DISCLAIMER: This Star Trek Voyager story utilizes characters that are copyright © by Paramount Pictures. No infringement on their respective copyrights is intended by the author in any way, shape or form. This is an original story. The story and non-trek characters belong to the author.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: A very heartfelt thank you to Pam, Beta Extraordinaire. Your expert help and untiring dedication to this story is greatly appreciated. Also thanks to Victoria, for listening to me talk incessantly about the story and characters. Your support means a lot to me. And to WW for her continued encouragement and support.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a sequel to my Star Trek Voyager Story, Unexpected Arrival. It takes place approximately ten months after the end of Unexpected Arrival.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Into the Void
By RJ Nolan
Kara slowly regained consciousness; her head hurt, but she forced her eyes open and looked around. She was in Voyager's sickbay. Turning her head to the side she spotted Del on the biobed next to hers and Seven on the far side of Del. Kara blinked in confusion wondering how they had ended up here. The last thing she remembered was the shuttle's consoles exploding around them.
"Ah I see you're awake," said a familiar voice. "You've suffered a blow to the head. Don't attempt to sit up, just take it easy."
Kara looked up at the doctor as he ran a tricorder over her. "Are Del and Seven going to be okay?" she asked, glancing worriedly toward their biobeds.
The doctor looked confused for a moment then smiled. "Oh your companions. They were both a bit more seriously injured than you. I repaired the damage expertly and they are going to be fine," he said, puffing out his chest in pride. "The three of you were very lucky to be alive."
Kara frowned. She was not a big fan of the Doctor and avoided sickbay whenever possible. He had pestered her from their first encounter to allow him to remove her scar.
She was still feeling a bit hazy but something he said finally registered. My companions? That's a strange way to refer to two women he knows well. Kara brushed the thought away; maybe she had just imagined it.
"How long have I been out?"
"Several hours. I sedated you while I repaired your injuries. You had several broken ribs, a broken arm and wrist as well as a mild concussion," he said, reeling off her injuries.
"So how did we get back on Voyager? The last thing I remember was all hell breaking loose on the shuttle."
The Doctor looked suddenly uncomfortable. "I need to let Captain Janeway know you're awake." He quickly turned and headed for his office without answering her question.
Kara stared after him in confusion. What the hell is going on? Usually you couldn't get the doctor to shut up.
When the doctor didn't immediately return, Kara's suspicion that something was wrong escalated. Despite the pounding in her head she forced herself into a sitting position. That's when she realized she was naked under the sheet. Cursing colorfully, she slid off the biobed and wrapped the sheet around herself. She grabbed the side of the biobed until the dizziness passed. Now she remembered why she so ardently avoided sickbay. She hated feeling so helpless and exposed. Glancing over to make sure the doctor was still in his office, she then made her way over to the replicator. Thankfully the large window looking into his office was in privacy mode and thus dark.
Hurriedly keying in her code she ordered a uniform while keeping one eye peeled for the doctor. She knew she had to be quick; the biobed monitor in his office would show her biosigns no longer registering. When nothing happened she glanced back at the control panel. She glared at the small display screen. 'Unknown code, access denied' was displayed in red on the screen. Grumbling, she tried again with the same results.
"What are you doing?"
Kara jumped and almost lost her grip on her sheet. Clutching the sheet tightly in her hands, she spun around and glared at the doctor.
"I was trying to get my uniform but the replicator isn't working."
The Doctor reached out and took her by the arm. "You shouldn't even be up yet. I haven't released you. You don't need a uniform."
Kara pulled away. "Then get me a pair of pajamas," she demanded, as she hitched the sheet higher up over her breasts. The feelings of vulnerability and the sense of things not being quite right were making her react with anger.
The doctor could see there was no arguing with her. He sighed dramatically but dutifully stepped up to the replicator and ordered the requested item.
Kara accepted the clothes from his hands then stared at him expectantly.
The doctor stared back.
"Do you mind?"
"What?" the doctor asked in confusion.
"Turn around so I can get dressed."
The doctor harrumphed. "Who do you think undressed you?"
Kara scowled but refused to budge.
"Fine I'll be in my office should you decide you need me."
Kara waited until she was sure the doctor was going to remain in the office then quickly donned the pajamas. She had just settled onto the biobed when the door to Sickbay slid open and Captain Janeway walked in.
Her first sight of the captain intensified her sense of uncertainty. She was sure when they left this morning Captain Janeway's hair had been cut in a short bob. The woman before her had her long hair pulled back into a tight bun giving her a severe look.
Thinking she was confused and that she had suffered more from her head injury than she originally thought, Kara pushed aside the disturbing sense of things being off kilter. Despite her apprehension she nevertheless greeted the captain respectfully. "Captain Janeway."
The captain seemed to scrutinize her curiously.
"Lieutenant, "Janeway returned politely. "What's the last thing you remember?"
Kara began to bring the captain up to speed. "After contacting Voyager another wave started to build. Commander MacMillan turned the shuttle and tried to use the thrusters to head out of the nebula and get closer to Voyager. Before we got very far, another wave hit. The last thing I remember was everything starting to explode around us, and then everything went black."
Janeway seemed to consider this but made no comment.
"How did we get back onboard Voyager? I assume you got a transporter lock before the shuttle disintegrated."
Janeway had originally planned on waiting until Commander MacMillan recovered before discussing their situation since she was the senior officer on the away team, but Janeway wanted some answers of her own, and was not known for her patience. When the Doctor contacted her to let her know the Lieutenant had awoken, she had immediately made her way to sickbay. Informing the Lieutenant of the state of affairs was the only way to get the answers she needed.
Taking a deep breath, Janeway mentally prepared herself to fill in the young woman before her on what they had learned in the last four hours. She still couldn't quite believe it, even though there was a precedent for it. It was incredible, but nothing else made any sense.
"No, we didn't beam you onboard. I know this is going to be hard to accept, but while you are on Voyager you're not on 'your' Voyager."
Kara stared at Janeway as if she had grown a second head.
"I assume from what you told me that you and your companions were exploring the nebula in a shuttle correct?" At Kara's nod she continued. "Okay, then let me explain what happened here. We had just arrived at the outskirts of the nebula when a large gravimetric wave erupted from it. Voyager was shaken up but not damaged. Your shuttle seemed to shoot out of the center of the nebula. When we realized it was a federation vehicle we locked onto it and pulled it into the hanger bay. It was already badly damage and started to break up as we got it into the hanger. We beamed the three of you directly to sickbay. What's left of the shuttle is in the hanger bay. It matches identically down to its registry and component serial numbers with an intact shuttle currently in our bay."
Kara stared at the captain for several long minutes trying to take in what she was being told. Mentally shaking her head she finally pulled herself together and let her training take over. After all, she was a Starfleet officer and they had dealt with many strange things in the Delta quadrant.
"So you think this is some type of temporal incursion?"
Janeway actually smiled. The woman had recovered her equilibrium much quicker than she expected. Starfleet training in this woman's universe must be as strenuous as it was in hers.
