By Elizabeth Carter
The dark brown eyes of B'Elanna stared at the vastness of space from her view of Seven's favorite port window in the mess hall. Standing there she thought perhaps she might catch a glimpse of the diamond that had taken her wife.
"Seven likes that window," Nelix said stepping up close to the gloom filled Klingon. "I think she comes in here when the place is empty to contemplate many things."
"Until she had quarters, she had no other place to spend much of her time," came the woman's answer.
"I guess that was an oversight that should have been taken care of long ago. She always put in eighteen hours a work per day. " Neelix started then stopped as he saw the dark eyes narrow in impatience. "You know .I um . I should see to things for tomorrow's breakfast. I I can make you some banana pancakes." The furry man was wringing his hands as he continued to speak with the heartbroken woman.
"I don't ." B'Elanna snapped. Then sighed. "Maybe another time, Neelix. I only want my wife back," she groaned, her voice catching in her throat. "What the Queen will do to her ." Dark eyes closed once more. "It shouldn't be her She's suffered far too much as it is. It isn't fair."
The Talaxian tried again. "B'Elanna . I want to help." His voice was now a little more confident. "I still have my vessel in the shuttle bay. Now, it's a trading vessel so it doesn't have many armaments, but it does have phasers. I am going out there with the rest of you."
"Neelix, you cannot be seriously entertaining "
"B'Elanna, I know I can help. At least I can prove to be a distraction. With the Delta Flyer, the areowing shuttle, and this new sentient ship as well as Voyager, we can prove to be a formidable force for that Borg Queen out there. I had a few narrow escapes from the Borg when I was piloting that old girl. We can do it again." The furry man tried to smile reassuringly.
B'Elanna only nodded. "I remember ." As if catching herself from saying too much, B'Elanna shook her dark mane.
"Sorry? What do you remember?" Neelix cautiously approached the young engineer.
"It's nothing . Thank you, Neelix. With your added ship you'll give us greater odds." Turning away from the window she said, "I have work I need to do." With that the Klingon left the mess hall, leaving behind her a very concerned Talaxian in her wake.
Since the morning when she had found her wife gone missing, the young woman had shifted completely into automatic. Her hands knew exactly what to do without great concentration. The young woman was overwrought with rage that she could not face her enemy, that her wife had gone as she had, and that she was left behind. The only thing that made her step away from her anger were the preparations of the ships.
Large blue eyes cold only stare at the woman before her. The tall blonde was beyond shock, beyond amazement. What she was lead to believe, what she thought was true, was not.
Miral, daughter of Azetbur of house Prasba, was not dead.
"Has bonding with Voyager destroyed your logic processor?" the Queen asked in a snide voice. "Think Seven, a transwarp corridor to the Beta Quadrant, into Klingon space. From there it was easy enough to match the DNA of a single Klingon to a former Klingon-hybrid drone that once was apart of the Collective. The individual B'Elanna Toress gave us everything the Collective needed to hunt down and track her parental unit. Ironically, she was aboard a Maquis ship," the Queen easily explained, as if talking to a person of limited intelligence.
Seven turned a dozen shades of white.
As Miral struggled against her drone captors, her dark eyes landed upon the Klingon armored blonde. The woman thought the frail thing looked completely out of place amongst the Borg. The open plunging neckline so popular with Klingon female warriors revealed a very ample bosom, which would have been extremely captivating if circumstances had been different. There was something else that caught the older woman's eyes; the battle sash and the symbols attached to it. One was Maquis, another a Starfleet insignia, but the one that captured Miral's attention the most was the symbol of House Prasba.
"Pac'ta!" the aging Klingon snarled. "You dare wear a warrior's sash!? That belongs to my daughter! You will not wear it as a trophy!"
With a strength that belied her middle age and completely surprised her captors, Miral launched herself at the tall blonde. The enhanced combined strength of both drones was needed to hold back the Klingon's frenzied attacked on the Prime. They did not succeed.
Miral moved to tackle Stick Girl but she was shocked that the frail looking female was incredibly strong. The Klingon's fist never landed a blow. The silver mesh hand caught the fist as the right arm quickly went around the other's body in a vise-like grip of a boa constrictor. The bearhug pressed Miral's back into Seven's chest. The blonde knew to move her head so her chin was near Miral's shoulder. The taller woman had no intention of being subdued by a blow from a thick Klingon cranium to her own.
