DISCLAIMER: Characters, some of the dialog and trekkie technology belong to Paramount and the Star Trek Dynasty. I'm just using them to string together a little tale from the depths of my mind as a cheap form therapy. No profit or copyright infringement is intended or expected.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to my Beta Lenara who kept me on track and from wandering all over the Delta quadrant. This is my first attempt at writing fanfiction so any feedback and words of encouragement would be very much appreciated. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
CHALLENGE: Written for Epic Proportions 2009.
Living in the Past
Seven had arranged to meet B'Elanna at 0900 to begin their recreation on the planet. B'Elanna arrived at the transporter room at 0915 to find a miffed Seven.
"You are late B'Elanna Torres. It is fifteen minutes past our arranged meeting time," Seven stated trying her best to appear annoyed with her friend.
"Why Seven I think you are more excited about going to the planet than I am." She responded with a smirk. She then had a scowl on her face looking at how Seven was dressed. "Seven you don't plan to go to the beach in your biosuit, do you?"
"How should I be dressed? This is efficient attire for a multitude of activities." Seven looked at what she was wearing honestly not understanding the problem with her clothing.
B'Elanna slapped her ridged forehead, "What am I gonna do with you? People wear shorts and swimsuits to the beach, sandals and sunglasses. I bet you don't even have a towel to sit on the sand either. Well I guess we will have to go replicate you the proper beach attire. Come on."
Seven followed B'Elanna out of the transporter room, not noticing the Ensign at the control console trying to keep her giggles under control.
Arriving at her quarters, B'Elanna quickly went to the replicator and began to get Seven the proper beach attire eager to get down to the planet. Not turning around to look at her friend, she asked if they should take extra clothes to change into for dinner. Seven still had not said a word since leaving the transporter room. B'Elanna turned and finally looked at her and noticed sadness in her eyes, "What's wrong Seven?"
"I should not go with you to the planet."
"Wha why? What's wrong?" horrified that Seven didn't want to spend time with her.
"I appear to be interfering with you ability to have fun."
Breathing a sigh of relief after realizing what the issue was. "Seven, I only want you to be comfortable at the beach. I thought that wearing the same type of clothes that others would be wearing, you would be able to fit in better. But you don't have to wear something you are uncomfortable with wearing. I'm just happy that you are going to the beach with me."
Seven stood there staring at the replicated clothes in B'Elanna's arms and noticing the disappointed tone in her voice, she smiled and stated, "I will comply with the appropriate beach attire and commence with our beach activity.
Smiling back with a toothy grin, she thrust the clothes in Seven's arms and pushed her to the bedroom, "Great, now hurry up and change so we can commence with the fun. I will replicate something for us to wear to dinner tonight." She smiled thinking of the blond woman changing in her bedroom and wondering what she looked like under that biosuit. 'Oh Kahless what am I doing? She's my friend and thoughts like that is the quickest way to blow it.' In an attempt to get her mind on more neutral topics, B'Elanna nervously looked around her quarters trying to find something to take her mind off of her thoughts about the beautiful blond ex-Borg dressing in her bedroom. She spotted the holo-image she had placed on her table a few days ago. She went over and tenderly picked it up and began to softly speak to the gentle image of her grandmother. "Nana, what's wrong with me? I try so hard to make people happy but I never feel like I can be happy. I wish I was in your garden or sitting in your lap listening to your stories. Abuela, you still love me, right?"
"Is this sufficient for fun on the beach?" Seven asked coming out of the bedroom snapping B'Elanna out of her conversation with her grandmother. She quickly replaced the image on the table turning to meet Seven's questioning face hoping she did not hear her conversation with her Borg enhanced hearing.
"Wow! Seven you look great. If we don't have fun now then there is something wrong." B'Elanna was in awe of how beautiful she looked in her purple one piece swim suit and floral sarong. She started to feel a bit out of place in her navy blue board shorts and black tank top next to Seven but then she thought about the jealous stares she would get from the other beach lovers because of who she was with and a sneer came to her lips.
Seven was not feeling comfortable in her beach attire especially because of the amount of flesh it revealed but was happy that B'Elanna was satisfied with her attire.
"Well let's go before they run out of beach." B'Elanna said with a wide smile.