"We did at first. However, after we accessed the logs on your shuttle we realized the stardates are exactly the same between your time and ours. After running a genetic scan on the three of you we came to the conclusion that we are dealing with an alternate universe. There are Starfleet records chronicling previous encounters with other realties, so it's not unheard of."
Kara frowned. "Why would a genetic scan convince you that " Her voice trailed off when she realized the significance of what the captain was saying. "Our counterparts "
Janeway's opinion of the young Lieutenant jumped another notch; she was sharp.
"How did Commander MacMillan come to be on Voyager?" Janeway asked.
Kara blinked at the rapid change in subject then the light dawned. Janeway knew more than she was saying, and wanted her to confirm how their realities were the same or diverged. She quickly explained the circumstances of Del's arrival on Voyager.
Janeway nodded. "We also experienced the same event However, neither occupant of the escape pods survived."
Kara felt a wave of sadness that the Seven of this universe would not have Del. She knew just how much Del's arrival had meant to the Seven of her universe.
"What about Seven's counterpart?" she asked curiously.
Janeway looked confused. "Seven?"
Janeway said they had done genetic scans on the three of them. Was it possible there was no Seven of Nine in this universe? Kara pointed over to the biobed where Seven lay still sedated.
Comprehension lit Janeway's face. "That's what you call her, Seven?"
"But that's a number," piped up the doctor. He had come out of his office when the Captain arrived and had been listening to the conversation.
Kara scowled at him. "No, it's her name, or at least what she goes by instead of Seven of Nine."
Janeway raised her hand and motioned for the doctor to be silent. "Her counterpart is on Voyager, but she has always gone by Annika since being severed from the collective."
Kara smiled to herself; it was hard to imagine two Seven of Nines even if one of them went by a different name.
"So I guess that just leaves me."
Noticing Janeway's suddenly tense posture Kara wondered if she even wanted to know about her counterpart.
Pinching the bridge of her nose, Janeway took a deep breath; she hated this. Alternate realities, temporal incursions and the like gave her a headache.
She met Kara's eyes evenly. "There is no Kara Jarvis aboard Voyager. I had Chakotay check our records. Your counterpart in this universe was supposed to be onboard, but never made it onto Voyager." Janeway hesitated then finally admitted, "She was killed in a shuttle accident on her way to report to the ship."
"A shuttle from where?" Kara asked in a hoarse voice. She had taken a shuttle from the planet where she had been on shore leave before reporting to Voyager.
Kara gasped. "I missed my shuttle from Calumus on the day I was supposed to leave. I wasn't able to get a shuttle until the next day. I found out later that the first shuttle had an engine malfunction and exploded the first time it tried to go to warp."
Janeway nodded regretfully. "Obviously, your counterpart made that first shuttle."
Kara's head was beginning to pound. It was all just too much to take in. She wondered what other differences this universe held. But more importantly, how were they going to get back to their own.
"So how do we get back to where we belong?"
Janeway told her the only thing she could, the truth. "We have no idea how you got here much less how to get you back. Annika has detected an anomaly at the center of the nebula. But so far we haven't been able to get close enough to find out what it is or determine what, if anything, it had to do with your arrival. The nebula is currently expanding at 8000 cubic kilometers an hour. The gravimetric shear caused by the expansion waves would severely damage Voyager, if not outright destroy her if we tried to approach the center of the nebula."
Kara's headache ratcheted up several notches at the news. It just kept getting worse and worse. She wished Del or Seven were awake so she could talk to them about all this.
Seeing that the young woman was reeling from everything she had been told Janeway stepped closer and laid a gentle hand on her arm.
Kara stiffened at the unexpected touch but relaxed when she looked down into Janeway's sympathetic eyes.
"I know this is all a lot to take in. Try and get some rest. I promise you we are doing our best to find out not only what happened but how to get you home. The doctor assures me that Anni Seven and Commander MacMillan are going to be fine and should awaken in a few hours. We'll figure this out, I promise."
Smiling gratefully at the Captain, Kara laid back down. Janeway patted her arm again.
The doctor stepped up next to Janeway. "I'm going to give you a light sedative so you can rest."
Before Kara could protest the doctor had pressed the hypospray against her neck and blackness quickly over took her vision.
Janeway stared down into the woman's scarred face. The first time she had been in sickbay when the three had first been brought in she had asked the doctor why he hadn't repaired it. She had been surprised when he informed her it was a very old injury. Now looking at it closely she could see that was the case. She couldn't help wondering why the woman would keep such an obviously disfiguring scar.
Shaking her head, she then walked over to the biobed containing Annika No, Seven, she mentally corrected. Here was another mystery. Why would the woman retain her Borg designation? With her long hair brushed back off her face her implants stood out in bold relief. Janeway had to admit she was anxious for the woman to recover. She was curious to see if she was anything like Annika.
After taking one more glance around at the three sleeping women she made her way out of sickbay and back to the bridge.
Del eyed the woman sitting behind the Doctor's desk. She had woken up almost two hours ago to find herself and her crewmates in Voyager's sickbay. Kara and Seven were already awake and dressed. Kara had quickly filled her in on their situation; she had already informed Seven of the situation. Del had been incredulous at first, then suspicious, but it was too fantastic a story to be made up and there were records in Starfleet confirming the existence of alternate universes. She also knew the condition of the shuttle after the second wave hit and that any way you looked at it they should be dead.
A short while ago this universe's Captain Janeway had arrived in sickbay and was now filling them in and confirming what Kara had already told them. Del could see not only the obvious differences, like hairstyle, between this Janeway and theirs but mentally she projected a different aura than their Janeway did. She was, as impossible as it seemed, even more rigidly emotionally controlled than her counterpart.
Del watched Janeway stiffen when she caught her regard and a sudden sense of discomfort started to radiate from her. Well, she apparently has something in common with our Janeway; obviously she's just as leery of empaths. Del knew that by now Janeway would have reviewed all their records well, not theirs, but those of their counterparts and assumed they had the same innate abilities in common. After all, according to Janeway, their DNA matched exactly with the DNA on record for herself and Kara. And Seven's DNA had been matched exactly with her counterpart onboard.
Del waited for Janeway to finish. "So what you're telling us is, not only are we in an alternate universe, but you have no idea how we got here, or how to send us back."
"That about sums it up," Janeway admitted. "For the foreseeable future you're going to be our guests, until such time as we figure out how to send you back."
"I wish to meet with my counterpart and help in the effort," Seven said, speaking up for the first time.
Janeway looked over at Seven. She had been shocked when she entered sickbay and found the woman with her hair pulled back into a twist and wearing the tight biosuit with nothing over it, not to mention the high heels. The blatant display of the woman's body made her uncomfortable. It was such a shocking departure from her counterpart.
Janeway gazed openly at Seven for several moments struggling not to let her gaze drop to the woman's full breasts. She felt herself responding to the display before her and quickly squelched the unwelcome reaction. Knowing this woman was a duplicate of their Annika was throwing her off; she had never seen Annika as being so strikingly beautiful. In addition, her strange visceral reactions to the woman were confusing her further. Mentally shaking her head, she forced her command mask into place and met Seven's eyes.
