlessly, noticing the blonde shiver at the sound of her name. "You always did make an entrance." Her natural humor reasserted itself as she referred to all the times the Borg had strode into her ready room and even her quarters unannounced.
An ocular implant quirked at her as Seven's voice took on a gently teasing tone, while she tried very hard not to think about what that husky voice could still do to her nerve endings, especially with the sexy purring rasp their kiss had added.
"And you always did like to be in charge."
The Admiral gave a self deprecating smile.
"I simply wanted to be sure to make my point, something I should have done long ago."
"And what point is that, Kathryn?" Seven thought she knew but she truly wanted to hear the words, even if the setting was not the most romantic.
"I love you, Seven," Janeway responded unable to hide the truth any longer. "Never leave me again."
The Borg's smile seemed to light the entire room with its joy.
"Never," she promised.
Kathryn stepped back and holding Seven's hands out to either side, she slid her blue-grey gaze slowly down and back up the long body.
"You're exquisite," she commented.
"I'm yours," Seven smiled at the shiver that raced down the Admiral's spine at her words.
"I may not survive," Janeway laughed unsteadily.
"I will take very good care of you," Seven assured her.
"That's exactly what I'm afraid of."
"You stood up to the Hirogen, the Vidiians and the Borg Queen. You cannot possibly be afraid of my loving you, Kathryn." Seven arched her implant at the red-head. "If you were, you would not have sent me that message."
Janeway smiled as she led the blonde towards the dance floor. Feeling a slight resistance, she brought the palm of Seven's Borg hand to her lips. Taking the woman she loved in her arms, the Admiral began to move them slowly around the room.
"I was hoping you would understand that," Kathryn continued.
"What was not to understand? It was quite clearly stated."
Janeway laughed. "And here I thought I was being so clever."
"Kathryn, your message was 'I am no longer your captain, so now let's always be friends.' I do not see how that can be considered clever." Blue eyes rolled in exasperation.
"Darling, anyone who wasn't in Arturo's brig would have no idea what I was saying. That's the clever part."
"I suspected as much," Seven commented. "However, you are in error, Kathryn."
"I am?" Janeway questioned.
"Yes, you will again be my captain."
"You are much too intelligent not to have realized that I was at Delta-9."
"I suspected as much," Kathryn acquiesced, not quite sure where Seven was going with this, but having learned long ago it was best to just go along for the ride. "I don't mind telling you I wasn't thrilled to be told it was 'hands off'"
Seven looked uncomfortable for a moment.
"It is my fault you were told that," she confessed. "I did not wish you to know."
"Why ever not, Seven?" Janeway couldn't keep the hurt out of her voice.
"I did not want you to know what I was working on," Seven rushed ahead as the Admiral stiffened in her arms. "It is a surprise."
"A surprise. Seven, you're going to have to start at the beginning and explain this to me." Janeway stepped away from the blonde.
"I can do better, Kathryn. I can show you." Taking the Admiral's hand, she pulled her along as she headed back towards the table where their friends were waiting for them. "B'Elanna Torres, it is time."
"You got it, Seven. Let's go, gang." The group at the table rose and headed for the door, Tom hurrying ahead of them.
"Seven?" Kathryn began to question her.
The blonde stopped long enough to place a gentle finger against the Admiral's lips.
"Be patient, Kathryn. We'll tell you everything once we reach Delta-9." She turned and, not releasing Janeway's hand, led her out of the building.
Kathryn couldn't help the self-satisfied smirk that curled her lips as gaze after gaze slid over the lush silver vision that was Seven before coming to rest on the diminutive Admiral with stark envy. That's right, people. Look all you want. Just remember I'll do any touching that's necessary. Janeway returned the looks with a force ten glare, just to remind the lascivious bunch that it was the gorgeous Borg that was now 'hands off,' at least for them. She suppressed a laugh as all the lesser ranked officers and even a few ranking Admirals looked sharply away. Nice to know I've still got it.
The small group exited the building as a craft that remarkably resembled the Delta Flyer swooped gracefully to the landing pad ahead of them. Kathryn studied the craft as Seven led her towards it. This is what the Flyer would have been if we'd had the full support of Starfleet when we built it. Tom must be in heaven piloting this thing. Sure enough, as the hatch opened it revealed a grinning Tom Paris who just couldn't help caressing the framework of the doorway with one hand even as he gestured the Admiral aboard.