"I believe it is unlikely that there will not be beach space to accommodate those going to the beach today." Seven said with all seriousness, although B'Elanna swore she saw a twinkle in her eyes that said she was kidding with her.
"Seven you almost had me going there. See, you are already starting to have fun."
As they walked out the door, B'Elanna thought she heard a voice talking to her, "Mijo, remember to have fun too."
"Did you hear that Seven?
"No. I heard nothing, B'Elanna. Do you wish me to check the sensors to see if there is a foreign entity aboard Voyager?"
Seeing the concern on Seven's face, "No I think I am just excited to get to the beach and relax." Before the doors to her quarters closed, B'Elanna turned quickly to look in the room and then chastised herself for being silly.
The beaches on Planet Questa were more beautiful then the information that had been found had described. The sand was a fine sliver with beautiful fuchsia waves that gently lapped the shore. There were many different species of aliens enjoying the water and sand. Many of which they had not encountered in their travels in the Delta Quadrant. There were couples, groups and families either playing in the water, enjoying what seemed to be a game similar to volleyball played on earth or just simply enjoying the sun.
Seven and B'Elanna were waved over by other crewmates from hydroponics and beta shift from engineering. Unsure if Seven would be comfortable socializing with a large group of people. "Seven we don't have to join them if you don't want to?"
"The Captain and the Doctor are always encouraging me to socialize with others aboard Voyager; this could be a good opportunity to practice my socialization skills." She paused and then reconsidered the question again. "Do you not wish to join the others?"
"I don't mind. I just don't want you to feel uncomfortable. I will be right there with you, ok?"
"That will be acceptable." Seven brighten hearing of her friends desire to stay close to her.
Seven was surprised how welcoming the other crew members were to her presence. She was also aware of how much attention B'Elanna was paying to her ensuring that she was having a good time almost to the exclusion of her own enjoyment.
B'Elanna appeared to become distracted as her fellow crew members sat on the beach enjoying the sun and each other's company. She was concerned that Seven wasn't enjoying herself especially since she felt that she forced her to come along. For some reason it became important that the former Borg was enjoying her true first time engaging in leisure activities with the crew. She wanted her to feel included and accepted. B'Elanna's thoughts transported back to the camping trip she went on with her father, uncle and cousins. Not even her father could make her feel accepted by her family. I guess I was too Klingon for them. At that thought, she vowed that no one, including herself would make Seven feel too Borg to be around them. "Mijo, don't worry so much." She looked around again for the location of the voice.
"B'Elanna! B'Elanna!" Ensign Peters was almost yelling at her. She finally had to touch her on her shoulder to get her attention.
"What!? What the matter? What did you call me?" B'Elanna stated with confusion being jarred from her musings.
"You were a million light years away. I was wondering if you wanted to go water surfing with the rest of us. Seven said you two had been practicing on the Holodeck before we got to the planet."
Seeing the exchange between the B'Elanna and the Ensign, Seven became worried. "Are you feeling well Lieutenant? Do I need to take you to see the Doctor on Voyager?"
"Oh no Seven, I must have got too caught up in my day dreams. So you want to practice your water surfing skills? Sounds like fun." B'Elanna hoped that would get Seven and everyone else's attention off her and on to something more enjoyable. 'Great job B'Elanna trying to help Seven have a good time. Now you got her worried about you. She probably thinks you are defective. Maybe there is something wrong with you since you seem to be hearing voices.'
"I believe the activity would be enjoyable. Are you feeling up to participating as well?" Seven stated with a slight tone of worry in her voice.
"I'm game if you're game!" B'Elanna declared with almost too much enthusiasm.
"Great! Let's go. There's a water equipment station next to the shore." Ensign Peters exclaimed excitedly as she rallied the rest of her crewmates to join in on the activity.
Walking over to get the needed equipment, Seven continued to stare at B'Elanna. She thought that the Engineer's behavior was not customary behavior for the event they were participating in. She was becoming concerned that her presence was causing the Chief Engineer distress.
B'Elanna noticed that Seven was staring at her. "What is it Seven? Do I have sand on my face or something?" she asked hoping the joking would lighten the mood.