"I'm sure Annika would welcome your help."
Del felt her anger rise at Janeway's open appraisal of Seven. She didn't like it one bit and the conflicting emotions coming off Janeway were not helping her temper any.
Returning her regard to all three women sitting across from her she continued. "The doctor is releasing you from sickbay. As you know, nothing travels faster on a starship than gossip so most of the crew is aware of your presence." Janeway grimaced. It was obvious she had planned on keeping their arrival a secret. "I "
"We are all anxious to help," Del interrupted. "Since the crew is aware of us, just point us to Astrometrics and we'll get busy. As well as being Science Officer aboard Voyager, I also primarily work in Astrometrics as does Lieutenant Jarvis."
Janeway glared at Del for a second; she wasn't used to being interrupted. "It's almost 2230 ship's time " Janeway informed. "So I think it would be best if you all got some rest and started fresh tomorrow. I don't know what the situation is on your Voyager but here quarters are very tight. Commander MacMillan, as senior officer I am assigning you to the VIP quarters on Deck Three. Lieutenant Jarvis, you will be sharing quarters with Lieutenant Kaplan from Life Sciences. And Seven, Annika has agreed to share her quarters with you. I'll see you all in the morning." Janeway stood up and headed for the door.
Del felt matching blasts of panic come from Seven and Kara. She had no intention of being separated from Seven, and she knew Kara had her own quarters aboard their Voyager.
"Captain, wait," Del said, standing as well. Kara and Seven followed suit.
Janeway stopped in the doorway and turned to look at Del questioningly.
"Is there a problem, Commander?"
Del nodded. "There need to be some adjustments made in the assigned quarters." Janeway started to comment but Del didn't give her a chance. "Seven and I will require quarters together.
Janeway's eyebrow arched and she regarded the two women curiously, waiting for Del to explain.
Del smiled to herself, relishing what she was sure Janeway's reaction was going to be to her news. She mentally chided herself for the childish reaction. Maybe this Janeway would react differently, but her response to Seven so far hadn't convinced Del of that.
Del slipped an arm around Seven's waist and drew her close. "We're married."
Janeway's reaction was everything she could have hoped for and it was a struggle not to burst out laughing at the look on her face. She was doing a wonderful impression of a gaping fish. She heard Kara snort as she struggled to contain her mirth. Seven was obviously confused by the whole thing, but had instinctively wrapped her arm around Del's waist when she pulled her close.
"Married " Janeway finally managed to croak, staring at the two women with their arms wrapped so comfortably around each other. There was an easy intimacy about them that was now glaringly obvious.
"Married," Del confirmed again with a slight smirk.
For several moments Janeway said nothing, though Del was well aware of the range of emotions she was experiencing.
Janeway finally got control of herself and her command mask firmly in place. "Alright then, you and Seven are both assigned to the VIP quarters."
Del nodded her thanks. She caught a pleading look from Kara. Del didn't relish the thought of sharing quarters with anyone, but realized they were in a very strange situation and didn't want to abandon Kara knowing they were the only people she really knew aboard Voyager.
"Umm Captain, would it be possible to have maintenance reconfigure the VIP quarters to add a second bedroom? I'm sure we all feel a bit out of place and would appreciate it if we could stay together."
Del sensed an almost palpable relief spread over her and glance over at Kara and smiled slightly. The woman nodded slightly in thanks.
"I'm sure that could be arranged tomorrow "
"I can sleep on the couch tonight," Kara blurted then blushed at her outburst. She really didn't want to share quarters with anyone, but would rather stay with Seven and Del than face someone she didn't know at all.
Janeway smiled understandingly at the young woman. She had to remember what a shock this must be for them. She at least was in the right universe. "Certainly. I'll accompany you to the VIP quarters. It's late and I'm sure we could all do with some rest."
Voyager - Prime
Janeway started when her door chimed. Unable to bear the sympathetic looks from the crew, she had retreated into her ready room after Voyager had been forced to abandon their search of the protonebula where the shuttle and her crew had been lost. The nebula continued to expand in waves and the gravimetric shear caused by the expansion was a serious threat to Voyager. The ship had sustained damage before Janeway finally admitted defeat. They were continuing their efforts to find their lost crewmembers from outside the nebula's borders.
Casting one last baleful glare at the nebula outside, Janeway called admittance. The door slid open and Chakotay made his way to stand next to his captain.
"Anything?" Janeway asked. One look at Chakotay's somber expression and Janeway knew the news was not good.
"Nothing." Chakotay shook his head sadly. "It's been almost nine hours I think we have to face the fact that they're gone."
Janeway glared at her First Officer; she never understood why he seemed to be willing to write people off as lost so quickly. She never gave up a crewmember without a fight. "I'm not giving up. We don't know for sure what happened to the shuttle. Did you find any more debris?"
"No, just the single piece. B'Elanna confirmed it was part of the shuttle's starboard nacelle. But "
"There's no proof the shuttle was destroyed," Janeway insisted, cutting him off. "There would have been more pieces of it, even if it exploded.
Chakotay sighed dramatically. He knew Janeway wouldn't give up. At times her stubbornness frustrated him; she often risked all their lives to go after crewmembers. But Chakotay was also aware that it was one of the reasons Janeway's crew was so incredibly loyal. They knew their captain would never abandon them, no matter what, and they returned that loyalty one hundred fold.
Janeway knew exactly what Chakotay was thinking, but it was her call. Hoping to forestall a disagreement, she quickly changed the subject. "It's late. Why don't you get some rest? Release the Alpha shift from duty and have Beta take over." It was well into Beta shift, but everyone had remained at their stations searching for any clue to what happened to the shuttle. "Have the senior staff report to the conference room at 0800."
"Dismissed," Janeway said before turning to walk over to her desk.
Chakotay hesitated for just a moment. He knew how much Seven meant to the captain and had wanted to say something... At her forbidding expression the words died on his lips. He made his way out of her ready room with a heavy heart.
Del snuggled into the warm body in front of her; her hand gently stroked Seven's belly. She smiled when Seven's breathing changed indicating she was awake.
"Morning, love," she whispered as her hand drifted higher to cup Seven's breast.
Seven murmured contentedly, turning her head for a kiss.
A loud crash from the living area startled the women apart. They looked at each other in confusion for a moment. A bang followed by a loud curse brought Del upright. Now completely awake, the events of the previous day came rushing back.
"I'd better check on her."
Del stepped into the living area and spotted Kara lying on the floor next to the overturned coffee table.
Del walked over and offered the woman a hand up. "You okay?"
Kara flushed with embarrassment. She'd had a nightmare and tumbled off the couch and into the coffee table. She was still shaking from the disturbing images.
"I'm fine sorry I disturbed you."
Del could sense the woman's roiling emotions. "Are you sure if it's something you'd like to talk about?" Del offered hesitantly, she knew what a private woman Kara was.
Kara stiffened reflexively, knowing Del read her emotions. She looked and saw nothing but compassion in Del's blue eyes. She bit back the acerbic reply she had on the tip of her tongue.
"No. Umm thanks, I'm fine," she said softly.