"meQtaHbogh qachDaq Suv qoH neH," Seven said into Miral's ear, trying to calm the fanatical the woman.
That was the strangest thing Miral had ever thought a drone might say, 'only a fool fights in a burning house.' The words were enough to cause the woman to pause for a moment.
"Hegh neH ehav goH, Mirel. Suvlu'taHvIS yaphe' HoS neH," Seven continued, Monopolizing Miral's quiet.
Miral had to admit Stick Girl was right, a fool's only achievement was death, and brute strength was not the most important asset in a fight. Why was Stick Girl trying to talk to her?
"Please . Do not resist." The words were said in even a more subdued tone. "You must trust me you have no reason to, but please .."
"Take her back to holding," the Queen said. She didn't like the fact that her Prime was becoming very familiar with the Klingon warrior.
"We will comply." The drones stepped forward to take custody of the prisoner.
"Wait!" Seven stepped forward, placing her body in front of Miral and the drones. It was so surreal. The blonde had to convince herself this was no figment of her imagination. This woman growling curses behind her was very much alive.
The drones stopped, looked to the Queen, and then to the Prime. Their own confusion was on their faces as the orders of the Prime were as strong as those that came from their Queen. It was paradoxical and chaotic to even consider that the Prime was as powerful as the Queen. The Prime's algorithms were just as potent as the Queen's, and thus the drones found themselves complying with her. The Queen merely smirked in amusement that her Mate was adapting back into the Collective.
The blonde acted quickly, her blue eyes rested upon Miral as she tied to convince this woman, that she was not the enemy. With her left hand she reached to touch the darker caramel skin of the elder Toress woman. "You will not die with dishonor, nor as a captive I promise you." The tall blonde knew the Queen could hear her words. "I am not what you think I am. I am not a drone, and I am not Borg. I am an individual. The woman you see before you, Miral, is married to your daughter."
Now it was Miral who was pale, disbelieving and locked into astonishment. Miral stopped moving. She would not allow her captors to sense her fear, rather dark brown eyes glowed in hate. Blue eyes changed their expressions to care and need. It was not something Miral was prepared to see, but she would not be tricked.
"You lie!" Miral roared, her anger waxing over her moment of calm.
"No," the Queen said. "Unfortunately, she speaks the truth. Janeway has turned my perfection into a sympathetic mindless automaton, and because of that Seven of Nine is married to your sub-unit. But that issue is irrelevant now. I had claimed Seven of Nine as mine before that hybrid had and I have my Prime back now. The past is irrelevant. Her future is mine to create. She is foolish if she believes otherwise."
Seven's blue eyes filled with all the hate, all the malice, she had within her as she looked to the Queen. The Queen was the cause, the reason why her family was made to suffer so. She would have her vengeance.
The Klingon let out a cry of pure rage as she threw the spanner in her hand across the shuttle bay. The tool clattered loudly as it hit the bulkhead narrowly missing Lieutenant Tinalucy. The young Betazoid managed to duck the missile in time, though she winced as if stuck by the utter rage boiling off of her CO.
The young woman nervously picked up the spanner and slowly approached the seething half-Klingon. The spanner hit the floor once more as the empath was completely stunned by the emotional vibration streaming off of the other woman.
Dark eyes met dark eyes and B'Elanna flashed a mouth full of sharp teeth. "Not a word. Not a single word."
The Betazed stumbled backwards, her black eyes wide in both fear and astonishment. The cloud of rage was like nothing she had ever felt before.
"I .I "
A growl came out of the Klingon and Tinalucy found herself complying to whatever B'Elanna wanted. This was a woman with whom you did not want to get into an altercation, unless you happen to have Borg-reinforced bones. What the Betazoid read in the Klingon's mind flooded her with shocking chaotic images of great loss, rage and the impotence to do anything about it.
A shell-shocked empath teetered on the heels of her feet as she made a hasty retreat, back to the safety of her work far from the Klingon's deadly aim and rage.
