DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. I'm just borrowing them for a bit. When I'm done I'll put them back right where I found them, honest. No ex-drones or human/klingon hybrids were harmed in the writing of this fan fic.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

I Quit
By Sparx

Part 7

Seven was still trying not to grimace as she sat in mess hall. Neelix was indeed serving a dish he had named marsupial surprise. B'Elanna had led her to a small table and grinned from ear to ear as she waited for the taller woman to sit. With a flash of teeth and a "wait here," she'd sauntered across the room.

Watching her chat briefly with the furry man set her nerves on edge. Both were looking her way and grinning. She desperately tried to think if a way to refuse 'marsupial surprise', without risking her newfound friendship with the volatile woman.

The twin smiles she saw headed her way were not reassuring in the least. B'Elanna was carrying two covered plates, while Neelix followed behind carrying two glasses of some amber liquid.

They both looked immensely pleased with themselves as they set their burdens on the table with a flourish. Neelix quickly ran back to the counter and returned with two more of the covered plates, while B'Elanna sat down opposite her.

Seven merely sat with her hands in her lap quietly hoping for a red alert to sound and save her from this dilemma. Reluctantly, she met the eyes of the woman who now sat grinning at her from across the small table. She rarely ate more than the nutritional supplements designed by the doctor. The prospect of eating 'marsupial surprise' left her feeling distinctly nauseous.

"Enjoy your dinner ladies." Neelix said with a wide grin before hurrying back to continue serving the less than enthusiastic crowd.

B'Elanna sat and carefully watched the ex-drone. Sevens look of distaste was obvious as she contemplated the covered dishes in front of her. Deciding the poor woman had been through enough for one day, she took pity and lifted the lids to reveal a huge assortment of fruits and vegetables.

Confusion was overcome by relief as she examined the contents of the plates. "You implied that we would be eating Mr. Neelix's dish." She still couldn't bring herself to say it out loud.

"Would you rather I take this back and get some marsupial surprise." B'Elanna asked with a raised brow.

"No!" Seven almost shouted in a very un-Borg manner. "No, this will suffice." she continued in a normal tone.

"Are you sure?" the hybrid questioned seriously. At the look she got, she clarified. "I mean will this be ok? Neelix had a list of foods from the doctor that you could tolerate. I figured since you've never bothered to try hardly any of them, I'd get you a bit of most of them. Except for eggplant, I hate that stuff and the replicators manage to make it taste worse." she said with a grimace. "That's apple juice in the glass." she added with a nod.

"This will be 'fine'. Though I am afraid that you have replicated too much. I am not used to ingesting large amounts of food." Seven replied.

"Eating, we're eating, not ingesting." B'Elanna said rolling her eyes slightly. "As for the amounts... just try a bit of anything that catches your interest. I don't expect that we'll be able to eat it all." Popping a toasted mushroom into her mouth, she looked at Seven expectantly.

After a moments hesitation, Seven picked up her fork and gingerly speared a small piece of steamed carrot. Examining the vegetable she hesitated. "Khaless, would you just try it already. If you don't like it, you can move on to something else." B'Elanna growled with good humor.

Once the first bite was done Seven found it easier to take the next and the next. Though she was barely able to make a dent in the large amount of food, she found that the experience had been most enjoyable. She'd managed to discover several foods that she actually liked. She vowed to continue to eat normal foods like the rest of the crew.

"Thank you." Seven said as B'Elanna pushed the still loaded plates away. By the time she'd slowly and carefully tried most of the foods, B'Elanna had been long finished. "I am sorry that I was not able to consume more. You have wasted a great deal replicator rations on food that will remain uneaten."

With a laugh B'Elanna answered. "Don't worry about it. By this time tomorrow I probably won't have access to the replicators anyway. Besides, this was fun."

"Yes, I noticed your amusement when I tried the asparagus and again with the papaya." Seven commented dryly.

"Well," B'Elanna defended. "I never knew you could make a face like that. You must have really hated it."

B'Elanna laughed out loud when Seven would only comment. "I found the taste to be less than pleasant."

"Next time, I'll have to remember not to get those." B'Elanna replied with a chuckle.

"Next time?" Seven questioned.

"Yes, next time." B'Elanna replied. "If I'm not in the brig by then, we can meet tomorrow for lunch."

Seven allowed a slight lift of her brow as she made note of the joke. "Tomorrow I have to compile the rest of the reports on this sector. I cannot comply." she was surprised to find that she genuinely regretted not being able to meet the Lieutenant for lunch.

"Well as it happens, I'm between jobs right now. You can pick a time that's good for you and we can meet then." B'Elanna answered through a grin.

Part 8

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