Del watched as Kara's eyes widened suddenly and she stared over Del's shoulder. She turned to see what had garnered the young woman's attention. Del smiled when she spotted Seven standing in the doorway of their bedroom. She was dressed in short sleeve cotton pajamas; her blond hair was down and flowing around her shoulders.
Kara's emotions had been in such an uproar after her nightmare she hadn't even thought about the fact that she and Del were both in their pajamas. The sight of her friend had made her conscience of her own attire. She crossed her arms over her chest and her eyes darted toward Del.
Del sensed Kara's sudden discomfort. She didn't want their time together to be uncomfortable. There was no way of knowing just how long they were going to be roommates. It was a very different situation for all of them.
"Well, I don't know about you two, but I'm starving. What do you say to some breakfast? Pancakes with maple syrup?" she tempted the two women.
When bright smiles flashed across both women's faces Del grinned. "Come on I'll even make it."
Everyone was dressed and ready to go. They had discussed their situation over breakfast. Although it was agreed they believed Captain Janeway, it was decided that they should examine their shuttle. It never hurt to be cautious. The captain had not stated that they were under any restrictions. Del was about to suggest they head for the hanger bay just as the chime signaled someone at the door.
Del hit the door release and then smiled brightly when the door slid open to reveal Janice Lewis.
"Hey, Janice, come on in," Del greeted, happy to see a familiar face. She and Seven were good friends with the security officer and her wife.
Janice stared at the woman warily. Tuvok had briefed her on the situation with their 'guests,' but it was still disconcerting to realize this woman obviously knew her well or more accurately her counterpart.
Del's smile rapidly dropped from her face at the emotions emanating from the woman. She had to remember that this was not the Janice she knew.
"Lieutenant Lewis, please come in," Del amended. "I'm Commander Del MacMillan."
"Commander," Janice acknowledged politely as she stepped into the cabin.
"This is Lieutenant Jarvis," Del introduced, "and Seven of Nine."
Janice's gaze skimmed over the tall lanky red-head dressed in a Starfleet uniform; she didn't know her. Although, she wasn't quite able to hide her expression on seeing the woman's scarred face. What got her undivided attention was the figure standing next to her. The woman smiled at her and Janice felt her jaw drop open as she stared at the statuesque blond. Her hair was pulled back into a French twist and she wore a tight body suit that hugged every curve, accentuating her full breasts and long, long legs Janice felt her heart give a heavy thump. She shook her head trying to force away her unexpectedly visceral reaction to the gorgeous blond. That's Annika's counterpart! Janice couldn't take her eyes off the woman.
Del was well aware of Janice's reaction and didn't like it one bit. What's with these people? Is their Annika that different?
"So Lieutenant how's Carrie?" Del asked, intending to subtly remind the woman she had a wife.
"Carrie " she stammered in reply. "You know Carrie?"
Del smiled at the shocked woman. "Yes, Seven and I both know your wife."
Del grimaced. Damn gonna have to watch that no matter how familiar, things may not be the same here.
Janice grinned once she recovered from the shock of the Commander's revelation. All thought of Seven was driven from her mind. Janice's mind whirled at the implications. She and Carrie had been seeing each other for almost six months. Their anniversary was in two weeks and she had planned on asking the diminutive blond to marry her.
"She said yes in your universe?" she asked eagerly.
Del breathed a sigh of relief; at least the two women were involved on this Voyager.
"Yes, she did," Del assured with a smile.
"You were married a month before Del and I. We stood up for you," Seven provided helpfully.
Janice's gazed bounced between the two blonds like a ping pong ball. She was sure she couldn't have possibly heard Seven say she was married to the Commander. She immediately thought of Annika; she couldn't imagine the woman married to anyone.
Del walked over and wrapped her arm around her spouse's shoulders. Seven leaned against Del's body and wrapped her arm around her waist.
Kara snickered at the woman's shocked expression. She couldn't help wondering just what Annika was like.
Janice flushed when she realized she was standing there staring at the two women incredulously. She looked up and met the Commander's twinkling eyes.
"I umm Captain Janeway instructed me to escort all of you to Astrometrics," Janice blurted, trying to regain her composure.
Del was quickly brought back to the reality of the situation. After all, Janice was a security officer. Apparently she wasn't the only one who was being cautious.
"Actually, we'd like to see our shuttle. It's in the hanger bay correct?"
Janice hesitated. Tuvok had ordered her to take the three women to the Astrometrics lab and then return when it was time to escort them to the late morning briefing the Captain had called.
"I'll need to contact Tuvok," she informed Del. She stepped out into the hall to contact her superior.
A call to Tuvok prompted him to contact Janeway. Janice closed the contact on her combadge with a smile.
She keyed the door chime and smiled broadly when Del answered. "All set, Commander. If you'll follow me."
Del was surprised and a bit suspicious of the fact that they did not see any crew on the way to the hanger bay. She could see by the expressions on her companions' faces they had noticed as well.
Janice led them into the bay. It appeared to be exactly the same as their Voyager.
Sitting in the center of the bay was an extremely damaged shuttle. Del walked around the outside and frowned when she saw the large section of the starboard nacelle missing. The whole shuttle looked as if it had been crushed by a giant hand. The three women entered the shuttle and gawked, amazed at the level of damage inside. It was a miracle they had come through alive. They were able to access the computer and confirm to their satisfaction that this was their shuttle.
That settled, they headed for Astrometrics
There was no lack of crew as they made their way to Astrometrics. Del spotted several crewmembers she recognized and a few she didn't. By the time they reached the door to the Astrometrics lab Del was extremely curious to meet Seven's counterpart. The reactions of the crewmembers they had passed on the way to the lab had been enlightening to say the least. Most people had nodded to them, seemingly well aware of their presence onboard until they spotted Seven. Every person they had met reacted with varying degrees of shock or lust or both. Going by their reactions, Seven was obviously very different than her counterpart.
"Commander," Janice said, drawing Del out of her musing. "Captain Janeway has called a briefing at 1130. I'll return at 1115 to escort you to the conference room."
"Thank you, Lieutenant. We'll be here."
Janice nodded before walking away. Del sighed. It was so strange to have the woman treat her as a stranger. Shaking away the gloomy thoughts she turned to her companions and motioned toward the door.
The three women stopped dead in their tracks at the sight before them. At the large console in the middle of the room stood Seven's counterpart, Annika. The woman stepped out from behind the workstation. Now Del understood perfectly the crew's shock at seeing Seven.
Annika was as tall as her counterpart and her blond hair and blue eyes were the exact shades of Seven's, but that's where the similarities ended. Her hair had been cut in a shag with long bangs and was feathered around her face. The implant above her eye was barely visible beneath her bangs and the one at her jaw line was also partially hidden by her hair. She wore a baggy, oversized gray coverall with multiple pockets. Her shoes were some type of black work shoe with thick heavy soles. Most surprising was her left hand. At first glance, it didn't appear to have the same mesh covering that Seven's implanted hand had. Del looked a bit closer and realized that the hand in question was covered by a tight flesh-colored glove. The difference between the two women's appearance was startling to say the least. Del wondered who had chosen Annika's attire and why the obvious attempt to hide her implants?