"Welcome aboard the Alpha Flyer, Admiral. She's the fastest, best equipped short range craft in the fleet. We went all out on this baby." His voice was saturated in the pride he felt for the sleek ship.
"Finally got to build the runabout of your dreams, huh, Tom?" The Admiral teased him.
"Well ," he began only to be cut off by B'Elanna.
"With a healthy dose of Klingon skill and Borg ingenuity. " His wife added with a rap to his middle with the backs of her fingers. A small but audible sigh from Seven caused B'Elanna to laugh. "Next time you encounter a Borg Queen, Admiral, talk to her about instilling patience in her drones."
"The Borg are infinitely patient, B'Elanna. However, if the Queen had had a Klingon sidekick, I believe she would have injected the virus into her own self and saved the Admiral the trouble." Walking past the engineer and deeper into the ship, Seven didn't spare the engineer a glance.
"Sidekick! Who you calling sidekick?! The only reason I don't kick your Borg butt is respect for that dress Sam made." The Klingon stormed into the ship shouting insults after Seven, who ignored her completely.
The Admiral smiled and shook her head.
"Nice to know some things never change," she commented.
"Oh, they've changed more than you know," Sam Wildman assured her. "Those two are best friends now."
"Second best." Naomi added.
Janeway turned to her former Captain's Assistant with an affectionate smile.
"Still Seven's best friend, Miss Wildman?"
"Oh, yes, Admiral," the teenager grinned. "She's amazing."
"Yes, she is," the officer agreed. Naomi was turning into a fine young woman and looking wonderful in the flowing green dress that Kathryn assumed was another of Sam's designs. "Your mother is pretty amazing as well." Turning to Sam, "If you ever get tired of science you could definitely make a living with your designs, Samantha."
The elder Wildman waved away the compliment with a laugh.
"Oh, they're not my designs, Admiral. Seven is the designer this time. I just handled the execution."
"Seven?" Kathryn couldn't believe the normally austere Borg would take an interest in something as inefficient as dress design.
"Aren't they wonderful?" Naomi enthused, smoothing down the skirt of her dress. "She wanted everything to be perfect for your surprise."
"Which will have been an inefficient waste of time if we do not continue immediately," Seven commented having walked back to the doorway.
"Didn't B'Elanna say something about patience?" Janeway murmured to Sam, forgetting for the moment to take into account the blonde's enhanced hearing, as laughing the rest entered the ship.
"I have infinite patience," Seven remarked, her facing showing the tiniest sighs of irritation. "After all, I waited almost nine years for you to tell me you loved me. The years in the Delta quadrant can be understood. The remaining five you will be required to explain."
"I'll be more than happy to, Seven later." The Admiral glanced meaningfully at the people around them. She loved them all; however, she was not about to embarrass herself in front of them.
"Acceptable. Please take a seat, Admiral." The blonde pressed a button and a small command chair materialized behind the front two pilot's seats.
Settling into the chair, Janeway had the distinct impression it had been designed specifically for her. It was smaller than the standard command chair with all the controls at her finger tips. Somehow she knew this was part of the 'Borg ingenuity' B'Elanna had spoken of. She had a warm, rather sappy feeling inside from the knowledge that the always efficient Seven had taken her former Captain into consideration when creating this design. Katie, my darlin', she took you into consideration when she came up with that design too," the Admiral mused to herself as she visually caressed the silver and white clad body seated ahead of her. She couldn't help wondering what, if anything, one would or could wear under such a dress, then wished she hadn't as the temperature seemed to increase exponentially.
A bottle of water appeared in front of her and she reached up automatically to take it, the container feeling deliciously cool in her hand. Janeway glanced up at the Klingon standing beside her.
"Not coffee?" she quipped.
"Coffee won't cool you off, Kathryn," she murmured in response. "And if you keep looking at her like that, neither will ice water." Her smile pure deviltry, B'Elanna moved to take a seat at what Janeway assumed was the engineering station.