"Is my presence causing you distress Lieutenant?" Seven asked with all seriousness.
'Stupid! Now she really is feeling uncomfortable and probably disappointed in me as well. Do something fast to fix this, hybrid' Capturing Seven's eyes with her own, she hoped she could find the right words to show her that she wanted her with her. "Its B'Elanna remember? And no, I am enjoying having you here and really excited that you want to go water surfing with the group. I told you I would help you to have fun." B'Elanna hoped that Seven would equate the perspiration beads forming on her ridged forehead with the sun and the pace they were keeping to stay with the others and not the nervousness she was feeling.
Staring into the brown eyes of her companion for a long moment, a small smile appeared on Seven's mouth as she replied, "I am enjoying being here with everyone and you. I was apprehensive at first but I am finding the experience enjoyable. Thank you for encouraging me to participate in recreational activities"
B'Elanna let out a breath she did not realize she was holding as she stared at the full lips of the tall blond. "Good. Let's catch up with the others."
B'Elanna was surprised at how much fun she was having with Seven and the rest of her crewmates. They played in the water most of the day only stopping to have a light lunch. Even though she was enjoying herself, she found that her attention would be drawn toward a group of children playing with their parents or families laughing and playing in the water or sand. During these times she would get melancholy and a sad expression would appear on her face. Seven caught her one time in one of these moods and so B'Elanna had to work extra hard to keep herself focused or at least try better to hide it better from Seven.
As the temperature started to cool, the Voyager group started to disperse to begin their evening activities. Many promised to meet up again tomorrow to continue the fun on the beach.
"B'Elanna, should we not prepare to partake in our evening nutritional supplement?" Seven queried as the group started to separate. They were lying on the beach drying off. Well Seven was sitting observing the beach goers around her and B'Elanna was staring at the long form of Seven silhouetted by the setting suns.
B'Elanna chuckled, never quite use to how she referred to meals. "It's having dinner and yes I think that's probably a good idea. After all the physical activity I have worked up quite the appetite."
Seven jumped up and begin to gather their belongings. Noticing that B'Elanna had not moved she asked, "Is there a problem?'
"Seven are you planning on going back to the ship? I mean do you have to regenerate tonight?" She drew lazy circles in the sand not looking at the figure standing above her.
"I will not need to regenerate for another 5 days. Why do you ask?"
"I was thinking we could get a couple of rooms and stay on the planet. We don't have to be on duty for another 48 hours and who knows the next time we will be able to have this much leisure time away from the ship. It could be fun."
"Will our presence be missed on the ship?"
"Nah, I'll contact the Captain and let her know we are staying planet side. And besides I wanted to get there early to try out that holo-memory experience that Tom and Harry were talking about. They said that there are usually a lot of people waiting to try it. What do you say, Seven? Wanna stay?" B'Elanna was looking at Seven trying to give her best puppy dog face hoping that Seven would agree to stay.
Thinking thoughtfully for a moment, "That will be acceptable. Where should we go to find nourishment?"
"We will find something in the town square. You'll see that this will be more relaxing then having to go back to the ship and then having to transport back here tomorrow." B'Elanna jumped up and started to help gather their things.
While walking back to the main village Seven stopped and asked, "What shall we do about additional attire to wear tomorrow?"
"We will do what everyone does on vacation go shopping!" And with that they went off in search of a place to stay for the evening, have dinner and start their shopping excursion.
They were able to find rooms in the heart of the main square where there were many eating establishments and shopping centers. After they had finished their shopping excursion and had dinner, they decided to walk around the main square to plan their activities for tomorrow.
"There are so many fun things to do here. What would you like to do Seven? I picked the beach today, it's your turn to pick."
"I am new to recreational activities. I believe I do not have sufficient knowledge to choose wisely," Seven replied nervously.
"Doesn't anything seem interesting to you? I know something has piqued your curiosity during all your research about the planet." B'Elanna didn't want to lead Seven in deciding on an activity even though she had several things she wanted to do. She was secretly hoping that she would pick the holomemory experience so she could say that she was doing it because Seven wanted to. 'B'Elanna, you are such a targ shit.'