Del and her companions weren't the only one's staring. Annika was mesmerized by her counterpart. The woman was stunningly beautiful. Even though it couldn't be seen, Annika also wore a tight biosuit to help regulate her remaining implants. The first time Captain Janeway had seen it she had suggested rather strongly in fact, that she wear the coverall over it. She couldn't get over the fact that the woman not only wore her hair pulled back displaying her implants for all to see, but also her mesh covered hand was unfettered by a glove. Annika had been filled with curiosity about her counterpart, upon learning of her existence. She had been anxiously awaiting her arrival this morning. There were so many obvious differences she wondered if they shared anything in common. She was eager to find out. There were so many things she had questions about she couldn't help hoping that maybe her counterpart would be open to answering some of them.
Del recovered from the shock first. "Hello, I'm Del MacMillan. You must be Annika. It's nice to meet you," she said, offering her hand.
Annika stared at the Commander's outstretched hand in surprise.
Del sensed the other woman's surprise and hesitancy. Despite appearances obviously some things were the same. Del kept her hand extended until the other woman finally accepted it.
Annika shook her hand but made no other response than a slight nod of her head in greeting.
She smiled at the blond before she introduced her companions. "This is Lieutenant Kara Jarvis. She works in Astrometrics on our Voyager."
Kara smiled tentatively. She was still a bit taken aback by how different this woman was from Seven. "Hi," she greeted, offering her hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
Annika stared between the two women, amazed at their friendliness; it wasn't something she was used to. She met Kara's bright hazel eyes and accepted her offered hand though she couldn't help thinking the people aboard their Voyager must be very different. A strange sensation she couldn't quite place, arched between them when they touched. Seeing Kara's eyes widen, she assumed she must have felt something too. She shook away the strange feelings evoked by the red-head and turned to face her counterpart.
"And this is Seven of Nine," Del introduced. "She goes by Seven."
They stared at each other for several moments. Finally, Seven stuck out her hand to Annika. "Nice to meet you," she said. It was very strange to meet the woman who was supposed to be her double, but was so very different.
Del watched as the two women greeted each other. This was going to be easier than she thought. She had been worried; after all, how many people were ever faced with meeting a double of their spouse? Both women were so different it wouldn't be the least bit uncomfortable as she had feared. Del spared a quick glance over at Kara. She had felt the reaction Kara and Annika had experienced to each other when they shook hands. Del wondered what that was all about.
The four women stared at each other, not knowing what to do now that the introductions had been made.
Del shook her head and grinned; maybe this was going to take a little getting used to after all. Bringing everyone back to business she turned to Annika. "Please show us what you've found so far regarding the anomaly at the center of the nebula."
Relieved to be back on familiar ground, Annika led the way over to the console and called up the information she had gathered on the big screen.
Del stretched out her tired back muscles. They had been at this for several hours and had come up with nothing. So far they had been unsuccessful at unraveling the mystery of how they got here and what was at the center of the nebula. Del had suggested that the only way to get a better idea was to take Voyager into the nebula. She had contacted the captain and made the request; Janeway had refused, stating it was too dangerous to take Voyager into the nebula because of the gravimetric shear caused by the expansion waves.
She looked over at the three other women all working diligently at the consoles around the room, trying to decipher what little information they did have. The only definite thing they had come up with was that the shuttle had come from the center of the nebula.
The door slid open and Janice stepped into the room. "Ready to go?"
The women quickly gathered several data pads and followed the security officer to the conference room.
Captain Janeway looked up when the room suddenly went silent. Commander MacMillan, with Seven by her side, stepped into the conference room. The two blonds were stunning together, Janeway reluctantly admitted to herself. She was still a bit astonished by the news that the women were married. Lieutenant Jarvis and Annika entered immediately after them.
"Everyone take a seat," Janeway ordered.
The staff quickly found their places leaving the three newcomers standing. Janeway quickly made the introductions and then waved the three women into seats at the end of the table.
Del took the seat at the end of the table opposite Janeway. Kara and Seven sat down next to each other. Seven positioned herself opposite her counterpart.
The senior staff was present as well as Tom Paris and Harry Kim. Everyone's gaze bounced between Annika and Seven, but Seven by far garnered most of the attention.
Janeway watched as her staff stared at the newcomers. Their emotions were easily apparent except for Tuvok. His gaze met hers with a slightly disapproving look at his crewmates' unprofessional behavior.
"Let's get started," Janeway said. Her temper flared when she got no response from her officers. She wasn't used to being ignored.
Janeway brought her hand down sharply, smacking the top of the table. All eyes immediately turned to her. Janeway glared at her staff. "Let's get down to business. We all know the situation." She turned to B'Elanna. "What have you got?"
"Not much more than we knew already," B'Elanna admitted. "I examined the shuttle we retrieved on a molecular level. It is definitely not from our universe. There is a .00042 phase variance between it and the matching shuttle in our bay.
No one else had anything significant to offer.
"Annika," Janeway said, calling on her Astrometrics officer.
Annika stood and made her way to the viewer.
Del couldn't help noticing the disdainful looks of some of the staff. Annika seemed not to notice.
"We went over the sensor logs." She put up a graphic on the screen. "The shuttle comes directly from the center of the nebula. We have been unable to identify the anomaly at the center of the nebula. The phenomenon needs to be studied at close range."
Kara listened to Annika even though she already knew what had been found. She couldn't help noticing as she had earlier that Annika had the same monotone, emotionless voice she associated with Seven before she met Del.
"The nebula is continuing to expand. The gravimetric shear makes it too dangerous to take a ship in," Chakotay said.
B'Elanna's face lit up why hadn't she thought it of before! "What about sending a probe
"into the center of the nebula," B'Elanna suggested. "There wasn't enough debris if the shuttle exploded." She spared a quick glance at Janeway. "And we didn't find any remains. So what if it didn't explode but was pulled into the anomaly. Until we know what the anomaly is we can't rule that out. They could still be alive." B'Elanna had been hit hard by Del and Seven's disappearance. She had grown to care for both women and didn't want to give up trying to find them.
Janeway smiled at her chief engineer. Up until now the staff meeting had been going nowhere. There was no sign of the shuttle or her crew and no one had any idea what had become of them. It was becoming the general consensus that they were dead.
"Or they could have been killed by what ever is at the center. The expansion waves appear to originate from there. The gravimetric forces could be even greater at the center. We never got closer than 3000 kilometers to the center, the shuttle was a lot closer than that when it exploded," Chakotay countered.
B'Elanna glared at Chakotay. "So what would it hurt to send in a probe and be sure?"
"What's to keep the probe from being destroyed before it can transmit any data," Chakotay asked.
"We could modify its shielding," Harry suggested.
Janeway cut Chakotay off before he could offer any further objections. Although she didn't agree with him, he was doing his job by playing devil's advocate.
"B'Elanna, how long would it take to modify a probe?" Janeway asked.
B'Elanna glanced at Harry. "At least several hours. If Harry gives me a hand."