Perhaps one other could confront the enraged Klingon without being Borg and survive the fire.
"B'Elanna,"Janeway put a hand on the young Lieutenant's shoulder, "you've been working on this for days. The doctor reports that you haven't been sleeping and you're skipping meals. As of now, I am ordering you to take the next twenty four hours off."
"No," B'Elanna said crisply.
"It's a direct order, Lieutenant. If I have to throw you in the brig to make sure you rest, I will," Kathryn retorted. She had come down to the shuttle bay to check on her young Chief of Engineering's progress. Granted, she could have easily commed the woman and asked for a report, or waited for her first officer to hand her a progress report at the end of the day, but the captain wanted to show her support to the young woman so recently estranged for her newly wedded wife.
"She's out there, Captain! She did what I should have. It should be me out there " B'Elanna struggled with her bleeding emotions.
"Lanna." Kathryn squeezed the shoulder she had touched earlier. "I know how you feel, because I feel the same way, that I should be there and not Seven. I am her Captain and responsible for her life, and safety. Right now there isn't much I can do about her situation, but I can about yours. Your safety and life are in my hands as well. And so I am ordering you to stand down, Lieutenant, and take the rest of the day and tomorrow off. If you don't, I promise you once you shake off the sedation from the Doctor, you'll be waking up in the brig."
B'Elanna gritted her teeth, her anger rising to the surface. "You would put me in the brig?" How dark brown eyes could suddenly become ice-blue stunned the willful captain. Automatically Janeway took an involuntary step back. Klingon rage was known to reach mythic proportions. Add that to the rage of losing one's mate and it quantified exponentially.
Janeway could not lose any more ground. She took that step back and confronted her junior officer with her own heart. "If it is the only way I can get you to rest, you can bet your pips on it." Janeway crossed her arms in front of her chest. Her expression softened. "Do you seriously think you will be any good going up against the Queen to get your wife back if you are not a hundred percent?"
The younger woman considered her Captain's words, keeping silent for the moment. Janeway took the cue and touched her Chief Engineer's arm. "Besides, you should spend some time with Icheb outside of work. And even though Mizoti is in stasis until we can be sure she's safe, you should see her, too. I know our young cadet misses his mother. And you are apart of his family now .His Unimatrix. He will need you, Lanna."
Guilt flooded the young woman's velvet chocolate eyes.
"Captain .." B'Elanna whispered. "There is something that ." B'Elanna gritted her teeth, forcing her emotions in order, "Perhaps we " she tried again and faulted.
"I take from your tone of voice that this is a rather heavy subject. As Seven would say, 'it borders on a philosophical discussion.' Am I right?"
The ebony mane nodded.
"Is it pressing?"
"No Yes . It's personal."
"I think privacy will be best for this," Janeway said. "Come by my quarters at 1900 hours and we will talk. But until then you are logged off duty. Lieutenant, don't think my threat of having you sedated and restrained isn't real. We lost Seven, I won't lose you too, B'Elanna." The Captain gave a small tight smile. "Besides, I think your wife will be extremely angered with me if she found I allowed you to become ill because of her." The Captain put a tight hand on the young Klingon's shoulder once more. "We will get her back, B'Elanna. You have to believe that. We didn't go against the Borg twice just to lose her this time."
For two days Miral had been kept in the holding cell just as she had before the arrival of Stick Girl who of course now had a name: Seven of Nine, or more aptly Annika Toress. Miral was, to say the least, both suspicious of the woman whom she had learned was her daughter-in-law as well as fascinated.
For two days Miral had studied the lanky blonde. It seemed her daughter's wife was forcing herself to recall lost information and she was continually working on the green multi-spectrum comm panels, trying to gain access to the central plexus. Her drive was, to the casual observer, impressive. The tall blonde spent hours trying to undermine the Queen by gaining as much INTEL as she could. Miral found herself respecting that. She had the myopic concentration that B'Elanna did, when faced with a new project.
Though she appeared to be a frail thing, Stick Girl was in fact extremely physically sound and strong. The fortitude the younger woman had was incredible. And she was, Miral admitted, very beautiful, a beauty to match B'Elanna's own.