Seven looked anxiously at the various business fronts and marquee signs trying to find an idea of what they could do. She knew from past conversations that visiting the various centers of technological research would not be considered fun although informational. She thought that she could do something that would satisfy both B'Elanna and her idea of fun. "Ensign Kim and Ensign Paris were interested in procuring the technology of the holo-memory experience to incorporate into our existing Holodeck programming, maybe we should experience it for ourselves to see if incorporating the technology is advisable. You would also be able to re-experience your childhood memories."
B'Elanna stared at Seven with a shocked expression on her face. She wondered if another one of her Borg talents was reading minds. Did she decide on that activity because she was truly curious about the technology or did she want to make her happy? "Seven do you really want to do that? You don't have to do it because I said I wanted to do it."
"I have analyzed that this activity has elements that meets the requirements for both us to engage in fun." Seven hoped that this would satisfy the doubt that she sensed from B'Elanna's previous statement.
B'Elanna was tempted to argue her interpretation of fun but thought better of it especially since they were getting along so well and didn't want to go back to how they were before. She was more grateful that she decided to do what she wanted but had become scared to follow through with doing it. In trying to alleviate the tension at least that she was feeling she added, "Maybe we could visit the Scientific Center to gain more information about the technology after we are done."
"That would be acceptable."
As they walked along the square back to their rooms, B'Elanna once again became lost in her thoughts. 'Do I really have the strength to go through with this? I don't want Seven to think that I'm a coward and have no honor. I just want to feel that my family truly loved me. I hope my memories have not disrupted what truly was. '
"B'Elanna. B'Elanna! We have arrived at our rooms." Seven stated with a raised voice in an attempt to get the distracted Klingon's attention.
B'Elanna found herself for the second time today so distracted in her thoughts that she was unaware of what was going on around her. She berated herself and was very thankful she was not leading an away mission. "Sorry Seven, I must have been thinking about tomorrow. Well I guess we should get some rest and get an early start in the morning."
She didn't sense the anxiety coming from Seven until they had reached their respective doors. The ex-Borg seemed hesitant to enter her room.
"What is it Seven?" B'Elanna own anxiety beginning to rise.
"I have only engaged in sleeping on a few occasions and was successful for only 4 hours in each attempt. When I was unable to continue sleeping I would regenerate for the remaining time or engage in a task for Astrometics or Engineering. I am unsure what to do now that we are away from the ship." Seven almost looked uncomfortable having to admit this weakness to B'Elanna. She knew that this was important to her and didn't want to disappoint her.
"Oh Seven. I didn't even think about that. You should have said something." B'Elanna was racking her brain to come up with a solution. "Hey you can stay in my room until you get tired. Maybe you can watch a vid or read that always gets me tired. We can also talk but I don't know how long I will last before I fall asleep on you." She hoped these suggestions would be acceptable for Seven.
Staying the night in the half-Klingon's room seemed like something she would have never expected her to offer even though she had hoped she would. She was also grateful to not have to spend the night by herself. She still struggled with spending long periods of time by herself even though it had been several years since she had been severed from the Collective and she had began to embrace her individuality. She found herself experiencing a curious form of positive feelings to continue to be in the company of her new friend. She found herself wanting to be in close proximity of B'Elanna.
"I will accept your offer, B'Elanna. I will use the opportunity to read more about the technology we will be experiencing tomorrow so as not to disrupt your regeneration period."
B'Elanna smiled and invited Seven in her room for what guaranteed to be an interesting and awkward evening.
Seven was wide awake as the morning suns crept into the window of the room. She had been able to sleep for a few hours and woke abruptly not sure as to where she was. She quickly remembered that she was on the planet and in the room of her friend. She sat watching B'Elanna sleep and marveled in the gentle features on the Klingon's face. She admired the soft red lips and the gentle ridges of her forehead. As she stared at the sleeping woman, she began to experience feelings generating in her core. She was uncertain of what these feelings were but was certain that B'Elanna was the cause of them. Becoming uncomfortable after several hours of watching her not wanting her to wake seeing her staring at her, she decided to go and find morning nutritional supplements for her companion.