Harry nodded eagerly.
"Alright, Harry, B'Elanna, get to work on the probe. The rest of you "
"are dismissed," Janeway ordered. "Commander, I'd like to speak to you."
Del hung back, signaling her companions to do the same. She smiled at B'Elanna as the chief engineer walked by. Sending a modified probe into the nebula was a great idea. The woman eyed her just a bit suspiciously before heading off to work with Harry.
Annika looked longingly at the three women before she made her way to the door to head back to Astrometrics. Despite the circumstances, she had enjoyed working with the three women. No one onboard Voyager had ever been so friendly or seemed so comfortable around her.
Janeway turned to face the three women once everyone had left the room. "I'd like the three of you to continue to work with Annika on any data we receive from the probe. Until it's ready, you can consider yourselves off duty."
Del met Janeway's eyes evenly. "Are we under restriction?" she asked bluntly.
Janeway seemed genuinely surprised. "No, you're free to move about the ship."
"And are we going to be escorted everywhere?"
It took Janeway a second to get it. She had actually forgotten about issuing the orders last night to assign a security guard to them.
"No, I'll let security know you have full run of the ship."
"Thank you, Captain."
Janeway's attention shifted to Seven, who had moved up next to Del's side. She still couldn't get used to the sight of the woman walking around in the tight biosuit. It just seemed indecent somehow.
"Ah Anni Seven," Janeway corrected. "I'm sure Annika would be happy to give you the pattern number for her coverall "
Seven's implant over her eyebrow arched. "Why would I wish to wear that? My biosuit meets all my needs."
"I just thought it would be more appropriate attire," Janeway explained.
At one time such a comment would have bothered Seven. After her experience with Daniels she had blamed herself and her outfit for his actions. Del had quickly dissuaded her of that idea and lay the blame exactly where it belonged, on Daniels actions, not hers.
Seven met Janeway's eyes squarely. "My biosuit is needed to regulate my remaining implants. It meets all my needs and is quite comfortable. If my attire bothers anyone, that is their problem, not mine." Seven glanced over at Del to see her reaction.
Del smiled lovingly at her spouse. She was so proud of how far Seven had come in such a short time. Del mentally shook her head. Well that answers the question of who came up with Annika's outfit.
"I just thought it might help you fit in better with the crew," Janeway insisted.
"I do not wish to 'fit in' with your crew. We wish to return to our own universe."
Janeway knew that stubborn tilt of Seven's jaw. Despite how successfully Annika had integrated into her crew, she was still quite capable of displaying her Borg arrogance on occasion.
"Alright, Seven, whatever makes you comfortable," Janeway conceded.
Janeway dismissed the women. As they turned to leave she couldn't stop herself from allowing her eyes to follow Seven's flexing gluts out of the room. Maybe that biosuit isn't so bad after all, Janeway mused. Her eyes flew open wide when she realized what she had just thought. Janeway shook her head. The sooner those three were back to their own universe the better.
It had taken longer than expected to prepare the probe. When they returned to their quarters yesterday after the meeting Maintenance had already been by and reconfigured the quarters as requested. Del could tell Kara was relieved to have her own personal space; she had quickly retreated into it. They had waited several hours to be contacted about launching the probe. Del had finally contacted B'Elanna and learned that the launch of the probe had been postponed until the following day. She and Harry were having trouble adjusting its shielding.
They had arrived in Astrometrics this morning to find Annika already there waiting for them. Del hadn't missed the look that flashed across Kara's face at the sight of the blond. Del hadn't been sure yesterday, but today she was positive the red-head was attracted to Annika. They had been working closely all morning. Annika's reactions to Kara were a bit harder to read, as Del mostly felt a sense of confusion whenever she felt any of Annika's emotions toward Kara.
Forcing her thoughts back to work, Del contacted the bridge. After several hours' delay, they were finally ready to launch the probe.
"Ready to begin receiving telemetry," Del informed Harry Kim.
"Acknowledged, Commander "
"probe away," Harry acknowledged.
"Probe transmitting now," B'Elanna said. She was controlling the probe from the science station.
All eyes were on the viewscreen as the images began to appear.
With Seven, Kara, and Del gone, Ensign Doyle had been pulled off Beta shift in Astrometrics where he normally worked and was reassigned to the Alpha shift. He was monitoring the incoming data from the Astrometrics lab.
"I'm receiving probe telemetry now," he said, reeling off the pertinent data as it came in. "Probe approaching the center of the nebula "
B'Elanna slowed the probe's speed. They could see a dark undefined area that appeared slightly blurred.
"300 kilometers 200 kilometers 100," Doyle called off.
The screen suddenly filled with static and the image distorted. The image jumped, then seemed to clear a bit. The dark area that the probe had been about to enter now appeared further away.
"What happened?" Janeway asked.
"It's caught in an expansion wave and being pushed back away from the center of the nebula," B'Elanna said.
"Can you compensate?"
"I'm trying " B'Elanna said, working quickly at the controls.
"Doyle, what are you picking up?" Janeway questioned.
They were keeping open a com link between the bridge and Astrometrics
Doyle looked down at his console. "Right before we lost the picture, I picked up a small temporal fluctuation, but it could have been caused by the massive gravimetric wave that emanated from the anomaly. I need the probe to go into the center to be sure what it was."
"I'm ready to try again, Captain," B'Elanna said. "Instead of slowing, I need to time it just after the next wave and "
"push the probe to max speed before another wave can hit," B'Elanna explained.
"Do it," Janeway ordered.
B'Elanna carefully timed the next wave; as soon as the expansion wave passed she pushed the probe to full speed and headed it directly toward the center of the nebula.
All eyes were glued to the screen as the probe entered the dark area at the center of the nebula. The colored gases of the nebula disappeared and the screen went black. A bright blur of motion suddenly flashed across the screen and the probe exploded in a blinding flash of light.
Del looked down at her console in shock. She glanced up to see her companions staring at the large overhead screen where they had been watching the probe transmissions.
"What happened?" Del queried over the open com link.
Janeway looked back at B'Elanna. "Lieutenant Torres?"
"I don't know It made it into the center fine then it just exploded," B'Elanna returned, the confusion in her voice apparent.
"We'll run the data we got and let you know if we find anything," Del said before closing the com link.
Del turned to Annika. "Could you call up the last two minutes of the probe's transmission, and display it in slow motion, please?"
They watched as the last minutes of the probe played out on the large screen.
"Stop right there!" Del ordered.
Annika hit the button to stop the display.
"Now run it back point, three five." The images clicked back. "Freeze it!"
No one said a word as they stared at the image. It showed a black background with what appeared to be a few scattered stars. What held everyone's attention was the fact that the stars should not be visible through the heavy gas clouds that made up the nebula.
Janeway stared at the tantalizing image from the probe and sighed in frustration. They still didn't know what had destroyed the probe. Ensign Doyle had tried his best, but his best was nowhere near Seven's abilities. She missed her Astrometrics officer's expertise. Oh admit it, you just miss her! her irritating inner voice spoke up. Janeway scrubbed her hands across her face. She did miss the blond something fierce. No matter how much she tried to convince herself differently, she would always have a special soft spot for Seven, but she wanted ALL her crewmembers back.