Janeway couldn't stop the flush that warmed her face further. It had been so long since she had been able to look at Seven, other than in a holo-picture, that she couldn't tear her eyes from the young blonde, nor could she help being embarrassed that she was so obvious about it. She really wanted to do more than look, but if this was all she could have, she'd be content with it, as long as she was never without her precious Seven again.
Perhaps they would have a chance to talk on the trip. There was very little on their course to cause any dangers. The pilot was really the only person necessary to reach the end of their journey. Maybe I can get Seven to join me in the cargo hold for a little talk and a lot of kissing.
"Admiral, if you will activate the small button on the upper right of the right hand control panel, it will secure your seat."
Or not. Janeway sighed as she did as the Borg instructed. Small force field restraints activated in the upper and lower sides of the chair back to provide security without hampering the general movements of the occupant. The Admiral shifted experimentally and was surprised to find that they moved with her so she could shift comfortably without being restricted. She looked up to catch Seven watching her.
"It is B'Elanna's design. It will even allow you to stand and walk within one meter of the chair, dissipating if you step beyond that range. While within the force field, any sudden shift in the stability of the ship will cause the restraint to secure you into the position you are in at the moment of the shift." The blonde's lips curled slightly at the look of joy on the Admiral's face.
"No more landing on my butt during an attack!" Janeway's face lost its joyous expression. "I mean, it will be good for whoever commands this vessel." There was no way a runabout of this caliber would be assigned to the kind of milk run vessel that Kathryn expected to get. There was still too much concern about her going to rogue for the powers that be to put her into a significant vessel.
The flash of sadness that passed over the Admiral's face caused an answering spasm in Seven's chest. She glanced over Janeway's shoulder to meet B'Elanna's eyes. A subtle shake of the Klingon's head had the Borg turning her chair to face the view screen. They would do this as they had all agreed, no changes from the original plan regardless of how much they all wanted to alleviate the Admiral's concerns as quickly as possible. The crew would do this together, as they had done everything for as long as Seven had known them.
"Secure your positions," Seven called.
Around her the Admiral could hear the faint hum of more force fields activating.
"All positions secured," B'Elanna responded.
Janeway assumed that the operation of the restraints was tracked at the engineering station as part of the ship's mechanics.
"Course laid in," Tom advised as his fingers flew over the console before him.
"Hold a sec," B'Elanna requested, surprising Janeway who was even more astonished by her next comment. "Okay, no one's looking. Go now."
"Glimmer effect activated," Seven responded.
The Admiral felt as if the world around her blinked with a lazy flicker of eyelids. The feeling left her vaguely disoriented. When her eyes again fixed on the view screen, she was shocked to see Delta-9 floating in space ahead of them. A trip that should have taken hours had been accomplished in seconds. When Starfleet found out about this, there would be chaos with departments scrambling to claim the technology for themselves, the applications were endless.
"How what " Janeway really couldn't think what to ask first.
The rest laughed with Sam being the one to comment.
"I had the exact same response the first time they glimmered Naomi and I. It's the only way you can actually get this close to Delta-9. If Tom doesn't bring you in the Flyer, you can't get close."
B'Elanna took up the explanation from there.
"Seven found a way to fold space in limited distances. Once we knew how, we were able to build the technology to make it happen. The Flyer is built to the exact specifications to make it work. Unfortunately, we can't make it happen at any distance greater than 100 kilometers with a larger ship than this so it's limited in application, but we're still working on it. No one outside of Delta-9 is aware of the technology."
"That's why you waited until the routine scans had passed us by," Janeway guessed.
"Yes, Admiral. Unless there is a direct scan on us at the moment of activation, we appear as a glimmer on standard sensors. "
Janeway was excited by what she was finding out, but at the same time, extremely irritated to have been kept in the dark about all of it. It was clear her crew no longer trusted her. She supposed all the positive comments to serving with her again had been little more than polite responses. Unwilling to the hurt and disillusionment show, she pulled her mantle of authority around her and slammed her command mask into place.
"Well, if this is an example of what you've all been up to, I can't wait to see more."
The words were right but the tone was decided cool. Not sure quite what had happened, B'Elanna looked to Seven for help. The blonde released her restraint and rose from her seat to take the few steps that would put her beside the Admiral's chair. Squatting so she looked up into chilly blue-grey eyes, she lay her human hand on Janeway's knee while keeping her Borg hand curled in her own lap.