Miral noticed that the woman's armor was bastardized between Klingon and what the Drones and the Queen herself were covered in. The shoulder length blonde braid that hung over the right shoulder was secured by a pin with the emblem of House Prasba. It seemed that this very young woman had embraced the Klingon ways.
Miral recognized that Seven was going out of her way to ensure her safety. For the first time since her capture, Miral was given more than emergency rations to sustain her. The expression on the tall blonde was guarded. And more so than on that first day, after the confrontation in the Queen's chamber. Miral guessed Seven had to somehow buy the food the Klingon was now eating. She didn't ask how, not wanting to shame her daughter-in-law. The Queen would be made to pay for the indignities she suffered the House Prasba.
Miral could tell there was a lot of questions in the young woman's mind that she wanted to ask but didn't. The Klingon had questions of her own that she wanted answered. From what Miral knew, her daughter had been lost in the badlands and the Federation had sent a Starfleet vessel after her. Miral had presumed her child had died.
While she was still within the Beta and Alpha quadrants as an ambassador, she had hoped that B'Elanna had an honorable death, for she had believed, like so many others, that her daughter was dead. Miral wanted to know that her daughter was alive and well, living the life she was meant to, but mostly she wanted to see her little girl once more. Contrary to Federation myths, Klingons did love their children a great deal. Yes, they wanted their daughters and sons to grow strong, proud, and honorable, but they also wanted their offspring safe, and for them to die an honorable death, after living an honorable life.
If you live, you bleed. Love had nothing to do with weakness. In fact, some of the greatest heroic feats had been done out of the act of love. had been done for love
On the second day of their combined internment, Miral decided to confront her daughter in-law on this very subject of love.
"Stick-Girl, tell me of my daughter," Miral demanded.
"I have a name." Seven sounded perturbed. Stick-Girl was not a flattering designation, especially coming from a Klingon warrior.
"Seven of Nine, yes, I know. Not much of a name to me." Miral crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Tells me nothing of you."
"It informs that for eighteen years Annika was Borg." The voice was guarded
"Annika .." Miral allowed the name to touch her tongue. "Better suited than a number."
"Only B'Elanna calls me Annika."
"Now her mother does. Sit down and tell me of B'Elanna, Annika."
Seven remained standing, looking defiant.
"Comply, Stick-Girl," Miral ordered.
"At least I see something in common with my child. You are both difficult." Miral chuckled.
Seven smirked ever so slightly.
Without hesitation, Miral touched the house insignia on the sash running across Seven's chest. "So Lanna has embraced her Klingon half."
"In part, yes. She doesn't hate Klingons, she never did. In fact, we speak Klingonese with regularity when together," the younger woman explained.
"I thought, Lanna had forgotten her mother's tongue." There was almost sadness in the older woman's voice.
"She is rectifying that," Seven defended.
"You speak it as clearly as if you were born Klingon. You even pronounce my child's name correctly. Not many humans do," Miral continued.
Seven smiled softly. "B'Elanna has said she likes the sound of her name coming from my voice. Even when .." the blonde paused for a moment, looked down at the meshed hand, her expression tight once more as she continued, " . before we were romantically involved, she liked to hear 'the Drone' say her name."
Seven's eyes clouded in a brief expression of dejection. "It is not a designation I like. It is the same to me as as "
'Turtlehead?" Miral supplied as if she knew where Seven was leading.
"Yes. At one time B'Elanna would use Drone, but no longer. More so because she knows what it is to hear derogatory comments used against a person. I have strong confirmation that she will never tolerate anyone using that term in the same breath as references to her wife or children."
"Child Children! You have children!" Miral was quickly on her feet.
"Adopted," Seven quickly stated. "Our children are adopted."
The older woman sat back down. "My Wa'Hom, a mother!" what came out of the woman's mouth was a fully belly laugh. "Oh, I have cursed her well. I hope she has a child who behaved just as she did as a child!"
"Mizoti can be difficult," the Blonde admitted.
Miral saw some reflective worry and sadness in her daughter-in-law's eyes. Which brought about another question in the aging woman. Miral started to pace. "Tell me, Annika. Why are you here, and why does that Pac'ta bitch call you mate?"