Harry Kim was in Astrometrics trying to help Doyle decipher the data received from the probe.
A sense of hope that had been lacking up to this point infused the bridge personnel. Everyone was working with renewed vigor to solve the mystery of their now assumed to be missing crewmates.
Del's eyes fluttered open. She wasn't sure what had awakened her. They had worked late in Astrometrics, trying to figure out what had caused the probe to explode. Del had finally called it a night; she was tired and frustrated and knew her companions were as well. Seven had protested, saying she would continue to work, but at Del's gentle insistence had returned to the cabin with her. Del had invited Annika to join them for a late dinner but she had declined, wanting to continue to work. Del saw no reason for them to wear themselves out. This wasn't something they were going to solve in a few hours. After a quick dinner they had all retired for the night.
Del grumbled when the door chime sounded. She glanced at the chronometer and groaned. Who would be at their door at four o'clock in the morning? Seven stirred as Del moved out of her arms.
"There's someone at the door," Del explained.
Del almost ran into Kara coming out of her room. "I'll get it." She hurried to the door and pushed the com button next to it. "Yes, what is it?"
Del's question was met with silence then "It is Annika."
Del's eyebrow shot up and she quickly hit the door release. Now more awake, she was able to sense Annika's excitement.
"Come on in," Del invited.
Annika stepped into the cabin. "I discovered " her voice trailed off as she became aware of Del's attire. Her face registered her shock when she looked past Del to see Seven and Kara standing a short distance away.
"I have interrupted your sleep cycle I will go," she stammered. Annika had not even considered the time; she had been excited about her find and her first thought had been to share it with the women she had worked with so well the last two days.
"No, that's okay, we're awake now. What did you find?" Del said as she gently urged Annika into the living room.
Annika wasn't even aware of Del's guiding hand as she led her over to the couch. She couldn't take her eyes off Seven. She was wearing pajamas like her companions. The short sleeves exposed her implanted hand and arm; her hair was down and flowing freely about her shoulders. Most amazing of all was the fact that Seven appeared to have been sleeping before she arrived.
Del got her to sit on the center cushion of the couch. She took up residence on one side of her and Seven did the same on the other. Kara took a seat in the chair facing the couch.
"Annika " Del called softly, trying to get her attention. She could sense the woman's absolute amazement at Seven's attire and apparently the fact that she had been asleep.
Annika returned her attention reluctantly back to Del.
"You found something?"
She stared at Del for several seconds then remembered what had brought her here. The sight of Seven had totally thrown her.
"I discovered what caused the probe to explode."
That caused a stir among the women. "What was it?" Kara was the first to ask.
Annika turned to Kara. She felt a strange sensation as she met the red-head's eyes. That had been happening all day as they worked together, and Annika had no idea why or what it meant. Pushing away the distracting thoughts, she dropped her bombshell.
"Another probe," Annika stated succinctly.
"But that's not possible; we only sent out one probe," Kara insisted.
Seven was the first to understand what her counterpart was alluding to.
"Not another probe from this Voyager it must have come from our Voyager," Seven said.
Annika nodded; that was her assumption as well.
"How did you identify another probe," Del asked. She didn't doubt her; she was just curious how they had missed it earlier. They had gone over and over the probe's images.
"I reviewed the probe's images, frame by frame."
"But that would be over 100,000 images," Del said in awe.
Annika merely nodded.
"We need to contact the Captain, right now." Kara said excitedly, rising to her feet. The other probe had to be from their Voyager looking for them.
"Not at four o'clock in the morning we don't," Del insisted. She was excited too, but had no interest in stirring the captain's ire by waking her up in the middle of the night.
Kara slumped back down into her chair; she had totally forgotten what time it was. She looked over at Annika and smiled sheepishly, understanding perfectly why the woman had woken them.
Del's statement reminded Annika of the fact that she had awoken the women. "I should go " She rose from the couch. For some reason she was reluctant to go, even though she knew she was intruding. All she had to look forward to was several long lonely hours in her cabin. She envied the three women their obvious comfort with each other. She glanced over at Seven, and couldn't resist a question.
Seven smiled at her counterpart. "Yes, I do," she said proudly. "Although, I do still require my alcove."
Seven had assumed that since Annika had her own quarters she too had learned how to sleep. That obviously was not the case.
She glanced at Del before adding, "I will need to regenerate soon." They had discussed that very thing tonight before going to bed. Seven was reluctant to regenerate, and had hoped to be back on their Voyager before that happened.
"There are four alcoves in the cargo bay. I use one; the other three are currently shut down to conserve power. I can activate one of them or you can use mine," Annika offered.
"Thank you. I will use yours if that is acceptable."
Annika nodded and turned to go. "Captain Janeway normally arises at 0600. I will contact her at that time."
"Wait, Annika. Why don't you wait here for us? Let us get dressed, then we'll all head to Astrometrics together," Del suggested. "I for one can't wait to see what you found. You did a great job!"
Del had sensed Annika's underlying insecurity and uncertainty while they were working together just as she had originally with Seven. She reached out unthinkingly and patted Annika's arm.
Annika looked into Del's friendly blue eyes and a shy smile crossed her face at Del's praise. She was amazed that the woman had actually touched her so casually.
Del grinned. It was the first time she had seen Annika smile. Her smile quickly dropped from her face when she felt the emotions coming off Kara and Seven both. It was pure jealousy. Guess that answers the question of Kara's attraction to Annika, Del smirked to herself. She glanced at Seven, surprised by her reaction.
Pretending she wasn't aware of Kara's reaction, Del stood up and quickly stepped around the coffee table to stand in front of her wife. She reached out and clasped Seven's hand, pulling her to her feet and into her arms. Del smiled lovingly when Seven immediately accepted the embrace and wrapped her arms around her back.
"Come on, love. Let's get dressed."
She gazed into her lover's eyes, and was so enthralled she missed the stunned reaction of Annika.
Kara smiled at Annika's reaction. She obviously had not realized Seven and Del were a couple. Satisfied that that fact had been established, she too headed for her bedroom to change.
Kara looked over at Annika and frowned when she found her once again staring at Del and Seven. She had seemed fascinated by the couple all day. After the initial excitement caused by Annika's discovery of the second probe and its possible origins, things had almost ground to a standstill. The probe they had sent into the nebula had been the last in Voyager's inventory. Harry and B'Elanna were attempting to replicate the parts to build a new one. The four of them had remained in Astrometrics all day trying to further decipher the probe's data.
Seven glanced over at her counterpart only to see her look away quickly. That had been happening all day. She wasn't quite sure what to make of the woman's interest. Del had assured her she had nothing to be jealous of after her reaction to Annika earlier that morning in their quarters. She believed Del, but couldn't help feeling that Annika was interested in Del. After all, the woman was her counterpart, and she herself had fallen head over heels in love with the blond. She could understand perfectly how Annika might react the same; Del was an amazing woman.