"Kathryn," she spoke softly and brought the Admiral's attention to her. She almost smiled at the audible gulp she heard from the older woman, but stopped herself in time. It would not do for Kathryn to think she was being manipulated by her attraction to the Borg, even if she was.
Janeway, who had been concentrating on the feel of that soft hand on her knee, looked towards Seven as the sound of her voice. The dress had fallen to either side and pooled around the Borg's feet leaving the red-head with an uninterrupted view of delicately muscled thighs from knee to hip. If she moves her hand, I'll know exactly what she's wearing under that dress. The thought caused her to convulsively swallow before she drowned in the moisture that had suddenly filled her mouth.
"Kathryn," the slight admonishment in the tone drew Janeway's eyes upward to fast on large clear blue eyes. "I know what you are thinking. Remember, this is a Christmas present. Telling you ahead of time would ruin the surprise. You must trust us. You must trust me."
The cool grey gaze softened and warmed to its normal bluish tint as Janeway thought of all the times she had asked Seven to trust her, perhaps it was time for a little payback. Thin lips curled gently as Kathryn smiled at the woman she loved.
"All right," came the simple agreement in that husky voice.
Seven suppressed a small shiver. It had been far too long since she had been caressed by that sound. She wanted to hear much more of it, especially that delicious rasp that had been there earlier when Janeway had first spoken her name. Rising, she returned to her seat, though this time she faced the Admiral.
"Tom Paris, take a position off the port side of Delta-9 and come to a full stop."
"Sure thing, Seven," the pilot responded cheerfully and he maneuvered them into position. Setting the controls to hold their position in space, he too turned to face the Admiral. The others moved up front, Naomi to sit between the two pilot chairs, B'Elanna sat on the arm of Tom's chair and Sam leaned against the side of Seven's. They all seemed rather tense.
"Well, this looks like a united front," the Admiral quipped in an effort to relax everyone.
"Kathryn, it is time for explanations. At least, my own." Janeway smiled at the reminder that she had her own explaining to do.
"Shortly after we arrived in the Alpha Quadrant, I was made aware of your 'deal' with Starfleet."
"How?" Janeway interrupted. That was supposed to remain secret.
Seven gave the tiniest of smiles at the Admirals lack of patience.
"I was approached by members of Starfleet who wished to use that 'deal' to control me. It seems they gained the impression from certain logs that I could be made to do as they wished if the incentive was sufficient. You were to be that incentive. They explained what five years of desk duty followed by inconsequential command assignments would do to you, your spirit. If I agreed to do as they wished, you would be given a command appropriate to your experience and rank. "
"Who is they, Seven?" Janeway needed to know who would dare use her as a bargaining chip.
"My dad," Tom spoke up.
"Necheyev and the rest of the Admiralty," B'Elanna added.
Janeway nodded and waited for Seven to continue. She couldn't help wondering why she felt surprise at what she was hearing. The Admirals couldn't have forced Seven into anything without Janeway screaming to every news outlet in the Galaxy, so bargaining with the Borg was all they had left.
"What they wanted was very simple. There were a number of areas of research that had not advanced as they wished. They believed I could complete these projects and they wanted to insure that I would work for Starfleet and not the other institutes that had approached me. "
"Thereby giving Starfleet full control of the results," Janeway finished for her. "Not terribly nefarious as plots go, but still a clear violation of your rites as an individual as well as being illegal."
B'Elanna laughed. "Now, Kathryn, do you honestly think a room full of brass can outthink our resident Borg?"
"Indeed," Seven agreed. "I agreed to their terms but with a few provisions of my own. The research was to be done in a place of my choosing and in a new institute under your command so the credit for the completed projects would go to you making it more difficult for them to renege on our agreement concerning your command opportunities. They acquiesced but with the provision that Delta-9 would be under your authority in name only, hence your 'hands off' status."
"You've done amazing things there, Seven. I knew it had to be you, but I couldn't risk violating my own agreement by trying to find out if it was you." Janeway provided a bit of her own explaining.