"There was an ultimatum." Seven's voice became frigid as the artic as she quoted the Queen's words. "'Voyager would be destroyed and her crew with her, if Seven of Nine did not surrender herself to the Borg.' Or more specifically to the Queen. There was no alternative. I did what I had to do to protect my ship, my wife my family. The Queen is obsessed with reclaiming her Prime. My wife is safe, that is my priority, and I made sure the Queen couldn't touch her. I will never allow that to ever happen again if I can prevent it. I love her too much to allow harm to come to her. I made a vow on that very fact and I will do anything to make sure I keep it. My BangwI Be'nal is safe."
Miral was stunned by the conviction in the young woman's voice, and she approved.
Captain Kathryn Janeway sank into the white sofa in her quarters, trying to drum out the headache with the dark, and drown the heartache with a double shot of whiskey. She was right there with B'Elanna wanting to throw something herself, but she was the Captain and she could not be seen as weak in front of the crew, especially her young Chief Engineer.
"How many does that make," came the voice of her lover as she entered the dark quarters.
Janeway didn't look up at Amanda as the tall blonde approached. She could feel her lover shift beside her and take her head unto her lap. A deep sigh escaped the older woman's lips as she felt the long wily hands run through her auburn hair.
"The fifth, I think," Kathryn finally answered the question. "Maybe ssss- ven." She couldn't help the tears that disobeyed direct orders not to fall.
Silently Amanda took the glass from her hand and downed the last of the contents herself, then set the glass on the coffee table. "Let it out, Kath. No one is here to judge you. Right now you're my Kath, not the Captain."
"Oh God, Mandy " Kathryn held on to her love as a lifeline and wept. She wept for B'Elanna, for Mizoti and for Icheb. She wept for Seven as she imagined what tortured words her protégée would have to endure until they rescued her. She wept for herself, for what she had lost. She wept for Amanda, as she could not love this wonderful woman as she had Seven.
"You you know I love you," Janeway managed.
"Never questioned it." Amanda kissed the brow of her beloved.
"I am supposed to be detached ."
"Captain Janeway is detached. Sometimes Kathryn sneaks in and shows her heart. Your not Vulcan, Kath, you have those emotions and if you don't let them out safely, it ends up a life in Hell. Trust me, I know." Amanda leaned down and took Kathryn's soft lips with her own. "And when it comes to Seven, your heart will always be there."
"You should be pissed with me," Janeway said suddenly, pulling away from her lover and rose to her feet, and paused in front of the couch.
"Why? Because you show you care a lot about someone."
"Mandy, please don't play ignorant "
"Come here and sit down," Amanda ordered
When Kathryn didn't do as directed, Amanda shot her love a force nine glare. "I said sit down. Out there you're the boss, what you say goes. In here you are not Captain, not to me. Now sit down, woman."
Kathryn came and sat.
"Good girl." Amanda took her lover's hands. "Now I am not going to go over and over this with you, so pretend you're a cadet and I am the admiral."
"Yes, Ma'am," Kathryn mockingly saluted.
"Almost everyone onboard thinks that I am a supplement to Seven, like second best. Well, okay, I can see that. Both of us are the same height, have the same color hair. Same shaped eyes. Hers are blue mine are brown. We even have similar crappy childhoods, both grew up way too fucking fast and we both have a lot of issues to deal with. But you found me first, and while I was like sixteen and you were twenty-four, you couldn't, wouldn't, cross the line. You waited until I was older. Then we got sent to different ships. I hooked up with Tasha and you decided to go to boys' town and play with Mark. Okay, fine. Then here we met up again, a lot of shit happened and then Kes came into the picture.
"I know the captain is supposed to be detached and all, but hell, woman, we are here for god knows how long, and no one is supposed to be alone and, holo-dates aside, you need companionship. Real companionship. Seven came and you fell for her. Well, so did I, and so did B'Elanna, Harry even Chuckles got up and apart of him stood at attention. But we said no touchy, she's the captain's. Besides, Kath, you are extremely good at finding strays and putting them back together.