As Seven quietly exited the room, B'Elanna opened her eyes. She had been aware of Seven staring at her for the last half hour but didn't want to let on that she was awake. She had awoken several hours earlier while Seven had actually fallen asleep. She looked so peaceful while she slept and wondered why she didn't try more often. She had slept on the sofa in the room. B'Elanna had secretly wished that she had chosen to sleep in the bed with her. She thought how wonderful it would be to wake up next to that peaceful and beautiful creature. She realized that her feeling for Seven were deepening past that of mere friendship but she didn't want to do anything damage what they had fought hard to establish. She wondered what the day would bring for them both.
Seven entered the room caring a glass of what appeared to be prune juice. B'Elanna sat up in bed and smiled at her friend. "I wondered where you had gotten to."
"I thought you would appreciate a beverage to start your day. There are several eating establishments that offer morning nutrition."
B'Elanna chuckled as she corrected Seven. "It's called breakfast. Did any place look good?"
"There were several that offered a variety of items."
"That sounds good to me. I better get up and get ready to start the day. Are you gonna change into your new clothes?"
Seven had not thought about the new clothes they had purchased. "I will go change in my room and meet you back here."
"Umm Seven, how about you bring your things over here. We should probably get rid of your room since you are staying in here with me." B'Elanna hoped that she would see the logic of this idea.
"I do not want to intrude on you hospitality. I should be able to handle the solitude sufficiently on my own."
"I know you can handle it but why should you. After all we are on shore leave and having fun. I enjoyed having you in here last night. It's been awhile that I have had someone to watch holovids with since Tom."
Seven thought about this for several long moments. "I will accept your offer. I will retrieve my belongings."
She exited to retrieve her things and B'Elanna hopped out of bed to head to the sonic shower. While in the shower, she froze and thought about what she had done. 'Is this really a good idea? Can I control my increasing feelings for her and not ruin our friendship? Yeah it makes sense to share the room especially since Seven being by herself is still something she is adjusting to. That's probably why she doesn't mind having her alcove in the cargo bay where everyone can easily come and go even though most now have come to respect her privacy. Well at least it will be easier to have conversations after the holo-memory experience.' B'Elanna was thinking of every rationalization to calm her frazzled nerves. Then she thought she should hurry and change before seven returned. 'If Seven was concerned she would bring it up. Right?'
As Seven walked to the other room, she wondered about the motivation behind B'Elanna suggestion and request. It was logical to share one room since Seven's need for sleep was very limited. She also wondered if B'Elanna did not wish to be alone as well. Seven thought it best not to dwell upon the reason but to proceed until new information presented itself.
Both women hastily exited the room they now shared with the goal of finding someplace to get breakfast. Neither wanted to speak further about the situation.
They found a bistro that was bustling with activity. They were disappointed that there was a long wait for a table.
"B'Elanna! Seven! Over here."
Their attention was drawn to a large table occupied by Tom, Harry, Chokatay and the Captain as they were waved over to join them.
"Please join us. We just sat down ourselves." The Captain enthusiastically offered.
"Thanks Captain. We weren't looking forward to waiting or finding another place to eat," B'Elanna replied.
Both women sat in the vacant seats and exchanged pleasantries with the rest of the occupants of the table.
"So Seven how are you enjoying your shore leave? Hope B'Elanna doesn't have you doing any wild stuff," Harry asked with a wide grin.
"I am having an satisfactory experience. The lieutenant is a more than adequate guide. What 'wild stuff' are you concerned that she would show me?" Seven was unsure what the Ensign was referring to.
"Oh nothing, just didn't want her having you cliff diving on your first shore leave. What are you two up to today?" Harry hoped that Seven and B'Elanna wouldn't think that he was implying something improper.
"Well I was leaving it up to Seven to decide today. She wanted to " B'Elanna wasn't shocked that she was interrupted by Seven but more so because she blurted out what they were going to do.
"We are going to the holo-memory experience today." Seven responded.
This brought about a lively discussion at the table. Apparently Tom, Harry and Chokatay had given the Captain minor details about the experience and with her being a scientist the technology of it was too much not to discuss in full. Seven was eagerly engaging in the conversation with the others and the ability to add the technology to our holo matrix programming. She discussed the journals she had read and the theory behind the technology. The Captain was intrigued by it and decided she would have to experience it before she gave the go ahead. B'Elanna smiled as the others talked trying her best to hide her apprehension. The Captain noticed that B'Elanna was sparsely adding to discussion.