"Do not concern yourself, Kathryn," Seven advised her. "I began work on their projects and after a sufficient length of time had passed, I contacted Lieutenants Paris and Torres. It did not take a great deal of convincing for them to join me."
"With what Seven was doing and unlimited resources, how could I resist?" B'Elanna laughed.
"One of the projects they wanted completed was the slip stream drive. I made sure the Admirals understood that B'Elanna Torres was necessary to its completion," Seven continued.
"And I go where B'Elanna goes," Tom chimed in.
"The need for complete secrecy provided a need for Commander Tuvok and other members of Voyager's security team. B'Elanna brought many of her engineering staff. Slowly we began to assemble Voyager's crew here. At least, all that were interested in joining us."
"Harry was the last one," Janeway commented.
"It took some creative thinking to find a position only he could fill," B'Elanna laughed. "It wasn't until the Admirals requested additional advances to the Astrometrics technology he and Seven built on Voyager that we could get him here."
The Admiral understood the steps that had been taken but what still confused her was
"Why? Don't get me wrong. It's wonderful to see all of you but why go to all this trouble? Why not just hold a dinner or a reunion?"
"If we merely wished to spend time in a social situation that would be sufficient; however, that is not what we are after. Delta-9 is not a facility, Kathryn. It is a ship."
"A ship?" Janeway looked past them to where the research center floated in space, looking like any other space station to her. True, the Borg flew cubes but a spinning top?
"B'Elanna." At Seven's direction, Torres leaned behind her husband and touched the communication console. "Flyer to Delta-9."
"Delta-9 here." The Admiral recognized Tuvok's voice.
"Tuvok, we have the Admiral here. It's show time." She finished with a grin.
"Understood. Tuvok out."
"Keep your eye on the station, Kathryn," B'Elanna encouraged her. They all turned to look towards the station and watched as it seemed to shimmer. "Tom, take us in."
Paris turned to his console, tapped a few keys and the Flyer began to move slowly forward. It flew closer and closer to the station. Janeway tightened her hands on the arm rests of her chair as it appeared they were going to impact with the outer ring. She was surprised that no collision alarms sounded as they drew closer. Then suddenly they passed right through and before her was a ship more beautiful than any she had ever seen. Much larger than Voyager, though similar in construction, it was sleek and graceful, gleaming white in the blackness that surrounded it. This is the type of ship the Flyer should belong to, Janeway thought.
"It's beautiful," she breathed, her voice as reverent as an apostolate.
"It is yours, Kathryn," Seven assured her.
"Mine? But how? They'll never give me this ship, Seven," Janeway argued.
"They already have," B'Elanna laughed. "The announcement is being made at the Gala right now."
"Kathryn, trust us, it is yours. Your crew is aboard, at least all those who were also on Voyager. The rest are waiting for us at Deep Space Nine. "
"Tom, full stop," the Admiral commanded. "I'm not setting foot on that vessel until I know exactly what you people have been up to. Start explaining, Seven. You've left too many unanswered questions."
"Very well, Kathryn," Seven sighed and glanced at B'Elanna who walked over to a replicator and returned with a mug of coffee for the Admiral and a cup of tea for Seven, before going back to get refreshments for the rest.
"In addition to the projects assigned to me by Starfleet, I carried on my own research, expanding on many theories I formed while still in the Delta Quadrant. I knew that Starfleet would not be content with the data we brought back indefinitely. Eventually, they would want to go back. For that they would need a vastly improved vessel and a captain that could survive in the type of hostile environments we had encountered. It made no sense to attempt to train such a person, when there were experienced command officers already within the ranks of Starfleet. To ensure success they would have to offer the command to one of the senior officers from Voyager."
"And that's where Seven had them." Tom crowed. "They could offer, but none of us would accept."
"That only left you, Kathryn. They had to offer it to you."
"But what if they tried to go with a different captain, someone outside of Voyager?" The Admiral wanted to know.
"The ship will not fly without you, Kathryn."
"Seven, that's very sweet of you, but "
"She's serious, Admiral." B'Elanna interrupted.
Janeway gave the blonde a questioning look.