"I like to think Seven was a replacement for me, because you fell for me first. And, well, at the time 'no touchy' because I was a too young, and ,well, you don't cross that line. Now I'm not a baby-dyke any more. And here I am right where I want to be. And you are where you belong, Kath, in my arms. So, no, I am not pissed or put out because a part of your heart has gone to Seven. Hell, mine did too. And you know what? We'll get her back, and she and her wife will catch the sheets on fire and break beds. Which we are going to do right now."
If Kathryn thought she was prepared for her lover's attentions she was sadly mistaken. Amanda was domineering as she took control over the kiss. She felt herself moaning as the tall blonde's tongue slipped into her mouth, dueling with her tongue.
"God, Mandy ."
Without asking or being asked, Amanda slid her hands underneath Kathryn's clothing. Janeway shivered, she swallowed hard wanting her lover to take total control. But she placed her hand upon the slender arms of her lover and held it against her body.
"Mandy we can't."
"Why?" Blonde eyebrows bunched up, frowning. "We've done it hundreds of times on the sofa." The younger woman leaned down, nibbling her lover's earlobe, causing the smoky voice to moan out.
"Bey .B'Elanna is coming over soon."
"Humm." Amanda continued nuzzling the soft curve of her lover's neck; her hands maneuvered under Kathryn's hold to slide further down the trim legs to the apex of her core. "When?"
"1900 hours," Janeway barely managed.
"Ha! We have three hours. Plenty of time, Lover, if we forego the cuffs and go all vanilla."
Naomi slipped into sickbay and tiptoed up to Mizoti's bed. Or at least as far as she could approach considering there was a containment field around the biobed. Taking out a small tricorder, she connected a memo-wire to the LARSE interface of computer panel along the sickbay bulkhead. The magnetic encodable wire was an antiquated bit of technology but proved to be a perfect learning tool for children to take notes. Naomi had used hers to record her ideas on her homework before placing them down in a data PADD, for presentation to her instructors.
The molecular arrangement of the wire was altered and changes in the frequency of speech patterns were electronically transferred into the wire. The audio information was reproduced when played back on the recorder. Activating the tricorder, a voice not belonging to Naomi addressed the computer.
"Computer, deactivate containment field, authorization Janeway theta delta four."
"Containment field deactivated," the monotone computer announced.
The Katerian child approached the biobed, with a hypospray in hand. Confidently she injected it into Mizoti's neck knowing that in a few moments her friend would awaken. The computer didn't register the Norkadian out of stasis because the Macgivered tricorder was sending false readings to the biobed.
"Spike," Mizoti blinked when she saw her best friend standing at her side. "What is "
"No time to explain, just comply." Naomi pulled the small Norkadian off the bed. "Computer, engage hologram protocol N-W Zot kappa Seven Nine."
On the biobed a perfect holographic representation of Mizoti was formed. Taking Mizoti's combadge Naomi placed it on the hologram.
"A trick I learned from Seven." There was some smugness to Naomi as she mentioned her hero's name.
The smaller girl was still a little out of sorts and needed to lean against another bed while watching her friend tap a few commands into the tricorder. She was, she had to admit, impressed with Naomi's efficiency and ingenuity.
"Computer, reactivate containment field," the synthetic voice of the Captain commanded.
"Where did you learn to do that?" Mizoti was shocked, and even more impressed with Naomi's accomplishments.
" Ensign Wesley Crusher's old Tec-logs. I improved his design using Borg technology." Naomi was pleased with herself. "Come on, we don't have a lot of time." The girl led her friend to a Jeffries tube access.
"What do you intend to do?"
"You, I and the new ship are going after your mom," Naomi answered. "Now come on, Zot. They'll figure out soon enough we are gone missing. We gotta hurry."
Quickly both girls entered the long tunnels, fitting easily into the compact compartments due to their small statures, and rapidly started to make their way to the shuttle bay.
"This plan is full of tactical flaws," the young ex-Borg pointed out.
"Soooooo what," Naomi said. "You wanna hang around here waiting for the grown-ups to do something?"
"No," Mizoti replied. "I want my SoS'oy back."
"Zot, Seven and I faced off against the Picture Plant when I was still little. We can take on the Borg Queen. We are going to get Klingon on her tin-butt. We've done it before, so don't worry. Besides, I have a contingency plan."
"You've been spending too much time in Engineering," said Mizoti.
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