Del was well aware of Annika's interest and Seven's concerns. But being able to feel Annika's emotions allowed her to know that Annika's interest was based on a sense of amazement and burning curiosity. She didn't pick up any type of sexual interest coming from her. Del knew Seven was still occasionally insecure, and decided it was time to nip this in the bud before it escalated. She strode purposefully over to Seven.
Seven smiled when she felt Del press against her from behind.
"What do you say we take a break and head to our quarters for an early dinner?" Del whispered in Seven's ear.
Seven shivered as a delicious tingle caused by Del's hot breath in her ear made its way down her spine. She glanced over at Kara and Annika working together across the room.
"Should we invite them?"
"Umm no " Del husked leaning closer, "definitely not. I don't plan to share what I'm having for dinner."
Seven looked over her shoulder into Del's hungry eyes. She bit her lip to keep from groaning at the wave of arousal that seared through her. Currently incapable of speech she merely nodded eagerly.
Del smirked having felt Seven's reaction. She was feeling a bit damp as well. It was time to head for their quarters.
"Kara, Annika," Del called. "Seven and I are going to head to our quarters and take a break, maybe have some dinner. We'll check back with you in a few hours."
Del reached out and pulled Seven close to her side. Del met Kara's eyes directly and smiled broadly.
Kara's brow furrowed, then she got it. "Enjoy your break. I'm going to continue here for a while before I grab a bite to eat. I won't make it back to the cabin until quite late.
Del nodded her thanks. "See you later."
Annika stared after the departing couple in confusion. It seemed as if there was an underlying conversation going on that she had not gotten. Mentally shrugging her shoulders, she went back to her analysis. She definitely needed to talk to her counterpart.
"Oh Del Del "
Del looked up from her place between Seven's legs as her name became a mantra as Seven neared the edge. She increased the suction on the throbbing bud between her lips.
Seven cried out and her body jerked almost dislodging Del from her spot. She hung on for dear life and rode out Seven's climax.
When Seven stopped shaking, Del slid up and covered her body as she waited for Seven to regain her composure. She loved the fact that Seven could hold her full weight easily. It was one of the advantages of Seven's remaining implants as Del was always quick to point out. She knew her partner loved the feel of being beneath her.
Once Seven's breathing evened out, Del lifted up and looked down into her lover's eyes.
"I love you."
Seven smiled lovingly up at Del. "I love you too."
"Want to talk about it?" Del asked.
Seven's implant over her eye rose in question.
"Annika " Del prompted.
Del felt Seven stiffen slightly. She leaned down and kissed her softly.
"Remember what I told you when you asked what marriage meant to me?" Seven nodded. "I married you, Seven. I committed myself to you: body and soul. Nothing and no one will ever change that."
"But she is I mean she looks more human. And she is me " Seven's voice trailed off, her confusion at what she was trying to explain obvious.
"You look just as human, love. Haven't you noticed how Annika tries to hide her implants? I'm proud of you, Seven. You don't have anything to hide. I love you for who you are. I don't want you to be any different. What if my counterpart had been onboard. Would you love her want to make love with her?"
Seven was momentarily rendered speechless. She couldn't believe Del would even suggest such a thing.
"Of course not!" Seven insisted vehemently.
"I feel the same way," Del assured. "You are the woman I want, no one else."
Seven looked up into her lover's eyes and smiled, suffused with the love she felt for this incredible woman.
"I love you."
Del gave Seven a gentle kiss. "And I love you with all my heart."
"She is interested in you though," Seven said, unable to keep a hint of jealousy out of her voice.
"No, actually she's interested in us."
Seven's eyebrows shot up in shock.
Del chuckled. "Not like that. I think she finally realized we're a couple and is intrigued. Who knows, maybe like you she never thought of two women together." Del wiggled her eyebrows. "Kara is interested in her."
"Yes, in Annika. She was really jealous this morning when I touched her. Like someone else I know," Del teased.
Seven blushed. "I know I just "
"It's okay, love. This is a strange situation for all of us, but you have absolutely nothing to be jealous about. You and you alone are the only woman for me."
Del leaned down and took Seven's lips in a searing kiss, pouring all the love she felt for her into the kiss.
Seven was panting by the time the kiss broke. Her arousal soared anew. A mischievous grinned appeared on her face just before she shifted her weight.
Del gasped at suddenly finding herself on her back with a very aroused blond Borg on top of her.
"I have you now," Seven purred huskily.
Del smiled lovingly. "You've always had me." Pressing against Seven, she tried to flip her back over. Seven refused to budge from her spot on top. Del laughed and waggled her eyebrows at Seven. "And just what do you plan to do with me now that you have me?"
Seven happily showed her.
Kara wandered the corridors of Voyager aimlessly. It was too early to return to the quarters she shared with Del and Seven. It had been very obvious what Del had in mind when she and Seven left for a break. She felt uncomfortable possibly intruding on the women's private time together. After all, thanks to her, they now had a roommate, whether they wanted one or not.
She had worked with Annika for a while longer before heading off to the mess hall for some dinner. She had invited Annika, but she had declined. Kara tried hard to mask her disappointment.
After a quick dinner in the mess hall, she made her way toward Astrometrics. Her thoughts once again turned to Annika. Kara was thrown by her reaction to the blond. She felt inexplicably drawn to her and that scared her. She had sworn to herself after Maria she would never let anyone close again; it just hurt too much. Troubled by her thoughts of Annika she had bypassed Astrometrics and began an impromptu tour of the ship. She had noticed several crewmembers watching her with interest during dinner, but her forbidding expression had dissuaded anyone from approaching. Kara saw the looks that people threw her way but didn't care. She didn't know any of these people and didn't want to. That's not true. There is one you'd like to get to know, piped up a quiet young voice that was seldom heard from.
As if drawn by her continuing thoughts of the woman, Kara found herself back outside Astrometrics. Sighing heavily, not able to resist the pull, she headed toward the doors. She stepped into the Astrometrics lab and felt immediately let down; Annika wasn't there.
Kara's shoulders slumped and she turned to head out of the lab. She stopped short of the door.
"Computer, locate Annika," she ordered against her better judgment.
"Annika Hansen is in her quarters."
Kara walked purposefully back over to a console and called up the needed information.
Are you nuts? You need to stay away from this woman. All Kara's fears hit her at once and she skidded to a halt just around the corner from Annika's quarters. It's been so long take a chance, another quieter voice urged. Oh Adara, you don't know what you're asking, Kara sighed. It wasn't very often she heard her sister's voice but she was never able to ignore it, knowing that she could never repay the sacrifice her sister made.
Kara squared her shoulders and resolutely headed for Annika's cabin. She stopped dead in her tracks and stared. There was already someone standing in front of Annika's door. She quickly stepped back before she could be seen. From her position, she had a clear view of the door and the back of the man standing there; she couldn't see his face. He pushed the door chime somewhat impatiently. The door slid open and Kara caught a glimpse of Annika before she stepped back to allow the man to enter. Kara's heart sank as the door closed behind them.
She stumbled down the corridor, totally unaware of the tears trailing down her face.
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