"As I told you once before humans use the word 'impossible' too often. This vessel," she gestured out the view screen. "Voyager-B will not fly unless your bio-signature and DNA patterns are registered by the computer as being onboard. As Tom Paris has said, 'only you have the keys to drive it.' Nor can the restrictions be removed without the ship de-constructing."
B'Elanna laughed. "That was the best part. It will literally separate into pieces over a period of hours if anyone tries to break into the computer to change the codes, and the whole thing is buried under so many layers of Borg encryption it will take months to penetrate. If you don't command her, she's nothing but one enormous paper weight."
The Admiral stared out at the glistening giant and thought about what Seven and the rest of her crew had done.
"You hijacked Starfleet," she summarized.
"Basically, yeah," Tom laughed.
"We merely applied the same reasoning to our negotiations that they applied to theirs." Seven corrected looking insulted at having been accused of hijacking anything.
"But what if something happened to me on a mission? What then?" Her scientist's mind kept finding more questions.
Seven sighed, she expected no less from Janeway. Her brilliant, inquiring mind was, after all, one of the reasons she loved the persistent woman.
"There are procedures in place for all contingencies, Kathryn. Do you doubt that I would foresee all the potential variables?" The idea was clearly irritating the blonde.
"No," Janeway laughed. "I learned long ago to never doubt you when it comes to working out the variables of any given situation."
It took only a moment for the Admiral to come to a decision.
"Well, Mr. Paris, take us home. I want to meet this grand lady you built for me."
Hours later, Kathryn stood staring out the viewport that extended the length of her new bedroom. The Captain's Quarters in the new Voyager were vastly larger than her old quarters had been, much too large for one person in Janeway's opinion. But then, everyone's quarters were larger. The new drives that Seven and B'Elanna had designed, along with several other new technologies that had sprung from their fertile minds, meant that this V-II, as they affectionately called her, could function with only a slightly larger crew compliment than Voyager. This would allow for expansion of the scientific and research teams. This ship was built for true exploration and since the main subject of that exploration was the Delta Quadrant, it also carried sufficient fire power to wipe out a small planetary system. V-II could withstand the attack of several Borg cubes and turn them to space dust in moments.
They had taken her on an extensive tour, ending with the Captain's chair, which, in keeping with tradition, had never been sat in. Her heart pounding, Janeway had taken the two steps that raised the chair, along with its companion first officer's chair, above the sightline of the helm. Slowly she lowered herself into it, expecting to have to break it in to her body over the coming months, only to find she had vastly underestimated her Chief Engineer. The chair molded to her body within seconds, causing a recurrence of the famous Janeway smile. I'm home, she thought.
They had adjourned to a massive holo-deck, that she was to learn was actually three that could be joined for a full crew meeting, and celebrated with champagne and dancing. Shortly after, she and Seven had slipped away, the Borg intent on showing the Admiral where she would be spending her free time. They had spent a good deal of the night talking, covering all the reasons one or the other had never spoken up. At last they could think of nothing else to say so the talking had stopped and they had found a different way to communicate.
Turning from her study of the stars, Janeway looked around her bedroom. She could see herself being happy here, exploring both the universe and the beautiful blonde that sleeping peacefully in her bed, in their bed. Seven had been very clear on the fact that the size of the Captain's Quarters were to accommodate the addition of the Captain's wife and their future children. Yes, Seven had spent time with the EMH perfecting a method for her to carry their child without fear of her nanoprobes. Seven had been a very busy little Borg over the last five years.
Janeway walked slowly back to her bed, the starlight glimmering over her bare body, unaware that she was being watched. After all, what good was Borg night vision if it could not be put it to good use, excellent use in Seven's opinion?
"Come to bed, Kathryn. You must rest."
Sliding between the sheets, Janeway embraced her new lover, her always love.
"I'll rest when the mission begins," she murmured into the soft skin of Seven's neck. "For now, I want to enjoy my present."
The tiniest of chuckles escaped the blonde as she felt a hot, wet tongue and soft lip move over her skin.
"Mmmmmerry Christmas, Kathryn," she managed before the woman she adored sent her thoughts into chaos, a state Seven had quickly learned to love.
Making love in their bed as the stars streaked by was truly the best present either of them could ever receive. They were truly blessed to be able to unwrap it for decades to come.
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