"B'Elanna do you have some concern about the safety of this technology and its compatibility with our ship's systems?" The Captain asked with a serious air of concern in her tone. She also wondered if this had more to do with the personal issues she has been going through lately.
"Oh, no Captain. I think that others have researched it fully. That's why Seven and I were planning to experience it today to gain more information. I'm just hungry and wondering where our waiter has gotten to." B'Elanna stated with a fake chuckle hoping that no one else would notice her uneasiness about participating in the experience.
As if a psychic link was sent out, the waiter appeared and took their order. Once the food was served, the conversation was peppered in between bites of food regarding the planet, the activities and the mood of the crew.
Once everyone had finished their meals, the group migrated to the outside of the restaurant and the conversations continued. Seven was observing the group with curiosity. She was committing to memory the social interaction of the group in hopes of utilizing what she observed in her future interactions. She felt that if she could be more comfortable in large groups B'Elanna would begin to feel more relaxed. Seven was concerned about the half-Klingon increased anxiety ever since they arrived on the planet and wanted to do everything in her power to make sure she was not the cause.
As the group started to disperse, the Captain approached Seven and B'Elanna with a look of concern in her eyes. "Ladies, May I have a quick word with you." Not waiting for them to respond she continued on. "I hope you two are enjoying your time on the planet. You both certainly deserve the break. I want you to take an extra day if you would like. Please try and have a good time." She squeezed them both on their arms and quickly joined Chokatay and the others.
B'Elanna and Seven stared at each other in silent confusion as to why the Captain felt the need to give them both such an odd message.
"B'Elanna, do you understand the meaning of the Captain's statement? Do we not appear to be enjoying our time on the planet?" Seven said in earnest trying to understand the Captain's word.
B'Elanna looked in the direction of the Captain and shrugged her shoulders and replied, "Not a clue Seven. Not a clue."
Both women walked leisurely toward the direction of the holo center. B'Elanna was in no hurry to get there and Seven trying to be amenable just kept pace with the lieutenant. B'Elanna asked Seven about her opinion of what they had already seen on the planet and how it compares with other planets she had been on. She was bringing up any trivial topic she could think of in order to fill the silence and distract her from her real thoughts. It soon became evident to Seven that B'Elanna was doing everything to distract herself about where they were heading.
"B'Elanna, do you not wish to discuss the activity we are about to engage in? By your speech and increased breathing and respiratory rate you appear apprehensive." Seven stopped walking and stared intently at her companion waiting for a response. Not hearing a response, seven gently lifted the smaller woman's chin so that she would meet her eyes.
B'Elanna stared into Seven's deep blue eyes. She felt Seven see through to her soul and lift the fear that was threatening to seize both her hearts. As much as she tried, she could not stop the tears that began to fall. She hoped that Seven would not think she was weak because of her inability to contain her emotions.
"B'Elanna are you injured? Are you in distress?" Seven was growing concerned for her friend. She wondered if participating in the Holo-experience was a good idea.
Regaining her composure, "Seven I'm fine. I didn't realize how nervous I was about doing it. But I'm fine now. Let's get going before we change our minds." B'Elanna squeezed Seven's hand and gave her a weak smile. Before Seven could respond, B'Elanna took her hand and began to pull quickly in the direction of the Holo-center. B'Elanna knew she had to get to the center as soon as possible before she chickened out.
Seven was confused about the half Klingon's reactions. "B'Elanna are we in a hurry?"
She didn't want to tell her blond companion that she was at war with herself and didn't want to succumb to her fears about what would happened in the experience. 'Mijo you have nothing to fear.' B'Elanna stopped and began to look around wildly for the source of the voice. Knowing that Seven was concerned about her, she quickly tried to cover, "Was that someone from the ship calling us? Oh, it must have just been voices from those people on the other side of the square. No I'm excited to get to the center."
Seven was at a lost as to how to respond but felt that she needed to stay close to her friend and monitor her for emotional instabilities. She was concerned if the activity was appropriate at this time but felt that it was important to B'Elanna and wanted to support her.
They continued their trek to the holo-center in nervous silence at B'Elanna was nervous.
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